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Author Topic: All right, fuck it: Iraq!  (Read 16747 times)
Gordon C. Landis
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Posts: 1024

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« Reply #60 on: April 06, 2004, 01:23:05 PM »

Ralph,

Well, I'm not convinced that "the media" is carefully spinning things anti-Bush - but if folks DON'T take election-year politics into account when they look at what the various news outlets say, that would be a huge mistake.  Just like not taking the post-9/11 shock and "free pass for our guys" attitude into account would have been (and was, for many folks I know) a huge mistake when considering the coverage of the buildup to war.

It may be there's some over-correction happening here - that "the media" is attempting to compensate for an overly-generous previous coverage by being overly-negative now.  But the fact of the matter is (IMO) there ARE real negatives - and there are real positives.  I think the real negatives greatly outweigh the real positives, but pretending that either doesn't exist (which is what a simplistic, black & white campaign process would like to do) is, I'll agree, a mistake.

Gordon
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Valamir
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« Reply #61 on: April 06, 2004, 01:40:05 PM »

Quote
Well, I'm not convinced that "the media" is carefully spinning things anti-Bush


There are a couple of news sources out there that spin to the right...most notably Rush and O'Reilly.  But the vast majority of major newspapers, and broadcast news outlets are spun permanently to the left.  Just reading how headlines are phrased "More Casualities in Bush's War" was a recent one I saw tells you volumes about the bent of the editor writing it.  Fox manages to have a modest right spin, but by and large it just relies on shock to get viewers and the most shocking things you can say on the news these days are coming down supporting the right.


Here's what ABC News.com political editor, Mark Halperin had to say on it.

Quote
“Like every other institution, the Washington and political press corps operate with a good number of biases and predilections. They include, but are not limited to, a near-universal shared sense that liberal political positions on social issues like gun control, homosexuality, abortion, and religion are the default, while more conservative positions are ‘conservative positions.’...”
“The press, by and large, does not accept President Bush’s justifications for the Iraq war....It does not accept the proposition that the Bush tax cuts helped the economy....It remains fixated on the unemployment rate....”
“The worldview of the dominant media can be seen in every frame of video and every print word choice that is currently being produced about the presidential race....On the strength of all the negative coverage of the President and all his own positive coverage, Senator Kerry heads into today’s twin primaries on a roll. “


Pretty par for the course from the media.  All the more egregious in an election year.  And this is FROM a news editor at ABC.
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greyorm
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My name is Raven.


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« Reply #62 on: April 06, 2004, 01:46:29 PM »

So, Ralph, as long as it happens behind closed doors, you're ok with it? That a government doesn't have to obey laws, standards, or act according to a set of principles, as long as it achieves what it "needs" to?

You're describing what I can only call a "democratic dictatorship" -- where the people have no real say in what their government does, except in electing figureheads they can try to push around at election time.

And guess what, that doesn't work because of the lack of accountability it creates, and the inability to try anyone in the government for their behavior while in office.

Don't even try to argue you are not seriously suggesting "no accountability" for the government, because your suggestion only works smoothly when the accountability government officials have is removed, and their actions are not open to public debate.

Sorry, that isn't democracy, and definitely isn't American democracy -- by which I mean the principles this country was founded on bonded to the democratic method.

Your biggest problem is treating the government as some sort of seperate, sovereign entity, when it isn't and shouldn't be. This isn't the middle ages, or China.

Frankly, that's the down-right scariest thing you've ever suggested: back-room, hidden government -- there's enough governmental abuse of power today without providing more room and shadows to move around in, to say nothing of legitimizing it.

In the end, it's just another riff on "the ends, by any means."
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Valamir
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« Reply #63 on: April 06, 2004, 01:55:55 PM »

Quote
So, Ralph, as long as it happens behind closed doors, you're ok with it? That a government doesn't have to obey laws, standards, or act according to a set of principles, as long as it achieves what it "needs" to?

You're describing what I can only call a "democratic dictatorship" -- where the people have no real say in what their government does, except in electing figureheads they can try to push around at election time.


Come on now Raven.  You know full well that's not remotely what I said.

Did FDR have to put up with the public second guessing his every decision because the reporters had it on the news 5 hours later?  Did Wilson? Did Kennedy?  

Yet those Presidents managed to lead the country through some pretty hectic and dangerous times didn't they?

And they did it largely behind closed doors didn't they?

And they didn't have to deal with news media nearly at the level or scope that presidents today have to did they? (hell, half of America didn't even know FDR was in a wheel chair for crying out loud)

And yet the job got done, America remained free, and democracy was preserved, wasn't it?

Because political correspondents back then were actual reporters and not poparazzi with fancy job titles.

That's what I'm talking about...

Come on man.  The level of absurd twisting in your last post is really not very appropriate...even for the birthday forum.
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Gordon C. Landis
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« Reply #64 on: April 06, 2004, 01:56:01 PM »

Ralph,

Well, now we're on a new topic (But no new thread!  Ain't birthdays grand?), and I'll just say that IMO liberal social agendas in the major news organizations are often more than compensated for by their essentially politically conservative corporate ownership.  

Which may not be a bad thing.  A "check and balance," of a kind.  Liberal-minded news organizations whoose very existence is controlled by a conservative-minded corporation - that (historically) needs the news organization to be seen as "credibly independent" in order to succede.

Your "liberal bias" claims strike me as over-reaching, but not entirely irrelevant.  IMO, the smart observer takes all this into account when digesting the news, and I'd only object to you attempting to make it a "simple" case of ant-Bush spin rather than a complex interplay that sometimes involves anti-Bush spin.

Gordon
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greyorm
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« Reply #65 on: April 06, 2004, 01:56:05 PM »

Quite honestly, taking a stand to defend President Bush's innocence is like taking a stand to defend OJ Simpson's innocence.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Matt Wilson
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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student, second edition


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« Reply #66 on: April 06, 2004, 01:58:05 PM »

Quote
There are a couple of news sources out there that spin to the right...most notably Rush and O'Reilly. But the vast majority of major newspapers, and broadcast news outlets are spun permanently to the left.


Or maybe they're spun permanently just a bit to the right, and Bush is so extreme that they seem left in comparison.
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John Kim
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« Reply #67 on: April 06, 2004, 01:59:07 PM »

Quote from: Valamir
That's 3% folks...in over a year.  That's just counting the 110,000 number of total deployed.  Include the total number of people who've served over there (not just serving currently. i.e. went in, came home) and the %age is even lower.

In a YEAR.  These are NOT significant numbers (except of course to the people who suffered them and their families.  Its always hard to not sound callous when discussing casualty figures).

Er, do you have any comparisons for that?  I briefly did some web searches for the Korean War and Vietnam.  For example, http://www.25thaviation.org/id275.htm">this page of Vietnam War statistics suggested "The national average death rate for males in 1970 was 58.9 per 100,000".  An early http://www.globalsecurity.org/org/news/2003/030402-iraq06.htm">news report on the Iraq conflict offered for comparison:
Quote
In World War I about one in 15 U.S. troops was killed or wounded; in World War II it was one in 14. The rate climbed to one in 12 in Korea and fell back to one in 16 during Vietnam.

The rates have been going down ever since, with only one soldier in 760 killed or wounded in the first Persian Gulf war. There were no U.S. combat fatalities in Bosnia or Kosovo and to date only 66 in Afghanistan, including two killed Saturday. The Defense Department has not released statistics on the numbers of wounded in those conflicts."

So while 3% is low compared to 6% (suggested here for Vietnam), I think that half of the Vietnam War rate is pretty damn significant.
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- John
Jason Lee
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Posts: 729


« Reply #68 on: April 06, 2004, 02:11:47 PM »

I poop on 'the end sometimes justifies the means'.  I poop all over it.  The end does not justify the means, because the means are what you are actually willing to do.  Right and wrong are not 'ends', they are actions, they are means.

And as for the Clinton administration...  Poor, poor Bush administration, they aren't as good at spin.  You know what else they suck at in comparison?  Economics (Clinton said he would eliminate the deficit and he did.  Bush made sure to fix that though.); Diplomacy (The Israel situation was actually starting to improve.  Couldn't have that.); and military action (US Bosnia casualties were less than 300, mostly from land-mines.  That's half the Iraq casualties, and on a smaller military budget.).  You don't like that Clinton banged an internal, fine he's an awful letch.  But the Clinton administration kept the country and foreign affairs in better running order than any incarnation of the Reagan administration, especially this one, ever has.

Oh, and the government does not deserve more leeway than the individual.  The government exists to serve the people, that's the Social Contract.  It doesn't get to do what it wants because it doesn't have rights that aren't gifted to it by the people.

And...  Smaller government isn't exactly a good thing.  'Big Government' is what keeps the big guy from stepping on the little guy. Socialist programs, like I dunno, public schools, improve the lifestyle of everybody in the society by creating a middle class.

"The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities."
- Lord Acton
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- Cruciel
Valamir
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« Reply #69 on: April 06, 2004, 02:14:33 PM »

Those are the same numbers I've looked at John.  But in order to compare apples to apples you have to compare wounded to the total number of troops who served in Iraq.  I don't haven't seen numbers for that, but I'd estimate it to be around 170-200K based on initial deployment figures of about 110K and the planned rotation of men.

At that rate you're looking at 1 per 49 to 1 per 57, which isn't 1/2 of Viet Nam.  Its less than 1/3.

Plus, I don't know how levels of support troops stack up.  I know the people to ask if you really want to know.  But I suspect that there were more non combat personel per combat soldier in Viet Nam then there are in Iraq just based on how much leaner we run the military these days.  

It would skew the numbers considerably if the denomenator in Viet Nam's numbers consisted of a significantly higher ratio of rear area troops.
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quozl
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« Reply #70 on: April 06, 2004, 02:25:30 PM »

Quote from: Valamir
And yet the job got done, America remained free, and democracy was preserved, wasn't it?


I disagree with this as written.  Put your qualifiers in when you mention "done", "free", and "democracy", and then maybe I can agree with you.
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--- Jonathan N.
Currently playtesting Frankenstein's Monsters
John Kim
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« Reply #71 on: April 06, 2004, 04:02:02 PM »

Quote from: Valamir
  Did FDR have to put up with the public second guessing his every decision because the reporters had it on the news 5 hours later?  Did Wilson? Did Kennedy?  

Yet those Presidents managed to lead the country through some pretty hectic and dangerous times didn't they?

And they did it largely behind closed doors didn't they?

And they didn't have to deal with news media nearly at the level or scope that presidents today have to did they? (hell, half of America didn't even know FDR was in a wheel chair for crying out loud)  

Actually, I agree with you that the media is too intrusive into the personal life of the President and politicians.  But taking our country to open war has always been and always should be a public act which is subject to intense scrutiny and criticism.  For example, President Polk was grilled by congressman Abraham Lincoln for his behavior in the Mexican War.  You will see similar dissent in most other wars.  

So I completely support the removal of stupid stunts like the Clinton "scandal" and so forth.  For that matter, intelligence gathering should in general be behind closed doors.  But when that intelligence is publically used as justification for going to open war, then it passes into the realm of public scrutiny.  

Moreover, it is biased to only point to the examples of good behavior to justify keeping administration affairs private.  For example, our aid given to Saddam Hussein and to Osama bin Laden was done behind closed doors.  If that had been subject to public debate, things might have turned out better.  Overall, I think our post-Nixon, more public foreign policy hasn't been so bad.  The first Gulf War was excellently handled, I thought, and it stood up to public scrutiny.
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- John
Christopher Weeks
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Posts: 683


« Reply #72 on: April 06, 2004, 04:02:42 PM »

Quote from: cruciel
Socialist programs, like I dunno, public schools, improve the lifestyle of everybody in the society by creating a middle class.


The idea of public schools is valid, but I think that our implementation is so horribly astray that we would be better off without them.  That's my primary motivation for supporting educational privatisation.

Chris
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Jason Lee
Member

Posts: 729


« Reply #73 on: April 06, 2004, 04:15:58 PM »

Quote from: Christopher Weeks
Quote from: cruciel
Socialist programs, like I dunno, public schools, improve the lifestyle of everybody in the society by creating a middle class.


The idea of public schools is valid, but I think that our implementation is so horribly astray that we would be better off without them.  That's my primary motivation for supporting educational privatisation.


Well, I think it's got some major faults (so many that I dropped out of school), but if school costs money then poor people won't (or be prohibited by parents to) attend.  Then generations are stuck in lower class because they haven't even been given a chance.

I feel that poor pay for teachers and police leads to most of the problems in both institutions.

EDIT:  This might just be my personal experience, but the people I know (three) who have attended private (religious) schools for early schooling all say 'eck-specially' and 'eck-scape'.  They can't spell either, I mean can't.  Bad math too.  Even though they attended public school later in life.
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- Cruciel
Christopher Weeks
Member

Posts: 683


« Reply #74 on: April 06, 2004, 04:22:42 PM »

Quote from: John Kim
The first Gulf War was excellently handled, I thought, and it stood up to public scrutiny.


But the G.H.W.Bush administration kept the lead in to the war pretty secret.  There is evidence that after the '88 peace with Iran, the US, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait colluded to create economic hardship for Iraq, presumably in an attempt to destabilize the country.  One could claim this forced Hussein into aggressive behavior.  Worse yet, prior to the Kuwaiti invasion, the Hussein government sought approval from the US.  Secretary of State Baker directed  April Glaspie, the ambasador to Iraq, to tell Hussein "We have no opinion on ...your border dispute with Kuwait."  Ms. Glaspie was specific in underlining James Baker's direction to emphasize this instruction.

So after luring our sock puppet (Hussein) into the attack, we turned on him in the blink of an eye.  I'd hardly call that excellent handling.

Chris
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