July 22, 2003

LITMUS TEST

Two of the most malignant and cruel mass murderers, rapists and torturers to ever walk the earth have departed the planet – and the left sneers.

There was a time – I can remember it clearly, though it seems a lifetime ago – when “liberals” were people who fought for humanity and human rights, people who despised murder and torture. Now, wherever we look, the people who call themselves the most “liberal” seem to be the sole remaining defenders of murder, rape and torture.

What the hell has happened to those people?

I was very happy today when I heard the news that these two murdering bastards have been wiped off the face of the earth. This is a great victory in the ongoing battle in Iraq, and it is more than that. It is a victory for the Iraqi people, a victory for all those children buried with their dolls in shallow graves. It is a victory for the 300,000 unmarked graves, for the unidentified skulls with a single bullet hole in the back of the head. It is a victory for justice, and ultimately, it was a day of redemption and above all decency, for what meaning can decency and justice have will monsters of that ilk still walked the earth with impunity?

I was happy to hear that they had plenty of time to realize they were trapped, that they were about to die a violent death. I do not credit either of them with the intelligence or basic humanity to realize that this was exactly the feeling that so many untold thousands of their victims had, facing electrodes and acid baths and industrial shredders in blood-soaked basements. It took four hours to resolve the action. I hope they were terrified for every eternal second of them.

As I said, I was happy. I was happy when the Death Star exploded. I did not question whether or not it would have been more appropriate to send C3PO in with a warrant to arrest Darth Vader.

Ha ha! Parody! Right?

I wish. Some people are beyond parody these days.

Is there no shame, none whatsoever, for someone who would take the side of these murderers and torturers just to take a shot at their own country and its duly elected leader? Is there no depths to which these people can sink?

None?

I am angry. And when I get angry I want to write an essay. And I will.

Posted by Proteus at July 22, 2003 11:33 PM
Comments

I don't think they deserve your time. Glad they're gone but you can do more good by writing about something meaningful. I'm not trying to say that I don't enjoy your writing regardless of the subject, but would prefer that you ignore these slime for the slime they are. Elevate...

cheers,

Dick

Posted by: hairofthedawg on July 23, 2003 01:09 AM

Let me know where they are buried. It's the only reason I'd ever go back to Iraq...

To take a leak on their graves.

(Never said I was a High Minded Sapper. Whole concept is oxymoronic. Moronic Sapper, maybe).

Sapper Mike

Posted by: Sapper Mike on July 23, 2003 01:22 AM

Are there no depths to which these people will NOT sink?

There may be, Sir, but we as intelligent Americans are already ashamed of their loathsome quailings and bleatings, so I daresay we'd be none too eager to learn the depths to which these Liberals can slide...

KDean

Posted by: Eye Opener on July 23, 2003 01:47 AM

"I am angry. And when I get angry I want to write an essay. And I will."

At least that's one GOOD thing we'll get as a result of those miserable slugs...a new must-read Bill Whittle essay. (By "miserable slugs," I mean the left-wing whackos who view everything in terms of taking potshots at the President; Uday and Qusay would seem to deserve an epithet more like "demons incarnate.")

When I broke the news on Electric Minds earlier today, one of our conference hosts replied, "I hope Uday spends his eternity going through a heavenly plastic shredder. That bastard." My comment was, "An M-16 beats four aces." (referring, of course, to the "Iraq's Most Wanted card deck," of which the Terrible Twosome were two of the aces)

Posted by: Erbo on July 23, 2003 02:28 AM

You know, this afternoon I thought to myself, "I bet that right now some people are hatching conspiracy theories." You know--aha, Bush was just about to be impeached for telling those lying lies in the State of the Union, so he arranges to have Saddam's kids killed!

And, of course, no sooner did I email those thoughts to a friend, then good old Hesiod Thingummy came through.

I can't help it, I always come up with the conspiracy theories. Bad habit of mine. Before Wellstone's body was cold, I was thinking, boy, the aluminum-foil-helmet crowd is gonna go crazy over this one.

(Turns out Lileks has the same bad habit, for what that's worth.)

Posted by: Andrew S. on July 23, 2003 02:36 AM

Erbo says, 'Uday and Qusay would seem to deserve an epithet more like "demons incarnate."'

Not "incarnate" any more. And I think they're learning a thing or two about old-school demons.

Kyrie eleison.

Posted by: Andrew S. on July 23, 2003 02:39 AM

It's time to throw a party to celebrate the deaths of these two piglets. Just two days ago I saw a show on the History (or was it the Learning?) Channel about these two monsters. Far from not deserving our time, we need to expose them. Their evils must be exposed and disseminated for all the world to see by someone like Our Captain. Go ahead Bill, give these former dictators-in-training and their liberal supporters a good reaming. They deserve it.

As for Wellstone conspiracies: I live in Minnesota. The wreckage was still smoldering in that frozen swamp when some fool at the U of M Minneapolis campus put up a banner screaming "WHO KILLED WELLSTONE?" There's even a former professor out there with a website claiming that some nebulous agency of the federal government used a top-top-top-top secret electromagnetic pulse weapon to disable Wellstone's plane.

Let's think that one through for a minute. To the best of our known physics, the only way to create an EMP is with a nuclear explosion in the upper atmosphere. (Ever see "Goldeneye"?) I recently drove through the area where the crash occured. Lots of birds, lots of critters, thick green foliage, no leftover radiation to interfere with my vehicle's onboard computer system. Maybe the FAA's theory is more plausable. A 20+ year old plane flying dangerously close to stall speed in bad weather (October in Northern Minnesota is roughly equivalent to Siberia) with at least one pilot who had "sexed up" his flying record. Not a good combo. But don't let facts get in the way of a good conspiracy theory.

Posted by: VRWCman on July 23, 2003 05:38 AM

I wrote a celebratory haiku for the occasion. It's on my blog, but here it is again:

Hussein boys kick back
rockets strike their jacuzzi
four testicles boil

Also wanted to say thanks to the people who, with true class, expressed levelheaded disagreement with certain aspects of my point of view in the "Trinity" thread.

Hapjang,


Kevin

Posted by: Kevin Kim on July 23, 2003 06:11 AM

Amen. I was getting all frustrated and all I needed to get a little Whittle fix.
When I first heard they bagged those two little punks I was glad, but the icing on the cake is that unlike getting vaporized by a daisy cutter landing on on their respective heads, they had plenty of time to see it coming. Kudos to the 101st Airborne and whoever the future multimillionaire is that ratted out those pricks. Here's hoping when they finally tag Saddam they hang all three of them upside down in the middle of Baghdad Mussolini-style.
Hm. Such hostility on my part. And I didn't even live under those bastards.

Posted by: Drew on July 23, 2003 06:26 AM

As early as last night Rep Charles Rangle (D-NY) had grabbed a reporter and was bloviating that it's illegal to assassinate foreign leaders and that Mr. Bush should be prosecuted. As if a gunfight during an arrest is an assassination.
Unless there's been a law passed that I hadn't heard about, even if we HAD snuck a sniper, say, into range and blown them away without a chance to surrender, it would not be a violation of Law. It would be a violation of a previous President's executive order, I believe it was Jerry Ford. Mr. Bush is no more required to obey Jerry Ford's orders than I am King George's orders.
Lies, from the Left, how shocking.

Posted by: Peter on July 23, 2003 07:03 AM

As Jay Leno said last night:

"What a great day, Jessica Lynch came home and Uday and Qusay didn’t."

Amen.

Posted by: Peter on July 23, 2003 07:03 AM

Bill - Well said and nice work (as usual). Get going on that essay. We are going to need it and need it soon. The drums are beating...

Sapper Mike - Been there once, too, and don't want to return, but I'll take that trip with you, drink a few gallons of water before and...

Blackfive

Posted by: Blackfive on July 23, 2003 07:15 AM

Can't wait for the next essay. How's this for a title...JUSTICE!.

Posted by: Bryan on July 23, 2003 08:48 AM

Bill -

I'm afraid I went a step further in my wishes for the details of their end. I hope the 14 year old son went first, so whichever one was 'daddy' had a chance to feel some of the pain he inflicted on the countless other families he destroyed. It's a shame that pain was to last only a few minutes - thousands of others will live with it for the rest of their lives.

Posted by: Hogarth on July 23, 2003 09:07 AM

Amen, Bill!
I've had my concerns about the Iraqi campaign - not whether we needed to deal with Saddam, but how and when...
Still, whatever else happens, we freed the people of Iraq from a truly monstrous tyranny, and whether or that alone is a sufficient cause for war, it suits me just fine.

BTW, how will I be able to get a copy of your book?

Thanks for your good work - you've done some of the best writing I've seen on the net!

Posted by: Liz L. on July 23, 2003 09:51 AM

"What the hell has happened to those people?"
I say nothing, except that now more of them are showing their true colors. The movie "Clockwork Orange"
Charles Manson's diatribe in court, and the Unibomber's manifesto tell and age old story about "Liberal"
thinking.

Posted by: Lyle Keeney on July 23, 2003 01:05 PM

TO: Bill Whittle
RE: Shame Anyone?

"Is there no shame, none whatsoever, for someone who would take the side of these murderers and torturer..." -- Bill Whittle

None whatsoever, compadre.

Shame requires a standard of measure against which good conduct is differentiated from ungood. And, last time I looked, the people you are referring to don't have a standard, at least not one that is generally recognized. They are a classic example of 'situational ethics'...it all depends on what suits their purposes. And as a result, yesterday's truth is tomorrow's lie.

Regards,

Chuck(le)

Posted by: Chuck Pelto on July 23, 2003 01:53 PM

Thanks for the announcement, Bill. Why is it, do you suppose, that all of a sudden Pavlov's dog comes to mind?

Posted by: Clayton D. Jones on July 23, 2003 04:18 PM

I'm NOT a Southerner, DEFINITELY NOT a supporter of the Confederate cause. However, these words are far more appropriate today that when they were said by a maniac in a theater almost 140 years ago:

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Posted by: Jim on July 23, 2003 06:00 PM

It’s funny that Erbo would call the lefties slugs. I just blogged about that.

"A while ago, Noam Chomsky declared that no one should criticize an opponent of the US government, no matter what they’ve done - because telling the truth about the evils of an enemy distracts the reader from the despicable deeds supposedly committed by the ultimate evil, the democratic government of the United States. Any enemy of democracy is Noam and the hardcore left’s best friend. They’ve defended al Qaeda, Saddam - and now they are doing their best to defend his sadistic sons.

I’m now convinced that if flesh eating slugs from the planet Zod descended upon the earth with plans to eat our President first, then the rest of the human race, and if a lefty had a salt shaker in his hand, he wouldn't use the salt. He'd put it down, welcome the slugs and take them to the President. He'd agree to be eaten - to him, anything would be better than living under Bush’s proto-fascist government."

- I was angry too. I couldn’t believe they’d go so far, to defend those two. Now I see that they don’t think, they react – just like slugs. To them, U.S.=bad. Enemy of the U.S.=good.

Can’t wait for the essay.


Posted by: mary on July 23, 2003 07:23 PM

Hey Bill,

Kudos on the reminder, and can't wait for the essay. I agree with the reader above about the hard Left having no morality compass whatsoever anymore...and I am not talking about a morality compass in the normal Judeo-Christian sense of the word. I am talking about having the freaking human decency and intestinal fortitude to say, "Hey, you know what? Saddam and his murdering thug sons were menaces to the entire free world, but even worse yet, to the people they purported to 'represent'. I am glad they are gone, that no more children will be executed or imprisoned, no more women raped, and no more people beaten, tortured, or put into shredders." Is that so much to ask? Apparrently it is, especially when there is a potential potshot to be taken at President Bush. As many disagreements as I may have had with him on other issues, I think he stands in the top 3 all time of Presidents on foreign policy boldness and initiative. I don't want any of the nine dwarves or Hillary "Soialized Medicine" Clinton fighting the terrorists, and I don't think anyone else does either. Until the hard Left realizes this, and has an articulable and strong foreign policy, as well as some other non-Bush bashing leg to stand on in domestic matters (rasing taxes won't do it), it will always be National Security, Stupids! I will leave you Bill with one of your own quotes..."I would like to think that some of these murdering terrorist scumbags had as their last thought on Earth that maybe 9?11 wasn't such a hot idea after all." Amen brother, take care and God Bless.

Posted by: Chris Whittaker on July 23, 2003 09:11 PM

I just blundered into this site, and - guys and gals - you are terrific. Put me down for the future as a regular visitor. I do want to post some good news about the death of those murderers - I just read that three days ago they ran out of virgins in Paradise. As for Rep. Rangel's interview on FOX, I'm still waiting for a direct answer to one question. Someone should call him the Artful Dodger, but then Charles Dickens might object. It's amazing how the liberals can not find one good thing about what George the Younger has done. The game is still being played, but at the end, his vision and fortitude will make this a much safer place - for America and the world. Despite being in the midst of a war, he should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Wonder what the liberals would think about that nomination. When all is said and done, who will have done more for world peace - George W. Bush or Jummy Carter?

Posted by: The Humanoid on July 23, 2003 10:25 PM

Duly elected leader? Hah, hah!
In a true democracy the candidate getting the most votes wins. Dubya was appointed by the judiciary. Remember that.

Vote for in 2004!

Stu

Posted by: Stu Savory on July 24, 2003 12:01 AM

Chris W. writes, 'I don't want any of the nine dwarves or Hillary "Socialized Medicine" Clinton fighting the terrorists, and I don't think anyone else does either.'

I'm about as right-wing as they come, and let me tell you this--I'm damned glad to have Tony "Socialized Medicine" Blair fighting the terrorists with us.

Posted by: Andrew S. on July 24, 2003 12:37 AM

Stu Savory writes, 'Vote for in 2004!'

Whoa. Deep, man. Verb sap--gotta watch out for those <>s.

So tell me--did the electoral college bother you in October 2000? (Had you even heard of it?)

Posted by: Andrew S. on July 24, 2003 12:39 AM


Stu Savory, perhaps unwittingly, captures the argument in a nutshell. In his world, the Dems are out of power over an illegal, legal ruling. (Never mind that by definition, that is impossible at the Supreme Court) The reacquisition of power is the number one objective and that outcome justifies any means. Liberals, you see, only have everyone's best interests at heart.

Posted by: Bob Whaley on July 24, 2003 05:37 AM

Thanks for the laugh Stu!

I love it when Europeans attempt to make observations about The United States. Their sheer ignorance can be breathtaking.

Stu, please read more and post less, it will save you embarrassment in the future.

Posted by: Apache on July 24, 2003 06:58 AM

Just a minor point for Stu Savory's edification: The United States is not a 'true democracy' - it is a federal republic.

Posted by: aelfheld on July 24, 2003 09:10 AM

Anyone have some cites or links for the leftists who are failing to rejoice at the deaths of Uday and Qusay and/or are pissed at the lack of due process for them? I think I've seen *one* link in the comments and none in the essay.

Meanwhile, I rather wish an arrest had been possible, though it probably wasn't tactically
feasible. (Could the soldiers have surrounded the building and waited?)

I don't care much whether the brothers had gotten a trial (though perhaps interesting information would have come out), but two extra people got killed. One of them may have been guilty on his own (dictator's bodyguards could be doing some murdering or torturing), but I haven't heard about any evidence or even a solid identification in the matter.

The other non-Uday/Qusay corpse was a 14-year-old boy, "probably the son of Qusay". Again, *if* it's the son, then he may have done major crimes himself, but I haven't seen any evidence. Hogarth is pleased at the thought that maybe the kid died first and Qusay suffered some extra as a result. On the other hand, maybe the kid died last and most painfully. Maybe he was the local equivalent of a pizza delivery guy or he was a house-cleaner or someone else's kid being held as a hostage.

Military action is noisy and direct and it's satisfying when it works, but actually thinking about the collateral damage might take some of the fun out.

Posted by: Nancy Lebovitz on July 24, 2003 09:55 AM

Well, a few Iraqis wanted them taken alive, too, just so *they* could put them to death after a lengthy trial.... maybe Saddam can be taken alive and put in a court like that guy Milosovich (sp?) or Norgegia or whomever.... but I doubt it. Saddam will either fight to the death or kill himself and won't give anyone the satisfaction of a trial in an air conditioned court room.

What ever happened to the wife of Saddam? Maybe she can take the bodies of the sons for burial... but I can't remember where she is, I think she no longer lives in Iraq, but I am not certain. I also read today that the Iraqi Council has viewed the bodies of the sons and is helping to determine what should be done with them now. I know it seems barbaric to put out grisly death photos, but it seems people in Iraq want some proof.... and even the photos won't be proof enough, so they have dental records, x rays, dna and finger prints. But even *that* won't be enough for some people.

So, I am sure it was discussed by all the military minds.... what to do.... but you would think taking them alive would have been the best thing... martyr's get lots of mileage over there.

Posted by: EB on July 24, 2003 10:17 AM

Nancy L. writes, 'Anyone have some cites or links for the leftists who are failing to rejoice at the deaths of Uday and Qusay and/or are pissed at the lack of due process for them?'

Steve Den Beste rounded up a few.

'Meanwhile, I rather wish an arrest had been possible, though it probably wasn't tactically feasible. (Could the soldiers have surrounded the building and waited?)'

I think the fear was, what if there were escape tunnels or somesuch? They've gotten away too many times before, we didn't want to risk that happening now.

'The other non-Uday/Qusay corpse was a 14-year-old boy, "probably the son of Qusay". Again, *if* it's the son, then he may have done major crimes himself, but I haven't seen any evidence.'

He may not have committed any crimes, but he was on the wrong side of a firefight in a war. (There were several hours of fighting--the kid could've surrendered, but he didn't.)

Damned shame that U&Q let a kid fight for them. But, after all, they were evil bastards, so it isn't that surprising.

And if he was a hostage--well, then, wouldn't the moral culpability attach to the hostage-takers, and not to us?

Posted by: Andrew S. on July 24, 2003 10:22 AM

Dang it! *sniff* I love you guys!

It is so good to hear so many reasoned voices rising out of all the clamor and tumult. And it's so great to hear from the likes of Stu in a forum like this. It's kinda' like the famous birthday episode from the old Steve Allen show (at least I THINK it was a birthday episode), in which he got pelted, by his crew and production staff, with pie after pie after pie after pie. Hilarious.

Thank-you, Stu, for the comic relief.

I must go dab away a tear now.

Keep up the good work, all.

GHS

Posted by: GreatHairySilverback on July 24, 2003 10:24 AM

Andrew, some of the reports coming out about the attacks on the troops is that they are being done by kids.... here is a link, sorry I don't know how to format it nicely in HTML:

http://www.nydailynews.com/04-03-2003/news/wn_report/v-pfriendly/story/72391p-67079c.html

Yes, I know, it's the daily news, but there are other places to find the same info, search for:
Saddam's Lion Cubs

... so anyway, it is not surprising they got their 14 yr old son to pick up arms, at least not to me.

The Guardian, UK, reports the kid was the last to go:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1004750,00.html


Posted by: EB on July 24, 2003 10:46 AM

And here is a recent article on how the attacks on our troops are carried out:

http://www.statesman.com/nationworld/content/news/072003/0720insurgents.html

Like Den Beste mentions in his excellent essay, it has to become unfashionable to use the USA as a scapegoat for the failure of prosperity in that region, and put the blame squarely where it belongs.... on the religious teachings that perpetuate militant hatred.

Note:
The bounty for the 2 sons together, 30 mil, is higher than for Saddam alone, 25 mil. So, I would raise the bounty to twice that, for Saddam alive. And make it 30 for Saddam dead. Or some kind of scale like that.

Posted by: EB on July 24, 2003 11:03 AM

An Iraqi blogger describes unfolding events as he sees them:

http://dear_raed.blogspot.com/

Posted by: EB on July 24, 2003 11:19 AM

Dubya was appointed by the judiciary.

I know I shouldn't feed the troll, but it's fun...

Stu, The US Supreme Court merely told the Florida Supreme Court to stop changing the rules of the game to suit their whims. If you know anything about law (I'm betting money you don't) and history (again, I'll take odds on this) and all the facts of the case (not one chance in a thousand that you do), then you'd understand that the US Supreme Court's ruling was absolutely correct.

Now, go back under the bridge where you belong.

Posted by: Steve on July 24, 2003 01:23 PM

As I recall, the age of adulthood is set at puberty in Islamic beliefs. To address some concerns voiced regarding the young man's presence and subsequent death, it is likely logical to conclude that he chose to be present, as an adult combatant. Postulations of "delivery boy", or "hostage" don't hold water in my book. First, men on the run like Q&U don't tend to advertise their presence by calling for delivery of any sort. Especially with the "heat" so close by. Second, the young man could have surrendered, as Andrew S pointed out.

But I am not here to debate the "rightness" of the young man's--Mustafa's(?)--passing.

Bill asked a question. He asked, "Is there no shame, none whatsoever, for someone who would take the side of these murderers and torturers just to take a shot at their own country and its duly elected leader? Is there no depths to which these people can sink?

None?"

Well, as far as political depravity--that answers itself. Are you familiar with the term, "monkey trick", Bill? In writing, it refers to certain little quirks in style the author can use to manipulate their audience. In the interest of brevity, I won't get into the list of literary monkey tricks, here. But blustering, obfuscation of facts, mud-slinging, and spin-doctoring are examples of political monkey tricks. The opposition will use it as a tool to manipulate the audience, in a bald attempt to turn their sympathies toward the person making the declamations.

Monkey tricks are also used in journalism. They can be recognized by little verbal twists used to evoke an emotional response. You've seen many examples. In "Magic", you illustrated the point by using the example of redirection. (I thought your exemplification was brilliantly handled, by the way.)

It is interesting to note that the Society of Professional Journalists, while purporting to call for honesty and sensitivity in journalism, does not stress the importance of keeping one's personal politics out of journalism. (Although it's mentioned. Briefly. In passing.) Most of the thrust of the code, when a critical reader looks between the lines, seems to communicate, "Get the story at any cost." View the Code of Ethics here.

This is a long, rambling way of saying that no, there is no shame, Bill. And more's the pity, for it would show a modicum of maturity which I believe is glaringly absent in news agencies and general politics today.

But maybe there's some comfort? Just by cruising through the comments sections of this, and other articulate bloggers' sites, there seem to be an awful lot of critical thinkers out there who can recognize bullshit from the accompanying reek.

Regards,
Linda

Posted by: Linda on July 24, 2003 01:27 PM

A warning from Scots Historian Professor Alexander Tyler, circa 1787,
Re: The Fall of the Athenian Republic.

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse (generous gifts) from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship."

"The average age of the world's greatest civilization has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through this sequence. From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance, from abundance to complacency; from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back into bondage."


Professor Joseph Olson of Hamline University of Law, St. Paul, MN passed on that gem & provides the following 2000 election facts for consideration.

Population of counties won by Gore 127 million, won by Bush 143 million

Sq. miles of country won by Gore 580,000, won by Bush 2,427,000

States won by Gore 19, by Bush 29

Murder per 100,000 residents in counties won by Gore 13.2 by Bush 2.1 (not a typo)

Professor Olson adds, "And may I add that the map of the territory Bush won was (mostly) the land owned by the people of this great country. Not the citizens living in cities owned by the government and living off the government....

Taking the path of least resistance is what makes rivers run crooked!

....................

Should we find ourselves in a state of apathy, think about the quote from Edmund Burke, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

Posted by: Ron Bowen on July 24, 2003 03:30 PM

VRWCman -

Minor point, EMP is not created solely by nuclear explosion. Rather we discovered it as a side-effect of nuclear testing. Over the last few years a great deal of effort has been put forth in developing non-nuclear EMP bombs.

More generally, in the short term, I am more than willing to see the asshatted fuckwits who are less than ecstatic about the death of Q&U, continue to hoist themselves on their own petard. In the long term, however, I am beginning to wonder if these folks aren't so seriously bent in their world view that trying to bring them back into the fold will be like the Catholic trying to reunite with the Protestants during the Wars of Reformation.

I hope that this virulent strain of idiocy is a short-term plague and not something that's here to stay.

AR

Posted by: Anticipatory Retaliation on July 24, 2003 03:32 PM

Thursdays usually kind of suck- not as bad as Monday but not as good as Friday...I ( and I think this is OK by the Big Guy's standards ) did a little jump for joy when I found out these 2 pricks were dead. There is so much more to add as to what they did but let's let it rest at 'they ain't gonna be pullin' their shit no mo' "
There IS justice in the world...takes time but it's there...

Posted by: Paul on July 24, 2003 03:42 PM

Nancy, reports from the scene indicate that the 14-year old continued to fire atour troops after the other 3 people, if you can cll them that, in the house were down. He CHOSE to keep shooting at our troops. He CHOSE to get killed. I see no reason to mourn his end.

Posted by: Eric Sivula on July 24, 2003 05:11 PM

'[the 14-year-old] CHOSE to keep shooting at our troops. He CHOSE to get killed. I see no reason to mourn his end.'

He died like a warrior. I can respect a warrior who dies in honorable combat, even on the other side, even on an evil side. And I can mourn for him. He deserved a better father and a better general.

Still, if the last two hundred years teaches us anything, it's that shooting at Americans is a good way to get yourself killed. (That's why the death toll in the Civil War was so high--everyone was shooting at Americans, which is a damned dangerous thing to do.)

Posted by: Andrew S. on July 24, 2003 05:59 PM

Sucks for the kid. But it's the thought that counts- the kid presumably wasn't fully cognizant of just what wonderful company he was in, so say a prayer if you're of that persuasion. And hey, if you have to die fighting for the most vile sentient creatures in decades, wouldn't you want to do it before you were old enough to be fully brainwashed?

Anyway, the reaction astounds me. It's like clearing the benches every time an opposing batter gets a hit. Hey, those were the two fairest political points ever scored. The ball almost hit the 2nd baseman in the nads on its way into center field, what can you possibly protest here?

Posted by: HitNRunI95 on July 24, 2003 08:15 PM

The left is by far the scummiest of the scum on this earth. I'd be quicker to make friends with a schizophrenic than a raging liberal wacko. Visit my site @ http://think-about-it.us

-Jarred

Posted by: Jarred Nicholls on July 24, 2003 09:27 PM

Without meaning to detract from any of the other fine comments, I would like to particularly thank Ron Bowen for his two-part post.

Posted by: David March on July 25, 2003 12:32 AM

Uh, I may be behind the info curve here, but the last reports I saw said that the kid was only wounded, he was the single survivor.

Is there any confirmation, one way or the other, on this?

For the record, I wish that the Twin Spawn could have been captured. Qusai, in particular, was for many years his father's Minister of Hiding WMD, so it might have been illuminating to chat with him. It also would have been a great opening case for a new Iraqi judiciary.

But that's in a perfect world. Given a choice between killing them and letting them escape, well, that's no choice at all, is it?

Posted by: Ofc Krupke on July 25, 2003 01:11 AM

C3PO (in that high pitched british droid voice): Lord Vader, by order of the Rebel Alliance, you are hereby placed under arrest. Please follow me into this little round escape pod where we will be jettisoned to the planet Tatooine below..

Darth Vader (paying no mind to the droid): Tatooine is now within range of our weapons. Commence destruction procedure.

10 seconds later: KAAA BOOM!

Posted by: alfie on July 25, 2003 10:05 AM

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/04/14/iraq/main549376.shtml

^^^^^ Story about Saddam Hussein's wife from back in April, 2003... she was thought to be in Syria. The USA military are keeping the bodies until they are claimed by a family member.

(And Krupke, there were no survivors, Uday, Qusay, his 14 yr old son and a body guard's bodies were all removed from the house in Mosul.)

Posted by: EB on July 25, 2003 10:33 AM

I would hope the bodies are not turned over to family. We don't need any burial place to become a site of pilgrimage for other wackos and nutjobs. They should be dumped in an unmarked, undisclosed location somewhere like we do with other trash.

Posted by: Tom the Barbarian on July 25, 2003 12:05 PM

I met Ron Bowen at McCarren Airport in Las Vegas a few years ago. He and I share a very good friend, although we had not met previously. It was the mutual friend's bachelor party, and you must believe me when I say that MUCH hilarity ensued.

Ron is a goddam brilliant guy; funny, too. Ron is also the kind of guy who will deck someone in a bar if they insult his friends. How can you not love someone like that?

I am building up a healthy head of steam these days, but I find myself being forced to deal with two seperate issues. One is STRENGTH...I think that will be next (formerly known as POWER).

The other subject I am hot to touch on is very much along the lines of Ron's post, and, coincidentally, much about the electoral college and other anti-democratic mechanisms that preserve democracy from mob rule. So REPUBLIC is on the near horizon, as soon as I can get some free time. Sometime during next week, I hope.

I NEED AN EVAC HERE!!!!

Posted by: Bill Whittle on July 25, 2003 12:43 PM

TO: Tom the Barbarian
RE: Wishful Thinking

"I would hope the bodies are not turned over to family." -- Tom the Barbarian

According to Jame "Best of the Web Today" Taranto, the remains are being held in refrigerated facilities at the Baghdad Airport.

A request has been publicized that a member of the immediate family should come to claim them. [Note: Sounds like a 'trap'.]

Regards,

Chuck(le)

Posted by: Chuck Pelto on July 25, 2003 12:46 PM

My recollection is that at least amoung Saudi Arabs the tradition is burial in unmarked graves, though this does not necessarily mean their locations would be secret.

Some folk of a vengeful bent might say, find out what are the ancient sacred ways of handling the revered corpse among Saddam's people, then VIOLATE EVERY LAST ONE OF 'EM!

Heavens forfend!

Well, hey! Seems to me that's a method of wrecking your enemies chances of a trouble-free afterlife in Many cultures... despoil the body, mutilate, dis-honor, besmirch, degrade, yuckify, and generally stomp on it, then cast the innards to the dogs.

Seems to me a civilization that abandons its cultural rituals has lost its heart!

DM >:D

Posted by: David March on July 25, 2003 01:58 PM

The reaction of the leftist weenies to the killing of these two dogs is beyond belief. These two were snarling, biting, rabid puppies, and the proper response to that is a bullet to the head. To refer to them, or consider them, as human beings is an insult to virtually every other human on the planet.

Posted by: Jamie Jacoby on July 25, 2003 02:27 PM

To Chuck(le):
Yes, it would be interesting if a family memeber showed up for the bodies, especially when we stop to consider that in Islamic tradition, the washing of a man's body is performed by other men.

I'm very sure our people would like to ask that male relative a few "innocent" questions regarding the health and livelihood of certain other family members. laughs

Posted by: Linda on July 25, 2003 02:49 PM

'A request has been publicized that a member of the immediate family should come to claim them.'

I think you're referring to this article:

Saddam to Offer Eulogy at Sons' Funeral

Posted by: Andrew S. on July 25, 2003 03:35 PM

Thanks for the kind words Bill! I am about to go off-line for a bit. I pick up a U-Haul in the morning and move 7 miles north to Moore, Oklahoma. Being 7 miles away from the tornado capitol of the planet was just not good enough, so I'm moving there. You're comment regarding some fool insulting my friends in a bar is totally accurate. What I find so funny, about myself, is that you could pretty much go about TRYING to punch my buttons (on a personal level) and I'd probably buy you a drink. But try some provokation towards a friend...God help you. The only thing worse would be some kind of insult to my 18-month-old daughter. Holy shite...it would take one altogether too large dose of thujone (the primary psychoactive in absinthe) for me to even begin to imagine!

Anyway, like I said...I'm moving tomorrow. The builder was "funded" today so today is the first day I actually own the house (mortgage not withstanding). I had already bought an American flag and a bracket, but needed a pole. I bought a pole, but it did not fit the bracket. I returned the pole b/c I could not get a flag and bracket at the store the pole came from. I tried and failed and achieving the "flag, pole, bracket" trifecta on another errand trip and decided to have a friend bring me a set I saw this morning (all 3 elements included). He did it, but the bracket was too large to fit in the place (other than my privacy fence, which I considered on a temporary contingency) that has wood available to install it (the place is ALL brick). Well, we can cut off the top of the bracket and still preserve the screw holes...so we will do it tomorrow. It pains me that it did not go up today, but I tried my damndest considering the closing of the house "craziness" and my preparation for the move (commencing in 10 hours). Give me a little time and I 'shall' return'
Ron

Posted by: Ron Bowen on July 25, 2003 07:29 PM

It is exactly for these reasons that many bleeding heart liberals have supported wars such as these... like they did during the Clinton administration. Meanwhile, those who are willing to put our own country first, and abide by the "national interest" position, which forms a basis for the true conservative view on foreign policy (and is embodied in the Sharon Statement, which forms the basis for the modern conservative movement) - it is those American patriots who oppose liberal wars. Governor George W. Bush, when campaigning for President, made clear his opposition to that type of promiscious intervention overseas. In making the case for this war, the issue has always been the self-defense of our people and our nation. As Kate O'Beirne of National Review stated, the liberation of the Iraqi people was known to be a result of this war, but not a rationale for it. The rationale for this war is the threat that Saddam is claimed to present to our people. Even President Bush, and many of his spokesmen, have seemingly been abiding by this.

Posted by: Conservative Student on July 25, 2003 08:14 PM

Wow a Troll coming in an posting fake comments under another person's handle. Who would have thunk it? Hey Bill, can you edit the Trolls' comments? Then at least they might be funny

Posted by: Eric Sivula on July 27, 2003 06:02 AM

"Is there no shame, none whatsoever, for someone who would take the side of these murderers and torturers just to take a shot at their own country and its duly elected leader? Is there no depths to which these people can sink?"


You have awakened to the truth of the "lies of liberalism; what they are,who they are, what their agenda is; a deep pit indeed.

Posted by: wgeorge2001 on July 27, 2003 07:37 AM

Well, someone with a LOT of class decided to post a comment under my friend Ron Bowen's name.

It was a troll trifecta, this one:

1. No return address -- COWARD
2. Used someone else's name -- TOTAL LACK OF INTEGRITY
3. Made comment about my friend being diagnosed with AIDS. What CLASS.

If we are judged by our enemies, then we are most definitely doing something right, because THIS was one rare piece of filth.

I may order an EJECT! EJECT! EJECT! T-shirt. It will have the logo on the front, and the words BANNED AND DELETED! on the back.

Bye now. Back to the muck under the rock. Chickenshit.

Posted by: Bill Whittle on July 27, 2003 11:16 AM

I must have missed something here. Did someone actually post a comment falsely claiming to be RON BOWEN, and that post has then been deleted? 'Cause I sure can't find any post that fits the description in Bill Whittle's post of July 27, 2003 11:16 AM.

Am I hallucinating?

Did I just say that?

David March

Posted by: David March on July 27, 2003 11:04 PM

What happened to the label "liberal"? According to the concept that "institutions are opposed by radical ideas, which become institutions opposed by radical ideas", it was institutionalized. The word was once applied to an emerging group. Now emerging humans apply themselves to favorite parts of the accumulated dogma associated with the word.

Posted by: Kenneth on July 27, 2003 11:12 PM

To David March...

Yep.

To every question you asked.

GHS

Posted by: GreatHairySilverback on July 28, 2003 07:34 AM

Heh! I *love* this blog and (mostly) the kind of people who post comments here.

It just seems a pity to see all this intelligence and talent being wasted railing against the blinkered, unprincipled idiots of the Left.
There are far more interesting subjects.Why dignify the bastards with any more than a passing guffaw?
Any members of the VRWC visiting the Northern Territory, Australia, call in and I'll open a 30 pack of cold beer. (no wimpy six-packs up here)

Posted by: Keith on July 28, 2003 11:03 PM

Saddam's snots got snuffed, ha! ha! ha! As for the Supreme Court's controversial decisions, I support them. Bush is Constitutionally the President. The United States is not a democracy (mob rule) but a Constitutional republic with checks and balances, including an Electoral College, a Senate apportioned by states rather than by population, and, above all, an independent judiciary which can overrule the tyranny of the majority. Thanks to the Supreme Court (and those two brave men John Geddes Lawrence and Tyron Garner) we now, all of us, heterosexual _and_ homosexual, enjoy the right to privacy in our homes. Thank all the Gods and the Goddesses! THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA now, at long last, ATTAINETH ITS CAUSE: FREEDOM!

Posted by: Steven Malcolm Anderson on July 29, 2003 10:55 AM

Always fun to come by and see what the wingnuts are up to!

Still the same old bloodlust!

Why didn't the Pentagon capture the Hussein boys alive and put them on trial instead of puttying them up and putting them on display?

Tell the Pentagon to look for Saddam at the summer home of his old pal and business partner Donald Rumsfeld.

As to selection 2000: read Palast's book.

(Though I know you won't)

OK: Back to the RNC talking point exchange.

Thanks for listening.

Posted by: Lou_Tullio on July 29, 2003 01:22 PM

Ah...yes a drive by "attack" by a Lefty. Calls us names (wingnuts), claims we like killing people (bloodlust), states that we support terrorists (Rumsfeld and Saddam....), and then runs away without presenting any facts. How typically Left wing.

What is it about Bill's eloquence and intelligence that attracts the stupidest Trolls on the Net?

Posted by: Eric Sivula on July 29, 2003 02:03 PM

I'm curious, "Mr. Tullio"...

What do you think actually happened in that shoot-out over there? (and yes, it really was a shoot-out) Do you think Saddam's little baby cobras and their cohorts just came a-strollin' on out with their hands up, and we just riddled them to shreds for target practice? Do you think we barged in on a peaceful dinner scene, and then, as they were looking up in surprise at all the guns, we just started mowing them down for the sheer joy of it?

Does the fact that they were firing on US even enter into your thinking? Does the fact that they made no attempt to surrender, nor even STOP SHOOTING, even when three out of the four of them were already dead, have any bearing in your rationale at all? And just what exactly do you think happens when armed people exchange fire with other armed people and nobody surrenders?

Well, allow me to educate you... one side wins by killing, or at least incapacitating, everybody on the other side. It's that simple.

If they'd have surrendered, they would BE in custody right now, awaiting trial. If they would have just stopped shooting after receiving their first non-fatal wounds, they most likely would have been overrun and captured by force, but they'd still be alive. But they chose... THEY chose... to do neither. And they died in the very hail of bullets they wanted.

And that's the part that sucks for me... that they got to go the way THEY wanted to go, in their own little "blaze of glory." I would rather that they had been dragged out of their flattened house, half-crushed from the collapse of the building's walls that had been pushed in by bulldozers, but alive.

So don't be thinking that "we" got what "we" wanted out of this. Those bastards didn't suffer anywhere near enough.

But then, who am I talking to here? Probably just myself, since you've probably already vanished back into your self-deluding little Happy Theories treehouse club again.

And by the way; if it leans any farther left, that treehouse is gonna' slide right off that branch altogether. And then I'm sure it'll be all "our" fault for not getting you out before you rode it over the edge.

Dang.

GHS

Posted by: GreatHairySilverback on July 29, 2003 02:34 PM

Thanks for playing.

So---let me get this straight: The Marine unit had no alternative but to bring in the howitzer or whatever it was and blow the place to smithereens after receiving gunfire from the Hussein Boys and Saddam's 14 year old nephew and whoever the other person was?

I guess Janet Reno was right on Waco after all.


Posted by: Lou_Tullio on July 29, 2003 03:09 PM

The obvious conspiracy, which none of you mentioned because you must be part of it, is that Uday and Qusay died in the bathroom and Elvis died in the bathroom. The US goverment killed the Husseins so they must have killed Elvis. There I said it. Now I'll just wait for the black helicopters to blow up my house.

Posted by: John Simmins on July 29, 2003 04:17 PM

'The obvious conspiracy, which none of you mentioned because you must be part of it, is that Uday and Qusay died in the bathroom and Elvis died in the bathroom.'

So did Vince Vega in Pulp Fiction. Coincidence? Suuure. Just keep telling yourself that.

Posted by: Andrew S. on July 29, 2003 04:41 PM

Yes, they had an alternative. They could have sent in Marines to take their chances on capturing heavily-armed men in a structure they controlled alive. I'm really quite pleased that our military doesn't waste the lives of its men on suicide missions to capture alive butchers that don't want to be caught alive so they can be tried in court in a country that wasn't even involved and sent to tennis prison for the rest of their worthless lives.

I honestly want to know: what would YOU have done?

Posted by: LabRat on July 29, 2003 05:22 PM

See, that's the part I missed during my 12 years in the military... the part where they teach you what the difference is between being shot at by a 14-year-old and a 40-year-old. Apparently you caught that part of the lecture, Mr. Tullio. Excellent!

So tell me. What did I miss? Is it that the bullets hurt less when they come out of a 14-year-old's gun, or that it's less dangerous to charge across an open space when a 14-year-old's spraying that area with an AK-47 on full auto? Or maybe it's the unlikelihood of being hit by anything that's being fired by a 14-year-old in the confines of a 4-foot-wide hallway or as you're storming through a 3-foot-wide doorway. Is that it? Perhaps it's the high likelihood of all your highly valued men coming out unscathed from an assault on a building defended by four people intent on martyrdom?

See, before you came along with all the obvious answers, I had just foolishly presumed that our troops, highly trained and equipped for urban warfare as they were, and also (unlike you and me), having actually BEEN THERE at the time, might have actually had a REASON for making the choices they did based on the conditions and the situation of the moment. Of course, had I known that the action taken was actually a sign of the widespread trigger-happiness of our military (as evidenced by the absolute bloodbath we've inflicted on them so far), or perhaps a result of the Great Bush-Rumsfeld-Powell-Hussein Conspiracy, then I would never have succumbed to such an obvious subterfuge. What a fool am I.

No... wait a minute. I'm pretty sure I heard SOMETHING about shooting back at bad guys that are shooting at me. Yeh, yeh. Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure about that one.

Maybe that's the lesson YOU slept through.

Just glad I could help out.

GHS

Posted by: GreatHairySilverback on July 29, 2003 06:45 PM

Oh, and by the way... I believe it was a TOW missile that finally breached the walls, not a Howitzer.

Must not have been any tanks available.

GHS

Posted by: GreatHairySilverback on July 29, 2003 06:51 PM

Touche! (Though I cringe at using a word from such a cowardly language). Well put GHS!

JK Saggese

Posted by: JKS on July 29, 2003 07:05 PM

Thanks. Right. A TOW missile.

Can you "overkill?"

Maybe they could have tried teargas first. Cut off utilities.....etc.

Bottom line: The cowboy at the top wanted them dead. No muss. No fuss. High-fiving all around.

Good show.

Are you telling me the decision to kill them was made in the field? I doubt it.

Where did the buck stop? Certainly not with the AWOL fratboy coward besmirching the White House.

The whole incident was badly handled and did nothing to quell the neverending jihad in the making.

Face it: the neocons in power have blown it and the botched encounter with the evil Hussein brothers underlines it.

In your heart of hearts, you know I'm right.

Holy Koresh!

Posted by: Lou_Tullio on July 29, 2003 07:05 PM

"Can you SAY overkill?"

I know you'll ridicule me for that omission if I don't correct it!

My bad!

Carry on.

Posted by: Lou_Tullio on July 29, 2003 07:21 PM

Now I know I'm on the right side of things, as well as the "right" side. Anyone who would mourn the deaths of these two monsters is either insane or a terrorist sympathizer. There is no other way to put it. The "Little Husseins" were (in)famous throughout Iraq as torturers, rapists, kidnappers and murderers. You want to question our methodology? If we really WERE so bloodthirsty, we would have killed all of the thirty-some "cards" instead of capturing most of them.

Mister Tullio, you have demonstrated quite eloquently what we mean by "idiotarian". By all means, keep posting your drivel. We love a good laugh. (Oh, and by they way, the AWOL coward has been gone from the White House since January 2001. In your heart of hearts, you know I'm right.)

Posted by: VRWCman on July 29, 2003 07:26 PM

The Clenis was never IN the military. He did just what all the chickenhawks in this administration did: he got a college deferment.

Bush was AWOL from his Champagne Unit in the Texas Air National Guard. Look it up. At least he got some good pictures of himself in uniform before he disappeared.

I don't "mourn" the deaths of the Hussein Brothers nor can I defend their alleged heinous acts. I do, though, mourn a missed opportunity to demonstrate the rule of law. But when has the Bush Cabal ever worried about that?

Oh well. Mission Accomplished, right?

Your Fellow Citizen,

Lou_Tullio

Posted by: Lou_Tullio on July 29, 2003 07:44 PM

I gave up flying small aircraft when I became pregnant with my first child. I know that aircraft are unforgiving and impervious to charm.

George W. Bush flew airplanes in the National Guard. He soloed. He flew. This is a profoundly dangerous thing to do and he survived. He did not go to Viet Nam, but there are lots of brave pilots who died in their planes right here in the USA. George W. wasn't one of them.

When you're in the air, nothing matters but your skill. Money, parents, fame -- nothing counts but ability and nerve. Just ask John F. Kennedy, Jr. Er, well, perhaps not.

I knew Geoge W. Bush was a brave man when he threw the first ball at the World Series in New York in 2001. In a stadium of people with the WTC still smoking in the sky, he walked out alone under the lights. The man positively clanks.

He is responsible for ending the lives of many (much more than two) mass murdering raping psychopaths. I'm a tiny bit responsible too, because I voted for him. That makes me sincerely, deeply grateful.

God Bless, everyone. I love reading the comments here (except for trolls, o' course.) I'm eagerly awaiting Mr. Whittle's next essay.

Posted by: Bonnie Ramthun on July 29, 2003 08:07 PM

Nice slag at JFK, Jr. What's next, a good Wellstone joke?

It cracks me up to read the reverent tone of your remarks about the Coward in Chief, Bonnie. (Where was he while Rudy Gulianni led the country after 911? Cowering in bunkers all over the country. Read up on it.) Very Hallmark.

I understand that you want to believe Bush is a great guy and that your denial of his incompetance and outright criminality allows you to deify him but c'mon! I can almost hear the symphonic score as he walks out onto the mound, surrounded by the most intense security musterable (is that a word?)

Brave would have been Bush* donning a white robe and walking alone from Bagdhad to Damascus.

BTW: what proof do you have that Bush* EVER soloed? And if he isn't a coward, why didn't he show up for the last year of his Tour of Duty?

Of course for anyone of you to admit that Bush* is taking us to hell in a handbasket would cause your fragile world to crumble.

Can't you see you're being manipulated? These neocons and their Boy King care nothing about you.

Don Quixotely Yours,

Lou_Tullio

Posted by: Lou_Tullio on July 29, 2003 08:30 PM

Ahhhh yes, the President is told by the Secret Service that he needs to stay away from potenial target sites, and he is a Coward. Rrrriiiiggghhhttt. Oh and Tullio, if there are no services in Iraq, a perennial Lefty claim now, then how could we cut the utilities? And how would that tactic have helped? As for the Tear Gas plan, have you every tried to shoot tear gas into a window from which a man was shooting at you with a fully automatic weapon? And if this 14 year old if a poor victim, why was he still shooting after the adults were dead or unconcious?


As foir our world crumbling, Tullio, that started when the WTC was attacked. In 1993. Followed by Khobar Towers, the Embassy Bombings, and the USS Cole attack. So Bush was somehow responsible for the inaction of BJ KLintoon? That is rich.

As for the "neocon" crack, why don't you come and say what all Lefties mean by that phrase: "the Jooos are running the Government".

I need to learn to ignore the spewage from Trolls. Sorry everybody.

Posted by: on July 29, 2003 10:03 PM

Last comment was mine.

Posted by: Eric Sivula on July 29, 2003 10:04 PM

Gee, Eric, methinks thou dost protest too much er somethin'.

Face it: Bush OK'd those murders. Are you trying to tell me that we couldn't have waited those guys out?

Why are you so Janet Reno?

As far as Clinton and 911 goes: all the material was given to Condi. She was told by Sandy Berger that something big was in the offing.

What did Bush* do? He went to his "ranch." And when the towers fell, what did he do? He listened to his handlers and ran like a little bunny.

Bush* makes my skin crawl. What a phony creep he is.

911 happened on Bush's watch. Aren't Republicans the Party of Personal Responsibility? Stop blaming this PNAC sh*tstorm on The Clenis.

And what's with playing the Jew card? It seems to me you are projecting your own prejudice.

Whatever, Eric.

FYI Cheney, Bush and plenty of other wacked out neocons signed onto The Project for a New American Century document. Clinton rejected the mad plan. Have you read it? Can you defend it? Is this the America you want?

Your beloved "heroes" are not true Conservatives. They are radicals and they have made the world a darker place with their quest for oligharchic empire with terrorism as their catalyst and excuse for aggression.

Wake up and smell the napalm. You've aligned yourselves with psychopathic dissemblers. Beware the military/industrial complex, i.e. The Carlyle Group (which partnered with the Bin Laden family). Ike warned us.

It's not too late to look at the details, wake up and help change this shameful chain of events.

Respectfully Yours,

Lou_Tullio

http://costofwar.com

Posted by: Lou_Tullio on July 30, 2003 01:43 AM

Wow! Where to begin. Where to begin. So much comedy in such a short program.

Let's see... "can you overkill?" Well, whether you slip in a bathtub and break your neck, or stand at ground zero of a nuclear blast, you're pretty much dead either way. So your degree of "deadness" appears to be irrelevant either way. But as it applies to your specific point here, sorry, but breaching one corner of a building with a hand-launched missile (in lieu of sending men across a free-fire zone to PLACE a satchel-charge at the base of the wall) hardly counts as overkill. I've seen the pictures, and all they did was "breach" one corner of the house. They didn't level it. And that's not what killed "the boys" anyway.

"Maybe they could have tried teargas first. Cut off utilities.....etc."

Maybe they did. Then again, maybe I just missed the parts of all the related news articles that specifically said they didn't. But even if they didn't, let's not compare military operations to the tactics of your local home S.W.A.T. team, who, when beseiging a crack house, have a civil mandate to ensure that NO "fellow citizens," on either side of the lines, become casualties of the moment. "Waiting them out" is an essential part of their modus operandi... unless, of course, the guys holed up in the crack house not only refuse to surrender, but insist on firing on the surrounding officers, with every intent to kill as many as they can before going out in a hail of fire themselves. THEN even the S.W.A.T. team will start playing with explosive breaching tactics and answering fire for fire.

"Are you telling me the decision to kill them was made in the field? I doubt it."

Well, as long as YOU doubt it, enough said! If, after all, in your unbiased non-conspiracy-based opinion, and with all your obvious military background, YOU think the President specifically ordered such notably worthy prize pigeons "murdered," then it must be so. But, to answer your question: YES, I'm telling you the decision was made in the field. That's what field commanders do.

"I do, though, mourn a missed opportunity to demonstrate the rule of law."

Well, I'll grant you that one. That would have been quite the coup. Even better than all those other guys in that card deck that we DID manage to take alive. But then, AGAIN, it was the martyrs-to-be that made that choice, not us.

I'm just curious: when (not if) we finally find ourselves surrounding Saddam's latest hiding place, do you think HE'LL be more reasonable than his sons, and simply allow himself to be taken into custody, and brought, in chains, before the world court? Who knows. Personally, I'd be willing to bet he'll do his sons one better, and off himself before the assaulting troops can reach him. And that would REALLY be a shame. Of course, it'll be "all our fault" if he does, right? All part of some evil (and truly brilliant) plan to eliminate all the potential political gold mines at the high end of the Iraqi food chain.

Oh, but THIS is the one I REALLY liked: "... Brave would have been Bush donning a white robe and walking alone from Bagdhad to Damascus."

Hee, hee, hee! That's a good one. Say it again.

I think I want to put that one on my refrigerator, just in case I'm ever unsure about the kind of thinking we're up against here. But let's keep the comedy ball rolling here.

"What did Bush do? He went to his "ranch." And when the towers fell, what did he do? He listened to his handlers and ran like a little bunny."

No, he did what he HAD to do. By LAW. What EVERY President is obligated to do in a time of imminent, direct, and personal threat... he got the hell out of the reach of the terrorists. They were, after all, actively attempting to rain aircraft down on certain key buildings in certain key cities. And since "his handlers" are equally obligated to protect him, I think we can presume that they were fairly insistent at the time. But, brilliant, unbiased reasoning on your part anyway.

And speaking of unbiased reasoning, let me put a couple of quotes of yours together here and see how they shake out...

"Bush makes my skin crawl. What a phony creep he is." And then, "It seems to me you are projecting your own prejudice."

Hee, hee! Stop it! You're killing me!

*whew!* Well, how to wrap this up... ummm... how about THIS dazzling quote of yours:

"BTW: what proof do you have that Bush EVER soloed?"

My! Such a grasp of the facts you have. How about the fact that he graduated basic flight school? I'm pretty sure (after a great deal of time in the military aviation field) that soloing is a prerequisite to actually receiving pilot's wings. But why let facts get in the way when baseless, biased, hot-headed drivel is so much funnier?

Thanks for the laughs.

And please, don't stop now.

GHS



Posted by: GreatHairySilverback on July 30, 2003 04:02 AM

Coming into this little exchange late but had to respond to something from Lou's 2nd (I believe) post.

"The Marine unit had no alternative but to bring in a howitzer or whatever it was.."

How hard is it to know that it was an Army unit from the 101st Airborne that was involved in the firefight? As well as a TOW missile not a howitzer. I don't even think the Marines are in Iraq anymore (please correct me if I'm wrong here).

My first thought when I read this was: "does the sight of a military unit and it's equipment so scare this man that his bowels turn to water and he quickly turns away before his sensibilities are offended?" His ignorance of the basic facts in the whole Uday and Qusay firefight are astounding. I guess if the facts don't fit into his "It's all Bush's fault" square peg he'll pound the round peg until he either tires out or the round peg turns square and it does fit.

Poor, poor, Lou. You have my pity.

Posted by: Black Oak on July 30, 2003 05:46 AM

Just a few more points of interest here, until we all get to jump to a Saddam-is-dead conversation...or we all settle down to read the next Bill Whittle essay. Ahhh, such pleasures to look forward to.

When the Secret Service understands the President is under attack, they take over. In fact, if Bush & Family couldn't run fast enough then they would have been carried. Lou, honey, you've watched too many made-for-tv movies about the Prez. He doesn't have any say until the situation is cleared. Remember when Reagan got shot? Watch the tape. The Secret Service threw him into the car with all the courtesy of a cop handcuffing a mugger. He isn't the President then, he's POTUS. An object. And that object has no say until it is safe.

Logically this makes perfect sense. The President is a politician and will make judgements based on politics. This can get him killed.

When the situation was cleared on 9-11 (all commercial aircraft landed or crashed) then Bush insisted on returning to Washington. This gave the Secret Service many Maalox moments but they had to obey him, which they did -- once the imminent threat was gone. A coward would have cowered, Lou. That's why they call it cowering.

Understanding politics means that you have to read a lot, from many different sources, and understand math and logic. Spewing conspiracy theory, while lots of fun, simply labels a person as a not-too-bright regurgitator of other's propaganda.

So, I wonder how the wounded soldiers are doing? Three soldiers were shot in the raid that killed the Hussein brothers. Remember that? Have you ever been shot, Lou? I haven't, but I have had surgery and it hurts. It hurts worse at 3 a.m. for some reason. There are men right now who are recovering from bullet wounds while Lou pontificates about what a bad job they did.

My prayers and thoughts are with the brave soldiers. They did an outstanding job.

Posted by: Bonnie Ramthun on July 30, 2003 08:02 AM

I have been reading the posts here, and Lou, I have to do a little educating for one and all.

In the military, we have something called "After Action Reviews," from which we identify


  1. What happened
  2. What went right
  3. What went wrong
  4. How to do it better next time.

From that process, we publish "Lessons Learned" to all soldiers, so that we don't re-invent the wheel every couple years. So turn your mind back to 1989, and review the actions that occurred in a small country also (then) run by a tyrant: Panama.

You may have seen some video footage coming from the reporters at Ft. Amador, which was the Headquarters of the Southern Command. One of Noriega's supporters was holed up on the second floor of one building, taking shots at targets of opportunity, e.g. anything moving. US forces are trying to get him with small arms (rifles and machineguns) but are unsuccessful. They then bring in Howitzers, shooting from across the parade field. Yeah, they're 105mm popguns, but they are in fact howitzers. Goblin residing on the second floor continues to shoot. The video cameras are rolling, and the talk is all about how they can't clear this guy out.

Well, one of the men (a Sapper) who later began to work for me grabbed a section of Bangalore Torpedo, ran to a side door, taped it to the door, and detonated the Torpedo. Blew the heavy steel door up a flight of stairs.

Goblin's next action? White surrender flag.

The Lesson Learned? Use explosive ordnance to extract snipers in heavy buildings.

Let's see...TOW Missile???

Explosive Ordnance.

Anytime after explosives are used, the targets against whom the explosives are used are disoriented and mostly deafened. That youngster was pretty tough, being able to shake off an attack like that and keep firing. Didn't do him much good, though.

Lesson learned, objective siezed. Loss to US forces - 0%. Loss to enemy forces - 100%.

/History and tactics lesson.

Sapper Mike

Posted by: Sapper Mike on July 30, 2003 08:18 AM

Dear Mr. Tullio,

People like you have in the past reluctantly forced me to close my comments section. Let me tell you why.

I get a fair amount of readers after an essay, and I do value alternative inputs. Every now and then, someone will make a contrary comment that is based on fact and well-reasoned argument. It is a genuine pleasure, not to mention an education, to rationally debate with those people like that.

You are not one of those people.

I think, by now, we have gotten the full extent of your argument. BUSH = BAD. I don't know that it required seven posts and zero facts to do so, but I am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.

I am not willing to let this become your weblog, Lou. If you were making arguments, with facts, logic and persuasion, I would be intrigued. But the banality of what you are shrieking is getting a little old.

First of all, your very first sentence sets your tone, and like so many of you on the left, it is an ugly, desperate, smug and pointless one. Good for you Lou. Good to know that no parody of the left can be too far out there and still not include real-life people like you.

There are many words to describe people like you, and the most polite one I can think of right now is "impossiblist." The Confederacy had an entire wing of people like you, and that is the main reason there is no longer a Confederacy.

Impossiblists are ideologues so seeped in their fantasy world that any measure of progress that has to conform to reality is intolerably tainted for them. This is crystal clear in your attitude, and it the sign of an infantile intellect, one incapable of seeing that perfection is the enemy of action and success.

Impossiblists are idiots who say we should have surrounded the building, used tear gas, or "starved them out." Yes, that's a very proundly wise strategy. Lets just set up a ring, keep them there for four or five weeks, hope they have no escape tunnels, count on no harassinging fire from other torturers, murderers and rapists, and then, when the media circus is in full swing and after the requisite four weeks are up (during which people like you, who now argue for "starving them out" would be howling like hysterical children over the 'standoff' and the 'quagmire') then after all that time we can watch as they kill themselves and we get NOTHING but another chance to look weak and ineffective and for people like you to bitch, moan and whine.

After the thousands upon thousands of people those two bastards murdered, are you really so dense as to believe they would come out with their hands up? Again, history shows us what happens with regimes like this. Moussolini surrendered; he was shot and hung upside down in front of a gas station. Hitler heard the news. He didn't surrender Lou. He killed himself. It's all there in black and white in your local library. It might avail you to do a little reading every now and then; I can tell you from bitter experience that it does wonders for your worldview.

I DO pity you, Lou -- I really do. It must be perennially AWFUL to be you. How do you face each day, with nothing but more defeat and envy and rage and isolation facing you? How does it feel to be mocked and scorned and downright pitied by the vast middle of America who see people like you not as Champions of Morality but as poor, terrified little spoiled babies desperate for the attention they so obviously didn't get when they were children? Why else run into a dinner party and fling your own feces on the wall, stamping your feet and then running off to your bedroom?

You have made a great number of baseless allegations. I will deal with only one because I have to go to work.

George Bush flew F-106 Delta Darts. The F-106 is a delta-wing, supersonic interceptor. It is notoriously difficult to fly, and now we are in MY area of expertise, so pay attention.

Lou, you couldn't find a way to open the canopy on an F-106. I'm sorry you don't like GWB; that is, of course, your right in theis free country. If you had said about Saddam in Iraq what you said here about Bush, you would not be facing some hostile comments in a weblog -- you would be dead, Lou. Very likely, your family would have been tortured to death before your eyes first. Do you have a wife or daughter, perhaps a young son? Saddam had several people whose job description was STATE RAPIST -- look it up. Their job was to make your eventual death a little more miserable for you and a little more fun for Uday and Qusay.

GWB is a fighter pilot, Yale graduate, Harvard graduate, two-term Governor of Texas and President of the United States. What the hell are YOU, Lou?

You've had enough of my bandwith in this particular thread. You might look at the very top of the comments section, and see my policy regarding "serial loathesomeness." You are welcome to continue to visit, and to make comments in the future, but I warn you right now: Those comments will have to be based on facts and contain more argument than insult, and any additional comments in this thread will mark you as a serial temper-tantrum problem child and it will be deleted and you will be banned. You know what sold me on that idea? One little sentence fragment regarding the Hussien brothers and "their alleged heinous acts."

Anybody who is so blinded by hatred and ideology that they have to qualify untold volumes and reams of evidence against these two monsters and their "alleged heinous acts" is not someone who can be taken seriously, and neither can the entire left for the exact same reason.

Thanks for visiting. It's always nice to run up the hit counter.

Posted by: Bill Whittle on July 30, 2003 09:39 AM

Thanks for playing, guys. I appreciate the bloviating. And the pity. Oh well.

I'll admit my grasp of the facts of the incident is at least as faulty at The Boy King's: sketchy.

I defer to the expertise in evidence here as far as military and tactical detail. I'm not a vet or a cop. I probably couldn't even get a job as a security guard. (Thanks to all here for your service, BTW)

The question remains: Why the Janet Reno?

You truly believe that calls were not made to higher ups to request permission for the Janet Reno-ing? No quick satellite phone call? I think you're fooling yourselves. Doesn't the buck stop with the Commander-in-Chief? Are you admitting that our forces didn't have the ingenuity to take them alive?

The Hussein Brothers were not just anonymous nutcases with automatic weapons. US Forces are not just a SWAT team. I understand that adrenelin levels are high in a situation like that and I wish I could give our forces the benefit of the doubt. The whole incident doesn't pass the smell test. But then what do I know?

Look at the attempts to blast Saddam. Bush* is doing his best to kill him rather than take him alive. After all, "dead men tell no tales."

The Bush Cabal is as wrapped up with the Saudis and Saddam as Prescott Bush was with the National Socialist Party. Why the redacted 28 pages in the 911 report? Even the Saudis want them released.

I'll be surprised if Saddam makes it to court. If he doesn't kill himself Hitler style as you seem to hope, fellow citizen, I'll bet there are standing orders to kill him in the field.

Why no response to my other (OT a bit admittedly) concerns?

So, what about the PNAC?

What about the Carlyle Group/Halliburton feeding frenzy? What about the apparent conflicts of interest? What's your reaction to http://costofwar.com? Who benfits from those Billions?

Don't dismiss it as Conspiracy Theory.

Why is the White House stonewalling Waxman on the Cheney energy documents?

Why is the White House hiding Nixon-style behind "National Security?" Why all the secrecy?

And, please-- answer the AWOL issue. Doesn't that matter to you? Is that OK? Maybe he got his wings but why did he disappear instead of enjoying his new skill with the rest of the Champagne Unit? The documents and testimony exist: Bush* was AWOL.

Scared little bunny? Alcoholic, coked-up little bunny?

Move along. Nothing to see here. Karl Rove is handling it. No biggie.

Anyway.

I appreciate that you think my "white robe" scenario is funny. I think you missed my point, though: What if Bush* had followed the dictums of his philosophical hero Jesus Christ rather than the impulses of Prescott Bush's client?

Believe me, "they" don't hate us because of our "Freedom."

No justice? No peace.

Enjoy the final days of Jeffersonian Democracy while you can. The Totalitarian Oligarchy is here.

Only we can stop them, fellow citizens.

Thanks for responding respectfully to my point of view. I'll make every effort to do the same.

Fire away. I appreciate the feedback.

Sincerely Yours,

Lou_Tullio

Posted by: Lou_Tullio on July 30, 2003 10:48 AM

Haven't had time to read the comments posted while I was writing the above. I will post a response if comments haven't been shut down or I find myself banned.

Thank you for the dialogue.

Very Truly Yours,

Lou_Tullio

Posted by: Lou_Tullio on July 30, 2003 10:51 AM

Where was President Bush during the months in question?

Have a look here.

The information is garnered from actual Air National Guard records, interviews with officers, and public records.

A remarkably dispassionate report, and so one that refuses to fall sway to attempting to manipulate the audience's comprehension of the facts with any editorial bias. I'm sure there are those who will be disappointed by this.

Regards,
Linda

Posted by: Linda on July 30, 2003 11:26 AM

Lou, your tone, and the quality of your argument, is improving. I have no intention or desire of banning people who want a serious and respectful argument. That is what a free republic is all about.

I am stealing from the company to write this, so I cannot answer your charges at this time. If you keep them factual and on topic, I suspect the rest of the Hive Mind can give you, if not answers that will satisfy you, then at least something to think about.

Posted by: Bill Whittle on July 30, 2003 11:48 AM

One last thing:

They do indeed hate us because of our "freedom," and in any reading of Islamicist literature it is immediately apparent that freedom is anathema to them. "Islam" does not mean "peace," it means "submission" -- submission to the will of Allah. They also hate us because we are wildly successful in everything we do, while faithfully breaking all the commandments they hold themselves to. They hate us because we are calling Allah a liar. They hate us because we respect and value women and homosexuals, instead of stoning them to death. They HATE us, Lou, because we embrace all the things that liberals like yourself defend -- as do we. So why are you so damn quick to rally to the defense of people dead set to kill and destroy the things we all hold dear in this country? Is your loathing of GWB so strong that you will do anything to sabotage his actions, even if they are demonstrably effective in making this free and tolerant nation safer from out enemies?

I'm sure we'd all like to know how you guys think on this issue, because truth to tell, most of us -- and most of us are in the middle, not in the right wing lunatic fringe -- think you on the left have left 'morally bankrupt' far behind and are rushing headlong into 'clinically insane.'

Posted by: Bill Whittle on July 30, 2003 11:58 AM

You know, Mr. Tullio, I think, I THINK I'm beginning to detect a theme here... something about this guy named Bush, and how every single last thing about him (his past, his present, his qualifications, his intentions... his voice, his eyes, his haircut, the way he walks) is nothing but the purest incarnation of evil.

Got it. Okay... what else ya' got?

YOU: "You truly believe that calls were not made to higher ups to request permission for the Janet Reno-ing? No quick satellite phone call? I think you're fooling yourselves. Doesn't the buck stop with the Commander-in-Chief? Are you admitting that our forces didn't have the ingenuity to take them alive?"

ME: (a) There are many levels of higher-ups between a typical field commander and the President. And all of them have the authority to make just such a tactical decision. (b) Yes, the buck stops at the President. He sets policy, he sets the grand strategic objectives, then he sits back and accepts full responsibility for the outcomes. He does NOT direct individual operations, and he is not even in the loop when it comes to tactics. They tried that during the Vietnam conflict, with crippling results to our own forces, and, as Sapper Mike so ably explained, we learned from that. George SR. set a proud new standard in the first Gulf War when he set things in motion, then got the hell out of the way of the people he'd tasked with carrying it out. His son, regardless of his personal flaws, has done an excellent job of learning from that too. And (c), regardless of the ingenuity of our forces, when someone doesn't want to be taken alive, they've got a lot more ways at their disposal for accomplishing that than we do of stopping them. They got what THEY wanted, not us.

YOU: "The whole incident doesn't pass the smell test. But then what do I know?"

ME: I think you summed it up very nicely.

YOU: "Don't dismiss it as Conspiracy Theory."

ME: Yes, why would I want to dismiss an unsubstantiated theory about a conspiracy as Conspiracy Theory? Good point.

YOU: "Why is the White House stonewalling Waxman on the Cheney energy documents?"

ME: What has this got to do with anything we've been talking about here? I think the magicians call this "redirection."

YOU: "Why is the White House hiding Nixon-style behind "National Security?" Why all the secrecy?"

ME: Oo, I bet you're one of those folks who think the press should have unlimited access to our military planning as well. After all, restricting sensitive information is just another form of "secrecy." Forget the importance of actually succeeding with those plans, or minimizing the casualties to friendly forces. What's most important is the abolition of all secrets.

YOU: "Why the redacted 28 pages in the 911 report? Even the Saudis want them released."

ME: I don't know... YET. I've got my own theories, based on the same precepts as the paragraph above, but I don't want to make this any longer than it's already gonna' be. But I'll bet YOU'RE presuming the worst.

YOU: "I'll be surprised if Saddam makes it to court. If he doesn't kill himself Hitler style as you seem to hope, fellow citizen, I'll bet there are standing orders to kill him in the field."

ME: (a) I agree that he almost certainly won't make it to court. (b) I DON'T hope that he makes the Grand Hitler Gesture. I WANT his ass in court. But I'll bet HE'S got other plans. (c) The last line shows once again just how little you understand about the military... or America, for that matter.

YOU: "And, please-- answer the AWOL issue. Doesn't that matter to you? Is that OK? Maybe he got his wings but why did he disappear instead of enjoying his new skill with the rest of the Champagne Unit? The documents and testimony exist: Bush* was AWOL."

ME: First of all, I've never heard this claim from anyone else (and as inflammatory as it is, I find it hard to believe that SOMEONE outside the extreme leftist camp hasn't made mention of it at least once in the last four years). But I'll accept that maybe I just missed it. And I will check into it. In answer to your specific question though... no, I don't care about it. It's in the past... just like Clinton's "non-inhaling" experimental days, Bush Senior's sinister cloak-and-dagger background with the CIA, Reagan's "lack of qualifications" as a former Hollywood actor, the embarrassments of Jimmy Carter's hard-partying brother, Gerald Ford's clumsiness coming down the plane's stairs... should I go back through every former President's foibles and youthful mistakes, or should I stop with, say, Kennedy's infidelities WHILE IN OFFICE? And I LIKED Kennedy. I also don't care that Bush is a recovered (recoverING) alcoholic either. Actually, it bothers me more that he's a born again Christian.

YOU: "Scared little bunny? Alcoholic, coked-up little bunny?"

ME: See, THAT'S the crap that's probably going to get you banned from this blog... not the ill-informed, conspiracy-nut, hateful, baseless, cliched rhetoric, but the childish, petty, feces-flinging and procession-mooning. But at least it lends your "argument" shitloads of credibility.

YOU: "What if Bush had followed the dictums of his philosophical hero Jesus Christ rather than the impulses of Prescott Bush's client?"

ME: He'd be dead. Just like YOU would be if YOU walked alone between Baghdad and Damascus. Except that in his case (as with ANY President in history), HE'D be dead if he just walked unprotected between Washington DC and Baltimore... or anywhere, for that matter, unprotected. The bullseye doesn't get any bigger or more tempting than the one on the back of the President of the United States.

YOU: "Enjoy the final days of Jeffersonian Democracy while you can. The Totalitarian Oligarchy is here."

ME: Wow! Just as original as when I heard that same sentiment expressed following Reagan's inauguration, and then again after Bush Senior's. And just as valid too.

Enough.

Now we're both just regurgitating.

Sorry folks. I'm through now.

GHS

Posted by: GreatHairySilverback on July 30, 2003 12:34 PM

Lou,
Although the buck does stop at the President's desk, I firmly belive the decision about Tweedledum and Tweedledummer was made on the ground. I think CENTCOM learned that flattening a building results in weeks of speculation. They used that technique because they did not have combat troops in Baghdad yet.

The decision probably went no higher than a Battalion or Brigade Commander. The rest of the chain of command knew what was going on, but let it play out with those that were there making the call. Guidance of some sort was sent back down, maybe even by the Pentagon, what that was I can only speculate. It wouldn't surprise me that is was "take alive if possible - but end it as quickly as possible". No commander in his right mind wants to stay engaged for a prolonged period of time. It invites to much risk.

Waiting for decisions from Washington on tactical battles was how Viet Nam was fought. I know for a fact that no one called the President to see what should be done. It's a silly notion that you do.

As for the rest of the "Black Helicopter, Corporations are running the war" drivel. I reject it outright. Without looking into it, because the same crap was said back in Viet Nam about all the corporations that produced something that the military needed. It's just bullsh*t.

BTW, I think there are only 3 companies in the world that are big enough to handle a problem the size of Iraq's oil fields. Two are U.S. firms, Haliburton is one (I can't recall the other U.S. one) and the other is French.

Since the French don't deserve it. Who should be over there fixing Iraq's oil industry?? Hmmm?

Posted by: Black Oak on July 30, 2003 12:51 PM

Tullio, do you realize that most of Saddam's palaces had tunnels? That several large houses in Tikrit, Saddam's home town, and Mosul, a Ba'athist stronghold, have been found to have escape tunnels under them? So how is waiting them out going to work? They could simply wait until nightfall and scoot out of a tunnel. Then the Left here would be bitching about how we let two mass murderer/rapists get away.
The fact of the matter is that you have clearly shown your blinding bias against Bush, and nothing that he, or the people under him, does will be the proper decision. So why do come here and waste people's time?

Posted by: Eric Sivula on July 30, 2003 01:12 PM

I've been following this with interest.And a great deal of respect for the restraint of those replying to Tullio. Bill's the courteous host, as ever..
I'm not American by birth or citizenship ceremony, but I trust the judgement of the U.S. military.Maybe it's not perfect but it's sure as hell a long way ahead of second-best.
If that's what it took to conduct a little pest-eradication, fine by me.

Posted by: Keith on July 30, 2003 01:42 PM

Okay, Tullio, you've got me. I'm willing to admit publicly, for the record, that Bush was AWOL, because being Absent Without Official Leave is serious, a crime.

I don't want to ever support someone in the presidency who has been part of AWOL. And I'll publicly admit Bush was AWOL when YOU post a link or links to his punishments FOR said AWOL. You know? Punishment under Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice? Or punishment under any OTHER Article of the UCMJ? Fine with me.

But no punishment = NO AWOL. You can't have Bush being AWOL without it being noted and him being called for it.

When you become familiar with Copernic, Google and Ixquick, you'll enjoy the delightful FACTual stuff which pops up on your computer screen, Lou.

"Wake up, Little Suzy, wake up!"

Posted by: Straight_Talk on July 31, 2003 12:15 AM

A suggestion. I realize that letting someone like Lou take up space on this comment board is not something that you or I may enjoy, but, anything that will help others understand how monumentally stupid a closed mind can be will only help others to make a concious decision to think before casting their vote in 2004. If the comments in response to people like this can help others to at least use their a small portion of their brain and think, then you will have made a difference.

Posted by: Nick on July 31, 2003 12:22 AM

We'll have to get up a fund to pay for tools to be installed on this website just to NAVIGATE our way through all the comments. A SEARCH engine might be nice. I don't mean something we could use to delete anything, just to be able to LOCATE a given post...
Jeez. We're turning into a nation of editors.

David March

Posted by: David March on July 31, 2003 12:30 AM

By the way, Steven den Beste (USS Clueless) has some astounding articles about the conflict between the Western industiral "democracies" and the arab muslim states.

Even if you don't LIKE'em they are thought-provoking. You can't just dismiss the ideas.

David March

Posted by: David March on July 31, 2003 12:33 AM

hmmm...yet another tribute to willful ignorance. Does no-one look at the big picture anymore? Lots of self-justification and hubris in Whittle's little essay, & it comes to mind that gloating over the death of these two cretins, though satisfying, diminishes us all. Keep in mind that a large proportion of the Iraqi population feels much the same way when seeing U.S.troops get capped.
The perception is the reality, peoples, and truth be buggered. There's a moountain of information availble that spells out why so many criticize U.S. occupation in Iraq. As Bush well knows, there ain't none so blind as those who will not see.

Posted by: Ben Newhouse on July 31, 2003 01:02 AM

"it comes to mind that gloating over the death of these two cretins, though satisfying, diminishes us all"

Well, Bob, I for one don't feel the least bit diminished by the deaths of those two collections of now re-distributed DNA.
Following your rationale,celebrating the death of any psychopathic rapist/killer diminishes us.

How?

Posted by: keith on July 31, 2003 02:02 AM

I just want to add this little tidbit for Lou and a few others about the military operations going on over there. The U.S. military has conducted over 500 (actual number will not be known for some time) 'assaults' on places that were suspected hiding places of the Iraqi leadership.
Many of these were on suspected hiding places of Saddam, Uday and Qusay. The military didn't know for sure on any of these assaults if anyone would be found but they had to conduct each as if a group of die hard, will not surrender types were on the other side of the door waiting to fight their way to martyrdom.
Each time this happened, U.S. soldiers and Marines risked their lives without knowing for sure that they would be dying that day or not.

Do you think that the President was consulted each and every time one of these assaults was made ???

No sorry, the only one who gave the orders was the battalion commander with the assistance of his intelligence section.

Sorry to ruin the Conspiracy Theory about GWB being like a Mafia Don, calmly ordering the 'hit'.

The men of the 101st were probably expecting just another routine 'rumored hiding place' assault when they found themselves in a serious fight with people who refused to surrender.

Do I rejoice that they are dead?

No .... I will not bring myself to the level of barbarity that can cheer ANY human beings death.

Do I believe that Justice was served?

Oh yes .... and I believe that Gods Final Judgement will be swift.

Just my 2 cents.

Posted by: danspin on July 31, 2003 10:18 AM

Sorry to ruin the Conspiracy Theory about GWB being like a Mafia Don, calmly ordering the 'hit'.

No, but you should be sorry for putting that image of GWB in my head. (Argh... now I've got an image of GWB as the leader of SPECTRE from the Bond movies. Could be worse: could be Dr. Evil... AIGH!!)

O_o;;

Posted by: Patrick Chester on July 31, 2003 10:51 AM

Dear Ben-

Please post info backing up your statements? It is hard to get your idea of big picture with zero information (supposedly there is a mountain of it and you give us zero information?).

Usually, I just absorb the comments and don't post. This is an amazing group of people who have much more profound and intelligent things to say than I do; however, your comments are insulting and sad and I want to address a point here...

There is a big difference between taking down two of the sickest bastards the world has seen in a long time and killing American soldiers.

Bill Whittle pointed out just a few of the atrocities that the extra crispy Hussein boys committed.

Now, see this about an American soldier who was killed leading a supply convoy - http://www.blackfive.blogspot.com/#MatSchram .

Do you seriously think anyone will write similar tributes about the Hussein boys?

I'd tell you to take a look in the mirror, but I think that you're the one who's blind.

Posted by: Blackfive on July 31, 2003 10:52 AM

'Sorry to ruin the Conspiracy Theory about GWB being like a Mafia Don, calmly ordering the 'hit'.'

"Mr. Hussein, Mr. Hussein... what have I ever done to make you treat me so disrespectfully?"

Posted by: Andrew S. on July 31, 2003 11:25 AM

There is a distinctive barnyard aroma given off by some of the recent posts here.

I wonder if it’s possible to devise a test that would be useful in “qualifying” readers. Just as is done, for instance, to determine which students will matriculate at a given college. Anyone may read and learn from the posts, but to be allowed to post, regardless of viewpoint, they must pass a short quiz.
But, you could have several levels--- the most conspicuously thoughtful and learned would have full access to post, lesser lights might have their posts identified by different color, Trolls to their own window, and so on. I propose some questions here, but I leave it to others to decide the criteria. God knows, I might not qualify MYSELF!

1) When confronted with an armed suspect whom they recognize as a violent offender, police should be required to:
a) draw their weapons and order the suspect to lay down his weapon and surrender or they will shoot.
b) keep their weapons holstered and politely ask the suspect to surrender.
c) draw their weapons, lay them on the ground, and surrender to the suspect.
d) draw their weapons, and commit suicide out of the shame that they chose to pursue a life of fascist bullying authoritarianism.

2) When a police officer fires on a suspect, the goal should be to:
a) aim for the main body mass to maximize the probability of disabling the suspect.
b) shoot the weapon OUT of the suspect’s hand.
c) carefully shoot an innocent person standing NEAR the suspect, to convince the suspect that the officer is serious.
d) kill everyone.

3) You believe:
a) things often are not as simple as they first appear.
b) all Democrats are nice; all Republicans are mean.
c) if a tooth comes loose from your gums and you place it under your pillow, a sweet faerie will come while you sleep and trade you a shiny quarter for it.
d) the voices keep telling you to kill your parents.

4) The last time you participated in an election:
a) you ran your campaign on the issues, and lost because you refused to stoop to false attacks on your opponent
b) you meant to study the issues confronting your community, and vote for the candidate who seemed to have solutions, but things got busy and you ended up voting for the one name that seemed familiar.
c) you were apprehended because someone recognized you from the flyers at the post office
d) the other inmates chose you to represent their cell block in the hostage negotiations.

5) The last time you got a medical exam it was:
a) part of your enlistment into the armed forces of your country.
b) to check out a change in your bowel habits.
c) after dating a woman of questionable virtue.
d) as a result of your victim’s police report.

6) People who rape, murder, and torture their fellow humans:
a) need to be eliminated---captured and incarcerated, or killed if they cannot be subdued.
b) need to be given a fair trial, with the best defense possible regardless of the cost to society, to ensure that every citizen’s theoretical rights are honored, no matter how many victims may have suffered. Better to set a thousand murderers free, than to wrongly convict an innocent man.
c) have simply made a lifestyle choice that is different from, not better or worse than, yours and mine.
d) are your secret heroes.

As you see, it should be possible to devise a test that cleverly reveals whether a person is rational, confused, ignorant, irresponsible, delusional, or psychotic.

Of course, even psychotic people can be entertaining sometimes.

David March

Posted by: David March on July 31, 2003 11:33 AM

George Will is fond of relating an anecdote from his days as a flunky for William F. Buckley. Will wanted to know how Buckley was able to churn out 2 to 3 essays every week. Buckley responded “Because I find that I am annoyed two to three times weekly.”

You’re in good company, Mr. Whittle.

Posted by: brianstien on July 31, 2003 11:58 AM

Lou Tullio:

One statement of yours stands out for me: "Enjoy the final days of Jeffersonian Democracy while you can. The Totalitarian Oligarchy is here."

Lou, it strikes me that you have either one of two things wrong with you: 1) You have absolutely no conception of what the words you wrote actually mean. Both my grandparents had actual experience of everyday life under actual dictatorship and ACTUAL Oligarchic Totalitarianism
(Nazi Germany's occupation of Greece, in their case) I had first hand reports while I was growing up, and to this day, of night curfews, slave labour, billeting of foreign troops in private homes, mass hostage executions, drawing up lists of genocide targets, the thousand everyday casual brutalities and indignities undergone by a subject population, etc. I'd suggest reading George Orwell's piece "Politics and the English Language" to aid in rectifying your ignorance.

2) you are maliciously and cynically using words denoting the actual procedure and effects of an actually existing historical ideology, emotionally charged with memory of actual pain and suffering, in order to drive your own partisan political agenda. I find this not only untruthful and dishonourable but repulsive in the extreme. If a Totalitarian Oligarchy ever has you under its control, Lou, there will be no need to contend that it exists. You will know it, right down to your bones.

Posted by: Jim on July 31, 2003 12:06 PM

*knee jerks painfully into desk*

Hey, Ben- here's a hint: it's much easier to get respect for your position if you actually, you know, PRESENT it, instead of stopping by for a quick session of condescension. I'm sure it makes life much easier for you if you assume we're all idiots picking bits of gravel out of our knuckles that haven't the faintest clue about American foreign policy or history, but the fact of the matter is most of us do not live in a self-contained Whittlebubble. "OH MY GOD! SOMEONE ELSE'S POINT OF VIEW! IT BURNS!"

I have read the opposition. At great length. And yet, despite my actively seeking out that which to see, I still disagree. There are none so complacently arrogant as those who assume that being intelligent and well-informed equates automatically to agreement with their position.

Posted by: LabRat on July 31, 2003 12:08 PM

And GHS: get on top of your e-mail, knuckle-dragger.

Posted by: LabRat on July 31, 2003 12:13 PM

Hello all.... here is a bit of diversion from the political discussion (which I have been enjoying):

Birdman flys the English Channel, no plane:
http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/this_britain/story.jsp?story=429447

Posted by: EB on July 31, 2003 03:36 PM

Bush was AWOL......what??

http://unsolvedmysteries.com/usm329229.html

Posted by: Jon Davison on July 31, 2003 04:35 PM

Ben Newhouse graces us with another example of the kind of thinking that will soon be availaible for viewing in museums.

Ben, here's some late-breaking news for you. The Perception is NOT the reality. REALITY is the reality, and perceptions are spun off of it.

On September 10th, 2001, we were perceived as rich, spoiled, corrupt, cowardly blowhards without the stomach for a fight, fat ripe fruit ready for the picking, a paper tiget that only needed a sturdy poke to collapse in the dismay and defeatism and cowardice and pathetic hand-wringing that you so eloquently display in such few words.

There is a new perception now, because we have ACTED to CHANGE THE REALITY. People like you told us how The Arab Street was going to rise like Godzilla after Afghanistan, and Irag, and storm across the ocean and bring us to our knees.

Wrong. Wrong, as always, infinitely, pervasively, perennially, TOTALLY wrong -- but hey, why let that get in the way of a cozy philosphy where you can moralize to your hearts content while people better and smarter and braver than you or I are out there fighting to preserve your right to be a sancimonious, stupifyingly evidence-resistent gasbag?

Posted by: Bill Whittle on July 31, 2003 11:10 PM

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A10956-2003Jul31.html

Charles Krauthammer's most recent column (dated 01 August, actually) about the killing of the sons of Hussein and the subsequent display of their bodies.

Puts things nicely in perspective, particularly reminding us that this is the rule in Muslim countries--- to display and desecrate the bodies of deposed tyrants. It also seems to have a long and respectable tradition in other parts of the world.

His main point is that so far we have captured most of the people in the celebrated deck of evil cards, but very few of those captures have actually been televised. If we were to have taken the sons prisoner, we could expect many decades of intrigue and scheming and terrorist acts simply to attempt to FREE them.

What a God-awful mess that would be.

David March

Posted by: David March on July 31, 2003 11:37 PM

Bill,

Yes this stinks - to high heaven. The "Classic Liberals" have all become Republicans and conservatives.The neo-liberals are all self/human race/decency loathing nihilists. Keep writing, it's not a waste of time because as we all know, all that's needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

Here's a little something to cheer you up. A letter from a young Marine in Iraq to his Dad. I pulled this from Grunt.com, a Marine bulletin board I subscribe to. This might not go over to well with some of the intellectual giants inhabiting this comment section but what the hell, screw'em.

---Quote---
Dad,

The bottom line is this: Things are not as bad as they appear on the news. I
can't believe how bad the press is, even Fox news which I don't think is
that much better than the Communist News Network (CNN). Why do they only
report on the one or two soldiers killed daily? They don't report on the
millions of great things we do on a daily basis to make this country better.
These people love us for the most part. It is only a very small amount of
unorganized Ba'ath left-behinds who are giving us trouble. We have turned Al
Hillah into one of the richest, safest cities in Iraq. The only people who
probably know this are the Marines and the people of Al Hillah.

I get very frustrated with the media. I have little respect for them and I
don't think I'll ever again be the voracious news consumer I was before.
Their agenda is all too obvious to the men over here who are actually living
and working in Iraq. I have been here for months, in the same d*mn town.
These journalists come in for a day or two, never get out of their SUVs,
walk around, go into people's homes, or play with kids at schools. They hear
that a soldier was killed by a sniper. Power went out. People took to the
streets to protest a weapons turn in policy, a pay cut, or a new mayor. Then
all of a sudden this place is "unstable" and "a quagmire."

How many American cities are "unstable" and stuck in a "quagmire"? By the
media's definition, I'd say quite a few. What would today's American
journalists have said about the months after the American Revolution,
reconstruction in the south, even post-Nazi Germany? How have these
so-called educated journalists become so short-sighted and pessimistic.

You can't change a country in a few months. You can't change a culture in
years. The months after combat have had their ups and downs and struggles.
We expected that.

I remember the day our battalion drove into Saddam City, Baghdad. People
jumping and crying in the streets, cheering and throwing cigarettes at us,
offering us their daughters and babies. It was emotional for the Marines. It
was one of the most intense emotional moments of my life. As intense as
combat.

It is sad that the media is not reminding America of our glorious victory.
The media has now turned to slinging mud at the president and our military
planners. They are doubting our efforts. They say morale is at an "all time
low." Well, maybe for the Army reservists. But not the Marines. We are
motivated and dedicated to rebuilding Iraq and doing the job right. We are
professionals and have already proven to the world that we are 100 times
more effective at peace-keeping and nation-building than the Army.

Please relay my thoughts to your friends at work and parties. They need to
be critical of the news. We laugh at the news. We sneer at reporters. We are
the do-ers, not the passive watchers and critics. We have invested blood
into this god-awful garden and we'll be d*mned if we just pull out and let
some gang of punks ruin it for the people of Iraq.

I think I'll give some speeches or write opinion articles about all this
when I go home. I will declare Jihad on the media.

All for now, Nathan

----end Quote---

Posted by: Jesse Brown on August 1, 2003 08:17 AM

I'll say it again: I 100% support and salute all the heroic men and women who are fighting for FREEDOM. Not the politicians for whom the word "freedom" is just so much meaningless gas, not the totalitarians of the "Left" and of the "Right" who are busily working to undermine and destroy our freedom, but the men and women, both here and abroad, who are fighting to preserve it. It was they, our brave soldiers, who sent two of the most despicable tyrants who ever lived to their just reward. ha! ha! And, again I have to say it: Bill Whittle, you are a terrific writer! Thank you!

Posted by: Steven Malcolm Anderson on August 1, 2003 08:58 AM

Of course, you realize that the correspondence between the marine and his father will be totally discounted by the neo-liberals. After all, the military is composed entirely of republiKKKan stooges and joyless kill-bots, right?

"There are none so blind as those who will not see."

Posted by: Dave Kuwanoe on August 1, 2003 09:49 AM

re: The bodies of Uday and Qusay

Amman - Saddam Hussein's two daughters will claim the bodies of their brothers Uday and Qusay in order to give them a decent Muslim burial, sources close to the women told AFP on Friday.

"Raghad and Rana Saddam Hussein intend to claim the corpses of their brothers who they wish to bury according to Islamic tradition," the source said on condition of anonymity.

The daughters of the ousted Iraqi president, who have been granted refuge in Jordan, are prepared to bury the hatchet posthumously and carry out the family duty by giving their brothers a proper funeral after their killing in a shoot-out in Mosul 10 days ago, "despite differences in the past between the two sisters and their brothers".

"Contacts are already under way with the Americans to that end," the source added.

Raghad and Rana had been living as virtual recluses in Iraq with their mother since February 1996, the source indicated, when both their husbands were executed on Saddam's orders.

"They had received assurances from their brothers before the return to Iraq of their husbands who had defected to Jordan six months earlier, and only realised later that it had been a trap for which they never forgave them."

[EB: The trap was that upon their return the daughter's husbands were executed:
"Raghad and Rana and their nine children would never see their husbands again and their divorces were announced on February 23, the day of a massive attack on the family home in the al-Sayidiyah region of Baghdad, supervised by Uday, his brother Qusay and Ali Hassan al-Majid, better known to the world as Chemical Ali."]

http://www.news24.com/News24/World/Iraq/0,,2-10-1460_1396270,00.html

Posted by: EB on August 1, 2003 10:11 AM

Aren't we just great! You know we're right.

Posted by: on August 1, 2003 10:15 AM

Sorry to interrupt conversations on this most excellent comment section, but I'm conducting an experiment and am asking for a bit of help...

I am conducting an experiment in directly demand-driven media. In traditional media a provider chooses content, hoping that consumers happen to like then topic, tone, style and viewpoint of the author. If enough consumers like and continue to choose this content, then the reader and provider’s preferences are subsequently reinforced. However, in the blogosphere this approach seems to have a little “message in a bottle” quality to it. A blogger provides content that is lost in a sea of thousands of other bloggers providing content. I am interested in finding out whether or not letting prospective readers choose from a short menu of topics is a more efficient way to establish a relationship between a writer and his readership.

Consequently, I have written you and several other bloggers who either already read my site, whose sites I read regularly, whom I’ve corresponded with in the past, or whose opinions I otherwise value highly. The level of participation in this experiment is up to you, based on your level of interest and the amount of time you have to devote to such an enterprise.

At the least, I would like to ask if you could choose among topic areas in the poll here (http://anticipatoryretaliation.blogspot.com/2003_07_01_anticipatoryretaliation_archive.html#105968923876220057). Or if you have the time and inclination, post something on your blogs asking your readers to visit and cast their vote on topic choices. This poll will be open until Wednesday, August 6. I hope to have an essay written about the winning topic chosen shortly thereafter. I will then follow up with another poll and continue the process.

Cheers, and I would like to thank Bill's Bullpen for their help.

Posted by: Anticipatory Retaliation on August 1, 2003 12:19 PM

You know, until only a year or two ago, I was pretty much completely apolitical. I voted in about as many elections as I didn't, tired easily of the petty squabbling and mud-slinging, and never noted any appreciable difference in my day to day life, regardless of the party affiliation of whatever administration was in office at the time. Having been raised in a "hard science household" (my dad was a professor at the nearby university), then serving three tours in the Air Force, then watching my dad lift himself out of poverty into a state of wealth without precedent in the history of my family tree, entirely off his education and the "sweat of his brow," my political leanings were, I suppose, predominantly right-of-center... but without any passion, commitment, or even real interest.

So when people of the "Right" badmouthed those of the "Left," to my dispassionate ear, it just sounded like the folks on one side of a fence flinging back the same doggy poop that the folks on the other side of the fence had just flung at them. Same words, same accusations, same one-sidedness, same degree of validity (or lack thereof).

But since acquiring my addiction to this particular blog (and thereby instantly sharpening my allegiances and political perspectives in the process), I've begun to notice a "trend" in the expressed viewpoints of both sides. And I'm not sure if it's really what it appears to be, or if it's just my newfound biases imposing a distinct slant to everything. So I was kinda' hoping that those of you out there who HAVE been "politically aware" and participatory for longer than me could answer a couple of questions for me.

(1) ARE the left-leaning commenters I've read here typical of the "liberal"/"Democrat" side of the fence? Or does this forum just attract the most radical and hostile dupes who only want to hiss and spit and slander? Because so far, I haven't read a single coherent counterpoint from them yet! (2) DO they have any strong fact-based points to argue? Ones that simply don't get expressed here because of the juvenile nature of the interruptors themselves? (3) Being "web-illiterate" and generally cyber-challenged as I am, does anyone know of any clear-headed left-oriented websites or blogs out there that you can recommend, where I might find some soundly expressed alternative viewpoints on these issues... arguments that go beyond "Bush is a doo-doo head," "America is an evil empire," and "Rumsfeld is in cahoots with the devil?"

Or is the doltish, cliche-riddled, baseless crap that keeps getting injected into this otherwise very intelligent quorum really all they have?

Any comments? Suggestions?

Ah-ah-ahhh! Be nice!

GHS

Posted by: GreatHairySilverback on August 2, 2003 03:46 PM

GHS, it depends on what you think of as "liberal". Dean Esmay (www.http://www.deanesmay.com/), as well as "The Armed Liberal" and the rest of the crew at www.windsofchange.net, who resemble the "Cold War" liberals, like JFK and Senator "Scoop" Jackson: belief in a strong military and security posture, linked to a social safety net and some intervention in the economy (though with a basic faith in the free-market system)

Posted by: on August 2, 2003 04:58 PM

Sorry, that was me who posted above

Posted by: Jim on August 2, 2003 04:59 PM

Excellent, Jim. Thank-you. Time to study.

GHS

Posted by: GreatHairySilverback on August 2, 2003 07:16 PM

Well, I checked out the "deanesmay.com" and the "windsofchange.net" sites suggested above, and they were both interesting (and reassuring) reads. But they seemed very moderate and politically centered, not quite as far left as I was looking for. I understand what "Jim" was saying now when he said, "it depends on what you think of as 'liberal.'" So I guess I'll bump the old search-o-meter a whole lot further left.

Does anyone know of any sites that espouse a deeper left point of view, but which include some data and reasoned debate? And in the event that that's as unlikely as it sounds, does anyone know any good sites that are at least funny when they're being rabid? I've really got no idea where or how to look.

Thanks in advance.

GHS

Posted by: GreatHairySilverback on August 3, 2003 03:42 PM

As you noted GHS it's unlikely you'll find a leftoid blog long on logic and facts and short on tin foil hats, conspiracy theories, and parroted Bush-bashing. I can think of several far far lefty blogs right off hand if you're sincerely interested in exploring the dark side.

If you want a real laugh, try Democraticunderground.com ...I think the median age is about 16, be prepared for a deluge of "quotes" from ash-canned deposed dictators from every historical era following just about every other post.
Note: If you leave a message displaying a conservative position (especially if you're rebuking any argument posted on the site from anyone) it will be deleted faster than you can say
Fascistdictatorwarmonger!

You can also try sf.indymedia.org for more clucking from a bunch of disaffected losers, sans comment section but a little more professional overall.

In my limited experience there are only 2 lefty blogs that are a little less severe than the 2 stated above (there may be alot more out there, can't say for sure.)
Try olliverwillis.com and dailykos.com

They are reasonably well thought out, professional, and not quite as overwhelmed by the extremists. Nonetheless, you will find the same thing on every lefty blog you encounter..
relativism, moral equivocation, relativism, moral equivocation, and, oh yeah, did I say relativism?

Posted by: Jon Davison on August 3, 2003 07:55 PM

As you noted GHS it's unlikely you'll find a leftoid blog long on logic and facts and short on tin foil hats, conspiracy theories, and parroted Bush-bashing. I can think of several far far lefty blogs right off hand if you're sincerely interested in exploring the dark side.

If you want a real laugh, try Democraticunderground.com ...I think the median age is about 16, be prepared for a deluge of "quotes" from ash-canned deposed dictators from every historical era following just about every other post.
Note: If you leave a message displaying a conservative position (especially if you're rebuking any argument posted on the site from anyone) it will be deleted faster than you can say
Fascistdictatorwarmonger!

You can also try sf.indymedia.org for more clucking from a bunch of disaffected losers, sans comment section but a little more professional overall.

In my limited experience there are only 2 lefty blogs that are a little less severe than the 2 stated above (there may be alot more out there, can't say for sure.)
Try olliverwillis.com and dailykos.com

They are reasonably well thought out, professional, and not quite as overwhelmed by the extremists. Nonetheless, you will find the same thing on every lefty blog you encounter..
relativism, moral equivocation, relativism, moral equivocation, and, oh yeah, did I say relativism?

Posted by: Jon Davison on August 3, 2003 07:55 PM

Sorry for the double post, I have no idea how that happened.

Posted by: Jon Davison on August 3, 2003 07:57 PM

GHS,

You won't find much in the way "reason" in the left. I, much like yourself, started looking into this a short while ago. What I found out about the left is that it's all about their feelings and what they "want" to happen. Since it's hard to back up your feelings, you get a lot of emotion, but very little substance. The closest I ever got to a reasoned Leftist Blog was www.calpundit.com. But I think you'll find that they stay relatively in the center too. They do have a lot of hard core supporters that will debate if you want that.

FYI, Black Oak

Posted by: Black Oak on August 3, 2003 08:34 PM

Thanks guys.

I suspect you're absolutely right, and that I'm probably going to find just exactly what the zealots, dogmatics, and party crashers have been exhibiting right here the whole time. I guess this is just one of those things I've got to see for myself.

Well, I've got the addresses... I've got my nose filters, tinfoil hat, and my virtual pepper spray as well. See you when I get back.

GHS

Posted by: GreatHairySilverback on August 3, 2003 09:23 PM

GHS~

You might do best to look for European leftist sites. I don't know of any such sites to recommend, but I do know that in my own personal correspondence, American leftists are invariably vicious and dumb as toast, but some European leftists are a little less loony and somewhat less stupid. Still totally wrong-headed, but they don't froth at the mouth so much. It's also interesting to see just how much European and American worldviews differ; one Italian asked me, apparently in genuine concern, "Why isn't Mein Kampf banned in America like it is in most European countries? Don't you know how dangerous that book is?"

(I pointed out that if we don't know what Hitler said, we aren't going to recognize it when someone else says it again. [And yes, I've read it. Know your enemy!])

Posted by: Eve on August 4, 2003 12:29 AM

Just to be a fly in the ointment, but I wonder if blogging had been as preeminent in 1993 as it is in 2003, if the lack of well-reasoned dissenting blogs would be just as problematic. I seem to remember more than a few right-wing folks who were deeply convinced that Clinton was Stalin, Vince Foster was served up, on toast, to Chinese in the Lincoln Bedroom who had arrived to buy Whitewater Property and White House travel vouchers.

I think some of it may have to do with being the party out of power. Most of the centrists don't really give a hoot, while most of the fringer nutters get all wrapped around the axle when they've got an administration from the other side of the aisle.

I'm going to reserve judgment until I see the shoe on the other foot.

AR

Posted by: Anticipatory Retaliation on August 4, 2003 04:25 AM

AR:

I suspect that the right's reaction to Clinton was less a matter of politics than it was a certainty that he was the most unworthy, corrupt, morally bankrupt person to ever occupy the White House. To be sure, if blogs had been around in 1992 or 1993, you'd see plenty of way-right fringe loonballs screaming about this or that in Clinton's past, whether the charges had merit or not. But can you imagine a 1992 blog from Lileks, or Denbeste, or Whittle, taking Clinton to task on the issues?

With the exception of Lileks' Daily Bleat, I didn't read any blogs before the 2002 election. Then I found Little Green Footballs, and through them, I found Bill's little corner of the web with his "Courage" essay. Once the lump was gone from my throat ("Buildings shook in Texas, Columbia was coming home"), I was hooked on blogs. They are going to make the 2004 election a LOT of fun.

Posted by: VRWCman on August 4, 2003 05:08 AM

Many of the self-described "progressives" would say the same thing about their allegatinos regarding Bush. This is one area in which I think that all this "moral relativism" makes sense. It's not that the far left are being cynical when they put on their tinfoil hats and bark at the moon, they have just as much conviction. That being said, there are (as some haev pointed out earlier) left-wing equivalents to den Beste, Lileks, and Whittle (although admittedly, I have yet to see one with the same quality of writing). For instance, in the case of Little Green Footballs, I think that he would have been all up in arms about Clinton, while CalPundit (whom I have fundamental disagreements with, but enjoy reading anyways) puts up some pretty well-presented ideas.

Rest assured, though, I think you are right in that the 2004 election will be a lot more interesting as it will be the first truly internet-connected election. It seems that the formerly microscopic "chattering class" has just gotten a whole heck of a lot bigger with the advent of broadband. I hope it's a good thing.

Posted by: Anticipatory Retaliation on August 4, 2003 12:25 PM

I hear what you're saying AR. And to tell you the truth, I've wondered that very same thing for the longest time.

The office where I worked was stuffed to the rafters with Clintophobes. And as much as I couldn't stand the guy myself (it had nothing to do with politics, but rather with the fact that not only was he a liar... not only was he a PUBLIC liar, who got caught... but he was a BAD liar, a stupid liar, who stubbornly clung to his lies even after they'd been exposed, made even dumber because they were lies over something that wasn't really even all that relevant to his stewardship of the country, infidelity being hardly unique in his position [as a chauffeur, I drove a lot of Europeans who thought the huge American uproar over Wild Bill's sexual oafishness was far more embarrassing to the nation than the actions that sparked it])... even though I hadn't voted for him either time and thought him a joke of a public figure, I was still stunned at the flaming vitriol that poured from every mouth in my workplace. Everything he did, everything he said, was derided as the act or the words of a lying bastard, and proof of the danger our country was in with him as its President. Not a move he made escaped their condescension. He could have thrown himself in front of a bus, and personally saved the lives of an entire troop of Girl Scouts, and these people would still have read some deceipt, some conspiracy, some ineptitude into even that. My father too loathed the man, though at least his motives were economically based... some of Clinton's earliest tax mandates really clobbered those in the upper tax brackets, not only nailing them with a significant jump in their percentage owed, but making it retroactive back to five years before he even took office!

The point is that no one I knew or worked with at that time, who dwelt on the "right" side of the congregation anyway, had anything but the most vicious slander to afford the man. Scum that he may or may not have been, there was not a single redeeming virtue that anyone could find, and only the absolute worst was wished for him, starting, at the "gentler" end of the scale, with impeachment. So I HAVE seen the rabid side of the starboard side of this vessel. It does exist.

That concerned me a little too, the first time I read one of Bill's essays (my first being "Empire"), which had some pretty strong labels in it for anyone of "liberal" inclinations or too much of a leftward lean in their views. And I commented on that in a private e-mail to him. However, up until that moment, I hadn't heard any of the spite and nastiness that Bill had already been parrying for several months before that time.

No, my first exposure to the denunciations of the Left came from the occasional water-bombers that stuck their heads in the door of this comment roll, and crashed the party with their ranting and insults. And it took me a while to see much difference between that and what I'd been listening to from my "office mates." But after that while (and thanks to the intelligence and patience and erudition of the other commenters), I finally began to see what Bill and the others were saying...

It wasn't so much that the juvenile delinquents who stuck their heads into this forum and started flinging stinky stuff around were any more or less childish or drone-like with their incantations than the most rabid rightwingers out there, but that (to ME, anyway) they seemed to be basing everything solely on how much they'd chosen to hate GWB. Not on the numbers, or history, or the success stories... not on the promises made and kept, the dire prophecies foiled, or the hopeful prophecies fulfilled... just on how much they hated President Bush. That's all. Nothing but tabloid-grade conspiracy theories, name-calling, and baseless accusations that more often than not, weren't even relevant to the issues of presidential competence.

At least my rabid co-workers could point to one documented foible of Clinton's: all the stupid, unnecessary lies that he himself ultimately fessed up to. And my dad could point to his own blasted savings account, and the insane debt he suddenly owed the government, thanks to Clinton's publicly announced retroactive edicts. I thought they were all a little over the top with their anger (at the time), but at least they had specific documented FACTS at the roots of their arguments.

And that's what I'm looking for in this quest for "reasoned" left-sided "debate"... at least one viable core FACT upon which their hostility can be based. I'm sure there must be SOMETHING besides all this "nanny-nanny boo-boo" crap that keeps rearing its ugly head in here. I just haven't heard it yet.

Or maybe I'm just spoiled by the quality of the reasoning I've seen in this blog and among these comments... the evidence, the facts, the historical precedence. None of that has appeared yet from "the other side." At least not here.

And as VRWCman noted in his preceding note, "...can you imagine a 1992 blog from Lileks, or Denbeste, or Whittle, taking Clinton to task on the issues?"

On the ISSUES! Not just how much of an evil bozo they thought he was.

I don't know... the jury's still out for me too, but I no longer think the outcome's much in doubt. Bill and the commenters I've read here came prepared with evidence. The "other side" hasn't even presented a witness yet.

Maybe I'm just trying too hard to give them the benefit of the doubt.

GHS

Posted by: GreatHairySilverback on August 4, 2003 12:55 PM

Personally I think the question needs a finer definition of terms in order to get a good answer. For example, I already hold some positions that the left includes and embraces- conservationism, gay rights, feminism, legal abortion. I differ from the "left" as spoken of here in that I DON'T support alarmism as a tool for political change or anticapitalism, women's rights at the expense of those of men (in other words, I think fathers need more rights where there children are concerned in court), or late-trimester or partial-birth abortions except in case of real danger to the mother. If your distinction between left/righters and "centrists" is inclusive of moonbat quotient, then no, you're never going to find an intelligent and logical leftist.

I'm going to show the remaining idealism I have in saying so, but I believe that the primary difference between one intelligent and upstanding man of integrity who could be classified as a lefty and another who could be classified as a righty is fundamentally one of different convictions about the nature of man and the priorities set on values. If justice and fairness are sometimes mutually incompatible, where should the priority be? Justice and public safety? Are people fundamentally good, bad, or neutral? What number and degree of people suffering for no good reason is acceptable in pursuit of a larger ideal?

Posted by: LabRat on August 4, 2003 02:48 PM

GHS -

You're forgetting one of the classic Dem/Rep distinctions. The Republicans, for a goodly part of the Post-WWII Era felt themselves to be the opposition party. And you can't be (or at least feel yourself to be) in the minority that long without learning to suck it up and sharpen your knives. Many of the magazines, TV shows and radio shows were thought to be "revolutionary" at the time because they bucked the conventional wisdom. Thus a lot of folks who are "on the right" have been exposed to a rennaissance of critical thinking over the last several years. This hit a fever pitch during the mid-90's when a lot of the right's barking moonbat contingent self-destructed and lost most of their influence in the Repubican party.

LR - You've hit on a central issue in American politics and one of the things that makes it such a strange beast. It's too long an issue to discuss here other than to say "left" and "right" are, at best, shorthand for an entire of sometimes contrary beliefs and value systems. It is actually something that I've been thinking about a lot lately (especially as it looks as if that may well be the topic chosen in my poll). Suffice it to say that the overlap between ideological "wings" (given that such a thing actually exists) and political parties (given that these actually exist) is, or at least can be, pretty darn small and awfully mutable.

Posted by: Anticipatory Retaliation on August 4, 2003 05:52 PM

Hmmm. Good point, LabRat. I hadn't really thought about what specific planks went with which official platform. I've been arguing with the occasional odd troll on the basis of their ignorance of certain facts (particularly military methodology, et al), their penchant for unfounded conspiracy theories, or just their childish belligerence, not on whether they've actually been official liberals or conservatives. But, because of the general rightish tilt of this blog, I have PRESUMED that its attackers have therefore been "leftish." And I suppose that no such alignment need necessarily exist in order for someone to rant about their pet issues (although referring to President Bush as an "alcoholic, coked-up little bunny" MIGHT indicate an allegiance to the extreme left).

I have to admit, I've always pretty much just thought of it in terms of "Left=likely to vote Democrat, Right=Republican." "Left=Liberal, Right=Conservative."

Still, don't both platforms share some similar planks? Or is a "conservative" who believes in gay rights officially "liberal" on just that one issue alone? If so, does that make him a Republocrat? Does that mean that the ultimate "centrist" is a person who straddles the fence right down the middle, voting for an equal number of planks from each side... in which case he might as well cast his vote using dice? Is your official party affiliation just a reflection of which platform has more planks in it that you support? And does our "blended" system assure you that no matter who winds up in office, there'll still be SOME representation for the causes you hold most dear? If not, how can you exist "in the middle" and still vote for just one party of the other?

This is why I haven't followed some people's advice and voted in the PARTY of my choice, regardless of who the specific candidate is... because neither party fits my views 100%. Or even 80%, usually. And that just leaves me with the candidates themselves. Which means, if I don't like either of THEM (and therefore wouldn't want to ENDORSE either one of them), I just don't vote. Like this last election. And that just galls most people. But in 2000, from everything I could tell at the time, it was either going to be more of the same old status quo, or a deeply regrettable screwing, no matter who won. I gained nothing either way, and so didn't care about the outcome.

And that sucks. It shouldn't be that way.

I can't tell you though, just how pleased I've been with the way the-man-who-won has handled things since 9/11. Decision by decision, I think he's done it just about as right as it could have been done. He's handled it just the way I'd WANT my president to handle it. And so, no complaints there. I support him all the way. Glad it's him in charge.

Hmmm. How did I get from there to here? Must've been rambling again, fingers running on autopilot. Sorry about that.

Well, the point, I guess, is "good point!" More to think about.

Thanks.

GHS

Posted by: GreatHairySilverback on August 4, 2003 06:48 PM

Oops... more words of wisdom posted while I was embroiled in that last typing marathon.

Thanks AR. Good stuff. Interesting.

GHS

Posted by: GreatHairySilverback on August 4, 2003 06:52 PM

Thanks for sharing your experiences and investigations, GHS. I don't know if this is useful to you...But I always thought the basic division in American politics right now isn't between "Republicans and Democrats", or Liberals and Conservatives", or, gods help us, between "Libertarians" and "Statists". The basic one seems to be between visions, between ends. On the one side there are those who would like to see the US prosperous, secure, and for some, spearheading a human expansion into the Solar System (I know, I know, I'm a space geek. So sue me.) On the other, there are those who see the US as basically wrong and evil, and believe that its dissolution by stages would be a benefit to humanity (or just them). Thus you have those lumped in as "Conservatives" who are not quite that: "classical" and "Cold War" liberals, "Reagan Democrats", etc. Even take someone like the commentator Christopher Hitchens. He's an out and out socialist, but I haven't heard any conservatives calling for his head. Why? There seems to be a difference in the political "means" (socialism), not in the "ends" (a prosperous, democratic and secure middle-class country, etc.). Plus, he's visibly commenting and criticising in good faith, so even conservatives will cut him much slack, as opposed to some of his former comrades of the "Left".
Sorry about the ramblings...that's what I think, for what it's worth.

Posted by: Jim on August 4, 2003 07:16 PM

I've been reading some blogs that are posted by self-described liberals. They are not leftists. I have always considered myself to be fairly political, but missed the dividing line between the two.

If you look at things like indymedia, which is clearly left, you will find nothing even approaching a reasoned argument. They are purely rant. I enjoy michaeltotten, a liberal, but a man that we can all engage in a civilized and nuanced debate. He also provides links to other liberal blogs. It is interesting to me how civil and reasoned the liberals can be. The leftists on the other hand are just rabid emotionalists.

I find one easy gauge of whether the blogger is sensible or emotional to be any reference to Noam Chomsky. If they drag his sorry ass into the debate they have nothing to add.

Posted by: Jamie Jacoby on August 4, 2003 07:42 PM

Just for fun, although I haven't employed it yet for fear of engaging in the same kind of childish bleating the Left does, I invented my own little demeaning term to be the opposite of Neo-Con. To wit, Neo-Com - as in Neo Communist.

Feel free to use it as appropriate.

Posted by: Mauser on August 4, 2003 08:08 PM

Jamie speaks well: There are those who see the US as basically wrong and evil.

I don't care what you call them, but they are who they are. Too many of them are in positions in the media and in our schools, and they teach this to our children and preach it to the ignorant.

Me, I have left the earnest debating society chit-chat of labels and nuances. These people are evil, and I fight them when I find them.

That is black and white. Too bad. After 9-11, I swore that I would never turn away again with a sigh and a smile, never let them say their words of hatred towards America without a passionate response from me. Never, never, never.

My son's history teacher told the kids that the Bill of Rights were the rights that the government gives to us. By the time I was done I was reviled by the other parents for being so mean to that sweet history teacher, I was called at home by the principal, I was shunned by embarassed neighbors... and I got my son shifted into another history class. I won. And I didn't count the cost.

That's what we have to do, folks. I respond to the literate, reasoned, and thoughtful people on this thread and their discussions of liberal-leftist-whatchamicallits and I this is what I say: They are evil. Fight them. Call them what you want, but don't ever make the mistake that there is common ground. There isn't.

Posted by: Bonnie Ramthun on August 4, 2003 09:26 PM

Much as the government is or should be the tool of the people, political parties are the tools of various groups of individuals with a goal. The Republicans gained a lot of voting clout when Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson politicized fundamentalist Christians, and they may be about to lose it, as Falwell is threatening to take his Moral Majority and leave if they don't disown the Log Cabin Rebuplicans and other gays. Regardless of whether Bush himself gives a fig for gays or not, the party as a whole has to then weigh their options- who can they most ill-afford to alienate? Bush in essence told Falwell he was busy and would get back to them at some indeterminate date, meaning they quite accurately intimated that they were better off not alienating the essentially libertarian group of their likely voters than they were appeasing the hard-right religious voters who care enough about gays to take their vote elsewhere. The nation is littered with the graves of third parties- the Republicans themselves were the last successful one, and only because at the time there was no opposition party to the Democrats with a viable platform; in essence, they were returning the nation to a two-party system by capitalizing on an important issue, not presenting a real third-party alternative.

If you read the Federalist papers, you realize the Founding Fathers were *counting* on this. Free men don't pull in one direction at once or even two opposing- they pull in every direction conceivable and only form temporary alliances for temporary large gains. You know there's a time of national crisis afoot when the din of voices reduces from shouting in hundreds of keys to only one or two.

Posted by: LabRat on August 5, 2003 12:18 AM

After reading Bonnie's anecdote describing her son's experience in history, I shudder to think what claptrap will be taught by the time my baby girl is school-age. I also smile, thinking of the glorious battles I shall get to fight with the local school district.

I kind of hope that the Republicans do lose Falwell's crowd. Many of his foaming statements can be quite damaging to the stance of those leaning right or right-of-center. In the wake of 9/11, Falwell said, "...I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way - all of them who have tried to secularize America - I point the finger in their face and say "you helped this happen"." (Link here.) That completely enraged me. That's moon-barking of a rather high degree, and as part of the movement toward logic and rationale in American politics and culture, I'd rather not be associated with that man.

Personally, I vote according to my principles in regard to the issues, and not the parties espousing them. I often wonder what that makes me? A centrist? A free-thinker?

I suppose that when all is said and sifted, I tend to follow Robert Heinlein's advice (and this is massively paraphrased): When faced with two undesirable choices, vote for the lesser of the two evils.

But that's terribly cynical, and counter to the spirit of this website. Whatever my private misgivings about some of our adminstration's moralizing at home, and the sophomoric finger-pointing between the FAR-left and the FAR-right, I have no derth of admiration for the president's leadership in the wake of 9/11. Believe me that I shall examine the issues and platforms to vote accordingly in 2004.

Posted by: Linda on August 5, 2003 12:59 PM

Without explicitly inviting the lightening bolts of vengeance from you Bill, I do have to take you to task for rapping the knuckles of Lou but doing nothing about the intolerance of Bonnie's last post (after all, you have had a WHOLE day). Let's run the tape:


"""I don't care what you call them, but they are who they are. Too many of them are in positions in the media and in our schools, and they teach this to our children and preach it to the ignorant."""

"I don't care" does not usually strike me as a good intro to any post as it encourages emotional piling-on "Yeah, what she said" and does not exactly invite others to post alternative viewpoints. Don't even need to mention the "the media and schools are destroying our youth" bit as being a more than a little shopworn. I can't imagine this is the "quality" discussion you are looking for.


"""Me, I have left the earnest debating society chit-chat of labels and nuances. These people are evil, and I fight them when I find them."""

Sounds like she has basically shut the door to anyone who doesn't think (dare I say also look?) as she does. Didn't someone post "Know thy enemy" somewhere back? Bill, didn't you say some way back as well: "I have no intention or desire of banning people who want a serious and respectful argument." Where's the tolerance, the respect, the "Well, that is my opinion, I would appreciate hearing yours" invitation to discussion.

"""That is black and white. Too bad. After 9-11, I swore that I would never turn away again with a sigh and a smile, never let them say their words of hatred towards America without a passionate response from me. Never, never, never."""

Well, avoiding an easy descent into sarcasm, the "black and white. Too bad." part is depressingly simplist--keep repeating "shades of gray, shades of gray, shades of gray...". Also, wouldn't mind getting an example or two of these "words of hatred". Finally, do I have to say it, this "Never, never, never" really does not require any additional comment.

My son's history teacher told the kids that the Bill of Rights were the rights that the government gives to us. By the time I was done I was reviled by the other parents for being so mean to that sweet history teacher, I was called at home by the principal, I was shunned by embarassed neighbors... and I got my son shifted into another history class. I won. And I didn't count the cost.

What a role model for parents and children everywhere: "Son, everyone hates us now, the other parents won't let their children play with you any longer, but hell, we sure showed that teacher apples from oranges didn't we? Just remember junior, it's us against the world". Someone should explain to Bonnie what a "Pyrrhic Victory" means--"I won."---geez. Sorry, couldn't help that one.

"""That's what we have to do, folks."""

Thanks for giving us the choice.

"""I respond to the literate, reasoned, and thoughtful people on this thread"""

As long as your viewpoints neatly dovetail with her own. Notice the feeble attempt at ingratiating others. But, since most people probably stop looking critically at a post once it has been established that the person is on their "side", and this site is made up of similar minded individuals, that probably went unnoticed.

"""and their discussions of liberal-leftist-whatchamicallits"""

inflammatory

"""and I this is what I say: They are evil."""

libelous

"""Fight them. Call them what you want, but don't ever make the mistake that there is common ground. There isn't."""

And the meek shall inherit the earth.


Just a couple of final viewpoints while you all sharpen those knives:

1. I am just as wary of people on the left that have blind confidence in their political leaders as I am with those on the right. That said, it seems there is a far too much of this type of confidence on this site for GWB inc. and not enough real introspection and reflection going on. The Clinton years I remember as more prosperous, more peaceful, times but that did not send me down the Dems=good, Reps=evil road. Therefore, I am certainly not inclined to swing back now and say ditto to everything coming out of the Republican camp equating Democrats with malicious shit-stirrers. Call me spineless, unwilling to take a stand, etc. but I prefer to look at it as a kind of yin & yang, middle-road kind of outlook. Again, no black and white, question everything.

2. Ben Newhouse was right on in saying "the death of these two cretins, though satisfying, diminishes us all". The resulting Schadenfreude from people here (as well as all over the web) does not show the hallmarks of a compassionate society. Might does not make right and any person, institution or country that thinks so does not have staying power. Anyone who truly feels elation, joy or guiltless satisfaction over the deaths of these two would do well to look to heed John Donne:

"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece
of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by
the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's
death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and
therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for
thee." ...more


3. A lot of your comments express your disdain for trolls. I love trolls. They expose a lot of foolish people (themselves included) and add a bit of piment to an oftentimes flavorless dish. Plus, I would venture that, deep-down, way deep, these same people actually LOVE trolls because then they can get their herd mentality going right proper and pounce to attack.

4. Bill, I'm playing amateur psy here but I believe you bolded the "duly elected leader" part of your essay due to your defensiveness about the way he did "earn" his keys to the kingdom. It's true, n'est-ce pas?

5. Why does the world dislike our beloved Bush? One perfect example is his flouting of the Kyoto protocol. I have attempted to avoid absolutisms in my post, but it will be a hard sell to convince me that there is no global warming going on. In fact, I would say most everyone knows there is funny stuff going on with the climate and that greenhouse emissions must be reduced, but hell, that would put a dent in the US economy-not in particularly good shape right now what with the monster debt and low growth. Asking his buddies to install that expensive anti-pollution equipment would put a dent in their multi-million dollar portfolios. I feel particularly strong about this issue as I am sweating my ass off through an unprecedented heatwave here in Germany (35C at 2200 and no A/C)! Also, I grew up in Maine and, I can tell you, the winters there are not even remotely similar to what they were 25 years ago--almost no snow with much, much more rain. Sorry for the rant, If you don't care about what the world thinks of the US, then I had better stop here. If you do care, please feel free to tell me how and why the US is just a sheep in wolf's clothing

6. Some of you were asking for a lefty site, check out bartcop.com. Probably not your cup of tea but, if you let it, you will get some good chuckles.

7. By the way, this is probably gratuitous, I don't particularly enjoy your columns, too sure of themselves and the solidity of the foundations upon which they were composed, but the much-referred to COURAGE essay was a good read.

8. I thought the Bill of Rights WERE the rights that the government gives us.

9. Just saw Linda's post. Linda, don't you think ENGAGING the local school district, in attempt to improve the curriculum, might be a bit more constructive than preparing for battle?

Kumulan

Posted by: Kumulan on August 5, 2003 01:11 PM

'I thought the Bill of Rights WERE the rights that the government gives us.'

This gets into philosophy and theology. But the common American viewpoint (which I share) is that rights come directly from God. Check the Declaration--we are "endowed by our creator" with rights, and governments are instituted to "secure"--not to grant--these rights. (And that if the government fails to secure those rights, we have the overriding right to "alter or abolish" the government.)

So the Bill of Rights does not "give us" any rights. Rather, it recognizes that we already have those rights, and it enjoins the government from infringing on those rights.

Posted by: Andrew S. on August 5, 2003 02:09 PM

Thank you for at least trying to make your condescension constructive, Kumulan.

1. People have said that they were pleased with the way Bush has conducted himself post-9/11. This does not equate to blind confidence in him as a leader. It means we like the way he's handled things as opposed to how we think Gore would have, based on the way Clinton handled similar situations- appeasement and procrastination leading to escalation. This does not mean we like everything Bush does or that we will continue to like him in everything foreign-policy he does in the future. Because we are at war, how he handles THAT gets prioritized in how we regard him. Remember: Bush Sr. enjoyed huge approval ratings in the aftermath of the Gulf War. He apparently felt that the people had, I don't know, blind confidence in him as a leader. He was hustled out of the White House a year later in a massive loss due to the way he conducted himself after the war. Personally, I loathe Dubya's domestic policies, and if it weren't for the fact that the Democratic party seems to have assumed that "loud" equates to "large group of voters" and gone with the spastic platform they've taken up, I wouldn't vote for him.

2. Compassion is not an ultimate virtue. You're right in that I feel no compassion for Uday and Qusay. Why not? Because they were mass murderers of breathtaking viciousness. I am glad they are dead because that means they will never get a chance to do it again. I can feel more compassion for a rabid dog than I can for them, because the dog neither had a choice nor had any sort of moral capacity to begin with. Humans do, and I refuse to believe that they had somehow had no choice but to be as they were. As far as I'm concerned, when someone rejects morality to the degree that they did, I no longer have a moral obligation to treat them by such high moral standards. Justice and compassion are not always compatible, and sophisticated moral beings must sometimes choose which is the higher value for a given situation.

3. Trolls are annoying because they interrupt rational discussion with bullshit that can't be treated rationally, because they have no intention of being that way. That's why they're trolls. If people lash out at them, it's a lot more out of frustration than any joy in a "herd mentality". Frankly the fact that you see a herd mentality here at all highlights your own narrow view- the people here disagree with each other over a LOT. That they do so civilly does not indicate "herd mentality".

4. Playing amateur psy is always dangerous, because often as not it makes you look either stupid or arrogant or both. (Especially when that's how you're trying to characterize your opposition.) I saw the emphasis as taking a shot at the people who cling to the notion that Bush is not a legitimately elected president (he has loads of historical precedent on his side) because they just can't stand the idea of having him for a leader. The same feeling drives them to abandon rationality in order to take any position, just so long as it's 180 degrees from Bush. Frankly, I'm with Bill on this one: abandoning or warping your own morality just so you won't be on the same side as Bush is shameful, if not sick.

5. I am a conservationist and was way before I could be characterized as in any way a conservative, and I thought the Kyoto Protocol was misguided then and I still do now. Why? Because hard scientific data has been almost entirely swallowed by political gamesmanship in environmentalism in general and global warming in particular, most particularly the rather significant lack of any conclusive data at all. The IPCC reports are full of qualifiers on what we do and do not know, which somehow get lost on the way to the legislature or the media. As better models are constructed, IPCC predictions of warming trends grow milder and milder each time. For example, ground-based temperature stations show a trend of .3-.6 C warming from 1850 to the present. But NASA weather satellites, which cover the whole planet instead of continental land masses, show a COOLING trend over the last nineteen years when warming was really supposed to get into gear. When fed past data, the current computer models predict FAR more warming than has actually occured. And the warming that has occured, the 1850-present figure, is very much within the variability expected of natural climate ups and downs. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not ready to discount global warming as a possibility either. However, I do not believe our science on the subject is anywhere NEAR good enough to justify a massive international contract with serious economic impact. I don't care about the bank accounts of oil tycoons, but I DO care that a poor economy tends to turn the populace against environmental regulation, especially when the justification is weak.

7. If you're trying to present yourself as rational and a constructive critic, if you recognize something is gratuitous, LEAVE IT OUT. We know you don't agree with Bill; it's bloody obvious. This parting shot just makes you look petty.

8. In which case you're as wrong as the history teacher. If you'll actually lift a finger to go in and read the Constitution and its history of revision, and the documents that led to it (like the Federalist papers), you'll realize that the whole reason the American system of government was so radical was that it treats government as something the people allow to exist and do certain things but nother others, and not the other way around. In recent history this has been treated as less true, but it does not change the fact that this was the original concept. The man is a HISTORY teacher and he should damn well know that- as should you if you're going to criticize. If I were a parent, I'd get pretty fed up too with teachers teaching my kids obvious bullshit on subjects they're supposed to be at least somewhat expert in. My history teacher was a liberal, and yet he somehow managed to teach us accurate history.

9. Kumulan, have you ever actually TRIED to convince a school board to change anything? Without forceful pressure?

We've been waiting two thousand years for the meek to inherit the earth and it ain't happened yet...

Posted by: LabRat on August 5, 2003 02:19 PM

Kumulan:
Bill, I'm playing amateur psy here but I believe you bolded the "duly elected leader" part of your essay due to your defensiveness about the way he did "earn" his keys to the kingdom. It's true, n'est-ce pas?

Looked more like he was sick and tired of idiots who claim Bush "stole" the election.

One perfect example is his flouting of the Kyoto protocol.

Did the Senate ratify the treaty? No? Then Bush didn't flout the protocols. HTH. HAND.

Oh, and the Bill of Rights does not grant any rights. It puts limitations on the government.

Posted by: Patrick Chester on August 5, 2003 02:39 PM

Kumulan,
I wrote of battling the local school district because, even before my child was born, I have been active in groups advocating parents' input in education. (Some of us believe that we are ultimately responsible for the quality of our children's upbringing and instruction.) Yes, we try "engaging" them at first. That's always step one, after all. But thanks for the suggestion. I could tell from the tone of the rest of your post that it was kindly meant.

Cheers,
Linda

Posted by: Linda on August 5, 2003 03:34 PM

Howdy Kumulan. Good to hear from you. Seriously. Probably the best contrary posting I've read so far. You spoke plainly against those things with which you didn't agree, you avoided hostile profanity and name-calling, and you actually applied REASONING! I didn't always agree with that reasoning, but at least I got to hear it this time. And that was refreshing.

You said, "The Clinton years I remember as more prosperous, more peaceful times, but that did not send me down the Dems=good, Reps=evil road."

I remember the Clinton years as, at best, clumsy and embarrassing (misguided, toothless foreign policies, sloppy philanderous misadventures, childish lying), and at worst, demoralizing to our troops, and devastating to our global image (half-hearted, self-destructive mini-wars, and acts [like withdrawing our troops from Mogadishu before their mission was through, and after incurring our first 18 casualties] that only reinforced the international sentiment that we were a paper tiger that could be threatened and blustered into retreat from any major confrontation. My father remembers the Clinton years as a period of cynical, almost criminal shortsightedness (for the reasons already mentioned in an earlier posting). Still, because I did not sense any of that directly impacting ME, I too did not see any reason to take umbrage, and thought everyone else was overreacting to "conceptual issues" and "semantics." So I too managed to stay out of the "Dems=good, Reps=evil" trap.

Who says ignorance isn't bliss?

"Again, no black and white, question everything."

Amen. There's some of that common ground.

But you lost me when you said, "Ben Newhouse was right on in saying "the death of these two cretins, though satisfying, diminishes us all". The resulting Schadenfreude from people here (as well as all over the web) does not show the hallmarks of a compassionate society. Might does not make right, and any person, institution or country that thinks so does not have staying power. Anyone who truly feels elation, joy or guiltless satisfaction over the deaths of these two would do well to look to heed John Donne: (etc.,etc.)"

Nope. Sorry. LabRat was dead-on about the "virtues of a compassionate society," so I don't need to repeat any of that. I would only add that, in my opinion, excising a cancer is always a cause for celebration. And I loved Bill's note that, "I was happy when the Death Star exploded." I think that's a great analogy (one of the strengths in Bill's writing style). And I hope you didn't feel diminished for having cheered that cinematic moment yourself... a lot of humans (albeit cloned humans) died violently in that scene.

You asked, "Why does the world dislike our beloved Bush?"

Why did the world dislike Reagan? Or Nixon? Or Kennedy? Why did the world LOVE Carter? Personally? I think there's a direct causal relationship between how easily a President can be run over by international politics and the extent to which the world is glad that he's the one in power. Nobody likes a superpower that won't take "screw you!" as an answer.

You added, "...please feel free to tell me how and why the US is just a sheep in wolf's clothing."

I don't think we ARE a sheep in wolf's clothing. I think we're a scapegoat in shining armor. I think we're an "overdog" (as opposed to an "underdog") that just keeps winning despite how much the crowd keeps rooting for the underdogs. I think we're a success story that has outraged the rank-and-file and the masters-of-the-status-quo just by being successful, despite our unwillingness to stick with the traditional. And worst of all, I think we gall the rest of the world because none of THEM are the one remaining superpower! That's the main thing that sticks in their collective craw... I think.

Hope that answered your question.

And I appreciate the "bartcop.com" reference. I shall go there tomorrow.

And finally, the stinger... "By the way, this is probably gratuitous, but I don't particularly enjoy your columns, too sure of themselves and the solidity of the foundations upon which they were composed, but the much-referred to COURAGE essay was a good read."

Good. At least you read 'em. That's what I like about good writing... the quality of the wordsmithing is often enough to ensure that even your most vehement opponents will hear and GET all your points. And what better result can there be than that?

Also, it's good to note that, much like your final "gratuitous" comment, every one of these essays are just Bill's opinions.

Good post though. And come again.

GHS


Posted by: GreatHairySilverback on August 5, 2003 06:55 PM

Though there are conspicuous exceptions to the generalization I will make here, they are exceptions. Even after allowing that people of good will can be found in all parts of the spectrum... and vice versa.

Here?s a working definition of the difference between the Democrats and the Republicans (Parties and supporters):

Liberals might be said to be extremely idealistic, even to the extent of valuing intent over results. To some liberals, it is supremely important to ?mean well? regardless of whether your actions in fact accomplish their intended goals. This seems to be at the root of their fabled disinclination to reconsider programs especially if there is a question as to whether they are actually working. I distinguish here between the followers and the leaders, who may in fact have some very devious and ugly reasons for keeping in place programs that manifestly HARM the intended beneficiaries. But that is for a whole nother encyclopedic comment.

Conversely, even if your actions do conspicuous good for someone, if that was not your intent, you?re still a heartless bastard. This sort of black & white view of things is diagnostic of adolescence, which is why many people are early on attracted to the stated goals of the Democratic Party. It makes one FEEL good, and the Party loudly tells you that you ARE a good person just for BELIEVING in the Democratic catechism. But it also tends to make a lot of liberals ready suckers for a posturing, lying, sociopath like William Jefferson Clinton, who has promised all things to all people, repeatedly contradicting himself and switching positions if need be, from one audience to another.

You should read Michael Kelly?s early writing about then-candidate Clinton. (Kelly is one of the columnists who early on identified Clinton as a compulsive and prolific public liar, and spent most of the next eight years trying to keep up with the man. Last spring Michael Kelly volunteered to serve as an ?embedded? reporter with a U.S. military unit, and was drowned with his driver, when their humvee plunged into an Iraqi canal.) I?ll see if I can find the relevant URL for some early articles that beautifully describe Clinton?s first two terms as governor.

But my point is NOT that Clinton is typical of Democrats... my point is that the Democratic party and its backers will enthusiastically support an unregenerate moral leper like Clinton, or Albert Gore, or Ted Kennedy, with the reasoning that their voting records, or their speeches, or their policies are correct, in spite of their appalling, conspicuous, grotesque personal behavior that repeatedly, continually, endlessly contradicts the principles they mouth to get votes. (Well, actually Al Gore?s personal sleazy acts have been much more bureaucratic and boring, which is its own kind of indictment.)

My final and irrevocable break with the Democrats came about the time Ted Kennedy had managed to escape criminal prosecution for leaving the scene of the fatal accident in which he had caused the drowning death of his passenger in Chappaquiddick Creek. In a single event, he demonstrated eloquently the esteem he has for marriage, for the rights of women, for the law, and for simple human decency. But his Party and the voters continue to re-elect the son of a bitch, because he does nice things for them. I have run into a number of Democrats that admit that they are disgusted by his personal behavior, but support him BECAUSE HE VOTES FOR POLICIES THEY LIKE. What an utter stinking crock of excrement.

Well, guys, I can only say that if a person is known to regularly lie and cheat and dishonor the most sacred commitments and promises our culture has evolved, you depend on that person to honor more tenuous and unenforceable commitments at your peril.

Boy, these little essays can be exhausting! I thought I was going to skewer the Republicans in the same post, but I?m still only part way done listing the failings of the DEMOCRATS!!!!!!

Have to wait for later!

David March

p.s. Nice work Kumulan; even nicer (i.e. more focused and specific!) mister GH Silverback.

Posted by: David March on August 5, 2003 08:30 PM


How many people are aware that Al Gore is a big shareholder in Occidental Petroleum which--- surprise surprise ---- got the major federal contract for the Elk Hills Naval Oil reserve that the Clinton Administration decided to make available for commercial development, after it had been set aside as a strategic military reserve for most of the last century.
I personally regard that decision to be as symptomatic of his utter disregard for the security of our nation as anything else in the long list of irresponsible, negligent, and actually criminal acts he committed in office.

David March
animator & fiddler
Check these URLs, or do your own google search on key words Al Gore Occidental Petroleum Elk Hills Reserve

http://www.ran.org/news/newsitem.php?id=113


http://www.thereporter.com/Current/Forum/forum081300_6.html

http://www.amazonwatch.org/newsroom/newsreleases00/aug_gorefactsheet.html

http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=003bic

Posted by: David March on August 5, 2003 10:28 PM

There are no shades of gray in the Bill of Rights and, no, my rights are NOT given to me by the government, they are inherent in my being as an individual. The Ninth Amendment explicitly states that the enumeration of rights in the Constitution shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The Bill of Rights is my litmus test, and it IS black and white. If you want to erect a mile high billboard screaming that I'm going to burn in Hell if I don't conform to your God's edicts, that is your absolute right under the First Amendment. If, on the other hand, you think your or your proxies have a right to send a Gestapo into my bedroom to haul me off to jail for making love with another consenting adult, then you are my enemy and I will deal with you accordingly. If you want to take away my gun, my means of defending my rights, then you, too, are my enemy.
Choosing between a "Rightist" totalitarian and a "Leftist" totalitarian is like choosing between Uday and Qusay.

Posted by: Steven Malcolm Anderson on August 6, 2003 05:00 AM

Cheers, Linda, you are a mom who cares. That is what is going to save our children from the grip of the socialist educrats. Homeschooling (which I cannot do) and dedicated, involved parents.

Kumulan can be our poster child -- so ignorant he doesn't even know he's ignorant. He doesn't know about the Bill of Rights and believes that anecdotal evidence (it's hot in Germany right now!) is a scientific proof of global warming. It doesn't work that way, but asserting a belief without all that boring work to learn the facts is easy and feels good.

Using the world evil sends leftists into a tailspin. Nobody should ever use that word, and they endlessly harp on Reagan's Empire of Evil and Bush's Axis of Evil phrases. Now we have killed Uday and Qusay, profoundly evil creatures, and John Donne is quoted and we are admonished not to celebrate their end. And not to use the word evil, either.

They were evil, evil, evil. I celebrate their deaths. All good men and women should.

Posted by: Bonnie Ramthun on August 6, 2003 07:41 AM

The Iraqi people certainly seem to think that Uday and Qusay were evil:

"... “We will believe they are dead when Odai and Qusai’s bodies are tied to cars and dragged through the streets so everybody can see them,” said Muhammad, a Baghdad engineer.
"Businessman Khalil Ali said photographs meant nothing.
“They should have been hung up on poles in a square in Baghdad so all Iraqis could see them,” he said. “Then they should have died as people ate them alive.”
"

This was pulled from a MSNBC article here. The writer of this particular piece was apparently so hung up in trying to create doubt surrounding the motivations and handling of the Hussein boys' deaths, that she or he failed to absorb the real meaning behind those bloodthirsty statements.

The Iraqi people hated the Husseins. They loathed them. They're glad they're gone, and just wanted some proof that they could go to bed and sleep a little easier. We gave it to them, and now we're being criticized for it. (Catch 22. Go figure.)

The calls for postmortem humiliation go on:

"...“We don’t want them to be buried in Iraq because they are not sons of Iraq,” Mr Hassan declared as he shuffled backgammon pieces in the tea shop.

“We would dig up the graves and feed them to the dogs,” the tea shop owner interjected to evident approval. “They should take them to another country to bury them. Anywhere but here. We will never let them rest.”

These excerpts are taken from a Timesonline article. (Thanks to Imperial Blogmeister Misha I for the original link.)

And Americans are inhumane? We should be ashamed of ourselves for feeling relief and happiness that two horrible, evil men are dead?

Anyone who has a family who they love can only feel relief to know that serial murderers and rapists have been put paid to. For good.

Others may label me as they wish. I am deeply relieved--and glad--that Saddam's sons are dead.

Here's more, if you're at all interested:
British Labor Party Member of Parliament Ann Clwyd is chair of INDICT. She has documented many eyewitness accounts of murder, rape, and torture. She asks how the war in Iraq could be opposed, in light of these atrocities against humanity?

Excesses of Hussein's son's.

Sentimental in the typical style of the Washington Post, but this article outlines more of Qusay and Uday's depravity.

I cannot help but wonder how our own sports celebrities would hold up under this sort of pressure?

Finally, for anyone looking to put in yet another refrain of "assassination", here's an interesting little article from Slate. They posted an article concerning the legality of Uday's and Qusay's deaths. Seems that they were, indeed, actually classified as combatants. Hence, they don't fall under the proscription against political assassination.

Finally, for reference, here are some web-based links to the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution, with a link to the Bill of Rights.

Reading it, you will see that our Founders stated that ours are the Rights of Man[kind], and a governing body is intended to merely protect them.

Regards,
Linda

Posted by: Linda on August 6, 2003 08:45 AM

Kumulan,

I don't normally post in these forums, I prefer to lurk and see what everyone else has to say. In this instance I have to respond to your comments about the Kyoto Treaty.

President Bush was correct in his decision to not ratify the treaty. Not only does it not have congressional support, it is also based upon science that is marginal at best.

Global warming is not a proven fact. The conclusions that many of these studies are based upon are using data that is very open to interpretation and riddled with errors. Climatology records, at the best, go back 150 years. The only really accurate assessments of climate started about 60 years ago. To say that the globe is warming and will cause harm to the environment is based upon 60 years of accurate data. In order to have a truly accurate assessment of climate we would have to go back much further than 60 years for a baseline. Try thousands of years.

Also, the numerical models that global warming is based upon are extremely flawed also. Most of these atmospheric models are based upon a very small part of the atmosphere. Many of them are using less than 100 layers of the atmosphere, while the atmosphere is composed of an infinite number of layers. The terrain algorythm is also flawed. The models use smoothed terrain features. While this may not be that important for a model predicting temperatures for the next 48 hours, it distorts the output after the first 3 hours. Imagine the distortion after the model runs out to 3 decades.

For those who believe in global warming, their knowledge, in most cases, is based upon what the media provides. To find out how accurate atmospheric modeling is, just watch your local weather forecast. Forecasters have a hard time predicting the temperature within 2C 48 hours out. Imagine the difficulties predicting the temperature to within 2C 30 years out? And this is what global warming is based on?

Global warming is not a given. The same model that predicted global warming on one model "run" also predicted a coming ice age on the next run. There is not enough evidence to support either conclusion. This is the data that the Kyoto Treaty is based on.

Just my 2 cents....

Plus I'm a weather forecaster :-)

Jamie H

Posted by: Jamie H on August 6, 2003 09:38 AM

Well, I certainly appreciate the feedback that you have taken the time to put together, particularly LabRat and GHS.

Just a couple of comments/queries concerning your posts:


a. No one defended Bonnie. Interesting. Now, either you were waiting for her to defend herself or you thought her commentary was as indefensible as I did. Now, which one was it?

b. To tell you the honest truth, I did NOT think that the Bill of Rights were the rights the government gave us. I was certainly ignorant of most of their actual composition but did not think Bonnie would go and give up any reasonable shot at being a constructive member of her community (instead of the shrill outsider it seems she is becoming) without being awfully sure of herself in that PTA meeting. Call me lazy and deceitful, but I kind of wanted to check what type of response I would receive. I got a mouthful. Half of me is grateful. The other half of me feels several of you were a little too eager to give it to me on this single point rather than some of the other issues, which seemed a bit more worthy of discussion. However, the response from Andrew S was concise and informative and therefore appreciated--thanks for making my laziness pay off!

c. Linda, thanks for your response, I think that it was the "glorious battles" and "fight" that set me off. Obviously, you are not a Bonnie-type reactionary and will never equate you with one in the future. Good luck with your school district.

d. On the subject of Bonnie, I really don't have it in for her, but her posts are simply too ridiculous:

"""They were evil, evil, evil. I celebrate their deaths. All good men and women should."""

With this logic, if you did not go and light off bottle-rockets at the news of their deaths, then you were a no-good, lousy, Ann-Coulterish traiter. This intolerance is what got me going in the first place. Am I the only one who sees it?

e. Now the one I feel most strongly about and which none of you were even in the right ballpark: I specifically DID NOT say that one should have COMPASSION for the deaths of tweedledee and tweedledum. Here is what I said:

"""The resulting Schadenfreude from people here (as well as all over the web) does not show the hallmarks of a compassionate society. Might does not make right and any person, institution or country that thinks so does not have staying power. Anyone who truly feels elation, joy or guiltless satisfaction over the deaths of these two would do well to look to heed John Donne..."""

I said "compassionate society" and a compassionate society, in my view, begins with a group of individuals. This group wields compassion in order to form and maintain a communal structure where the "down" exists but not the "and out", where there is no need for a term such as "disenfranchised", where generosity goes hand in hand with readyness to help, where hope is never extinguished (sorry, I'm carrying on now). All of this OBLIVIOUS TO THE FACT OF WHETHER OR NOT THE OTHER INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP IS A PART OF MY PARTICULAR COMMUNAL OFFSHOOT. I am crossing my fingers right now that you agree with this.

A society such as this would not produce gold-plated-Kalashnikov-carrying psychopaths.

Now, if we weave in a bit of John Donne and agree that collectively, all these societies around the globe make up "mankind", and that, defacto, we are all card-carrying members, that we are all "involved" in mankind, then surely the desired execution of ANY INDIVIDUAL is an admission of our own failure. That it diminishes us, in the eyes of ourselves, and in the eyes of any higher being out there.

What I want to make crystal clear is that I never said anything about compassion being an "absolute virtue" or that is should trump all other considerations in all instances.

I think the "answer" I was most hoping for from one of you was a "No, I did not feel joy at the news of their deaths but rather a grim satisfaction in justice being done. I hope and pray that an event such as this will never be necessary again."

Perhaps you find this all semantic nuance but I most certainly do not.

I should refine some of my above thoughts a bit more but I am almost out the door and wanted to post this before doing so. I also wanted to respond to some of your other reactions (particularly the Kyoto Protocol and LabRat's mocking of "the meek shall inherit the earth") but...another time. But I do hope you get the gist of my blather. Let me know.

Kumulan

ps. just saw Jamie's post, sorry I can't respond now, but I'll try to do so soon.

Posted by: Kumulan on August 6, 2003 09:49 AM

Little Bonnie can defend herself just fine, Kumulan. I don't define my principles by popularity and I don't need the support of the herd to feel good about myself.

Actually this is not a place to find a herd of any sort. We're not sheeple here, so stop trying a sheeple appeal.

I'm truly glad to see you're getting educated about the Bill of Rights. Once you get that right, the sky is the limit!

Posted by: Bonnie Ramthun on August 6, 2003 10:41 AM

So Kumulan, how do you come to the conclusion that the loss of Uday and Qusay makes the world a lesser place? Is it less because more Iraqi schoolgirls are still VIRGINS? Is the world lessen by the continued survival of Iraqis that the Psycho Twins would have fed into industrial shredders? Is the world's light dimmed because these two are no longer stealing food from the mouths of Iraqis to buy Mercedes?

If you are against the unnecessary deaths of humans, then how can you be against the deaths of Uday and Qusay? What are the odds that, even with the government out of their hands, they still would have killed 4, or more, people, either our soldiers or Iraqis sent to kill our soldiers? What are the odds they would have had 4, or more, Iraqis killed for trying to help rebuild Iraq?

Posted by: Eric Sivula on August 6, 2003 12:31 PM

'So Kumulan, how do you come to the conclusion that the loss of Uday and Qusay makes the world a lesser place?'

Just to put in my $0.02--I am glad U&Q were killed. I think this was an important step for our own security and the peace of Iraq.

But I'm absolutely with Mr. Donne--"each man's death diminshes me". I am glad that U&Q were put out of action, but my joy is not unmixed. I do not know that they were more evil than I am (God alone knows what kind of monster I might have been if I'd had the upbringing and opportunities that they had). I do not know that they deserve death more than I do.

I lit a candle for them and prayed for their souls. I don't think that makes me a moral relativist.

Posted by: Andrew S. on August 6, 2003 02:20 PM

If it makes you feel better to pray for their souls, then do so. I will pray for the souls of those they preyed upon.

But my question still stands: "Did the deaths of Uday and Qusay not prevent a greater number of deaths in the future?"

Posted by: Eric SIvula on August 6, 2003 03:56 PM

Howdy again, Kumulan;

You're right... I didn't address the "Bonnie Issue" at all. You said, "... either you were waiting for her to defend herself or you thought her commentary was as indefensible as I did. Now, which one was it?"

Well, neither really. It wasn't an issue that bothered me either way. Clearly she is fully capable and willing to "defend" herself should she feel a "defense" is necessary, and I, not only being childless myself, but with my own barely conversant "Constitution 101" understanding of the document in question would have been no help whatsoever. Besides, though that particular topic is not a "hot button issue" with me, I can think of plenty of instances where I might be easily goaded into a heated reaction myself... like if my fictional child's teacher was insisting that he/she participate in a daily recitation of the Lord's Prayer, for instance. Boy, I'd be making some local enemies myself over something like that. I'd probably start with some levelheaded discussion about what is and isn't appropriate, but it wouldn't take a whole lot of argument from "them" before they'd find themselves experiencing a whole different side of me.

But then, that's MY issue.

About Bonnie's view that "all good men and women should celebrate their deaths," you said, "With this logic, if you did not go and light off bottle-rockets at the news of their deaths, then you were a no-good, lousy, Ann-Coulterish traiter. This intolerance is what got me going in the first place. Am I the only one who sees it?"

Well, without intending to "speak for Bonnie," I don't think she actually meant go out and buy party favors and break out the fine wine. I think she just meant that everyone should rejoice, in their own way, at the removal of a couple of truly wretched perpetrators of evil, because IT'S GOOD NEWS! Just like we did on VE Day and VJ Day. We danced and wept in the streets over those ones, and we killed a hell of a lot more than 4 people on the way to achieving them. And I don't think we "diminished ourselves" one iota by cheering the brutal demise of those regimes, nor for taking satisfaction in the eventual executions of their worst "war criminals." Those were GOOD days.

So "celebrate" in your own way and to your own degree, but celebrate nonetheless. And I agree with that. The world is a much better place as a result of their elimination... the world has been LIFTED a little bit higher by the vigorous rejection of creatures like them, not diminished... and that IS a cause for celebration.

You also said, "...I specifically DID NOT say that one should have COMPASSION for the deaths of tweedledee and tweedledum."

Yeh, I got that. You were making a statement about a SOCIETY that revels in the deaths of its enemies, and how that sort of "morality" is not indicative of a generally compassionate society. Understood. I don't agree, but I did get that message.

Personally, I don't care how "compassionate" my society is. It's not a relevant virtue for me. Still, having said that, I actually DO think this is a very compassionate society... there is no greater source of charity, international aid, reconstruction, and wide open opportunity than the United States. I'm just glad that, at least for now, it's also a REALISTIC society, in which compassion is secondary to functionality. In other words, when it comes down to one or the other, I'd rather have a system and a foreign policy that WORKS than one that just "feels good," leaving me secure in the knowledge of my higher and nobler nature. I think Jimmy Carter's administration was a classic example of a "compassionate" governance in action, and I hope we learned enough from that experience to never do it again.

Then you lost me again with, "Now, if we weave in a bit of John Donne and agree that collectively, all these societies around the globe make up "mankind", and that, defacto, we are all card-carrying members, that we are all "involved" in mankind, then surely the desired execution of ANY INDIVIDUAL is an admission of our own failure. That it diminishes us, in the eyes of ourselves, and in the eyes of any higher being out there."

Well, that makes an awful lot of blanket assumptions, almost none of which I agree with. (1) I don't know who John Donne is, but, pretty poetry and happy philosophy aside, I don't necessarily agree with his premise just because he's been published and quoted, (2) I don't think that being a card-carrying member of "Mankind" means that I am, by definition, impacted BY or impactful TO any of its other members, any more than (for instance) the generally bad behavior of the pit bull breed has any effect on any other breeds of dogs around the world. My dachshund is not lessened or tainted by each report on the news of a pit bull attack. (3) The execution of any individual does not necessarily indicate a "failure" on anyone's part, much less EVERYone's part. If that was the case, then what does it say about US that we let Uday and Qusay get away with their atrocities for as long as we did? Wasn't THAT a "failure" on ALL our parts? After all, a lot more people died, HORRIBLY, at their hands, and usually without any greater cause than the entertainment of their butchers. So apparently, we should have put a stop to that a LONG time ago. And (4), the extent to which any one is "diminished" is strictly a personal measurement. You say I'm diminished, I say I'm not. Who's right? You say we're all diminished in the "eyes of a higher power, and I say no such "higher power" exists (and I'm not going any further with that here). Again, who's right?

The point is, there's no official "Chart of Diminishment" out there, and your choice to believe in one is just that... your choice. I'll accept that it bothers YOU to hear of someone's death being celebrated. I do NOT accept that any actual diminishment has occurred however. There are WAY too many instances in life where the complete eradication of a particularly nasty virus (in any of its many rhetorical forms) is more than just a grimly accepted necessity... it is a joyous event, a terrible burden shed, a righteous duty performed. Amen and hallelujah!

You're a "moral" person. I can see that. But so am I... so is everyone. It's just a question of definition. And with something that personal and individual, I don't think you can hand out judgments about other people's "diminishment" without expecting that judgment to be shrugged off as presumptuous and even arrogant.

"Pray for them" all you want. Do what you think is right. But leave me out of it. And be ready for your moral judgments to meet resistance if you're going to pass them out here.

GHS

Posted by: on August 6, 2003 06:14 PM

Those are noble sentiments, Andrew H. (and no, I'm not being sarcastic). However, that's a position I can't sympathise with. I wish that their very names would be extinguished, that they achieve true death--oblivion. If there is a life after death, I would wish them to taste even a small part of the pain and horror they have inflicted on others. I don't believe that that happens, though, so I must settle for their memory being "utterly destroyed and sown with salt", figuratively speaking.
I find Donne's statement true on a very deep level. It would resonate with me in this case if I had actually considered Q & U truly human. I do not do so; There's more to humanity, in my mind, than being a featherless biped. The moral sense of right and wrong, the presence of a certain level of empathy and sympathy for other individuals, is a supremely important part of being human. U & Q lacked this. I understand that a lack of "affect" is one of the ways of defining a psychopath. I would personally feel about as much compunction at destroying such a person as I would in putting down a viscious, rabid dog. It's distasteful...but such a being cannot be suffered to live.

Posted by: Jim on August 6, 2003 06:22 PM

Gosh a' golly, GHS went and did my job for me. I'd written up a comment, but accidentally lost it clicking on a link from a friend and was waiting until I was less annoyed to rewrite it. It wasn't as good, anyway.

I will say this, however: I "mocked" the "meek shall inherit the earth" remark because I saw it as condescending and pompous, much as I did the accusations of herd mentality and blind confidence in GWB. (And the implied moral superiority of feeling sorrow that global society is so messed up that it produced poor little Uday and Qusay. They wouldn't have fed people into plastic shredders if only we were all kinder to each other.) Kumulan is not a troll- too reasonable for that- but I'm not inclined to be courteous to those who haven't done me the same favor.

Besides, recorded history seems to indicate that the meek shall mostly get bullied.

Posted by: LabRat on August 6, 2003 06:30 PM

BTW, I must say that I'm very impressed with your posts, GHS. I've gotten into the habit of using them as a "touchstone"; you discover truths that many of the more ideologically commited commentators may not see. Keep 'em coming!

PS How's your foray into the world of the "liberal-leftists" going? Any thoughts?

PPS Kumulan, I disagree with most of what you say. But your posts are challenging and enlightening just the same. You keep 'em coming too.

Posted by: Jim on August 6, 2003 06:39 PM

GHS,
Absolutly fabulous post!
Your "Chart of Diminishment" comment had me rolling! So true, so True.

As for their deaths and the fact that I'm very satisfied that they met they're demise? Even happy (I'll admit it, I toasted the 101st Airborne that night for a job well done). Well, peope die every day. People are MURDERED every day.

So what diminishes me more:
1) The death of Tim McVeigh?
2) The death of an unknown multi-offender murderer/rapist?
3) The death, by righteous shooting, of a burgler while breaking and entering a house?

Answer: To me, they are all justified as a result of their own actions and choices, and me being satisfied that it happened doesn't diminish me at all. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

Same goes for Tweedledum and Tweedledumber.

Posted by: Black Oak on August 6, 2003 08:27 PM

I thought I might have seen a twitch out of the dead horse that is the deaths of the Brothers O' Evil. So I wanted to give a few more thwacks.

Kumalan, I understand the semantic point that you allude to between celebration and grim satisfaction and wanted to explore that a wee smidge. GHS and others have expressed themselves (I think) pretty well.

My feelings are similar to the ones I get when I get a tooth filled, a wart cut out or (presumably) what it would be like to have a tumour excised. Uncomfortable, painful even, but a rollicking good time, ultimately. No matter how happy I am at any one of those, it still isn't as pleasant as an deliciosus steak dinner, an excellent glass of wine or a fine concert. That doesn't mean, however, that if I did any of those things I still wouldn't be happier to get a tooth filled.

This doesn't mean that I am a masochist or enjoy pain or something equally wierd. It simply means that by cutting out the things that make me unhealthy or ill, I can enjoy the purer, simpler pleasures of life much more.

With the deaths of Uday & Qusay, I wasn't jumping in the streets. I would, on any given day, prefer a nice dinner to hearing about the death of 4 men. Nontheless, I am glad to hear that both of them are dead because it means that the world I inhabit is a nicer place for it.

Now when I do get around to having that nice dinner, the ambience is better, perhaps impercetibly, but still better. Why? Because two genuinely evil men have been booted off the mortal coil. So, (raising the imaginary glass of fine wine) here's to those those formerly living fellows who have tortured their last.

Posted by: Anticipatory Retaliation on August 7, 2003 12:29 AM

Well put, AR.

Contrary to obvious appearances, I actually do try to keep my responses brief, failing miserably 90% of the time. And one of the places in my last comment that I opted to skip a fuller elaboration (for the sake of that ever-illusive brevity) was in the explanation of "what kind of 'celebrating' I personally did." Thankfully, Anticipatory Retaliation did it for me, and expressed it at the exact same degree of "pleasure" that I would have taken. Excellent.

I also agree completely with Jim's second paragraph (about the actual "human value" of old U & Q), I believe in what Black Oak referred to (about how a person who consciously chooses to ignore and violate another person's rights thereby abrogates their own), I loved LabRat's final quote ("Besides, recorded history seems to indicate that the meek shall mostly get bullied"), and I agree with Jim's final PPS about Kumulan's contribution to this comment roll. All excellent.

What a great wake-up read.

Now I've got to go to the friggin' dentist.

GHS

Posted by: GreatHairySilverback on August 7, 2003 03:52 AM

Enough with the Kyoto Treaty crep:

http://www.junkscience.com/news3/deweese.htm

It's something that didn't even happen during Bush's watch.

Posted by: David Kuwanoe on August 7, 2003 04:04 AM

Gore's shares in Occidental were not under his control. They were in trust for his mother Pricilla. He could not sell them.

Posted by: Facts on August 7, 2003 05:57 AM

Hello Kumulan,
There's been quite a lot of articulate explanation as to why people were satisfied and happy when Saddam's sons were killed. Here's my perspective, as well.

I come from the school of thought in which no one is the victim of his or her environment. I believe that we are all ultimately responsible for the decisions we make, and the actions we take in life. I prescribe to "do as you will, so long as you harm none". Now, Uday and Qusay were engaged in actively harming a whole lot of people.

When they chose to harm others, they set themselves in reverence of the worth of others. Do you see where I'm going with this? Their lives were not more valuable than yours, or mine, or any of those other poor souls in Iraq.

Sure, they were abused as children. But they chose to buy into the twisted mentality their father presented to them. Before anyone can blast me and say, "Oh, but he brainwashed them," let me just respond and say that I've met a lot of people in my walk through life who were severely abused, and chose to rise above it, ultimately contributing to humanity in profound ways.

Now, since Uday and Qusay, according to my philosophy, chose to exhibit behaviors many of us consider "evil", they became responsible for those actions.

Further, the extreme violence they practiced came to roost on their doorstep, as it were, and they died a violent death as a result. They chose that death. They might have made other choices. Had they surrendered that day, and taken the responsbility to be held accountable for their actions, they might still be around and preparing to face trial. But they didn't, and now they're dead. Deservedly so in my opinion, but that's neither here nor there.

Therefore, I did close my eyes and give heartfelt thanks when I heard that they were dead, and could victimize no one else.

I cannot say that I am sorry about the necessity of killing them. According to my principles and beliefs, they chose their road, and they found the end they'd prepared for themselves.

Now, this post is based upon my personal beliefs, and is therefore deucedly hard to defend. How do you back belief up with fact? But it's my perspective. I take responsibility for voicing it.

Regards,
Linda

Posted by: Linda on August 7, 2003 08:49 AM

GHS - thanks! Nice to be apprecaited! :)

Just as a counter point - I've heard noone crying for the deaths of the Hussein daughters.

BTW, Kumulan, I forgot (foolishly) to thank you specifically for your well-thought out and thought provoking responses and questions. I know that it has at least made this particular commenter do a bit of serious thinking about stuff - and for that, I'm greatful.

Hope ya stick around!

Posted by: Anticipatory Retaliation on August 7, 2003 03:03 PM

Jim writes, 'Those are noble sentiments, Andrew H. (and no, I'm not being sarcastic). However, that's a position I can't sympathise with. I wish that their very names would be extinguished, that they achieve true death--oblivion.'

I assume you meant me (Andrew S.)?

I don't blame you for not sympathising with my position. It's not something I came to easily, or naturally--I'm a Christian, so that kind of forgiveness is my obligation. I'm not good at it, but I have to try--and that means praying for the souls of horrible people, knowing that I may not, spiritually, be in any better a state than they were.

If you're interested, I'd recommend looking at the chapter on forgiveness in C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity. He notes that most people object to the virtue of forgiveness not because they see it as too high and difficult, but because they see it as too low and contemptible. He wrote this when Britain was in the thick of World War II, and talk of forgiving the Nazis was not popular.

Note, though, that while he thought it was his (and everyone's) obligation to forgive the Nazis, he also thought it was their obligation to fight and kill them. That's how I feel about U&Q. I am glad, aboslutely and unalloyedly, that they will never harm another person. I am glad that our occupation has been made easier. I am extremely glad that we killed them without losing any of our own troops, and I much prefer that to taking them alive if it meant putting our troops more at risk.

Still, they were humans made in the image of God. I can mourn for them (for what they became in life, and for their early death), and pray for their souls. And, yes, I can also pray for the people they killed (and I do)--but frankly, I'm not as worried about the fate of the souls of their victims.

Kyrie eleison.

Posted by: Andrew S. on August 7, 2003 05:48 PM

Christe Eleison, Andrew S. (heat of the moment, sorry about the mistake on your name)
I had assumed at first that the sentiments you expressed represented the twisted noblesse oblige indulged in by some leftists, as a way of marking themselves off from the rest of us commoners (an awful lot of sympathy is shown to criminals by the chattering classes from that motive). After thinking over your post, I suspected your reasons for doing so were not that. Thanks for your post just above. You've chosen a difficult path...May your Lord give you strength.

Posted by: Jim on August 8, 2003 05:47 AM

Bill, I just read your July 30 posting, and I feel I need to say something here, that I've already said on other pages.
Islam was much more free than was christianity at the time of its creation. Mohammed's first task was to emancipate women, for whom he had enormous respect. At the time, it was common to have dozens of wives, treated as simple possessions. Mohammed limited the number to four, or one if the man fears he will not treat them equally. (Middle Ages -I think it's excusable that they didn't have Jeffersonian democracy yet). While his wife, Khadijah, lived, he never took a second wife. In the original Muslim community, Jews and Christians had to pay an extra tax, but were otherwise accepted -Mohammed condemmned any racism against them. Islamic women were much more free than European Christian women. It was only recently that women began being treated as possessions. Those who do this, people like Osama, are ISLAMISTS -not ISLAMIC. Khomeini, Khadafi and Osama are people who hide behind a religion to accomplish their criminal goals. ISALMISM is a political movement composed of such people. ISLAM is a RELIGION. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE, JUST LIKE THEIR IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TEACHINGS OF CHRIST AND THOSE OF THE IRA. As for Islam meaning submission, in the Bible, didn't Abraham have to prove his total submission to God by almost killing Isaac? Holy war; well, didn't Moses kill a lot of Egyptians to get out of Egypt? When the Hebrews worshipped a golden calf, didn't he kill a lot of them for blasphemy?I have stated before that I am not a liberal, that I was for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and if anyone thinks I'm on the socialist/French payroll, I refer you to my comments on the Bill Whittle's FRANCE COUNTERATTACKS page. But PLEASE, guys, realize that Islam is NOT limited to maniacs like Osama, just like Christianity is NOT limited to the Crusades, the massacres during the wars of religion in Europe, or the IRA terrorist attacks.

Posted by: Artoo on August 8, 2003 08:40 AM

A final word. Mohammed considered Abraham, Isaac, Moses, and Jesus to be prophets. As in, he respected them as people who prepared the ground for the true faith (from his point of view) of Islam. A lot of people try to make Allah look like an evil god like Kali in Temple of Doom. In truth, Mohammed made no distinction between his God and that of the Jews and Christians. OK so he didn't believe Jesus was the son of God. So? Neither do the Jews.

Posted by: Artoo on August 8, 2003 08:50 AM

Oh and BTW; why are you judgeing Islam based on people like Khomeini and Khadafi? Isn't Mahmoud Abbas a Muslim? Isn't reformist Mohammed Khatami a Muslim? Isn't President Hammid Karzai a Muslim?
What about moderate countries like Morocco, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman? Aren't they Muslim too?

Posted by: Artoo on August 8, 2003 09:00 AM

Artoo, why don't imams from the "moderate" Muslim countries come out and tell everyone: "Those guys are not really Muslim. They are lying about my religion."? I suggest you go over to http://www.littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/weblog.php. They keep their eyes open for any stories about Islam and Muslims. If they find stories about moderate Muslims acting like human beings, rather than murderous animals, they report it.

One last question, Artoo :"Why do the "moderate" Muslim countries speak out aginst the other Muslim countries which call for the extermination of the Israelis?

Posted by: Eric SIvula on August 8, 2003 10:39 AM

I'll check out that site later. Promise. For now, let me focus on the second question.
Fifty or so years ago, strangers from the UN came down to a country called Palestine. It's been Arab since the seventh century as I recall. They say, okay guys, from now on, half your country is gonna be called Israel.
Can you imagine what we'd do if the UN pulled that on us? I'm gonna tell you what we'd do; we'd tell the UN to shove it up its @$$, and we'd fight to the deathto defend America.
Why is it a crime for them to do that? Because they're just little dark-skinned rag-heads who don't have the right to defend their land? Is that it? It is THEIR land. Not Israel's. The Bible is all well and good but it happenned 2000 years ago. Meanwhile, it's been Arab since the seventh century. When they are dictated to by strangers, robbed of their land and dragged in the dirt, they react just as Americans would. THEY FIGHT.
Why do you think they got so antisemite? Do you think they were just born like that, that racism is inherent in the Arab mind? It's because the only Jews they know are those who routinely humiliate, cheat and kill them.
Israel exists, by UN mandate. I agree that it's too late to change that. Eliminating Israel is no longer an option, but you also need to find a plan that recognizes Muslim rights. The Middle East is not composed of just Jews and savages, much as many people in the States want to pretend it is.
I don't even think Israeli occupation of Palestine is illegitimate. They have a right to occupy a foreign country to protect themselves from ennemies, as we did in Iraq. The difference is that we there are loads of Israeli religious fundamentalists who set up colonies, claiming that Palestine is all theirs because it was Jewish two thousand years ago. The Arabs were there more recently, and by UN mandate, they have a rught to their own soil. The Israelis, though, consider thenselves above THAT part of the mandate, feeling that their annexation of Palestine is legitimate because... Because they think they're the f_cking master race or something?
Why don't the moderates speak out against the extermination of the Israelis, you ask? Well, why don't any Israelis speak out against the colonization of Palestine? The Arabs have been humiliated by the Israelis for fifty years, why should they be sympathetic to them?
Besides, remember how in the Gulf war the PLO stood behind Iraq? After that there was one huge backlash against the Palestinian immigrants in Kuwait. Arab solidarity towards Palestine has its limits. But they still see the Israelis as invaders, and so see no reason to be friendly to them than we would if someone took, say, all America west of the Mississipi away from us.
Last question; how many Muslims do you personally know? (That's a just for information, I am not assuming anything).

Posted by: Artoo on August 8, 2003 12:11 PM

"The difference is that there are loads of Israeli..."
Sorry, the "we" part is an error.

Posted by: Artoo on August 8, 2003 12:14 PM

Sorry for bad writing in general. I was kinda rushed.

Posted by: Artoo on August 8, 2003 12:16 PM

I took a look at the first messages from littlegreenfootballs. I saw a message about Palestinian kids saying they "would never turn their backs on the cause". For that, I refer you to my earlier statement; they don't like invaders any more than we do.
I also saw a lot of nasty stories about the Muslim world. Yeah, well in the middle-ages, it wouldn't be easy to find a priest who denounced the Christian extremists either. This doesn't mean that Jesus himself said, "Kill all the infidels". Well, nor did Mohammed.
"When Muslims start behaving like humans, they'll report it." This is just my opinion, but from looking at the site's political tendencies, I'd say, no, they won't -they seem pretty dedicated to making all Muslims look bad.
Why do I say this? Look where the stories are coming from; Saudi Arabia? Pakistan? Jordan (Palestinian client state)? I haven't read all the way down yet but I have yet to see a story coming from a truly moderate country like Morocco or Kuwait. Obviously, if you go into the most violent, radical environments, you'll hear what you want to hear, but it won't necessarily give you good info on the moderate environments.
One last reason why imams don't usually speak out against the killing of Jews. If they did, radicals like al-Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, GIA and so forth would have them executed in a very short time. Similarly, the Iraqi people never said anything but praise about Saddam, because if they had, they'd be dead. Doesn't mean they were all "Baathist animals".

Posted by: Artoo on August 8, 2003 12:42 PM

Artoo-

Boss, slow down a little. I think that there are more than a few people who grasp the fundamental distinction between Islam and the Islamism (like that of Qutb).

The thing that some people may not have explored that thouroughly is that while not all Muslims are terrorists, all the terrorists who were involved in 9/11 were, indeed Muslim. Far as that goes, the disproportionate number of killings of Americans in terrorist attacks has been at the hands of Muslims.

Now, you and I both know, the real core of the story is that their exists a cadre of utter nutjobs, going around killing in the name of Islam, but that their behavior is not representative of the whole. In fact, I think most people recognize that. However, since we don't run into as nearly as many Buddhist, Hindu, Christian or Jewish terrorists running around killing Americans, it isn't any wonder that we start asking serious questions about Islam.

The only reason that Islam is currently occupying the spotlight is that the other historical runners-up in the Killing Americans Sweepstakes are all on the ashheap of history.

Lotta other stuff to say, but I gotta run.

Posted by: Anticipatory Retaliation on August 8, 2003 01:45 PM

FWIW, I would not wholeheartedly recommend LittleGreenFootballs. I don't think it shows us or our cause in the best light. There's a lot of good information there, but the author is very eager to view everything in the most pessimmistic way possible. (We've got enough real enemies, we don't need to go imagining even more...) And the people who post comments there are pretty dang scary. A lot of people there seem to be way out in the Kahane fringe.

Posted by: Andrew S. on August 8, 2003 01:55 PM

Artoo, I don't think anyone here really believes that Islam in and of itself is inherently a destructive religion or that Arabs or Muslims are violent beasts by nature.

It *doesn't matter* that a thousand years ago Christians were violent and intolerant and Muslims were tolerant and enlightened, because taken as broad cultural movements (Europe, America, Australia versus most of the Middle East and Southeast Asia), TODAY it's just not true anymore. One religion and cultural group had a reformation of the church and an Enlightenment that broke the absolute power of the church forever, and the other had a fundamentalist reformation that set science and cultural toleration back, not forward.

This is not to say there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim. Obviously there are, and I do in fact personally know a few. They are DISGUSTED at the main face of their religion, and they don't blame the Westerners, they blame the extremists. Most Islamic evangelism comes from the Saudi brand, and there've been several scandals lately about mainstream campus groups and political groups being found to have ties to terrorist groups or, during "nonpublic" meetings, flatly stating that their goal was to turn their host country (America included) into an Islamic state under shar'ia. I realize there are moderate Muslims. The problem is *they are not the majority*, and *they are not the most politically active*. They're perfectly nice, peaceful citizens. The problem is the militants are many, and they aren't nice or peaceful, and moderate Islam is making no real effort whatever to disown or quash them. We don't focus on them because they are neither the problem nor at all likely to become part of the solution anytime soon.

Speaking for myself, I would have sympathy for the Palestinians if it weren't the for the fact that they are *utterly unwilling to compromise*. It's been more than fifty years, and the question of whether Israel has a right to exist is no longer relevant, because it does exist and the people living there are sure as hell not willing to pick up and go wandering around the world again waiting for another final solution or pogrom. Additionally, there are tons of disenfranchised and generally unfortunate or abused cultures around the world, and somehow they manage to cope with it without deliberately murdering as many civilians, including children, as they possibly can. They're also willing to compromise. The Palestinians don't want their own state- one has been offered to them many times- they want Isreal gone. This lack of willingness to compromise may not be true of every Palestinian, or even the average one trying to get through the week without becoming involved in a rocket attack, but it's uniformly true of their leadership, and until that's changed it's still a problem. The average Japanese citizen might not have been interested in creating a Pacific Rim Co-Prosperity Sphere, but that didn't make the Imperial Japanese any less dangerous.

Posted by: LabRat on August 8, 2003 02:04 PM

True. I apologize for sounding a bit too extreme in defense of the Palestineans. It is unfortunately true that the moderates are not the majority, and it is unfortunately true that the Palestineans, as a general rule, are unwilling to compromise.
However, keep in mind what I said: from their point of view, Israel had no right to be there in the first place, it was imposed by foreigners. While such thinking is probably outdated by now, it is hard for them to forget the humiliation of what they view as a foreign occupation.
I also disagree that the moderates are likely to become part of the solution soon. In Iran, the younger generation is eager for change, as we see from regular student protests. President Khatami himself is a good example of this. Iran is a prime state sponsor of Islamic fundamentalism, and when the change occurs, which I think shouldn't be too far into the future, the effect should certainly be felt all over the Middle East. In Afghanistan, the change has already occured; my dad worked on reconstruction over there for a few months and was very impressed with the Afghans. Sadly, there is no way to quickly solve the problem in Arab populations like the Syrians or Palestineans, who are after all the heart of the matter.
Since September 11, I've heard some propaganda stories I didn't like attacking Islam as a religion. Since there are quite a few Muslims in my school, not a few of them girls and most of which I get along with well (the "moderate" kind you mentioned LabRat), I have a tendency to overreact when I hear stuff that goes too close to attacking Islamic religion itself.
Okay, I'll behave from now on.

Posted by: Artoo on August 8, 2003 03:18 PM

I'm going to keep this uncharacteristically short, just because I'm expecting a call and have to get off the line. But I felt I had to say one thing to Artoo before I did...

Hyper, rushed, overreactive or not, I thought those were some excellent posts you just made. I understood your passion and the reasons for it fully, and had no problem whatsoever with it. It didn't succumb to rancor, it provided facts and history and logic, and the fervor with which it was expressed seemed, to me, entirely appropriate. And on top of all that, I learned more about the relations and situations in the Middle East in those few paragraphs than I had at any time previously. Call me ignorant, but I thought that was excellent.

Good counterpoint too, LabRat, also done without discrediting Artoo's valid points.

I enjoyed that, Artoo. Thanks.

GHS

Posted by: GreatHairySilverback on August 8, 2003 05:46 PM

Artoo makes some reasonable points, I don't agree entirely, but they are worth thinking about. However, Khatami seems to be a moderate only in comparison to the Ayatollahs, in any other milieu he would be considered a fascist.

Posted by: Jamie Jacoby on August 8, 2003 06:26 PM

Artoo, I would be interested in what you might have to say about the state sponsorship of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries like Syria? As I understand it, Wahhabism teaches a hatred of the West and all things Western and this was taught to very little kids in schools, in their text books. As a matter of fact when Colin Powell recently visited Syria, they promised to remove those texts from their elementary schools as part of a good will gestureto the USA. I think that is a good step towards moderation, and in stopping the state sanctioned militant hatred of the West.

Posted by: EB on August 8, 2003 07:22 PM

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/saudi/analyses/wahhabism.html

^^^^^^ PBS page about wahhabism

Posted by: EB on August 8, 2003 07:56 PM

Artoo, you do realize that the Israelis were attacked in 1948, right? That 4 Arab countries attacked Israel before it had done any "humiliating" of Arabs. The country had existed less than 24 hours before the Jordanians, Lebanese, Syrians and Eygptians declared war on the Israelis. Do you really think that the Israelis would be so sensitive to their borders if their Arab neighbors were not constantly screaming for the annihilation of Israel.

If the Arabs Anti-semitism was born in 1948, then why were major Arab political and religious figures voicing support for Hitler's Anti-Jewish policies? Look at this link http://www.chuckmorse.com/hitler_palestinian_arabs.html The Mufti of Jerusalem, the highest Muslim jurist there, sought support for the Nazis for the extermination of all Jews in the Middle East. He visited Death Camps. Here is a picture of the Mufti meeting HITLER. http://www.jerusalem-archives.org/period3/3-25.html

Sorry, Artoo, from the evidence I have seen, Arab Anti-Semitism was well rooted before Israel came into existence. The Arabs hate Israel for being full of Jews, not the Jews for living in Israel.

Posted by: Eric Sivula on August 8, 2003 11:11 PM

Yes, I realize that Arab anti-semitism dates back to before 1948, in fact, I'll give you an example; in 1937, Saddam's father-figure Khayrallah supported a pro-Nazi coup which the British put a stop to. However, I think before 1948, this was more the trademark of anti-western governments/upper classes (Khayrallah was in the Iraqi army, then became a teacher, which suggests some education) anxious to stand up to the British and their allies. I don't think the ordinary Arab civillian really cared one way or another until the Israelis settled in Palestine. And, yes, I also realize that the Israelis were attacked in 1948, as soon as they were created. However, for the Arabs, the humiliating thing was really that foreigners had come to create a foreign nation on what had been Arab soil since...hold on and let me get a book...
636. (Battle of Yarmuk? I'll have to check that). Moreover, the Muslims also have a religious claim to Jerusalem, which I believe is where Mohammed was taken to heaven. (I'll have to double-check that too).
Yes, since they were attacked, the Israelis DID have the right to occupy Palestine, just like we did have the right to occupy Afghanistan after September 11. However, the difference is that we did not annex Afghanistan or Iraq, whereas the Israelis pretty much annexed Palestine. We don't have priests in those countries setting up religious colonies to make them our fifty-first and -second states.
I recognize that the Jews probably were in bad need of a homeland after the genocide and all the slaughters which had been commited against them. In all fairness, though, it would probably have been more equitable to turn half of Germany and Austria into a Jewish state -the ones responsible for the genocide were, after all, the Nazis, they should be the ones getting punished. I don't think they were in a position to offer any resistance, either. Yes, the Holy Land does have far more meaning to the Jewish people than does Germany, but it also has great meaning for the Muslims, not to mention the Christians. Taking over half of Germany wouldn't have been igniting the oldest religious situation in the world.
By the way, my opinion for Jerusalem is that it should be internationalized, with Israel, the Arabs and the Vatican all having a say in the way it's run; it's really the only fair solution. However, I can't figure out any fourth party which would be accepted by all three sides as an impartial judge. If any one has any ideas, please post them.
Finally, what do I have to say about Wahhabbi state-sponsored terrorism? My opinion is that it's going to stop pretty soon. The reason is simple. Osama hates the Saudi royal family for being so close to the United States, and one of his first objectives is to eliminate them and replace them with an Islamist state (I know it's difficult to imagine something worse than the present Saudi regime, but trust me, it CAN, and unfortunately may very well get worse). To support al-Qaeda much more would be suicidal for the royal family -I don't think they're that stupid.
By the way, I think the attacks in Saudi Arabia not long ago are the biggest mistake Osama made. It made the Saudi people realize that he intends to target them as well, begin to consider him as an ennemy, and rally more around the Saudi royal family -and, therefore, around us indirectly.

Posted by: Artoo on August 9, 2003 08:30 AM

More on the Saudis. Recommended reading -"Princess (true story of life behind the veil in Saudi Arabia)", by Jean P. Sasson. A Saudi royal princess tells the story of her life via the author, a friend of hers. Highly critical of Saudi male oppression, the book provides interesting insight into life in Saudi Arabia. It's a trilogy, I've read the first and second but not the third. Strongly recommended.

Posted by: Artoo on August 9, 2003 08:43 AM

Appropos of Artoo's most recent post:

I recall several decades ago that a Saudi princess and her lover were condemned to death by beheading when they were discovered. An American television program was prepared, with a lot of publicity and outcry about the oppressive nature of the Saudi society for allowing this sort of oppression. The Saudi government protested, and astoundingly, the broadcast of the program was cancelled.

That's my recollection, and I'm still not sure of the significance or even accuracy of all that. Does anyone else know any more? I believe the title of the program was "Death of a Princess."

David March

p.s. Thanks to all of you for some of the best reading of the month.

Posted by: David March on August 9, 2003 09:39 AM

I am reminding myself that Bill Whittle's opening comments were about Uday and Qusay, so I'm going to post something on that. We all know that these two were Saddam's most important associates. Qusay was groomed by his father to become his successor -as I understand, he already participated in some gross crimes against the Iraqi Shiite population. I have no doubt that as a ruler he would have been every bit as ruthless and bloody as Saddam himself. As for Uday, we all know about his crimes. He tortured Iraqi athletes just because they lost games, organized the Fedayeen Saddam gestapo, and routinely kidnapped girls to rape them.
These guys were among the worst criminals on Planet Earth. If someone brought them to a fair trial over here, is there any doubt in anyone's mind that they would get the death penalty? Well they got it. The end result is the same as it would be in a trial, right?
As far as Saddam goes, same thing. It would obviously be better to capture him alive, but if that proves too difficult, like with Uday and Qusay, we shouldn't hesitate; we should take him out when we had the chance.
David March, concerning your comment, no, I don't know what you're talking about, but I can well believe it. There are several similar stories in the book I mentioned.

Posted by: Artoo on August 9, 2003 11:47 AM

If you'll look at Israel's borders pre-annexation from a strictly tactical standpoint, it becomes obvious why they're so aggressive about hanging on to the land they annexed: their current tactical situation is MUCH better than the one they had previously. For the same reason they don't want to give Palestinians full citizenship within Isreal (which would make Jews a minority in their own state, hello pogroms again), they don't want to voluntarily create an advantageous tactical situation for a group of nations that have never stopped saying out loud that they have no right to exist in the first place. It may not be fair, but genocide is less fair, and they've had more than their fill of that.

Giving part of Germany or Austria to the Jews would have been politically impossible at the end of WWII. Remember the Soviet Union? They already took half of Germany. Given a choice between one group of people who hated them and two groups of people who not only hated them but had recently made fairly successful attempts at mass genocide, I can see why the Jews wouldn't have wanted to stay in Europe.

The Israel/Palestine situation is not fair. But LIFE is not fair, as harsh as that sounds. Life hasn't been fair to the Jews since, well, forever, and they are no less deserving of a break than the Palestinians. I recognize the Pals and Arabs have a reason to be angry, but their anger and their demands are completely out of proportion to the situation- and can only make it worse and worse.

Posted by: LabRat on August 9, 2003 02:31 PM

Artoo, why Germany and Austria? More Jews lived in Poland and Russia, whose populations often gleefully aided the Nazis in exterminating the Jews. And why would the Jews want to live anywhere near the Germans, who ahd just killed 6 MILLION of them.
The Zionist movement ahd always called for a Jewish homeland, away from the Europeans. Why would they want one in the middle of Europe?
If the Arabs were so humiliated by foreigners being on their land, why didn't they try to throw off their Turkish overlords? It took the British galvanizing the Arabs against the Turks during World War I. Before that the Arabs did not attempt to throw those foreign invaders. Do the Arabs only try to throw off weak "invaders" that humiliate them?

As for the average Arab not being an anti-Semite, what about the messages about Jews in the Koran? the Arab world-view since 700AD has been built around the Koran, which says that Jews are lying, conniving, greedy people, who willingly turned away from God. Arabs stories have circulated for years that Jews use the blood of non-Jewish children in their rituals. If the Arab peasantry took these characterizations at face value, why wouldn't they be anti-Semites?

Are all Arabs bad? No. Do Arabs live under regimes that control the information they can hear? Yes. However, Arabs do not call for the Israelis to leave, and return the land to the Palestinians, who refused to call themselves that before 1948 war. Arabs call for the eradication of Israel, and all who live there. And if Arab countries are so concerned about Palestine, and those who live there, why do they not allow more Palestinians to live in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, the UAE, Egypt, etc?

As for the idea of having the Vatican, Israel and some Arab group share control of Jerusalem, why the Vatican? Roman Catholics are a minority of all Christians, and the Greek Orthodox church is just as old.

Posted by: Eric Sivula on August 9, 2003 02:40 PM

Why are Arabs not more concerned with Palestine? First of all, because, strange as that may seem, the Palestineans are one hell of a pain in the ass to many Arab regimes. Since most Arab populations are all for Palestine, Arafat can use this to make coax those regimes into folowing his lead. (Much the way public opinion back here would prevent our government from taking any steps too adverse to Israel's positions). This is not the sort of thing the Arab rulers appreciate, so they aren't anxious to be TOO nice to the Palestineans. In the Gulf states, the reason is even more obvious. The PLO stood behind Saddam's invasion of Kuwait. The Kuwaitis hate them for that, and the rest of the Gulf kingdoms are their friends, and I think care more about them than about the Palestineans.
The message about Jews in the Koran? I thought we'd settled that. In the Koran, it is said several times; "Allah has favored the sons of Israel more than all the universe." In the original Umma, or Muslim community, Jews and Christians were accepted by Mohammed so long as they paid an extra tax. Later rulers used the Jews as scapegoats, the same way Christians did. Mohammed did not preach the extermination of all the Jews, nor did Jesus. Later rulers did. The Koran does not say that Jews are lying, conniving bastards who turned away from God, later rulers did, and if you're looking for the book which most captures the ideas of the fundamentalists, I suggest you turn to Khadafi's Little Green Book rather than the Koran.
LabRat, their current tactical situation is much better, I've admitted that, but you still haven't explained to me why they can't just occupy, like we do in Iraq. Tactically, the situation would be identical, but there's absolutely no need for rabbis yelling, "People of Israel, the land given to the Arabs by the UN truly belongs to you, because GOD gave it to us two thousand years ago!" Uh -no. That's using religion to pursue a political position. The same basic idea as that the radical imams apply.
"Life is not fair?" Okay. Here's one question none of you has answered so far; what do you think we'd do if someone took away all of America west of the Mississipi, gave it away to the Native Americans, and then the Natives just took away the east and Alaska away on top of that? And then someone just told us, "life isn't fair, it hasn't been fair to the Natives, they deserve a break". And then, someone over in Europe would say, "America's wealth and status was based on the extermination of the Native Americans, and America is inherently racist towards Native Americans. Haven't you seen all their Westerns, and cowboy movies? Americans LIKE killing Native Americans -it's in their nature". First of all, I would disagree, because although we have been inexcusably racist towards them, nowhere is it written in the Constitution (which is to America what the Bible is to Christianity, right?) is it written, KILL ALL THE REDSKINNED BASTARDS. (Same thing with the Koran and Muslims). And all the charges the Europeans and others would bring against us for the way we've treated our natives, they'd all be true. The way we have treated them throughout history is indeed unforgivable. But that wouldn't matter. We would still pick up arms and fight them, at the risk of our own life, to win back our country. What, then, is the difference between that and what the Palestineans are doing?
Do you claim that we would not use terrorism? There are people who'd do it cheerfully, here like everywhere else, and the rest of us wouldn't feel too sorry for the victims, since they'd be part of the people who are living on our soil illegally. The rest of the world would take note of the terrorist attacks that some of us would be committing, and decide, based on those few, that we do not merit their sollicitude.
The Koran does not preach that Jews are inherently inferior to other people. It probably does state somewhere that Islam is a better religion than all the others, but hey, we all believe our religion is more right than the others.
As for the Arab response being fully out of proportion, let me remind you of the Palestinean refugee camp in Lebanon where members of the Christian terrorist groups attacked the camp and slaughtered everyone inside it, including women and children, while the Israeli army (commanded by Ariel Sharon himself), who could have stopped it all the time, simply crossed their arms and enjoyed the show. (Much the way Stalin could have prevented the destruction of Warsaw, but the Soviets simply sat down on their collective @$$ and watched, thinking, "Fine, that saves us a job!"). Many people also believe that Sharon encouraged the Christians to some extent in their slaughter, which makes him an accomplice in the crime, at least as far as the Arabs are concerned, and I would have to agree.
"Why should the Israelis be sympathetic to the Palestineans?", I've been asked. "They are sworn ennemies!" Simple. Because, Israel, unlike its neighbors and whatever I may think about their fundamentalists, is a DEMOCRACY. A democracy is bound by certain sacred principles, which is all the difference between them and dictatorships like the Arab countries. The best way to get recognition from the European populations, most of whom are very unfriendly to Israel, is simply to NOT behave like their ennemies. They have to show that they're better than them. In Afghanistan, we were attacked, and we could have, according to classical war traditions, carpet-bombed the entire country, destroyed civillians populations -hell, they do it to us, can't we do the same? No. We behaved correctly in Afghanistan, and THAT is above all what won us the respect, trust, cooperation and friendship of the Afghan people. I'm not naive enough to think that simple good manners will overcome fifty years of hatred for Israel from the Palestineans, but it WILL gain them respect from the non-Arab world -possibly even non-Arab Muslims. Remember how everyone disapproved of the Vietnam war? That was because of the way we brutalized the Vietnamese population on several noteworthy occasions. Not because it was illegitimate to defend our ally South Vietnam.
Finally. The Koran does not preach the extermination of Jews, even if the Little Green Book does. For the sake of argument, Eric Sivula, let's assume that it did. You have not explained to me why the Palestinean CHRISTIANS, a sizeable portion of the population I might add, have the same views on the issue.
Oh yeah, I forgot. The Arabs resented the Ottoman occupation, they didn't like the Ottomans at all, but they were so thoroughly defeated that they just gave up on the issue. You say the British stirred them up against the Ottomans. Could they have done so if there hadn't been a lot of resentment at the time against them? All they did was give the Arabs the means to fight back (weapons and credible backing), and the Arabs were very pleased to take them up on their offer. Three other differences with the current issues; first, the Ottomans did not impose a strange religion, which made them easier to accept. That isn't antisemitism -it's the universal tendency to better accept someone who holds some the same beliefs you do. Second, religious fundamentalism hadn't made that much progress at the time yet, which would explain why terrorism wasn't such an issue.
Third -that was then and this is now. At the time, it was common practice for countries or people to conquer each other. But, however much the rulers control the info networks, the Arabs aren't stupid, least of all the Palestineans. Unlike what happened back then, there is now international law which says that is is illegal to invade a country and steal land from them. The Arabs know that perfectly well, and that's possibly what enrages them the most -why does the world condemn instances like Kuwait and Tibet, but sanction it when it comes to them?
Well, I've written enough for one evening. I look forwards to arguing more tomorrow. See you everybody.

Posted by: Artoo on August 9, 2003 05:07 PM

David March writes, 'That's my recollection, and I'm still not sure of the significance or even accuracy of all that. Does anyone else know any more? I believe the title of the program was "Death of a Princess."'

I remember way back when (I think in the 80s) watching a PBS show called "Death of a Princess", that sounds like what you describe. So something did get broadcast. (IMDB lists it as having been made in 1980-- IMDB: Death of a Princess )

I wouldn't be surprised to hear that there was a huge Saudi protest against making the movie, and for all I know, they might have affected the content. And I'm sure they lean on PBS every time they consider rebroadcasting it. But it did get made.

Artoo--as to Jews & the Koran, I think it's fair to say that the record is very mixed. There are good things, there are bad things. Even in the golden age of Muslim Spain, Jews lived under restrictions that would be considered intolerable today (though far lighter than conditions in Christian Europe at that time). And Muslim Jew-haters find more than enough in the Koran, and especially in the Hadith, to back them up. ("Oh Muslim, oh servant of God, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him...")

I think if Islam reforms and moderates, and Muslims want to live in peace with Jews, they'll be able to find more than enough in the Koran to support them. I repeat, if they want to live in peace, they'll find support. But given that right now they want war, they're finding more than enough in the Koran to support that, too.

Posted by: Andrew S. on August 9, 2003 05:24 PM

Artoo, I read more than enough anti-Semitic quotes from the Koran, not later works. Tty this link, it cites which passage and which translation of the Koran each quote comes from. Link :http://www.eretzyisroel.org/~jkatz/koran.html

I think Andrew S. is right about this one. If the Arabs wanted peace, the Koran gives them plenty of support. It also gives as much support for Muslims who seek war.

The Koran includes many entreatments and calls to the faithful for war on the unbelievers, and includes a chapter on the details looting, taking slaves and how the proceeds are to be split. I have never heard on any such chapters in any other holy text. Have you, Artoo? Islam may be a "Religion of Peace", but it gives many excuses and lists many rewards for going to war.

Artoo, Islamism being a perversion of Islam sounds quite plausible, however the evidence is that the perversion you mentioned does not include introducing anti-Semitism. That existed in the Koran, and thus in the beginnings of Islam.

Posted by: Eric Sivula on August 9, 2003 07:16 PM

In my (never to be) humble opinion, the "Palestinian" claim on Israel is as tenuous as is America's claim to Madagascar. Consider:

Israel became a nation in 1312 B.C.E., two thousand years before the rise of Islam. Arab refugees in Israel began identifying themselves as part of a Palestinian people in 1967, two decades after the establishment of the modern State of Israel. (More on them later.) Since the Jewish conquest in 1272 B.C.E. the Jews have had dominion over the land for one thousand years with a continuous presence in the land for the past 3,300 years. The only Arab dominion since the conquest in 635 C.E. lasted no more than 22 years. For over 3,300 years, Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital Jerusalem has never been the capital of any Arab or Muslim entity.

Even when the Jordanians occupied Jerusalem, they never sought to make it their capital, and Arab leaders did not come to visit.

Jerusalem is mentioned over 700 times in Tanach, the Jewish Holy Scriptures. Jerusalem is not mentioned once in the Koran.

King David founded the city of Jerusalem. Mohammed never came to Jerusalem.

Jews pray facing Jerusalem. Muslims pray with their backs toward Jerusalem.

Arab and Jewish Refugees:

In 1948 the Arab refugees were encouraged to leave Israel by Arab leaders promising to purge the land of Jews. Sixty-eight percent left without ever seeing an Israeli soldier. The Jewish refugees were forced to flee from Arab lands due to Arab brutality, persecution and pogroms. The number of Arab refugees who left Israel in 1948 is estimated to be around 630,000. The number of Jewish refugees from Arab lands is estimated to be the same. Arab refugees were intentionally not absorbed or integrated into the Arab lands to which they fled, despite the vast Arab territory. Out of the 100,000,000 refugees since World War II, theirs is the only refugee group in the world that has never been absorbed or integrated into their own peoples' lands. Jewish refugees were completely absorbed into Israel, a country no larger than the state of New Jersey.

The Arab - Israeli Conflict:

The Arabs are represented by eight separate nations, not including the Palestinians. There is only one Jewish nation. The Arab nations initiated all five wars and lost. Israel defended itself each time and won. The P.L.O.'s Charter still calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. Israel has given the Palestinians most of the West Bank land, autonomy under the Palestinian Authority, and has supplied them with weapons. Under Jordanian rule, Jewish holy sites were desecrated and the Jews were denied access to places of worship. Under Israeli rule, all Muslim and Christian sites have been preserved and made accessible to people of all faiths.

The U.N. Record on Israel and the Arabs: Of the 175 Security Council resolutions passed before 1990, 97 were directed against Israel. Of the 690 General Assembly resolutions voted on before 1990, 429 were directed against Israel.

The U.N. was silent while 58 Jerusalem Synagogues were destroyed by the Jordanians. The U.N. was silent while the Jordanians systematically desecrated the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives. The U.N. was silent while the Jordanians enforced an apartheid-like policy of preventing Jews from visiting the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.

(Full disclosure: I didn't write this, I got it in an e-mail from a Jewish friend about a year ago. It's still as relevant.)

Posted by: VRWCman on August 10, 2003 10:05 AM

Hi All,

At the risk of dredging up some old wrecks (WARNING: link has no relevance to this post but is an interesting aside..;-), I post below what I meant to post last Thursday (07 Aug.) evening. I was late for a plane and probably went as far as "Preview" but forgot the "Post". If you want to move on to other things (Artoo has certainly taken a different path) then, by all means, please ignore the below. However, if you feel like dropping some more depth charges (no mixed metaphors here), then, by all means, be my guest. Oh, and don't worry, I HAVE NOT "Karl Roved" (ie. my moniker for intellectual dishonesty) the post by updating it based on subsequent comments.

Whoops, one last thing. Just want to say AR, ditto (your 07 Aug. post) on making me exercise my grey matter...thanks.

From Thu. 07 Aug:

Just to give you all a little background, I have spent a lot of time lurking in blogs, boards, etc. without ever really contributing anything meaningful. Finally, I thought that if I were to contribute, then it would be much more gratifying to do so on a board where my opinions are dissected and challenged rather than being one of the crowd. Thanks for validating that premise.

Now, back to the story.

Jamie, thanks for the detail on the global warming issue. I am happy to get a response from someone "in the business". However, with that logic (pure numeric modeling), we'll all be sitting on top of a self-made global barbecue grill before someone steps up to POTUS and says, "Sir (or M'am), there's a problem". I readily admit that this is a mostly emotional reaction of mine, but I just can't believe that all the CO2 emissions we (globally) are pumping into the atmosphere (and the Chinese haven't even got started!) is having little or no effect on our global climate. One thing I should have emphasized more, and it would have fit in much more neatly with the "Why the world hates GWB" opening, is that it is not so much the failure to ratify the Kyoto protocol that ticked off everyone but the manner in which good ol' Dubya declared it (the protocol) "dead" (ie. flouted it). This absolutely smacked of arrogance.

I just did a little Googlearch (ugh, fact-checking). Included in Bush's campaign pledge was the following: "that global warming poses grave dangers to our environment, our economy, and our national security, and that this country must reduce its CO2 emissions". Now that sounds like "the check is in the mail" to me. If CO2 emissions have dropped during his administration (help me out someone), then I contend they are a more the result of less economic activity (the economy being in the shitter) than any Bush administration activism.

My final footnote on this as it IS a digression after all: the stat that rings in my ears: 4% of the world's population (the US) creates 25% of the total amount of greenhouse gases. Hate to tell you, but that ain't sustainable (see Chinese remark above). I am not US-bashing but that is one of those hard facts that most of you love screaming out that something is out of whack.

Andrew S, wow. Your posts are short, to the point and a pleasure to read. While my dragging Mr. Donne into all of this was not carried off flawlessly (I did muddle some of it), you picked out the essence of what Donne was trying to say and phrased it very well.

Eric SIvula, both of your posts are off track. If you had read my (as well as Andrew S's) reply closely, you would have noticed that neither contests your premise that whacking the two Husseins brothers makes the world a safer place (ie probably saves lives). I won't go on other than to say please read the "grim satisfaction in justice being done" part one more time.

GHS, also without going on too long (it seems you and I have the same problem to keep the word count down), I will say that I appreciate your well-thought out, eloquent replies.

However, now that the niceties are out of the way, let me tell you how misguided you really are, ha, ha!

"""Personally, I don't care how "compassionate" my society is. It's not a relevant virtue for me.""" What is that all about? The rest of your post I can live with (that hardly means agree) but this line puzzles me. I would venture if you were one of those down and out folk I alluded to above, you certainly wouldn't mind someone extending a helping hand to get you back on your feet. I once read a story (or poem?...anyone?) somewhere where there was a hard-working family man who had provided well for his loved ones through the years. One day, the axe came down at his job and he found himself on the street (by the way, this was not a contemporary story--rather Darwinian, 19th-century London stuff). After weeks and weeks of mad searching for ways in which to continue to be little Johnny's hero, he found himself, and his family, utter destitute. Finally, he was reduced to stealing and, in a fit of desperation, actually killed someone trying to prevent his making off with a loaf of bread. My question to you: is this a guy that should subsequently fry in hell (and in the chair just prior) for his actions? What I am trying to say is that wouldn't just a tiny bit of compassion, somewhere up the line, have been helpful in preventing this from ever occuring?

Please keep your posts coming--I read every line.

Labrat, I've got a few things to say but let me start by saying I have a problem with your reading condescension into everything I write. It has absolutely not been my intent and your choice to regard it so is simply not accurate. As for the content of your replies I have a few of my own:

a. I looked at my initial post and the "gratuitous remark". You gave me hell for that but I would contend, upon closer inspection, that it was not at all gratuitous. I gave a solid reason why I did not care for most of Bill's writings: "too sure of themselves and the solidity of the foundations upon which they were composed" so I don't feel petty (or at all stupid).

b. As for the meek, again, it was not condescension. Of COURSE the meek get bullied and are not in a position to inherit anything for the foreseeable future. However, I would contend that this is extremely unfortunate and we will continue to live in a volatile society until "turn the other cheek" and "love thy neighbor" are actually more than things one rote-learns in 3rd grade catechism. One only has to look at the never-ending spiral of violence in the middle-east to see this.

I'll close this chapter by saying Linda, I respect your remarks but simply cannot subscribe to many of them. It seems you fundamentally believe that each and every person has the opportunity (and steely will) to overcome all the nasty things that life throws at them. I do not. That is where my plea for compassion comes from.

Thanks all, gotta go catch a plane.

Kumulan

Posted by: Kumulan on August 10, 2003 01:41 PM

Compare the situation of another hated minority in Israel vs. under Arafat:
http://www.sodomylaws.org/world/israel/isnews04.htm

Posted by: Steven Malcolm Anderson on August 10, 2003 04:24 PM

I swore I wasn't going to do this. It's been a very long and exhausting work day, and I've got an excruciatingly early rise for another one tomorrow, and I should be in bed right now. But I did want to answer the question you asked of me, Kumulan...

"""Personally, I don't care how "compassionate" my society is. It's not a relevant virtue for me.""" What is that all about? The rest of your post I can live with (that hardly means agree) but this line puzzles me." That, plus the "example" you gave that followed it.

To me, the difference lies in the individual vs. societal values.

In an INDIVDUAL, I would like compassion. In a SOCIETY, I want a machine with smooth running gears. I would hope that if my car broke down in the rain (or my wife's), some compassionate INDIVIDUAL would pull over and offer their assistance, as I would for them (to the extent of my woefully inadequate mechanical abilities). But I wouldn't want them to feel obligated to it, or drive by riddled with guilt because "this is a compassionate society, damn it, and you just don't do that in a compassionate society!"

In your example (of the man fallen on hard times), I have 2 answers actually... (1) There's a difference between stealing a couple of apples from an abundant orchard, and breaking into someone's house and making off with their jewelry and appliances while their kids are in the house. In the first case, I'd be inclined to be lenient with the perpetrator. He was just trying to survive after all, and there's no real victim. In the second case, PARTICULARLY if it ended in the death of the homeowner, I've got no sympathy for him. He'd get the thumbs-down from me if I was on the jury. Sorry but that's me. And (2) I would hope that 12 compassionate INDIVIDUALS in a jury box, having heard all that evidence of the case, would duly consider the man's plight, and reach their verdicts accordingly... because they were individually compassionate. All I would require of my SOCIETY would be a legal system, cold, calculating, and clinically functional, that would allow those 12 people to render their opinions unmolested and each in accordance with their own compassion and judgment, and accepting OF those opinions regardless of their outcome.

I guess I view it kind of like a motorcycle purist, for whom the joyous "riding experience" is only possible because of the cold mechanical precision craftsmanship of the motorcycle which is its "vehicle" (pun intended). In other words, I'd like my motorcycle (my "society") to simply provide me with the finely designed MEANS to express the joy I find in riding (my "individual compassion"). That the motorcycle "gets nothing" from the ride and merely "functions" is just fine by me. That's all I ask of it.

So, that's what I mean when I say a compassionate society is irrelevant to me. "Society," for me, is just my vehicle. Compassion is entirely up to me... and anyone else who drives that same vehicle... but I want the vehicle to just be a smooth-running machine, tuned the way I like it, and free of any gee-gaws or gimmicks that mean nothing to me, and contribute nothing to its function.

(sigh)

Good thing I decided to keep it short. Otherwise it might have really run on there.

Good night all.

GHS

Posted by: GreatHairySilverback on August 10, 2003 06:54 PM

I'd just like to jump in to make one point, in response to kimulan:

"the stat that rings in my ears: 4% of the world's population (the US) creates 25% of the total amount of greenhouse gases. Hate to tell you, but that ain't sustainable (see Chinese remark above). I am not US-bashing but that is one of those hard facts that most of you love screaming out that something is out of whack."

According to this nifty pdf from the World Bank (here's the Google html cache of it for those of you without acrobat), the GDP of the united states was approximately US$10,486,818,000,000 in 2002. The GDP of every country in the world combined was about US$32,252,480,000,000. By my calculations, we also create about 32% of the world's economy. When put in that light, does it really seem so "out of whack"?

Posted by: Matt Eric on August 11, 2003 12:38 AM

Israel became a nation in 1312 BC.
That's fine. Assyria (present day Kurdistan)became an independant nation in 2000 BC. Babylonia (now the "Sunni triangle" area) became independant in 1792 BC. The island of Crete was a fully sovreign nation in 2000 BC. Present day Iran was once divided in three parts, namely Media in the northwest, Persia in the south, and Parthia in the northeast.
Do you want us to recognize all these countries as well? Crete is no longer a country because it was conquered by the Myceneans. The Myceneans were later destroyed, but Crete's independence was gone, for good. Media and Partia were both conquered by Persia. Even after Persia was defeated by Alexander the Great, they never recovered their independence, so now it's all one country, called Iran.
Israel WAS an independent country. It was conquered and defeated by Rome, and that was the end of it. Later on, the Arabs fought the Byzantines at Yarmuk and won, giving them supremacy over the western Fertile Crescent. They have been there ever since the seventh century BC. Even under Ottoman domination, they were still the majority population, by right of conquest, because in the seventh century, that was how things were done. But 1948 was the twentieth century. We no longer recognize right of conquest. There are international laws and commonly accepted principles against that. According to the new laws, what Israel did was steal. Not religion or anything like that, just plain, outright theft.
"Arab refugees were intentionally not absorbed".
That's one comment I hear a lot, and it just makes absolutely no sense. A common problem here is that we think all Arabs are the same. They're not. There are Palestinians, Syrians, Saudis, Egyptians, Iraqis, etc, each with their own personnal history, country, and variation of the Arabic language. THE PALESTINEANS DON'T WANT TO BE SYRIAN OR WHATEVER, THEY WANT TO BE PALESTINEANS, WITH THEIR OWN COUNTRY, THEIR OWN PEOPLE AND THEIR OWN LAND. In WW1, imagine what would have happened if we'd just told the Belgians, "Tell you what, the Germans want your country, so, you'll just have to live in France. It's all right, they're French speaking and all that, just like you, you'll be fine". Same thing with Palestine.
As far as Kyoto is concerned, I did a research on that recently for school. The individual American factory pollutes much less than the individual Chinese/Indian factory. The reason we pollute so much is because there are so many of ours. Before we start on how much of America needs fixing, we might want to start on the REALLY dirty stuff in China and India. As for America, sure, we need to help out the environment, but we can't just shut down the whole economy for that. Besides, generally the more modern technology is, the cleaner it is. The only viable option at this point is simply to continue researching new, less polluting technology, until the technology used is no longer a danger.

Posted by: Artoo on August 11, 2003 06:51 AM

Israel became a nation in 1312 BC.
That's fine. Assyria (present day Kurdistan)became an independant nation in 2000 BC. Babylonia (now the "Sunni triangle" area) became independant in 1792 BC. The island of Crete was a fully sovreign nation in 2000 BC. Present day Iran was once divided in three parts, namely Media in the northwest, Persia in the south, and Parthia in the northeast.
Do you want us to recognize all these countries as well? Crete is no longer a country because it was conquered by the Myceneans. The Myceneans were later destroyed, but Crete's independence was gone, for good. Media and Partia were both conquered by Persia. Even after Persia was defeated by Alexander the Great, they never recovered their independence, so now it's all one country, called Iran.
Israel WAS an independent country. It was conquered and defeated by Rome, and that was the end of it. Later on, the Arabs fought the Byzantines at Yarmuk and won, giving them supremacy over the western Fertile Crescent. They have been there ever since the seventh century BC. Even under Ottoman domination, they were still the majority population, by right of conquest, because in the seventh century, that was how things were done. But 1948 was the twentieth century. We no longer recognize right of conquest. There are international laws and commonly accepted principles against that. According to the new laws, what Israel did was steal. Not religion or anything like that, just plain, outright theft.
"Arab refugees were intentionally not absorbed".
That's one comment I hear a lot, and it just makes absolutely no sense. A common problem here is that we think all Arabs are the same. They're not. There are Palestinians, Syrians, Saudis, Egyptians, Iraqis, etc, each with their own personnal history, country, and variation of the Arabic language. THE PALESTINEANS DON'T WANT TO BE SYRIAN OR WHATEVER, THEY WANT TO BE PALESTINEANS, WITH THEIR OWN COUNTRY, THEIR OWN PEOPLE AND THEIR OWN LAND. In WW1, imagine what would have happened if we'd just told the Belgians, "Tell you what, the Germans want your country, so, you'll just have to live in France. It's all right, they're French speaking and all that, just like you, you'll be fine". Same thing with Palestine.
As far as Kyoto is concerned, I did a research on that recently for school. The individual American factory pollutes much less than the individual Chinese/Indian factory. The reason we pollute so much is because there are so many of ours. Before we start on how much of America needs fixing, we might want to start on the REALLY dirty stuff in China and India. As for America, sure, we need to help out the environment, but we can't just shut down the whole economy for that. Besides, generally the more modern technology is, the cleaner it is. The only viable option at this point is simply to continue researching new, less polluting technology, until the technology used is no longer a danger.

Posted by: Artoo on August 11, 2003 06:52 AM

Short and to the point.
Artoo, Very articulate and passionate. I so like reasoned debate.

Your point about right of conquest and laws against has a fatal flaw (IMHO). Israel is internationally (by the UN and almost all nations) recognized as a valid country. Therefore their right to exist stands and they did not "steal it"

If the League of Nations recognized and OK'd Germany's invasion of Austria - it would have been OK (morality of that aside). If the UN would have not have condemned Iraq's invasion of Kuwait - then it would have been accepted and OK (again, morality of that aside).
Something else to ponder: Iran and Iraq fought for Eight - Ten years with little said by the world. That's my perspective and I could be wrong, but the UN did not try to step in and stop it. Had one prevailed, would the world have stepped in AT THAT POINT and said: We don't recognize your right of conquest? I don't think so because the world lost it's ability to judge when it stood by for so long.

I hope this makes some sense. This is already longer than I wanted and I said it would be short and to the point. Maybe others can help clarify. There are so many more articulate people here than me.

Posted by: Black Oak on August 11, 2003 08:21 AM

Artoo, how can defending yourself be a war of conquest? The Israelis did not start the 1948, 1967, or the 1973 war.

Why didn't "Palestinians" start calling themselves that until the 1960's? Even after the formation of Israel, they still called themselves Syrians or Jordanians. The "palestinians" do not have their own culture, history or language. So, Artoo, a couple million people decide to change their national background (Syrian/Jordanian to Palestinian) and you feel they deserve a country. If the "palestinians" want to live in peace with the Israelis, why don't we see demonstrations in the street against Arafat, or Hamas?

As for the other countries that are thousands of years old, how many of them constituted a specific ethnic group, which still exists today, and has been shown time and again that their safety lies in forming their own country? I counted one, the Kurds, who have suffered far less than the Jews, and who have agreed to try live with their Arab neighbors.

Posted by: Eric Sivula on August 11, 2003 12:15 PM

Yes, the UN Security Council okayed Israel's existence. They also said that the war in Iraq was NOT okay. Does that mean the war in Iraq was not legitimate? I think it was. I've also heard you guys heavily criticize the UN "bias" against Israel. All of a sudden, the UN has gone from being an antisemite, ineffective pain in the soft parts to being a fair and objective judge which knows what's best for the region.
As for the Palestineans having their own language, yeah, they do speak Arabic, just like the rest, but it's also their own from of Arabic. Similarly, there are British, Scottish, Irish, American, Australian forms of the English language. I never said they were ethnically different. You don't have to be ethnically different in order to be just plain different. The Corsicans and Italians are from the same original people, but right now they're on different sides of a border.
Israel was not put in place by a war of conquest. True. They didn't even have to, they had the British carve out a nice little line taking out a certain portion of Arab territory, call it Israel, and just turn it over to a bunch of European foreigners. That's what it was as far as the Arabs were concerned. The Arabs never told Hitler to try to kill all the Jews, they never told the French to prosecute Dreyfus, they never told the Middle-Ages societies in Europe to be so outrageously antisemite. Simply, it was decided by the UN -a bunch of people they didn't vote for(nor did their leaders even choose them), based in a city on the other side of the Atlantic, that the Arabs would have to pay for all of Europe's crimes, while the European countries who had been persecuting Jews for ages would grow prosperous through the help of the United States. How is that fair, will you explain to me?
The world isn't fair, I know. Well there's no rule saying that when the world is unfair to you, you have to take it. We don't take it when the world is unfair to us, why do you expect the Arabs to react any differently?
The world has been unfair to the Jews for longer than it has to the Arabs. Also true. Who was persecuting the Jews the whole time? The European Christians. There probably were instances of antisemitism across the Islamic world, but in no way does it compare to the number of crimes Europe has committed against them? Yet who pays for all the Europeans' crimes? The Arabs.
Oh yeah; "..how many of them constitute a specific ethnic group which still exists today..."
Israel is a country for all JEWS all over the world. Judaism being a religion, not an ethnic group per se, you can be white, black, Asian, Latino or God knows what, and still be Jewish. How many of Israel's citizens can track their origins back to the exodus from Egypt and stuff like that? As for the Kurds, it is absolutely not certain that they want to live together with their Arab neighbors, that remains to be seen.

Posted by: Artoo on August 11, 2003 12:48 PM

Oh yeah..."a couple million people decide to change their national background, and you feel they deserve a country". Let's admit that they were originally Syrian/Jordanian. Why wouldn't they? A large amount of people back in the 1940s decided to change their national background from being German, Russian, Polish, French, Austrian, Italian, Spanish, to being "Israeli", and you obviously feel they deserve a homeland. But that rule doesn't apply to the Palestineans, is that it? Eric, from where I'm standing it looks like all you've been saying is that what is permissible for the Israelis is not permissible for Arabs. So much for international fairness and balance.
Another thing I forgot. "How can you defend yourself by right of conquest? The Israelis didn't start the 1948, 1967 or 1973 war." Nor did the Persians start the war against the Medes, they were attacked, but they still conquered Media in the end. So the Israelis conquered the Palestinean territories by right of conquest. You don't have to be the attacker to be able to conquer something. You also seem to have, accidentally, I am sure, forgotten the 1962 war.

Posted by: Artoo on August 11, 2003 01:00 PM

(from David March, animator & fiddler)

Thanks for all the provocative exchanges, folks.

It might be good for someone to post a brief review (and I know that suggestion is more than a little oxymoronic) of just how the Middle East got to its present situation. Maybe a few appropriate URLs, or even (gasp!) Book titles might be helpful...

I seem to recall that what we continue to call the “middle east” had been dominated by the Ottoman Turk Empire for a number of centuries, only to fall to the European industrialized nations beginning with the decline of the Ottomans.

Didn’t Napoleon send forces into Egypt and Palestine in the early 19th century, and England as well? The name “Chinese Gordon” seems to be associated with conflicts in Northern Africa. The French imposed colonial rule in Algeria, and built the “new” Suez Canal, with the cooperation of the Egyptian Caliphate that was voluptuous, corrupt, and militarily/technologically ripe for the picking.

Again, it seems to my recollection of my dilettante-meandering readings that the middle east was for centuries a place with only the murkiest of borders, no nation-states sufficiently sophisticated, organized, or even self-aware to treat as equals with the industrial European nations--- tribes and nomads, contending for lands that had not had actual self governing cultures for most of a thousand years.

The work of Lord Balfour around the turn of the century led to a proposal to assist in creating a Jewish homeland at a time when there WAS NO autonomous self-governing state in that region, if my memory serves. I believe the region was under the administration of the British Empire. During the Great War (world war I) the European Powers made conflicting commitments and promises to local tribes and groups to assist them in creating autonomous governments AFTER the war, in exchange for assistance fighting their foes During the war. The borders and nation-states that came into existence in the middle east at the end of world war I were European-created ARTIFICIALITIES, which in some cases deliberately divided the regions of people that might actually have legitimate basis for asserting their own nationhood (i.e., the Kurds, and the Armenians.)

So in many ways, it is NUTS to assert that present day Syria, or Jordan, or Iraq, or Lebanon have any right to disparage the legitimacy of Israel, since they were carved out of the territories with no more legitimacy themselves, and imposed on the local residents without recourse to modern notions of even so much as a plebiscite, thank you very much.

Now, I’ve made all those assertions, and I’m sure I’ve been pretty sloppy with actual historical facts. I would love to hear some refutation with references, and meanwhile, I will go and do some homework of my own.

David March
animator & fiddler

Posted by: David March on August 11, 2003 01:00 PM

artoo thusly: 'THE PALESTINEANS DON'T WANT TO BE SYRIAN OR WHATEVER, THEY WANT TO BE PALESTINEANS, WITH THEIR OWN COUNTRY, THEIR OWN PEOPLE AND THEIR OWN LAND.'

I see no evidence of this. Their top priority has always been the destruction of Israel, not the creation of Palestine.

They might want an autonomous country of their own, all other things being equal--but to me, it looks like their first goal has always been to get rid of the Jews.

Posted by: Andrew S. on August 11, 2003 01:23 PM

To Master Kumulan, regarding the low levels of the Danube.

Considering that It has been barely a year since Europe has seen record-breaking flooding; what we’re seeing may be as much as anything an increase in the short term variability, as much as any demonstrable general increase or decrease in overall average temperatures.

To make assertions of any utility about the variability of even regional weather patterns, one must have baseline data going back far enough to demonstrate NORMAL variation, so as to be able to distinguish that from extraordinary variation. Detailed record-keeping with anything approaching methodical routine which would comprise such baseline data has only begun in the last couple of centuries, mainly by isolated scientists. Entire governmental bureaus have been organized and funded only much more recently.

The astronomical observations (look up “Maunder minimum”) of our local sun have revealed in the last century an eleven-year cycle of solar spot activity, in which the number of sunspots increases and decreases, with fairly substantial consequences to the earth’s ionosphere. This means just for starts that our sun is a variable star, and the range of that variability has by no means been thoroughly assessed. A sunspot, by the way, represents a type of magnetic disturbance that may penetrate deep into the sun’s interior, and eventually reaches the surface, allowing sometimes enormous emissions of ions (atoms with their outer electrons stripped away, so they have substantial electromagnetic charges.) When sunspot activity approaches maximum, even a single massive sunspot can shower our planet with particles that create vast effects for us puny critters here below: Auroras seen in southern latitudes, disrupted compasses, overburdened electrical distribution grids, blown out circuits on navigation and communication satellites, and even damage to television and radio broadcast equipment, much less consumer sets. Similar to the effects of the electromagnetic pulse of a nuclear blast, only on a scale beyond anything we can presently create.

Sunspots by themselves represent an enormous variable impact on the earth’s overall energy budget.

The so-called “Little Ice Age” the coldest period of which dated from approximately 1645 to 1715, seems to have been at least partly caused by an unusual dip in the sun’s radiative output, as manifested by a near absence of sunspots for some time (i.e., only about 50 sunspots observed by astronomers during that 30-year period, where the average since has been as much as forth to fifty THOUSAND sunspots per year.)

There is no immediately obvious relation between our industrial misbehavior earthside, and the sun’s variable output.

Consider next the effects of individual volcanic eruptions: Mount Saint Helens, Mount Pinatubo, et al., and you are looking at natural phenomena that in a few hours emit enormous amounts of nitric and sulfuric acid, and hothouse gasses. Even apart from the previously cited “Little Ice Age” the year 1816 was known as the year with no summer BECAUSE OF THE CLOUD OF VOLCANIC EJECTA FROM THE ERUPTION OF the Indonesian volcano Mount Tambora. That eruption produced an estimated TWENTY FIVE CUBIC MILES OF DEBRIS. By comparison, Mount St. Helens is estimated to have thrown only a cubic mile or so of crud into the atmosphere.

It must be acknowledged that volcanos generally account for less pollution annually than cars, industrial activity, and the burning of forests, and it can be certainly be further justification for putting controls on anthropogenic (“human origin”) sources of pollution.
http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/1997/of97-262/of97-262.html

Back about 1980 I was asked to put together a detailed proposal for a film documenting the first “Global Weather Experiment” which was the first worldwide attempt to gather and analyze data from a very incomplete grid of stations placed around the world. I was given pretty comprehensive written reports to get a sense of the methodology and actual instrumentation that had been designed and implemented. I’m not presenting myself as any sort of expert, just making the comment that this FIRST effort was only a couple of decades ago, and only involved a few hundred reporting stations around the entire globe. Even though we have far more sophisticated data - gathering and analyitical tools now, we don’t have much of a database over time for any comparison.

It seems to me that it is very much premature and irresponsible for any scientist to claim we understand global weather patterns enough to be imposing huge additional burdens on industries.

That doesn’t mean the current system is fine. I think the trading of pollution “credits” among various industries is questionable, for starts. But I think controls most urgently need to be applied to the new industries and consumer cultures emerging in the third world, to insure they adhere to standards already in place in most of the presently industrialized countries.

In my estimation, the biggest Pollution Problem the world faces is in the uncontrolled and heedless activities of emerging countries that impose very few limits or controls on their activities, either from ignorance, greed, or simple bloody-mindedness. We can impose all the controls we can think of on American industry, and all that can be overwhelmed by the continuing burning of rainforests by peasants hoping to carve out subsistence farms, or by whole un-regulated industries in remote parts of China as they race to satisfy emerging consumer markets without imposing the pollution controls demanded by western consumers.

Again, I acknowledge that my own puny research efforts are un-scientific, ancecdotal and not comprehensive. I look forward to responses with some references.

David March
animator & fiddler

Posted by: David March on August 11, 2003 03:18 PM

Hey quick question for all: Didn't there used to be a dude named Bill who used to post essays on this site? ;)

Bill, watch out or the comments will become more entertaining and intellectual than the essays! I mean, look at this, you post a 10 paragraph "note" about the possible topic of a new essay and suddenly you have 200+ comments debating the finer points of the history of Israel and the Arab community at large.

My brain likes this food!

Posted by: stract on August 11, 2003 07:23 PM

Question of the day Stract.

Did he ("Some call him... Bill) post @8:32 PM because it was already pre-ordained?, or because you were silly enough to question the Minister to Truth?

The world may never know....

[end sarcasm - start glee at the thought of the next essay - way to go Bill!!!!]

Posted by: Black Oak on August 11, 2003 08:45 PM

"Their top priority has always been the destruction of Israel, not the creation of Palestine".
Ask a Palestinean. The only ones I've asked want their own state. Israel can survive, but they want to have their own home.

Posted by: Artoo on August 12, 2003 12:21 PM

Artoo, have you read the PLO charter, much less the documents from the founding of Hamas, Hizbollah, or Islamic Jihad? The PLO says that Israel is illegal period. That the "palestinian" state can only exist once Israel is gone. This is the "government" of the palestinians, whom the palestinians chose to speak for them and be their government. The "palestinians" you spoke to may feel differently, however they appear to represent the minority. Have you ever seen demonstrations in Gaza or the West Bank calling for peace with Israel? Decrying the attacks by Hamas or Islamic Jihad or by the PLO (Fatah)? I have not heard of any such demonstrations.

The "palestinians" may say they want peace, but their actions do not promote peace, and their major "political" organizations all call for the destruction of Israel.

I guess we will have to agree to disagree about the "palestinians" desire for peace, and what they have done to deserve their own country.

Posted by: Eric Sivula on August 12, 2003 06:45 PM

David March, I am impressed :

Artoo to compare the evil of a religion by attacking another religion cannot lead to any solutions. And I have not seen any debate after this brilliant FACT by David March.

By the way the land of Israel was under the control of the Turks before the British, unless we forget the Great Ottoman Empire. Present day Jordan consists of what was then called 'Palestine' (75% of the then 'Palestine' land)

the middle east was for centuries a place with only the murkiest of borders, no nation-states sufficiently sophisticated, organized, or even self-aware to treat as equals with the industrial European nations--- tribes and nomads, contending for lands that had not had actual self governing cultures for most of a thousand years.

The work of Lord Balfour around the turn of the century led to a proposal to assist in creating a Jewish homeland at a time when there WAS NO autonomous self-governing state in that region, if my memory serves. I believe the region was under the administration of the British Empire. During the Great War (world war I) the European Powers made conflicting commitments and promises to local tribes and groups to assist them in creating autonomous governments AFTER the war, in exchange for assistance fighting their foes During the war. The borders and nation-states that came into existence in the middle east at the end of world war I were European-created ARTIFICIALITIES, which in some cases deliberately divided the regions of people that might actually have legitimate basis for asserting their own nationhood (i.e., the Kurds, and the Armenians.)

So in many ways, it is NUTS to assert that present day Syria, or Jordan, or Iraq, or Lebanon have any right to disparage the legitimacy of Israel, since they were carved out of the territories with no more legitimacy themselves

Posted by: Leron on August 13, 2003 07:41 AM

The forgotten middle eastern refugees

http://www.jimena-justice.org/

Posted by: Leron on August 13, 2003 07:47 AM

To Kumulan;
What caused the Ice ages? Last I recall, there were not enough humans burning anything to affect the planet in that manner. What caused the Ice Caps to withdraw to the polar regions?
To Artoo;
Were there no Jews living in "Palestine" prior to the 20th Century? How were they treated under the Ottoman Empire? How were they treated when the area in question was first a League of Nations Mandate, then UN Mandate?

Great post, makes for some excellent brain candy.

Posted by: Jim on August 13, 2003 08:40 AM

Eric Sivula,

You suggest that the PLO and other Palestinian national organisations call for the destruction of Israel. In fact the PLO formally amended its charter to remove this clause in 1998 as part of the Oslo accords.

A Jewish view:
http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Peace/revoke.html

A Palestinian view:
http://www.palestine-un.org/plo/frindex.html

This does not prove anyone's sincerity, although the fact that it was a collective decision does suggest that most politically active Palestinians did not want to destroy Israel

Posted by: Jonathan on August 13, 2003 10:45 AM

In fact the PLO formally amended its charter to remove this clause in 1998 as part of the Oslo accords.

Jonathan that was one of the requirements of the Oslo accord, it has NOT happened to date.
'Palestine' referred to in the PLO Charter and by the PLO refers to Israel and the Territories

HERE ARE A FEW OF THE ARTICLES IN THE PLO CHARTER:-

Article 9: Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. Thus it is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase. The Palestinian Arab people assert their absolute determination and firm resolution to continue their armed struggle and to work for an armed popular revolution for the liberation of their country and their return to it. They also assert their right to normal life in Palestine and to exercise their right to self-determination and sovereignty over it.

Article 15: The liberation of Palestine, from an Arab viewpoint, is a national (qawmi) duty and it attempts to repel the Zionist and imperialist aggression against the Arab homeland, and aims at the elimination of Zionism in Palestine. Absolute responsibility for this falls upon the Arab nation - peoples and governments - with the Arab people of Palestine in the vanguard. Accordingly, the Arab nation must mobilize all its military, human, moral, and spiritual capabilities to participate actively with the Palestinian people in the liberation of Palestine. It must, particularly in the phase of the armed Palestinian revolution, offer and furnish the Palestinian people with all possible help, and material and human support, and make available to them the means and opportunities that will enable them to continue to carry out their leading role in the armed revolution, until they liberate their homeland.

Article 19: The partition of Palestine in 1947 and the establishment of the state of Israel are entirely illegal, regardless of the passage of time, because they were contrary to the will of the Palestinian people and to their natural right in their homeland, and inconsistent with the principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations, particularly the right to self-determination.

Article 20: The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void. Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood. Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong.


Posted by: Leron on August 14, 2003 04:57 AM

By the by, your link refers to the decision to remove certain clauses from the charter, but after the vote this was not fulfilled and currently remains.

Posted by: Leron on August 14, 2003 05:00 AM

"...vote to revoke those clauses in the Palestinian charter calling for the destruction of the state of Israel"

This is a direct quote from an Israeli government press release - see the link in my previous comment. When an organisation votes to modify a document, the document changes immediately. The Israeli government regarded the charter as amended in a way which fulfilled the Oslo commitments - what is your basis for claiming otherwise?

Posted by: Jonathan on August 14, 2003 05:47 AM

Wow! What an education.

Thanks again, Artoo, for cranking up this great stream of discussion, and providing me with not only an understandable "Arab perspective" on these issues, but also with a lot of historical meat to gnaw on for a while. Thanks also to all you knowledgable "counter-pointers" out there who filled in the rest of the details from the other side of the moat.

I am left with two thoughts from all this...

(1) In the end, regardless of how correct or how valid each of the counterpoints were to Artoo's assertions... regardless of whether or not Israel's "conquest" of that territory is legitimate or not, recognized by the UN or not, or whether the UN is even relevant in determining the "moral legitimacy" of any change of sovereignty... regardless of any historical precedent, or even the meaning of any historical machinations... I think the strongest point presented by Artoo, at least to ME, was the "Arab perspective," and the reasoning behind it. I can agree with the individual points presented in opposition to Artoo, and still, at the same time, understand why, from the "Arab" point of view, the "intrusion" of Israel would be seen as an outrage, and worthy of resistance. I mean, I know, understand, and agree with the reasoning behind dropping the A-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but I can also see where, from the Japanese perspective, no such necessity existed. I don't have to agree with their perspective in order to understand how it came about. And it's the same here.

And that's what I think I appreciate the most about this recent theme of debate.

And (2), given all the facts and historical notes mentioned here, what really are the solutions (which don't involve the application or threat of military force) that are left to us in this situation? This is not a challenge. This is a sincere question, intended for everyone, but directed predominantly, I suppose, to Artoo (and bearing in mind that in 2 or 3 days, Bill will have posted another essay and no one will ever see this comment stream again).

Given that Israel is not going to leave (and nor should they), and that they are a legitimate and globally recognized nation state, and that, as a democracy, they will continue to receive US support (at least philosophically)... and given the "understandable" (to me, at least) perspective of the "local natives" (not going into the definitions of "Arabs" vs. "Palestinians") as elucidated by Artoo... what non-military options are actually available? In this case, in this region, and in this time, what purely diplomatic/political solutions remain? Presuming that "everyone" wants the killing to stop on both sides of the line (which is not a given, by any means), what action... what philosophy other than MMR ("Might Makes Right")... stands any chance whatsoever of effectively ending the bloodbath? Bearing in mind that, with the deep, almost "tribal" zealousness on both sides of the lines over there, any party left unsatisfied after the "negotiations" will only continue the slaughter long after the diplomats have walked off, patting each other on the back.

At present, from where I'm sitting anyway, no mere words or token gestures are going to accomplish anything long-lasting. No extra sliver of land is going to satisfy a "nation" that wants another GONE. Nor will opening borders, or softening racial policies, or publicly recognizing past outrages. But at the same time, I'd hate to think that the only thing that actually does stand a chance of working would be an application of overwhelming force, whether by Israel or by us... some final act of exasperation that ends with one group of people being "squashed" by another, just to stop the ongoing and endless violence that's been going on over there... the political and military food chain in action. Seems kind of oxymoronic. But what's the alternative? The EFFECTIVE alternative?

I'm not just being stupid or naive here. I'd like to hear what people think would actually WORK. I mean, I'd like to think that there's a political gesture or concession that Israel could make, but what would it be that wouldn't weaken or endanger them in the process?

Well... enough. Thanks again all for the enlightenment. Hopefully it will continue.

GHS

Posted by: GreatHairySilverback on August 14, 2003 05:49 AM

Been on the move for a couple days, sorry if I haven't posted anything.
"The PLO says Israel is illegal period".
No kidding. Of course they think it's illegal. As far as they can see, Israel is a foreign country imposed by strangers, it has no right to exist.
BTW, Mahmoud Abbas is the official, if not the de facto, leader of the PLO, and he appears to want peace -whether or not he can deliver is unertain at best, and remains to be seen, but he is still wha we consider the official leader of the PLO.
"Were there no Jews living in Palestine prior to the 20th century?"
Well, it's really in the nineteenth century that they began to immigrate to Palestine. Let me explain what "immigration" means. It means people move to another country, then gradually become integrated into that country. It does not mean that they come over and say, "okay guys, since there are so many of us, this is our country now". Would we take it if the Latinos tried to impose a "Latino state" in America? Didn't think so.
"Artoo to compare the evil of a religion by attacking another religion cannot lead to any solutions".
You appear to be misunderstanding me. I was originally trying to explain to people here that Islam in and of itself is not an evil religion. So I showed how elements in the Bible could also be interpreted by saying that Judaism and/or Christiantiy are evil religions in and of themselves. Those interpretations would be ultimately false. So it is with Islam.

Posted by: Artoo on August 14, 2003 10:59 AM

We do TOO keep coming back to look!

D M

Posted by: David March on August 14, 2003 02:39 PM

Some thoughts on GHS's question:

On both sides, not everyone wants peace at all. There are those on the Israeli side who believe that it is their religious obligation to hold on to every square inch of the biblical land of Israel - which means either the expulsion or the enslavement of the people currently living there. And there are those on the Palestinian side who wish to destroy Israel and drive the Jews into the sea. Before there can be peace, both groups need to be defeated decisively - meaning political defeat by their own sides, not military defeat by their opponents.

Just as an idea of how strong this tendency is on the Israeli side, I broke down the Knesset membership by attitudes to the peace process:
13 are not Zionist (Arabs, Communists, Haredim)
43 support the peace process as long as the Palestinians are prepared to play ball.
40 are Likud - the current Likud-led government supports the peace process but the party is still formally committed to Eretz Israel.
24 belong to dogmatically anti-peace parties.
So counting half the Likud, 44 out of 107 (41%) of Zionist Israelis are implacably opposed to peace with the Palestinians. I wouldn't be surprised if the percentage is similar the other way, although the anti-peace Palestinians are noisier.

How can the diehards be defeated? Part of what inspires people to take up a diehard position is thinking that the opponents are diehards - if the enemy really wants to destroy you then you should indeed set about destroying them. Part of the problem in the Middle East is that even the moderates have a habit of acting like diehards.

On the Israeli side, settlement building is a monstrous act of bad faith. The original purpose of settlement building was a clear commitment not to give the land back. When Sharon (or Barak or Netanyahu before him) expands settlements, the Palestinians see it as evidence that he does not want peace. And that hurts the cause of people like Mohammed Abbas when they fight their own political battles against Hamas and Hizbullah.

On the Palestinian side, the most obvious demonstration of bad faith by those who claim to support peace with Israel (i.e. not suicide bombers) is the incitement in the schools. Printing school geography textbooks that don't show Israel is a statement of intent to destroy Israel, and hurts Sharon when he faces off against Netanyahu et al.

For the first time in my memory, the cheerleaders of both sides (except the usual suspects - Iran, Syria etc.) have realised that this is how to start - read Phase I of the Road Map.

If Bush can stand up to the Israel lobby for long enough AND bang Arab heads together until they stop supporting the diehard Palestinians, I think he has a chance of making both sides see sense. In the (unlikely but possible) event of this working he will fully deserve the Nobel Peace Prize I saw alluded to on this site.

Posted by: Jonathan on August 14, 2003 05:08 PM

I concur entirely with Jonathan.

Posted by: Artoo on August 14, 2003 05:21 PM

So Jonathon, the Israelis should move back to the '67 borders, and hope that the Palestinians don't attack them?

The Palestinians have not completed ANY of their Road Map obligations. They have NOT brought Hamas, Islamic Jihad, or the Al-Asqa "Martyrs" brigade to heel, much shut them down. The Palestinians claim to be under a ceasefire, and shoot at Israeli civilians, or blow up civilian targets. Abbas could be called Allah-in-the-Flesh, he still has NO control over the Palestinians. Arafat, or his cronies, control the money, the "security" forces, and the schools. And Arafat refuses to order the Fatah-based Al-Asqa brigrade to stop blowing up buses, or shoot children.

If 60% or so of Palestinians REALLY want peace, where are the demonstrations? Where are the signs? Why are they supporting and hiding the TERRORISTS?

Sorry Jonathon, but you and Artoo, seem blind to the fact that the Israelis have made overtures for peace, to the Palestinians and everybody else, for decades. What has it gotten them? Egypt admitted that Israel could exist, and that took a US boot up the ass.

I will believe that the Palestinians are deserving of their own country (which they have never had) when they stop cheering for and supporting TERRORISTS. When their government is built from a TERRORIST organization. When they stop seeing attacks on schoolchildren and the elderly as legitimate.

I used to have some sympathy for the Palestinians. Then I saw them cheering in the streets on Sept. 11th. I fail to see how any group of people like that could be considered worthy of ruling themselves, without concrete signs that they have changed.

Posted by: Eric Sivula on August 14, 2003 06:54 PM

Jonathan, sorry not Jonathon.

Posted by: Eric Sivula on August 14, 2003 06:54 PM

Does the fact that President Bush will no longer deal with Arafat help or hurt the cause for peace between Israel and the Palestinians? If Arafat is the force behind the terrorist groups who are attacking Israel, would anything change if Arafat were exiled from the Palestinian territories? Would such an action incite more violence? What if Arafat were entirely out of the picture (he is getting older...)? It seems that Mahmoud Abbas really doesn't have the power to change anything as long as Arafat remains president. Do the Palestinian militants threaten their own people if they speak out against their violence? Could that be why there are no demonstrations against the suicide bombings? Or is the entire population so oppressed and indoctrinated that life is so meaningless (rewards in the hereafter, etc.), that the violence/death just doesn't matter? I think it was Golda Meir that said the violence would end when the Palestinians "loved their children more...." Why are the suicide bombers always young? and not old?

Posted by: Geem on August 14, 2003 09:35 PM

Artoo,

At the risk of being a stinker, can you name for me a single country that is legitimate, by the standards that the Muslim world is applying to Israel?

Not to excuse, per se, the behaviors of Israel, but I think that the standard of legitimacy that the Arabs and Palestinians are claiming for their cause is just wacky. I don't see people in London complaining about the illegitimate German ancestry of the British Royal family. Or rioting about the unfare Saxon invasion. Or Roman or Celtic invasions either.

Excusing Palestinians for their activities based on some mythical notion of legitimate claims to land flies in the face of the accumulated history of the last six millenia.

When the Palestians start marching for the Jews to reclaim their property in Europe and rioting to get the Arab influence out of Egypt (which has essentially made Egyptian Egypt extinct) then I'll listen. For the meantime, however, I think that the only reason the cause of legitimacy is being invoked is simply to rationalize their feelings. I don't think their feelings arise from the rationale.

Or, I could be wrong.

Posted by: Anticipatory Retaliation on August 15, 2003 09:50 AM

Eric,
I don't think that 60% of Palestinians want peace - I don't think 60% of Israelis want peace either. What I was saying is that 40% of Israelis, and probably a similar proportion of Palestinians, have a religious objection to peace. The 60% includes people like Sharon who might support peace but don't at the moment because of the visible bad faith on the other side. I was suggesting confidence-building measures that BOTH sides needed to take in order to bring the 60% out in favour of peace.
I thought I made clear that the Palestinians needed to end PA-sponsored incitement, even if Abbas doesn't have the power to stop Hamas suicide bombings he can at least throw the headbangers out of the schools.
Yes, Israel has made peace overtures in the past. But no Israeli PM has agreed to a settlement freeze (Sharon has agreed to freeze new settlements under US pressure, but not the expansion of existing ones. Without a settlement freeze, it makes as much sense for the Palestinians to believe the Israelis as it does for the Israelis to believe Arafat.

Posted by: Jonathan on August 15, 2003 10:54 AM

Jonathan,
So the Israelis building settlements is a big a roadblock to peace as the Palestinians continued support of TERRORISTS and MURDERERS? Somehow I do not see those two issues as being anywhere near the same level of importance.

Anticipatory Retaliation,
Hopefully by now you realize that facts, logic, and reason have NOTHING to do with the Muslim view on Israel.

Posted by: Eric Sivula on August 15, 2003 11:29 AM

You know, the more I think of it, I wonder why anyone can really seriously maintain that the Palestinians have any more right to their own homeland than do the KURDS?

By ANY analysis, the Kurds have suffered FAR MORE than have the Palestinians, and far longer.

Why aren't they blowing up jets and schools and pizza parlors and machine gunning people standing in line at airport terminals and bus stops?

Why don't THEY have direct telephone lines to the editors of the major news networks, to the so-called intelligentsia of the West, and what passes for intelligentsia in France?

David March

Posted by: David March on August 15, 2003 10:48 PM

You know, the more I think of it, I wonder why anyone can really seriously maintain that the Palestinians have any more right to their own homeland than do the KURDS?

By ANY analysis, the Kurds have suffered FAR MORE than have the Palestinians, and far longer.

Why aren't they blowing up jets and schools and pizza parlors and machine gunning people standing in line at airport terminals and bus stops?

Why don't THEY have direct telephone lines to the editors of the major news networks, to the so-called intelligentsia of the West, and what passes for intelligentsia in France?


David March

Posted by: David March on August 15, 2003 10:52 PM

Eric,
Morally, settlement building may be in a different league from suicide bombing (both are war crimes, incidentally), but in terms of being an obstacle to peace, both are such mostrous acts of bad faith that they make peace nigh on impossible. When Sharon talks about a future Palestinian state while expanding settlements the Palestinans have hard evidence that he is lying. When Arafat talks about future peace with Israel while organising suicide bombings the Israelis have hard evidence that he is lying. The diplomatic effect is directly comparable in the two cases, even if the effect on the human victims is not.

Since Abbas is not organising suicide bombings (I know they are still happening - but the people promising peace and the people letting off bombs are different people now) and Sharon has stopped building settlements there is a chance that they can believe each other.

Posted by: Jonathan on August 16, 2003 06:18 PM

Jonathan, what has Abbas done to stop the homicide bombings? Has he ordered members of Hamas or Al-Asqa Martyrs brigade arrested? Tried to seize explosives labs or shut down the groups that round up "martyrs"?

Also, since Israel seized the West Bank and Gaza while defending itself, how is it a war crime for them to build on that land? Please explain, Jonathan, how fighting a defensive war is "imperialism" and "land grabbing"?

Posted by: Eric Sivula on August 17, 2003 05:53 AM

Also, since Israel seized the West Bank and Gaza while defending itself, how is it a war crime for them to build on that land?

Text of 4th Geneva Convention

Article 49:
"The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies."

This prohibits settlement building.

Article 6:
"In the case of occupied territory, the application of the present Convention shall cease one year after the general close of military operations; however, the Occupying Power shall be bound, for the duration of the occupation, to the extent that such Power exercises the functions of government in such territory, by the provisions of the following Articles of the present Convention: 1 to 12, 27, 29 to 34, 47, 49, 51, 52, 53, 59, 61 to 77, 143."

Since the West Bank and Gaza were occupied in a war to which the Geneva Conventions applied, article 49 continues to apply to Israel as long as the occupation lasts, notwithstanding the fact that the PA has not signed the conventions.

I never said that Israel was engaged in "imperialism", although I think that settlement building does constitute "land grabbing" in the ordinary English meaning of the term.

The reason why settlement building is troublesome is precisely that it is not part of a defensive war against Palestinian terror - settlements do not help defend Israel against terrorists and become targets themselves. Now that a Jordanian invasion is not a major threat, the only plausible motivation for settlement building is that Israel does not intend to give back the land.

The security fence, on the other hand, is a measure with an obvious military goal in Israel's struggle against terrorism (and thus legal under the Geneva Conventions regardless of the effect on Palestinain civilians). When Sharon says "If you weren't terrorists we wouldn't be building the fence" it is obvious that he is telling the truth. Were he to say "If you weren't terrorists we wouldn't be building settlements" it would be natural to assume that he was lying.

Posted by: Jonathan on August 17, 2003 08:57 AM

Jonathan,

I certainly would not argue that the government of Israel is clearly "supporting" the settlements of Israeli citizens in occupied territories. I wonder if that support necessarily in each and every case constitutes a violation of the Geneva Convention. Is there any reasonable distinction to be made between "allowing" citizens to build their homes in those locations, versus systematically having the government of Israel build the physical infrastructure, then recruit Israelis to take up residence.

There does seem to be some "wiggle room" depending on the wording of the Convention, with which I am not at all familiar.

David March

Posted by: David March on August 17, 2003 10:55 PM

They don't "support", they "allow" the settlements. The same way, Arafat doesn't really support terror, he allows it.

Posted by: Artoo on August 18, 2003 02:20 PM

Jonathan,

Quite simply if the charter has not been modified then it has not been fulfilled. It's the usual practise of lip service without action, similar to the current peace treaties. That's a fact, whatever the vote the current PLO charter contains the clauses that were agreed to be removed.

Artoo, I displayed the clauses of the PLO charter, if you feel you have to justify Article 9 which calls for violence to remove Israel from the Middle east, then we will never see each others viewpoint.

Well, it's really in the nineteenth century that they began to immigrate to Palestine
No it's not really, the Jews were always in Palestine.

And from the brilliant David March quote:
the middle east was for centuries a place with only the murkiest of borders, no nation-states sufficiently sophisticated, organized, or even self-aware to treat as equals with the industrial European nations--- tribes and nomads, contending for lands that had not had actual self governing cultures for most of a thousand years.

I however have to disagree with David's March's statistics,
Most of Israelis's are willing to strive for peace. Being pro-Israel is not anti-Palestinian as you stated. Pro-eretz Israel is not anti-Arab, similarly, being pro-American does not translate to being anti-Saudi Arabian. The reason for Israeli's not being aggressive in going forward in current peace talks, is the experience from previous peace solutions. When 97% of the territories were agreed to be handed over, the remaining 3% coming from Israel itself, half of Jeruslaem, there was still no acceptance of the offer, it is clear to see that one of the parties does not want peace.

To blame the releasing of prisoners, or the settlements as the reason for war is simply finding excuses.

As for the Palestinians, the majority support the eradication of Israel from the Middle East. Although in their defence it is because Hamas and other Extremists groups contribute to their schooling and education (with the help of EU funding).

Posted by: on August 19, 2003 09:25 AM

for the above :)

Posted by: Leron on August 19, 2003 09:25 AM

"No, the Jews have always been there".
They've always been a minority since before the Arabs took over. It's in the nineteenth century that the whole Zionist ideology popped up, and the Jews all over the world began going to the holy land back then.
"Jonathan, why has Abbas not done more to stop the bombings?"
Eric, why has Sharon not done more to stop Israeli colonization of the West Bank?
Earlier, you posted this;
"Sorry, you and Artoo seem to be blind to the fact that Israel has made peace overtures for decades".
If you mean the Camp David agreement, while I agree that Arafat was a complete asshole on that issue, could Barak have delivered what he promised? I don't think so. The welcoming commitee back to Israel was rather cold to say the least, and he was regarded as a man who had betrayed his country by negotiating withdrawal from the West bank.
"I will believe the Palestineans are deserving of their own country, which they never had,..."
Israel exists by UN mandate. So does Palestine. So either Israel and Palestine both have a right to exist, or neither of them does.
"How is fighting a defensive war landgrabbing?"
The Arabs don't control any part of Israeli soil. The Israelis control an entire Arab country. That's one hell of a "defensive war".
Why is it a crime to build on foreign soil, you ask?
Do you even realize what you're saying? You're basically saying that wars of conquest are legitimate. I personally would have no problem with Israel occupying the West Bank, IF they were only posting soldiers there, like we are in Afghanistan and Iraq, but they are not. They're colonizing. The Palestineans react to colonization the same way the Algerians did in the fifties and sixties. They fight back. The Algerians also used terrorism, but since they had moral high ground for the war, nobody at the time objected except the French government.
It is a fact of international law that Israel is a country. Although I have explained to you the Palestiean point of view, I personally recognize and accept this fact. However, it is also a fact of international law that Palestine is a country. Israel's claim to Palestine is based on nothing more that the Bible. You can't run the world according to religion. That's called theocracy.
But, you may say, all that I have criticized about Israel can also be said about Palestine, right? Abbas can't deliver what he promised either, the terrorist groups want to destroy Israel, and they also base their decisions on what they claim to be the will of God. However, Israel, the last time I checked, was still a democracy, not a f_cking terrorist group. A democracy has to uphold certain principles to prove that THEY, at least, are legitimate.

Posted by: Artoo on August 25, 2003 10:33 AM

Artoo, you expect other people to live up to standards that you cannot claim for the people you support. Which is it martial law or democracy?
Both have to follow a common standard.

Artoo says "could Barak have delivered what he promised? I don't think so. The welcoming commitee back to Israel was rather cold to say the least, and he was regarded as a man who had betrayed his country by negotiating withdrawal from the West bank."

You bring emotion into a fact, the fact is that it was offered, what else do you expect? You comment on the fact of whether it would hold up based on an emotional level, when the fact is that it was not accepted by the Palestinians, period.


Artoo says "The Israelis control an entire Arab country. "

What country is that, TURKEY, or BRITAIN. You seem to be swapping between whether it is an Arab country or a Palestinian country, or does it not matter as long as the Jews leave the Middle East?

Posted by: Leron on August 29, 2003 09:32 AM

"You seem to be swapping between whether it is an Arab or a Palestinean country".
A remarkably nonsensical statement. If you expect a response, you will have to start off by explaining what the hell that meant. The obvious interpretation is that you think the Palestineans and the Arabs are two different people. If so, I will not even bother to refute such thought.
But I'm sure that's not what you meant. However, if you want me to understand what you mean, you'll have to explain it in somewhat more clear terms.
"Artoo, you expect other people to live up to standards that you cannot claim for the people you support. Which is it martial law or democracy?
Both have to follow a common standard."
First of all, I don't "support" the PLO or the terrorist groups. I simply recognize that the Palestinean position has merit, viewed independently of their terrorist acts. And if we want peace in the Middle East, we will have to consider that position. That position is, by the way, that they want the West Bank, the Gaza strip and East Jerusalem back.
The main problem in this country is that most of us see the Middle-East as a setting for a John Wayne movie, with the Israelis as the guys in the white hats and the Palestineans as a thoroughly evil, criminal, bloodsucking people who are by design prone to terrorist crime. Unfortunately, reality is much more complex. I think we would all prefer it if the world were black and white, it would be much simpler. But that is not the way it is, and thinking that it is black and white will not make it that way.
Does the Israeli position, viewed independently from the colonization of Palestine and the invasion of Lebanon, have merit? Yes, of course. A fair peace treaty must consider both points of view if there is to be a solution to the crisis.
I have, in discussions with other people, defended the Israeli position, but since no one here was attacking it, I felt no need to defend it. Neither position is entirely right, but both have value and must be considered fully.
Do I expect Israel to act differently from the terrorist groups? Yes, I do.
I don't know how I can get this through to you, but I'll try anyway. Israel is a democracy. Hamas/Hezbollah/Fatah/Islamic Jihad are f_cking terrorists. Israel, as a democracy, has to abide by commonly accepted rules of right and wrong. The difference between a democracy and a terrorist group is the way they act. I hope I'm not going too fast for you.
Sorry if I'm bursting your bubble here, did you know that outside of the U.S. and Israel, the entire world opinion is sympathetic to the Palestinean people? (Please note that I said people, not terrorist groups). When the entire world is agreed on something, you have to take it seriously, you can't just reject it as simple antisemitism. (Again, the world isn't black and white).
As to the Camp David proposal.
"I am bringing emotion into fact".
Indeed I am. Not my emotion, but the emotion of the Israeli people, which is what tells us the way they felt about the treaty. Since the general mood was opposed to the treaty, it logically follows that the majority of the Israelis don't want peace any more than the Palestineans to.
As far as "fact" goes, here's a fact; Barak, in the aftermath of the treaty, was promptly voted out of office, and replaced by a hard-liner who would, logic and probability dictate, have removed the treaty from place.

Posted by: Artoo on September 1, 2003 01:52 PM

interpretation is that you think the Palestineans and the Arabs are two different people. If so, I will not even bother to refute such thought

I believe that they are the same people, in fact a Palestinian is no different to a Jordanian.

click to read - An Unconventional Arab Viewpoint
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/printer-friendly.asp?ARTICLE_ID=31194

My point is that the British who controlled Palestine gave Jordan to the Arabs. The rest which was originally promised to the Jews was once again divided. As such, the claims of an Arab land had been fulfilled "Jordan"

I don't know how I can get this through to you, but I'll try anyway. Israel is a democracy. Hamas/Hezbollah/Fatah/Islamic Jihad are f_cking terrorists. Israel, as a democracy, has to abide by commonly accepted rules of right and wrong. The difference between a democracy and a terrorist group is the way they act. I hope I'm not going too fast for you.

Duh, Ummm, of course you are going too fast for me, did I not mention that I am a tad slow.
You fail to understand that when one side does not abide by common laws it becomes impossible for the other to keep to the same standards, for example attacking Israeli civilians (a terrorist act we both agree) and then hiding amongst women and children in an area sympathetic to terrorism.

Sorry if I'm bursting your bubble here, did you know that outside of the U.S. and Israel, the entire world opinion is sympathetic to the Palestinean people? (Please note that I said people, not terrorist groups). When the entire world is agreed on something, you have to take it seriously, you can't just reject it as simple antisemitism. (Again, the world isn't black and white).

I do take it seriously and that is why I find it shocking that so many lies and false statements are continually spread. But I do not follow the assumption that because more people agree with a particular point that point becomes correct.

And as far as your point:
As far as "fact" goes, here's a fact; Barak, in the aftermath of the treaty, was promptly voted out of office, and replaced by a hard-liner who would, logic and probability dictate, have removed the treaty from place.

That is a fact taken out of context, after the Israeli's offered their pants, they were promptly slapped and kicked, what do you then expect, to offer more concessions. I suppose that is what the terrorists believe, the more evil they do the more they will achieve. Sorry to burst your bubble. That is not going to happen.
After the offer of half Jerusalem and the areas, and with no counter offer on the Palestinians side, represented by the PLO, the Israelis were forced to change their strategy.

Posted by: Leron on September 3, 2003 12:10 AM

I don't recall the exact wording of the Israeli proposition, if you can find it I'd be grateful, but I don't think the Israelis did offer East Jerusalem. They said they'd talk about it maybe later.
"You fail to understand that when one side does not abide by common laws it becomes impossible for the other to keep to the same standards, for example attacking Israeli civilians (a terrorist act we both agree) and then hiding amongst women and children in an area sympathetic to terrorism."
When the Taliban attacked us on September 11, we did keep to those standards which our ennemies refused to follow. The Afghan War was entirely conducted in self defense, and once we'd occupied Afghanistan, we returned the power to the people, as opposed to colonizing it like the Israelis did to Palestine.
I've heard many times that Israel's occupation of Palestine is necessary for their self defense. Nobody has explained to me why they cannot simply leave their troops there, occupying Palestine like the Allies in Germany after 45, as opposed to annexing it the way they have.
"My point is that the British who controlled Palestine gave Jordan to the Arabs. The rest which was originally promised to the Jews was once again divided. As such, the claims of an Arab land had been fulfilled "Jordan""
Israel, the modern nation, has only one claim to nationhood; UN mandate. The UN mandate declared that there would be two seperate countries, Israel and Palestine. The original plan left all of Jerusalem in Israeli hands, which is not acceptable to the Muslims since it's the third holiest city in Islam.

Posted by: Artoo on September 3, 2003 01:54 PM

"When the Taliban attacked us on September 11, we did keep to those standards which our ennemies refused to follow. The Afghan War was entirely conducted in self defense, and once we'd occupied Afghanistan, we returned the power to the people, as opposed to colonizing it like the Israelis did to Palestine."

It's called selective memory, Iraq could be considered an occupation. And what is your definition of annexure? It is easy to take a simple term and use it's vagueness to explain terrorism. Israel is fighting a defensive war.
The Israelis do not even want to be in the Palestinian territories, they are forced to because of the terrorism that is nurtured there. The Israelis wish that the Palestinians would create a democratic and corrupt free government and perhaps the Israelis should copy the Americans in Iraq and occupy the territories until a government free of terrorism is formed.


"two seperate countries, Israel and Palestine"

You fail to remember that Palestine consisted of Jordan at the time which was given to the Arabs. The rest which was promised to the Jews was further subdivided.

"Muslims since it's the third holiest city in Islam."

More Lies - 3rd holiest city, why only the third, why not the 14th or 30th?

MYTH:
"Jerusalem is Islam's third most holy city."

FACT:
Muslims try to connect Jerusalem to Islam by using a vague passage in the Koran, the seventeenth Sura, entitled "The Night Journey." It relates that in a dream or a vision Mohammed was carried by night "from the sacred temple to the temple that is most remote, whose precinct we have blessed, that we might show him our signs. ..." In the seventh century, some Muslims identified the two temples mentioned in this verse as being in Mecca and Jerusalem.
When Moslems pray turning towards Mecca, they turn their back to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Koran.
And that's as close as Islam's connection with Jerusalem gets -- myth, fantasy, wishful thinking. Meanwhile, Jews can trace their roots in Jerusalem back to the days of Abraham.

Posted by: Leron on September 5, 2003 01:54 AM

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=34411

Muslim writer: Jerusalem not sacred

Official Egyptian weekly reinterprets Muhammad's 'Night Journey'

Posted by: Leron on September 5, 2003 04:42 AM

Try asking about 99% of the world Islamic population why Jerusalem is the holiest city in Islam. Historians can always come up with many different theories about religion, and I've heard the Bible dissected over and over again by countless experts (exodus being a favorite). The beliefs of most of the world's Judeo-Christian population have remained unchanged. The belief that Mohammed rose up to heaven in Jerusalem dates back to the seventh century AD (the century when the prophet lived), long before any of the modern considerations about Israel came into play. So you cannot just say that the Muslims came up with it in bad faith in order to have a reason to fight Israel.
As drafted in the UN resolution Partition plan in 1947, there were to be two seperate, sovreign states, Israel and Palestine (NOT Jordan). As you will recall, the Fertile Crescent's political geography was largely drawn by the British and French after WW1. They created the following mandate zones; Syria and Lebanon, French mandates, and Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan and Palestine (repeat Jordan AND Palestine) for British mandates. Jordan and Palestine were two different zones, and the Partition Plan did not contradict this. As for the Jews in Palestine, the British foreign minister, Lord Balfour, decided to give the Jews a home in Palestine. He never actually mentionned a state at the time, but wanted to allow a Jewish home IN an the Arab country of Palestine. The UN changed this by giving the Jews their own country, but the plan was never to destroy Palestine.
Next, let me correct a statement I made earlier. You said "Artoo, how can defending yourself be a war of conquest? The Israelis did not start the 1948, 1967, or the 1973 war."
Yes, they DID start the 1967 war-that was the one with the preemptive attack, remember? And it was after that war that they conquered Palestine. So, how can I be defending myself by a war of conquest, Sivula? Because that's exactly what it was. The facts speak for themselves.
Next, you all appear to consider that the Arab countries have no legitimacy of their own, having been created by the West. Okay. Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Palestine were indeed created by the West. What about the rest? Well let's see;
Kuwait. The al-Sabah dynasty has been in charge since 1760. That makes it way older than the State of Israel, and even older than the United States, by sixteen years. Although it was an Ottoman client-state for a while, it wasn't actually Ottoman per se.
Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was established formally in 1932, and the al-Sauds began forming it in 1902, when they defeated the Rasheed clan. Older than the State of Israel, and self established.
Oman. Haven't found the exact dates for that one, but we've had a friendly relation with their government since 1835, the Jackson administration. Older than the State of Israel.
Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. I don't know if you consider those Arab, since their population is majority Berber, but their leaders are Arab and they're in the Arab league. Anyway, those were all self-ruling countries at the time we were created-older than the state of Israel.
Libya was created when the Sanusi dynasty unified the kingdoms of Tripolitania, Cyrenia and Fezzan in 1843. Older than the State of Israel.
Egypt was conquered by the Arabs in the seventh century, and were then generally accepted as the country's new leaders. However, Egypt as a political entity has been there for about five thousand years. Way older than the United States, and damn sure older than the State of Israel.
The point; the Arabs weren't just warring tribes of savages who were incapable of unifying on their own. Many Arab states existed for a long time before the state of Israel was created, and they were not just random tribes. True, the exact boundaries were never defined; maybe you want to try drawing exact borders on a sea of sand without any modern instruments. But the political entites of many Arab states was already consitituted for years before the State of Israel was created, and often without any foreign interference; even the establishment of the al-Saud dynasty was not backed by the British, but was a purely Arab affair.
The Israelis claim that you can trace Israel back for at least three thousand years back to the Israelite kingdom. A valid point, but for one thing. That state was destroyed about two thousand years ago by the Roman Empire, and the Jews were in large part deported after that. A millenium later, what Jews there were the the holy land were a definite minority. The Israelite kingdom has been destroyed for nearly two millenia. None of the Arab states I mentioned were ever destroyed; some colonized, but never destroyed. France tried to destroy Algeria in the mid-twentieth century when it claimed that it was actually a part of France, and it failed. Iraq tried to destroy Kuwait in 1990, and thanks to us, it failed. Rome succeeded, however, in destroying the Israelite kingdom, and this has been the case for two thousand years. What was true 2000 years ago but has been false for almost 2000 years is not a basis for a land claim in the twentieth century.
As for the Arab countries in the Fertile crescent, they were all created in 1922, I believe; those were the only ones created by the French and the British. They predate Israel by about twenty-five years. And yes Leron, that includes Palestine.
Finally, concerning Zionism, the movement which was the momentum for the creation of the State of Israel, allow me to remind you that it was not a movement started by the Jewish minority in Palestine, but by intellectuals whose families had lived in Europe for generations; ie total foreigners to the Middle-East.

Posted by: Artoo on November 8, 2003 04:25 PM
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