What MLK Can Teach Obama About Needless Foreign Wars

King's opposition to the Vietnam War should be a lesson to Obama on Syria.

The irony was striking. There was President Barack Obama on Wednesday, standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s remarkable “I Have a Dream” speech. The irony lay not in Obama’s banality, but in the fact that as he spoke, his war council was planning to bomb Syria.

While King’s speech on Aug. 28, 1963, was about equality before the law and the plight of the poor, less than four years later (and one year before his assassination), in April 1967, he made news by denouncing the U.S. war in Vietnam. It’s not difficult to imagine how King would view fellow Nobel Peace Prize–winner Obama’s intention with respect to Syria, not to mention the broader militarism of the administration. I know such things just aren’t done — alas — but it would have been heartening had a member of King’s family criticized Obama’s war program during the tributes to MLK that day.

On April 4, 1967, King spoke at Riverside Church in New York City during a gathering assembled by Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam. His speech was titled “Beyond Vietnam — Time to Break Silence.” (This was not the beginning of King’s dissent from Lyndon Johnson’s war. That came two years earlier.) King’s speech was a radical critique of the savage U.S. interference in Vietnam’s attempt to be independent and Johnson’s meddling in the ensuing civil war. While King referred to American errors, he also spoke of sins and wrongdoing. It was a thoroughgoing condemnation of imperialism and militarism — and hence entirely relevant to our time.

Noting that “men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war,” King said “it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read: Vietnam.”

America was not his only concern, because he sought to rise above nationalism:

And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond in compassion, my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. I speak now not of the soldiers of each side, not of the ideologies of the Liberation Front, not of the junta in Saigon, but simply of the people who have been living under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades now. I think of them, too, because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries.

Today we’re told that America seeks freedom for the people of Syria (and Egypt, Iran, etc.). In the 1960s Americans were told something similar in justification of the war in Vietnam. King saw through the lies, noting that the U.S. government refused to recognize Vietnam’s declared independence after World War II and financially supported France’s effort to recolonize the peninsula.

The Vietnamese people “must see Americans as strange liberators,” King said.

Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not ready for independence, and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long. With that tragic decision we rejected a revolutionary government seeking self-determination and a government that had been established not by China — for whom the Vietnamese have no great love — but by clearly indigenous forces that included some communists. For the peasants this new government meant real land reform, one of the most important needs in their lives.

When the French were defeated in 1954, the American state persisted, supporting “one of the most vicious modern dictators, our chosen man, Premier Diem.”

The peasants watched and cringed as Diem ruthlessly rooted out all opposition, supported their extortionist landlords, and refused even to discuss reunification with the North. The peasants watched as all this was presided over by United States’ influence and then by increasing numbers of United States troops who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem’s methods had aroused. When Diem was overthrown they may have been happy, but the long line of military dictators seemed to offer no real change, especially in terms of their need for land and peace.

The only change came from America, as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept, and without popular support. All the while the people read our leaflets and received the regular promises of peace and democracy and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us, not their fellow Vietnamese, the real enemy. They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps where minimal social needs are rarely met. They know they must move on or be destroyed by our bombs.

King’s references to the National Liberation Front and North Vietnamese show an earnest effort to understand the historical and contemporary context of the conflict. It is nuanced and fair, without whitewash or rationalization.

He also expressed concern for American personnel — so many of whom were conscripts, don’t forget — which makes it difficult to accuse King of failing to “support the troops.”

I am as deeply concerned about our own troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy, and the secure, while we create a hell for the poor. [Emphasis added.]

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    We should have a Godwin-like term for using Vietnam to describe every military action since. The Nobel Peace Prize Winner-in-Chief is going to lob just enough peace missiles into Syria to save face.

    There are so many ways Obama is not King, this is but just one example.

  • Ted S.||

    It's one of the many ascpects of the cultural hegemony of the Boomers that irritates me (having been born in 1972) to no end.

    Another, which you all have probably seen me bitch about a whole bunch of times here, is the use of the [expletive deleted] -gate suffix for every scandal going.

  • DJF||

    So I shouldn’t ask you if you think Syria is the new Vietnamgate?

  • ||

    Vietnam, Watergate and the civil rights movement overshadowed everything during their formative years so now everyone who isnt a social democrat is Spiro Agnew and Bull Connor rolled into one.

    I was just reading about the movie 'Butler' and how they painted Reagan as a racist. Stunning. The stories I always heard about Reagan had him as extremely personable and treating everyone with the utmost respect; exactly the opposite of the stories I hear about the petulant occupant of the white house today.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Michael Reagan, who is generally mercifully absent from the media, complained about the portrayal.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    I was just reading about the movie 'Butler' and how they painted Reagan as a racist.

    Of course they did. It's what they do. It's the only thing they know how to do in order to keep their sheep feeding.

  • Dweebston||

    But he didn't have the right intentions and didn't push the right policies, because racist.

  • mtrueman||

    Don't know if Reagan was a racist or not, but it's certainly true that his support of South Africa's apartheid regime regime was firm and unwavering.

    As for Obama, I don't see much difference between him and Reagan, or any other president. Obama's most racist policies - his continued prosecution of America's war on drugs - are a direct continuation of Reagan's policies.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The ANC was avowedly communist before and during Reagan's term and there was real fear of South Africa becoming a Soviet client state or worse at that time.

  • mtrueman||

    The ANC had some communists among them. That should surprise nobody. Since the time of Lenin, communists took a stance against the kind of colonialism in South Africa. Others in the ANC were not communist.

    I'm not saying the fear wasn't real. I'm saying it was misplaced, and prevented Americans from envisioning a South Africa much like the nation as it is today - neither apartheid nor communist. The notion that there were only the two options possible is self blinkering at its worst.

  • Virginian||

    If SA isn't communist right now, it certainly bears the hallmarks of communist states. Economic morbidity, hugely corrupt political leadership, essentially a one party state, staggering crime rates, massive epidemic of disease.

    SA only looks good in comparison to the rest of sub-Saharan Africa.

  • mtrueman||

    "it certainly bears the hallmarks of communist states"

    That's true of any nation today. Read your Communist Manifesto. A good deal of what Marx was demanding is pretty well accepted as normal these days: progessive taxation, free education, industrialized agriculture etc.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    I'm not saying the fear wasn't real. I'm saying it was misplaced, and prevented Americans from envisioning a South Africa much like the nation as it is today - neither apartheid nor communist.

    Meh,

    South Africa got really, really lucky in having de Klerk and Mandella act the way that they did to end apartheid. No one, on either side in SA or the rest of the world thoight that the transition would happen as peacefully as it did.

  • mtrueman||

    "the world thoight that the transition would happen as peacefully as it did"

    The world thought wrong. This is my point. Why not accept this rather than insist on defending the misconceptions of the cold war?

  • Boisfeuras||

  • mtrueman||

    I don't know what you are trying to prove here. You're not telling me anything I'm not aware of. Communists supported African nationalist/anti colonialist movements across the continent. Reagan opposed them. You have anything interesting to add to this, go ahead. I'll read it.

  • Agammamon||

    1. As abhorrent as apartheid was, sometimes you *do* have to choose the lesser evil.

    2. Obama isn't continuing *Reagan's* drug war - he's continuing *Nixon's* drug war, as did Ford, Carter, HW Bush, Clinton, and GW Bush.

  • mtrueman||

    "As abhorrent as apartheid was, sometimes you *do* have to choose the lesser evil."

    There is no 'have to' about it. This is a conman's trick.

    Point taken about Nixon's war on drugs, though it was under Reagan that it focused on cocaine and took its most vicious and most morally dubious turn. Remember the Iran-Contra scandal? That was pure Reagan.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Reagan was anti-Communist. Guilty as charged. It really seemed to make a lot of sense back then.

    He was also a drug warrior and escalated the WOD that Nixon launched. That never made any sense.

  • Concerned Citizen||

    It was Tip O'Neil who put the WOD on steroids. The Dems were desperate for an issue that they could appear tough on. Reagan was making them look like pussies.

  • ||

    That doesn't mean it would be incorrect for someone who finds apartheid more disgusting (or at least not the slam-dunk "lesser evil) to portray him as at least being sympathetic to racists.

    I mean, even if we take your argument (VG & Agammamon) at face value and accept that the ANC was somehow a worse option than apartheid, supporting it for that reason doesn't make it any less racist. You're talking about a situation where there are no good options (support institutionalized legislative racism or communism), not a situation where one can plausibly claim to not support racism.

    If he supported the apartheid regime, then he supported legal racism, period. He may have done it for reasons that seemed like the Greater Good at the time, but that doesn't erase the crimes of the supported regime.

    Also, I think it's awfully easy to sit here in a chair in a rich western country 20 years later and tell blacks that well, gosh that sucks for you, but it's better for you to be oppressed in your own country than for there to be communism, so you need to just buck up and accept your lot in life. Since when do libertarians buy into the "There are only two options: this or that. There is no possible third alternative." argument?

  • ||

    And remember kids, intentions don't trump actions/results. Maybe it's true that the ANC would have been worse. But supporting them, for WHATEVER reason, would still make one an apologist for racism in that particular time and place, because unless you're a proggie liberal, the intentions don't override the action.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    supporting them, for WHATEVER reason, would still make one an apologist for racism in that particular time and place

    Come on, you should know better than to use that kind of logic. You could easily turn that around and say that supporting the ANC, for WHATEVER reason, would still make one an apologist for socialism in that particular time and place. Is that true? Of course not.

  • Goldwin Smith||

    Come on, you should know better than to use that kind of logic. You could easily turn that around and say that supporting the ANC, for WHATEVER reason, would still make one an apologist for socialism in that particular time and place. Is that true? Of course not.

    Yeah doesn't this make opposition to Syrian intervention an apologia for Baathist dictators? Or libertarians supporters of Putin's anti-gay laws? But then again this is true of Rockwell and Raimondo...

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Reagan didn't support apartheid, he just wanted to eliminate it without allowing the country to fall entirely into the hands of communists. He was worried it would become another de facto Soviet satellite state. So he preferred weaker sanctions and steady pressure instead of total isolation of South Africa from the world economy.

    "America's view of apartheid is simple and straightforward: We believe it is wrong. We condemn it. And we are united in hoping for the day when apartheid will be no more." - Ronald Reagan

  • CatoTheElder||

    So, if Obama supports a Wahhabi Sunni kingdom in Saudi Arabia -- and demonstrates his support openly by bowing in obeisance to its monarch -- he supports all of the religious intolerance, suppression of political dissent, and oppression of women that it represents, period?

    I'm no fan of Obama, but that would be a ridiculous assertion.

    And, at least to my knowledge, Reagan never bowed in obeisance to Pieter Botha.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    I mean, even if we take your argument (VG & Agammamon) at face value and accept that the ANC was somehow a worse option than apartheid, supporting it for that reason doesn't make it any less racist. You're talking about a situation where there are no good options (support institutionalized legislative racism or communism), not a situation where one can plausibly claim to not support racism.

    Reagan was never a cheerleader for Apartheid. His policy was that given the larger political environment at the time it was in America's interests to support the existing authoritarian regime in SA.

    This was the same reason that the US opposed the opponents of authoritarian regimes throughout the world at that time.

    One of the theoretical bases for doing so was the belief that authoritarian regimes were likely to evolve into democratic ones, which had happened with Spain, Taiwan, South Korea, Argentina and other in the 80s; while communist regimes were seen as eternal.

    History, particularly the collapse of the Soviet Union and China's economic growth in the 90s proved them wrong. But it was a widely held belief up until the Berlin wall fell that communists regimes were stable and were not going anywhere. This belief was more strongly held on the left than right.

    There was universal condemnation from the left, for example, when Reagan said that communism was destined for history's trash can.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    It's interesting. By the 1980s, nominally communist states were essentially indistinguishable from fascist states.

    And 20 years after the end of the USSR, fascism is making a friggin huge comeback around the world.

    So I'm not sure the liberals were wrong.

  • CE||

    By the 1980s, nominally communist states were essentially indistinguishable from fascist states.

    By the 2010s, nominally free democratic states are essentially indistinguishable from fascist states. The USA for example.

  • PapayaSF||

    I think it's awfully easy to sit here in a chair in a rich western country 20 years later and tell blacks that well, gosh that sucks for you, but it's better for you to be oppressed in your own country than for there to be communism

    I think 20th century history shows this to be objectively true. Blacks under South African apartheid or in Rhodesia had more civil liberties than the average citizen in a communist state.

    Since when do libertarians buy into the "There are only two options: this or that. There is no possible third alternative." argument?

    In theory you are correct, but in practice, there are often only two alternatives.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "I think it's awfully easy to sit here in a chair in a rich western country 20 years later and tell blacks that well, gosh that sucks for you, but it's better for you to be oppressed in your own country than for there to be communism"

    Some people are genuinely shocked by the suggestion that American foreign policy should be run for the benefit of the United States. ...yeah, even at the expense of South Africa.

    And some of those same people are also shocked by the suggestion that the future was just as uncertain in the past as it is now, too!

    Knowing that the USSR would implode without any missiles fired, could we maybe have helped the ANC? Before I answer that question, can you tell me why Reagan should have known that the USSR would implode in the immediate future?

    And once you answer that question, please, let us know the date North Korea will implode without any missiles being fired, too--so we can circle the date on our calendars.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Don't know if Reagan was a racist or not, but it's certainly true that his support of South Africa's apartheid regime regime was firm and unwavering."

    That was a Cold War thing.

    Say whatever else you want about the ANC, but they were communists. Nelson Mandela was a communist.

    http://www.nybooks.com/article.....-exchange/

    I'm sure it's easier for you to condemn people's behavior when you ignore their motives and objectives, but
    supporting the adversaries of communism is what the Cold War was all about. I just can't bring myself to fault Reagan for that.

    Um...I will say this: Reagan reportedly enjoyed a ethnic joke more than the average guy.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Oh, and this:

    "But while other ANC leaders also came round to [Nelson Mandela's] way of thinking after Sharpeville, the group still had no access to weaponry or financial support. Instead, says Prof Ellis, Mr Mandela looked for help from the Communists, with whom he already had close contacts due to their shared opposition to apartheid.

    "He knew and trusted many Communist activists anyway, so it appears he was co-opted straight to the central committee with no probation required," said Prof Ellis. "But it's fair to say he wasn't a real convert, it was just an opportunist thing." [LOL!]

    In the months after Sharpeville, Communist party members secretly visited Beijing and Moscow, where they got assurances of support for their own guerrilla campaign. In conjunction with a number of leading ANC members, they set up a new, nominally independent military organisation, known as Umkhonto we Sizwe or Spear of the Nation. With Mr Mandela as its commander, Umkhonto we Sizwe launched its first attacks on 16 December 1961.

    Its campaign of "sabotage" and bombings over the subsequent three decades claimed the lives of dozens of civilians, and led to the organisation being classed as a terrorist group by the US."

    http://tinyurl.com/cjbjqgm

    Yeah, so Mandela was both a communist and a terrorist.

  • PapayaSF||

    Ironically, apartheid was originally pushed by Communist trade unions to protect white workers from competition.

  • mtrueman||

    "Nelson Mandela was a communist."

    Wasn't that one of 'those cold war things?' Or does it only work for those who were defending apartheid?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Are you agreeing with me? Not sure I'm getting your point.

    The South Africans were fighting against the communist ANC, communists (and Cubans) in Angola...

    So, just in case you're disagreeing with me? Anybody that wants to make a case that Reagan's reluctance to condemn South Africa during apartheid as evidence of his racism--should probably say something to account for South Africa's behavior during the Cold War.

    Why condemn Reagan as racist because of his stance towards South Africa when his behavior could just as easily (and much more plausibly) be attributed to the Cold War?

    Was Reagan's stance towards Chile, Argentina, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Grenada, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc., etc. all becasue of racism, too?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Ken, just shut your brain off and let the proggies win. After all, what does it matter if they label one little President racist for no good reason? It's not like it could happen to you.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It is like arguing with creationists sometimes--you know how all the data ultimately means that the Bible was actually right?

    Except with them? No matter what fact or piece of evidence they turn up, it has to be interpreted in such a way that Reagan was evil and Obama is virtuous and good.

    And we wouldn't be talkin' about pointlessly dropping missiles on Syria if Reagan were president, either.

  • mtrueman||

    I don't care if Reagan was racist or not. I said as much in my first post here if you care to look. The apartheid regime wasn't fighting the ANC because of its ties to communism. It was more about the colour of their skin and their status as human beings.

    If you are willing to bend over backwards to excuse Reagan's support of apartheid, why not give the black Africans the same deal. They had a hard fight ahead of them and turning down or shunning support of the reds was not one of 'those cold war things.'

  • ||

    What would Smack Daddy have to say about that? He wouldnt like it would he?

  • Ted S.||

    Daddy Smack'll make you
    Jump, Jump
    Uh huh, uh huh

  • Alien Invader||

    King’s references to the National Liberation Front and North Vietnamese show an earnest effort to understand the historical and contemporary context of the conflict. It is nuanced and fair, without whitewash or rationalization.

    Uh, no.

    King's "effort to understand" may have been "earnest". But it is a gross misrepresentation to claim the understanding he achieved was either "nuanced" or "fair".

    Unless you're a communist, in which case it's all just good shit. I agree with King's opposition to that war, but his critique plays right into communist support.

    The real tragedy of Vietnam is that so few Americans, even today, understand what actually happened over there. Which probably explains why so many of them don't understand what's happening in US politics today.

  • ||

    I was thinking along the same lines.

    It's worth pointing out that this:

    Obviously, taxing people who were not responsible for the war would have been wrong — King was not a libertarian

    Is a huge understatement, as King was also a proponent of reparations for blacks, affirmative action, guaranteed jobs/income, and every apparatus of the welfare state domestically.

    And that this:

    If King identified this system with “capitalism” and then equated it with “free markets,” he should be forgiven.

    Is total hogwash. King knew exactly what economic system he was supporting. It's hard to argue his near-supernatural brilliance and then simultaneously let him off the hook for supporting authoritarian collectivist policy because he was simply confused about what "free markets" were. He didn't support free markets in either the genuine or the corporatist sense. As Richman said, he was not a libertarian.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    "It's my estimation that every man ever got a statue made of him was one kind of sommbitch or another. Ain't about you, PM. It's about what they need."

  • Ken Shultz||

    "King was not a libertarian"

    King may not have been ideologically libertarian, but his tactics and most important outcomes were libertarian.

    Changing the government from outside the government by breaking laws, massive protest, bring the media to bear, etc. is a lot more libertarian than trying to seize the levers of power through elections.

    And what could be more libertarian than getting rid of segregation, a government institution that not only did things like prevent black people from patronizing private businesses--but punished private businesses for serving black customers, too?

    People don't celebrate King because of his economic views. They celebrate him because he led the charge against gross injustice being perpetrated by government, and ended up paying for it with his life.

    Was King an ideological libertarian? hell no! But if libertarians ever achieve a more libertarian world, I doubt it will be because we seized the levers of government power through elections. I suspect it will be because we win people's hearts and minds using the same tactics MLK did...

    MLK may not have been an ideological libertarian, but we could learn a lot from Martin Luther King about how to make the government change.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    MLK didn't effect change. LBJ did, because he wanted to move the black voting bloc from the GOP (where it had been since the Civl War) over to the Dems.

    This is nearly as brainless as your comments last week about how we need to learn from Occupy Wall Street on how to get positive media coverage.

    The answer I'm seeing is that you need to favor statist policies or offer a voting bloc to statists. The former isn't really an option, the latter depends on (1) voting at all and (2) being willing to vote for the lesser of two evils and convince others to do the same. Judging by the events of last fall around here, that's not going to go over well.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "MLK didn't effect change."

    Horseshit.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Now, he *did* support asylum for people who believed their lives in danger from the commies (I hadn't known that before). So it's not like he was *totally* naive about the Reds. And he certainly didn't buy the "hearts and minds" fluff.

    But the basic point about Vietnam was resisting Communism. That wasn't wrong on the abstract level, but to carry it out at such expense of human life was, I think, the problem. Also the dilemma posed by the war - invade the North and risk a Chinese PLA attack after the model of Korea, or avoid a confrontation with the PLA by confining the war largely to the U.S. ally in the South. Each option was sucky, so it's one of those deals where the way to win is not to play.

    But no point painting Ho and his merry men as some kind of liberators welcomed with open arms by the oppressed masses. If they were so popular, why was it necessary to assassinate so may Southerners?

  • mtrueman||

    "the basic point about Vietnam was resisting Communism"

    I don't see how you arrive at this conclusion. Ho Chi Minh was a nationalist who initially sought US assistance in anti-colonial struggle against the French. That was their basic point. In fact on finally attaining power Vietnam's first actions were to repel an invasion of one communist neighbour, and invade and overthrow another communist neighbour. Both these communist neighbours, PRC and Kampuchea, enjoyed some degree of America support.

    Your position that the Vietnam war was about resisting communism is the naive one. America was quite content to leave large swaths of Europe to communist tyranny without drenching them in agent orange.

  • Virginian||

    America FDR was quite content to leave large swaths of Europe to communist tyranny without drenching them in agent orange.

    I fixed that for you.

    The fact that North Vietnam fought a war with China and later invaded Cambodia doesn't mean that the Vietnam War wasn't about Communism.

    I know it throws a huge monkey wrench in noninterventionism, and I say this as someone who is a noninterventionist, but there was in fact from 1942 onwards an effort by Communist governments and nonstate actors around the world to foment violent revolution and conquest of non communist states. That was not a made up thing. I'd argue Tito in Yugoslavia was the first, but he was by no means the last Communist cats paw to attempt the subversion of a nonCommunist nation.

  • mtrueman||

    I understand the fear of communist aggression after the war, especially with the success of the Chinese revolution. But in retrospect it looks over stated.

    Stalin was prepared to live happily with Nazi Germany on his doorstep, and after the war, was equally happy with the Allies. They even withdrew their armies from Austria rather than imposing a puppet regime as they'd done to the east. They had a very strong position in Greece which they never took advantage of, leaving the nation to be taken over by fascists supported by America and Britain. Had the Soviets seriously thought of dominating the world, they would have pressed their advantage in Greece and threatened the Suez, life line to Europe.

    The idea of a monolithic communism bent on world domination was never really true once Stalin had taken over. The Vietnamese didn't need communists to foment them over French and American domination over their country, and there is nothing inherently communistic in an anti-colonial stance. That anti-colonialists of the world were lumped together with communists is the result of mistaken, simplistic and ham fisted American politicians.

  • Virginian||

    Stalin was prepared to live happily with Nazi Germany on his doorstep, and after the war, was equally happy with the Allies. They even withdrew their armies from Austria rather than imposing a puppet regime as they'd done to the east. They had a very strong position in Greece which they never took advantage of, leaving the nation to be taken over by fascists supported by America and Britain. Had the Soviets seriously thought of dominating the world, they would have pressed their advantage in Greece and threatened the Suez, life line to Europe.

    Um, that's a possible explanation. Another one would be the fact that the US had nukes in 1945, and the USSR didn't. Once they developed nuclear weapons, the push began in earnest.

    You sound like Henry Wallace right there.

    Look at Korea. The Soviets invaded in the last weeks of the war and snapped up half the peninsula.

  • mtrueman||

    Where is this earnest push? I really don't see what you are getting at.

    The Soviets also snapped up a few islands in northern Japan. You seriously think this was part of their plan to dominate the world?

    I understand the fear at the time was real. But in retrospect we need to rethink this. With Stalin's death and ascendency of the revisionists, the communist world was split down the middle. It took decades for clever strategists in the US to realize this, and it seems that most here would rather cling to old fears and misreadings.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    The Soviets also snapped up a few islands in northern Japan. You seriously think this was part of their plan to dominate the world?

    It was part of a plan to protect their lone ice-free-year-round Pacific port (Vladivostok) from attack. Which would certainly help with plans to take over more spots in the Pacific rim.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Holy shit, a Stalin apologist in 2013? I thought you guys went extinct after the Soviet archives were released in the early 1990s. Time heals all wounds, I guess, even the ones that shouldn't heal.

    Stalin was prepared to live happily with Nazi Germany on his doorstep

    The eastern half of Poland and Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia weren't his fucking doorstep, asswipe. And the even larger territory in E. Europe Stalin imposed indirect Soviet rule on wasn't either.

    Had the Soviets seriously thought of dominating the world, they would have pressed their advantage in Greece and threatened the Suez, life line to Europe.

    That would have provoked an all-out war with the US when the USSR didn't have nukes yet. You also seem to be forgetting that NATO was born out of the conflict with Soviet-supported Greek communists.

  • mtrueman||

    "The eastern half of Poland and Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia weren't his fucking doorstep, asswipe"

    Sorry, when I mentioned Stalin's doorstep, it was a metaphor. I should have said "close by" instead.

    I don't see where nukes come into this. At the time of Stalin's pact with Hitler, there were no nukes anywhere. Stalin was content to build socialism in one country - that's what set him apart from the Trotskyists.

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    Yes, he was content to build socialism in one country - it's just that that one country was going to expand. Part of the non-aggression pact was the division of Poland between Germany and the USSR.

  • mtrueman||

    But to expand beyond the easy pickings of Poland and Eastern Europe would have meant war with the USA and her allies. That was never Stalin's intention. It was never Stalin's intention to go to war with Hitler, either.

    Give the Bolsheviks their due. They came to power in Russia largely thanks to being the only anti-war party on the political landscape. The monarchists, the conservatives, the liberals and the social democrats were all in favour of continued involvement in WW1. Only the Bolsheviks were against the war and once in power, immediately made good on their promise to end the war. After WW2, suffering some 20 million casualties, they were not anxious to start any more wars. Look at their culture - peace became a kind of national religion for the regime. Whatever legitimacy the regime had with the public was derived from their shared commitment to peace.

    I realize this peace didn't extend to weaker neighbours like Poland, Hungary and Afghanistan, but a strong country dominating weaker neighbours doesn't translate into a quest for world domination.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Give the Bolsheviks their due.

    As soon as you give them their "due" for starving half the Ukraine and massacring/gulaging their political opponents.

  • DblEagle||

    Tulpa,

    We must also give Stalin his due for his part in the USSR's invasion of Poland in the 1920's and invading Finland TWICE. Also he deserves credit for the genocide in the Bela-Rus and Ukraine and for signing the pact with Germany so he could seize Eastern Poland. And where would we be if we forget his murderous efforts in the current "Stans" in order to spread Russian culture? Stalin was a murderous thug who used the pact with Germany to try and rebuild his Army which he destroyed in his purges. He always knew war with Hitler was inevitable. Wait, I almost forgot his war in Manchuria where Zhukov got experience and survived the purges. Yep 'ol Joe was a stay at home humanitarian.

  • mtrueman||

    Land Peace and Bread

    These were the promises of the Bolsheviks. They reneged on the land and bread but were much better on promise of peace.

    By the way, have you or any other of my readers here read playwrite Anton Checkov's academic report on his visit to Sakhalin? I'd like to one day, but doubt I'll ever get around to it.

  • PapayaSF||

    It was never Stalin's intention to go to war with Hitler, either.

    False. He planned to attack Hitler once Hitler was involved in invading England.

  • ||

    False. He planned to attack Hitler once Hitler was involved in invading England.

    I've never heard this. Any sources?

  • PapayaSF||

    Soviet offensive plans controversy

    The timing mentioned is slightly different than I recall, I grant.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Orwell would have loved you, buddy.

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    "...a strong country dominating weaker neighbours doesn't translate into a quest for world domination."

    Neville? Is that you?

  • Boisfeuras||

    Neville? Is that you?

    I was thinking Walter Duranty.

  • mtrueman||

    "Neville? Is that you?"

    I guess you were doing this Neville thing ad nausea back when the propaganda mills were gearing up for the overthrow of our most recent Hitler, and would be world conqueror, Saddam Hussein.

    A silly, let's be generous, argument then as now.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Give the Bolsheviks their due. They came to power in Russia largely thanks to being the only anti-war party on the political landscape.

    This is one of the most wrong things I've ever heard about one of the most tragic and murderous events in all of US history. You should be proud of your ability to lie so blatantly.

    The Mensheviks, Social Revolutionaries -- and really, most every party that participated in the 1917 Revolution -- were anti-war and voted in the Duma to end the war. Indeed, just about everyone outside of the Tsarist camp (including non-revolutionary parties) was anti-war by 1916-1917, and the Tsar himself was a reluctant (if intractable) participant in the war. Bolsheviks being "anti-war" was absolutely trivial in this context, and of course elides the fact that every one of the other "anti-war" groups in the country was eviscerated and persecuted by the Bolshies in a profoundly evil manner until the Bolshies were the last ones on top.

    As far as starting wars goes, they fought several against Poland, sponsored revolutions abroad despite having a basketcase economy, and of course their domestic affairs were a sort of hostile invasion in and of themselves. To claim them as pacifists makes a complete mockery of the term.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Uh, didn't Kerensky's post-tsar govt support the war?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Not by the end. Kerensky was pushed to start negotiations for withdrawal from the war by his own party and pretty much every other significant force in Russian politics; he was very much isolated in his stand for continuing the war out of a mistaken belief that the Allies, with newfound American involvement, could finish the war rapidly -- and under a belief that the Allies would castigate a member of the coalition that got out of the war without the others. (It was not dissimilar to the gap of opinion between the Tsar and his courtiers wrt waging the war.)

    Large parts of the Menshevik party were involved in the ouster of Kerensky in the hopes that a socialist alliance between itself and the Bolshies would lead to the desired peace.

  • mtrueman||

    Pacifists, no. But peace was important to them, and it's reflected in their culture. I agree that the Soviet Union was something very much like an empire and lorded it over weaker neighbouring states. This doesn't translate into a quest for global domination.

  • Boisfeuras||

    Stalin's withdrawal from Austria was a failure to realize Austrians would remember the mass rape of their women and children by the Red Army:

    "Moscow unilaterally installed a provisional federal government under the elderly Social Democrat Dr Karl Renner, in which the Austrian communists, under the leadership of exiled comrades, controlled the crucial ministries of the interior (i.e. the police) and of education (i.e. propaganda)...Austria was earmarked for heavy economic exploitation to rebuild the industrially ravaged Soviet Union ... it was envisioned by Stalin that Austria would develop into a peaceful, Moscow-friendly state in which the creation of a broad national front would eventually lead to a non-revolutionary transition to a Socialist ... However, the first free national elections of 25 November 1945 proved the political weakness of the [communist party] KPÖ, which managed to draw no more than a meagre 5.42 per cent of the vote. Austrian electors refused to honour the Communist contribution to the Austrian resistance to Nazi occupation and aggression and instead identified the KPÖ with the Red Army's plundering and raping. This in turn led to a more critical Soviet attitude towards the newly-elected coalition government under Leopold Figl, leader of the national conservative Austrian People's Party (ÖVP), and to a marked increase in Soviet propaganda in Austria."

  • mtrueman||

    You have misunderstood my argument. I will repeat it. The cold war and Vietnam war was based on the assumption that the US faced an implacable, monolithic communism bent on world conquest. Based on that assumption the US went to Vietnam, probably the worst military catastrophe the nation experienced since the civil war. After such a disaster, it's normal to go back and question the assumptions that led to the disaster. Takes a little intellectual courage, to be sure, but it's the adult thing to do.

    Trouble is, I don't see any willingness to question these cold war assumptions. All I'm getting is along the lines of what you are offering. You don't need to tell me that Stalin was unfair, undemocratic, inhumane, dictatorial and so on. I know this already and it doesn't address my point.

  • Redmanfms||

    I know this already and it doesn't address my point.

    Your points were addressed and you were proven to be full of shit. As usual.

  • mtrueman||

    Nobody has addressed my point that communism was not the monolith that folks like Johnson, MacNamara, Westmoreland, you and the other commenters here believe it was. This has been ignored, and the only thing others are willing to discuss is just exactly how bad was communism. I don't need to be persuaded of that, but I understand it's a fun hobby horse to take out for a ride. Trouble is, it doesn't address my point.

    As I said, if, after a catastrophic defeat, one is not willing to go back and question the assumptions that led to disaster, it is the mark of intellectual cowardice. I see a lotta yellow here.

  • Redmanfms||

    you and the other commenters here believe it was.

    What is it with you and falsely attributing positions to people?

    Nowhere in this thread have I ever taken a position defending the views of Johnson, McNamara, or Westmoreland. For that matter, it doesn't appear as though any of the other commenters have either.

    Trouble is, it doesn't address my point.

    What the fuck is your "point?"

    As near as I can tell your "point" initially was to claim that Communism was pacifist and numerous commenters, including Boisfeuras, have shown just how full of shit you are on that "point." You then changed your "point" to be that "Communism was not monolithic" as some sort of bizarre and disingenuous retreat of your thoroughly disproven previous "point" that the Soviets by virtue of their ideology were actually pacifists.

    This thread is yet another example of your dishonest circular argumentation. You make a "point," your point is addressed and proven to be incorrect and you then change your "point" to be something fundamentally different and claim that it is now not "being addressed."

    Tedious mendacious twat is tedious and mendacious, and a twat.

  • mtrueman||

    Sorry you've misunderstood me. My initial point was not that communists were pacifists. You can re-read my comments here and that should be clear enough.

    What's essential here is to understand that the assumptions of Johnson, et al, and all those who still agree with them, that communism was a monolithic force bent on world conquest, need to be re-examined, especially after the catastrophic defeat.

    Sorry if I confused you and/or offended you. That was not my intention. I have to say, however, that if you've read my comments here and come to the conclusion that the essence of what I'm saying here (and this can be tricky to see at times given that I'm responding to others who have their own idiosyncratic take on the discussion) is that the communists were pacifists, then I think your reading of me is in bad faith, if not out right sloppiness. Be a little more generous with me, don't be so quick to assume the worst. I'm a pleasant, forthright and knowledgable fellow. There's no reason why we can't share an interesting exchange of ideas.

  • Redmanfms||

    You know what, I did read the timestamps improperly and have unthreading enabled.

    This is what you did:

    You claimed that Soviet Communism was not a monolith, falsely accused the commentariat of defending the Johnson/McNamara/Westmoreland line, went further to claim that "peace was important to them because it was reflected in their culture" (more than once), several posters then owned you on that claim, by demonstrating the USSR's aggressiveness and support for Communist powers the world over, you then mentioned pacifism (something nobody had mentioned yet) and doubled down on the "peace" claim (which still makes little sense).

    Truth be told, your "point" is so muddled and contradictory (the Soviets were "peaceful by culture" but despite their "peacefulness" gobbled many of their neighbors and supported violent revolutions and Communists, like DVR, in bids to gobble up their neighbors) it is difficult to understand and I did get it wrong. In truth, your "point" and the contradictory circular arguments you've used to support it are even more dishonest and ridiculous than my previous (incorrect) accusation.

  • Redmanfms||

    Be a little more generous with me, don't be so quick to assume the worst.

    Why? It's not like you have demonstrated a propensity to argue honestly.

    I'm a pleasant, forthright and knowledgable fellow.

    You consistently present disingenuous arguments, argue in bad faith, and outright fabricate talking points. Forthright you most certainly are not.

    Since your favorite answer when pressed on one of your own ideas is, "if you're looking for answers, I'm sorry to tell you, I'm not the one to ask," knowledgeable is also not something that accurately describes you.

    There's no reason why we can't share an interesting exchange of ideas.

    You are a prevaricator, a liar. I will continue to call you out for being such until you choose to enter a debate honestly.

  • Boisfeuras||

    Ho became a communist in the late 1910s, became president of the DRV after the 1954 Geneva Accords, and oversaw the brutal implementation of communist policies in the north. From The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War:

    "In the mid-1950s, DRV leaders retained two goals: the Marxist consolidation of strength (political and economic) in the North and the struggle for national reunification. In a step toward attaining the first goal and eliminating the dissension and factionalism that characterized Vietnamese culture, DRV leaders sought to obtain the loyalty of the masses by carrying out land reform, although the North, unlike the South, consisted almost entirely of small landholders. In December 1953, the National Assembly of the DRV called for the confiscation of land and property of the entire "landlord" class. The party was not interested in justice as much as it was interested in class warfare. The peasantry was encouraged to denounce and try landholders, with the aim of temporarily redistributing their holdings among landless peasantry, resulting in execution or death by starvation of up to 100,000 "landlords". This so-called land reform was halted in an effort to limit emigration south during the 300-day period of free movement provided by the Geneva Accords across the 17th parallel. The Viet Minh blocked the emigration of approximately 400,000 people, but more than 928,000 civilians made it to South Vietnam."
  • mtrueman||

    Ho was a communist. So what? Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot were communists as well and the US never went to war with them. They all enjoyed American support.

    You are not understanding my point. I cut, paste and repeat:

    The cold war and Vietnam war was based on the assumption that the US faced an implacable, monolithic communism bent on world conquest. Based on that assumption the US went to Vietnam, probably the worst military catastrophe the nation experienced since the civil war. After such a disaster, it's normal to go back and question the assumptions that led to the disaster. Takes a little intellectual courage, to be sure, but it's the adult thing to do.

  • mtrueman||

    "The real tragedy of Vietnam is that so few Americans, even today, understand what actually happened over there"

    I don't think that's the real tragedy. It's very minor compared to all the pointless destruction visited on that nation.

    America's error was in thinking that was to think the war was about resisting communism. It wasn't. For the Vietnamese it was about National Liberation. For the Soviets and Chinese, it was a stage to play out their own hostilities to each other. Americans refused to recognize this and still refuse to see it today.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    For the Vietnamese it was about National Liberation.

    Even for the South Vietnamese? You seem to have swallowed Ho Chi Minh's line a bit too whole.

  • mtrueman||

    "Even for the South Vietnamese?"

    Only those who were willing to fight. There were plenty of Vietnamese in the north and south who were happy with colonial rule. Not enough to pick up a gun and fight for it, though.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    South Vietnam was an independent country, silly.

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    South Vietnam was dependent on western countries for nearly the entirety of its existence; it seems doubtful that the government could have withstood the North Vietnamese onslaught alone - not that it did very well with the support it got. Also the divide was always artificial.

  • Virginian||

    South Vietnam was dependent on western countries for nearly the entirety of its existence

    And North Vietnam was dependent on ComBloc countries for its entire existence. Client states have patrons dude.

    it seems doubtful that the government could have withstood the North Vietnamese onslaught alone - not that it did very well with the support it got.

    Yes, and the North would not have been able to conquer the South without the aid and support of the ComBloc. The South did very well. The first conventional NV invasion was soundly defeated. The USSR had to replace the entire NVA for round two, and they only won because Congress pulled the resupply from the SV forces.

    Not arguing we ever should have been involved, but to say that SV should have been able to stand against the onslaught of a superpower's client state without their own superpower backing them is just plain silly.

    Also the divide was always artificial.

    Uh, yeah. All borders are artificial.

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    I agree that both were client states. What obligation did we have to support our client?

    And yes, all borders are artificial, but at least some borders actually divide land on cultural, ethnic, or other lines that make some amount sense. Taking an ethnic group and saying "half of you are a country, and the other half are a different country" doesn't seem like a good idea. Likewise taking many ethnic groups and just saying "All you guys are one country now."

    And no, ethnic division isn't exactly rational, but it does acknowledge an unfortunate part of human nature. There is an unfortunate human tendency to feel more strongly about the color of the boot on your throat than the fact that there is a boot there at all. We see this in the TEAM mentality in our politics.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Taking an ethnic group and saying "half of you are a country, and the other half are a different country" doesn't seem like a good idea.

    If Ho had stepped down after the South fell and allowed free elections throughout the newly unified (nation|country|whatever my new Stalin apologist friend wants to call it), that would be a valid point. But he didn't -- so the war was not simply about unifying the country, it was about giving Ho an entire country to rule instead of just half.

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    Of course it was, Tulpa. But what about that made it any of our business?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Where did I say it did?

    I'm arguing against the claim that the other side was fighting for national unity or independence or whatever other claptrap reason our Stalin apologist comes up with.

  • DblEagle||

    Tulpa,

    I agree with your larger point but by 1975 Ho was worm food.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Taking an ethnic group and saying "half of you are a country, and the other half are a different country" doesn't seem like a good idea. Likewise taking many ethnic groups and just saying "All you guys are one country now."

    Yoo Hoo!

    Libertarians embrace the concept of the Nation State. Embracing controls on the flow of people will surely follow.

  • Boisfeuras||

    Yes, and the North would not have been able to conquer the South without the aid and support of the ComBloc. The South did very well. The first conventional NV invasion was soundly defeated. The USSR had to replace the entire NVA for round two, and they only won because Congress pulled the resupply from the SV forces.

    That was the 1972 Easter Offensive, where the ARVN alone with U.S. air support held its own. That offensive was only allowed by a massive re-armament of the DRV with modern weapons by the USSR and China throughout 1971.

    The Viet Cong (southern communists) was also almost completely destroyed during the Tet Offensive in 1968, where the ARVN fought well rather than folding as Giap had predicted. Massive VC losses had to be replaced by NVA regulars infiltrating south.

  • mtrueman||

    "South Vietnam was an independent country, silly"

    I suppose you are right. They were recognized as such by the US and many other countries. But as I said, it was a war of National Liberation, and South Vietnam, country or not, was not a nation. You insist on misconstruing the Vietnamese motives of the war.

  • DblEagle||

    Commies wanting to extend their power? The RVN was an independent country and most people of said state did not wish to be part of the northern state. Kinda like, I don't know....South Korea. By your thoughts Kim is dandy because he was a "nationalist" and so invading South Korea was okay. I invite you to try and get the South Koreans to willingly put down their arms and join the latest Kim.

  • mtrueman||

    Korea and Vietnam are not the same. It's a mistake to proceed on the assumption they are.

  • Boisfeuras||

    For the Vietnamese it was about National Liberation.

    Lies. The French withdrew and the country was divided into two independent nations in 1954. After that, the war was strictly about communist conquest of the south. You do realize that millions of Vietnamese fought (and more than a quarter million died) for South Vietnam as well?

    During the 300-day window of free movement after the partition in 1954, as many as three million people tried to flee North Vietnam while only a few tens of thousands (mostly Viet Minh and their families) moved north. Most of whom were stopped by the communists after 928,000 people crossed the border south.

  • mtrueman||

    "You do realize that millions of Vietnamese fought (and more than a quarter million died) for South Vietnam as well?"

    Yes, I do. What's your point?

  • Redmanfms||

    Yes, I do. What's your point?

    He was just disproving your fallacious assertion that the war of aggression waged by the North against the South was a "a war of National Liberation."

  • mtrueman||

    But why can't it be both? The war began as an effort to expel the French from all of Vietnam and ended with the expelling of the Americans from the south. That's national liberation.

    I'm not sure what you mean by 'a war of aggression.' As though there are some wars, not the Vietnam war, but other wars that don't involve aggression. In any war there is aggression and violence. Vietnam is not especially different here even if it did manage to deliver a colossal ass kicking to Uncle Sam.

  • Redmanfms||

    The war began as an effort to expel the French from all of Vietnam and ended with the expelling of the Americans from the south.

    The war didn't end with the removal of American forces from the South, as that had already happened in 1973. It ended with the North invading and subjugating an independent sovereign nation and forcing annexation a full 2 years after U.S. forces had already left.

    That's national liberation.

    Not to the South Vietnamese, they wanted nothing to do with the North.

    I'm not sure what you mean by 'a war of aggression.'

    Perspective. RVN wanted to be left the fuck alone by DRV, but the North engaged in a aggressive (rather than a defensive) war to subjugate and annex them.

    Rhetorically, I'm not sure what you mean by 'a war of liberation.' Do you likewise consider the Soviet invasions and occupations of Czechoslovakia and Hungary after those nations decided they no longer wished to be Communist "wars of liberation?"

    For a guy who claims to be a "liberal" you spend an inordinate amount of energy in truly bizarre defenses of despotic Communist regimes...

  • mtrueman||

    First of all, I never claimed to be a liberal here or anywhere else. I'm not defending communist regimes, either, but looking at them with some objectivity and nuance. Adding nuance to an issue is often confused with sympathizing with the other side, but that's a chance I'm willing to take.

    Here's some nuance. I think it's inaccurate to say that the RVN wanted this and the DRV wanted that. There were Vietnamese who opposed communism. Both in the north and the south. There were Vietnamese who opposed it, again both in the north and the south. The border was imposed on the nation from outside. It doesn't tell us that people on one side wanted one thing and the other another. Vietnamese have long identified themselves as Vietnamese, and the international partition of the nation did not change that. The international partition also did not alter the fact that the Vietnamese were overwhelmingly in favour of a Vietnam free of colonial meddling. The results of the fighting bear this out. Your error is to assume that carving a nation into sovereign independent states changes anything important.

    About Czech and Hungary etc, I would say that it was indeed a kind of national liberation movement. But the Soviet invasion was an effort to crush them. The Soviets you see, in addition to all their other faults, were hypocrites. They were in favour of national liberation in places like Africa and Indochina, but against it in Eastern Europe and their own republics.

  • mtrueman||

    Some further minor points. The fighting went on years longer than you believe and the north invaded not one sovereign independent state but two, and were invaded by yet another sovereign independent state. Invading RVN and DK and being invaded by PRC. The fighting in France's ex-Indochina colonies went on into the 80's. But let's be honest, once the Yanks went home, the writing was on the wall.

  • Redmanfms||

    It doesn't tell us that people on one side wanted one thing and the other another.

    Yeah, the war showed us that idiot.

    Some further minor points.

    Way to wow me by simply restating exactly what I said and adding factoids that, amusingly, further prove my point.

  • Redmanfms||

    Nuance? Fuck me, that's seriously what your argument has degenerated to?

    First of all, your initial "point" in this thread wasn't fucking "nuanced" at all. It was outright apologia for Communist aggression. When you were called on it by presentation of facts, you started backpedaling bringing up "Cold War paradigms" and the Johnson/McNamara/Westmoreland views, claiming the commentariat was supporting them.

    This is another of your disingenuous Linnekin diatribes all over again.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Yes, maybe there is something to this depiction of Obama by the right as an "ant-Colonial". He doesn't even want to put any troops in Syria! When the Bushpigs were conquering Iraq the big argument was 250,000 or 400,000? How many US troops will it take to suffocate the Iraqi people? Rummy won that one and we went with the "light footprint".

    How light a footprint is zero?

  • ||

    "ant-Colonial"

    That's species-ist.

  • ||

    Also, needs moar CHRISTFAG!

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    "anti-Colonial" - forgive me, Newt.

  • ||

    I don't forgive bigots. My fucking ancestors died in ant colonies you insensitive prick.

  • Almanian!||

    No doubt performing slave labor in some ant farm as a Christmas present for some fat little white colonialist, ChristFag kid, before effecting their escape and being killed with Black Flag for seeking their very freedom.

    It's sickening...

  • Jordan||

    Hey guys, did you hear that Obama doesn't want to occupy Syria? That totally excuses everything he does.

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    How light a footprint is zero?

    How many footprints does it take to drone-missle a group of journalists walking down the street, and is it more or less than those required to bomb a building full of children and pregnant women?

  • mad libertarian guy||

    It just goes to show you how little Palin's Assplug values human life. We can kill as many brown people as we want so long as we don't put any of our guys in danger. That's all it takes to get praise and dicksuckery from "people" like Shrike.

    Shut the fuck up, you racist asshole.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Palin's Buttwipe,

    Yes, maybe there is something to this depiction of Obama by the right [sic] as an "ant-Colonial". He doesn't even want to put any troops in Syria!


    You mean by Dinesh D'Souza. That is his argument, that Barry Soetoro's politics are in line with anti-colonialism.

    I don't think that Barry is that complicated. He's just your typical run-of-the-mill, economically ignorant socialist (sorry for the redundancy); not an extremely smart person, not even a smart person. He's an experienced manipulator but so is any con-man; but being manipulative is not necessarily evidence of an extraordinary mind.

    Regarding the Syria thing: that Barry is torn between sensing a few 10-million dollar firecrackers to scare the natives and putting troops in the ground to engage in king-making is more a testament to his own lack of character and principles than a belief in gun-boat diplomacy.

  • CE||

    How light a footprint is zero [ground troops]?

    It would be a lot lighter if the Exalted One bothered to read the Constitution he took an oath to defend. He should already be in jail for bombing Libya, not to mention Pakistan and Yemen and what not. What's one more country I suppose?

  • ||

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "[Justice Ruth Bader] Ginsburg will be first justice to officiate at same-sex wedding"

    And you'll never guess what line of work the groom (one of the grooms, I mean) is in - he's an arts administrator! The other groom is named John Roberts - apparently no relation to the Chief Justice.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....story.html

  • ||

    Oh no, the other one is an economist. We all know what childless nihilists gay economists are!

    /Niall Ferguson

  • grrizzly||

    And the economist is half as old as the arts administrator.

  • Rhywun||

    Lucky arts administrator.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Kerry is blabbering about American credibility.

    What a fucking farce.

    Now he's running down the list of Teh Dominoes. If we don't bomb Syria, France will succumb to anarchy, I guess.

  • Guy LaGuy||

    We've been lied to so many times by western governments, I no longer accept their shenanigans. There are websites that show you how to make all sorts of nasty bombs and such, so it's not a stretch to believe the rebels could have access to chemical weapons. I'm afraid I can't accept what is very likely cooked up evidence from the CIA about what happened. They've cried wolf once too often for me.

  • ||

  • MJGreen||

    If you're interested in American credibility, you guys should probably get your shit together. Don't set "red lines" and then delay when you believe it has been crossed. As Secretary of State, don't all but announce the strikes when, the next day, the President says he will now wait for Congress's support.

    Now that I want you to start bombing people because the President is incompetent, but the damage to American credibility is your own fault.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Right. I don't see how killing a bunch of people to cover up our head of state's rank incompetence helps our rep or our credibility in the world.

    As a wise man once said, there is no greater sign of weakness than actions taken because you're afraid of looking weak.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    What will happen if Congress declines to rubber stamp the President's decision to bomb Syria?

    It could never happen, so why are you even asking?

    Also, who gives a shit what the American Taxpayer thinks?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Helping the Libyan rebels kill Qaddaffi cost a paltry $500 million and was a resounding success compared to other recent misadventures.

    Congress should cap a Syrian intervention like that if they approve at all.

  • BardMetal||

    So killing a dictator that was actually cooperating with the United States, and giving Libya to a bunch of radicals was an astounding success?

    It doesn't matter how cheap that adventure was if the end result is still crap.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Shrike left himself an out.

    a resounding success compared to other recent misadventures.

    Next he'll return to call you stupid and dishonest because Libya turned out better than Iraq. Sort of like getting your index finger chopped off in a lawnmower blade is a resounding success compared to having your whole hand cut off.

  • Agammamon||

    No moron, way back when, when we lobbed a handful of cruise missiles directly at Quadaffi and in return he decided he like, you know, *living* more than tweaking the US' nose - that was a resounding success.

    That '$500 million' fiasco simply took one tyrant out of the picture and created a power vacuum that was filled by yet another group that is willing to attack us.

  • CE||

    And if a US Ambassador gets assassinated later, what difference, at this point, does it make? That used to be considered legitimate grounds to declare war.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Kristol sez, "Do the Right Thing, Republicans."

    Get out there and kill, kill, kill!

  • Acosmist||

    Is he strapping on a rifle or is he all talk again?

  • Guy LaGuy||

    Obama 'has the right' to strike Syria regardless of Congress vote, says Kerry
    Secretary of state says the US intends to act even in the face of congressional rejection but said preference was to win vote

  • ||

    Obama said it first!

    “Yet while I believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization, I know that the country will be stronger if we take this course and our actions will be even more effective. We should have this debate, because the issues are too big for business as usual.”

    http://www.politico.com/story/.....96122.html

  • Hyperion||

    I know that the country will be stronger if we take this course

    The country will be stronger if you resign in shame.

  • CE||

    Apparently, our President is illiterate then, because he can't read the clear text of the War Powers Act:

    SEC 2.(c) The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.

    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20t.....rpower.asp

  • Nazdrakke||

    Dude that's just a law, and if the last decade has taught us anything it's that laws apply only when the president decides that they do.

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    Y'know, he was for it before being against being for being against it.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    In a round of appearances on the Sunday political shows in the US, he said the evidence of sarin came from blood and hair samples from first responders who helped victims of the attacks. Kerry said the evidence had not come from United Nations weapons inspectors, but did not give any further details of the source for the samples, nor where or when they had been tested.

    This is complete and utter bullshit. There is NO FUCKING WAY that first responders in rebel areas have the capabilities necessary to test blood samples for gas exposure, and it's hard to imagine how they could trace the source of the gas even if they could.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Yep, Kerry tipped his hand, that this is all made up bullshit.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    BTW, would anyone be shocked, if it came out, that the US gave this gas to the rebels for a false flag operation?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Well, I would be shocked if that were the case. That would be a major risk for BO to take, and lord knows there are plenty of gas stockpiles to be had in the Mideast by other channels.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Do you think that BO actually knows or cares to know 99.999% of what is done by the US government?

  • Bam!||

    Directly came from the US, with a nice "Made in US" imprint, or came from the US in an indirect "Lord of War"-style delivery?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Nah, delivered through some shadowy networks with offices in Benghazi. Of course, if we were going to do such a thing, we'd have to let the Turks know something, so that they didn't freak out.

  • PapayaSF||

    Hold on. This doesn't say that the first responders tested the samples, only that they took them. They could have passed them on to someone else to test.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    That doesn't make the scenario any more plausible. These first responders provided a tightly controlled chain of custody, too?

    And that still doesn't connect the gas to Assad anyway.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    You mean terrorist insurgents don't take blood and hair samples from their fallen comrades as sop?

  • PapayaSF||

    They might very well do that it if hundreds of people keel over dead with no visible wounds, while there's a funny smell in the air.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Robert Gibbs says Kerry made a "forceful and persuasive case" for bombing the shit out of the ragheads, yet I remain completely unpersuaded.

    What's wrong with me?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Kerry has never made a persuasive case in his life.

  • Hyperion||

    You refuse to think like a sheep. Don't you know that whatever the government tells us, has to be taken as divine truth?

    This is the same government that tells us that people must be thrown into a cage with dangerous felons, for smoking a weed, because 'all illegal drugs are bad, Mmmkay?'. At that point right there, I lose any respect for this government and don't believe one word out of their lying mouths.

  • Almanian!||

    I miss Baghdad Bob. Srsly. He was at least a comic figure. Jay Carney is just a sack-of-shit robot with a punchable face.

    Baghdad Bob you could have a beer with and laugh as he trolled the company line. You just KNEW he knew it was a bunch of shit. Carney? Carney's a robot, so it's all just words. Truth? Lies? What are they but inventions of the human mind.

    I miss Baghdad Bob...

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Baghdad Bob supposedly got paid a quarter million for an interview with the al-Arabiya TV network after the 2003 invasion and now lives with his family in UAE. So, we should be able to bring him back into the spotlight.

  • Number 2||

    Baghdad Bob should be given his own nightly talk show on ESPN2 right after Oberman. It would be an upgrade.

  • Guy LaGuy||

    Not only was the Kosovo adventure illegal, it was also a case study in the failure of US precision strike doctrine

  • Almanian!||

    Well, if we define "precision" as "on the right continent", then it was precision.

  • CatoTheElder||

    I've spoken with quite a few Chinese people who think that the strikes were quite precise. In other words, they think that the US quite intentionally murdered their countrymen in Belgrade.

    The Serbs think US strikes on industrial facilities and passenger trains were similarly precise.

    The problem isn't the precision strike doctrine; it's the failure of the intervention doctrine in comparison with the mind-your-own-business doctrine.

  • PapayaSF||

    Apparently the attack was deliberate, and they did it because the Chinese were using the embassy as a rebroadcast station to support the Yugoslav army. The Chines killed weren't "journalists" but were intelligence officers.

  • Guy LaGuy||

    Barack W. Bush: Unilateral War In Syria

    Obama said acting unilaterally was a bad thing when he campaigned for office in 2008. That was then.
  • Guy LaGuy||

    You can blame the Corporate Capitalist West for this clusterfuck in Syria.

  • Hyperion||

    I don't think any of the factions in Syria are fighting for 'democracy'.

    It's more likely they are all fighting to be the one to set up their favored form of oppression. IOW, it's better to be the oppressors, than the oppressed.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    That impertinent little bastard Assad is thumbing his nose at the Ascended One.

    We have to go kill that motherfucker, now. Otherwise, our president, the Supreme Leader of the Free World, will have poor self esteem.

  • Hyperion||

    He's going to get poor esteem out of this deal, one way or the other. There's no win for him here. No other countries, besides maybe Israel, support this. The American public overwhelmingly do not support it.

    So the only friends Obama has here is McCain and Graham and their merry band of war mongers, the media and our very own ButtPlug. That's not going to cut it.

    I made the mistake of turning on Foxnews for a few minutes this morning, and all they are doing is saying how Obama is blowing his glorious chance to start another war. Partisan assholes.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Au contraire. The Saudis support the ouster of Assad and his crew of Alawites. In the view of Wahabi Sunnis, Alawites are takfiris, apostate Muslims worse than infidels.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Maybe the Obama critics were on to something when the lambasted His Oneness for making obeisance to HRH King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

  • Hyperion||

    Yeah, I forgot about the never ending Sunni/Shiite war.

  • Hyperion||

    I guess the difference will be, when the Rebels win, then there will likely be Sharia law in Syria. So, they trade tyrannical dictator for tyrannical religious kooks. Not sure which is worse.

  • CatoTheElder||

    I'm not sure which is worse for US interests, but I'm certain that a Wahhabi Sunni regime will be far, far worse for Syria's Christian, Alawite, Sufi, and Shi'ite minorities.

  • PapayaSF||

    And the Kurds.

  • Virginian||

    No other countries, besides maybe Israel, support this.

    Pretty sure the Israelis are against it. They just want stability. Assad is a sonofabitch, but it's been forty years since Syria invaded Israel. You let some radical band of jihadis take over, they might decide to go to war again.

  • ||

    The Jews of Syria supported Assad as their best hope for being left alone.

  • Bam!||

    Israel keeps bombing various things in Syria -- the suspected nuclear reactor site and more recently some missile sites. They're a coin-toss at the moment.

  • DblEagle||

    I disagree with you. Sure the IDF has attacked some targets but Assad is the devil they know. Israel can see that there is no up side to Assad falling or requiring extraordinary assistance from Iran. Assad falls and they get a AQ sponsored state- bad. Assad survives after Iran says to him "Accept the help of Hezbollah and they'll stick around to assure your power after the war."-bad. More than anything Israel wants the Golan front quiet.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    So, why aren't the pundits who are saying "The US will lose credibility if we don't follow through on a threat" ripping on BO for making a stupid threat? They're totally disingenuous and grasping for any reason to get their warboners stroked.

  • Dweebston||

    What about this hasn't been a "just the tip" gambit from the start?

  • Fluffy||

    "Bashar al-Assad now joins the list of Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein have used these weapons in time of war," Kerry said.

    http://www.businessinsider.com.....z2devLkY40

    We have a fucking history illiterate as Secretary of State.

    Hitler never used chemical weapons. The Kaiser did, and the WWI Allied powers did. Hitler did not.

    If you are too fucking stupid to make up a soundbite about chemical weapons, you are too stupid to run our diplomacy about chemical weapons.

  • Warrren||

    Reason contributor says Hitler was not that bad!

  • Cdr Lytton||

    You know who else said wasn't that bad..

  • Cdr Lytton||

    You know who else said Hitler wasn't that bad..

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Mrs. Hitler?

  • CatoTheElder||

    He's not apologizing for Hitler. He's pointing out that Hitler didn't use chemical weapons and that Kerry is either a liar or a moron or both. This in no way argues that Hitler's use of poison gas for other purposes is anything other than unforgivably reprehensible.

    However, back in the 80's, the US alleged that the Soviets did supply T-2 mycotoxin to Laos and Kerry's beloved North Vietnam, and these supplies were used to kill about 10,000 pesky hill tribesmen. The UN report on the matter was inconclusive and much of the US evidence remains classified. The US has not retracted the allegation despite widespread criticism of the evidenced adduced to support it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_rain

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    (I think that might have been a joke...)

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Maybe Hitler used mustard gas while he was a corporal in WW1?

    Also scratching my head about the "in time of war" bit. Would it be better to use nerve gas in peacetime?

  • Number 2||

    Actually, Hitler was a victim of a gas attack in WWI. Some have suggested that this may be a reason why he did not use gas in WWII. Apparently the poison gas works was the only military installation that he failed to visit or inspect while he was in power.

  • Robert||

    Yes, I would say Hitler used the gas; at least, he was an end user of the product.

  • Robert||

    It's like when I referred to someone as a "crime figure", meaning he was a figure in a crime—he happened to be a victim of that crime. My friend said nobody else uses the word that way, though, and that the person's family would probably object! (Is there one good phrase to mean "persons involved as either perpetrators or victims or witnesses of a crime" in fewer words than that?)

    I will point out, though, that the gas chamber was instituted as a humane means of execution.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Not when there are dozens of people in the same chamber.... and of course there were times that they diluted the gas too much and only rendered the victims unconscious, to be burned alive in the ovens.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    (Is there one good phrase to mean "persons involved as either perpetrators or victims or witnesses of a crime" in fewer words than that?)

    I don't know, but why should there be? It's not a useful category of people to speak about together.

  • ||

    I guess, technically, Union Carbide did that in peacetime.

  • ||

    Maybe he is counting Zyklon B? Naw, probably just ignorant.

  • Fluffy||

    If he is counting Zyklon B, he would also have to count the state of California.

    The quote pretty plainly is talking about the deployment of a chemical weapon in battle, though, so Zyklon B would not qualify.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Kerry is familiar with chemical weapons. I'm sure at some point he sprayed napalm from his boat into a Vietnamese village. But napalm isn't a chemical weapon right?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Explosives aren't considered chemical weapons, even though they are chemicals and weapons as you say.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Technically napalm is an incindiery weapon, not an explosive. And it probably sucks just as bad as mustard gas, or zyklon, etc.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Well I don't have any experience with being targeted by any of them to make a fair comparison, but I agree that getting hit with napalm would probably suck even more than pleasuring Rosie O'Donnell.

  • Dweebston||

    For that matter bullets are chemical weapons. I'm still not clear why gassing a few thousand Syrians militates our conventionally bombing thousands more, or involving ourselves in a conflict already responsible for over a hundred thousand dead. But I didn't graduate from the Kennedy School of Rulers, so I'm likely just not well-enough versed in the sad realities of realpolitik.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    The American government has refused to ban the production, distribution, or use of this damaging chemical due to its importance to the economic health of this nation. In fact, the navy and other military organizations are conducting experiments with DHMO, and designing multi-billion dollar devices to control and utilize it during warfare situations. Hundreds of military research facilities receive tons of it through a highly sophisticated underground distribution network. Many store large quantities for later use.

    http://www.dhmo.org/truth/

  • Dweebston||

    They run it right under city streets. They pipe it into homes and businesses! Did you know that all houses built after 1950 must be connected to the municipal reservoir of DHMO?

  • General Butt Naked||

    I recently tested positive to exposure to oxidane, a similar chemical compound, and know the dangers of DHMO all too well. The doctors said it'll remain in my system long after I die and that there's nothing to be done to save me.

  • Robert||

    So what's IUPAC for ammonia? "Nitrane"? "Ammane"? "Amane"? "Hydramine"?

  • General Butt Naked||

    I think it's azane.

  • Hyperion||

    He's following the lead of his master, the guy who has been to all 57 states.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    That's actually a funny story. After the German surrender, Goering was asked that very question and his answer was "horses." The German army used horse drawn carts to move supplies along their lines. The Germans tried to develop a gas mask for horses, but failed.

  • ||

    Wow, nice, I had to look that one up.

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    If we expand it to WMD as a whole we can add Truman to the list. Zing!

  • ||

    No, nukes are a much more humane method of killing large numbers of people.

  • ||

    The hypocrisy is monumental.

  • Warrren||

    Reason contributor claims it is humane to use nuclear weapons!

  • Ted S.||

    Hitler never used chemical weapons.

    What do you call Zyklon B?

  • Fluffy||

    I definitely don't call it a chemical weapon.

    It's more like an industrial scale guillotine or gallows.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Yeah, if you include it then you must include the U.S.'s use of hydrogen cyanide.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

  • CatoTheElder||

    Zyklon B was the trade name for a commercial, hydrogen-cyanide-based fumigating agent manufactured by IG Farben.

    The German National Socialists did not weaponize Zyklon B, but rather used it in the systematic murder of Jews in the Holocaust.

    Two civilians involved in the manufacture of Zyklon B were executed following their trial for war crimes. They supplied the German SS with up to two tons per month.

    The US record with respect to chemical weapons is not pretty.

    In World War I, the U.S. produced its own munitions as well as deploying weapons produced by the French. The U.S. produced 5,770 metric tons of these weapons, including 1,400 metric tons of phosgene and 175 metric tons of mustard gas.

    In WW II, the Germans sank several American ships that contained mustard gas near southern Italy. Sixty nine US merchant marines died from US-source mustard gas poisoning.

    At its peak, US stockpiles of chemical weapons totalled 31,100 metric tons. As of January 2012, approximately 90% of this inventory had been destroyed under treaty, leaving over 3000 metric tons of chemical weapons in the US inventory.

    If we are talking about WMD in general, the US story is even worse. It is the only nation in history to have used nuclear weapons to annihilate civilian populations.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Far more civilians would have been killed in the invasion of Japan had the US not used the H-bomb. And neither Hiroshima nor Nagasaki's population was "annihilated" anyway.

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    The hydrogen bomb was not developed until well after the war ended.

    I used to believe the atomic bombings were the critical factor in Japan's surrender, but I'm no longer sure. It seems just as likely that Soviet gains in Manchuria might have been what turned it - I know I'd rather be conquered by the US than by the USSR. There was also an attempted palace coup aimed at stopping the surrender process that it seems failed because of a large helping of luck, so who knows if even the bombings were a sure thing?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    The Manchuria story is an explanation that doesn't seem to have existed before the 1990s. The Soviets unilaterally withdrew from their non-aggression pact with Japan on April 5, 1945, four months before the A-bomb (sorry bout the wrong letter), so it's very hard to believe that in August the Japanese suddenly realized they were under threat from the USSR.

    And of course, if the palace coup had succeeded in the face of multiple nuclear strikes, it's hard to believe it would melt away because of Soviet gains outside Japan.

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    Gah, squirrels ate my comment. Suffice it to say that I don't believe the history is that simple, nor that one can honestly point to any one event and say "that's what did it."

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Without the A-bomb Japanese surrender doesn't happen for a long time (if ever -- there may not have been a population left to surrender in the invasion scenario). Period.

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    Assertion without evidence. And there is no conclusive evidence, only counterfactual conjecture - even from primary sources.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Glass houses much? Your position is based on counterfactuals.

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    My position is that we can't know the exact reason for the final Japanese surrender. Supporting that is a little different than supporting "Without the A-bomb Japanese surrender doesn't happen for a long time. Period."

  • Virginian||

    Exactly. We could have blockaded Japan and starved them to death. I suppose you might consider that more merciful. Or the aforementioned conventional invasion.

    I just have little patience for the magic beans theory of war so many libertarians seem to have. It's almost as bad as the neocons believe that the right number of smart bombs and cruise missiles applied in the correct sequence will create freedom and democracy across the world.

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    The starvation strategy may well have been more merciful. It takes time to starve to death. The process is quite painful, but a lot of things can happen in that time. If the government surrenders and the blockade is lifted before you starve to death, you have suffered but you are still alive. The people snuffed out in air strikes, atomic or not, don't have that possibility.

  • DblEagle||

    The starvation strategy would have not been politically viable. Invasion was required if Japan did not surrender. The entire American armed might- minus requirements for occupation- was already moving to the Pacific staging bases in August 1945. Plus fire bombing Japan did not stop. In fact we fire bombed a Japanese city after Nagasaki and LeMay was still working down his list. This was total war and cruel or not, American commanders can only be concerned about saving American lives and treasure while systematically destroying the entire Japanese state and people. THAT is why we should not get involved in Syria. To Assad and plenty of others it is total war. To lose is to cease to exist. We have no national interest in involving ourselves with this.

  • d_remington||

    so it's very hard to believe that in August the Japanese suddenly realized they were under threat from the USSR.

    Actually it was quite well known as early as july that japan was attempting to get a surrender going. (Though they weren't willing to unconditionally surrender as long as the safety of the imperial family was not guaranteed, ie as long as the emperor was in danger of being deposed or even executed for war crimes like some of the german leadership)

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    July is one month before august and three after April.

    Anyway, they rejected the Potsdam declaration, which offered more lenient terms than they ultimately got. They wanted peace on their terms. As late as August, most of their cabinet insisted on four conditions.

    1. Continuation of the Imperial Dynasty
    2. War crimes tried by the Japanese government alone
    3. No occupation of the Japanese home islands, Korea, or Taiwan
    4. Demobilization performed by the Japanese military according to their own schedule.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Following this line of argument, would Assad be justified if he just argued that his VX gas attacks actually saved lives?

    I.e., that since VX gas strikes so effectively terrorize the rebels, they give up the struggle before they would have otherwise, so that justifies use of VX gas in the Syrian civil war? (Like Sherman justified the rape and pillage during his march in the US civil war, for example.)

    I don't see the difference unless one starts with the supposition that the US has pure intentions.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Following this line of argument, would Assad be justified if he just argued that his VX gas attacks actually saved lives?

    If he backed up that argument with evidence, maybe -- but there isn't any such evidence because that claim isn't true.

    And of course there are many, many details that are different between Japan in August 1945 and the rebel-held areas of Syria today. The US may not always have pure intentions, but I'd say the end of the war turned out pretty damn well for Japan considering pretty much every other possibility. It certainly went better for them than an Assad victory will go for the rebels.

  • CatoTheElder||

    I respect your consistent fidelity to the principles of victor's justice.

    Seriously.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Nice that we have an Imperial Japan apologist to balance the Stalin apologist here!

    We're still one Mao apologist short.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Following this line of argument, would Assad be justified if he just argued that his VX gas attacks actually saved lives?

    If he backed up that argument with evidence, maybe -- but there isn't any such evidence because that claim isn't true.

    And of course there are many, many details that are different between Japan in August 1945 and the rebel-held areas of Syria today. The US may not always have pure intentions, but I'd say the end of the war turned out pretty damn well for Japan considering pretty much every other possibility. It certainly went better for them than an Assad victory will go for the rebels.

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    I think a distinction between use of a weapon in a battlefield - no matter what the target is - and an industrial-scale execution scheme makes intuitive sense even though the results are largely the same. If we are to use that framework then Hitler really doesn't belong in the list. That's not an exoneration, we just choose to book him on a different charge.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Mass murderers and their knowing accomplices deserve hangin'; no argument about that.

  • Number 2||

    "Bashar al-Assad now joins the list of Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein have used these weapons in time of war," Kerry said.

    Wait a minute...I thought George W. Bush and Sarah Palin were the idiots, and that intelligent, learned Democrats like John Kerry were returning brains to government.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    He probably is referring to Zyklon B. HCN gas is classified as a chemical weapon, and the Holocaust happened during a war. Note that JK didn't mention "used these weapons on the battlefield".

  • CatoTheElder||

    So the Holocaust wouldn't have been quite so bad if the Jews had been bludgeoned to death at Auschwitz?

    Seriously? Kerry is that big of a moron?

  • General Butt Naked||

    Maybe it'd make Kerry feel better if they was pushed outta windows.

  • Skip||

    Mr. Global Test can't even remember what he campaigned on 9 years ago about the Iraq War, so yes.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Now I understand.

    It's ok when WE do it.

    It's a war crime when THEY do it.

    Simple as that. Silly me.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Hitler never used chemical weapons."

    He might be making a technical argument about Zyklon-B...

  • Hyperion||

    Fox News are beating the war drums hard.

    They also just said that the latest polls show that 50% of Americans now favor military action in Syria. They failed to mention the names of these polls. Wow, from 9% to 50% in 2 days? How did that happen? Well, it looks like America is not tired of wars after all.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    They're probably referring to this one.

    The poll shows 50 percent of Americans believe the United States should not intervene in the wake of suspected chemical weapons attacks by Syrian President Bashar Assad. But the public is more supportive of military action when it's limited to launching cruise missiles from U.S. naval ships—50 percent favor that kind of intervention, while 44 percent oppose it.

    Which means that 8% of the respondents contradicted their original opposition to intervention when the pollster suggested that intervention would be limited.

    The questions are seriously push-pollesque, though. For example:

    Syrian civilians have been killed by their government in response to protests and civil unrest. The U.S is
    taking diplomatic and economic measures to try to stop the Syrian government from taking military action
    against its citizens. Which ONE statement best describes what you think (ROTATE FIRST THREE
    STATEMENTS)
    The U.S. should take military action to help stop the killing of civilians.
    The U.S. should provide weapons to the forces inside Syria opposing the government.
    The U.S. should provide only humanitarian assistance to the civilians injured or forced from their homes.
    …OR…
    The U.S. should take none of these additional actions.
  • Dweebston||

    Nothing "-esque" about it. That's some serious poisoning the well bullshit.

  • Hyperion||

    The Fox News talking heads are just straight out saying that 50% of Americans favor some type of military intervention in Syria. They just repeated that same exact thing, again.

    I guess when your only goal is more wars and killing more people, then making up a poll that you can get any result you like from, would not seem like too underhanded.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    It would be a better world if people would stop trying to appropriate King's message for their own uses when that time comes around.

  • Hyperion||

    If I were told from 3 different sources that Assad did the chemical attack, that the rebels did the chemical attack, and that the CIA did the chemical attack, I wouldn't really know which one to believe. But I am leaning towards the rebels doing it. From strictly a military objective, throwing morality out the window, it would be brilliant of the rebels to get the USA, whom they probably hate as much as Assad, to help them take out Assad. That still makes more sense to me that what our government is telling us. And I believe our government about as much as I do the MSM, pretty much not at all.

    But a pile of dead children has presented itself, and we all know that there is nothing Obama loves more than the opportunity to jump on a pile of dead children to advance his political goals.

  • Virginian||

    Yep. Especially because the government has been winning for a few months now. It doesn't make any sense for Assad to order a chemical strike when he's winning the fucking war.

    I guarantee you it was one of the particularly crazy rebel groups trying to drag the US in on their side. They hate our guts, right up until the point they can get us to fight their wars for them. See the whole Serbian mess.

  • Hyperion||

    Exactly that, it makes 0 percent sense that Assad would do it, yet Obama and his toadies were jumping on that bandwagon before anyone knew anything at all about what happened.

  • Warrren||

    I, too, think Assad is winning. I go to LiveLeak everyday and I've noticed a distinct reduction in the number of gloating rebel uploaded videos.

    Not the greatest way to survey that topic perhaps but I find it instructive.

  • Robert||

    Now wait a minute...just because Assad might be winning the shooting war doesn't mean he's winning the fucking war.

  • Virginian||

    Uh he's steadily regaining territory, clearing out the rebels, and has shut off their sources of supply.

    The rebels fucked themselves over. Government troops might shell neighborhoods, but the rebels are proudly showing off their insanity on video. Assad might be a sonofabitch, but he isn't eating the hearts of his enemies, or lighting their kids on fire.

  • ||

    I think he was making a joke Using the term "fucking" literally in contrast to "shooting" as an adjective for "war".

  • Robert||

    I'm always making jokes with that form, but in this case I thought the idea of a fucking war was especially interesting & amusing with Assad engaged in it.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    That argument doesn't hold water for me. Sometimes leaders do stupid things in war.

    Hitler declared war on the US for no apparent reason, and invaded Russia during the winter while they were his allies and he was winning the war going away.

  • Contrarian P||

    They indeed do, but I'd demand an increased standard of proof given the sheer level of stupidity required to do the one act guaranteed to make the rest of the world at least take a hard look at you, if not intervene, when you're clearly gaining the upper hand. If, after careful consideration and weighing of the facts, it can be shown that Assad indeed ordered the use of chemical weapons, then it would be time to decide what to do to bring him to justice. I'm confused as to how a few cruise missiles are going to in any way result in his defeat, let alone his facing an international tribunal.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Hitler declared war on the US for no apparent reason, and invaded Russia during the winter while they were his allies and he was winning the war going away.

    John Kerry is that you?

    The US was arguably at war with Germany prior to Dec 1941 by FDRs action of Lend-Lease and running armed shipments to Britain. Germany considered both acts of war and the US would too if some neutral power was doing likewise to a state that we were at war with.

    And Germany's surprise attack on Russia began June 22, 1941; in the summer; having been delayed by a couple of months by Germany's invasion of Greece - to bail out his Italian allies.

    It is entirely possible that Germany would have achieved their knock out blow against the Soviet Union, had operation Barbarossa begun in April 1941 and had the additional resources that were used and tied down in Greece & Crete been available. Especially since the winter of 1941 that effective saved Stalin and the Soviet Union was abnormally severe.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    You do have the history right... but both of those were very foolish decisions. One could argue that Germany had justification (God forgive me for saying anything Hitler did had justification) but it still was an incredibly stupid thing to do. It's possible the US wouldn't have engaged in outright hostilities against Germany without that declaration.

    Hitler shouldn't even have tried invading Russia at that point -- the Middle East was basically his for the taking. But with the invasion delayed due to Musso's incompetence, he should have called it off until 1942.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    I agree on both points.

    We're fortunate that Hitler was such a megalomaniac. Because someone with the same goals, but a more realistic appraisal of Germany's capabilities probably would have been successful.

  • Robert||

    Just making explosions in Syria is perfect, then, because if you blow up enough people, some of them are bound to have been on the side you blame.

  • Robert||

    However, at the time some of us thought King had jumped the shark by bringing in these issues. I'm still not convinced that judgment was wrong, and I'm not so sanguine as Sheldon about King's sympathies.

  • Agammamon||

    MLK can't teach Obama *anything* about war.

    MLK never ran a war - Obama is on his fourth.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Obama doesn't run shit. He makes a speech and then heads off to play some 9-hole.

    Doesn't absolve him, of course, but I don't want there to be a perception that BO is some master warrior.

  • Agammamon||

    Obama is the CinC - for better or worse, *he* is the guy with the final say on *how* a war is conducted and as such, he's the one who gets the blame (or credit) for a conflict's failure/success.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Yes, of course the buck stops with him.

    But I seriously doubt he's actually using that say of his own prerogative.

  • Agammamon||

    So, when it all goes to shit, he'll shrug his shoulders - but its still gonna be his fault.

  • CatoTheElder||

    No, it will be George Bush's fault.

    Some things never change.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Paraphrasing the inestimable Marion Berry,

    "Obama don't wanna run nothing but his mouth."

  • Agammamon||

    "Bush set me up!"

    Obama the First, commenting on the Syrian Offensive.

  • ||

    Rand Paul: Assad government has protected Christians from Muslim extremists

    Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Sunday portrayed the current conflict in Syria as one between the government of President Bashar Al Assad, who Paul said "has protected Christians for a number of decades," and "Islamic rebels," who Paul said "have been attacking Christians" and are aligned with Al Qaeda.

    "I think the Islamic rebels winning is a bad idea for the Christians, and all of a sudden we'll have another Islamic state where Christians are persecuted," Paul said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

    Paul was likely referring to a string of incidents in Egypt in recent weeks, where supporters of the deposed government of former president Mohamed Morsi have burned Coptic Christian churches to protest what they see as Christian backing for the military overthrow of Morsi's government.

    Best way to get liberals on board for war: tell them Rand Paul opposes it and throw in Jesus while you're at it.

  • CatoTheElder||

    It will be a bad thing for Sufis, Alawites, and Shi'ites as well as Syriac Christians and other Christian Syrians.

  • ||

    Syria's Jews also originally supported Assad (the father) as their best hope for being left alone.

    Most of them have now left but there are apparently a few still in Damascus.

  • ||

    Some of the comments are pretty unhinged:

    lilacluvr
    Republicans need to clean up their own damn mess!
    3303 Fans
    5 minutes ago ( 3:15 PM)
    While Fundy Christians rant about Muslims burning Christian churches - when will we hear about Christians burning Muslim mosques? Let's not forget how many of these same outraged Fundy Christians were ready to get a mob together and burn down every mosque at 9/11. Let's not forget about that Fundy Christian preacher who made that video that outraged the Muslims and set off a firestorm. But we don't talk about the bad things Christians do - is that the game we're playing?

    Some people still believe in that Muslim video?

  • Nazdrakke||

    Because making a disrespectful video is totally the same thing as beheading people.

  • PapayaSF||

    And because Christians being "ready to get a mob together and burn down every mosque" is the same as Muslims actually burning down churches.

  • Goldwin Smith||

    Some people still believe in that Muslim video?

    Well Lew Rockwell and Justin Raimondo believed it so...

  • CatoTheElder||

    After reading a dozen or so comments at Huffpo, PB seems like a towering liberal intellectual. Not quite Daniel Patrick Moynihan, but by comparison with the crazy at Huffpo ...

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    See what happens when a blog gets ideologically inbred?

    Heed the example, friends.

  • sgs||

    Shut the fuck up liar.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Looks like I got SugarFree's sockpuppet upset again.

  • Hyperion||

    Go read some comments at Politico and you might start thinking that at least some of the posters at HuffPo are fairly sane. Politico has the worst trolls in the intertoobs. They make Tony look smart.

  • ||

    Why do you do that to yourselves? Aren't Tony and shitstopper enough?

  • Hyperion||

    I still read stuff at HuffPo, but never at Politico, it's too fucking stupid.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    It is politically brilliant for Rand Paul to bring up the plight of Christians in Syria and Egypt. Builds serious cred for him with the SoCons.

  • William of Purple||

    Jesus

    what's the guy who shingles my roof got to do with it?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    So, when it all goes to shit, he'll shrug his shoulders - but its still gonna be his fault.

    As Supreme Commander of the Kennedy School of Government, he will be completely insulated from petty attacks by jealous nitpickers.

  • John||

    What a load of shit. Genocidal communists funded by the Chinese and Soviets were trying to turn Vietnam into a prison state. Independence my ass. Now maybe you think that wasn't the us's problem. But fucking spare me this they just wanted independence bullshit. I have a few million boat people and even more victims of the killing fields that say otherwise. Shame on Reason for pissing on the graves of the victims of communism by repeating this useful idiot lie.

  • ||

    Needs more Sam Kinison.

  • CatoTheElder||

    CLASSIC!

  • Les||

    Oh, I think it had plenty of Sam Kinison. Good catch.

  • ||

    The Best Of The Internet’s Reaction To Obama’s Plans To Bomb Syria

    Some of these are pretty good.

    I liked:

    We kill people who kill people because killing people is wrong.
  • Hyperion||

    The Drone Ranger, lmao!

  • Hyperion||

    Where's my Nobel Prize, I bombed people too!

    This is great stuff.

  • Bam!||

  • ||

    Got me?

  • Generic Stranger||

    Probably real...and fucking brilliant.

  • Paul R||

    What a bunch of bullshit. Reason shows it's left-libertarian bias once again. If MLK were here he would support every bad socialist policy imaginable. And the Viet Cong were horrible communists, but we should expect such support from people like MLK. We cannot learn anything from people like him, no one should.

  • Hawk Spitui||

    What - your surprised that libertarianism turned out to be merely the latest marketing campaign for the Frankfurt School? No shit Sherlock!

  • ||

  • Contrarian P||

    I don't agree with everything MLK ever said or did. I don't agree with everything anybody ever said or did. That doesn't mean that I can't take valid points made by King and agree with them, while disagreeing with other things. I'm not sure what he said that was so objectionable to you, but I'm pretty sure you have little concept of why he might be willing to cut the VC more slack than his own nation.

    Certainly the VC never were responsible for the enslavement, oppression, and so forth of people who look like MLK, while the United States certainly was. It's not surprising, therefore, that King was more willing to be sympathetic to those who had never sat idly by while thousands of blacks were lynched, and the rest denied even second class citizen status. To him, I'm sure the United States looked much more like an oppressive power. The U.S. wasn't doing very much to right those wrongs before King and those like him came along. So get off your moral high horse.

  • Boisfeuras||

    No man should be lionized, because they all have failings, and Martin Luther King certainly had many. In the words of C.S. Lewis:

    "Never, never pin your whole faith on any human being; not if he is the best and wisest in the whole world. There are lots of nice things you can do with sand; but do not try building a house on it."

  • William of Purple||

    CS Lewis was an idiot bleever.

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

    Man, I wish Bush was the president,” he said. “He would have reacted right away. He may have invaded Cyprus or Jordan instead of Syria by mistake, but you know he would have done something at least.”
  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

    It's the 90s. What do you do?

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

    Ray Lewis: ‘You cannot tell me’ Super Bowl blackout was an accident

  • Warrren||

    He doesn't know facts, but he knows this for a fact!

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Somehow, the Niners were getting their asses kicked for nearly three quarters. One blackout and 20 minutes later, they're the greatest offensive machine on Earth. Most people just call a long timeout.

    That said, Ray Lewis ought to just shutup, admire his ring, and ride off into the sunset, before Warty kills and eats him for Art Modell's sins.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    It was an act of God, just like those two dead guys that Lewis had nothing to do with.

    Sharpe told Lewis that the families of the slain men find it difficult to see Lewis be idolized by millions of fans, believing he knows more about the killings than he shared. “What would you like to say to the families?” Sharpe asked. Lewis said: "God has never made a mistake. That’s just who He is, you see.... To the family, if you knew, if you really knew the way God works, He don’t use people who commits anything like that for His glory.”

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

    Messi is Masterful again this afternoon.

  • Goldwin Smith||

    You know Who Else was an indigenous force who supported self determination and real reform?

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

    Kicking Bird?

  • Goldwin Smith||

    So when are we gonna get a Sheldon Richman article on Ernst Roehm? I mean he was gay and opposed corporatism, aristocracy and the military establishment. We clearly have a lot to learn from him as he was part of an indigenous force that supported self determination and real reform. I mean he was considered on the Nazi left who was matyred due to his sexuality and Hitler's right turn.

  • Warrren||

    George W agrees with Obama that we have a duty:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDDJh-C4nKI

  • Jordan||

    Dubya supports Chocolate Dubya.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Domestic terror!

    As the sole elected peace officers in America, sheriffs wield power on their own terms, managing small platoons of deputies, holding sway over county jails, and operating largely on independent budgets.

    More critically today, sheriffs have resurrected the specter of the posse comitatus movement of the 1970s, which suggests that the federal government is legally impotent.

    Remarking on "worrisome times," Sheriff Stacy Nicholson of Georgia's Gilmer County wrote on Facebook earlier this year that "I, along with a large number (which is growing daily) of Sheriffs across the state of Georgia as well as the entire United States, have no intention of following any orders of the federal government to perform any act which would be considered to be unlawful or a VIOLATION OF ANY PART OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OR THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF GEORGIA, nor will we permit it to be done if within our power to prevent it."

    Today’s sheriffs at least suggest that Washington politicians are more their enemies than friends.

    Corruption and abuse of authority against the peasants might be considered rude, but the idea of local sheriffs passing judgement on the diktats of Congress and the President puts us at the edge of the abyss.

  • Warrren||

    They're still cops.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    So, a sheriff getting nailed for relatively small-scale corruption -- completely unrelated to his views on fedgov -- leads to a diatribe against sheriffs refusing to comply with the president... himself no stranger to corruption.

    But my favorite line has to be the first one:

    Many American lawmen believe, in part because of the way the Constitution is written, that there is no higher power than the office of the sheriff, with even the President of the United States being penultimate to the badge.

    Here I thought the power was invested in the People of the United States, not a sheriff or the president.

  • ||

    State of innovation: Busting the private-sector myth

    IMAGES of tech entrepreneurs such as Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs are continually thrown at us by politicians, economists and the media. The message is that innovation is best left in the hands of these individuals and the wider private sector, and that the state – bureaucratic and sluggish – should keep out. A telling 2012 article in The Economist claimed that, to be innovative, governments must "stick to the basics" such as spending on infrastructure, education and skills, leaving the rest to the revolutionary garage tinkerers.

    Yet it is ideology, not evidence, that fuels this image. A quick look at the pioneering technologies of the past century points to the state, not the private sector, as the most decisive player in the game.

    Holy same arguments and fallacies we've seen a thousand times before, Batman!

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Oh. My. Fucking. God.

    It is time for the state to get something back for its investments. How? First, this requires an admission that the state does more than just fix market failures – the usual way economists justify state spending. The state has shaped and created markets and, in doing so, took on great risks. Second, we must ask where the reward is for such risk-taking and admit that it is no longer coming from the tax systems. Third, we must think creatively about how that reward can come back.

    I'm unclear as to what "risk" the state took on. Was the state going to go out of business and live in a cardboard box behind the Safeway dumpster if Apple didn't succeed?

    And of course, for every Apple the state gives a grant to, there are a hundred other companies that wither and die.

  • Warrren||

    The state invented both public property AND food trucks!

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    And Red Light Cameras and lines you have to follow on the freeway! Icky icky state!

  • ||

    So you've full-on devolved into ROADZZZ!!!! now?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Those specific items (along with Food Trucks and throwing snowballs at cops) are areas where myself and the Reason commentariatat have diverged in the past.

    There is a history.

  • ||

    I'm aware of that history. It always basically boiled down to "ROADZ!!!" I'm just surprised you dropped any pretense of seriousness.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Not sure what definition of ROADZ you're going off of here; if it's the usual liberal mantra that anyone who ever uses a road, or uses anything that's ever been on a road, is therefore the govt's slave to be taxed and regulated at will with no standing to object, then no, that hasn't been my argument, ever.

    My argument has been that govt has the authority and the duty to make sure roads are used for traveling on, not for running a restaurant on, or parking in a way that blocks freeway traffic, or throwing frozen projectiles at passing vehicles. Never really understood what the libertarian objection to RLCs is, since presumably most people here don't think blowing red lights should be legal.

  • ||

    no, that hasn't been my argument, ever.

    It requires the same logical scaffolding to hold up the argument.

    Never really understood what the libertarian objection to RLCs is

    Invasion of privacy and lack of due process, primarily. Considering you're cool with annual inspections of your registered firearms by a government bureaucrat because FYTW, it's not surprising you support red light cameras, but I'm sure you can see why most libertarians would be opposed.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Considering you're cool with annual inspections of your registered firearms by a government bureaucrat

    If my position were really that bad, you wouldn't have to misrepresent four times in that phrase.

    1. Firearms weren't to be inspected;
    2. Firearms weren't to be registered;
    3. It didn't have to be a person from the govt;
    4. It was never a bureaucrat even when it was a govt person.

    But at least you got the "with" correct.

  • ||

    1. Firearms weren't to be inspected;
    2. Firearms weren't to be registered;
    3. It didn't have to be a person from the govt;
    4. It was never a bureaucrat even when it was a govt person.

    If the guns weren't registered, how would the inspector know to make his annual check?

    If the firearms weren't to be inspected (as I recall it was only the government-approved gun safe you wanted checked?), how would the inspector address a violation of the law?

    The debate on your other two points was already had, and you looked stupid enough flailing about for a rationalization the first time.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    If the guns weren't registered, how would the inspector know to make his annual check?

    Were you even paying attention to my proposal, or just reading Epi and SugarFree's mangled summaries?

    The "inspector" of the safe would be chosen by the gun owner (and this only applied to owners of MESA projectile weapons, semiauto with more than 1600 joules of muzzle energy) and the time of inspection would be chosen by the gun owner, with the only restriction being that inspections had to be done within a year of the previous inspection.

    Enforcement would only occur when/if the firearm experienced law enforcement involvement (theft/use in a crime), with law enforcement asking to see the certificate of inspection. No registration needed.

  • ||

    Were you even paying attention to my proposal

    It's been a while, and I found it rather ridiculous, so I didn't commit it to memory.

    The "inspector" of the safe would be chosen by the gun owner...and the time of inspection would be chosen by the gun owner, with the only restriction being that inspections had to be done within a year of the previous inspection. Enforcement would only occur when/if the firearm experienced law enforcement involvement...

    So basically the honor system. Sounds fine enough until we ask ourselves what is the penalty if you are found out. If there's a penalty, you have de-facto registration since the owner has to report his MESA projectile weapon and its safe or else face punishment.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Any LEO (from any jurisdiction) or FFL was allowed to be chosen to do the inspection, so producing a central registry, or even a local registry, would be impossible. I spend all this time writing up very fine-tuned legislation and then you people don't even bother reading it.

    I don't know how you propose, under current law, to avoid letting the police know that you own a gun when you report that your gun was stolen. That would be quite a feat.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Invasion of privacy and lack of due process, primarily.

    Which were bullshit, since you don't have any right to privacy when driving around in public; and we accept automated video/photographic evidence for other crimes, foremost among them burglary, without need of human witnesses.

    Do you get upset about your privacy being invaded when people say they saw you driving down the street by the local 7 Eleven?

  • ||

    Which were bullshit, since you don't have any right to privacy when driving around in public

    Actually, your vehicle is considered personal property, and you are entitled to a certain degree of privacy therein. That's why cops need a warrant before they can search your car and need probable cause (HAHAHAHAHA) to pull you over. Yes, Virginia, the 4th Amendment still applies even on ROADZ!!!!

    and we accept automated video/photographic evidence for other crimes, foremost among them burglary, without need of human witnesses.

    Right. We accept them as evidence at a trial conducted in a court where the alleged perpetrator has been formally charged and fully informed of his accompanying rights, including the right to council. We don't take convenience story security cam footage, match the face on the camera to a registered address, and go drag the person off to jail to serve his sentence. Do you even know what "due process" mean, you mendacious fuck?

    Do you get upset about your privacy being invaded when people say they saw you driving down the street by the local 7 Eleven?

    I would if their saying so would send me to jail or result in me paying a fine for an alleged crime without a trial where I was allowed to face them and my council was allowed to ask them questions.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    We don't take convenience story security cam footage, match the face on the camera to a registered address, and go drag the person off to jail to serve his sentence. Do you even know what "due process" mean, you mendacious fuck?

    Sounds like your problem is with traffic enforcement in general, not RLCs. Same thing happens when a nice warm-blooded carbon-based lifeform with a badge claims your car was parked in a handicapped spot.

  • ||

    Sounds like your problem is with traffic enforcement in general

    I don't know what it's like where you live, but in every jurisdiction where I've lived, you actually get a citation (charge) for a traffic violation given out by a police officer, and you have the opportunity to appear in court to contest the charge, face the officer who charged you, present evidence, and generally enjoy all those other inconveniences that encompass due process. Your parking ticket example is not a traffic offense, which is why the same process doesn't apply, and why it is generally meter maids and lot attendants that give out those no-no slips.

    In fact, the only way RLCs have been able to pass constitutional muster when they have been challenged is because jurisdictions treat the violations given out by the automated system as non-traffic violations, exactly like the parking tickets from your example. Which is why they don't count against your driving record or get reported for insurance purposes - which would notably NOT be the case if you were caught and charged for committing the exact offense by a nice asshole carbon-based lifeform with a badge.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    That's why cops need a warrant before they can search your car and need probable cause (HAHAHAHAHA) to pull you over.

    If you don't know the difference between taking a picture of a car from the outside and searching it, I don't see the point of even discussing this with you.

    Just FYI, they need Reasonable Suspicion to pull you over, and Probable Cause is enough for a search.

  • ||

    If you don't know the difference between taking a picture of a car from the outside and searching it, I don't see the point of even discussing this with you.

    The point was that you actually are, contrary to your claim, enetiled to privacy even when you are in public on those ROADZ!!! The extent to which photographing your car, you inside your car, or certain details of your car constitutes a "search" is still not completely clear and has been scrutinized by the courts. In the jurisdiction I previously lived, for example, our RLC system was temporarily shut down until the area of the vehicle being photographed was narrowed specifically to the license plate on privacy grounds.

    Just FYI, they need Reasonable Suspicion to pull you over

    Yes, forgive my lapse in terminology.

    and Probable Cause is enough for a search.

    To be clear, probable cause is enough to request a search warrant.

  • ||

    Or to be even more pre-emptively pedantic, to request and obtain a search warrant, since a cop could theoretically request a search warrant without probable cause, in which case it would not be granted.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    They don't need a warrant to search if they have PC and exigent circumstances exist (in the case of a traffic stop ExC are always going to be present).

    The extent to which photographing your car, you inside your car, or certain details of your car constitutes a "search" is still not completely clear and has been scrutinized by the courts.

    Cite?

    In the jurisdiction I previously lived, for example, our RLC system was temporarily shut down until the area of the vehicle being photographed was narrowed specifically to the license plate on privacy grounds.

    Well, no way that would happen at the federal level. As Dunphy has noted ad infinitum, there are jurisdictions that have their own "privacy right" protections more extensive than the supposed one the federal blackrobes conjured up out of the 9th amendment Rohrshach test. I for one think that's poppycock but that's just an opinion -- no one really knows what that amendment means in practice.

  • ||

    They don't need a warrant to search if they have PC and exigent circumstances exist

    True enough, although "exigent circumstances" doctrine is a bullshit cop-out that guts the 4th Amendment and is reviled around these parts accordingly.

    Cite?

    I'm having a hard time finding the specific cases or rulings, but here's a summary link, which indicates:

    At least two lawsuits have argued that issuing a citation based on a photograph amounts to an unconstitutional seizure of the vehicle.

    Well, no way that would happen at the federal level. As Dunphy has noted ad infinitum, there are jurisdictions that have their own "privacy right" protections...

    True about local jurisdictions having possibly more stringent privacy rights (and the jurisdiction to which I was referring is in Dunphy's state), but I wouldn't discount the possibility of federal courts reading an at least limited right to privacy if it ever got to that level.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    But whatever you say I'm standing by my original position. Hummers and snowballs don't go well together.

  • ||

    "Third, we must think creatively about how that reward can come back."

    Hmmm. Whatever could that mean?

  • Fatty Bolger||

    From the article:

    There are many ways for this to happen. The repayment of some loans for students depends on income, so why not do this for companies? When Google's future owners received a grant from the NSF, the contract should have said: if/when the beneficiaries of the grant make $X billion, a contribution will be made back to the NSF.

    Other ways include giving the state bank or agency that invested a stake in the company. A good example is Finland, where the government-backed innovation fund SITRA retained equity when it invested in Nokia. There is also the possibility of keeping a share of the intellectual property rights, which are almost totally given away in the current system.

    Recognising the state as a lead risk-taker, and enabling it to reap a reward, will not only make the innovation system stronger, it will also spread the profits of growth more fairly. This will ensure that education, health and transport can benefit from state investments in innovation, instead of just the small number of people who see themselves as wealth creators, while relying increasingly on the courageous, entrepreneurial state.

    See, the state takes your money by force (or borrows it on your behalf without consent), invests it in a company, and then reaps the reward of the investment via ownership of the company or a share of its profits. How could anybody object to such a wonderful scheme?

  • OldMexican||

    Recognising the state as a lead risk-taker


    The question-begging proposition is bad enough. If you read the comments where someone a tad more awake than this guy informs him, very politely, that you're not really risking anything if you "risk" someone else's money, someone commented back something around the lines of "risk based on greed is icky," which pretty much places in a nutshell the gist of the whole article: the altruistic interest of the state is good, risk-taking for greed is icky; the basic economic analysis does not go further than that.

    The article is startling not just for the basic economic fallacies and the overall misunderstanding of what is entrepreneurship and the process of discovery. No, the startling thing is that for a magazine called "New Scientist," the article they chose to publish is terribly written, filled with obvious logical fallacies and platitudes. It reads like the contribution of a high school student to the school's paper.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Back 2009-2010, when I was in academia, I knew some absolutely brilliant people in my department, who could spot a subtle flaw in a proof about something they hadn't studied in years.

    Then they would turn around and repeat the stupidest, most fallacious Democrat talking point about Obamacare, and stick to it even if you explained why it was obviously false.

    Compartmentalization is a bitch.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    First, this requires an admission that the state does more than just fix market failures

    Oh look! A conclusion (not) cleverly disguised as a premise!

    The state has shaped and created markets

    The state "created" markets in the same way the state "created" gravity. Either that, or this idiot writer doesn't appreciate that "the market" happens whenever two or more people meet and exchange goods and/or services.

    and, in doing so, took on great risks.

    Such as?

    Second, we must ask where the reward is for such risk-taking and admit that it is no longer coming from the tax systems.

    No risk has been proven, therefore no reward can be expected.

    Third, we must think creatively about how that reward can come back.

    An argument without proof. I for one am absolutely shocked.

  • ||

    New Scientist. Hmmm. What do you want to bet they are....yep, look at that. Warmistas.

  • Warrren||

    Give us money and we'll bend the evidence to say whatever you want it to say?

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Explaining Twerking to Your Parents

    Every child dreads this day: sooner or later, your parents will come to you, innocently wide-eyed, to ask you about twerking. How you handle this difficult conversation is extremely important and could have a significant impact on the way your parents think about twerking for years to come. You may prefer to put off the big “twerk talk,” but remember that it’s far better for you to be the one to explain than for them to learn on their own by searching YouTube.

    It's the defining issue of this generation.

  • ||

    Well, at least everyone has stopped talking about the NSA, IRS and Benghazi.

    Consider the dog wagged!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    A quick look at the pioneering technologies of the past century points to the state, not the private sector, as the most decisive player in the game.

    If it hadn't been for that DARPA grant, the steam engine never would have been born!

  • Warrren||

  • The Late P Brooks||

    we must ask where the reward is for such risk-taking and admit that it is no longer coming from the tax systems. Third, we must think creatively about how that reward can come back.

    Caramba!

  • Hyperion||

    The person who wrote that shit is a very disturbed individual.

  • Warrren||

    So if not taxation, conscription?

  • Hyperion||

    Something like that, another dreamer of the big statist utopia, that always turns into dystopia every time it's tried.

    If you think things are getting bad now, just imagine what it would be like if people like that got complete control of the country.

    To write stuff like that, you have to be delusional to the point of being mentally disturbed, sick really.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    How about, every time they invest our money in a product that succeeds, they get to take one amendment out of the Bill of Rights.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    To write stuff like that, you have to be delusional to the point of being mentally disturbed, sick really.

    New Soviet Man?

  • Hyperion||

    I was just thinking when I was in the kitchen making tropical kabobs and seasoning some catfish for the grill, about why I really hate people like that so much.

    Our founders fought and many died to get us the freedom that we have enjoyed for so long, and then sick fucks like this come along and want to give that up to chase their fantasies of another reign of some murderous tyrant like Stalin or Mao, who will force their sick ideologies on the masses, and just kill the ones that don't accept it.

    It's fucking disgusting and sick. Yet, this is exactly what the progs want. They are sick, sick people.

  • ||

    I think they do have good intentions. I cannot believe they are truly evil. They simply cannot reason. They cannot see second order consequences and refuse to learn from history.

    Not excusing their stupidity, it's just that they don't wake up in the morning saying, "How can I ruin the world?" They don't realize that good intentions, without logic, will ruin the world.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    There are some people in this world who would rather have the certainty of slavery than the uncertainty of freedom. To them, the chains of servitude are lighter and more comfortable than the weight of moral agency.

  • domoarrigato||

    Hi guys, haven't been around in a while (around the time when they started threading, and before you needed an account).

    WTF, this place has changed - very hard to follow the threads - certainly more work than in the old days. and stuff.

  • Warrren||

    You're welcome.

  • ||

    The Reasonable extension for Chrome has an unthread option.

  • domoarrigato||

    Excellent, looks great

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    It's nearly impossible to figure out who's talking to who in that mode. eg Warren's post above yours.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    In order to establish paradise on earth, we must not merely repudiate individualism in order to extoll the orderly beauty of the ant farm collective, it is imperative that we confiscate the fruits of individual labor for redistribution.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Rand Paul asks Kerry, "How can you ask a man to be the first one to die from a mistake?"

    Althouse: So, we watched the talk shows today, and in addition to Kerry, on "Meet the Press," there was Rand Paul, and just about the first thing he said was:

    ... I think it's a mistake to get involved in the Syrian civil war. And what I want would ask John Kerry is, he's famous for saying, "How can you ask a man to be the last one to die for a mistake?" I would ask John Kerry, "How can you ask a man to be the first one to die from a mistake?"

    I'm not saying Rand reads the Althouse blog, but hi, Rand. Rand was remarkable — or seemed remarkable in contrast to Kerry, who preceded him — because he listened to the questions and appeared to think in real time and then verbalize actual answers.
  • Anonymous Coward||

    “...In our opinion, and from our experience, there is nothing in South Vietnam (Syria), nothing which could happen that realistically threatens the United States of America. And to attempt to justify the loss of one American life in Vietnam (Syria), Cambodia (Iran), or Laos (Yemen) by linking such loss to the preservation of freedom, which those misfits supposedly abuse, is to us the height of criminal hypocrisy, and it is that kind of hypocrisy which we feel has torn this country apart....”

    ....We are asking Americans to think about that because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam (Syria)? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? But we are trying to do that, and we are doing it with thousands of rationalizations...”
  • Fatty Bolger||

    Not sure if this has been linked already. It's an Obama puff piece, deliberately "leaked" straight out of the White House, I have no doubt. The headline writer surprisingly refuses to play along, but the author offers only token resistance.

    President Pulls Lawmakers Into Box He Made

    President Obama’s aides were stunned at what their boss had to say when he summoned them to the Oval Office on Friday at 7 p.m., on the eve of what they believed could be a weekend when American missiles streaked again across the Middle East.

    In a two-hour meeting of passionate, sharp debate in the Oval Office, he told them that after a frantic week in which he seemed to be rushing toward a military attack on Syria, he wanted to pull back and seek Congressional approval first.
  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    If he made the decision to strike Syria without Congress now, he said, would he get Congress when he really needed it?

    If he doesn't need Congressional authorization now, why would he need it in the future?

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Because "hypothetical future war" might involve more than just lobbing a few missiles Assad's way.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Not seeing the difference w.r.t. either the constitution or the WPA.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Though that would explain why the warboner crowd would like this pronouncement (indeed, the entire article seems tailored to soothe their rage at the prez for not giving them the destruction they wanted).

    Sure they get blue balls now, but if they're patient, BO will finger their prostate next time.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Oh, and by the way, I hope that "senior aide" who spoke to the NYT has his airline tickets for Hong Kong and Moscow ready. We know how much this admin hates people who leak sensitive national security info.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Oh, yes, he better watch out, Obama's going to be really mad at him! [winks]

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Shouldn't be hard to track him down:

    “I have a pretty big idea I want to test with you guys,” he said to the group, which included Mr. McDonough and his deputy, Rob Nabors; the national security adviser, Susan E. Rice, and her deputies, Antony J. Blinken and Benjamin J. Rhodes; the president’s senior adviser, Dan Pfeiffer; and several legal experts to discuss the War Powers Resolution.

    That's a quote, not a paraphrase, so the leak source must be one of those guys.

  • ||

    It's a strong possibility, but "included" isn't necessarily "limited to". There could have been other people there.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    In that meeting, held in the White House Situation Room, Mr. Obama said he was devastated by the images of women and children gasping and convulsing from the effects of a poison gas attack in the suburbs of Damascus three days before.

    I can understand BO's revulsion. Civilized leaders use Hellfire missiles to incinerate women and children -- much quicker and less prone to convulsions.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    President Obama’s aides were stunned at what their boss had to say when he summoned them to the Oval Office on Friday at 7 p.m., on the eve of what they believed could be a weekend when American missiles streaked again across the Middle East.

    I can just imagine the groans of disappointment. Like a station wagon full of brats watching Dairy Queen receding into the distance out the rear window.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Ms. Calmes, or whichever BO staffer wrote that article, does have an interesting way of framing things.

    Plenty of usage of the term "war-weary", as if preferring not to kill people for all eternity going forward was a character flaw.

  • PapayaSF||

    "Wait, what's this 'Constitution' thing you are referring to?"

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    This is going to be a hilarious Congressional slapfight on Syria next week.

    The neo-cons and Apocalypse Fundie set in the GOP vs the whacko-birds and 'Just say No to Obama' crowd.

    Put them on record and primary their ass.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Put them on record and primary their ass.

    Your party first.

  • Jordan||

    The neo-cons and Apocalypse Fundie set

    Which your Messiah is apparently a part of.

  • PapayaSF||

    I look forward to the Democrats who will disavow their own words of 10 years ago, stiff their peacenik voters, and proclaim "This time it's different!" as they toe the party line.

  • ||

    To say nothing of the "It was totally wrong when that other guy did it!" crowd.

    Put them on record and... stroke their newfound warboner? Good boy, shreek.

  • ||

    This is going to be a hilarious

    No one cares what you think. GO AWAY!

  • Warrren||

    U.S. Government to issue every one a secure log-in I.D.!

    http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com.....15225.html

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Not sure why we need this -- we already have SSNs.

  • Warrren||

    "We" don't.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I'm sure Code Pink is preparing to primary Pelosi over her "endless war" vote.

  • Whahappan?||

    Actually, to her credit, Cindy Sheehan did just that.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    U.S. Government to issue every one a secure log-in I.D.!

    What could possibly go wrong?

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

    sarcastic?

  • PapayaSF||

  • db||

    "Still brown?"

  • Bam!||

    Has botox made his face that smooth or is it just a shitty frame grab?

  • ||

    John Kerry walks into a bar, and the bartender says, "Hey john, why the long face?"

    Ba, dum, chhhhh!

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Hey, lady, enough with the milk and give me a bottle of Jack Daniels with a rubber nipple, lol

    thekidisstartingearly.com

  • ||

    Dr. Gideon Koren, the director of Motherisk Programs at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, told Canada AM this month there is no ‘‘need’’ to drink alcohol during pregnancy, and those who do might overdo it.

    And it's our job to protect you and your unborn snowflake from yourself.

    Once she started to show, Amber Pohl felt a little self-conscious lining up for her twice-weekly coffee at a Winnipeg Starbucks — especially knowing about a barista friend’s co-worker who used to sneak pregnant customers decaf when they asked for regular.

    I'm speechless.

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

    Ain't nobody throw the word need around as well as a prog!

  • Warrren||

    Is Motherisk a precursor to Motherboy?

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

    The complicated appeal of black metal

  • ||

    Reminds me of the Bill Hicks bit about marketing (although I'm not completely clear if he was actually a shallow-thinking lefty moron or the irony was intentional).

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

    Atlanta strip clubs have become a hot bed for discovering musical artists, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

    Remember: Save your quarters. Saturday is Cassette Store Day!

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

    No Atlantic Hurricane by August in First Time in 11 Years

  • ||

    CLIMATE CHANGE!

  • ||

    So is climate change good or is not having hurricanes bad?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    The number of hurricanes should be constant from year to year. They should also give 24 hours notice before changing direction.

  • ||

    Joke all you want, but you'll change your tune when that sharknado hits...

  • John||

    When we do have them, the strength scale now goes to 11. Al Gore told me that.

  • Warrren||

    Wait, who is our hurricane provider? Someone needs to talk to that guy.

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

    in '07, Katrina landed on my birthday.
    We were told it would only get worse.

  • ||

    I don't think we've had a day over 100 degrees in the last three summers. But weather isn't climate, except when it supports absurd theories.

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

    '05

  • The Late P Brooks||

    No Atlantic Hurricane by August in First Time in 11 YearsM.

    Obviously another sequester-induced shortage.

  • John||

    http://gunsnfreedom.com/chicag.....-training/

    Chicago police commissioner, "I will train my officers to kill innocent gun owners. Fuck it, it is not like we have to pay the judgments. Officer safety you know."

  • ||

    So that's what they mean when they say that guns are dangerous.

  • John||

    He admitted right there that they consider their lives to be more important than yours. Fire every God damned one of them.

  • ||

    This is the Chicago version of "He has his ruling, now let him enforce it".

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    I didn't realize that the concealed carry statute would apply to people walking around with guns in their hands.

  • ||

    I didn't realize that legalizing concealed carry would entail thousands of citizens running around with their guns drawn needlessly either. I don't think most gun owners are that stupid. Nevertheless, even the crime of brandishing a firearm is not punishable by summary execution in most jurisdictions that I'm aware of.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    So if someone brandishes a firearm in your direction, how are you going to respond?

    We're always talking about how carrying firearms in public is our god-given right and important for self-defense blah blah blah.... and now you're telling me that brandishing a gun at someone doesn't justify being shot? What the heck is the point of lugging these guns around on our belts then?

  • ||

    McCarthy's definition of what would justify lethal force doesn't even seem to meet the legal definition of brandishing.

    when somebody turns with a firearm in their hand the officer does not have an obligation to wait to get shot to return fire and we’re going to have tragedies as a result of that. I’m telling you right up front.

    A) This presumes that concealed carry licensees will make routine practice of running around with their gun in their hands, which seems ludicrous given the experience of the other 49 states that have had legal concealed carry for decades.

    B) This is implicitly stating that cops will use deadly force as a first resort to respond to non-deadly situations. Perfectly typical, but most cops don't have the balls to come right out and say that.

    In any case, as I said, previously, even in the extremely unlikely event that a legal concealed carry holder was wandering around with his gun in his hand, cops should have an obligation to at least warn the suspect in that situation before unloading on him. Brandishing a firearm is not punishable by summary execution in most jurisdictions that I'm aware of.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Brandishing a firearm is not punishable by summary execution in most jurisdictions that I'm aware of.

    Are killings in self-defense now termed "summary execution"?

    Aggravated assault isn't punishable by death either, but most of us thought Mr Zimmerman was justified in shooting that poor "kid" Trayvon.

  • ||

    Do you wonder why you're hated here?

    You argue/imply that handling a weapon in public is grounds for shooting the handler, and then nitpick for a fucking hour.

    You deserve all the rancor you receive.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Completely misrepresenting what the commissioner said, on the other hand, is an act worthy of praise.

  • ||

    Fuck you! You're a disgusting little weasel.

    I could care less who said what about the commissioner. Your implication was clear. You implied that handling a weapon in public was justification for being shot by law enforcement.

    "I didn't realize that the concealed carry statute would apply to people walking around with guns in their hands."

    And then when called on your fucking bullshit, you backpedal.

    You are a pathetic little man.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    I could care less who said what about the commissioner.

    So you're jumping into the middle of a conversation that you don't know the context of?

    We weren't talking about walking around while hunting in the state game lands.

    We weren't talking about getting ready to walk up to the firing line at a competition on a public range.

    We're talking about walking around a densely populated area with a gun in your hand. Not in a holster, not in a sling, not in your pocket, in your hand. You'd have to be out of your mind to do that. I don't care how pure your intentions are for doing something like that -- someone's going to think you mean them harm and it's going to be damned hard to question that conclusion.

  • ||

    You. Are. A. Fucking. Idiot.

    In many places in this country, handling a handgun in public, in town, wouldn't be given a second thought . BY ANYONE!

    AND that has nothing to do with your original comment, you mendacious cunt.

  • ||

    Are killings in self-defense now termed "summary execution"?

    Could you possibly be a more ridiculous, mendacious, scumbag?

    Aggravated assault isn't punishable by death either, but most of us thought Mr Zimmerman was justified in shooting that poor "kid" Trayvon.

    You of all people should be familiar with the term "totality of circumstances". That you would equate:

    when somebody turns with a firearm in their hand...

    To somebody getting the shit beaten out of them pretty much says it all.

    I guess that son of a bitch walking around with unlicensed, unregistered underwear had it coming too. Filthy punk!

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Have you taken any firearm self-defense training, PM?

    You know how long it takes for a gun pointed in some other direction to become pointed at you? Faster than you can draw, unless you're Commander Data's and Luke Skywalker's love child.

  • ||

    Have you taken any firearm self-defense training, PM?

    No. I don't own any firearms.

    You know how long it takes for a gun pointed in some other direction to become pointed at you?

    I'm sure I could ballpark it.

    Faster than you can draw, unless you're Commander Data's and Luke Skywalker's love child.

    Undoubtedly true, but also totally irrelevant. There's no rule saying that an officer can't draw his weapon without firing it. McCarthy said:

    the officer does not have an obligation to wait to get shot to return fire

    Leaving aside the obvious logical contradiction of what fire the officer would be "returning" if he doesn't have to wait to be fired upon first, he didn't seem to be suggesting that his officers would precautionily draw their firearms in that situation - he said they'd shoot.

    I don't have a problem with Joe Blue coming upon a suspicious person with his gun drawn. But in the event the suspicious person "turns with a firearm in their hand...", I do think it would behoove him to give the suspicious person an opportunity to drop his weapon, or at least to announce his intent to fire before killing him (or at least trying - I suspect most of these proposed offenders would be fairly safe given the Stevie Wonder-esque accuracy of most cops in the field).

  • Redmanfms||

    Tulpa sided with dumpster in a thread last year about cops shooting a man who answered his door in the middle of the night with a firearm in his hand (every after it was revealed that the evidence didn't fit the officers' version of how the shooting went down), so it shouldn't be much of a surprise that he is continuing his boot-licking here.

    Tulpa is best left reasonable-ed and ignored.

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    Whenever I hear about officer safety I recall how the unofficial motto of the Coast Guard used to be "You have to go out; you don't have to come back."

  • John||

    That should be the model of every police force. That is what they get paid for. If we just wanted to shoot people, we could get someone to do that for fee.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    The commissioner is an asshole, but that's not remotely what he said.

    So I’ll train our officers that there is a concealed carry law, but when somebody turns with a firearm in their hand the officer does not have an obligation to wait to get shot to return fire and we’re going to have tragedies as a result of that.

    I know of no jurisdiction that allows people to walk around with guns in their hands on the street.

  • John||

    It is called open carry you half wit. And yeah, having a gun in your hand is not hostile intent. His officers do have to wait until the person raises the gun or does something to show hostile intent.\

    They can't just shoot someone because they see they have a gun. That is Rules for the Use of Force 101.

  • ||

    They can't just shoot someone because they see they have a gun.

    HE WAS REACHING FOR HIS WAISTBAND!!!!

    It's a slippery slope, John. You have open carry, next thing you know you've got maniacs running around openly brandishing their assault underwear.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    A gun in a holster or on a sling is open carry. In your hand, it's brandishing.

  • ||

    In your hand, it's brandishing.

    Actually, to meet the legal criteria in most states, it has to be a lot more specific than that.

    The burden is on the cop to ascertain the situation and try to take remedial measures (say, by instructing the suspect "Put down the weapon") before mindlessly blowing away anybody seen in the vicinity of a gun, legal or otherwise. The fascist cops in Chicago are going to have to get used to that.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    (1) in that definition is exactly what I stated. (3) is presumed -- obviously holding a weapon while defending yourself should not be a legal problem.

    (2) (rude/angry/threatening/quarrel) is going to be in the eye of the beholder.

  • ||

    (1) in that definition is exactly what I stated.

    Yes and no. The act of holding a gun by itself isn't brandishing. If you're standing around holding a gun by yourself and a cop comes upon the scene, you weren't "brandishing" until the cop showed up to provide a third-party presence, by the legal definition.

    (2) (rude/angry/threatening/quarrel) is going to be in the eye of the beholder.

    Shoot first, ask questions later. Got it.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Sorry, if a stranger turns his gun toward me on the street with a gun in his hand, and I don't have a strong reason to believe he intends no harm, and I'm carrying, he's getting drawn on. I don't see why it should be different for a cop.

  • ||

    if a stranger turns his gun toward me on the street...

    That isn't what McCarthy said. He said "when somebody turns with a firearm in their hand...". I'd be pretty astonished if you weren't convicted of at least manslaughter for blowing somebody away without warning because they turned and had a gun in their hand. That's a pretty vague set of circumstances. I would, however, be utterly unsurprised if a cop so much as lost a paid day of work for doing the same thing. Or if you would defend him with your dying breath from your own jail cell.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    You live in VA, correct? Open carry is legal here. Try walking around in the center of town tomorrow with a pistol in your hand and see what happens.

  • John||

    If I am shot that will be because the cops are morons who don't know the law. Merely having a gun is not grounds for a cop to use deadly force. Just stop it. You were wrong here.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    That's not what I meant; I'd be more concerned about you getting a free limo with blue lights on top, and free lodging for a few days.

  • ||

    “You put more guns on the street expect more shootings,” McCarthy said. “I don’t care if they’re licensed legal firearms, people who are not highly trained… putting guns in their hands is a recipe for disaster..."

    Anyone want to bet the dipshit eats those words?

  • John||

    Yes and no. For sure everything he says is complete bullshit. But he will never admit to it regardless of how obvious it is.

    And note the Trayvon Martin reference.

  • John||

    Can you imagine the number of bullet holes would have been put in Martin had he sucker punched and jumped on top of a Chicago cop? A lot more than the one he got.

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    Police boat allides with two moored boats during maneuver then leaves the scene. The owners of the vessels were later arrested for interfering with an investigation. (jk)

  • John||

    They would have had they been there, especially if the had tried to record what happened.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    RACISM It's everywhere.

    TAYLOR BRANCH: I think that we have an imbalance.

    I think the 50-year blink, we have stupendous progress, for not only black people, for the white South, for women, for all kinds of groups, but that our politics has atrophied and we're paralyzed. We don't see that.

    We have this, in my view, race-based partisan gridlock that denies the possibilities that America can do what we proved that we could do in the '60s, which is tackle our toughest problem.

    GWEN IFILL: You think the partisan gridlock is race-based?

    TAYLOR BRANCH: Oh, absolutely. There's no question that, even by the numbers, it's race-based.

    The average Republican district has 50 percent more white people. The average Democratic district in the Congress has twice as many non-whites. Partisan gridlock is racial. The biggest unexamined question in American politics is why and what we're going to do about it. We just accept partisan gridlock as part of our cynical inheritance.

    But we shouldn't do that. We should say, is it racial, and if so, why, and how can we get around it? And I blame both sides. I think both sides don't -- our gridlock right now is basically saying the only solution is for the other side to drop dead. And that's not going to happen.

    This is why we need PBS.

  • John||

    The idea that blacks could be, because they vote almost entirely for one party, foiling the wishes of the majority of whites is never considered. Black people can never be racist.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    The idea that blacks could be, because they vote almost entirely for one party, foiling the wishes of the majority of whites is never considered.

    I think that's due more to statistics, considering Blacks are only 12% of the American population, thus your scenario only makes sense in a Black-majority district.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    True, but dead people also break heavily in favor of the Dems.

  • ||

    The non-offensive term is "differently alive", necrophobe.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Whatever dude. I've always supported dead marriage.

  • ||

    We just accept partisan gridlock as part of our cynical inheritance.

    Oh noes! Not teh deadly cynicism!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    So I’ll train our officers that there is a concealed carry law, but when somebody turns with a firearm in their hand the officer does not have an obligation to wait to get shot to return fire and we’re going to have tragedies as a result of that.

    "Kill 'em all, and let God sort them out. It's not like we're going to be held to any sort of level of professional responsibility."

  • ||

    professional responsibility

    Two words buddy: New. Professionalism.

  • Boisfeuras||

    So I’ll train our officers that there is a concealed carry law, but when somebody turns with a firearm in their hand the officer does not have an obligation to wait to get shot to return fire and we’re going to have tragedies as a result of that.

    Interesting usage of "return" fire.

  • SIV||

    Fuckin' Nazis

    They all should be dragged in chains behind trucks. With no speed limiters.

  • ||

    They all should be dragged in chains behind trucks.

    RACIST!

    With no speed limiters.

    ANARCHIST!

  • ||

    A Government source told the Mail on Sunday Mr McLoughlin had instructed officials to block the move because they ‘violated’ motorists’ freedom. They said: “This has Big Brother written all over it and is exactly the sort of thing that gets people's backs up about Brussels.

    No shit.

  • ||

    HA HA:

    I know it may be hard to believe reading the comments, but Americans really aren't as stupid as we are coming across. This story was linked to a website called Drudge. This site is the haven of the dumbest of the dumb in our country. When this man Matt Drudge links to a site the comments section always blows up with ultra right wing crazy, and blatant racism.

    We aren't all inbred, racist, whack jobs. Also, most of the most outrageous comments come from his paid crew of professional news article commentators.

    American proggie wants the Brits to know that they're on board with this.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Wait, people are being racist toward Europeans now?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    From the same guy.

    I have billions of brain cells. These posters from the haven of hate website all have very poor concepts of sentence structure, capitalization and punctuation.

  • ||

    Drudge linked to a H&R post last week, but there was no blow-up in the comments.

  • PapayaSF||

    his paid crew of professional news article commentators

    Hey, where do I send my résumé for one of those gigs?

  • ||

    To Koch Industries, Hate, Racism & Anarchy division, of course.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Top Gear may have to move production to Montana.

    I thought the Germans were running the EU these days? How is this possible?

  • Archduke Trousersenthusiast||

    I think I just heard Jezza scream from hear

  • Guy LaGuy||

  • Boisfeuras||

    King’s references to the National Liberation Front and North Vietnamese show an earnest effort to understand the historical and contemporary context of the conflict. It is nuanced and fair, without whitewash or rationalization.

    Richman,

    The "NLF"—known as the Viet Cong to residents of reality—was a terrorist organization that used against the civilian populace, in an effort to install a communist regime against the desire of the South Vietnamese people: indiscrimant bombing and shelling, abduction, assassination, torture, kidnapping, impressment, forced labor, armed tax collection, and execution by drumhead court.

    The VC systematically murdered 3,000 bound civilian men, women, and children at Hue alone during the 1968 Tet Offensive. At Dak Son in 1967, the VC used flamethrowers to kill 252 Montagnards for daring to shelter refugees. From 1967 to mid-1970, VC carried out an estimated 19,424 assassinations and 26,196 kidnappings.

    "The VC assassinated village leaders, disemboweling and decapitating them in full view of the village to demonstrate their primacy in a given area...Communist operatives abducted "enemies" and clubbed, shot, or buried them alive. VC units skinned or eviserated captured GIs and hung the defiled corpses in the paths of American patrols." (Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War)

  • Boisfeuras||

    King:

    "With that tragic decision we rejected a revolutionary government seeking self-determination and a government that had been established not by China — for whom the Vietnamese have no great love — but by clearly indigenous forces that included some communists. For the peasants this new government meant real land reform, one of the most important needs in their lives."

    That "real land reform" in North Vietnam, 1954 to 1956:

    "Lam Thanh Liem, a major authority on land issues in Vietnam, conducted multiple interviews in which communist cadres gave estimates for land reform executions ranging from 120,000 to 200,000. Such figures match the "nearly 150,000 houses and huts which were allocated to new occupants".[20] Landlords were arbitrarily classified as 5.68% of the population, but the majority were subject to less severe punishment than execution. Official records from the time suggest that 172,008 "landlords" were executed during the "land reform", of whom 123,266 (71.66%) were later found to be wrongly classified.[12] Victims were reportedly shot, beheaded, and beaten to death; "some were tied up, thrown into open graves and covered with stones until they were crushed to death".[21] The full death toll was even greater because victims' families starved to death under the "policy of isolation."[22]"
  • Boisfeuras||

    Further, King showed no understanding whatsoever of the "historical and contemporary context" of the war. He showed the profound naivete or mendacity required of Western leftists to pen apologias for murderers.

    Terrorism was nothing new in Vietnam, as it was used by the Viet Minh during the Indo-China War, nor was the Viet Minh or VC composed of "some communists":

    "The Viet Minh war against the French was marked by considerable use of terror, not only against the French, but against Vietnamese who did not support the Viet Minh. Beginning in the final days of World War II, the communists, under Vo Nguyen Giap, destroyed all non-communist nationalist leaders they could run to earth. In the Viet Minh controlled areas during the war, "enemies of the Resistance" were systematically eliminated." (Pike, 55)

  • JeremyR||

    MLK also said "If your opponent has a conscience, then follow Gandhi. But if you enemy has no conscience, like Hitler, then follow Bonhoeffer."

    Bonhoeffer being a theologian who was part of the German resistance against the Nazis and supposedly part of the conspiracy to kill Hitler.

    He wasn't anti-war at all.

    I'd be all for attacking Syria if it meant replacing Assad with modern republic. But instead, it's going to be replaced by an Al-Qaeda linked group that would likely be far, far worse.

  • Redmanfms||

    He wasn't anti-war at all.

    To be fair, neither was Gandhi.

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