Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




trolling -what *do* nyc people feel about the war?

Dont actually live there (or even in america) Im afraid...but it seems to me that if there is anywhere its going to be popular its in new york city....anyone feel like expressing their thoughts on it in a constructive and intelligent manner?

george bush is either making a huge mistake, or saving the world..I wish I knew which...
Thursday, April 03, 2003


Talk about trolling..... but since you ask: ever feel like you've been hijacked?  Seeing the attacks of September 11th (I personally hate the 9/11 abbreviation, it's too sterile) used as an excuse for becoming an international bully has added insult to injury for me. 

International law protects strong nations as well as weak ones.  Our country's repeated disregard for international laws and institutions have made the world a more dangerous place for everyone.

I mean, christ, he couldn't even BRIBE enough people to get this past the UN!  What the hell.

Charles Lewis
Thursday, April 03, 2003

no offense to either posts here, but i'd really like to see JoS remain a pure software/technology forum...

there are plenty of blogs out there to go to share your anti- or pro-war rants.... 

there are already an abundance of meeting places for passions.  why politicize and muddy a great meeting place for minds? 

make warez, not wars
Thursday, April 03, 2003

Micro$oft sux

;-)

Charles Lewis
Thursday, April 03, 2003

"no offense to either posts here, but i'd really like to see JoS remain a pure software/technology forum... "

But this isn't JOS... it's the front porch.

At my old job we'd go to lunch & one of my co-workers smoked, so we'd talk about all sorts of things... I kind of imagined that's what this is like.

The war, on the other hand... i've had enough of, especially flame wars.

www.marktaw.com
Friday, April 04, 2003

actually the reason I posted here was because I had hopes of getting an intelligent discussion *without* the flame wars...Ive been impressed over and over again how well behaved the people here are compared to other places Ive 'visited'.
I was thinking about this 'new yorkers' site as more of a front porch...open discussion on things of interest.
So long as its restricted to this one thread I dont think theres much harm.
<g> and if it gets out of control theres always joel and his delete button...

erm
Friday, April 04, 2003

one thing Ive been confused by is the apparent 'obvious' nature of the mechanisms that have been used to develop the attack on iraq. 
Mr Bush has really used a shotgun approach, naming dozens of reasons without any real regard to how this looks .
The terrorist attack on nyc, the fact that saddam is a 'evil man', 'links' between iraq and terrorist groups, saddams attacks on his own people, etc etc.
<g> listed like that it almost sounds reasonable...but then I balance out the damage thats being done in other ways and the whole thing suddenly looks like a tragic farce...

erm
Friday, April 04, 2003

There are some interesting statistics. I don't have exact numbers, but these polls are findable online.

Something like 75% of the US population is for the war.
75% think Bush is doing a good job.

Also, something like 60% of the population think that Iraq was behind the September 11 attacks. Now, I don't follow the news that closely, but I don't see a connection between September 11 and the war on Iraq, except that Bush is using September 11 as a sort of Pearl Harbor.

www.marktaw.com
Friday, April 04, 2003

One of the changes Im not at all happy with is that I now live in a country where people are 'disappeared'
http://www.wired.com/news/conflict/0,2100,58326,00.html

This is *wrong*, people need to go thru due process.

why elso do we have courts?
Saturday, April 05, 2003

A buddy of mine in the Air Force asked me whether or not I had any ties to Green Peace because Green Peace has been flagged as a terrorist organization. He didn't want the gov't coming after me.

www.marktaw.com
Saturday, April 05, 2003

I feel insulted by the implication that a New Yorker is more likely to be pro-war. I lost a 23-y3qr-old nephew in the WTC. There has been no evidence presented that Sadam Hussein hasd anything to do with that. I know that the hundreds of Iraqi civilians that are dying as I write had nothing to do with it. If anything, this country's policies are making that heinous crime "justifiable in retrospect."

I would really like to know what the original poster was getting at. It couldn't possibly be because New York is also known as "Hymie-town" is it? Whatever makes you pick on NYC is, I assure you, equally as wrong-headed.

R Martin
Sunday, April 06, 2003

One survey I saw was on "The WB11 News at 10." I'm guessing respondants to that survey are New Yorkers, it being local news and all.

It was the one that said that something like 70% (65%? 75%? I forget exactly) of those who responded thought President Bush was handling the War in Iraq well.

www.marktaw.com
Sunday, April 06, 2003

As far as the original post...

If you don't connect September 11 and Saddam Hussein without going through George Bush, there's no reason for New Yorkers to be more or less for the war than the res of the country.

If you do and you think what happened on September 11, 2001 was caused by Saddam, then New Yorkers in particular would have a right to be pissed at him.

www.marktaw.com
Sunday, April 06, 2003

hmm...in hindsight I did misspeak myself.
My personal belief is that Saddam and Iraq had nothing more than the most tenuous connection....I have no doubt there is something there (Im within 6 degrees of saddam myself I believe) but nothing that in any way deserves a war.
I guess what I was getting at in the original post was in fact rather insulting, although at the time it was not intended to be. 
I felt that if there was any place in the USA where the war could be felt to be justifiable, that place would be somewhere like NYC where the inhabitants are still very likely to be upset, scared and incredibly angry at <those responsible>....and therefore maybe more likely to be willing to turn on anyone who gets the finger pointed at them, and more willing to believe what they were told by people with obvious status in the country...such as the redoubtable Mr George Bush.

trolling
Sunday, April 06, 2003


    It really has been horrible the way that September 11th has been used to justify all sorts of xenophobic insanity.  I remember right afterwards, someone I know back in Illinois sent out a mass email that suggested that all Muslims should be rounded up and deported. 
    I took the opportunity to tell her (and everyone else who had received that email) that there are a lot of muslims in NYC, and they do help hold the city together.  Alienating them with this drivel would NOT help us.
    Howard Stern aside, I think that people in NY are less likely to approve of singling out and persecuting ANY ethnicity or nationality, and less likely to fall for the scam that Bush et al is pulling over on the rest of the country by intimating that Saddam and Sept 11 were connected.  There are lots of rats here, one for every resident.  We know what they smell like.

Charles

Charles Lewis
Sunday, April 06, 2003

http://www.iraqwar.ru

Dan
Monday, April 07, 2003

Just after september 11, it was very scary. On the radio there was a guy calling in to a radio station asking if he should beat up any "arab looking" guys he saw. The guy on the radio station said no at first, but eventually gave in "well, only if you see him smiling or if it looks like he's celebrating in any way, then yeah, go beat him up."

I couldn't believe what I was hearing being sanctioned on mainstream rock radio. I'm sure a lot of crazy shit went down that the media didn't report on because (a) it was so sensitive, an (b) they didn't want to feed the flames.

A howard beach or a rodney king after 9/11 would've been a fire impossible to put out.

www.marktaw.com
Monday, April 07, 2003

Interesting how this has been the only new thread in the past 4 days.

www.marktaw.com
Monday, April 07, 2003

It might be the only _new_ one, but the Papaya hot dog thread is raging out of control.

Charles Lewis
Monday, April 07, 2003

NO WAR,WE NEED PEACE,IT IS NOT THE FAULT OF PEOPLE,BUT THEY ARE FACING WITH THE REAULT OF WAR.

Mandy from SHANGHAI,CHINA
Monday, April 07, 2003

Saw on TV that the gov't is telling us we may have bombed saddam.

www.marktaw.com
Monday, April 07, 2003

i think it's irresponsible to allege that the current US Administration or President Bush have suggested that Saddam was responsible for 9/11.  That connection has never been stated by a high-level public official.  The jusiftication for the war on Iraq however, is that post-9/11, a US administration cannot afford ot apply a policy of containment when WMD terrorist attacks are part of the repertoire of weapons that saddam could brandish as easily as the Al-Queda terrorists did on 9/11. 

this has been openly called a "pre-emptive" attack... the administration doesn't use revenge as grounds for the attack.  the grounds are that Saddam has not disarmed in 12 years of UN inspections, and as long as a regime is in place that has used WMD in the past and threatens to use it in the future, the new political "conventional wisdom" is that pre-emptive action is necessary. 

this is why iraq is different than say, Syria, North Korea and Iran (countries where there is no evidence of past use of WMD that would compel the US to enforce regime change now) ... in other words, those countries have demonstrated an accordance to using conventional weaponry in warfare for the past 40 years that should lead the administration to conclude that the short-term threat does not require pre-emptive, non-diplomatic action.

just my two cents.

if i may opine
Tuesday, April 08, 2003

"if i may opine"

Thank you for that reasoned, intelligent post.

www.marktaw.com
Tuesday, April 08, 2003


Those points were very well reasoned.  Hopefully you will find these points equally germane:

It is true that the US Administration has never directly accused Iraq of involvement in the September 11 attacks.  They have, however, certainly tried to make the most of any intimation that Iraq may have had contact with Al Quaeda.  Examples include their announcement of the discovery of a meeting between Iraqi agents and Al Quaeda agents in the Czech Republic (no evidence of this meeting was ever forthcoming) and their equally triumphant discovery of an Al Quaeda training camp in northern Iraq (an area which was put beyond Saddam's control by the no-fly zone, as demonstrated by the existence of autonomous Kurdish villages there).  The result is that most Americans actually DO think that Iraq was involved in September 11th, and the US Administration has certainly done nothing to disabuse them of this.

If this were based around connections to Al Quaeda, we should probably be more concerned about Pakistan, who DEFINITELY has The Bomb.  They spent a lot of money supporting the Taliban.  So did we.

Honestly, I'm not going to miss Saddam: Amnesty International certainly has some choice words for him.  Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.  But I am not convinced that he presented an immediate danger to the United States (while N. Korea can hit us with nukes right now).  In lieu of this conviction, since I may not appreciate the evidence, I would settle for taking the word of someone whom I trust who is convinced.  Bush doesn't qualify for me. It just seems like he's grasping at straws to rationalize this sometimes: it's humanitarian, it's the war on terror, it's disarmament, it's regime change...  The only thing I know for sure is that he really really _wants_ to.  "if i may opine" did a better job in three paragraphs.

Short of presenting an immediate danger to our country, this matter should have fallen to the UN, as we've agreed to by accepting the UN Charter. I think that they (and I) could have been convinced to take this course if there was real evidence of immediate danger from Iraq.  Yes, the UN isn't the fastest way to get things done, but then neither is democracy.

OK, that was probably more than $.02.

Charles Lewis
Wednesday, April 09, 2003

From the state of the Union address:

With nuclear arms or a full arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, Saddam Hussein could resume his ambitions of conquest in the Middle East and create deadly havoc in that region. And this Congress and the America people must recognize another threat. Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al Qaeda. Secretly, and without fingerprints, he could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists, or help them develop their own.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/01/20030128-19.html

www.marktaw.com
Wednesday, April 09, 2003

An extensive facility for training terrorists, including a complete Boeing jet, train cars and boats to practice on, has been found in Iraq.  (We already knew about it from defectors, but now there's no way to deny it.)

So a dictator bears a huge grudge against the U.S. AND has lots of WMD AND trains terrorists in the tricks of the trade.  So I'm not unhappy about the fact that this dictator seems to have been removed from power.

The joy of Iraqis at their "occupation" at the hands of infidels is also becoming harder and harder to hide, even for the Arab media outlets.  Maybe at some point the idea that Arabs are quite content living under oppressive totalitarian regimes will be questioned.

Peace be with you.

Jim Rankin
Wednesday, April 09, 2003

"An extensive facility for training terrorists, including a complete Boeing jet, train cars and boats to practice on, has been found in Iraq.  (We already knew about it from defectors, but now there's no way to deny it.)"

I see your terrorist training facility and raise you the School of the Americas.

"The US Army School of Americas (SOA), based in Fort Benning, Georgia, trains Latin American soldiers in combat, counter-insurgency, and counter-narcotics. Graduates of the SOA are responsible for some of the worst human rights abuses in Latin America. Among the SOA's nearly 60,000 graduates are notorious dictators Manuel Noriega and Omar Torrijos of Panama, Leopoldo Galtieri and Roberto Viola of Argentina, Juan Velasco Alvarado of Peru, Guillermo Rodriguez of Ecuador, and Hugo Banzer Suarez of Bolivia. Lower-level SOA graduates have participated in human rights abuses that include the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero and the El Mozote Massacre of 900 civilians."

- www.soaw.org

www.marktaw.com
Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Yes, I agree whether it's in Iraq or the U.S., facilities for training terrorists are Bad Things.  Once those skills are acquired and the students are left back out into the wild, there's no way to control how they will be used.

In a way, that's a reason the current approach to Iraq is preferable.  We tell the whole world that we're going to overthrow a regime and why we're going to do it, and we promise to make it a democracy.  Which creates a lot more accountability than training people to replace one Evil Dictator with another Evil Dictator who may (or may not) do what we tell him.

So can we agree that trying to get rid of terrorist training facilities, whether in Iraq or Fort Benning, Georgia, is an admirable goal?

Jim Rankin
Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Would somebody PLEASE stop being reasonable???  This is getting boring.

BTW: when do the free elections in Afganistan start?

Charles Lewis
Thursday, April 10, 2003

"BTW: when do the free elections in Afganistan start?"

Don't know when the first elections take place, but capitalism is booming:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A2374-2003Feb25&notFound=true

It's a start, right?

Jim Rankin
Friday, April 11, 2003

At your request, and for the common good, I've moved this to the trolling thread.  Containment is a good policy for discussions, too.

Not saying that sanctions were uncalled for; just that using them as an excuse to invade was circular reasoning.

Also, I don't think that a full scale invasion over lack of documentation, especially while inspectors are making progress, was an appropriate response.  I think that even the full-scale invasion option could have gotten more support if not for the "in your face" approach to our allies.

But this reminds me of another type of fallacy that I often see stated:  that it was either a full scale invasion of the country, or that we would just walk away and let Saddam act with impunity.  This was a false choice.  There was never a full scale invasion of Russia or Romania or Czechoslovakia to bring the fall of the police states there, and we already had some very invasive leverage in Iraq that could have been intensified.


For this case, it is now moot, and I'm sure that we'll be hearing plenty of justifications like "Saddam is gone now, so what's the problem?"  Another fallacy: that the ends always justify the means.

Charles

Charles Lewis
Sunday, April 13, 2003

"Also, I don't think that a full scale invasion over lack of documentation, especially while inspectors are making progress, was an appropriate response."

I believe this is simply naive.  Full, transparent compliance was the only acceptable outcome of inspections.  It is impossible to find all wmds in a nation the size of Iraq without someone telling you where they all are.  In the meantime, it's also impossible to stop the regime in that country from discreetly distributing those weapons to whoever they want.

Furthermore, the end of a brutal dictatorship and the chance to cultivate freedom and prosperity further justifies the means of invasion.

And I'm guessing this is the point where we're just going to have to agree to disagree :).

Jim Rankin
Monday, April 14, 2003


At least we managed to reduce it to a judgement call, instead of rhetoric.  If there's ever a New York Front Porch get-together we can take it up again :-D

Charles Lewis
Monday, April 14, 2003


It turns out that the "Berlin Wall" moment in Bagdad was totally staged.  I'm sure that nobody is shocked, but does anyone consider this dishonest?

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article2842.htm

Crude propaganda...  mmmmmm, yummy.

Charles Lewis
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Makes sense. News is easy to "create" you can interview hundreds of people until you find someone who says exactly what you want them to say.

Don't you think that if some country invaded the US and overthrew our government, there would be people dancing in the street *somewhere* ?

www.marktaw.com
Tuesday, April 15, 2003

"Don't you think that if some country invaded the US and overthrew our government, there would be people dancing in the street *somewhere* ? "

I would. 
America has been involved with the highest # of wars in the last 100 years out of any country in the world.
Doesn't look like thats going to change anytime soon.
America has the distinction of being the only country ever to use nuclear weapons on another country.
America has repeatedly used chemical and biological weapons.
America is *currently* using ammunition made from depleted uranium (look up the stats for people born with birth defects in iraq and kuwait since the gulf war)
America is directly responsible for both the position of power saddam found himself in, and the chemical weapons he had available to him before the sanctions. 
America is likewise directly responsible for the training and power of osama.
America has consistently refused to ratify any international treaty that would involving the world disarming.

And yet somehow its occupants remain convinced they are on the side of the righteous.

murdering swine
Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Nothing like a bunch of sweeping, uncorroborated statements to make a point.

Nuclear weapons:  not using the bomb in Japan could very well have extended the war in a way that cost many more lives.  The debate about this could go on forever.

Show me documentation for all of the uses of chemical and biological weapons use by the U.S.

Can the increased birth defects be tied directly to the use of depleted uranium?

As for the U.S. being solely responsible for arming Saddam, why does most of the weapons and munitions found so far have "Made in France" or "Made in Russia" stamped on them?

When was this treaty for universal disarmament presented, and how many countries supported it?  I seem to have missed that.

Oh, and Bush has talked alot about unilaterally cutting back the U.S. nuclear arsenal significantly.

Jim Rankin
Wednesday, April 23, 2003

As for the dancing in the street comments, I think the predominant feeling among Iraqis is:  "Thank you America for getting rid of Saddam!  Now get the heck out so we can run our own country!"

Now, this is exactly the reaction we Americans want to hear, as we also want to get the heck out of there as soon as feasibly possible.

But the problem is this:  Iraq has Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, and some Christians.  A state dominated by one of these will be oppresive for the rest.  So there needs to be protection for all of these groups, or Iraq will eventually end up back where they started.  That's what Mr. Garner is trying to faciliate there now, and he and the Iraqis all need our prayers.

Jim Rankin
Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Hi Jim,

"Nuclear weapons:  not using the bomb in Japan could very well have extended the war in a way that cost many more lives.  The debate about this could go on forever."

An important point to consider here is 'Whose lives'?
That defence is the most shameless example of pure bs that I have ever heard. 
Is it your position then that civilian lives can and should be sacrificed without hesitation if it will aid the cause of a war?
America shrieked in pain when 4000 were taken......and yet you continue to defend the use of nuclear bombs in japan.
incredible.


"Show me documentation for all of the uses of chemical and biological weapons use by the U.S."
LOL..and if I did, would you believe it?
Agent Orange was widely used in vietman...here in new zealand children of ex-vietnam soldiers are still giving birth to babies with major defects..that makes 2 generations affected by american use of chemical weapons *on someone else*..what are the stats for vietnam itself?

"Can the increased birth defects be tied directly to the use of depleted uranium?"
You think maybe its a sudden burst of sunflares?  you sound like the (american) tobacco companies used to 'theres no direct evidence...none at all...no, really, its perfectly healthy....honestly..."'

As for the U.S. being solely responsible for arming Saddam, why does most of the weapons and munitions found so far have "Made in France" or "Made in Russia" stamped on them?
I dont recall stating that america was *solely* responsible for arming saddam....who said that?

When was this treaty for universal disarmament presented, and how many countries supported it?  I seem to have missed that.
Just before the soviet empire went under for the last time.
Do a google search on "treaties america has refused to sign"
There is a wealth of info there...much of it positive for the US and much of it not.
Oh, and Bush has talked alot about unilaterally cutting back the U.S. nuclear arsenal significantly.
<G>  he has also talked a lot about the importance of conservation and personal liberty and freedom....yet the actual laws that have been passed recently curtailed all of the above at different times.
You live in a bunker ruled by madmen.

Ill take this one
Wednesday, April 23, 2003

"But the problem is this:  Iraq has Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, and some Christians.  A state dominated by one of these will be oppresive for the rest.  So there needs to be protection for all of these groups, or Iraq will eventually end up back where they started.  That's what Mr. Garner is trying to faciliate there now, and he and the Iraqis all need our prayers. "

LOL...I dont believe this.
So you seriously believe that the american government has no interest whatsoever in the oil supplies owned by iraq?

If so, will your belief be shaken if (when) the US government begins to push treaties thru the new iraqi government that favour the US?

Ill take this one
Wednesday, April 23, 2003


I don't think his belief will be shaken... but he might have to come up with a new rationalization.  I'm sure that our government will provide us with some variation on might-makes-right for this purpose.


A major fallacy of the government position on Iraq (I seem to be making a career out of pointing out these logical fallacies) is when they claim that any one of these obstensible reasons (liberation, anti-terrorism, anti-proliferation) would be enough.  The counter-argument that is consistently heard is "if that were enough, why aren't we liberating/disarming/invading country X, too?".

It must have been a combination of the advertised reasons, plus a number of the suspected but unadvertised reasons (daddy!), that pushed this war into being.  I just wish I could have heard someone say that, instead of indignant repetition of one or another simplistic catchphrases.  "Hey, you want to improve human rights, I want unfettered access to the second biggest oil reserve in the world... let's make this a win/win!"  Given the number of dictators and torturers who the US has supported, we certainly don't have the credentials to claim that we're acting purely out of concern for spreading democracy.

Charles Lewis
Wednesday, April 23, 2003

The use of the bomb in Japan may very well have saved JAPANESE lives.  The Japanese really were to fight to every last man, woman and child.  The casualties could have easily escalated into the millions with a conventional assault.

See what I mean about being able to argue about this forever?

Agent Orange:  true, this is a chemical weapon, but the intention was never to inflict mass casualties.  This is more like DDT; something naively believed to be safe to people at the time.  Tragic, nonetheless, but not the same as releasing an agent with the clear intention of causing mass casualties, as Saddam, for example, did to the Kurds.

From http://www.newscientist.com/hottopics/iraq/article.jsp?id=99993627&sub=News%20update:

"Deciding whether DU is to blame will be tough. Independent research may confirm that rates of cancer have increased in the Iraqi population. But the Iraqi government has used chemical weapons on its own people that can produce the same outcome, and it is impossible to know for sure who may have been exposed."

So, yeah, it very well may be that DU is causing cancer and birth defects in Iraq, but we really just don't know that yet.

Treaties:  still didn't find that universal, world disarmament treaty the U.S. refused to sign.  Did find this, though:  http://www.spacedaily.com/news/nuclear-doctrine-02m.html, (Bush-Putin disarmament treaty).

Jim Rankin
Wednesday, April 23, 2003

"The counter-argument that is consistently heard is 'if that were enough, why aren't we liberating/disarming/invading country X, too?'."

We haven't gotten to them yet.

Bush has taken out two so far, and he's only been President two years.  Give him time.

Jim Rankin
Wednesday, April 23, 2003

"So you seriously believe that the american government has no interest whatsoever in the oil supplies owned by iraq?"

America's interest is a stable, tolerant Iraq.  Without that we're right back where we started.

And if the American government starts to lose sight of that goal, it will be time to elect a new American government.  It's our job as citizens to hold their feet to the fire and make them keep their promises.

Jim Rankin
Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Hi Jim,

"The use of the bomb in Japan may very well have saved JAPANESE lives.  The Japanese really were to fight to every last man, woman and child.  The casualties could have easily escalated into the millions with a conventional assault.

See what I mean about being able to argue about this forever?"

<g> Im willing to if you are.  This particular argument is possibly the most maddening I have ever heard.  America used nuclear weapons against Japan for its own good?
I guess following that logic through its not hard to see how its possibly to also justify the invasion of Iraq.....kind of like a parent feeding their child foul-tasting medicine, yes?

Ill take this one
Wednesday, April 23, 2003

"Agent Orange:  true, this is a chemical weapon, but the intention was never to inflict mass casualties."

say again?

I was under the impression it was specifically designed to inflict mass casualties.

"This is more like DDT; something naively believed to be safe to people at the time.  Tragic, nonetheless, but not the same as releasing an agent with the clear intention of causing mass casualties"

uh-huh.
putting aside the obvious, that agent orange was specifically selected for its ability to kill large #'s of combatants, you appear to be arguing that its flow on effect...the birth defects, cancers, tumours etc etc are less important because they were not intended?
so intention is the all-important part of judging a countries use of chemical/biological warfare?
interesting stuff.

", as Saddam, for example, did to the Kurds."
ayup, Ill be surprised if you can find anyone willing to defend saddam...the fellow was a mad bastard arab and his loss of power is likely the only good thing to come out of this war."

"So, yeah, it very well may be that DU is causing cancer and birth defects in Iraq, but we really just don't know that yet."

Im very interested indeed that this is what you take away from the article...
How important do you feel it is that we find out one way or the other before we use DU?
Personally I see the very real possibility that the US is poisoning the (civilian and military) people of Iraq rather frightening.
Isn't there some UN convention against poisoning civilians and enemy personal?

Ill take this one
Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Hi Jim,

"America's interest is a stable, tolerant Iraq.  Without that we're right back where we started."

The arab states are full of hate-filled, war mad bastards. 
Unfortunately most of the hate is directed at the US (and by extension the rest of the western world)
America is stuck in the classic 'king maker' position.  If they allow genuinely democratic elections, Iraq will be governed by a government with at best a deep distrust of america, and at worst a positive dislike.  Hard people to make a oil deal with.
OTOH if they drop in place their own people, guaranteed to be friendly to America then (oddly enough) the government will be seen as a puppet government and many of iraqs citizens will actively work against it, leading to greater instability.
Do not, ever, underestimate the resentment felt by the arab people in *all* the arab states against america.  Whether its right or wrong, fair or unfair is moot.

"And if the American government starts to lose sight of that goal, it will be time to elect a new American government.  It's our job as citizens to hold their feet to the fire and make them keep their promises. "

american citizens have proven shockingly bad at that in the past.
What history has shown is that american citizens tend to (a) believe anyhting they are told (last I heard 60-70% believed that Iraq had something to do with the WTC attack), and lose interest anyway over time, leaving their government to clean up the mess. 
How is the rebuilding of Afghanistan going BTW?  I seem to recall some promises regarding that...

Ill take this one
Wednesday, April 23, 2003

"How is the rebuilding of Afghanistan going BTW?  I seem to recall some promises regarding that..."

Well, here's some evidence that business is doing a lot better than it was under the Taliban:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A2374-2003Feb25&notFound=true

I would definitely say things are better there now than before we invaded (with much work still to be done).

Jim Rankin
Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Hi Jim,

"I would definitely say things are better there now than before we invaded (with much work still to be done). "

<g> Im not convinced thats what I asked...but even so....nice to know that the american imposed government is doing better than a bunch of mad muslim fundamentalists, really gives me faith.

But I *do* recall promises of largesse from america to enable afghanistan to rebuild its shattered backbone.....

"Many of those perceived troubles are real and worrisome, and nobody would mistake Kabul for a prosperous and peaceful city. Sections are still in ruins, and many of the 600,000 returning refugees who have flooded the city live precariously on the margins. Islamic militants remain determined to destabilize and oust the Karzai government through violence, and periodic attacks continue."

again you do seem to have a knack for reading only specific parts of articles...

Ill take this one
Wednesday, April 23, 2003

"The arab states are full of hate-filled, war mad bastards. 
Unfortunately most of the hate is directed at the US (and by extension the rest of the western world)"

Exactly.  These are the conditions we must change.  So how do we go about this?

Bush is definitely going for the high risk/high award approach.  I believe at this point this is necessary.  There are too many well organized, well connected terrorist organizations with WMD technology floating around to take a go slow approach.

A lot of the quotes I've been hearing from random Iraqis is more along the lines of "Get the water and lights turned on already!" than "Kill the American infidels because they reject Allah!"  If Iraqis have water, food, electricity, jobs, and the right to go where they want and say what they want, that's going to trump any ideological concerns.  I believe there's only a lunatic fringe of Iraqis (or Muslims for that matter) who want to kill Americans because they're American.  Or who really want to live under Sharia (but I may be wrong on that one).

So getting Iraqis, and by extension, the Muslim world, to like us is simple:  improve their quality of life.  It's just really hard to do :).

Jim Rankin
Wednesday, April 23, 2003

"Personally I see the very real possibility that the US is poisoning the (civilian and military) people of Iraq rather frightening."

Just to be clear, yes cleaning up the DU left lying around as soon as possible is the right thing to do.  I concede that the point I was making is largely an academic one.

Jim Rankin
Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Hi Jim,

"A lot of the quotes I've been hearing from random Iraqis is more along the lines of "Get the water and lights turned on already!" than "Kill the American infidels because they reject Allah!"  "

that *and* 'No Saddam, No America', 'Go Home America'...there is an awful lot of that right now.

"So getting Iraqis, and by extension, the Muslim world, to like us is simple:  improve their quality of life.  It's just really hard to do "

and here we finally agree...amazing.
Id like to argue that improving the quality of life of people living in Iraq could have been done *without* an invasion of Iraq if the will was there.  The only reason an invasion of Iraq was necessary is because that gives america an opportunity to make an oil grab.  This opportunity they will seize with great enthusiasm.
Same as in afghanistan....if america had spent $1 billion a year bombing afghanistan and Iraq with food, supplies and useful bits (regardless of the complaints of the leaders of the respective countries), instead of 70 billion bombing Iraq with things that kill (and I forget how much on afghanistan) the world would be an awful lot safer to live in right now.
...and those living in afghanistan and Iraq would be living like kings :)

Ill take this one
Wednesday, April 23, 2003

<lots of Afghani problems>

"again you do seem to have a knack for reading only specific parts of articles..."

That's the "work still to be done" part :).

Jim Rankin
Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Hi Jim,

"That's the "work still to be done" part :). "


<g> Ive read and re-read that article...Im not sure what makes you say things have improved since the taliban was overthrown?  I have the feeling there were successful businesses in place before the taliban were overthrown as well...a few new success stories hardly makes up for the casualties and suffering taking place now...600000 refugees hadly feels like an improvement.

Ill take this one
Wednesday, April 23, 2003

"if america had spent $1 billion a year bombing afghanistan and Iraq with food, supplies and useful bits..."

Wouldn't the Taliban/Saddam just gather up all the stuff and hoard it for the military or distribute it as political favors?

And what's the price of freedom?  Do you want to live in a place where you have lots of material possessions but can be killed for saying the wrong thing?

Of course, the irony is places where people are killed for saying the wrong things are almost never places with lots of material things.  I guess China's trying to be the first.

Anyway, do you really believe that just sending lots of stuff to countries run by evil regimes will solve all our problems?  I honestly don't get it...

But it's nice to find something we agree on! :)

Jim Rankin
Wednesday, April 23, 2003

"I have the feeling there were successful businesses in place before the taliban were overthrown as well..."

No, I don't believe the Taliban provided an environment that allowed businesses to really succeed and prosper.

Jim Rankin
Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Hi,

"if america had spent $1 billion a year bombing afghanistan and Iraq with food, supplies and useful bits..."

"Wouldn't the Taliban/Saddam just gather up all the stuff and hoard it for the military or distribute it as political favors?"

Im betting that would be an awful lot harder than it sounds.

"And what's the price of freedom?  Do you want to live in a place where you have lots of material possessions but can be killed for saying the wrong thing?"

aw gods...dont give me that rubbish.  Personally Im happy in New Zealand at the moment...the rest of the world is coming off like a mad house, american freedoms are being curtailed by the day in the name of freedom, countries are being invaded in the name of peace, half of the western world leaders at the moment are right-wing mad bastards (george bush, john howard, israeli leader, etc etc) and the other half are impotent against them.
The Iraqs are currently living under the control of a foreign country, how free is that?

"Anyway, do you really believe that just sending lots of stuff to countries run by evil regimes will solve all our problems?  I honestly don't get it..."

The people who receive the food would be grateful and would pass that onto their children.  If it continued for long enough eventually even the diehard american haters would have to admit that the food isn't poisoned.
That would be nice :)

But the main point is that its information that provides freedom.  Information that causes change and makes people want to improve things.
People are not going to be interested in learning about the world or improving their position until they are fed.

feed them for a few years, then give them a push and the leaders of those countries will crumble. 
Hearts and Minds, remember?

Ill take this one
Wednesday, April 23, 2003

""I have the feeling there were successful businesses in place before the taliban were overthrown as well..."

No, I don't believe the Taliban provided an environment that allowed businesses to really succeed and prosper."

which absolutely does not mean that there were no successful businesses in place before the taliban were overthrown.

Ill take this one
Wednesday, April 23, 2003

New Zealand?  Is this the _New Zealand_ front porch??? ;-)


OK, I'm going to take a second off from my leftist agenda to side with Jim for just a second.  This probably won't happen too often:


"if america had spent $1 billion a year bombing afghanistan and Iraq with food, supplies and useful bits..."

"Wouldn't the Taliban/Saddam just gather up all the stuff and hoard it for the military or distribute it as political favors?"


Although these both present an exaggerated scenario, there have definitely been problems with just throwing "food, supplies, and useful bits" into a country without managing their distribution.  Because that does create a vacuum that those-in-power are quick to fill.  Some even go so far as to say that providing relief into regions that are under the thumb of the baddies actually prolongs conflicts, both by keeping the locals from famine, and providing the baddies with tokens to use as leverage. 

That said, a humanist might still opt for preventing horrific famine in the short term, rather than allowing it in the hopes of greater change later.  This is not a simple choice.



Personally, I'm less interested in how well businesses are doing in Afganistan than if they have rule of law: are there codified laws that are consistently applied.  This sort of order is a necessary precursor to sustained freedom (vs "riot" freedom).  We used to even have something like it on the international level, back when the UN charter was actually respected by America...  Without order of law, you have might-makes-right, which isn't exactly freedom, although it can be good for commerce.

Charles

Charles Lewis
Thursday, April 24, 2003

"say again?

I was under the impression it was specifically designed to inflict mass casualties."

Not quite.  It was an herbicide.

From  http://www.lewispublishing.com/orange.htm:

"Agent Orange was the code name for a herbicide developed for the military, primarily for use in tropical climates.

...

The purpose of the product was to deny an enemy cover and concealment in dense terrain by defoliating trees and shrubbery where the enmy could hide."

And the reason why intentions matter is that we stopped using it after it became clear that it posed a significant health risk.

Jim Rankin
Thursday, April 24, 2003

Hi all,

ok...so lets go over the benefits that the invasion of Iraq has brought to Iraq and America (assuming that america is genuinely uninterested in Iraqi oil)

(1)  Saddam no longer in control (yay!)
(2)  Terrorism stopped (?)
(3)  WMD owned by Saddam/Iraq captured and neutralised(?)
(4)  ???

Its not sounding like a raging success to me.

Lets look at the invasion of Afghanistan, again assuming that America did not do this primarily to ensure the oil pipeline through afghanistan that has since been signed off on (was turned down by the taliban).
(1) Taliban no longer in control (yay!)
(2) Terrorism stopped (?)
(3) ???

Now lets look at the negatives in both countries, the thousands of dead civilians, the hundreds of thousands of refugees (the ones in afghanistan in particular are having a verra hard time, america does appear to be going to provide some help to Iraq)
In afghanistan now the tribal warlords have actual cntrol over most of the country except the main centres.

So, as far as I can see all thats been gained is the overthrow of dominant regime, at the cost of a *vast* amount of pain. 
Was it worth it?

best of all worlds
Thursday, April 24, 2003

More on the feelings of Iraqis:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_239716,00050004.htm

A sample:

"'To have the Americans is by far better than Saddam,' said Souriya Souali, a young hotel maid.

Some were angry at Arab regimes that opposed the US-led invasion. 'The Arabs are just like him,' said 30-year-old Radiya Allawi, a mother of five."

In Afghanistan, did you mention the capture or death of hundreds of Al Qaeda and the dismantling of much of their infrastructure?  That alone makes it a massive success in my book.

In response to your ? after WMD:  Judith Miller in the NYT reported on an Iraqi scientist who led U.S. troops to buried chemicals that are WMD materials.  So saying we haven't found WMD at this point is like saying "We haven't found any Kool-Aid, just these Kool-Aid packets, some sugar and water."

Also, how about the children only jail that was liberated?  Toddlers to teenagers, whose only crime was having parents who probably looked funny at some Baath official.

That's just one example.  But without the war, those kids would still be in Hell.

Does that make it worth it?

Jim Rankin
Thursday, April 24, 2003

Hi Jim,

"More on the feelings of Iraqis:
"'To have the Americans is by far better than Saddam,' said Souriya Souali, a young hotel maid."

<G> Im not sure what this proves?  In the street I live in I could write a story, based on the direct statements of others, proving both that the current prime minister of new zealand is beloved by her people, and that she is despised...I have certainly seen both types of stories coming out of Iraq.
I guess it must be a comfort to know that the Iraqi's are not unaminously against the attack.

"In Afghanistan, did you mention the capture or death of hundreds of Al Qaeda and the dismantling of much of their infrastructure?  That alone makes it a massive success in my book."
A massive success?...I had received the impression from the American leaders that the Al Qaeda were international in scope and still a very real and direct threat to the US....in fact I was under the impression that this threat was a part of the reason for the invasion of Iraq.
Which logically seems to lead to either the conclusion that there was very little damage done to the Al Qaeda network during the invasion of afghanistan, or that there was no real threat from them following that invasion and therefore their existance was not a reason for the invasion of Iraq.
Any idea which is the case?


"In response to your ? after WMD:  Judith Miller in the NYT reported on an Iraqi scientist who led U.S. troops to buried chemicals that are WMD materials.  So saying we haven't found WMD at this point is like saying "We haven't found any Kool-Aid, just these Kool-Aid packets, some sugar and water.""
LOL, thats a verra good line.
Which chemicals were they exactly?
Id be willing to bet that a thorough search of new zealand would uncover factories and storage facilities containing most, if not all, of the chemicals required to produce WMD.
Will we be next then? 

"Also, how about the children only jail that was liberated?  Toddlers to teenagers, whose only crime was having parents who probably looked funny at some Baath official."

We have them here in New Zealand as well....except that we call them 'Juvenile detention facilities'
Interesting thing...there was some publicity recently about the lack of space in said facilities, we've recently been dumping some of the older juves into real jails as a temporary solution.
Most of them are guilty of sod all in the wider scheme of things, the worst are violent, the others have been done a few times for shotlifting or petty theft, or simply have 'at risk' parents who are unable to care for them.

"That's just one example.  But without the war, those kids would still be in Hell."
Whats going to happen to them now? a lifetime of peaches and cream?  or simply a different kind of hell?

"Does that make it worth it? "

Not convinced yet I must admit...lets ask the six hundred thousand Iraqi refugees, the 10s of thousands dead Iraqi solders or the thousands of dead iraq civilians.
Or we should interview the victims of afghanistan...the war was a little longer ago so I do not remember the total # of casualties, refugees or dead there...

best of all worlds
Thursday, April 24, 2003

"We have them here in New Zealand as well....except that we call them 'Juvenile detention facilities'"

You have toddlers in jail in New Zealand?  That's pretty barbaric.  Also, I hope that juveniles in your detention facilities have actually committed some kind of crime?  (beyond being related to someone the ruling New Zealand regime doesn't like, or something)

"I had received the impression from the American leaders that the Al Qaeda were international in scope and still a very real and direct threat to the US"

<sigh>  I guess in your book, if there's a single Al Qaeda member alive anywhere in the world, all efforts aimed at eliminating them will have been worthless.  There's a ton of analysis out there indicating that Al Qaeda's ability to plan and coordinate attacks has been severely disrupted.  We've captured or killed most of the top level leadership, with the possible exceptions of bin Laden and Zawahiri (sp?).

"Id be willing to bet that a thorough search of new zealand would uncover factories and storage facilities containing most, if not all, of the chemicals required to produce WMD."

That's exactly the point!  All you need is the chemicals plus the expertise and the organization to weaponize them shortly before you need them!  So without specific intelligence about what's really going on, you can have an unverifiable, yet thriving, WMD program.  We're starting to get that intelligence now, to understand what was going on.

I suppose in your mind, though, it doesn't count unless the box has "WMD" written on it in big letters.

Here's a more recent article from the nytimes on intelligence we're getting from Iraqi scientists:

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/24/international/worldspecial/24CHEM.html?pagewanted=2

I suppose Ms. Miller's just making this up, or something, as she obviously must be a tool of the American propoganda machine, or something.

"Im not sure what this proves?"

The whole point of the article is that this viewpoint was more the NORM in Karbala than the anti-America demonstrators!  But of course, the source is that bastion of pro-American propoganda, Agence France-Presse, so take it with a grain of salt.

Jim Rankin
Friday, April 25, 2003

"Whats going to happen to them now? a lifetime of peaches and cream?  or simply a different kind of hell?"

This level of cynicism is just staggering.  "Why release innocent kids from jail, when they're lives might not be any better, anyway."  With this level of defeatism, how do you ever get yourself out of bed in the morning?

Jim Rankin
Friday, April 25, 2003


    Again, not to side with Jim _too_ much, but yes, Agent Orange was a herbicide.  The fact that US soldiers were working with it without protective equipment is a good indication of how dangerous to people they thought it was.

    Depleted uranium was chosen for anti-tank weapons because of it's devastating effects on tanks, not because it is the equivalent of a 'dirty bomb'.  On the other hand, I did see footage of british soldiers wearing protective suits in an area that had been attacked with these shells, to protect against uranium dust.

    If this was the case (who can tell, it's the news after all), then it would be disingenuous to continue to use this munition and call it 'safe' for (non-targeted) people, at least if US soldiers take equivalent precautions.  Hmmmm... maybe this is what all of those Iraqi chemical protection suits were for.

Charles Lewis
Friday, April 25, 2003

Hi Jim,

your friendly side is slipping just a little...please make an attempt to refrain from putting words into my mouth :)

"You have toddlers in jail in New Zealand?  That's pretty barbaric. "

yes, I agree it is. 
I was reading an interesting article the other day about child executions in america though, so Im guessing very few of the 'free' countries in the west have a perfect record.

"Also, I hope that juveniles in your detention facilities have actually committed some kind of crime?  (beyond being related to someone the ruling New Zealand regime doesn't like, or something)"

I only wish life was that straight-forward.
Most of them have...burglary (6 year olds climbing in thru windows and letting others in, drugs (10-12 year olds), general beatings and theft with menaces, gang behavior etc etc
In most cases though you can look at their upbringing and parents and see where the cause lies....mostly people who are unable to move through the system and are stuck at the poverty level.  <g> theres an entire industry around working out why *that* happens, but by one definition of the problem you could certainly make the statement "These people are people who the government disapproves of and works against"
so life just aint that straight forward. (My own personal opinion is that these people are just lazy assholes who treat their kids like shite because they can, but thats not necessarily correct)

"There's a ton of analysis out there indicating that Al Qaeda's ability to plan and coordinate attacks has been severely disrupted"

Im happy to believe it, thats been my impression as well.
My point was, if this is true, then WTH was the US administration doing linking Al Qaede and Iraq in peoples minds?  it was a cold-blooded method of scaring the american people sufficiently to get their own way.
*This* is the problem I have with the entire mess, its not that Saddam or Bin Laden or the Taliban dont deserve it, its to do with the outright lies and manipulation the US gov has brought to the job, and what the ultimate cost of this approach may be.  Throughout the UN investigation the US was basically saying that they knew for a fact Iraq had the weapons, and they knew where they were...that Iraq was showing the inspectors the wrong places. 
Now they are in Baghdad and the best they can come up with is 'This might have been a weapons factory'

Thats just bloody sad.

"That's exactly the point!  All you need is the chemicals plus the expertise and the organization to weaponize them shortly before you need them!  So without specific intelligence about what's really going on, you can have an unverifiable, yet thriving, WMD program.  We're starting to get that intelligence now, to understand what was going on"

and *thats* exactly my point.  Invading countries because you think there *might be* a thriving WMD program is a sodding lunatics idea of a good time.
How far does this approach go? 
Potentially any country in the world may contain terrorists capable of creating the weapons from stock at hand, I dont  know the solution to this very real problem but I am damned sure that invading Iraq on the off-chance was not a good approach.

"Here's a more recent article from the nytimes on intelligence we're getting from Iraqi scientists:"

"Their conclusion however is speculative however, because no such chemical or biological weapons have been found"

Come on..I could happily have shown you this article to prove *my* point.  Somehow you have a knack of believing the articles main point, without taking into account the detail within it.

"The whole point of the article is that this viewpoint was more the NORM in Karbala than the anti-America demonstrators!"

I *got* the point of the article, what I didn't get was the basis for that viewpoint.  They reported the views of 2-3 people and implied it was the norm....That is *not* an example of investigative journalism.  They also failed to ask any of the interesting questions...even if that *was* the norm, its still a useful approach to ask how they would feel about america occupying the country for a longer period of time, whether they believe america was justified in its reasons for invading etc etc etc....


Personally I hope like hell that america really did invade Iraq for the right reasons, and Afghanistan before that.  I *want* this to be true.....but I no longer believe that it is.

best of all worlds
Friday, April 25, 2003

"This level of cynicism is just staggering.  "Why release innocent kids from jail, when they're lives might not be any better, anyway."  With this level of defeatism, how do you ever get yourself out of bed in the morning? "

Were they innocent?  beats me, and Im betting you dont know either. Most likely some of them were.

defeatism?  ye gods.

To be honest I am increasingly envious of your blind faith in your country and the good its doing in Iraq.

Its not defeatism, its pragmatism.  Were they jails or were the homes for the children whose parents had been imprisoned by the regime?  Do you actually know for a fact which it was or are you merely assuming the worst?
Given that the regime *had* imprisoned their parents, what was it supposed to do with the kids?  leave them to starve in the streets?
Were the kids beaten everyday?  starved of food? if the answer to both of those questions is yes then I agree, they are likely better off out of it, if not them I do believe that the answer is likely a lot more complicated than you are making out.

best of all worlds
Friday, April 25, 2003

The bottom line with the children is that we all know that saddams regime was 'Not Very Nice'
Personally I wouldn't be surprised if the Man himself tortued small children as a part of his daily routine.

*But* using the plight of these children as a backwards trick to somehow justify the original invasion is a little pathetic really, particularly given the lack of evidence regarding the actual level of abuse they suffered.

Personally I could be convinced that it *is* a justification, and if America had lead with the warcry "Save the imprisoned children", and justified their accusations of abuse, *and* promised to to the same in all other countries where such abuse was being carried out, then Id be an awful lot happier about the entire process than I am now.
<g> I may even have joined the army.

best of all worlds
Friday, April 25, 2003

....still no WMD......

... this is starting to look bad.  Did we screw up about this?

Charles Lewis
Wednesday, April 30, 2003

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/politics/story.jsp?story=400805

The case for invading Iraq to remove its weapons of mass destruction was based on selective use of intelligence, exaggeration, use of sources known to be discredited and outright fabrication, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

http://abcnews.go.com/sections/nightline/US/globalshow_030425.html

ABCNEWS.com : Officials: 9/11 Was Main Reason for War To build its case for war with Iraq, the Bush administration argued that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, but some officials now privately acknowledge the White House had another reason for war — a global show of American power and democracy.

www.marktaw.com
Wednesday, April 30, 2003

In fact, this http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/200302/msg00186.html is beginning to look more and more like the truth.

www.marktaw.com
Wednesday, April 30, 2003

"In fact, this http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/200302/msg00186.html is beginning to look more and more like the truth"

thanks for the link, it was an interesting read.

<g> the fact that his arguments rests on the idea what america prolly wont really invade iraq is a little worrying though.

The problem with:
"They were determined to project such a vision
of implacable, irrational, lethality that the Soviet leaders would decide to capitulate rather than risk universal annihilation.Soviet leaderwould decide to capitulate rather than risk universal annihilation."

is fairly obvious.  It works fine until some mad prick with access to nuclear weapons/WMD decides not to capitulate.
From that point on everything falls apart and the US is left with the choice of either following through or backing away.  Backing away never seems like a reasonable option because it leads other countries to understand that it was a bluff and all credibility is lost.
Which means that the only possible solution is to actually act as though we genuinely are implacably lethal.
At which point the difference between a country acting as though its governed by implacably lethal  madmen, and a country which is actually governed by implacably lethal madmen is non-existant, and if that country is america then the entire world goes to hell in a handbasket.

Interestingly enough I feel less rather than more safe now that america has shown itself to be capable and willing to invade other countries without any decent reason.
The only possible way to fight a nation that is larger, richer and has abetter equipped and more dangerous army than ones own is through terrorism (aka guerilla warfare).
Personally if it was my country being invaded by such a country I wouldn't hesitate for a second before killing soldiers from hiding, using cars as mobile bombs and generally turning into a merciless killer.
The attack on new york was the act of madmen, the attack on Iraq was the act of madmen, and my sympathy now is with the Iraqi civilians and their freedom fighters, not with the american army.
The really scary bit is that the american army killed thousands of Iraqi civilians and called it collateral damage, america has now announced that the war is over, but...
what if portions of the Iraqi people do not agree...are they justified in killing american/western civilians (even by mistake) and calling it collateral damage?
If my family had been killed/severally damaged by enemy soldiers I wouldn't feel too upset at the death of civilians belonging to that enemy..frankly I can even imagine myself being happy about it.
America has invaded and captured Iraq...this will either result in greater peace in the region or more terror killings.
Anyone want to take a guess which it will be?

straight to hell
Wednesday, April 30, 2003

The war is over becuase the President of the United States only has the power to do this kind of thing for a limited number of days. Congress is the only body with the ability to declare war, but it may take too long for Congress to do so, so the President has been given the power to use the military as a police force for a limited number of days.

As far as 9/11 being the act of a madman... I suspect that there may have been a logic to what happened that most of us don't see. I hear President Bush was in Afghanastan just a short while before the 9/11 attacks.

As far as Iraq being the act of a madman... well, it's not as if Bush was acting alone. I doubt he would completely shun the advice of his counselors and senior staff. It takes a lot of people to pull that kind of thing off, and it takes a lot of people to convince the American people that it was justified.

www.marktaw.com
Wednesday, April 30, 2003

madman?  Im pretty sure I said 'madmen'

they are all fucking mad.  Whether they are sincere in their motivations is the best we can hope for, but like you I dont even believe that.
Democracy as an experiment in the US has failed, we now live in a country controlled by power and money mad lunatics and companies. 
Every time I read about another lost freedom, another stupidly restrictive law or successful lobbying by big companies for same I feel like someone is dragging a knife slowly through my gut.
We can vote out one figurehead and vote in another, but somehow the entire process continues despite this.
They'll drill for oil in the antarctic, invade iraq, pass laws restricting pretty much any freedoms they want and all we americans can do is bend over to make it easier for them.

An intelligent tryanny...we can say what we like (within specific bounds...careful not to talk about the *illegal* stuff..) so long as we do what we are told.
And now we are bringing the same level of 'freedom' to iraq, lucky them.
Their new leader-to-be chalabi is a criminal, fleeing (from jordan I believe) just ahead of being arrested for fraud and embezzlement.  The first thing hes going to do is privatise everything in Iraq (think of the $ possibilities in privatising their water!) and sell the rights to american companies.

No longer satisfed with *ucking over the american citizens our companies and government are beginning the process of doing the same to foreign countries.

Lets usher in the new world, pax americana where everything is for sale to the highest bidder and the only thing that matters is the influence you have!  christ help us.

straight to hell
Wednesday, April 30, 2003

"...we can say what we like (within specific bounds...careful not to talk about the *illegal* stuff..)"

You just posted this in a public forum, visible to anyone in the world.  Are the Secret Police at your door yet?

"They'll drill for oil in the antarctic, invade iraq, pass laws restricting pretty much any freedoms they want and all we americans can do is bend over to make it easier for them."

Or Americans can get off their keisters and vote.  That's the problem with democracy.  People end up with the government they deserve.  (Insert Bush is unelected even though every vote count in Florida including those sponsored by press organizations after the fact showed Bush as the winner quip here.)

BTW, we're not drilling in the Arctic (or the Antarctic), precisely because Congress isn't letting the President have his way, an example of checks and balances at work.

Jim Rankin
Thursday, May 01, 2003

"....still no WMD......

... this is starting to look bad.  Did we screw up about this?"

It does look bad.  I must admit, it's not making much sense to me.  Where's all the unaccounted for stuff that Iraq wasn't able to document?  If they destroyed it, why didn't they present evidence to the U.N. to take away the U.S. argument for regime change?  If it left the country, well, then we have a much bigger problem (the administration is hinting that it might have ended up in Syria, which would be very bad).

So in any case, the fact we haven't found anything is definitely not good.

Jim Rankin
Thursday, May 01, 2003

"Or Americans can get off their keisters and vote.  That's the problem with democracy.  People end up with the government they deserve.  (Insert Bush is unelected even though every vote count in Florida including those sponsored by press organizations after the fact showed Bush as the winner quip here.)"

Actually, Gore won the popular vote no matter how you slice it.

www.marktaw.com
Thursday, May 01, 2003


Sadly, winning the popular vote does not equal winning the election.  Welcome to the electoral college system.  It also means that all votes do not have equal weight.

Can we switch to a parliamentary system, like everyone else has?  I'd like to get more than two choices.  (or at least more than one vote ;-)

Charles

Charles Lewis
Thursday, May 01, 2003

Well, Tony Blair seems pretty confident.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/2988765.stm

Jim Rankin
Thursday, May 01, 2003

My favorite is this NYTimes op ed piece:

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/27/opinion/27FRIE.html

What has me concerned, is the state of the economy. Bush is trying to force Congress to pass a bill increasing the amount of debt the US can take on:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A56227-2003Apr29.html

If it doesn't pass, the US will have to default on it's loans and lose it's status as the world's most stable debtor. Our economy would collapse.

www.marktaw.com
Thursday, May 01, 2003

Hello Jim,

"...we can say what we like (within specific bounds...careful not to talk about the *illegal* stuff..)"

You just posted this in a public forum, visible to anyone in the world.  Are the Secret Police at your door yet?

Thats what I meant by 'an intelligant tyranny'
We can say what we like on certain subjects...they are smart enough to understand that theres actually no real harm in letting people talk politics and criticise them...in fact, its healthy.  The point is that as long as Im railing against the current president or 'elected' goverment, Im not noticing the fact that the true power brokers are getting on with things in their usual way.

straight to hell
Thursday, May 01, 2003

"Where's all the unaccounted for stuff that Iraq wasn't able to document?  If they destroyed it, why didn't they present evidence to the U.N. to take away the U.S. argument for regime change?  If it left the country, well, then we have a much bigger problem (the administration is hinting that it might have ended up in Syria, which would be very bad).

So in any case, the fact we haven't found anything is definitely not good. "

*you* are the problem with democracy in America.  You appear to be genuinely unable to disbelive a word spoken by those in 'administration'.
(1) Whether Iraq 'documented' anything or not is a complete dead end, its utter bs to even talk about Iraqs documentation.  If Iraq *were* building WMD why would they document it?  if they did document it, why would they show it to anyone?  if they then destroyed the WMD and documented *that* why would the US or the UN believe the documentation? use ya head man.

(2) If Iraq did have WMD when America invaded, why didn't they use them?  Did Saddam have a fit of good feeling toward humanity?  Not enough time to put them together from the materials they had? (2-3 weeks should be easily sufficient by my understanding)
Destroyed them so as not to get caught with them? then why build them at all?  if Saddam was too scared to use them in case the world found out he had them then they were never going to be much use, were they?
Snuck them out to Syria? thats why god gave us americans satellites...I guarantee that if Iraq moved a truck we saw it..thats at least one of the purposes of all saddams underground buildings, to avoid being seen.
Tunnels to Syria?  <g> thats going to be embarrassing for Syria when we find them isn't it....
Stolen by looters? youd think someone would have noticed a dozen terrorists carrying 200-500 tons of poison gas and a half dozen nuclear weapons across town.
Im running out of ideas...
Still hidden in underground bunkers?  definitely a possibility and that appears to be what Blair is betting on.  OTOH we were given specific lists telling us where to look by disaffected and captured Iraqi people....On the assumption that we looked in the most likely places first, youd think we'd have *something* by now, whereas the truth is that *every* possibiility found has so far been proved to not be anything...odd findings of poison gas have, on second or third testing, turned out to be babies milk or similar.
(because terrorists swapped it out over night?  give me a break)

The 'administration' lied.  pure and simple. they strutted about spewing complete crap because it suited them.  They treated the citizens of America with utter contempt (because we believe every word they say and, frankly, deserve it) and the UN and foreign countries likewise.
We are now going to bend ourselves over backwards trying to justify the actions of our government instead of voting them out, because thats what we do.  There are going to be further editorials pointing out the evil of Saddams regime, the media will gradually stop reporting the repeated instances of american troops killing protesting Iraqi citizens and life will return to normal.

George Bush is a damn liar.  Donald Rumsfield is a damn liar. Dick Cheney is a damn liar.  They have all wanted to take out Iraq for their own purposes for years and they were quite happy to lie and bully everyone else to get their way.
Maybe their purposes were worthy, maybe not. But the bottom line is that I believe that the means indicate the ends.  They lied and bullied their way into control of Iraq because the truth was going to be unpalatable to the average american citizen. 
We need Iraqs oil.  Our military and economic superiority is based on oil.  We are running out of oil.  Iraq has *lots* of oil.  We want Iraqs oil.  We grabbed Iraqs oil.
The fact that saddams regime was a pretty bad one is a nice justification, but make no mistake we wuld have done exactly the same thing if it had not been.  A few more lies would have been sufficient.

straight to hell
Thursday, May 01, 2003

"The point is that as long as Im railing against the current president or 'elected' goverment, Im not noticing the fact that the true power brokers are getting on with things in their usual way."

Oh right, I forgot about THEM.  The Illuminati, or Freemasons.  Or maybe the Jews?

Of course, all of those people whose very existence is so secret that their existence can never be proven!

Or something.

Jim Rankin
Thursday, May 01, 2003


OK, hell; no '*you*'s, please. 

As you said, though, the irony here is that Powell was up there claiming to have all sorts of specific intel on WMD labs, etc; claiming that this wasn't a matter of "if" but "when".  Apparently this proof was thinner than he claimed.

Charles Lewis
Thursday, May 01, 2003

"(1) Whether Iraq 'documented' anything or not is a complete dead end, its utter bs to even talk about Iraqs documentation.  If Iraq *were* building WMD why would they document it?  if they did document it, why would they show it to anyone?  if they then destroyed the WMD and documented *that* why would the US or the UN believe the documentation? use ya head man."

<Sigh>Let me explain this again.

After Gulf War I, it was documented that Iraq had x amount of WMDs, with x>0.  When Hans Blix and co. resumed inspections, Iraq claimed to have 0 WMD.  They were then supposed to tell the inspectors how they went from x WMDs to 0 WMDs.  THEY DID NOT DO THIS.  Hans Blix drew attention to this fact more than once.

Did they just misplace the paperwork?  Or what?

Jim Rankin
Thursday, May 01, 2003

"We need Iraqs oil.  Our military and economic superiority is based on oil.  We are running out of oil.  Iraq has *lots* of oil.  We want Iraqs oil.  We grabbed Iraqs oil."

The problem with this theory is that oil is a fungible commodity.  Bringing more oil on line makes the price cheaper everywhere, as the supply goes up.  This effect could have been achieved simply by calling for an end to sanctions, without a messy war.

Now, if you want to say this war was to get more business for Haliburton and Bechtel, well, that's a whole other can of worms.

You should update your conspiracy theories :).

Jim Rankin
Thursday, May 01, 2003

Hello Jim,

"<Sigh>Let me explain this again.

After Gulf War I, it was documented that Iraq had x amount of WMDs, with x>0."

'it was documented'?  by whom exactly? how did they know?  was it a confession by saddam?  ("ok..ok..I admit it, we have 200 tons of nerve gas, 15 nuclear weapons and 12000 tons of mustard gas")
receipts from companies who sold Iraq the ingredients?
where did this documentation come from?  was it accurate?  how did they know it was accurate?  was it an 'estimate'?  based on what?  come on Jim, at least make an effort...


"When Hans Blix and co. resumed inspections, Iraq claimed to have 0 WMD.  They were then supposed to tell the inspectors how they went from x WMDs to 0 WMDs.  THEY DID NOT DO THIS.  Hans Blix drew attention to this fact more than once."

Hans Blix also (just before we invaded Iraq) drew attention to the fact that Iraq was in fact cooperating...

"Did they just misplace the paperwork?  Or what? "
actually they provided an awful lot of paperwork..check the stories on the inspections.  The problem was that the US did not believe the paperwork provided because they had specific information on the location of certain WMD and the numbers and this information did not agree with what the Iraqis provided.
Rather than telling the inspectors where to look the US felt it was more prudent to invade Iraq. 
Of course its becoming clear that the US administration was in actual fact following its own agenda.  Nothing to do with the reality of the situation at all.

straight to hell
Thursday, May 01, 2003

Hi Jim,

"Oh right, I forgot about THEM.  The Illuminati, or Freemasons.  Or maybe the Jews?

Of course, all of those people whose very existence is so secret that their existence can never be proven!"

actually I was thinking more about the oil companies, the defence companies, the RIAA, etc etc.

But you keep blaming the jews old boy, thats a constructive approach :)

straight to hell
Thursday, May 01, 2003

In happier news:

http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=C9E8FBBB-AE07-49CB-B5FA4F78C43BD848

Jim Rankin
Thursday, May 01, 2003

"The problem with this theory is that oil is a fungible commodity.  Bringing more oil on line makes the price cheaper everywhere, as the supply goes up.  This effect could have been achieved simply by calling for an end to sanctions, without a messy war.

That makes the entirely unreasonable assumption that Saddam was willing to sell Iraqs oil to america.
He was not, you could argue that this was the real cause of the sanctions in the first place <g> but I am not going to.
basically just before the first gulf war an oil deal that was being worked out between America and Iraq fell through..Saddam was unwilling to sign off on it.
Do some research old son :)

straight to hell
Thursday, May 01, 2003

"That makes the entirely unreasonable assumption that Saddam was willing to sell Iraqs oil to america."

But if Saddam sells the oil to say, Mexico, and Mexico sells some oil to the U.S., same effect.  The price goes down because there's more total supply, regardless of whether Iraq sells directly to the U.S.  That's what fungible means.

Jim Rankin
Thursday, May 01, 2003

" actually I was thinking more about the oil companies, the defence companies, the RIAA, etc etc."

Now you've done it!  You typed the Names of Those Whose Names Must Not Be Typed!

As long as you were confining your criticisms to the government, you had a chance.  Now I'm afraid it's too late for you.

Jim Rankin
Thursday, May 01, 2003

"In happier news:"

oh for...

this is the equivalent to the 'press releases' given out by car manufacturers on their latest cars.

lets exercise the 'independent thinking' part of your brain...

First paragraph...total fluff..decreased due to international cooperation etc etc except by these countries that we dont like etc etc....no actual information there.

Second paragraph  '199 terrorist attacks...44 % drop'
OK...first question...what exactly are they counting?
during the invasion of Iraq President Bush called the blowing up of a car at a checkpoint a 'terrorist attack'...was that counted?  The attacks by israel on various palestinian homes...are  they terrorist attacks? (state sanctioned terror)....The british finally sorted out a agreement with the irish terrorists....is that the cause of the decline?  or were those attacks not being counted in the first place?

no one knows...the article certainly does not bother to look at that.

Third paragraph...total of 725 deaths...dramatic decline from the year before.  The year before was, of course, rather a dramatic jump from the year before that...but they only really mention that in passing.

Fourth paragraph..years most deadly single attack..200 people.  OK, that 200 people was another spike...not something that usually happens...notice how hard they are avoiding mentioning the actual figures from the previous years before the WTC attack...this is because the past 2 years are a jump on those figures, not a decline.

fifth paragraph...total fluff again.

Sixth paragraph....harder for terrorists to hide and find safe-haven.  total bollocks...harder for *known* terrorists to travel...but hardly harder to hide..osama bin laden and saddam (assuming they live) are both proof of that...neither hide nor hair of them.
Assets frozen...etc etc...thats referring specifically to Al-Qaida, significant of course but hardly the end of terrorism, and freezing further assets isn't possible except in certain countries.

Mr Powell..liberation (occupation) of iraq..saved the world...WMD (snigger)....

The rest general crap..Iran bad..syria bad...Al-Qaida licked but not beaten...Libya bad..

<shrug>  its a fucking political advertisement, not a researched article.

straight to hell
Thursday, May 01, 2003

"Now you've done it!  You typed the Names of Those Whose Names Must Not Be Typed!

As long as you were confining your criticisms to the government, you had a chance.  Now I'm afraid it's too late for you. "


they are coming to take me away...ha ha....

straight to hell
Thursday, May 01, 2003

"But if Saddam sells the oil to say, Mexico, and Mexico sells some oil to the U.S., same effect.  The price goes down because there's more total supply, regardless of whether Iraq sells directly to the U.S.  That's what fungible means. "

yea yea I understand the word old chap.
The problem is this...read it carefully:

the US depends on a constant supply of oil to maintain its economic and military superiority.

got it?  ok..lets examine the consequences of that...

heres a question for you....think carefully before answering...

Given the above fact, is America safe if it depends on foreign countries for its oil supply? 

or..to think of it in another way....
Can america always depend on having sufficient oil available to be able to continue its superiority?

or..heres another thought for your brain...

What happens if, for instance, the arab block cease selling oil to the western world and begin selling it to china?

in the long term, we are fucked :)  totally screwed. 
This problem was not so urgent so long as america still had a certain level of its own reserves available...texas etc etc...but these are getting dangerously low now.
The point is...its not a problem if *everyone* in the world runs out of oil at the same time, that leaves us all in the same boat.  A problem only exists if its possible for America to run out of oil before certain of its enemies.
The *only* way to ensure this does not happen is to have a death grip on a country that has sufficient reservers.  Iraq has approx 520x more oil in its reserves than most of the other arab states.

got it?  think about this carefully....absorb the info...try and understand the implications....stop believing every word the government writes...

straight to hell
Thursday, May 01, 2003

From http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page3187.asp

"Dr Blix, 27 January: 'Regrettably, the 12,000 page declaration, most of which is a reprint of earlier documents, does not seem to contain any new evidence that would eliminate the questions or reduce their number'.

Dr Blix, 14 February: 'The declaration submitted by Iraq on 7 December, despite its large volume, missed the opportunity to provide the fresh material and evidence needed to respond to the open questions'"

So Dr. Blix also said Iraq had failed to reconcile the outstanding discrepancies, not just Powell or Bush.  So again: was Iraq just really bad at filing things, or are there a bunch of WMD materials out there somewhere and we don't know where they are?

Jim Rankin
Thursday, May 01, 2003

"What happens if, for instance, the arab block cease selling oil to the western world and begin selling it to china?"

Sorry.  Still fungible.  Oil that China buys from Iraq it doesn't buy from somewhere else, which means supply for rest of world goes up, prices go down.

And the Arab Block has a much bigger problem than we do if they stop selling oil to us.  What do they have to fall back on for income?

Jim Rankin
Thursday, May 01, 2003

"The State Department says there were 199 terrorist attacks last year, a 44 percent drop from 2001 and the lowest figure in more than 30 years."

So it was more than just a drop from a sharp spike the previous year.

Jim Rankin
Thursday, May 01, 2003

"Sorry.  Still fungible.  Oil that China buys from Iraq it doesn't buy from somewhere else, which means supply for rest of world goes up, prices go down."

you dont get it do you.  OK, heres a new economic concept for you:
Limited Supply

you like google?  look up the oil statistics for the world, oil recovery/year will peak and then gradually run out as the available reserves decline.  take a look at some of the estimates for when this will happen.
This will leave America in a genuinely exposed position.  China has reserves...various balkan countries have reserves, the arab block has reserves...Iraq has *lots* of reserves.

"And the Arab Block has a much bigger problem than we do if they stop selling oil to us.  What do they have to fall back on for income? "
An economy?  their economies are not great at the moment but there is no reason why that has to continue.

bottom line is that they *are* going to have to find some way to deal with it eventually because they *are* going to run out.

*we* are going to run out before they do.  In fact, because of our profligate use of the oil, *we* are going to run out pretty much before anyone else with reserves.

From that moment on, unless we have a death grip on the reserves of some other country, we are totally reliant on the goodwill of those who will sell the oil to us.

straight to hell
Thursday, May 01, 2003

"The State Department says there were 199 terrorist attacks last year, a 44 percent drop from 2001 and the lowest figure in more than 30 years."

"So it was more than just a drop from a sharp spike the previous year. "


Jim...WHAT ARE THEY COUNTING?  they dont tell us...we dont know without knowing what they are counting that particular statistic means absolutely nothing.  squat. zilch.

straight to hell
Thursday, May 01, 2003

"So Dr. Blix also said Iraq had failed to reconcile the outstanding discrepancies, not just Powell or Bush.  So again: was Iraq just really bad at filing things, or are there a bunch of WMD materials out there somewhere and we don't know where they are? "

grrr..you are maddening......where did the original estimates come from?  could they have been....wrong?

if not, why not?

straight to hell
Thursday, May 01, 2003

"grrr..you are maddening......where did the original estimates come from?  could they have been....wrong?"

Sorry, it's not me that your mad at, but Dr. Blix, that evil pawn of the RIAA and the oil companies.

Jim Rankin
Thursday, May 01, 2003

"Sorry, it's not me that your mad at, but Dr. Blix, that evil pawn of the RIAA and the oil companies. "

Taking refuge in apparent stupidity?  good choice...

straight to hell
Thursday, May 01, 2003

Noam Chomsky has persuasively (it convinced me anayway) that in the current world, the goverment exists basically to protect the corporations.

As long as there's a government, we're not burning the heads of corporations at the stake, and we're not doing anything to change them directly. We're lobbying the government for changes to laws. So we're not forming lines with guns in front of the rainforests and our national forests, we're lobbying the government for stricter environmental policies. We're not going down to Mexico and China to burn down the factories, ... I don't know what we're doing to try to rectify that.

And all these years we thought that to Government existed to protect us, the average citizen. The world starts to look very different if you try looking at it through this lens.

www.marktaw.com
Thursday, May 01, 2003


Right before the war started, when there were still UN inspectors in Iraq, they were directed to a site where they discovered that yes, in fact, chemical weapons HAD BEEN DESTROYED there, despite the bad documentation.

Anyway, it all still sums up to a big maybe, despite what was claimed to be infallible proof.  Maybe now that we don't have to worry about exposing anti-Saddam intelligence assets, Bush and Blair will share their secret proof with the rest of the world.

In Bush's speech tonight he directly referred to Iraq as pro-al-Quaeda, and directly referred to the war there as starting on September 11, 2001.  If anyone doubted that he was using this fictional connection to justify the invasion(someone here was...), I hope this makes it plain.

Which brings us back to the original post: how _do_ NYC people feel about being the avenged victims?

Charles Lewis
Thursday, May 01, 2003

I thought it was interesting that the US was the only country in history to use nuclear weapons, and Bush referenced to justify the tactics they used today.

www.marktaw.com
Friday, May 02, 2003

I added some comments to my site about what I thought of the speech last night.

http://www.marktaw.com/culture_and_media/ObservationsonBushsSpeech.html

no political commentary, just commenting on what i saw.

www.marktaw.com
Friday, May 02, 2003

"Which brings us back to the original post: how _do_ NYC people feel about being the avenged victims?"

Just want to make clear, I was in Brooklyn on 9/11 and saw the giant cloud of soot and smoke over my house, tapering down in the direction of southern Manhattan.  I'm in Jersey now, due to change in employment.

I'll let you infer my views from previous postings :).  But in all honesty I think most of my NYC friends aren't too happy with Bush and the current war on Iraq, etc.  They tend to be more liberal than I am, and probably tend more toward the Charles Lewis way of looking at things.

Also, the 100,000 strong anti-war protest says something, too.  Not easy to get that many Americans to care that much about something that's not a sporting event.

What I can't figure out about New Yorkers, though, is why they keep electing Republican mayors (makes me suspect they're secretly right wingers at heart).

Jim Rankin
Friday, May 02, 2003

Because the last democratic mayor we had sucked?

www.marktaw.com
Friday, May 02, 2003

"Because the last democratic mayor we had sucked?"

:)

Jim Rankin
Friday, May 02, 2003


I'd take Giuliani over Bush anyday... over Lieberman or Gore, too.

Charles Lewis
Saturday, May 03, 2003

Yeah... We all hated Guiliani, but at least he didn't lie to you.... well, at least I don't think he lied to us.

www.marktaw.com
Saturday, May 03, 2003

"I'd take Giuliani over Bush anyday... over Lieberman or Gore, too."

Yeah, so what can be done to get Rudy to do something more prominent (how IS he spending his time, anyway)?  I thought he would have been a good Homeland Security type (being a former prosecutor).  I don't think Bush wanted someone in that position, though, that he couldn't control.

Jim Rankin
Monday, May 05, 2003

"Yeah... We all hated Guiliani, but at least he didn't lie to you.... well, at least I don't think he lied to us."

This reminds me of Dennis Miller on why he's becoming more conservative.  To his liberal friends, everyone is Hitler.  Giulani is Hitler, Ashcroft is Hitler.  Except for the guy in the Middle East with the mustache throwing people in the wood chipper.  Him they're not so sure about.

NYC underwent one of its most prosperous periods under Giulani, with quality of life issues improving dramatically.  And of course, performed as heroically as any mayor in American history after 9/11.  Sure, he wasn't perfect, but "hating" him?

And as for lying:  G.W. reminds me of a SNL skit where the characters are saying one thing but voice overs reveal they're thinking another.  Until Joe Montana (yes, the NFL quarterback) walks in, whose voice overs reveal everything he's saying he's really thinking.  "I think I'll go upstairs and masturbate" he says, and the voice over reveals he's really thinking "I think I'll go upstairs and masturbate."

G.W. says "I want to cut taxes" when he's really thinking "I want to cut taxes".  He says "I'm gonna take out Saddam" when he's thinking "I'm gonna take out Saddam".  He says "I want to drill for oil in Alaska" when he's really thinking "I want to drill for oil in Alaska".

It's really not hard to predict what this President will do.  He keeps saying the same things over and over and over and over and over again.  Then he tries to do them, only compromising when absolutely forced to.

Most of the "lies" people on this thread are talking about are issues of motivation.  I.e. Bush says "I want to get rid of Saddam and make Iraq a democracy" and the retort is "No, you just want the oil!"  But how can you know someone's motivations?  We can only judge actions.

Jim Rankin
Monday, May 05, 2003

Wow, Jim... I thought we were having a moment there.. :-)

I wouldn't make such a fuss about 'hating' Giuliani.  When you're told that it's illegal to dance in New York City without a license, feelings of oppression may occur.  I do basicly like him, and I think he's well suited for national office, but I would still jeer him to his face for his overzealous enforcement of 'cabaret' laws.  What the hell is this? Utah?

As far as GWB not lying, I feel like I'm emptying out a leaking rowboat addressing this with you.  I don't understand how you can call him honest while he's hawking a connection between Iraq and Sept. 11.  It's a complete fiction.

Charles

Charles Lewis
Monday, May 05, 2003


oh, and BTW: don't worry too much about our former mayor, he's keeping busy.  He has his own security consulting company and he's currently doing work for Mexico City and the nuke plant upstate.

And there's NO WAY the RNC would ever let that guy near the White House!

Charles Lewis
Monday, May 05, 2003

"But how can you know someone's motivations?  We can only judge actions. "

if Im not allowed to try and judge the motivations of Mr Bush then Im left with the only possibility being that he is a madman bent on apower grab both inside and outside of the US.
terrorism was responsible of the deaths of how many americans this year?
as compared to 20-30k killed by guns (not related to terrorism except in the generic sense, and figures may vary depending on your membership to the NRA :)
14000ish killed by stomach cancer alone
50000ish killed by car accidents
etc etc etc

in chicago alone approx 600-800 people die from accidental death each year.
I mean come on...terrible though it was the attack on the twin towers was not even close to being a credible threat to the US, let alone a reason for 2 wars, an ongoing process of reduction of civil rights in the USA and the expenditure of around 150billion dollars.
If you put the attack on the towers aside and look at terrorism as a whole, either from a world wide sense or a american sense...its just not a problem. 
The american police force kill approx 200 people a year....if the terrorist average is 600-800 then they are only slightly more of a threat to US citizens than our own police force.

born dumb....naturally dumb...
Monday, May 05, 2003

I should point out that this was not an attack on our police force...a similar number of police officers are killed each year.....(think how much benefit 150billion spent on law enforcement would bring?  or spent on the homeless...or..or..)

born dumb....naturally dumb...
Monday, May 05, 2003

Jim Rankin is a known terrorist with ties to Al Queda, Iraq, and Saddam Hussein.

In May of 1997 he purchased enough aluminum to reside his house, but we all know aluminum can be used in casing for weapon of mass destruction.

In March of 1993 he purchased mustard seeds, which could have been for his garden but were most likely to produce weapons of mass destruction... and to make salad dressing.

In October of 1998, he bought some Uranium 235 (tickets: http://uranium235.iuma.com/ ).

During Michael Moore's speach at the Grammy's we have surveillance footage of him paying more attention than he should have. He also went out and bought a Marilyn Manson album and donated money to the *terrorist* organization known as Green Peace.

The CIA has reason to suspect that Osama Bid Ladin is hiding out in his basement next to the boiler, and that he had intended to buy tickets for one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center.

If Jim Rankin doesn't turn himself over the authorities in the next 48 hours, a coalition of JOS readers will have no choice but to invade his home for the sake of national security.

There. Now if I follow through, I'm just like George Bush... I tell you what fucked up things I'm going to do before I do them, I just lie about the reasons.

You also haven't answered this post:

http://discuss.fogcreek.com/newyork/default.asp?cmd=show&ixPost=583

And of course you're forgetting the things that don't make it to the news.

http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=15770

As for Guiliani, during his administration he put cameras in parks to get rid of the drug dealers. I forget who it was, but someone in his administration said that they would be willing to give up 20% of their freedom for an 80% increase in security. That's nice... nice and safe, kind of like a big safe comfy brother, don't you think?

He seemed to have a personal vendetta against everyone - club owners, taxi drivers, pedestrians, food vendors. He turned New York Fuckin City into Downtown Disney.

www.marktaw.com
Tuesday, May 06, 2003

"Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one."

"When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny."

"The natural progress of things is for government to gain ground and for liberty to yield."

"If a nation expects to be both ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be."

- President Thomas Jefferson

(found these whilst looking up something else)

www.marktaw.com
Tuesday, May 06, 2003

oh...this is wonderful...

http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/05/06/sprj.irq.mobile.lab/index.html

suspicious looking equipment and recently soaped.

recently soaped?  because the terrorists were worried they had left some super deadly toxic nerve gas lying around?

suspicious equipment?
"ahab...we need to confuse the enemy about the purpose of this mobile laboratory specifically designed to produce biological weapons....lets leave all the suspicious looking equipment inside and undamaged but clean it thoroughly....maybe they'll believe we made powdered camels milk for export..."

its a classic find....nearly as good as the notes about secret meetings with Osama Bin Laden and Iraqi officials where unknown persons had used twink to obscure the name of Osama Bin Laden on each page...presumably in a bid to stop the evil forces of america finding out about the meetings....somehow never occured to them to set fire to the notes themselves....made much more sense to go through each page manually and laboriously twink out Osama Bin Ladens name wherever it occured...


We are hot on the trail now Mr Saddam....I sense that any day soon we are going to discover a secret note written by Saddam in his last moments...something along the lines of:

"I am guilty of everything I have been accused of...I knowing produced WMD for use specifically against citizens of the US, that mighty bastion of freedom and truth.  I admit to hiding/destroying/using the WMD....its all true..."

And I was getting worried about the credibility of our great nation...

straight to hell
Tuesday, May 06, 2003

"oh...this is wonderful...

http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/05/06/sprj.irq.mobile.lab/index.html

suspicious looking equipment and recently soaped."

Uh, ok.  So what's your theory on why someone would put a chemical factory on wheels?

Jim Rankin
Tuesday, May 06, 2003

"There. Now if I follow through, I'm just like George Bush... I tell you what fucked up things I'm going to do before I do them, I just lie about the reasons."

Well, yeah.  If the preceding stuff was all true, I certainly couldn't accuse you of lying.

Jim Rankin
Tuesday, May 06, 2003

"Wow, Jim... I thought we were having a moment there.. :-)"

Yeah, I was afraid the thread might get boring :).

Jim Rankin
Tuesday, May 06, 2003

"You also haven't answered this post:

http://discuss.fogcreek.com/newyork/default.asp?cmd=show&ixPost=583"

fyi, I just posted a response.  Click above to read (haven't figured out how to give direct link to individual post)

Jim Rankin
Tuesday, May 06, 2003

"He seemed to have a personal vendetta against everyone - club owners, taxi drivers, pedestrians, food vendors. He turned New York Fuckin City into Downtown Disney."

Which raises the larger question:  Is is possible to create a safe, clean, prosperous community without impinging unecessarily upon personal liberty?  By all accounts, Singapore is an attractive, clean, prosperous city, but is also quite draconian in its laws and their enforcement.  Is there a tradeoff?

(Perhaps this should be another thread?)

Jim Rankin
Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Jim... if you did respond, I apologize, this is a huge long thread and I don't know what I've read and haven't read sometimes.

My question is: how do you know that anything the white house or even major news organizations tell you is true? I remember hearing that during the Gulf War, no major news organization could report on anything that wasn't filtered through the pentagon.

Found this interesting article:

http://www.thememoryhole.org/media/ap-banner.htm

re: "Is is possible to create a safe, clean, prosperous community without impinging unecessarily upon personal liberty?"

Sometimes, I think the question is the answer. Why did you say "unnecessarily?" That word itself implies that they went too far. I think the question also reveals a personal bias towards safety over liberty, but I'm arguing semantics.

I believe it is possible to create a safe, clean, prosperous community without impinging on personal liberty. A good place to start would be to not piss other people off so much that they want to crash planes into your buildings.

www.marktaw.com
Tuesday, May 06, 2003

"Uh, ok.  So what's your theory on why someone would put a chemical factory on wheels? "

was it a chemical factory?  how do you know?

what is the definition of 'suspicious equipment'?

At the moment I dont feel the need to come up with a theory...as far as I can tell from the article they found a clean truck that was shipping a bunch of funnels.

it implies an awful lot, but actually says verra little.


"Pentagon officials now say the United States has confirmed the truck did contain equipment for making biological agents, sources said, but no biological material was found"

whats odd about the above sentence?

aww, ok..Ill tell you...

who exactly is meant by the United States?  scientists?  soldiers?  the pentagon itself?  I dont even know *who* confirmed it did contain equipment...let alone what equipment exactly it contained.

straight to hell
Tuesday, May 06, 2003

"Uh, ok.  So what's your theory on why someone would put a chemical factory on wheels? "

mobile hospital?

anonymous
Tuesday, May 06, 2003

This is a large issue, but I do not believe that September 11 was about Palestine. Bin Laden bombed US Embassies at the height of progress of the peace talks under Clinton (remeber Barak?).

September 11 was in the can years ago. It would have happened whether we had a peace accord or not. Bin Laden and his ilk come from a view of Islam that holds that Muslims have a duty to make all people of this earth submit to Islam. He has gone through the usual "means to an end" to justiufy the horrors of what he does (killing innocent people, killing Muslims, committing suicide).

There will always be Bin Ladens. Can't stop 'em.

What we can influence however is the breeding ground for their followers. What many westerners have to bear in mind is that Muslims view themselves as a collective whole.

Injustice against one is injustice against all. Christians certainly don't think that way.

So Palestine is a reason for becoming a terrorist. So is life in general under one of the oppressive regimes in the Middle East.

Iraq was a huge gamble on replicating the success of life in the controlled zone in Northern Iraq in the whole of Iraq. Idea being: make life better there and deprive the Bin Ladens of this world of fodder for terrorist acts. WMD is a non-issue.

To some this is a bold and noble move. To others it is an illegal, patronising offensive which will simply serve to inflame feelings more.

I am torn between these two views. Europe thinks fixing Palestine is enough. Bush disagrees.

Interesting to see what happens on the devolution of power in Iraq. As King Lear found out - you cannot give power away and keep it at the same time.

Patrick FitzGerald
Wednesday, May 07, 2003

"To some this is a bold and noble move. To others it is an illegal, patronising offensive which will simply serve to inflame feelings more."

Just want to say Patrick gave a great synopsis of the issues and arguments involved.  Thanks.

I will add that Bush wants to scare the living Allah out of the Muslim "street", too.

Jim Rankin
Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Well, Iraq has now been found liable in U.S. court for providing material support to Al Qaeda, to the tune of $104 million.  The plaintiffs are 9/11 victims' families.

http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20030507-054105-7452r

Jim Rankin
Wednesday, May 07, 2003

"Well, Iraq has now been found liable in U.S. court for providing material support to Al Qaeda, to the tune of $104 million. "

surely thats a joke? <g> Ive just spent 10 minutes scrubbing the site for signs its an april fools type story....it is, yes?

Iraq failed to show up in court? who was meant to show?
how did they deliver the summons? who did they deliver it to?
how can any US court award damages against a foreign country and expect that to be binding in any way?
Surely there are laws about bringing the US court system into contempt?

How can hearsay be evidence?  is the fact that pentagon officials stated something sufficient proof of its truth?

So American officials are going to make the decision to use Iraqi money to pay for an American Court decision?

I still cannot shake the feeling Im being made fun of by someone.....this cant be serious?

its genuinely stupid....

flabbergasted and feeling like a fool
Wednesday, May 07, 2003


This was especially nonsensical after reading  the New Yorker article this week which debunked all of these connections point by point.

Charles Lewis
Thursday, May 08, 2003

"This was especially nonsensical after reading  the New Yorker article this week which debunked all of these connections point by point."

Is there a link, or is it print/subscription only?

Jim Rankin
Thursday, May 08, 2003

You can find the article here:
http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?030210fa_fact

I think the judgement is abhorrent on natural legal principles. I would understand that the judgment will be executed against the funds of the Iraqi people, because their regime did not enter a defense.

I someone sues you for a debt, and you do not show up to contest it, judgment can be given by default. Default judgements can be set aside if proper reason be shown. "We were under the grip of a tyrant who chose not to defend the case" is a pretty good excuse. I hope that happens here.

The oil might belong to the Iraqi people, but the proceeds are being sequestered, bit by bit. Halliburton bill them for reconstruction with nary a competitve tender process. Now the 9/11 victims sue them, because they are unable to defend themselves.

O, it is excellent
To have a giant's strength! But it is tyrannous
To use it like a giant.

Patrick FitzGerald
Thursday, May 08, 2003

http://asia.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=politicsNews&storyID=2706011

" A Norwegian parliamentarian nominated President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair for the Nobel Peace Prize on Thursday, praising them for winning the war in Iraq.

" 'Sometimes it's necessary to use a small and effective war to prevent a much more dangerous war in the future,' Jan Simonsen, a right-wing independent in Norway's parliament, told Reuters. "

www.marktaw.com
Friday, May 09, 2003


This was the NYer article I was referring to, in the latest issue.

http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?030512fa_fact

Charles Lewis
Friday, May 09, 2003

Well, whatever you think of Bush's politics, it looks like "Women voters agree: President Bush is a hottie!"

http://opinionjournal.com/taste/?id=110003472

Jim Rankin
Friday, May 09, 2003

Apparently not all women do:

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1317&ncid=742&e=11&u=/ucas/20030509/cm_ucas/bush_s_triumphant_jet_flight_could_cause_future_turbulence

Did you see that SNL news bit where they zoomed in on his crotch?

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/lincoln/photo.asp?SubID=438&PhotoID=21122

www.marktaw.com
Friday, May 09, 2003

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101030519-450939,00.html?cnn=yes

lying, gutless swine of a texas coward.

stop terrorism.  ya right.
save the iragi people.  sure.

lets watch american deathgrip on the iraqi oil tighten people. 
Its not pretty, its not sexy, its about the survival of a superpower whose oil is running out and whose economic and military superiority relies entirely on oil.

straight to hell
Tuesday, May 13, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home