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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 185 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: All right, fuck it: Iraq!  (Read 17660 times)
Valamir
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Posts: 5574


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« Reply #75 on: April 06, 2004, 06:37:05 PM »

Quote from: quozl
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.


Done:  The war was won, Europe was freed from Hitler, and Kennedy's game of chicken with the Soviets made them blink.

Free:  Pretty self explanatory.  Unless you're really interested in hashing out all of the ways you feel we aren't free.

Democracy:  Again self explanatory.  You get to vote for public officials, or in some cases vote for electorates who will vote for public officials.

Is there some additional qualifiers you feel the need to make.  Did America suddenly slide into the grips of tyranny following FDR when no one was looking?



Quote
For example, President Polk was grilled by congressman Abraham Lincoln for his behavior in the Mexican War.
 Absolutely.  And as far as I can remember various senators on the intelligence committee have come forward and stated that they were privy to all of the intelligence the administration was, and came to the same conclusion about WMDs that the administration has.  The war was most certainly properly vetted through congress...where such discussions belong.  Not on the evening news among folks with no access to sensitive information pretending they have some clue what they're talking about.


Quote
But when that intelligence is publically used as justification for going to open war, then it passes into the realm of public scrutiny.


I don't disagree with that.  But in my view the truely unfortuneate thing is not that intelligence was used to stir up public opinion, but that the political situation in this country has become such that such tactics are almost required.

There is a definite movement towards mob rule in America...mob rule in the same sense as ancient Rome where the patricians and the emperor competed with each other to manipulate public opinion.

Mark Antony's famous speach following Caesar's death in Shakespear's play to get the court of public sentiment riled up against Brutus without them ever realizing he was manipulating them is now business as usual in politics in this country.  And that's very sad, very wrong, and very dangerous.

Quote
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.


Maybe.  Much of foreign policy in this country has been predicated on the theory of the lesser of two evils.  Its certainly true Saddam would not have gotten as powerful as he did without our support.  Who's to say, however, that a weaker Saddam wouldn't have resulted in a stronger Iran under Khomeini and whether or not that would have been worse.  Obviously policy makers at the time thought it would be much worse, that promoting a relatively stable secular regime in the midst of growing theological fundamentalism was a good thing, even if Saddam wasn't the ideal person for the job...he was the only person for the job.

I'm hesitant to second guess the decisions of prior administrations on subjects like that since we do not have anywhere near the information they did when they made the decision.

So if one accepts the likely hood that those decision makers were qualified to make the decisions they made (and one pretty much must accept that, because the alternative is to claim our system of government is incapable of effective leadership); then I at least would have to conclude that "If that had been subject to public debate" it most likely would have turned out far worse.

Open debate between people not qualified to discuss the subject they are debating seems pretty pointless to me.  Better to elect officials, have those officials make themselves qualified to discuss the subject, and let them debate it amongst themselves and report back their decisions.  That is how a representational democracy is supposed to work, after all.
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greyorm
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My name is Raven.


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« Reply #76 on: April 06, 2004, 07:11:05 PM »

I'm sorry if my vehemence in my last post touched a nerve, Ralph, but that's exactly how I view your statements about closed door government. I meant no insult, and did not twist anything...those are the fruits I see of what you suggest.

In fact, I do see right where you're coming from, and I agree about the problems, but I disagree that that is the solution. Your comments about "it worked before" strike me as stubborn insistence that just because "we never looked both ways crossing the street before and haven't been hit" means that it's safe and dandy to do so.

I think we're damn lucky to have come through as a country without the public oversight currently emerging in our culture. Gods only know what sorts of scandals and questionable behaviors went on in previous administrations, without public knowledge or consent.

The media plays an important role in keeping people honest, in bringing problems and behaviors to light.

Consider, before it was revealed for public awareness by the media, domestic violence was a quiet problem plaguing many women.

While certain individuals like to claim, for political reasons, it has been rising since it was first reported (you know, since this stuff never happened in "the good ol' days"), we know that it was happening far more frequently before it started being reported openly due to victim mentality and social pressures to simply stay quiet.

Now, women can feel safe(r) in reporting their husband or boyfriend for this behavior, because they know they aren't alone, it isn't their fault, and society tells them that, yes, it is wrong for their loved one to do this to them. We're better off as a society now that this piece of dirty laundry was aired by the media as a problem, and no longer happening quietly in good ol' Hometown USA.

I see the same benefits in media exposure of the inner workings of political offices. All things being equal, the dirty crap we are seeing now exposed by the media in our elected officials is likely less in amount than what used to occur before scrutiny was turned upon them.

Hence, I leave my statements standing as my opinion on such a policy, with the addendum: it isn't the press or media that needs to change, but the politicians -- they need to be less political, and start doing their jobs. Damn the "consequences."
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Valamir
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« Reply #77 on: April 06, 2004, 07:24:52 PM »

There one huge crucial makes all the difference in the world difference between media and domestic violoence and media and international policy.

It is possible and desireable for the media to collect all possible data about domestic violence and report it to the public for their analysis.

It is neither possible nor desireable for the media to collect all possible data relative to sensitive intelligence information or international negotiations.  Therefor it is impossible for the public to analyse anything well enough to understand what they are talking about.  They don't have a complete picture, they have only the picture the media chooses to paint for them.
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greyorm
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My name is Raven.


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« Reply #78 on: April 06, 2004, 09:00:46 PM »

I agree. However, since I'm for more public oversight of government processes and information, the release of sensitive intelligence data to the public is ultimately a good thing in my opinion. You can disagree all you want, point out the dangers and etc. but I'm still for it.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
ADGConscience
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Posts: 22


« Reply #79 on: April 07, 2004, 02:19:56 AM »

Stop sending our teenagers--especially our poor, disadvantaged teenagers--off to die.
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contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #80 on: April 07, 2004, 02:41:27 AM »

Todays Iraq body count:
Max: 10,677
Min: 8827

Some incidents:
k051 10 Mar PM Basra taxi carrying women laundry-workers gunfire 2 2 AP 11 Mar
CSM 24 Mar

k047 15 Mar - Kirkuk car carrying councillor and bodyguard gunfire 2 2 AP 16 Mar
 
k046 09 Mar 8:00 PM Abu Gharaq, near Karbala car carrying Americans and Iraqi translator gunfire 1 1 AFP 11 Mar
UPI 11 Mar
AP 12 Mar

k039 08 Mar - Kirkuk three hit by 'stray bullets' gunfire 3 3 Times 09 Mar
BBC 09 Mar

k044 09 Mar PM Nasiriyah police killed rescuing civilians held by militia gunfire 4 4 AP 10 Mar
NYT 11 Mar

k041 08 Mar - Ejba, near Mosul 'hostile forces', round fell short, killing one mortar round 1 1 AP 10 Mar
MEO 10 Mar

This is our allegedly 'stable' situation.  An anecdotal report by an individual stationed in a country as large as Iraq is hardly definitive.

Ralph wrote:
Quote
I don't disagree with that. But in my view the truely unfortuneate thing is not that intelligence was used to stir up public opinion, but that the political situation in this country has become such that such tactics are almost required.


Why?  Because you don't get the result you want?  Well, too bad.

Quote
I'm hesitant to second guess the decisions of prior administrations on subjects like that since we do not have anywhere near the information they did when they made the decision.


Except, thats not really a safe assumption at all.  Much of the argument advanced prior to the war was derived, as we know, from a 12-year old thesis found on the net.  You and I could easily have done as much.  In addition, the alleged firm knowledge that the US administration did have - about Iraqi WMD - turns out to have been wrong.

There is no reason to assume that any government has qualitatively superior information to any other person.  Certainly in this case we seem to have an example of undue trust in the governments alleged information leading to decisions made on a completely false premise.

And furthermore, I find it contradictory to argue that government is inherently corrupt, politicians self-serving, and that simultaneously we should trust the government implicitly and assume it knows what its doing.  These two sentiments are directly contradictory and to my mind demonstrate the philosophical bankruptcy of most conservative politics; they advocate smaller government but are perrenially keen to introduce yet more monitoring of citizens behaviour, arrogate more powers to government, and frequently consider criticism of that government to border on treason.  This is a doctrine of political opportunism, not a cogent position.
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Impeach the bomber boys:
www.impeachblair.org
www.impeachbush.org

"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."
- Leonardo da Vinci
Christopher Weeks
Member

Posts: 683


« Reply #81 on: April 07, 2004, 03:51:47 AM »

An underlying premise of the arguments of many apologists for government is that there is information that must be kept secret from the the people.

Why?

Chris
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quozl
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Posts: 534


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« Reply #82 on: April 07, 2004, 05:41:03 AM »

Quote from: Valamir
Did America suddenly slide into the grips of tyranny following FDR when no one was looking?


You do know that lots of people point to FDR as to when the loss of personal freedom in America started dropping dramatically, right?
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--- Jonathan N.
Currently playtesting Frankenstein's Monsters
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