April 27, 2003

A Strange Form of Anti-Americanism

David Aaronovitch tries to psychoanalyze the British Empire's loony left:


: ...a characteristic of much of the Left, which is a strangely cavalier attitude towards freedom and democracy. What, for example, should we make of this question from Tam Dalyell, asked in Parliament in 1998: 'Is an alternative to Saddam Hussein,' queried the man who has condemned Tony Blair as a war criminal, 'really preferable? How can we be sure that post-Saddam Iraq will not descend into civil war along religious and tribal lines - like the north of Iraq?'

True, the same people will often shield themselves with one half sentence about Saddam's 'appaling human rights record'. But this is a phrase invoked as a defence against the reality of that record. Constructed against the reality of what it actually means to be living in such circumstances, afraid ever to speak. The constant suggestion is that the 'human rights record' is bad, but whatever the Americans do is far, far worse.

The classical exponent of this technique is John Pilger. In last week's New Statesman one of his typical pieces about the corruption of most journalists (ie people like me) versus the bravery of a few (ie people like him), included an attack on my colleague, Andrew Rawnsley. Rawnsley was portrayed as a vulgar Government mouthpiece for having written that 'millions have died at the hands of Saddam'. But, Pilger objected, 'Amnesty produced a catalogue of Saddam's killings that amounted mostly to hundreds every year, not millions. It is an appaling record that does not require the exaggeration of state-inspired propaganda'.

In fact Pilger's own source said (unquoted by him) that, in addition to the number of known executions Amnesty had also collected information on around 17,000 cases of disappearances, over the last 20 years, and 'the real figure may be much higher'. Yes it may. Since the liberation, 993 corpses of executed people have been found at one cemetery alone, buried there over the last three years.

But even that was not the point Rawnsley was making - 7,000 communists were executed in the late 1970s. During the Anfal anti-Kurdish campaign in 1987 as many as 180,000 Kurds disappeared. At Halabja, in one incident alone, more people were killed than in the whole of this latest Gulf war. The most conservative death toll attached to the repression of the Shia uprising in 1991 was 30,000. One million died in the Iran-Iraq war started by Saddam.

And this is reduced by Pilger to 'hundreds every year'. Not because of an innate hatred of hyperbole, because he has also written that 'the current American elite is the Third Reich of our times'. Note, not the Roman Empire, nor yet the Ottoman Empire, but the Third Reich.

All sins are American sins. Before the 1991 Gulf war, according to Pilger, Iraq was a 'relatively open and pro-Western society'. The health service was brill, education was fab, and - the 'appalling human rights record' aside - things were tickety-boo. Then came the war and sanctions and that led to repression and to economic misery. 'With most Iraqis now dependent on the state food rationing system,' wrote Pilger, 'organised political dissent is all but unthinkable.' Whereas before sanctions it was entirely thinkable, providing you didn't mind being collected from the police station by your family (with a nominal charge for the hangman's time)...

Posted by DeLong at April 27, 2003 03:16 PM | TrackBack

Comments

One of the things that most amazed and shocked me the first time I visited the US, as a high school student on an exchange trip to a high school in suburban Buffalo, was that the school i was visiting -- apart from having a Natatorium where most schools would put their swimming pool -- had an Organized Hate in morning assembly before the inter-school games, football, swimming meets, whatever.

This comes to mind when I see that the worst thing people come up with when they want to hate Saddam is this "million dead" in the "Iran-Iraq war started by Saddam."

No mention that Saddam was encouraged in this war by the United States, supplied with spare parts, many of them scavenged around the world for his Soviet-supplied weapons by the US, and counselled in their application by one Donald Rumsfeld.

Have these writers no shame? Nope. An Organized Hate is under way.

Posted by: David Lloyd-Jones on April 27, 2003 03:43 PM

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Maybe Saddam was encouraged by the US, but he chose to do it. If the US helped inflict Saddam on Iraq, we had a responsibility to remove him. When I think of an Organzied Hate, I think of Nazi book burnings or a KKK lynching. If the US receives a couple more terrorist attacks, then you'll see a real Organized Hate. It's much more frightening than a pep rally, as scary as those can be. Contrary to popular belief, the liberation of Iraq won't increase terrorism. It will end up helping the muslim moderates in their conflict with the muslim fundamentalists.

Posted by: Peter K. on April 27, 2003 04:19 PM

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David Lloyd-Jones equates a sports-fan Pep rally with Orwellian Organized Hate? Troll-bait, pure and simple.

Posted by: Steven Rogers on April 27, 2003 04:59 PM

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I think that Aaronovitch is unfair to Dalyell by lumping him with Pilger, or, if I am not confused as to which Tam Dalyell he is quoting, is generously citing one of his less extreme questions. Horrible as the Saddam Hussein regime was, I think it is possible for the Iraq's future to be still worse. Even very extreme repression is less horrible than a prolonged civil war. A prolonged civil war is unlikely, but, it will be even less likely if mentioning the possibility is not considered equivalent of defending Saddam Hussein.

Pilger is absurd. Clearly one can't consider the number of victims of a closed totalitarian regime identified by Amnesty as an estimate of the true number of victims. By that count, if Amnesty had existed then, Stalin's victims would be estimated as a few hundred killed after show trials.

Hmm I think it is extreme to compare a pep rally to an organzied hate (but although I grew up in the USA I never attented a pep rally nor was one ever held at my high school). Still Lloyd Jones gets a point for quoting one word from Orwell.

How does he know the US encouraged Saddam Hussein to invade Iran ? As far as I know there is no evidence to that effect. In any case, I have read the accusation fairly often and never seen it associated with a shred of evidence. The logic could be that the Islamic Republic of Iran had occupied the US embassy and therefore ... well I would certainly have encouraged their neighbors to invade. Somehow I doubt that I will read that argument.

The US did tilt towards Iraq sharing intelligence. This was well into the war when Saddam had noticed that he had made a mistake and Khomeini wanted to fight on to victory. Not all Iraqi weapons were from the USSR. A significant fraction came from France. After the US had criminally supported Saddam Hussein the only US made weapons were a few UH-1 dual use helicopters (they claimed they were for civilian search and rescue) roughly 1% of the weapons in Iraq by value. Why doesn't Lloyd Jones criticize France for massively arming Saddam and instead criticize the USA for a relatively tiny contribution ?

I've been having trouble posting (I hope). If not I've triple posted -- sorry

Posted by: Robert on April 27, 2003 05:00 PM

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I think the man who wrote this
http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/features/story/0,11710,937236,00.html
could do with some psychoanalyzing himself:

Posted by: Jack on April 27, 2003 05:48 PM

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On the one hand, the USA is in the business of making the Saddam Husseins of this world - not as a policy, but as a practice - so there really is no special reason to expect an improvement (sure, there will be the appearance of democracy, but was Liberia ever really better off for that, or the Philippines?). On the other hand, we aren't just looking at whether this is an improvement for Iraq (dubious), but whether it makes the rest of the world better off; whether utilitarianly looking at aggregate good or merely being selfish, I really don't see any possible gain for anyone outside the USA and not even for everyone in that country.

Posted by: P.M.Lawrence on April 27, 2003 06:02 PM

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"How does he know the US encouraged Saddam Hussein to invade Iran ? As far as I know there is no evidence to that effect. In any case, I have read the accusation fairly often and never seen it associated with a shred of evidence."

"Why doesn't Lloyd Jones criticize France for massively arming Saddam and instead criticize the USA for a relatively tiny contribution ?"

How dare you ask a logical question? Are you not aware that the United states is responsible for all the evil in the world.

Posted by: David Thomson on April 27, 2003 06:12 PM

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The problem here is one of moral equivalency. And it really isn't easy to sort out.

Brad says Pilger's numbers are too low and then adds in some more, like Kurds and Communists......

But these people were enemies of Saddam's regime. The Kurds had taken up arms against it. The Shi'ites had perpetrated armed armed revolt.....

All governments kill their enemies; including ours.

Mostly, our government doesn't do this at home because here dissidents use words, not armed confrontation as they do in the Mid. East.

When domestic dissident groups do take up arms they are labled criminal and killed and/or thrown behind bars for life (the Branch Dravidians, Ruby Ridge, Oglala tribal members belonging to AIM, etc, etc and the greatest example, the American Civil War).

Certainly, the United States will even go abroad to kill peoples with whom it disagrees. We did not like communists so we went all the way to Vietnam to kill a million or so of them along with many innocent bystanders.

But if Saddam kills communists it is evidence of his vileness (!!??).

Bottom line: Saddam was the ruler of a divided country in a part of the world where leaders are voted in, and out, of office by the barrel of a gun. He did what any other ruler would do (does in that part of the world; including Isreal) under the circumstances. He eliminated his enemies in a blatant fashion. It was an act of necessity.

Brad, please do not insult your audience with these simplistic morality plays. You and your readers are too good for this sort of childish and ignorant flag waving nonsense.

If it is ultimately in our best interest to remove Saddam then discuss the costs and benefits. There is no need for intelligent people to indulge in justification by demonization.

Posted by: arslan on April 27, 2003 06:20 PM

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"...(does in that part of the world; including Isreal) under the circumstances. He eliminated his enemies in a blatant fashion. It was an act of necessity."

Are you a satircal writer for Onion.com? If not, your indulgence in moral equivalency is most disgusting. Neither Israel nor the United States eliminate those who are merely unfriendly. Both countries are democracies based upon law and respect for individual rights. Saddam Hussein's regime was a totalitarian nightmare.

Posted by: David Thomson on April 27, 2003 07:05 PM

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Well, I hate to take this a litle off track here, but "Neither Israel nor the United States eliminate those who are merely unfriendly." is surely wishful thinking. I find it odd to hear this business of good guys and bad guys on an economics web site, given the emphasis that economics places on incentives.

Many Colombians, many Turkish kurds, many Central Americans, and many residents of West Bank towns would disagree. (And yes, I know that in all but the latter case the action was outsourced to an almost-wholly-owned subsidiary rather than direct.) Domestic policy really is not a very good guide to a country's actions outside its own borders. The incentives at work are totally different.

Posted by: Tom Slee on April 27, 2003 08:56 PM

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A small correction. Aaronovitch claims that Pilgers contradicted himself, because he (Pilger)claimed deaths from repression were "hundreds a year, not millions", and "Amnesty had also collected information on around 17,000 cases of disappearances, over the last 20 years", though the real number was somewhat higher. On my count that does make it closer to hundreds a year than millions. It's hundreds a year too many and it doesn't answer arguments about how many other deaths (the Kurdish and Shiite insurrections, the Iran-Iraq war) should be laid at Saddam's door, but my point is just that Pilger may be wrong but he didn't contradict his own sources.

As for Tom Dalyell's question, based on experience in Afghanistan it's a reasonable one to ask - and those who think it shouldn't be asked are really just displaying their lack of a good answer.

Dalyell is an old-style socialist, with a reputation for integrity. He's not at all like Pilger, who is a bit of a yellow journo - worth reading because he often highlights things that our tame media play down, but the price is you always have to cross-check his 'facts'.

Posted by: derrida derider on April 27, 2003 10:05 PM

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A small correction. Aaronovitch claims that Pilgers contradicted himself, because he (Pilger)claimed deaths from repression were "hundreds a year, not millions", and "Amnesty had also collected information on around 17,000 cases of disappearances, over the last 20 years", though the real number was somewhat higher. On my count that does make it closer to hundreds a year than millions. It's hundreds a year too many and it doesn't answer arguments about how many other deaths (the Kurdish and Shiite insurrections, the Iran-Iraq war) should be laid at Saddam's door, but my point is just that Pilger may be wrong but he didn't contradict his own sources.

As for Tom Dalyell's question, based on experience in Afghanistan it's a reasonable one to ask - and those who think it shouldn't be asked are really just displaying their lack of a good answer.

Dalyell is an old-style socialist, with a reputation for integrity. He's not at all like Pilger, who is a bit of a yellow journo - worth reading because he often highlights things that our tame media play down, but the price is you always have to cross-check his 'facts'.

Posted by: derrida derider on April 27, 2003 10:06 PM

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Dalyell is quite different from Pilger. This doesn't make him right, but it does, I think, make him more trustworthy. I'm not sure if I can put html in these posts, but there's a long Guardian profile of him that I wrote still online at http://www.guardian.co.uk/saturday_review/story/0,3605,683322,00.html ; I decided, when I had finished it, that the motivation for his anti-imperialism is quite simple. He doesn't think that anyone can do it as well as we did.

This is a surprisingly common view among the British (ex-)ruling classes, though for obvious reasons it's seldom articulated or admitted even to ourselves. Imperial self-confidence does look rather silly when the empire has gone. But the attitude is still influential: just as we know our army is the best in the world, and certainly better than the Americans', we think our civil service, and our colonial administration was incomparably better than anyone else's. If even we couldn't keep hold of half the globe, it stands to reason that no one else can, and that attempts to make the Middle East an American protectorate are doomed.

Dalyell remembers, or thinks he remembers, his parents inventing Iraq.

Posted by: Andrew Brown on April 28, 2003 12:00 AM

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Re: aiding Iraq, is the following untrue?

A June, 1990 Nightline episode revealed a massive cover-up of the USS Vincennes' whereabouts and actions when it shot down an Iranian airliner in 1987, killing over 200 civilians. The cover-up was designed to hide the US secret war against Iran, in which, among other actions, US Special Operations troops and Navy SEALS sunk half of Iran's navy while giving battle plans and logistical information to Iraqi ground forces in a coordinated offensive.

Posted by: drapetomaniac on April 28, 2003 07:06 AM

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Drapetomaniac,

Um. what was secret about it? The US news media gave quite a bit of air time to the US Air/Naval war against Iran. There was lots of camera footage of Iranian vessels getting sunk, and Iranian oil platforms getting the crap shot out of them.

Posted by: Steven Rogers on April 28, 2003 07:59 AM

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Drapetomaniac,

Um. what was secret about it? The US news media gave quite a bit of air time to the US Air/Naval war against Iran. There was lots of camera footage of Iranian vessels getting sunk, and Iranian oil platforms getting the crap shot out of them.

Posted by: Steven Rogers on April 28, 2003 08:00 AM

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I reckon he claims it was a secret war against Iran , because the open war was against Iraq.

DSW

Posted by: Antoni Jaume on April 28, 2003 08:41 AM

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"Horrible as the Saddam Hussein regime was, I think it is possible for the Iraq's future to be still worse. Even very extreme repression is less horrible than a prolonged civil war."

Yes, at least Saddam got his post-Gulf-War civil war out of the way fairly quickly. All he had to do was kill tens of thousands of Kurds, and tens of thousands of Shiites, to do it.

Posted by: Mark Bahner on April 28, 2003 09:39 AM

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"This comes to mind when I see that the worst thing people come up with when they want to hate Saddam is this "million dead" in the 'Iran-Iraq war started by Saddam.'"

Yes, is that the worst they can come up with, a million dead?

And everybody knows that the U.S. would have killed all of Saddam's sons, if Saddam didn't start the war. So it really wasn't Saddam who initiated the war, it was the U.S.

:-/


Posted by: Mark Bahner on April 28, 2003 09:52 AM

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The US did not need to order Saddam, they only had to let him know that they would make hard for their allies, mostly France among them, to sell him arms if he choose to solve his differences with Iran with a war. On the other side Israel helped Iran...

http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/ops/war/iran-iraq.htm

http://www.zmag.org/zmag/articles/ShalomIranIraq.html

http://www.aci.net/kalliste/speccoll.htm

Posted by: Antoni Jaume on April 28, 2003 10:53 AM

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We are finally rid of the most vicious possible government. Iraq will no longer be a model of dictatorship for the Middle East, and will no longer be a threat to other countries. The Iraqi people are free, though Iraq will not be settled for a while. Only America would have ended the Iraqi thuggery, and with the help of Britain and Australia and others we did just that. I am elated about all this.

Likely, if France and Germany had supported the end of the Iraqi government the war would have been less costly for the Coalition and for Iraqis.

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/27/international/middleeast/27LIFE.html

April 27, 2003
Glimpses of Lives in a Changed Iraq
By JOHN F. BURNS - NYTimes

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Not yet three weeks after American troops seized the heart of Baghdad and toppled the government of Saddam Hussein, Iraq is a country poised agonizingly between its past and its future.

There is widespread gratitude to the United States for ending the brutal dictatorship of Mr. Hussein, though it is not always easy to hear it through the cacophony of voices. For the moment, the stage is held mainly by militant Shiite clerics demanding an Islamic republic; by ambitious carpetbaggers returning from long exile abroad to seek an instant ride to power; by supporters of the old government hoping to align themselves with the new power brokers; and most persuasively, by ordinary Iraqis whose daily lives were upended when the old system collapsed.

Many of these Iraqis have no wider ambitions for the moment than to get back, at least, to some semblance of the order they had under Mr. Hussein. They want to return to their jobs. They want their neighborhood schools and banks and groceries and cafes reopened. They want hospitals and clinics to operate normally again. They want effective police patrols back on their streets, and gunmen disarmed or behind bars. They want electrical power running to their wall plugs again, and water flowing from their taps.

Ask them their priorities, and the answer is invariably: order, order, order.

There are people, especially at moments of frustration and anger, who say that things were better under Mr. Hussein, that his straitjacket of fear was better than the chaos that followed the arrival of American troops. But catch the same people at less stressful moments, in the quiet of their homes, and they will say that they waited long years for the end of the old dictatorship, that only America had the power to bring that about, and that what they want now is what they expected from America: a civil society based on Western-style freedoms, but also Western-style security for the individual and the family....

Posted by: jd on April 28, 2003 12:10 PM

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http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/28/international/worldspecial/28PRIS.html

Right to the end, the Iraqi goverment was murdering its own people. As order is gradually restored and opportunists thwarted there will be deep gratitute among Iraqis for the liberation.

Posted by: dahl on April 28, 2003 12:30 PM

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//
Ask them their priorities, and the answer is invariably: order, order, order.
//

Small wonder. Just like the French when they found they could not defeat the Nazi army in 1939 while the USA did business as usual with Hitler. Now people from your side, those who did not fight against nazism but against a military power that had declared war on you, call the French "cheese-eating surrendering monkeys". What will you call the Irakis?

May I suggest you to help Equatorial Guinea to get rid of their dictator?

I never thought that the Dr Jekill was a good guy, why should I like mr Hyde?


DSW

Posted by: Antoni Jaume on April 28, 2003 12:37 PM

____

//
Ask them their priorities, and the answer is invariably: order, order, order.
//

Small wonder. Just like the French when they found they could not defeat the Nazi army in 1939 while the USA did business as usual with Hitler. Now people from your side, those who did not fight against nazism but against a military power that had declared war on you, call the French "cheese-eating surrendering monkeys". What will you call the Irakis?

May I suggest you to help Equatorial Guinea to get rid of their dictator?

I never thought that the Dr Jekill was a good guy, why should I like mr Hyde?


DSW

Posted by: Antoni Jaume on April 28, 2003 12:39 PM

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David Lloyd-Jones Writes:

"...Have these writers no shame? Nope. An Organized Hate is under way."

I think it's actully more of a 'directed' ad hoc self-organizing affair, David--a kind of extended lynch mob deal....

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."

--Abraham Lincoln

Brad comes by HIS contempt for everyone who, like Pilger, dares to stray off the "master narrative" honestly enough--he (and WE) inherited that habit of mind from a famous AND faithless (big AND little "D") democrat AND haberdasher--Harry Truman.

See, the deal is, 50 year ago, or so, "Give 'Em Hell Harry" a few other D.C. "deep thinkers" concluded that old fashioned, honest "checks and balances" style Constitutional government was just too "inefficient" to effectively counter the worldwide onslaught of "Godless communism", so, he and a few of his doubtless well-intentioned best political "friends", formally established "Corporate Fundamentalism" as The Official Religion of America.

"Vatican City?": The White House Basement...


"...The National Security Council was created by Public Law 80(253, approved July 26, 1947, as part of a general reorganization of the U.S. national security apparatus. Proponents of the reform realized that no institutional means for the coordination of foreign and defense policy existed, and that the informal management techniques employed by President Roosevelt during the war and President Truman after the war were not suitable for the long haul...

...For those, especially in Congress, who doubted Truman had adequate experience in foreign affairs or even doubted his abilities in general, the NSC offered the hope of evolving into a collegial policy-making body to reinforce the President.

Truman was clearly sensitive to this implied criticism and jealous of his prerogatives as Chief Executive. He did not like the idea of Congress legislating who could advise him on national security. Truman, therefore, kept the NSC at arm's length during its first 3 years...

...Initially, Truman named the Secretary of State as the ranking member of the Council in his absence and expected the Department of State to play the major role in formulating policy recommendations. This decision disappointed Defense officials...

In 1949, the NSC was reorganized. Truman directed the Secretary of the Treasury to attend all meetings and Congress amended the National Security Act of 1947 to eliminate the three service secretaries from Council membership...NSC standing committees were created to deal with sensitive issues such as internal security...

...Even Truman's overhaul of the machinery in 1949 did not create a National Security Council that fulfilled the role originally envisioned. Truman was partly to blame. He insisted on going outside NSC channels for national security advice, relying directly on his Secretaries of State and Defense, and increasingly on the Bureau of the Budget....

...In 1949, events reinforced the need for better coordination of national security policy: NATO was formed, military assistance for Europe was begun, the Soviet Union detonated an atomic bomb, and the Communists gained control in China. The Department of State seized the opportunity to review U.S. strategic policy and military programs, overcoming opposition from Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson and his allies in the Bureau of the Budget. Initially sidestepping formal NSC channels, State won approval of an ad hoc interdepartmental committee under its Policy Planning head, Paul Nitze. Their report, NSC 68, was submitted directly to Truman in February 1950, who sent it to the NSC for a cost analysis. An NSC committee authorized to consider costs and broader implications of NSC 68 began its work, but before it could be completed the Korean war broke out.

The war in Korea dramatically changed the functioning of the NSC under Truman. Thereafter the Council met every Thursday and the President attended all but 7 of its 71 remaining meetings. Truman limited attendance to statutory members plus the Secretary of the Treasury, the Chairman of the JCS, the Director of Central Intelligence, two special advisers (Averell Harriman and Sidney Souers), and the NSC Executive Secretary....

...Truman made additional structural changes in the NSC in late 1950 and in 1951...

...In 1951, the Psychological Strategy Board (PSB), made up of the deputies at State and Defense and the Director of Central Intelligence, was created to coordinate the response to Soviet unconventional Cold War tactics. The PSB worked closely with the NSC in managing America's covert psychological counterattack. In his retirement President Truman denied any responsibility for "cloak and dagger operations" but it was during his Presidency that covert intelligence operations in support of foreign policy objectives was undertaken on an ever broadening scale. The NSC's first action (NSC 1/1) authorized covert action in the Italian elections. The formal institutionalization of covert actions was established as NSC 4 in December 1947, and NSC 10/2 of June 1948.

During Truman's last year, the Council and the Senior Staff met less frequently and NSC activity abated...."

Excerpted from: History of the National Security Council, 1947-1997

http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/history.html

Anyway, long story short, US foreign policy has just been getting creepier and creepier ever since.

Case currently in point--Iraq:

(This ran in the NY Time several weeks ago)

A Tyrant 40 Years in the Making

This history is known to many in the Middle East and Europe, though few Americans are acquainted with it, much less understand it. Yet these interventions help explain why United States policy is viewed with some cynicism abroad. George W. Bush is not the first American president to seek regime change in Iraq. Mr. Bush and his advisers are following a familiar pattern.

By ROGER MORRIS


SEATTLE On the brink of war, both supporters and critics of United States policy on Iraq agree on the origins, at least, of the haunted relations that have brought us to this pass: America's dealings with Saddam Hussein, justifiable or not, began some two decades ago with its shadowy, expedient support of his regime in the Iraq-Iran war of the 1980's.

Both sides are mistaken. Washington's policy traces an even longer, more shrouded and fateful history. Forty years ago, the Central Intelligence Agency, under President John F. Kennedy, conducted its own regime change in Baghdad, carried out in collaboration with Saddam Hussein.

The Iraqi leader seen as a grave threat in 1963 was Abdel Karim Kassem, a general who five years earlier had deposed the Western-allied Iraqi monarchy. Washington's role in the coup went unreported at the time and has been little noted since. America's anti-Kassem intrigue has been widely substantiated, however, in disclosures by the Senate Committee on Intelligence and in the work of journalists and historians like David Wise, an authority on the C.I.A.

From 1958 to 1960, despite Kassem's harsh repression, the Eisenhower administration abided him as a counter to Washington's Arab nemesis of the era, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt much as Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush would aid Saddam Hussein in the 1980's against the common foe of Iran. By 1961, the Kassem regime had grown more assertive. Seeking new arms rivaling Israel's arsenal, threatening Western oil interests, resuming his country's old quarrel with Kuwait, talking openly of challenging the dominance of America in the Middle East all steps Saddam Hussein was to repeat in some form Kassem was regarded by Washington as a dangerous leader who must be removed.

In 1963 Britain and Israel backed American intervention in Iraq, while other United States allies chiefly France and Germany resisted. But without significant opposition within the government, Kennedy, like President Bush today, pressed on. In Cairo, Damascus, Tehran and Baghdad, American agents marshaled opponents of the Iraqi regime. Washington set up a base of operations in Kuwait, intercepting Iraqi communications and radioing orders to rebels. The United States armed Kurdish insurgents. The C.I.A.'s "Health Alteration Committee," as it was tactfully called, sent Kassem a monogrammed, poisoned handkerchief, though the potentially lethal gift either failed to work or never reached its victim.

Then, on Feb. 8, 1963, the conspirators staged a coup in Baghdad. For a time the government held out, but eventually Kassem gave up, and after a swift trial was shot; his body was later shown on Baghdad television. Washington immediately befriended the successor regime. "Almost certainly a gain for our side," Robert Komer, a National Security Council aide, wrote to Kennedy the day of the takeover.

As its instrument the C.I.A. had chosen the authoritarian and anti-Communist Baath Party, in 1963 still a relatively small political faction influential in the Iraqi Army. According to the former Baathist leader Hani Fkaiki, among party members colluding with the C.I.A. in 1962 and 1963 was Saddam Hussein, then a 25-year-old who had fled to Cairo after taking part in a failed assassination of Kassem in 1958.

According to Western scholars, as well as Iraqi refugees and a British human rights organization, the 1963 coup was accompanied by a bloodbath. Using lists of suspected Communists and other leftists provided by the C.I.A., the Baathists systematically murdered untold numbers of Iraq's educated elite killings in which Saddam Hussein himself is said to have participated. No one knows the exact toll, but accounts agree that the victims included hundreds of doctors, teachers, technicians, lawyers and other professionals as well as military and political figures.

The United States also sent arms to the new regime, weapons later used against the same Kurdish insurgents the United States had backed against Kassem and then abandoned. Soon, Western corporations like Mobil, Bechtel and British Petroleum were doing business with Baghdad for American firms, their first major involvement in Iraq.

But it wasn't long before there was infighting among Iraq's new rulers. In 1968, after yet another coup, the Baathist general Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr seized control, bringing to the threshold of power his kinsman, Saddam Hussein. Again, this coup, amid more factional violence, came with C.I.A. backing. Serving on the staff of the National Security Council under Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon in the late 1960's, I often heard C.I.A. officers including Archibald Roosevelt, grandson of Theodore Roosevelt and a ranking C.I.A. official for the Near East and Africa at the time speak openly about their close relations with the Iraqi Baathists.

This history is known to many in the Middle East and Europe, though few Americans are acquainted with it, much less understand it. Yet these interventions help explain why United States policy is viewed with some cynicism abroad. George W. Bush is not the first American president to seek regime change in Iraq. Mr. Bush and his advisers are following a familiar pattern.

The Kassem episode raises questions about the war at hand. In the last half century, regime change in Iraq has been accompanied by bloody reprisals. How fierce, then, may be the resistance of hundreds of officers, scientists and others identified with Saddam Hussein's long rule? Why should they believe America and its latest Iraqi clients will act more wisely, or less vengefully, now than in the past?

If a new war in Iraq seems fraught with danger and uncertainty, just wait for the peace.


Roger Morris, author of "Richard Milhous Nixon: The Rise of an American Politician," is completing a book about United States covert policy in Central and South Asia.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article2225.htm

For what it's worth, Eisenhower must have sensed the nature of the beast he and Harry had created. On his way out the door, along with "farewell", he said:


"...Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties. A huge increase in the newer elements of our defenses; development of unrealistic programs to cure every ill in agriculture; a dramatic expansion in basic and applied research these and many other possibilities, each possibly promising in itself, may be suggested as the only way to the road we wish to travel.

But each proposal must be weighed in light of a broader consideration; the need to maintain balance in and among national programs balance between the private and the public economy, balance between the cost and hoped for advantages balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable; balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual; balance between the actions of the moment and the national welfare of the future. Good judgment seeks balance and progress; lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration.

The record of many decades stands as proof that our people and their Government have, in the main, understood these truths and have responded to them well in the face of threat and stress.

But threats, new in kind or degree, constantly arise.

Of these, I mention two only.

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.

Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence economic, political, even spiritual is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together....

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/ike.htm


"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you."

Friedrich Nietzsche


Posted by: Mike on April 28, 2003 01:20 PM

____

Peter K accuses me of troll bait for comparing a sports rally to an Orwellian Organized Hate.

I should have been more clear: "Organized Hate" was what the school called the event.

Posted by: David Lloyd-Jones on April 28, 2003 01:27 PM

____

Steven Rogers accuses me of troll bait for comparing a sports rally to an Orwellian Organized Hate.

I should have been more clear: "Organized Hate" was what the school called the event.

(Apologies to Peter K, who did not make any such accusation.)

Posted by: David Lloyd-Jones on April 28, 2003 01:28 PM

____

1. "There is widespread gratitude to the United States for ending the brutal dictatorship of Mr. Hussein, though it is not always easy to hear it through the cacophony of voices."
That would be based on the hundreds of interviews you have conducted?
2. That is why this is, I think, the dumbest post I have ever seen on this website. Aaronovitch announces this: "...a characteristic of much of the Left, which is a strangely cavalier attitude towards freedom and democracy." Well, that certainly is a hell of a claim. His evidence is disputed comments by two people on the left. Perhaps he should have written, "a characteristic of two people on the left." Were I an economist, I would prefer my thinkers to follow that principle.
3. I'd similarly like to see a shred of evidence that Tam Dalyell objects to imperialism because he regrets the Days of Empire. The commenter above may offer support for the claim that he himself does, which is all well and good and I won't hold it against him, but he's no Tam Dalyell.
4. Too many damn people make claims without a shred of evidence. They should know better.

Posted by: John Isbell on April 28, 2003 03:32 PM

____

"Are you a satircal writer for Onion.com? If not, your indulgence in moral equivalency is most disgusting. Neither Israel nor the United States eliminate those who are merely unfriendly. Both countries are democracies based upon law and respect for individual rights. Saddam Hussein's regime was a totalitarian nightmare."

That's real clever. Now why don't you address the point?

For starters, I would refer you to the lengthy, but informative post by Mike (above).

Shall I continue to add examples? The treatment of American Indians, Slavery, the placing of Japanese citizens in concentration camps and the confiscation of their property (never returned), what was the name of that city in the South where Army Airforce planes bombed the "negro quarter" during labor and race disputes in the twenties (I honestly can't remember), denial of the right to vote to women and minorities.......

The point being reiterated that ALL governments silence, imprison, or kill those who disagree with it to the point of disrupting the existing order or the desired existing order. All governments silence, imprison, or kill those with whom they disagree.

Saddam was helped into power by the US and those he silenced, imprisonned, or killed were those against whom, for the most part, we wanted him to take such action (ie) Islamic radicals, communists......

BTW, all this sympathy and affection for the Kurds is completely unfounded. It is a symptom of ignorant Americans being manipulated by hollow patriotic sentiments via the shallow propaganda serving media.

The Kurds are a pack of rootless murdering bandits; always have been and, as we are now seeing - witness the recent and growing murder and displacement of Arabs in the North of Iraq by Kurds - always will be.

Their claim to a "Kurdistan" is analogous to the Hell's Angels claiming the right to a piece of San Franscico as some sort of deededreservation.

I know the history of the Kurds quite well and I would encourage all else to explore it as well. Pay close attention to their participation in the massacre of Armenians prior to and during the course of the 1915 genocide. See also their years of pilaging and murdering Assyrians and other peoples unfortunate enough to live in their proximity. Observe their ongoing terrorist attacks on Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. Note their reputation for deriving a living through the looting of Arabian Caravans.

That Saddam had to deal with these people in a brutal fashion is reasonable; just as the US gov't had to deal with its own Apaches in a brutal fashion.

I think that this is the sort of awareness that Pilger and his ilk are trying to express. Sometimes they just don't get it across right in the short space alotted. Sometimes they are afraid of stating, as I just did, that some people out there may have pretty much deserved what they got from Saddam (way to controversial. Totally unPC).

Still, it's a gut reaction from them; an attempt to provide some counter weight to the raw unabashed demonization of the enemy that is so prevalent.

It is true that Saddam provided good nationalized health. It is also true that he aided and protected Christian communities in Iraq. He even gave money to repair churches. I fear for Christians remaining in Iraq at this time.

Again, how many of those that he killed were true enemies of the state ( astate we helped create and worked with for many years)?

Again, in that part of the world the shotgun (AK-47) sings the song. As we shall soon see, any leader who hesitates to crush his enemies, is a dead leader burried beneath a toppled regime.

Democracy in Iraq?.........oh please... stop already......you guys slay me.

Posted by: arslan on April 28, 2003 07:54 PM

____

That about the Kurds is familiar. I was a child in Iraq in the 1950s; we had an Armenian nanny who as an infant had been in those death marches. Her stories told my parents that the Kurds had been worse than the Turks.

It's also worth remembering that Mussolini didn't only repress dissidents, he also used the same techniques on the Mafia as it was more convenient than due process - they had means of intimidation themselves and could often subvert due process. But the American liberators simply assumed that anyone unjustly imprisoned by Mussolini was innocent and released them rather than giving them a fair trial or otherwise keeping them straight. With unintended consequences that endured for years...

Posted by: P.M.Lawrence on April 28, 2003 08:10 PM

____

http://www.irna.com/en/world/030429001232.ewo.shtml

Kurds doing their thing in Northern Iraq.

Would you kill them - as Saddam did - or allow them to continue? Oh, if only the world was a black and white Norman Rockwell pipe-dream.

Posted by: arslan on April 28, 2003 08:11 PM

____

I apologize to David Lloyd-Jones for the troll-bait accusation. The loons in question actually called it an Organized Hate? Eeep. I am mortified by such stupidity.

Posted by: Steven Rogers on April 29, 2003 07:19 AM

____

"May I suggest you to help Equatorial Guinea to get rid of their dictator?"

We in the U.S. will think about getting rid of another dictator, right after the chees...er, French, get rid of their first dictator. Here's a list of countries for the French to choose from, in case they can't identify dictatorships:

1) North Korea

2) Cuba

3) Libya

4) Laos

5) Rwanda

6) Saudi Arabia

7) Sudan

It's totally bizarre how people who actually *opposed* the U.S. taking out Saddam Hussein now seem to be asking when the U.S. will take out another dictator. (As if taking out the Taliban and Saddam Hussein--i.e., more than the rest of the world, combined--isn't enough.)

When does the Axis of Appease...er, French, Germans, Belgians, and other members of the E.U. "core"...plan to take out *their* first dictator?

Posted by: Mark Bahner on April 29, 2003 09:48 AM

____

"It's also worth remembering that Mussolini didn't only repress dissidents, he also used the same techniques on the Mafia as it was more convenient than due process - they had means of intimidation themselves and could often subvert due process. But the American liberators simply assumed that anyone unjustly imprisoned by Mussolini was innocent and released them rather than giving them a fair trial or otherwise keeping them straight. With unintended consequences that endured for years..."

Yes...perhaps the Italians would have preferred to just stay with Mussolini?

Posted by: Mark Bahner on April 29, 2003 09:53 AM

____

>> It's totally bizarre how people who actually *opposed* the U.S. taking out Saddam Hussein now seem to be asking when the U.S. will take out another dictator.

Well, that's a way of putting it. Alternatively, you could say it's a request for a country which, after admitting its 'WMD' justification was a matter of 'emphasis' over fact, now claims that liberating/occupying Iraq was morally justified, should apply those moral standards as something other than a retroactive get-out.

"Bad libertarian! No compound!"

Posted by: nick sweeney on April 29, 2003 10:55 AM

____

Mark, two points:

1. You might have been informed, via the medium of condescending Instapundit posts, that the French have a little bit of an operation on in Cote d'Ivoire, where they are not only rescuing American citizens, but also doing their best to clear up a horrible mess not of their own making (except in the colonial sense). This should clear up your ill-informed and sneering posts about the willingness of the French to put their money and army on the line to help people around the world, albeit at the cost of raising a whole new set of ill-informed and sneering posts from you where you invite me to slowly explain to you the difference between a police action in a small and poor country, and a massive invasion of a large country in a region full of terrorists.

2. Your sarcasm relating to Italy is also misplaced. The Italians elected Craxi and Berlusconi and continue to provide significant support for Umberto Bossi and Alessandra Mussolini.

Posted by: dsquared on April 29, 2003 11:05 AM

____

FWIW, my evidence for Dalyell's opinions comes from talking to him for a couple of hours, watching him in the House of Commons for a year, reading his biography, and talking to people who've known him for most of his life: standard journalistic methods, in fact. Nor did he have any compaints about what I wrote. What's youre opinion based on, Mr Isbell?

Posted by: Andrew Brown on April 29, 2003 11:31 AM

____

Leaving aside essentially theological questions having to do with whether or not unalloyed "evil" (or "good") actually exists in THIS world; and ignoring (for the sake of argument) sactimonious fools of the sort who would be "morally certain" of the cheesy nature of the lunar surface (and utterly contemptuous of anyone who begged to differ) if ANY of their designated leaders happened to say it was so, a fair reading of the record after all, does show:

1. There ARE deplorable (for varying reasons)governments scattered here and there around the world, Iraq (is/was) one such place.

2. Certain elements (within and without BOTH major US political parties) have, for various reasons (few of which have ANYTHING to do with morality and MOST of which are frankly contemptuous of international law) LONG been advocating for "regime change" in Iraq.

3. Despite its numerous pious pronouncements to the contrary, AND for all of its continuously shifting rationales in favor of its policy, the current US administration* has, for more than a year AT LEAST, been DETERMINED to invade Iraq--no matter what.

4. (A) Despite the fact that Iraq WAS cooperating with the UN weapon inspections,

and

(B) despite the fact that a CREDIBLE immediate and/or compelling threat (from Iraq) to the US and/or its allies and/or its interests sufficient to justify resorting war has NEVER been shown to exist,

and

(C) in spite of ALMOST universal opposition--within the UN, on the part of Iraq's neighboring governments (and THEIR populations), on the part of MOST of the govenments AND peoples of MOST of the nations of the world, AND in the face of CONSIDERABLE (and, by some standards, LITERALLY unprecedented) resistance here at home (both inside the government and outside of it),

(D) The current US administration* (together with the governments of Britain and a smattering of other countries) invaded Iraq anyway.

5. This act wasn't JUST a short-sighted, ill-considered, expensive, rash AND intemperate thing to do (though it WAS all of those things), it was also a CRIME--a crime against the international order--a war crime:


"To initiate a war of aggression, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole..."

...according to the Jurists of the Nuremberg Tribunal.

Posted by: Mike on April 29, 2003 01:39 PM

____

Andrew Brown: my opinion of Tam Dalyell's politics is based mainly on reading one book of his, Misrule, and following him in the Commons. So you do have evidence, and I apologize. But it's a hell of a claim, and you didn't offer any evidence here.

Posted by: John Isbell on April 29, 2003 03:56 PM

____

"Yes...perhaps the Italians would have preferred to just stay with Mussolini?"

Two things. That has nothing to do with whether what the USA did was right, it merely highlights the fact that neither of the before and after cases was right (the USA missed out on doing the right thing).

And, yes - many Italians really would have preferred Mussolini. My mother (who was stationed in Italy just after the war) told me some anecdotes of the time, like a joke with the punchline "ah, those were the good old days". That has nothing to do with whether keeping Mussolini would have been a good thing either.

Posted by: P.M.Lawrence on April 29, 2003 04:53 PM

____

It's worth mentioning, the British DID have better imperial approaches - which they weren't born to, but developed and accumulated over time, from insight applied to experience. The USA is essentially at the beginning of that process with everything to do all over again. It has no inherent handicap (and so no essential inferiority to the British), but it has a self imposed handicap that will require unlearning: a prejudice against all things imperialistic. This prejudice emerged as a consequence of decades of ringbarking European efforts, culminating with Suez. This is not to say the prejudice is wrong, just that it is unsuited to guiding imperial efforts.

Now if the USA can only go and learn from Burke, Macaulay, Milner, and the line of Beit Professors including Lionel Curtis and Reginald Coupland (who is very relevant to today's topic, with his Iraqi connection) - why, it has a chance to pick up on that imperial agenda that the USA was invited to share but which it spurned (preferring to take the power without the responsibility - and we know what Baldwin said about that). It's that spurning then that makes a problem with going the imperial way now, and the ringbarking the USA did to everyone else that makes everyone else so dependent on it that there is no other way left just now - we have a power vacuum. Only, the USA now creates and renews power vacuums where the British rarely made a power vacuum, instead endeavouring to work themselves out of a job (NOT a compelled response to force majeure or a changing world - remember the Ionian Islands and Heligoland).

For me, I see these background facts and insights as reasons for ringbarking the USA in its turn, as India and Ireland as well as the USA did to Britain. After gong cold turkey we may yet attain to viable independence, if we're lucky, but at best waiting our turn in the cave for the Cyclops only means being eaten last.

Posted by: P.M.Lawrence on April 29, 2003 07:01 PM

____

I completely agree that the USA could learn to be a good imperialist; I'm not sure that the reson it doesn't is just "A prejudice that emerged as a result of decades of ringbarking European efforts."

It seems to me a much deeper form of self-delusion. The foundational myth of America is anti-imperialistic: by this I mean that it seems part of the essence of America to be Free, and an escape from tyranny. To a much greater degree than most places, it seems to me, Americans see themselves as essentially threatened by alien government, so it's hard for them to hoist on board that they themselves threaten other people with an alien government -- and that, perhaps, they should: the alternatives, for everyone, may be even worse.

Posted by: Andrew Brown on April 29, 2003 10:17 PM

____

Well then, AB, for decades read centuries throughout.

I'm not saying that the US myth is wrong as such (that is not the nature of myths), rather that it is incompatible with the task at hand, the immediate necessities. The fact THAT it is at hand and immediately necessary, though, sheets completely home to the USA - often acting according to the direction of that myth (see http://www.meforum.org/article/503 and http://radio.weblogs.com/0001200/stories/2003/04/04/magnificentButWasItWar.html for some details of what the USA did in 1956-ish and the consequences it let slide thereafter).

For me, the issue is that whether you choose the imperial or the aloof path as a set of values to judge by, each reveals a (different) flaw in the USA's record. And I most strongly object to the sort of chutzpah that says we "owe" anything to the USA for any drip feed we now get from it, that we shouldn't criticise because it is protecting us. We were managing OK until we got squeezed out.

Posted by: P.M.Lawrence on April 29, 2003 11:13 PM

____

dsquared,

I have no objection at all to the French operation in Cote d'Ivorie. In fact, I applaud it. Nonetheless, France's intervention in that country without UN approval does seem to violate the legal standard they espoused in re the USA and Iraq.

Mike writes: 5. This act wasn't JUST a short-sighted, ill-considered, expensive, rash AND intemperate thing to do (though it WAS all of those things), it was also a CRIME--a crime against the international order--a war crime:
"To initiate a war of aggression, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole..."
...according to the Jurists of the Nuremberg Tribunal.

I wonder about that. Seriously, this is not an attempt to troll. Acording to Harper's Index the odds of airstrikes being carried out on any given day by British and or American aircraft against targets in Iraq over the past twelve years are 1 in six. According to a Radio news report(I have no idea where they got the figures), the USA and Britain actually launched fewer combat sorties during the Recent Unpleasantness than they did during the gap between the two "wars". These attacks have been justified as responses to violations of the Cease Fire terms by the Iraqis. So, in terms of legality, has the war begun by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 ever actually stopped?

Posted by: Steven Rogers on April 30, 2003 07:41 AM

____

Legality? Of what war? The war where Iraq invaded Kuwait and successfully occupied it? The war where the UN coalition succesfully drove Iraq out of Kuwait? The sorties by the US/UK from the no-fly zones, which did not have UN authorization? Breaches of which cease-fire terms? The no-fly zones were imposed outside of UN auspices (by the UK, US, and ironically France); the first Gulf war was started within UN auspices, and one would imagine any Cease Fire terms would legally be within that context.

But there is no real "legality" in any of these matters, merely convenience (and not only to the US; Saddam found the post-1991 sorties highly convenient in helping him maintain a grip on his population).

Such a question (no trolling intended, ditto) is mere bait-and-switch; the war (which the US made clear from the start would take place with or without UN consent, as in fact did happen) was not in any sense merely a "continuation" of the old Gulf war, certainly not in the causative sense. It's post-hoc justification, one that the boys in charge at the White House certainly don't feel the need to tell themselves.

Posted by: StrontiumDog on April 30, 2003 12:38 PM

____

"Alternatively, you could say it's a request for a country which, after admitting its 'WMD' justification was a matter of 'emphasis' over fact, now claims that liberating/occupying Iraq was morally justified, should apply those moral standards as something other than a retroactive get-out."

But it's a completely *dishonest* request. Can any leftist making the request honestly say they would support the U.S. government (and G.W. Bush in particular) continuing on, to take out the dictatorships in any or all of the countries I mentioned?

"Bad libertarian! No compound!"

I don't know what this means.

Posted by: Mark Bahner on April 30, 2003 02:22 PM

____

I think your first paragraph slightly supports my point. How the hell do you seperate all that? It is all one conflict. In particular, the seperation of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and the UN counteroffensive into two wars is a distinction I find particularly spurious.

I agree that Saddam Hussein's regime was dogmeat the day that Dubya was inaugurated. However, I disagree strongly with that last statement. I think the Neocons very much believe that the recent invasion of Iraq was but a logical continuation of the ongoing hostilities. I think they are drunk with power, mind you, but I have no doubt that they actually *believe* what they say.

Posted by: Steven Rogers on April 30, 2003 02:32 PM

____

Steven Rogers skips right over 1, 2, 3, AND

"...4. (A) Despite the fact that Iraq WAS cooperating with the UN weapon inspections,

and

(B) despite the fact that a CREDIBLE immediate and/or compelling threat (from Iraq) to the US and/or its allies and/or its interests sufficient to justify resorting war has NEVER been shown to exist,

and

(C) in spite of ALMOST universal opposition--within the UN, on the part of Iraq's neighboring governments (and THEIR populations), on the part of MOST of the govenments AND peoples of MOST of the nations of the world, AND in the face of CONSIDERABLE (and, by some standards, LITERALLY unprecedented) resistance here at home (both inside the government and outside of it),

(D) The current US administration* (together with the governments of Britain and a smattering of other countries) invaded Iraq anyway...."

(see mine above)

And zeroes right in on MY bottom line....

He says:

"I wonder about that. [see: 5 above] Seriously, [he says ;-] this is not an attempt to troll....the 'Recent Unpleasantness'...

[read: The US/British invasion/sacking of Iraq]

was

"all [part of] one conflict..."


[Ain't he cute, y'all ;?]

I MIGHT ask him why dickweed and his poodle went to the UN and demanded AND GOT UN Res. 1441, then demanded AND GOT unfettered access for UN weapons inspectors and THEN TRIED and FAILED to get the Security Council to agree to another Resolution authorizing their "Recent Unpleasantness".

AND I MIGHT ask him, whether or not HE really "believes" those "drunken" neocons REALLY believed the LIES they told the REST of us about the dire threat Iraq presented to us (and the world)--the ones they TRIED to use to try to justify their "Recent Unpleasantness"--or whether those were just a "logical continuation" of something or other too...

But I'M above 'trolling' with 'bait' such as that.

Instead, I'll limit my rebuttal to the "general case" for arguments such as his:

It's all one universe TOO, Steven.

Fortunately, SOBER, rational people [read: NON-neocons] DO manage SOMEHOW to "seperate all that".

"Believe" it or NOT.

Posted by: Mike on April 30, 2003 06:39 PM

____

Mike writes: I MIGHT ask him why dickweed and his poodle went to the UN and demanded AND GOT UN Res. 1441, then demanded AND GOT unfettered access for UN weapons inspectors and THEN TRIED and FAILED to get the Security Council to agree to another Resolution authorizing their "Recent Unpleasantness".

I reply: Because Bush the Younger was determined that Saddam Hussein's regime would not survive his presidency come hell, high water, or UN resolution. I skipped over your first point few points because I more or less agree with them.

"Recent Unpleasantness" is a term that was widely used in the USA - and is still occasionally used - as an ironic euphemism for the American Civil War(or "War of Emancipation", "War Between the States", "War of Northern Aggression", "Rich Man's War, Poor Man's Fight", whathaveyou). I was attempting Irony buy using the term in reference to the Recent Hostilities.

You use the vernacular plural "y'all" which possibly indicates that you are a Southerner. If true, I am mildy surprised that you did not get the joke. Forgive me for not appending a smiley at the end.

Mike writes:
AND I MIGHT ask him, whether or not HE really "believes" those "drunken" neocons REALLY believed the LIES they told the REST of us about the dire threat Iraq presented to us (and the world)--the ones they TRIED to use to try to justify their "Recent Unpleasantness"--or whether those were just a "logical continuation" of something or other too...

I reply: Yes, I do. As you described them earlier, they are rash, intemperate, spendthrift and unwise. But they believe what they say. They are fanatics, not hypocrites, coldly determined to maintain American predominance at any cost.

Mike writes: But I'M above 'trolling' with 'bait' such as that.
Instead, I'll limit my rebuttal to the "general case" for arguments such as his:
It's all one universe TOO, Steven.
Fortunately, SOBER, rational people [read: NON-neocons] DO manage SOMEHOW to "seperate all that".
"Believe" it or NOT.

I reply: Ok, where is the demarcation in the conflicts? A noticeable cessation of hostilities? When? Don't say during the logistics build-up between early August and early January, there was a quite bloody urban insurgency in Kuwait City during that time.

Look, other than the "they are a pack of lying hypocrites"/"no, they are dangerous fanatics" issue, I agree with you regarding the wisdom of the Administration's actions. So calm down, no need to shout.


Posted by: Seven Rogers on May 1, 2003 07:37 AM

____

The LAST two times Steven Rogers wrote, he SAID:

"Mike writes: 5. This act wasn't JUST a short-sighted, ill-considered, expensive, rash AND intemperate thing to do (though it WAS all of those things), it was also a CRIME--a crime against the international order--a war crime:
"To initiate a war of aggression, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole..."
...according to the Jurists of the Nuremberg Tribunal.

I wonder about that. Seriously,...These attacks have been justified as responses to violations of the Cease Fire terms by the Iraqis. So, in terms of legality, has the war begun by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 ever actually stopped?"

AND then he SAID:

"...How the hell do you seperate all that? It is all one conflict. In particular, the seperation of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and the UN counteroffensive into two wars is a distinction I find particularly spurious.

I agree that Saddam Hussein's regime was dogmeat the day that Dubya was inaugurated. However, I disagree strongly with that last statement. I think the Neocons very much believe that the recent invasion of Iraq was but a logical continuation of the ongoing hostilities. I think they are drunk with power, mind you, but I have no doubt that they actually *believe* what they say."

NOW, referring to my last one, Steve Rogers writes:

"Look,...I agree with you regarding the wisdom of the Administration's actions. So calm down, no need to shout."

Look Steve,

Let me make this as clear as I POSSIBLY can:

I really don't GIVE A DAM whether the perpetators the war crime in question were/are "fanatics", cynically mercenary, coldly homicidal, merely stupid or some blend of ANY or all of those things.

So, our alleged "agreement" on that point is BESIDE the point. Comprende?

NOW Steven:

In your latest, you say, "[you] do [believe] They [the war criminals in question] are fanatics, not hypocrites, coldly determined to maintain American predominance at any cost."

Look Steven,

We might argue about the sincerity and/or the motives of the war criminals in question, we might even argue about what "American predominance" MEANS. AND (assuming we came to a common understanding on THAT point) we MIGHT THEN argue about how THAT goal might best be achieved. BUT Steven, as I've said several times now:

The MOTIVES (WHATEVER they might be) of the WAR CRIMINALS in question are BESIDE THE DAMNED POINT.

Okay Steven?

In your last, you also asked (I presume) ME:

"...Ok, where is the demarcation in the conflicts?..."

[Meaning, I suppose, "when and/or what constituted the BEGINNING (or first act) of the WAR CRIME we're discussing here.]

Well Steven, we could probably split several legal hairs on this point. And I'm NOT a lawyer. But I think THIS qualifies as one VERY bright "line" in the legal "sand" you're throwing around this place:

"Assassination attempt alters battle plan

US assault begins with 'decapitation strike' rather than blitzkrieg as Bush is told of chance to kill Saddam, writes Brian Whitaker

Brian Whitaker
Thursday March 20, 2003
The Guardian

It's begun. Well, sort of ... but more with a whimper than a bang. Last night's deadline for Saddam Hussein to flee Iraq came and went, and at first nothing happened. For almost two hours, CNN's cameras - fixed on the roof of the information ministry in Baghdad - showed undramatic scenes of traffic lights changing in the street below and occasional vehicles passing.

Shortly before 0300 GMT, there were flashes in the distance, accompanied by anti-aircraft fire from the Iraqis - though correspondents on the ground heard no planes. There was also a brief flurry of excitement when someone claimed the Americans had taken over the main Iraqi radio station but others who tuned in to listen found everything normal.

It turned out that President George Bush had not really meant to start the war last night but changed his mind when a "target of opportunity" turned up. It appears that US military intelligence thought they knew where Saddam Hussein was, along with other members of his regime, and proposed a "decapitation strike". If successful, this would have brought the war to a halt even before it had properly got under way.

The assassination plan was presented to Mr Bush at a four-hour meeting which ended at 0020 GMT - just in time for the president to have what the White House described as a "relaxing dinner" with his wife...."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Print/0,3858,4629319,00.html


Posted by: Mike on May 1, 2003 02:10 PM

____

Well, now, actually I thnk we agree on multiple points. but there is one principle disagrement.

You write:The MOTIVES (WHATEVER they might be) of the WAR CRIMINALS in question are BESIDE THE DAMNED POINT.
Okay Steven?

You are absolutely wrong. Motive, when dealing with people who are still on the loose, is supremely important. If they are hypocrites, they can quite possibly be bought off with personal riches, for example. If they are fanatics, buying them off is not damned likely.

As to the assasination, why are you so exercised about that? Been to iraqibodycount.net lately? If not, take a gander, it gives a running account of the civilian deaths(so far) in Iraq. To say nothing of the thousands of Iraqi troops who were killed. Who gives a damn whether a head of state gets iced? The prohibition against knocking off national leaders is but a remnant of the Divine right of Kings, meant to shield monarchs from some of the more intense consequences of their foreign policy judgments. Some foreign foe wants to take a shot at government officials? have at it. I'd personally trade 100 congresscritters for the lives of 1000 infrantryman anyday, how about you?

You want to put these guys away? Fine. The "legal hair-splitting" as to whether the US/Iraq conflict is one war or many is going to be damned important. If you don't have an answer for that question, you had better hope the potential prosecutors do. They are going to need one.

Posted by: Steven Rogers on May 1, 2003 09:35 PM

____

Mike -
Go easy on the coffee, buddy.

Steven -
Maybe we're talking at cross purposes.
There is a difference between the concepts of "motivation" and "justification". Gulf I (along with links to al-Qaeda, WMD, Saddam's tyranny etc) have been used as *justification*. The real *motivation* for the war is most likely not any of these; I think we're agreed on that.

The problem with the question as posed in terms of justification, is that, to quote Tweedledum and Tweedledee, legalities mean anything the States in question want them to mean. Saddam claimed Kuwait was legally an Iraqi province. The UK claimed Iraq was legally in violation of USCR 1441. France and Russia claimed Iraq was not in violation of USCR 1441. Pundits claim the curent war is a continuation of Gulf War I. Other pundits claim that using the same logic North Korea is still at war with the US.

Depending on how much power in practice a State's judiciary has over the executive branch, and how able or willing ombudsmen, public interest watchdogs, or public prosecutors are to prosecute the executive branch for its missteps, this question may actually be asked in court, someplace, sometime.

I doubt very strongly that Bush will pay any political price whatsoever for this war, so from the US side the "legality" of Gulf II will remain unchallenged. Blair's ride in the UK will be rougher, but ultimately the fact that the opposition (the Conservative Party) supported the war will prevent him from being pilloried. If the tables had been turned, with a conservative pro-war government and an anti-war Labour opposition, then it's in my mind a dead cert that Parliamentary and likely judicial inquiries would be launched.

Posted by: StrontiumDog on May 2, 2003 02:02 AM

____

NOW, Steven Rogers Writes:

"You are absolutely wrong."

About my contention that the "debate" about WHY the war criminals in question committed their crimes is beside the damned point.

He's absolutely wrong: A war crime is a war crime. And it doesn't make a dime's worth of difference whether someone chooses to call the 'perps' patriots or pirates.

He also asked me to provide for him a "demarcation" [a legal, ethical or moral "line" in course of events sufficient to distinguish and/or define the point at which 'players' became 'perpetrators']. I DID that.

[EVERYONE else who managed to read this far probably remembers it, but, just for Mr. Rogers benefit, here's THAT bit AGAIN]:


"...In your last, you also asked (I presume) ME:

'...Ok, where is the demarcation in the conflicts?...'

[Meaning, I suppose, "when and/or what constituted the BEGINNING (or first act) of the WAR CRIME we're discussing here.]

Well Steven, we could probably split several legal hairs on this point. And I'm NOT a lawyer. But I think THIS qualifies as one VERY bright "line" in the legal "sand" you're throwing around this place:

'Assassination attempt alters battle plan

US assault begins with 'decapitation strike' rather than blitzkrieg as Bush is told of chance to kill Saddam, writes Brian Whitaker

Brian Whitaker
Thursday March 20, 2003
The Guardian

It's begun. Well, sort of ... but more with a whimper than a bang. Last night's deadline for Saddam Hussein to flee Iraq came and went, and at first nothing happened. For almost two hours, CNN's cameras - fixed on the roof of the information ministry in Baghdad - showed undramatic scenes of traffic lights changing in the street below and occasional vehicles passing.

Shortly before 0300 GMT, there were flashes in the distance, accompanied by anti-aircraft fire from the Iraqis - though correspondents on the ground heard no planes. There was also a brief flurry of excitement when someone claimed the Americans had taken over the main Iraqi radio station but others who tuned in to listen found everything normal.

It turned out that President George Bush had not really meant to start the war last night but changed his mind when a "target of opportunity" turned up. It appears that US military intelligence thought they knew where Saddam Hussein was, along with other members of his regime, and proposed a "decapitation strike". If successful, this would have brought the war to a halt even before it had properly got under way.

The assassination plan was presented to Mr Bush at a four-hour meeting which ended at 0020 GMT - just in time for the president to have what the White House described as a "relaxing dinner" with his wife....'

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Print/0,3858,4629319,00.html "


I guess Steven can't (more likely WON'T) believe his own eyes, 'cause NOW he's saying:

"As to the assasination...Who gives a damn whether a head of state gets iced?...

You want to put these guys away? Fine. The "legal hair-splitting" as to whether the US/Iraq conflict is one war or many is going to be damned important. If you don't have an answer for that question..."

--------

Strontium Dog says, in essence, "It all depends on what your definition of "is" is...."

No comment.


Posted by: Mike on May 2, 2003 03:24 AM

____

"'Assassination attempt alters battle plan
US assault begins with 'decapitation strike' rather than blitzkrieg as Bush is told of chance to kill Saddam, writes Brian Whitaker."

It amazes me when people think that assassination of foreign leaders with whom we are at "war" (quotes because we haven't really been at war since WWII) is a bad thing.

I think the perfect war would consist *entirely* of the leaders of two countries trying to kill each other. I would rather see 100 leaders of countries killed, than a single child. In fact, I would rather see 100 leaders of countries killed, than 100 soldiers.

Trying to kill Saddam Hussein (after war has been properly declared by Congress) isn't a war crime. It should have been the primary goal of the "war." In fact, we should have offered the Iraqi military a $5 billion reward to capture or kill Saddam Hussein for us. Much cheaper and cleaner (i.e., less civilian blood spilled) than invading.

Posted by: Mark Bahner on May 2, 2003 09:19 AM

____

[Sigh]

Leaving aside essentially theological questions having to do with whether or not unalloyed "evil" (or "good") actually exists in THIS world; and ignoring (for the sake of argument) sactimonious fools of the sort who would be "morally certain" of the cheesy nature of the lunar surface (and utterly contemptuous of anyone who begged to differ) if ANY of their designated leaders happened to say it was so, a fair reading of the record after all, does show:

1. There ARE deplorable (for varying reasons)governments scattered here and there around the world, Iraq (is/was) one such place.

2. Certain elements (within and without BOTH major US political parties) have, for various reasons (few of which have ANYTHING to do with morality and MOST of which are frankly contemptuous of international law) LONG been advocating for "regime change" in Iraq.

3. Despite its numerous pious pronouncements to the contrary, AND for all of its continuously shifting rationales in favor of its policy, the current US administration* has, for more than a year AT LEAST, been DETERMINED to invade Iraq--no matter what.

4. (A) Despite the fact that Iraq WAS cooperating with the UN weapon inspections,

and

(B) despite the fact that a CREDIBLE immediate and/or compelling threat (from Iraq) to the US and/or its allies and/or its interests sufficient to justify resorting war has NEVER been shown to exist,

and

(C) in spite of ALMOST universal opposition--within the UN, on the part of Iraq's neighboring governments (and THEIR populations), on the part of MOST of the govenments AND peoples of MOST of the nations of the world, AND in the face of CONSIDERABLE (and, by some standards, LITERALLY unprecedented) resistance here at home (both inside the government and outside of it),

(D) The current US administration* (together with the governments of Britain and a smattering of other countries) invaded Iraq anyway.

5. This act wasn't JUST a short-sighted, ill-considered, expensive, rash AND intemperate thing to do (though it WAS all of those things), it was also a CRIME--a crime against the international order--a war crime:


"To initiate a war of aggression, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole..."

...according to the Jurists of the Nuremberg Tribunal."

Its worth noting too, folks, that Hitler and his loyal, predomineering, patriotic pals WEREN'T even signatories to the, as yet unwritten, UN Charter:

WE, on the other hand, are FOUNDING members of the UN. DAMMIT.

Even HARRY TRUMAN thought THAT was a good idea. You can read about it here:


"6. Text of Harry S. Truman's July 2, 1945 address to the U.S. Senate (Senate Document No. 70, 79th Congress, 1st Session), presenting the Charter of the United Nations and the Statute of the International Court of Justice, together with the text of the United Nations Charter. From the Papers of Harry S. Truman Official File.(45 pages)"

http://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/un/large/un_charter/un_charter6-1.htm

@

http://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/un/large/un_charter/

Oh. And just FOR the dammed record:


UN chief warns US not to flout international law

Monday, 10-Mar-2003 12:40PM PST


"THE HAGUE, March 10 (AFP) - United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Monday warned that a US-led war against Iraq without Security Council backing would flout international law.

Annan said the world was united in wanting to strip Iraqi President Saddam Hussein of any weapons of mass destruction, but insisted that peaceful means must be exhausted first.

The warning came as the United States engaged in frantic diplomacy to win enough backing in the UN Security Council for a resolution authorising war on Iraq.

US President George W. Bush, however, has repeatedly insisted that he will lead a "coalition of the willing" to disarm Iraq by force if Washington fails to win the Security Council's support.

"If the United States goes outside the Security Council, it will not be in conformity with the United Nations charter," Annan told reporters during a break in talks on Cyprus being held in the Dutch capital..."


[Story from AFP / Jitendra Joshi
Copyright 2003 by Agence France-Presse (via ClariNet)]

http://quickstart.clari.net/qs_se/webnews/wed/dg/Qiraq-un-annan.RNuc_DMA.html

Posted by: Mike on May 2, 2003 11:59 AM

____

"5. This act wasn't JUST a short-sighted, ill-considered, expensive, rash AND intemperate thing to do (though it WAS all of those things), it was also a CRIME--a crime against the international order--a war crime: 'To initiate a war of aggression, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole...'"

Sigh.

This is why the U.S. should never accept any International Criminal Court. In fact, it's also why the U.S. should pull out of the United Nations, stop all funding of the United Nations, and strip the U.N. of its tax-exempt status (and encourage it to relocate outside the U.S.).

Saddam Hussein's government committed a war of aggression against Iran. The total number of Iranian soldiers and civilians killed in that war of aggression was in the hundreds of thousands. Saddam Hussein wasn't punished at all.

As part of that war, Saddam Hussein gassed and mass-murdered Kurdish civilians. The total number of civilians murdered by gas or explosives was certainly in the 10s of thousands...if not 100s of thousands.

Saddam Hussein wasn't punished at all.

Saddam Hussein then committed a war of aggression against Kuwait (and also sent missiles to kill civilians in a completely neutral country, Israel). As part of the invasion and occupation of Kuwait, the number of Kuwaitis killed was certainly in the thousands.

Saddam Hussein was not punished for these things, either.

The Iraqi army (not civilians, but actual Iraqi troops) also committed massive looting in Kuwait. Saddam Hussein wasn't punished for these things.

But now, the U.S. and British militaries (with support from other governments) have destroyed Saddam Hussein's regime. The total number of civilians killed is estimated to be 2000-2500. No looting was committed by the U.S. military.

Therefore, Saddam Hussein's government, very conservatively, killed at least 100 times the number of civilians killed in the effort to end his regime. And the United Nations did nothing to punish Saddam Hussein. But people who support the U.N. want the U.N. to punish the people who removed Saddam Hussein from power.

This seems like a pretty good example of the moral bankruptcy of the U.N., and why the U.S. should leave the U.N., and kick the U.N. out of the U.S.

Hooray for the Honorable Ron Paul!

http://newsmax.com/showinside.shtml?a=2003/4/2/222034

P.S. Mike, do you support trying Bill Clinton as a war criminal, for his various wars of aggression (against Yugoslavia, Iraq, the Sudan, and Haiti)?

Posted by: Mark Bahner on May 2, 2003 02:16 PM

____

Bahner:
Saddam Hussein was a servant of the USA when warring against Iran, and also when gassing Kurds.
That is why the USA did not go against him like the murderous Somoza he is a SOB, but your SOB.

After the Kuwait invasion by Iraq, it was an unilateral decision of the USA that let him in the power.

Blair is a fool and Chirac is right.

DSW

Posted by: Antoni Jaume on May 2, 2003 03:01 PM

____

Strontiumdog writes: Steven -
Maybe we're talking at cross purposes.
There is a difference between the concepts of "motivation" and "justification". Gulf I (along with links to al-Qaeda, WMD, Saddam's tyranny etc) have been used as *justification*. The real *motivation* for the war is most likely not any of these; I think we're agreed on that.

Cross purposes, indeed. Mike seems to think I am justifying the Neocon's actions. No, I am brainstorming in print concerning the tactical problem of bringing them to heel. What's the plan here? Mike doesn't seem to have one, other than a metaphysical Banzai charge against the Neocon's metaphorical machineguns.

Mike continues to insist that the motives of the Administration are irrelevant. I continue to insist that he is flatly wrong, motives are not only relevant, they are vital. for the sake of discussion, let's plot the current situation on a line graph, running from -5 through 0 to +5.

+5: Bush and company are hauled before(to use a Clinton clause) a Controlling Legal Authority. Their motives will be somewhat important, inasmuch as motives will influence the character of their reactions and countermeasures to the prosecutorial actions brought against them.

0: No hope of any meaningful legal action against the Admiisitration, for good or ill, but they are amenable to pressure. Motives are very important, because hypocrites can be bought off, shamed, embarrassed into changing course. Fanatics are relatively immune to shame, and very difficult to buy off. Public and diplomatic pressure will be a very important factor, in either case, to influence the Administration's actions. But the basic motives of the Administration will determine what tactics are most successful in opposing them.

-5: Bush and the Neocons are untouchable and unstoppable. Their motives don't matter because there is F*** all we can do to oppose them.

Are you really that gloomy about the facts on the ground, Mike?

I appraise the situation as hovering around -1.

I continue to be mystified by Mike's fixation on Saddam Hussein. The total Iraqi civilian and military bodycount may be approaching 20K and he is wired about the killing of a Stalin wannabe?

Hmmm. Has COINTELPRO been reactivated and we just don't know it yet? Some of the more excitable sort of persons would make excellent provacateurs.

Posted by: Steven Rogers on May 2, 2003 04:08 PM

____

"That Which Is Essential Is Invisible to the Eye"
http://www.naeyc.org/mister_rogers.htm

P.S.

So anyway, Mr. Bahner finally asked:

"...do you support trying Bill Clinton as a war criminal, for his various wars of aggression...?

THEN [after trying and failing literally for DAYS to misinterpret, misconstrue and misdirect my remarks AND this "discussion"] Mr. (Steven) Rogers finally asked:

"...Hmmm. Has COINTELPRO been reactivated and we just don't know it yet?..."

That's when I finally said:

I'm pleased to report that previous reports that irony is dead are henceforth, ever after and for all eternity, officially inoperative....

It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?...

It's a neighborly day in this beauty wood,
A neighborly day for a beauty.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?...

I've always wanted to have a neighbor just like you.
I've always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.

So, let's make the most of this beautiful day.
Since we're together we might as well say:
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won't you be my neighbor?
Won't you please,
Won't you please?
Please won't you be my neighbor?

Fred M. Rogers
(1928--2003)

Posted by: Mike on May 3, 2003 02:39 AM

____

A moving tribute to a wonderful man, Mike. He will be missed.

You write: THEN [after trying and failing literally for DAYS to misinterpret, misconstrue and misdirect my remarks AND this "discussion"] Mr. (Steven) Rogers finally asked:

A lot of that going around, it seems. You may be laboring under the impression that I am an Admistration supporter, based mainly on... what, exactly?

But back to the point at hand: What's the plan? How do we deal with the the Neocon's empire building?


Posted by: Steven Rogers on May 3, 2003 03:02 PM

____

Listen....

Did you hear that Steven?

Listen....Listen carefully....Do you hear it now?


That's the sound of me straining to come up with a good answer after asking myself why I should even bother PRETENDING to have an honest discussion about ANYTHING with someone like you......

Posted by: Mjike on May 4, 2003 03:50 PM

____

Because nobody else on this thread seems willing to spend the time responding to you?

Actually, I agree the dialogue is pretty pointless. You rant a lot, but it seems you have no actual plans to *do* anything constructive towards the goal of booting Bush and Co. out of power.

You accuse me of intellectual dishonesty in this discussion. Fine. Your grammer and posting style fit with the profile of a garden variety net.kook in love with his caps-lock key.

Posted by: Steven Rogers on May 4, 2003 04:50 PM

____

Nice comment.

Posted by: atkins diet on November 16, 2003 10:28 PM

____

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