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Editorial: Why the anti-war movement was right

Anti-war Iraq Editorial

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#21 Rov Judicata

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Posted 03 May 2003 - 09:20 PM

QuantumFlux, on May 3 2003, 12:01 PM, said:

^ Yes, the British gave input, but by your own quote it was still the Americans commanders who made the decision: “American commanders halved the planned bombing campaign . . . .”
Okay, now I'm just confused.

I honestly don't know what your definition of 'ally' is.

Supporting us politically isn't enough.

Letting us use their territory isn't enough.

Sending troops to aid in the cause isn't enough.

If they make huge strategic decisions, that's not enough.

If they make huge tactical decisions, that's not enough.

If they make huge operational decisions, that's not enough.

If they make huge diplomatic decisions, that's not enough.

By these standards, there's never been a war that ISN'T unilateral. The first Gulf War, by this definiot, would be unilateral...
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#22 Christopher

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Posted 04 May 2003 - 12:27 AM

Javert Rovinski, on May 3 2003, 12:28 PM, said:

I was addressing the editorials—and there were many—saying we wouldn’t win this war. The broader issues could still go either way.
But you said I was "cherry-picking" etc.  Don't lump me in with a whole group -- I form my own opinions, thank you very much.

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We can’t assume any of that won’t happen... but we can’t assume it will either. So far, the events that have gone down so far have been favourable.... I honestly don’t know which way is going to go, but I do believe what’s gone down so far has been mostly positive.

Again, it's way too early to jump to that conclusion.  And I think we overlook the Shi'a agitation at our peril -- the conditions in that community aren't much different from the ones that led to the Iranian revolution.  This kind of hasty optimism is exactly what I'm afraid of, since this is a part of the world in which we must move with extreme caution and delicacy.  We can't just say "so far so good" -- we have to try to plan five or ten steps ahead, to choose a strategy based not only on our immediate goals but on our long-term goals and concerns as well.

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The only thing I was objecting to was your statement that the pre-war predictions were right. Most of the anti-war predictions were, in fact, spectacularly wrong. Not necessarily from you, but I read the NY Times every day and got a wealth of doom and gloom scenarios, must of which haven’t come to pass. <Siege of Baghdad, civilians fighting for Saddam in mass numbers, significant incursions from Turkey, supply lines, terrorist attacks...>.

As for the predictions about a siege of Baghdad or massive civilian fighting, I think those more likely came from the military planners themselves than exclusively from "anti-war" pundits.  They weren't "doom and gloom scenarios," but reasonable preparation for the worst.

As for the rest, again, you're jumping the gun.  It's only been a couple of weeks!  The people who made these predictions weren't saying they would happen by early May or not at all.  They're talking about the next few years or longer.  I mean, come on, after their first attempt on the WTC, al-Qaida waited eight years to try again, and then struck with horrifying effectiveness when our guard was down.  Terrorists are patient.  And there have already been "advisors" sent in from Turkey, which could easily be the first step toward incursions.  You brought up Vietnam -- America's involvement there began with "advisors," and escalated to military intervention.
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#23 Rov Judicata

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Posted 04 May 2003 - 12:40 AM

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But you said I was "cherry-picking" etc. Don't lump me in with a whole group -- I form my own opinions, thank you very much.

To quote you:

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Before the war, people predicted that the museums and archaeological sites would be in danger. They were right, even more than they knew. They predicted before the war that neighboring nations might make incursions into Iraq in "defense" of their ethnic kindred. Now we've already seen Turkey sending in military advisors to help the Turkmen minority. They predicted before the war that the large Shi'a population of Iraq, once liberated, might rise up and attempt to create an Islamic republic. They have now begun efforts to do just that.

I do feel that you unfairly picked out the few predictions that turned out to be right, and ignored the rest. That being said, I didn't keep track of what you said before the war, so I have no idea what your predictions were.

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Again, it's way too early to jump to that conclusion. And I think we overlook the Shi'a agitation at our peril -- the conditions in that community aren't much different from the ones that led to the Iranian revolution. This kind of hasty optimism is exactly what I'm afraid of, since this is a part of the world in which we must move with extreme caution and delicacy. We can't just say "so far so good" -- we have to try to plan five or ten steps ahead, to choose a strategy based not only on our immediate goals but on our long-term goals and concerns as well.

Not disagreeing with you on this point.

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As for the predictions about a siege of Baghdad or massive civilian fighting, I think those more likely came from the military planners themselves than exclusively from "anti-war" pundits. They weren't "doom and gloom scenarios," but reasonable preparation for the worst.

I could dig up the editorials. A lot of it came from the far-left pundits. CJ, jon, I've seen you link to a bunch in your time.... still have them handy?

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As for the rest, again, you're jumping the gun. It's only been a couple of weeks! The people who made these predictions weren't saying they would happen by early May or not at all.

True and untrue. Some of the predictions were timed, others weren't. Some predictions can't be proven true or false in our lifetimes.

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They're talking about the next few years or longer. I mean, come on, after their first attempt on the WTC, al-Qaida waited eight years to try again, and then struck with horrifying effectiveness when our guard was down. Terrorists are patient. And there have already been "advisors" sent in from Turkey, which could easily be the first step toward incursions. You brought up Vietnam -- America's involvement there began with "advisors," and escalated to military intervention.

That's true.

I just think that things have gone a lot better than most predicted, and Bush isn't getting any credit. But that's more an issue I have with the press at large than anybody here. :).
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#24 tennyson

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Posted 04 May 2003 - 12:55 AM

A lot of nations sent or gave what they had available or could move into the region, the Australians sent roughly ten percent of thier available military force including most of thier navy's minecountermeasures assets to the Gulf to deal with the mines, Spain sent its elite special forces and guided missile frigates, the Polish sent thier special forces, the Czechs and Slovaks sent an antichemical warfare unit just the same as it did during the 1991 Gulf War,  South Korea sent 700 noncombat troops to help in the logistical and military police areas. Spain and Italy have stood with the US from the beginning of this and needed no cohercion to open thier bases and facilities to this effort. South Korea made no secret of the troops it sent, it was in all the major South Korean newspapers.
Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman all providing basing for Coaltion forces.
But a lot of countries that provided support or basing couldn't move thier own troops to the region or would have caused more harm than good like the Poles or Estonians since they use the same kind of Ex-Soviet equipment that Iraq had. The chance for casulties from friendly fire would have been that muchgreater when you have to decide wether that tank in front of you is a Polish or Iraqi T-72.
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#25 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 04 May 2003 - 01:12 AM

QuantumFlux, on May 3 2003, 07:01 PM, said:

^ Yes, the British gave input, but by your own quote it was still the Americans commanders who made the decision: “American commanders halved the planned bombing campaign . . . .”
Uh small note.  That might be because American planes carried out the bulk of the bombing sorties.
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#26 Christopher

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Posted 04 May 2003 - 04:45 AM

Javert Rovinski, on May 3 2003, 05:30 PM, said:

I do feel that you unfairly picked out the few predictions that turned out to be right, and ignored the rest. That being said, I didn't keep track of what you said before the war, so I have no idea what your predictions were.
I'm doing nothing of the sort.  Obviously not all predictions about anything will come to pass.  Hell, there's no such thing as a "prediction."  There are only extrapolations and forward projections.  Anyone who claims to be "predicting" the future is either a con artist or an egomaniac.

My point is not about how many projections came true.  This isn't about anything as simplistic as keeping score.  My point is that I don't think the administration paid any attention to the long-term risks, and has therefore worsened those risks by failing to address them.

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As for the predictions about a siege of Baghdad or massive civilian fighting, I think those more likely came from the military planners themselves than exclusively from "anti-war" pundits. They weren't "doom and gloom scenarios," but reasonable preparation for the worst.

I could dig up the editorials. A lot of it came from the far-left pundits.

I don't deny that the "pundits" have used these projections to support their arguments, but that doesn't mean they originated them, or that the people who originated them intended for them to be used in that way.  Do you mean to tell me you don't think the military strategists would've explored the worst-case scenarios and prepared accordingly?

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I just think that things have gone a lot better than most predicted, and Bush isn't getting any credit.

Well, as I've said, I fully expected the military overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime to be accomplished with relative ease.  But that doesn't mean it was the right thing to do.  Because the important thing is what happens afterwards.

And because it raises tough ethical questions.  Does might make right?  Just because we can easily overthrow someone we set our sights on, does that mean we should?  Even with the best of intentions?  Look at Jasmine on Angel.  Look how easy it was for her to overpower people, to impose her will on them for what she believed to be their own good.  Was it right for her to do so?

I just have serious problems with the idea of overwhelming power being wielded unilaterally, even by a well-meaning entity.  I've had encounters with the issue of abusive relationships, and I've learned that it's not healthy to make someone accept your help if you fear she's being victimized, because then you're just committing the same wrong, making her choices for her.  The only way she can ever be free is if she seizes freedom for herself.  (Or himself, as the case may be.)

It's the same on a larger scale.  The Abolitionists wanted to hand slaves their freedom, but ultimately that wasn't empowering at all.  Their artwork showed "freed" slaves on their knees, bowing down in supplication to their liberators. Even the abolitionists still saw themselves as superior, having the right to control the fate of others, and saw the African-Americans as subordinates.  And thus abolition didn't really free anyone.  Equality didn't come until African-Americans fought for it and won it on their own terms, asserted their own identity and independence.

By the same token, I don't think you can swoop down and "give" a nation its freedom.  It just doesn't work that way.  It's a relationship with a profound power imbalance, and that can never be healthy on any scale.

With great power comes great responsibility -- and I'm convinced that means not only using power to help others, but understanding when not to use power.  Because the only way you can truly help others is by letting them have power over their own lives.
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#27 Delvo

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Posted 04 May 2003 - 05:56 AM

What you've just done there, Christopher (other than smear abolitionists with a weird and insulting image that's either fictional or gained from a tiny minority of them), is make a sound case, not against the war, but for the war followed by a relatively quick withdrawal and then our standing back. The first part has happened, and the second is happening now as people and stuff are returned to where they came from to reduce our forces' presence there below a level that could sustain a forceful occupation.

And the long-term issues aren't being ignored; they've just yielded conclusions other than your own. One who isn't either anti-Bush or anti-Republican or anti-USA enough to think that Bush/Republicans/USA can't possibly be up to anything good, or anti-Arab or anti-Muslim enough to think they can't be trusted to handle things without either their own tyrants or tyrants from the outside keeping their natural lunacy under rigid control, could easily see this as the beginning of a process that will change the Middle East for the BETTER. The region is ripe for improvement in various ways, but sometimes "the people" need some help getting large obstacles out of their way.

Edited by Delvo, 04 May 2003 - 05:58 AM.


#28 Rov Judicata

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Posted 04 May 2003 - 06:02 AM

Chris-- Again, I disagree that they haven't been addressed. The pundit articles I'll dig up.

I think we've also addressed that this isn't unilateral in any sense of the word. I honestly don't understand why that charge keeps getting repeated; it just isn't so.

Delvo-- I think the situation will turn out to be better than it started. But I don't think any anti-American or anti-Muslim sentiment is involved in coming to the opposite conclusion....
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#29 Christopher

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Posted 04 May 2003 - 07:30 PM

Delvo, on May 3 2003, 10:46 PM, said:

What you've just done there, Christopher (other than smear abolitionists with a weird and insulting image that's either fictional or gained from a tiny minority of them)
No, it is not insulting and it is not gained from a tiny minority of them.  It was just brief and apparently unclear.  The abolitionists sincerely meant well, of course, but they were still operating under the prejudices of their age.  Abraham Lincoln sincerely believed Africans shouldn't be slaves, but he also sincerely believed they were mentally inferior to whites and couldn't reach the same level of ability or achievement.  That was the most liberal racial view you could find among whites of the era.  It's not insulting someone to say he wasn't far enough ahead of his time.

The point is that you can mean well but still be paternalistic and condescending.  The abolitionists saw their efforts as akin to taking care of children.  They didn't consciously recognize the condescension, but they still denied agency to the people they were trying to help.  They saw freedom as something they would give to the slaves, rather than recognizing the agency of the Africans to win it for themselves.

Let me go back to the abuse analogy.  I once had a friend I feared was in an abusive relationship.  I wanted to go to her and talk her into leaving him.  But I talked to a social worker first, and she told me that that would be the wrong thing to do.  She applauded my intentions, my caring for my friend, but helped me to understand that I was going about it the wrong way, that I couldn't give her freedom, she had to find it for herself.  That if I did what I was thinking of, it would perpetuate her role as a passive object, and do nothing to give her power over her own life.

So no, I'm not insulting anyone, because I've made the same mistake myself, and it's a natural one to make.  I wanted to act out of sincere compassion, but my impulse was wrong.  It's hard to realize that sometimes the best way to help someone else is to stand back and leave them to their own devices.

(By the way, my friend is doing fine now -- the whole thing may have been a false alarm, or at least not as bad as I feared.)

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, is make a sound case, not against the war, but for the war followed by a relatively quick withdrawal and then our standing back. The first part has happened, and the second is happening now as people and stuff are returned to where they came from to reduce our forces' presence there below a level that could sustain a forceful occupation.

I can see how it could be taken that way, but I'm still not sure I agree.  It would've been better if the nations of the Mideast had banded together to solve the Iraq crisis.

Besides, if we just topple the government and then abandon them to deal with the power vacuum, history shows clearly that the results will be disastrous.  Post-WWI Germany, anyone?  Post-colonial Africa, anyone?  Now that we've committed ourselves to this dangerous path, we'll do far more damage if we don't stick to it all the way.

The thing is, I'm not sure the Mideast is ready to find solutions from within.  I don't think a generation is in place yet that has the ideas and the commitment necessary to find real solutions -- largely because the extremists keep sacrificing the generation that could find those answers, sending them out to die in their wars and suicide bombings.  Looking at it on the large scale, I just don't think the sociopolitical forces in that part of the world are aligned right to allow a lasting solution to emerge, because there are just too many forces pushing for greater chaos and destabilization and not enough to resist them.  I'm a believer in the "Generations" thesis of history postulated by Strauss & Howe, that history goes in recurring generational cycles, and certain kinds of things don't come to pass until a particular point in the cycle is reached.  It's a thesis developed for American history, but I believe it's generalizable, and so far its predictions have been amazingly accurate.  I think we're in the start of what they call the Crisis phase, corresponding to WWI in the last cycle.  If their model is borne out, then things will keep getting worse for a generation to come, and won't get better until the advent of the next generation, toughened by the crisis and determined enough to find new solutions and paradigms and put them into effect.

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One who isn't either anti-Bush or anti-Republican or anti-USA enough to think that Bush/Republicans/USA can't possibly be up to anything good, or anti-Arab or anti-Muslim enough to think they can't be trusted to handle things without either their own tyrants or tyrants from the outside keeping their natural lunacy under rigid control, could easily see this as the beginning of a process that will change the Middle East for the BETTER.

It's not as simple as that.  I'd like to think it was such a process, but I think that's naive, considering the status of the Mideast.  Any lasting solution will have to come from within, but the balance between radical and reform elements is just too strongly on the radical side at this time.  The reformers keep getting drowned out and shot down and otherwise marginalized.  And this war will only have served to make the radical voices stronger, because wars always increase the radicalization and polarization of political debate.

The Bush administration has this naive faith that democracy will magically transform the Mideast for the better.  But observers of the region understand that in the current climate, democratic elections would put militant Islamists into power basically everywhere in the Mideast.  You can't just bring in Western ideas and expect them to fix things -- the impetus has to come from within.  Hell, the whole root of the current problem in the Mideast is the clash between secular Westernization, a movement which has clearly failed to bring prosperity and stability to the region and has only served to prop up dictators and oppressors, and the populist, Islamist traditionalism which has arisen in reaction to that.  Said conflict is nowhere near being resolved.  And there is no way a Western solution can work for the region -- that ship has long since sailed.  The solution will have to come from a new, reformist paradigm that arises within Mideast culture and Islamic thought.  Such a solution may eventually come from Southeast Asia, which is a hotbed of inclusive, liberal Islamic ideology and could well spawn such a reform movement.  Maybe over the next couple of decades a new wave of reformist Muslims will arise there and spread a new system to the Mideast.

The thing is, people generally only embrace a new system after the last one they tried has proven a failure.  Human cultures tend to behave like pendulums, swinging between extremes.  When the Islamic culture of the Mideast saw themselves being outcompeted and pushed into poverty by the secular West, they figured that Islam had failed them and embraced Western secularism as a solution.  Now they see that secular modernization has failed disastrously, and they're turning to radical, reactionary Islamism.  Eventually they'll see how badly that's failed and be open to a new reform movement, but I don't think the pendulum has finished swinging in the reactionary direction yet.

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The pundit articles I'll dig up.

You don't need to.  The question is not whether anyone made these "predictions" or not.  Because as I said, they're not predictions.  I disagree completely that it was "wrong" for people to warn about bad things that could've happened but didn't.  If your mother tells you to buckle your seatbelt in case you get into an accident, and you don't get into an accident, does that mean she was "wrong" to tell you to buckle up?  Of course not!  Because she wasn't making a "prediction," she was advising reasonable caution.

It is never wrong to make people aware of the possible negative consequences of their actions.  It's not about "predicting" anything.  It's about having foresight and being prepared.  It's about taking all the possibilities into account in your planning.  If you leap in blindly and do something reckless, and nothing bad happens, you weren't "right," just lucky.

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I think we've also addressed that this isn't unilateral in any sense of the word. I honestly don't understand why that charge keeps getting repeated; it just isn't so.

Not from an American's point of view, no, but that's not the POV that matters in assessing this.  My whole point is that we can't assume that other people's perspectives and perceptions are trivial.  We defied the UN.  We chose not to participate in the legitimate global mechanism for pursuing these issues, just because it didn't give us the solution we wanted, and just because we were powerful enough to ignore its wishes.  That sets a dangerous precedent.  It's vigilantism.  It doesn't matter how big a posse you manage to assemble to back you up, it's still being a vigilante, working without the formal sanction of the community as a whole.
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#30 Palisades

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Posted 05 May 2003 - 01:06 AM

Christopher, brought up vigilantism. Let’s look at members of the lynch mob we’ve assembled.

Human rights abusers: From the second IPS report: "[The] the U.S. State Department’s annual human rights survey describes the overall human rights situation in 18 of the coalition countries as poor or extremely poor. For example, the State Department report notes that torture and/or extrajudicial killings were carried out by security forces in coalition members Albania, Azerbaijan, Colombia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Macedonia, Nicaragua, Philippines, Turkey, and Uzbekistan."

Only 2 of 10 nonpermanent Security Council members: Bulgaria and Spain. Regardless of what you think of the UN, let’s keep in mind that it’s the nonpermanent members that the world’s nations elect to represent them on the Security Council.

Other than the US, Britain is the only permanent member of the Security Council in GWB’s so-called coalition. Let’s keep in mind that before the war started, a majority of Britain’s population and Parliament did not support the war.

Some are quick to point out the supportive statements issued by leaders from Eastern European nations. Let’s look at the coalition members the second IPS report describes as "NATO wannabes":

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Eight of the countries (Albania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, and Slovakia) in the coalition are eager for NATO membership, which they believe will not only strengthen national security but also give the country a stamp of Western approval that might help increase foreign investment and trade. However, they must all gain approval of current NATO members, which means that President Bush could block or delay approval by not requesting ratification by the U.S. Senate. The ratification period begins March 26.

Furthermore, "The countries with the largest GDP’s in Europe, South America, Africa and Asia are opposed to the U.S. position on Iraq. These include: Germany, Brazil, South Africa, and China."

Not counting the US, something like 75% of the total population of the coalition is not in favor of the war (first IPS report).

Edited by QuantumFlux, 05 May 2003 - 01:24 AM.

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#31 Delvo

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Posted 05 May 2003 - 01:41 AM

So, a while ago, it was unilateral, but now it's not that we didn't have anyone else with us, but that those who were with us in the so-called "so-called coalition" (it wasn't a real one?) weren't good enough (because of problems that most of the UN countries have anyway), according to a "report" that just calls them names and judges a country's opinion's worth by its economic output.

Gewd gawd, you're making yourself look desperate. This is like claiming that the Arab nations were all against us and then, when Arab allies are named, trying to change the definitions of the words so that not sending troops equals no support. There's ALWAYS something new to fall back on, some new retrostandard to meet. What's next, God wasn't on our side because there weren't rainbows over all the highways our troops traveled on? Time to quit while you're not even farther behind on this particular subject of what other countries thought. Why can't you just admit and accept that when a country wants to do something, some others will join it or help it, and some won't, no matter how good and right and sensible it is?

#32 Palisades

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Posted 05 May 2003 - 01:43 AM

^ Time for you to actually address the points I brought up. The majorority of the population in the coalition doesn't support the war. How's that for unilateral?

Delvo:

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This is like claiming that the Arab nations were all against us . . . .
That's not what I claimed, but the overwhelming majority of the population of the Arab countries are against us.

Edit: I'm currently gathering evidence with which to refute Rov's other points.

Edited by QuantumFlux, 05 May 2003 - 01:55 AM.

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#33 Rov Judicata

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Posted 05 May 2003 - 02:01 AM

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It is never wrong to make people aware of the possible negative consequences of their actions. It's not about "predicting" anything. It's about having foresight and being prepared. It's about taking all the possibilities into account in your planning. If you leap in blindly and do something reckless, and nothing bad happens, you weren't "right," just lucky

I think we're referring to two different kinds of editorials here; I'll drop it, because it's a huge side-track. I may post a thread on it in the future.

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My whole point is that we can't assume that other people's perspectives and perceptions are trivial

I just said it wasn't unilateral. That's a verifiable fac, and it's not unilateral by any definition of the word. :blink:

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We defied the UN.

Virtually every nation defies the UN. For that matter, most don't go to the UN before deploying troops.

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We chose not to participate in the legitimate global mechanism for pursuing these issues, just because it didn't give us the solution we wanted, and just because we were powerful enough to ignore its wishes.

If you call an organization that puts Libya in charge of human rights 'legitimate'. Setting that aside, we're hardly alone in that regard. Why is the US singled out?  Part of what makes the UN a joke (aside from quesionable members on its commissions) is that most countries defy it.

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sets a dangerous precedent. It's vigilantism. It doesn't matter how big a posse you manage to assemble to back you up, it's still being a vigilante, working without the formal sanction of the community as a whole.

Basically, you're saying that nothing can be done without UN approval. Why is only the US held to this standard? And I'm glad we've moved beyond the claim that this was a unilateral attack.

QF-- So, is it unilateral or isn't it?

And:

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The overwhelming majority of the population of the Arab countries are against us.

So, now we need the government and the populations supporting us? What, exactly, is your definition of 'ally'?
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. § 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#34 Palisades

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Posted 05 May 2003 - 02:07 AM

Rov:

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QF-- So, is it unilateral or isn't it?
I think our approach was much closer to unilateralism than multilateralism . . . which is why I characterize it as unilateral.

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So, now we need the government and the populations supporting us?
We value democracy, don’t we?

Edited by QuantumFlux, 05 May 2003 - 02:08 AM.

"When the Fed is the bartender everybody drinks until they fall down." —Paul McCulley

"In truth, 'too big to fail' is not the worst thing we should fear – our financial institutions are now on their way to becoming 'too big to save'." —Simon Johnson

FKA:
TWP / An Affirming Flame / Solar Wind / Palisade

#35 Rov Judicata

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Posted 05 May 2003 - 02:11 AM

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I think our approach was much closer to unilateralism than multilateralism . . . which is why I characterize it as unilateral

What exactly do you mean by 'unilateralism' and 'multilateralism'? And what's your definition of ally?

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So, now we need the government and the populations supporting us?

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We value democracy, don’t we?

:blink:

Yes, we do. That doesn't mean that every country is a democracy (although I sincerely hope they all someday will be), or that every decision made will have at least 50% + 1 of the people supporting it.
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. § 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#36 Delvo

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Posted 05 May 2003 - 02:31 AM

Oyf... how much do you believe "polls" taken in some of those countries, and how much do you trust that they have anything resembling the real facts? I'm just not going to bother with it, though, partially because I'm talking to someone who called the coalition a lynch mob (which shows that nothing's really going to reach you, and also means the Iraqi Baathists are innocent victims), and partially because it doesn't matter. It's just a distraction to divert attention away from the falsehood having been revealed in your claims that the war was "unilateral", and all it would do is prove that there are people out there with irrational prejudices against the USA... which we all already knew anyway...

BTW, the claim that we defied the UN is also false. All we did is not let the UN defy itself on its own previous (unanymously passed) resolution on the subject, 1441.

Edited by Delvo, 05 May 2003 - 03:23 AM.


#37 Palisades

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Posted 05 May 2003 - 04:46 AM

Delvo:

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Oyf... how much do you believe "polls" taken in some of those countries, and how much do you trust that they have anything resembling the real facts?
I’ve provided evidence. It stands until you provide counterevidence.

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all it would do is prove that there are people out there with irrational prejudices against the USA... which we all already knew anyway...
Ah yes, so the only reason someone would oppose the war is because of irrational prejudices against the USA? Whatever.

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I'm talking to someone who called the coalition a lynch mob (which shows that nothing's really going to reach you, and also means the Iraqi Baathists are innocent victims)
Incorrect. Lynch mobs sometimes went after guilty people. I agree that the Baathists were a nasty bunch of characters The term "lynch mob" brings to mind an unsavory group, and the US State Department has described 18 of the coalition countries as having poor or very poor human-rights conditions. This doesn’t even count our invisible "friends" who have cravenly kept their membership secret, and it’s still almost a third of the coalition’s members. Furthermore, there are many more members which deny their citizens even basic freedoms. What moral grounds does this coalition have to condemn Saddam without sinking into blatant hypocrisy?

Rov, with regard to foreign policy, I define unilateral as "lacking broad-based support and involvement." All my uses of the word "unilateral" have been consistent with this definition, and I believe that my definition fits common usage -- as demonstrated by the number of people who describe the US’s push towards war as unilateral.

Regardless of this semantic squabbling, a substantial number of the world’s most influential countries oppose the war. These include Russia, France, Germany, China, and Brazil. Furthermore, the majority of people in the "coalition of the willing" are unwilling. The coalition is a far cry from Bush’s claims of broad-based multilateralism. IMO any preemptive, unprovoked war should have broad base of support.

Rov, my only comments about allies were that we were disdainful and dismissive of many of ours. We basically spat on many of the nations that helped us in Afghanistan and that are continuing to help us in the "War on Terror."

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BTW, the claim that we defied the UN is also false. All we did is not let the UN defy itself on its own previous (unanymously passed) resolution on the subject, 1441.
Regardless of how you spin it, only 4 out of 15 Security Council members are in the Coalition.

Edited by QuantumFlux, 05 May 2003 - 04:56 AM.

"When the Fed is the bartender everybody drinks until they fall down." —Paul McCulley

"In truth, 'too big to fail' is not the worst thing we should fear – our financial institutions are now on their way to becoming 'too big to save'." —Simon Johnson

FKA:
TWP / An Affirming Flame / Solar Wind / Palisade

#38 Rov Judicata

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Posted 05 May 2003 - 05:12 AM

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Rov, with regard to foreign policy, I define unilateral as “lacking broad-based support and involvement." All my uses of the word "unilateral" have been consistent with this definition, and I believe that my definition fits common usage -- as demonstrated by the number of people who describe the US’s push towards war as unilateral.

Fair enough. I was unaware of that definition, and was arguing against the wrong premise.

Given how you've defined unilateral, you're probably right. Perhaps "insufficiently multilateral" would better get across your point?

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Regardless of this semantic squabbling, a substantial number of the world’s most influential countries oppose the war. These include Russia, France, Germany, China, and Brazil. Furthermore, the majority of people in the "coalition of the willing" are unwilling. The coalition is a far cry from Bush’s claims of broad-based multilateralism. IMO any preemptive, unprovoked war should have broad base of support.

See, here's the contradiction:

As an American citizen, I'm constantly told that all countries matter, and we shouldn't look down on other nations because they're less powerful, and their opinions matter just as much. I agree. Why then, isn't the opinion of a small country just as important of that as France?

What made Russia, France, Germany, China and Brazil more important? Is it economic? Militaristic? Their seats on the UN? Population? History? The way they're perceived by other countries?


I honestly don't know.

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Rov, my only comments about allies were that we were disdainful and dismissive of many of ours. We basically spat on many of the nations that helped us in Afghanistan and that are continuing to help us in the "War on Terror."

Specifics? What exactly do you think was unfair?

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Regardless of how you spin it, only 4 out of 15 Security Council members are in the Coalition.

Which members? Only five of those security council members are permanent. The other ten rotate. I honestly haven't done a month by month rotation, but if we had waited a few months, we no doubt could have gotten a more favourable statistic just with the nations already on board. Ergo, I don't think it's a terribly relevant statistic....

And I pose the question again: Why should we listen to an organization that puts Libya in charge of human rights? What kind of credibility do they have?
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. § 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#39 Delvo

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Posted 05 May 2003 - 06:11 AM

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I've provided evidence. It stands until you provide counterevidence.
Or until you really take a look at the evidence itself. Even if we assume that the polls really reflect what the people in those countries think based on complete information... You're still only talking about polls from a selected handful of countries, not all of the dozens, and claiming that they add up to a poll of them all. And the questions usually aren't about whether the USA has any right to go to war, but whether their country should be involved, or even whether their country's troops should be sent... then they got reported as if everyone's just plain against the USA doing anything for itself.

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Ah yes, so the only reason someone would oppose the war is because of irrational prejudices against the USA? Whatever.
When the USA doesn't happen to be doing anything wrong, yes! What's right and wrong, or a good idea or a bad one, is independent of whether people see it for what it is. (Especially when it comes to the most powerful nation around, which just happens to be us for now, because the powerful are always judged more harshly and there are always those who seek to destroy the powerful no matter what.)

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there are many more members which deny their citizens even basic freedoms.
You're talking about the UN, to whom you seem to think the USA owes such obedience, right? ;) There is, after all, a very high overlap between that and this "lynch mob" of yours.

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What moral grounds does this coalition have to condemn Saddam without sinking into blatant hypocrisy?
About the same as the UN's grounds to say anything about anyone... but that's a side issue. Once again, you're pretending that it's all just about getting rid of a nasty regime to distract from the more important facts that work against you. It's just a side benefit to our eliminating the biggest, most powerful, most scientificly advanced, most resource-rich government with a habit of harboring and aiding terrorists of various stripes. That's self-defense, for which nobody needs to ask anyone else's permission and nobody has the right to demand that someone else not do. And most countries in this world either recognized that and/or saw some interests of their own in it because they all face terrorist threats also, even if not to the same extent as us.

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I define unilateral as "lacking broad-based support and involvement."
That doesn't resemble the previous versions of that word that you've been using, as you shifted from one concept of it to another each time the last one didn't work. But in any case, calling this coalition unilateral is still false even by this vastly softened judgement-call definition. How many other military actions have ever had more broad-based support than this one? There are only two that come close at all: the last coalition that kicked Iraq out of Kuwait, and our Alliance in WWII. A distant second to these three is the Axis in WWII; boy, numbers sure equalled moral authority there! After that, you get down to the Arab coalition to destroy Israel and drive the Jews there extinct more than once, and the level of the many scores of military actions whose instigators had one or two allies, or none... and who never even asked anybody else, including the UN and its Security Council, what they thought. The most remarkably unusual thing about this war is, in fact, the absurdly high degree of coalition-building bordering on grovelling that preceded it.

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Regardless of how you spin it, only 4 out of 15 Security Council members are in the Coalition.
That's a spin all by itself. You were talking about the UN a while ago, but now you can't count the rest of them in your stats because most of them gave the USA their blessing. Also, that number, and the number in the coaltion, have changed, and you're picking the lowest point that the numbers ever had. And as long as we're talking about how these things change... remember that 1441 was passed unanymously, then the numbers started dropping after some blustering by certain countries and a mind-blowingly long delay by the USA... and that the media suddenly mysteriously quit trumpeting those foreign polls once the war was actually engaged, when the polls started swinging heavily back in our favor. That's another reason why the thing's popular support is irrelevant; it's too fluid. The idea can't have started off so good, then gotten so bad, then gotten so good again. But support for it was strong at first... then weakened as it dragged out, memories got old, opponents had more time to cook up objections and attacks on us, Hussein had more time to coordinate with his allies in France and Russia and Germany, and the USA's weak-willed grovelling for permission made us look indecisive and pathetic while discrediting the war's true importance... then came back when it was finally happening and going well, because people respond to real deeds and leadership and success more than weak, soft, wishy-washy, butt-kissing words.

Edited by Delvo, 05 May 2003 - 06:15 AM.




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