Awww, Somebody Doesn't Like Getting Bombed?

Their sudden loss of faith in the Freedom Babes isn't the only disturbing trend in the glib pro-war punditsphere. Last year, novelist-turned-junk bond salesman Roger L. Simon was ecstatic about the shifting winds in Lebanon.

Beirut! Beirut! Beirut!

The biggest demonstration yet (800,000... a million who knows...) on the streets of Beirut - this time from the pro-democracy side. How thrilling it is to see this! Let's all pray (even we agnostics) for continued non-violence.

That was then. Now the buzz is off and Simon is exhorting Lebanon to shut up and take its bombing like a man.

They had a drastically unfinished [revolution] on which they had punked out in big ways. I know "Democracy! Whiskey! Sexy!" was a great rallying cry and the Cedar Revolution had plenty of democracy "babes;" but much as I love babes, that's only a small part of the story. Unfortunately some Lebanese (and their supporters) think revolution is all latte, chic chatter and art galleries.
...
Those same Lebanese are now blaming the Israelis because they (the Lebanese) left their rattle snake on the Israeli border. Talk about irresponsiblity and denial. This is the kind of thinking that guarantees lack of change and emotional development. The American supporters of these Lebanese bloggers are nothing more than enablers. One of these bloggers has now run off crying to Syria of all places. It would be comically absurd if it wasn't so sad.

Note to the Lebanese: If you want democracy, finish the job. Starbucks can come later, if you really think you need it.

What a terrific formulation for stateside supporters of The Global War on Terror. People in the war zone: Duck and cover and stop whining about it. People in front of their laptops: Clap louder.

Along the same lines, check out Hugh Hewitt launching a summer offensive against "the 180s," pundits who used to pound furiously at their keyboards in support of the war but now pound furiously against it, because "with less than 30 months to go in the Adminstration, it is time to start thinking about delivering the next president a country with a renewed commitment to the long war." Lebanese civilians: Expendable. Bloggers: Priceless.

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  • ||

    Announcer: "Oh my!! And Weigel with a vicious piling on to Cavanuagh's last post"

    (sound of blowing whistle)

    Referee: "Personal foul...late hit...excessive schadenfreude...15 yards"

  • Sandy||

    I think Israel should attack every country that has failed to stop Hezbollah. So who here volunteers to have their house bombed to pressure GW Bush into stopping Hezbollah?

    Hey, it's Hugh Hewitt's fault that Hezbollah still exists, because he didn't arm up, Rambo style, and take 'em out.

  • Jesse Walker||

    Why doesn't Simon call the Lebanese "little Eichmanns" and be done with it?

  • ||

    Sandy-

    I would like to apologize for not stopping Hezbollah. However, as a good libertarian I cannot volunteer to have my house bombed. I live in an apartment building, and it would be contrary to my principles to agree to the destruction of property that I don't own.

    Tell ya what: I'll leave the door unlocked so that a SWAT team can enter (without having to destroy the door) and shoot at me. This will teach somebody else a lesson.

  • ||

    SWAT teams don't check to see if the door is unlocked, thoreau. What would be the fun in that?

  • ||

    A lot of people in this country believe war is great, but the fine print say as long as it's in someone elses backyard.

  • ||

    You had better get that seditious little bowser out of town first, Thoreau.

  • ||

    The Lebenese left "the little rattlesnake on Israel's door" because they had no choice. There had been a civil war going on for 20 years. I don't blame the Lebonese for making what deals they had to to end it.

    In an ideal world, the international community would have acted and forcibly disarmed Hezbollah after the peace accords. The chances of an Arab group ever being held to its word are somewhere less than zero so that didn't happen.

    I don't blame the Lebonese but I can't blame the Israelis either. No country in the world would allow militia groups to fire rockets at its civilians and not respond. As I said in the other thread, the only good that can come out of this is hopefully lots and lots of dead Hezbollah.

  • KipEsquire||

    Simon's thesis is best summed up by the expression, "Lebanon talked the talked but didn't walk the walk."

    Which is an outrageous, hypocritical worldview ... um, how?

  • gaius marius||

    it simply adds to my conviction that there's nothing the united states -- left, right and center alike -- could use more or better to readjust the wild-eyed fanaticism of its desktop imperialists and interventionists (as well as the sea of overentertained indifference that they float in) than to sit under a debilitating air campaign for a month, watching iconic american cities pounded to rubble as prelude to a "liberating" invasion.

    pehaps with that experience, they could begin to understand why we are so hated and why the west will never be the role model for positive social development in the third world.

    ah, who am i kidding? all that would result is a renewed and yet more belligerent paranoia and a great deal of angst over the atomization of jennifer aniston. the decadent always refuse to learn.

  • gaius marius||

    Which is an outrageous, hypocritical worldview ... um, how?

    which merits a rain of high-powered explosives... um, how, mr esquire?

    if an outrageous and hypocritical worldview is all it takes to justify destruction, why are we still here? nary a brick should stand atop another from moscow to los angeles.

  • ||

    Gaius I think you should have to sit under a desk while HAmas and Hezbollah bomb your city and be told that your government would like to do something to defend you, but they can't since it wouldn't be proportional and you are all a bunch of dirty zionist Jews who deserve it anyway.

  • gaius marius||

    There had been a civil war going on for 20 years. I don't blame the Lebonese for making what deals they had to to end it.

    precisely. if israel wants someone to blame for hezbollah, they have themselves. 1982 was one of the more singularly dimwitted ideas in the history of zionism -- which is saying something -- and they are reaping what they have sown. and why is america paying for it and facilitating it?

    but that's all quite besides the point, isn't it? they didn't go into lebanon for soldiers or for hezbollah, i suspect. i don't imagine any idf tactician is silly enough to really imagine that they can uproot hezbollah any more than they can hamas, who they've turned into the most popular political party in palestine by their intransigence.

  • ||

    "Note to the Lebanese: If you want democracy, finish the job."

    Then Simon launched into a story about his experience in combat

    Nah, I'm just kidding. Obviously.

    The word "chicken hawk" was invented for people like Roger Simon; the Lebanese he's spitting on actually took their lives in their hands by standing up to Syria and Hezbollah, but not matter; it's more convenient for this political faction to call them cowards.

    Maybe Simon can start handing out band-aids with little cedar trees on them.

  • gaius marius||

    I think you should have to sit under a desk while HAmas and Hezbollah bomb your city and be told that your government would like to do something to defend you, but they can't since it wouldn't be proportional and you are all a bunch of dirty zionist Jews who deserve it anyway.

    lol -- attacking the strawman. surely we are stupid enough to sit here and try to quid pro quo it away, mr john?

    neither side is right to kill -- obviously, i daresay. but israel destroys its own interests and ours -- and, considering whose beachhead israel is, that matters -- in indulging idiocies like this largely for the sake of internal politics.

    kadima feels weak after sharon. they see the threat from benni netanyahu. so they decide to show the electorate that they haven't forgotten how to murder and remember greater israel.

    moreover, israel is in control of this. what they are "responding" to is a nuisance that they themselves have constructed by their intransigence in just the same way as we helped to build al-qaeda. i would think this should be obvious to all parties -- terrorism is a reaction, not a creation.

    are we really going to with straight faces say that israel was "forced" or even justified in starting an air, land and sea war with a weak neighbor because of a captured solider?

    dirty zionist Jews

    OH THAT"S RIGHT. israel is only criticized by antisemites. i forgot. politics and religion are one and the same.

  • ||

    What do you propose they do gaius? They can't sit there and let their soldiers be kidnapped and their cities bombed? Like I said in an ideal world, the world community would have acted years ago and destroyed Hezbollah for the common good. That is not happening. I can't blame the Israelis for going after Hezbollah and Lebenon. I would certainly expect the same from the U.S. if millitants were firing rockets into San Diago from Mexico.

  • ||

    gaius raises a good point. There's a lot of talk about how the bad guys hate us because of our success and because of our culture. But that leaves out the fact that we've been blowing people up and supporting others who are blowing people up for quite some time now. I'm not throwing out the reality of world politics or anything, but I wonder how much more influential we'd have been if we were just really successful and powerful but mostly kept out of things, militarily speaking? Would more countries have turned to the Western model because of its demonstrated success?

    Maybe not, but I think there's an opportunity cost to consider when opting for military action. This seems an obvious point, but I think we've been on the winning side too much to understand how much resentment is generated by having to withstand overwhelming force. In fact, in the modern era, we've never really been on the losing side of a major military action--even Vietnam was heavily one-sided in casualties, destruction, etc.

    Of course, it's hard to change horses in midstream, and, given where we are now, I support military action under certain circumstances. I think the invasion of Afghanistan made plenty of sense, for instance, given 9/11. Also, the fact is that some countries have responded in a good way afterwards--Japan and Germany are the archetypal examples, but even Vietnam is reasonably friendly towards the U.S.

    I suppose Israel sees itself in midstream, too. If they could stop the madness and start over, I'm sure that they would. It's hard to blame them completely for what they're doing now, but the usual question has to be asked: When and where does this all end?

  • ||

    I don't blame the Lebanese for not having warm feelings for Israel right now [note use of understatement for effect -ed.] . OTOH, Israel may themselves feel that the Lebanese government has not even made the sort of token gestures towards disarming Hezbollah that would have caused them to be more restrictive in their bombing (and who knows, maybe they do have a better plan than we have evidence for).

    Its my unpleasant view that conditions are almost never right for some major social change to occur peacefully and without considerable pain. How much longer would it have taken for Blacks to get equal rights here had they and their allies not decided to finally demand them? In other words, when should have the rest of the Lebanese have demanded the Hez stop acting like a Mafia?

    I honestly don't blame then for wanting to avoid conflict (I do it personally all the time), especially the sort that might involve heavy artillery, but that doersn't mean that it was a wise choice.

  • ||

    welcome back, mr. gaius!

  • ||

    Where does it end pro?

    When the governments in Iran and Syria are no longer in power. That is the ugly truth. As long as Assad is in power in Syria and the mad mullahs are running Iran, Hezbollah is going to have sponsors to give them heavy weapons to attack Israel and intimidate the Lebonese government. As long as those two governments continue to exist in their present form, there will not be peace or stability in the middle-east.

  • ||

    Oh, goody- more armchair generalissimos. We definitely have an insufficient supply of those.

    "They had a drastically unfinished [revolution] on which they had punked out in big ways."

    What does that even mean? Punked out how? By not seeking American aid with which to buy fighter planes and tanks? By not rounding up "suspected terrrists (sic)" and holding them incommunicado for an indeterminate period without rights? By not asking for teams of CIA and Special Forces "advisors" to teach them the latest interrogation methods? By attempting to re-establish a civil society after years of being the playground of battling foreign factions?

  • gaius marius||

    They can't sit there and let their soldiers be kidnapped and their cities bombed?

    yes, in fact they can, mr john -- they really have no choice in that because that is the fruit of perpetual war. and i daresay that americans and europeans had best prepare for it as well, because this now sixty-year-old affair has less to do with jews, christians and muslims than with a decadent west imploding in upon itself in a fit of paranoid militarism.

    in an ideal world, the world community would have acted years ago and destroyed Hezbollah for the common good

    one of the symptoms of that implosion, mr john, is the narcissistic belief that our power is unlimited and that we could put hezbollah under our thumb by force if we really wanted to.

    how's that working out with the baathists, by the way? with the taliban? come to think of it, the west has been losing wars against popular movements opposing its empire since gandhi, kenya and algeria. has it won one yet?

    popular movements are not eradicable short of an effective genocide, and i pray to god that we are not about to start exterminating wholesale those we disagree with. any and all methods short of that amount to suppression and are ultimately not only ineffective but indeed strengthen the movement and weaken the suppressor. this is easily seen through countless examples, but relavantly by what the west's methods have done in the seizing of palestine -- we have less control over the situation than ever before, which has completely metastasized, and the popularity of radicalism has never been higher in the mideast.

    popular movements are responses to stimuli. the key is to go to the root of the problem and solve it. remove the stimulus.

    hamas is powerful because of the israeli occupation. end the occupation and take hamas as a partner in building a palestinian state.

    it won't work tomorrow, but in twenty years it will. take as the model northern ireland. once the ira and sinn fein were given real power, peace returned.

    I would certainly expect the same from the U.S. if millitants were firing rockets into San Diago from Mexico.

    if militants were firing rockets into texas from mexico, we would have done something to force that reaction. the key to solving it would be then to remove the stimulus.

    but i suspect all this is wasted on a nation who is so unbelievably self-involved and hubristic as to produce the likes of this roger simon.

  • ||

    When the governments in Iran and Syria are no longer in power. That is the ugly truth.

    You and what army is going to topple those regimes? Ours is a little busy right now.

    And if that doesn't work, who else will we invade John? I thought when we got rid of Saddam democracy in the Middle East would fall like dominos. But wait, there are a few more to be tipped over first.

  • ||

    "As long as Assad is in power in Syria and the mad mullahs are running Iran, Hezbollah is going to have sponsors to give them heavy weapons to attack Israel and intimidate the Lebonese government. As long as those two governments continue to exist in their present form, there will not be peace or stability in the middle-east."

    -----------

    *As long as Bush is in power in America and the rabid rabbis are running Israel, Israel is going to have sponsors to give them heavy weapons to attack Lebanon and intimidate the Lebanese government. As long as those two governments continue to exist in their present form, there will not be peace or stability in the middle-east.*

    How does that sound to you?

  • ||

    John, I'm not saying that Israel isn't already in the vicious circle, and I don't have some pat solution for getting them (or us) out of it. Just calling it quits probably isn't an option. But will the problem go away if we topple a couple more Muslim nations? In the long term? I doubt it. Maybe we take action against Iran to stop the nuke parade, but even that's a temporary solution. Eventually, we will have to face a nuclear Middle East. Pakistan's already there, as is, of course, Israel. I don't buy that peace is impossible. It's just damned hard, and the looniness of much of the Middle East makes it particularly frustrating. Don't get me wrong--there are times I think we should take the whole region over, live our glorious day, and fade into history, but that's just me getting tired of the whole mess.

  • ||

    P Brooks,

    Why don't move to Syria or Iran and live there for about six months. Afterall there is no moral difference between them and us. Further, I think you might want to actually go to Israel after these visits and compare the lives of Arab citizens of Israel with the lives of Arab citizens in Syria and Iran. You will find that 90% of the people in Syria and Iran would give anything to live with half of the dignity Arabs live in in Israel. Further, I think you need to go to Haifa where rockets are being indescriminately fired at civilians and sit and under that bombing and tell the whole world how wrong it is for Israel to defend itself.

    Basically you and gaius look at the Israeli and ultimately American's duty is to take it like a man and die at the hands of homocidal lunatics because we had it coming. Interesting how you and say the same things about Israel that you object to Simon saying about Lebenon.

  • R C Dean||

    They can't sit there and let their soldiers be kidnapped and their cities bombed?

    yes, in fact they can, mr john -- they really have no choice in that because that is the fruit of perpetual war.

    I agree, gaius. Perpetual war is what happens when a war is not brought to a conclusive finish. Since Israel withdrew from Lebanon, but was attacked nonetheless, we seem to have two options for a conclusive finish.

    Hezbollah and its supporters have made it clear that their preference for a conclusive finish is the extermination of Israel.

    The other option for a conclusive finish would appear to be the destruction or deterrence of Hezbollah and its supporters, which is what Israel is engaged in now.

    Of the three options (perpetual war, Hezbollah victory, Israeli victory) the third seems the best to me. The least worst option, to coin a phrase.

    Its a shame this has to happen in Lebanon, but if you are interested at all in controlling Hezbollah, that is where you have to fight them. Unless you are willing to go to war in Syria and Iran.

  • ||

    Pro,

    It is an ugly situation. Peace is impossible with Syria and Iran. They are not going to quit sponsoring terrorism and not going to quite attacking Israel and the United States and Europe whenever possible. Eventually they are going to be able to do real damage. It is just a matter of time. Unless you are self loathing and believe that the Israelis and the Western World should take it because it deserves it, you are going to have to deal with those countries. The governments have to do. That doesn't mean that the U.S. engages in nation building like Iraq. It just means that the governments are destroyed and the people in those countries are left to do whatever they like as long as they stop attacking us.

  • gaius marius||

    I wonder how much more influential we'd have been if we were just really successful and powerful but mostly kept out of things, militarily speaking?

    point taken, mr liberate -- i agree that we've traveled in the last century the path that took prussia from frederick to kaiser wilhelm.

    withdrawal is the solution to most of our problems, but this clearly isn't an option american power elites are going to consider easily. empire is also the only thing left propping us up. america is the custodian of western empire -- we manage the global economy just as surely as britain once did -- but its dependent as well.

    When the governments in Iran and Syria are no longer in power. That is the ugly truth.

    mr john, that's the ugly delusion. our problems only start with those events. methinks you've been listening too much to the unhinged self-ordained neitzschean supermen of this confused society.

    syria is the closest thing to a secular regime left in arabia, and assad's disposition would make a failed state of syria the same as iraq. do you understand who would come to power in the aftermath of assad in syria? and whose interests would be served? it wouldn't be america's -- we're proving that in iraq with our laughable puppet state already collapsing into the iranian fold. no one more amenable to narrowly-conceived western interests than assad would come of it -- and the chances of a kurdish war and turkish invasion of iraq and syria multiply, setting turk against kurd against arab yet again.

    neither would i believe what drivel is often said in american circles about iran. it is the power and order of central asia -- it is more fiercely prideful of its civilization than most any american can imagine. but it is far less violent and extroverted than we are. (seriously -- if you think we aren't funding terrorists around the world, look again.) it's western imperial militant paranoia that makes iran look a threat to us. i'd suggest taking them as a partner if we can. in the end, we have little choice.

    welcome back, mr. gaius!

    thanks, mr thoreau. server is as good as ever, i see. :)

  • Shannon Love||

    I must admit that reading this thread has change my thinking. I think I agree with Joe, gaius marius et al. I think they have identified the true cause of the trouble not only in the Mideast but in the rest of the world as well:

    Liberal-Democracy.

    Now I admit that before I was shockingly naive before and I had long assumed that the cause of the worlds conflict lay overwhelming with various forms of autocracy whose leadership initiated violence for their own ends. In my ignorance, I believed that liberal-democracies seldom had trouble resolving conflicts via negotiation as long as they honestly peace seeking entity on the other side of the table. The fact that no liberal-democracies had ever fought each other swayed my childlike thinking I admit.

    But clearly I was wrong. The various autocracies, both national and sub-national, must represent the true and, more importantly, just aspirations of the peoples of the world. Those I thought of as brutal kleptocrats are in fact shining visionaries on white horses leading their people and the world to a golden era when scourge of liberal-democracy will be wiped from the earth!

    I think the first practical step here is to somehow force Israel to become some kind of dictatorship. When need to get rid of multiple political parties, competitive elections, independent judiciary and a free press so that Israel will make as just and compassionate decisions as the other nations of the Mideast.

    The we can tackle America and the rest of the west. I think that Bright Shining One gaius marius would make a good glorious leader

  • ||

    R C Dean,

    Fair enough. I don't know that there isn't a fourth option, but it's hard not to face the fact that Israeli victory is probably preferable to continuous warfare.

  • ||

    syria is the closest thing to a secular regime left in arabia,

    They are so secular that their closest allies are the Mullahs in Iran. The fact that a regime is secular does not mean that it will not sponsor terrorism or allie itself with Islamists. The Syrians have sponsored Islamic terrorists for decades despite being "secular". Saddam sponsored Islamists terrorists as well and after the first gulf war embraced radical Islam.

    Getting rid of Assad would serve the millions of Syrians who live under his oppressive thumb. YOu must really hate Arabs. I can't see anything other than an abiding hatred would cause someone to hope than an entire race of people live under horrible opressive regimes like Assad's.

  • ||

    Israel's chances of defeating Hezbollah are about as good as our's defeating the insurgence in Iraq which with three years worth of work we still have no end in sight. The Pentagon has developed a pass the buck plan to get us out. Who can Israel pass the buck to?

    Hezbollah will never be defeated by military might, only isolated by politics. They will survive as long as they have a cause to survive. Israel's raids are probably doing more harm than good in the long run. Time will tell.

  • ||

    Shannon, don't confuse joe and gaius's common disdain for certain policies and attitudes with some sort of agreement concerning gaius's critique of democracy. gaius and joe are worlds apart philosophically, even if they happen to have a shared dislike of a few things. If you were to ask them what should be done about those things, beyond the first step, you would quickly see BIG differences.

    Conflating joe and gaius is a big no-no.

  • R C Dean||

    if militants were firing rockets into texas from mexico, we would have done something to force that reaction. the key to solving it would be then to remove the stimulus.

    Fascinating. gaius apparently believes there is no such thing as unjustified aggression.

    What if the stimulus for the rocket attacks into Israel is simply the continued presence of so many Jews in the Mideast? That would make the key to solving the rocket attacks the removal of the Jews, wouldn't it?

    come to think of it, the west has been losing wars against popular movements opposing its empire since gandhi, kenya and algeria. has it won one yet?

    Of course, gaius is playing a little semantic game with us here, quite reminiscent of the selective history of Noam Chomsky. "Popular" movements are difficult to define and generally quite nebulous, so it is hard to ever say which they are or when they have been conclusively defeated. You can cherry-pick your data set, in other words.

    Irrelevancy is a better term, and in much of the globe the day of the militant popular/leftist movement has largely passed. Hell, even Vietnam is becoming more capitalist by the day.

  • ||

    "Interesting how you and say the same things about Israel that you object to Simon saying about Lebenon."

    *?*

    --------

    As a practicing Indifferentist, I am no more (and no less) revulsed by faith-based murder on the part of Israel than I am by faith-based murder on the part of Hezbollah. That holds true of the same behavior by America.

    I inverted the players in your quote in a feeble attempt to demonstrate how absurd and fanatical it sounded to me. The answer to the question "who started it?" has long vanished into the mists of time and irrelevance; what I want to know is, "Who will bring this imbecility to an end?"

  • ||

    A moderate, secular Iran would be a nice thing. If only we'd seen the danger of the revolution in the first place, we might actually have had a strong, Muslim ally in the region. That may still be possible--I, for one, think that the extremism is more semi-populist veneer (though a ruling veneer, of course!) than the actual state of things in the country. If only an internal revolution would occur--that could solve a lot of problems for us and for the rest of the world.

  • gaius marius||

    Perpetual war is what happens when a war is not brought to a conclusive finish.

    no, mr dean, perpetual war is what happens when people are hubristic and delusional enough to believe that their chain of wars to set things right (that is, to create the world in their own image) has a "finish".

    the reality is that every war begets three more -- which is why empires, like red giant stars, live short lives and die from being bled dry.

  • ||

    "I would certainly expect the same from the U.S. if millitants were firing rockets into San Diego from Mexico." So Guatemala is supporting a militia in Northern Mexico, and the Mexicans don't have the strength to stop the Guatemala-supported militia. When the militia reins missiles down on San Diego, we attack....Cancun. That'll teach 'em!

  • gaius marius||

    gaius apparently believes there is no such thing as unjustified aggression.

    i don't think there's such a thing as a war that solves problems, mr dean -- as you would, if you spent more time studying the history of warfare and civilization.

    What if the stimulus for the rocket attacks into Israel is simply the continued presence of so many Jews in the Mideast?

    are you implying that this is the case, mr dean? you do know that hezbollah did not exist prior to 1982, do you not?

    Hell, even Vietnam is becoming more capitalist by the day.

    lol -- and do you imagine that's because we went there, mr dean? i see your blinding hubristic faith in america as god has not diminished over the last few months.

  • ||

    i will say this much for gaius's critique of modernity: the reason server is definitely in a state of decadent decline.

  • R C Dean||

    the reality is that every war begets three more

    What twaddle.

    Going back in American history, I can think of several wars that did not beget a single sequel, including most notably the War of 1812, the Civil War, and the Mexican-American War.

    On the world stage, my point is perhaps best illustrated by WWI (not brought to a conclusive finish, begat WWII) and WWII (conclusive finish, no direct offspring).

    Since WWII, we have lost the habit of requiring unconditional surrender from our enemies, and so we have indeed had inconclusive wars that perpetually beget more conflict.

  • gaius marius||

    gaius apparently believes there is no such thing as unjustified aggression.

    i don't think there's such a thing as a war that solves problems, mr dean -- as you would, if you spent more time studying the history of warfare and civilization.

    What if the stimulus for the rocket attacks into Israel is simply the continued presence of so many Jews in the Mideast?

    are you implying that this is the case, mr dean? you do know that hezbollah did not exist prior to 1982, do you not?

    "Popular" movements are difficult to define and generally quite nebulous

    which is clearly not to say that they don't exist, mr dean -- only that you find the existence of the barbarians outside our walls too disturbing to thoroughly contemplate.

    you conflate communism -- an inherently elitist western philosophical remnant -- with a popular movement, but you're wrong there. russian and chinese political elites had to kill millions precisely because it was NOT a popular movement, but a populist philosophy espoused by an militant intellectual cadre.

    don't confuse that with what is going on in the mideast, which is a genuinely popular insurgency against the imperial advance of westernism onto islamic culture. they have nearly nothing to do with one another.

    Hell, even Vietnam is becoming more capitalist by the day.

    lol -- and do you imagine that's because we went there, mr dean? perhaps your blinding hubristic faith in america as god has actually increased over the last few months.

    fwiw, what we fought in vietnam was not communism but vietnamese nationalist. you can ask robert mcnamara about that nowadays.

  • R C Dean||

    i don't think there's such a thing as a war that solves problems

    More twaddle. While some wars have been completely useless, others have accomplished some pretty notable goals.

    Not to go all Godwin on you, but WWII certainly solved the problem of the Nazis.

    If you don't like that example, then I would posit that the American Civil War solved the problem of slavery, that the American Revolutionary War solved the problem of British rule on this continent, that the Vietnam War solved the problem of the French empire in Vietnam, that Napoleonic wars solved the problem of French empire in Europe, and so forth.

    Why, just above gaius was lecturing us that the Western empire has always lost its wars to popular movements. Is he now arguing that those "victories" accomplished nothing?

  • R C Dean||

    What if the stimulus for the rocket attacks into Israel is simply the continued presence of so many Jews in the Mideast?

    are you implying that this is the case, mr dean? you do know that hezbollah did not exist prior to 1982, do you not?

    I don't have to imply anything, gaius. Hezbollah and its Iranian sponsors are pretty clear on this point themselves.

    And the fact that Hez came into existence in 1982 in no way falsifies the claim that their goal is the extermination of Israel and its corollary, the elimination of a Jewish presence in the Mideast.

  • gaius marius||

    What twaddle.

    lol -- nothing's changed about you, mr dean. still riding the horses of the apocalypse to a better tomorrow, i see.

    enjoy it. your kind are in power these days, so i hope you enjoy it.

  • ||

    Some people are becoming far too hot under the collar.

    Shannon Love,

    BTW, when am I going to get my apology?

    R.C. Dean,

    The Civil War was followed by two decades of terrorism in the American South.

    The Cold War (with its numerous hot wars) directly followed WWII.

    How was WWI any less conclusive than WWII? Remember, following WWI Germany had to cede large swaths of its territory in order to help create Poland (or rather, Poland took those large swaths of land and the Allies nodded their heads), the German government was overthrown and made into a republic, etc. Or are you suggesting that finality only comes with a long occupation?

  • ||

  • ||

    R.C. Dean,

    BTW, the Civil War was in part a result of the Mexican-American war. Of course that is to be expected from imperialist wars of aggression committed to placate a salivating slavocracy.

  • gaius marius||

    What twaddle.

    lol -- nothing's changed about you, mr dean. still riding the horses of the apocalypse to a better tomorrow, i see.

    enjoy it. your kind are in power these days, so i hope you enjoy it.

    WWII (conclusive finish, no direct offspring).

    LMAO! except, of course, for world war iii, as your kindred have dubbed the cold war, and the manifestation of zionism which was a direct consequence of the eurpoean war of 1914-45 as well, not to mention the numerous wars of imperial secession that accompanied the breakup of european empire mortally weakened by that conflagration -- including the wars of indochina, you'll note, in which we became unfortunately involved.

    and now, of course, those wars have begotten world war iv, i hear.

    and as we fight world war iv, are we seriously to believe that the belligerence we've undertaken in places like the levant, afghanistan and iraq will have no offspring?

    you cannot afford to be so dim, mr dean. no one can, if we are to understand our situation clearly with a hope of rectifying it.

  • Shannon Love||

    if militants were firing rockets into texas from mexico, we would have done something to force that reaction. the key to solving it would be then to remove the stimulus.

    Nothing, absolutely nothing, sums up the Leftist perspective on foreign policy better than that one sentence.

    I have called that concept the "reactive-enemy model" and its central and often unstated axiom is the idea that those peoples outside of western liberal-democracies never act, they merely react. Since no one except liberal-democracies ever act on their own accord, every negative event in the world can be traced to some previous action they took. The solution to every problem therefor, is to alter the behavior of the liberal-democracy.

    This concept is ahistorical and profoundly demeaning to non-Westerns. History is rife with examples of the strong conquering the weak just because they could profit by doing so. Worse, the concept cast others a mere pavlovian entities, people without their own culture, politics or world-views. They apparently sit around drooling on themselves until some westerner provides some "stimulus" that they can react to.

    Perhaps worse, the concept creates a false sense of control over events. In effect, it asserts that we can control the actions of others merely by altering our own behavior. It allows more than its share of moral outrage because every negative event is always preventable.

    In the 20th century, all conflicts with liberal-democracies have resulted from the internal dynamics of autocratic entities. Aristocrats started WWI. Fascism was inherently militaristic and viewed life as endless struggle. They were driven to war by their own philosophy. Ditto for communism. Stalin planed the Cold War before WWII even ended and the Cold War ended only when the Soviet Union changed internally.

    The reactive-enemy concept is the reason that so many Leftist (and others) reflexively believe that Israel is the principle source of the conflict in the Mideast. Israel is a western liberal-democracy and can therefor act whereas its opponents are neither western or democratic and therefor can only react to the actions of Israel. Therefor, the solution to the conflict is to get Israel to create the proper stimulus and the Arabs, mindless automatons that they are, will suddenly stop fighting.

  • fyodor||

    What if the stimulus for the rocket attacks into Israel is simply the continued presence of so many Jews in the Mideast? That would make the key to solving the rocket attacks the removal of the Jews, wouldn't it?

    It's tiresome to have to revisit the origins of this whole conflict. While I would never of course deny the historic existence of anti-Semitism in the Arab world, there's a big difference between the presence Jews in the Mideast and the establishment of a Jewish state which likely necessitated the displacement of Arabs to ensure a large Jewish majority.

  • gaius marius||

    WWII certainly solved the problem of the Nazis.

    has it? i think that quite questionable. it solved the political empowerment of fascist nietzscheanism for a moment -- begetting, as was noted, several other problems -- but i think it's quite clear that, in the end, the nazis won the war. the influence of the politics of fascism on the west has been massive, and now every western nation operates with a large political contingent that espouses the doctrines of the populist right that had their basis in frederick of prussia -- abhorrence of cooperative communism, synergy between government and industry, strong and unified "leadership", moral clarity and social unity at the expense of diveristy and open-ended creativity, a deep faith in the virtue of darwinian conflict.

    perhaps you recognize those doctrines.

  • ||

    "withdrawal is the solution to most of our problems,"

    I certainly agree with the sentiment, but I'm not sure that it would ultimately work.

    GM, it seems that you point up all of the brutality of empire building, but then claim that the solution is for the US or whoever to say "Hey, you know all those bombs we dropped and people we killed? Well, yeah, we were wrong. Sorry 'bout that. Won't do it again. Cheerio."

    I'm sorry, but once you've pissed people off by bombing them, a withdrawal and an apology hardly seems like the sort of thing that's going to placate everyone involved.

    If anything, it seems like it would embolden them, because the appearance would be one of running away with our tail tucked between our legs.

    Don't take this as me advocating for global war, but once a nation has gone down that particular route, I don't see any way to actually get out of it.

    Whether Israel or Hezbollah or the US started it is, at this point, immaterial. It strikes me as utterly ludicrous that anyone could, with a straight face, claim that Israel could do anything to kiss and make up with any of it's neighbors, especially at the expense of letting it's neighbors fire rockets into its territory and take it's soldiers as prisoners.

    Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip seems not to have placated anyone.

  • gaius marius||

    Nothing, absolutely nothing, sums up the Leftist perspective on foreign policy better than that one sentence.

    i'm no lefitst, ms love -- bt i do understand that we make our own destiny by our acts. we are complicit in what we have made of the world.

    "victimology", it seems, has become as much a problem on the right as on the left as this society universally abdicates responsibility and retreats into the self.

  • ||

    Shannon Love,

    BTW, when am I going to get my apology?

  • ||

    gaius challenges us to find a win by the Western side over a "popular" movement. Off the top of my head I thought of the UK, with help from the Aussies, putting paid to Communist insurgencies on the Malay peninsula in the runup to Malaysian independence. Suharto's forces defeating Sukarno's in Indonesia might count, though that's more of a "Plague on both your houses" situation. Commies were defeated in both Nicaragua and El Salvador, and Fujimoro eventually got Guzman, leader of Sendero Luminoso down in Peru.

    If none of these count as "popular", I'll scratch my head and keep hunting for a "True Scotsman." I wouldn't dismiss the jihadist/mujahadeen types as non-ideologues, though. What is Wahabism except an intellectual/political movement, however sicj and twisted?

    As for P Brooks, the most rabid rabbis in Israel don't even accept the current constitutional order there as legitimate. The diaspora wasn't supposed to move to the Holy Land until after the messiah appeared.

    As for all the "rockets from Tijuana" scenarios, let's not forget that Irish nationalists launched raids on Canada from the U.S. after our Civil War.

    Kevin


    Kevin

  • ||

    "has it? i think that quite questionable. it solved the political empowerment of fascist nietzscheanism for a moment -- begetting, as was noted, several other problems -- but i think it's quite clear that, in the end, the nazis won the war."

    If we set the altitude of the bar high enough, as gaius does here, we can clearly see that nothing ever solves anything. What would the criteria for solving the nazi problem be? They can have exerted no influence in any way on any aspect of world affairs? Isn't that a little, well, silly?

    As to this whole notion that 'war' never solves anything, lets be specific. If you decide you want to either enslave or exterminate my race, and proceed along those lines, well, I'm thinking my choices are finite. Unwillingness to wage war in any circumstance means cedeing all of history to the most aggressive among us.

  • ||

    Fanatics of the world.....

    My disdain of fanaticism is abiding and absolute. Fanatical, even.

    Lately we have been hearing this "let 'em fight" line, as if this were some schoolyard wrangle between two bullies vying for the lunch money trade. Not quite so, says I. I might, however, go along with the notion, if our plan were to allow the combatants to fight to exhaustion in order that we might, so to speak, then enter the field of combat and bayonet the wounded of both opposing forces.

    Consider the situation thus, using as illustration a herd of cattle infected with the foot-and-mouth disease. The contagious, diseased creatures are a menace to their uninfected brethren, and it is merely a kindness that they be put out of their (and our) misery. Having slaughtered the offending disease-ridden subset of the population, we then push the carcasses into a deep pit and set them ablaze. A couple of grizzled old cowhands like Bush and Cheney should be able to appreciate and implement such a plan.

  • ||

    Shannon Love,

    In the 20th century, all conflicts with liberal-democracies have resulted from the internal dynamics of autocratic entities.

    So, let's see, the Third Anglo-Afghan war wasn't caused in part by the occupational activities of the British, but solely by the internal dynamics of the Afghans?

  • ||

    If you don't like that example, then I would posit that the American Civil War solved the problem of slavery

    Only yankees think that the Civil War ended. As a southerner, I think that from time to time, we catch a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel. Insofar as slavery goes, it's pretty clear that while slavery nominally ended, the functional subjegation of blacks continued for another century, and is still incompletely remedied.

    that the American Revolutionary War solved the problem of British rule on this continent,

    *cough* Canada *cough*

    that the Vietnam War solved the problem of the French empire in Vietnam, that Napoleonic wars solved the problem of French empire in Europe, and so forth.

    Of course, the Napoleonic wars set the stage for French/German conflicts that would bloody the 20th century. I think that's simply what Gaius was saying - one solution begets another, albeit different, problem.

  • gaius marius||

    I'm sorry, but once you've pissed people off by bombing them, a withdrawal and an apology hardly seems like the sort of thing that's going to placate everyone involved.

    i agree, mr mediageek -- i don't mean to say that it will all be resolved tomorrow.

    but, at the risk of stating the obvious, what is certain is that perpetuating the problem will perpetuate it. continue as we are -- even if we contrive reasons that are "defensive" -- and the situation will certainly spiral beyond any possibility of remediation.

    has it already passed a point of no return? perhaps, but we'd best hope not because there is no workable alternative. if vietnam didn't finally demonstrate that to us, iraq and afghanistan should -- wars begets only more troubles, and will bankrupt us if it doesn't outright destroy us first. the best that path can yield is the sort of fighting retreat into civilizational dissolution that gibbon made his famous commentaries on.

  • ||

    "popular movements are responses to stimuli. the key is to go to the root of the problem and solve it. remove the stimulus."

    Why would you assume that popular movements are all benign or that the stimulus in question is other than self serving?

    Give every non state aggressor everything they want whenever they ask for it. Sounds great.

  • Sandy||

    John:

    I like how every alternative to doing whatever hte fuck Israel wants to do, no matter how braindead, is "sitting back and taking it." As if we were a bunch of mindless pacifists and said Israel deserved it.

    By your logic, I could argue that Israel should simply rid the world of Arabs once and for all. Why? You object? What, do you want Israel to just sit there and take rockets? Damn you anti-Semite tree-hugging peacenik!

    Saying "Israel has gone too far" is NOT equivalent to "Israel should put up with terrorism." What we're saying, if you can pry your head from between your false dichotomies, is that Lebanon cannot do it by itself, Hezbollah is not universally popular there, and punishing the rest of Lebanon for the actions of somebody they don't like but are powerless to do something about is not only immoral but completely ineffective.

    You're right that Syria and Iran need to answer. So why are the wusses in the IDF refusing to go after them? Why is Israel being a "coward", as you put it? Because they can't? Well I guess they "reap what they sow."

  • ||

    what is certain is that perpetuating the problem will perpetuate it.


    good point, mr. gaius. very good point.

    i'm going to refrain from using capital letters when i reply to your posts. it just seems appropriate.

    btw, you used all caps earlier in this thread. you must have been really fired up.

  • gaius marius||

    If we set the altitude of the bar high enough, as gaius does here, we can clearly see that nothing ever solves anything. What would the criteria for solving the nazi problem be? They can have exerted no influence in any way on any aspect of world affairs? Isn't that a little, well, silly?

    that's fair, mr ligon, but i'm not saying war makes no changes (to the contrary) nor am i saying that one will never have to fight for one's life.

    i'm simply saying that war solves none of the deeper problems of our civilization -- indeed, it merely aggravates them. the political current of the populist right in the west can hardly have been said to have been quelled by war.

    Why would you assume that popular movements are all benign or that the stimulus in question is other than self serving?

    i posit neither -- indeed, quite the opposite.

    you misinterpret me if you think i'm saying all popular movements, internal and external, must be adopted wholesale. i'm saying instead that they cannot be turned back by this means -- attack is not an instrument by which this can be done, and is instead a facility by which such a movement is strengthened and entrenched.

    for example: does not al-qaeda look complete prescient in all this? israel overrunning its borders, america conquering iraq, arab regimes propped by western oil money toeing the line? we have fed their coffers by this, and should be smart enough to recognize it. it is a counterproductive strategy.

    like it or not, terrorism in international politics is a response, not a creation, and has been an effective tool for unrepresented parties to find a voice and an avenue to power and remediation for time immemorial. the only way to long pacify them is to accomodate them by resolving their disputes.

    and should that be surprising? which one of you pledges allegiance to a government that can't fix your most pressing problems? we have taken the responsibility for governing these people by empire. if we want to quell insurgency, we have to govern well, and we haven't. this was cicero's critique of roman administration and is mine of ours today.

  • ||

    This provides great insight:

    http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=OWRiYmEwNjQzY2U3NGY4NWYwYmQzODhhNDlhZDJhYzg=

  • ||

    i'm no lefitst, ms love

    Not quite. You're a post-modern leftist who happened to OD on Barzun. No matter how you spin it, your views have far more in common with the pomo left than with any 18th or 19th-century aristocratic traditionalist, most of whom were more racist, militaristic, and pro-colonialist than all but the most rabid of warbloggers, not to mention more willing to assert the superiority of their culture and civilization over those of all outsiders.

    That aside, welcome back. Hope the baby's doing well.

  • gaius marius||

    Off the top of my head I thought of the UK, with help from the Aussies, putting paid to Communist insurgencies on the Malay peninsula in the runup to Malaysian independence.

    i don't mean to be shifty, mr kevrob, but communism per se isn't a popular movement by definition -- it requires the subjugation of the people to the management of the intelligensia.

    there's a great deal of confusion (which i'll chalk up to declining public education and cold war propaganda :) ) about communism's populist aspirations. don't believe the poster art. communism is about imposing an autocratic system for the good of the people, not popular revolution. there's little inherently popular about it.

    now, it can become the object of a popular movement sometimes, as can most any ideal. but it is not inherently so.

  • ||

    Gaius,

    How on earth is a radical Islamic movement a popular front if communishm is not? Isn't Islamist government the subjegation of the people to the intelligencia (in this case the mullahs or religous leaders)?

  • ||

    On the world stage, my point is perhaps best illustrated by WWI (not brought to a conclusive finish, begat WWII) and WWII (conclusive finish, no direct offspring).

    Except of course for the Cold War (a/k/a, in retrospect, World War III), including its flareups in Korea (which maybe doesn't count, since Truman told us it was a "police action" instead of a war), Vietnam, and Afghanistan.

  • gaius marius||

    You're a post-modern leftist who happened to OD on Barzun. No matter how you spin it, your views have far more in common with the pomo left than with any 18th or 19th-century aristocratic traditionalist, most of whom were more racist, militaristic, and pro-colonialist than all but the most rabid of warbloggers, not to mention more willing to assert the superiority of their culture and civilization over those of all outsiders.

    i'd tell you, mr eric, that my views have a much deeper historical foundation than that. any romantic aristocrat would've thought me positively medieval, i suspect, in many respects.

    leftism today centers on the abdication of personal responsibility, using society as a tool by which to relieve themselves of the burdens of free people. i have no love of that.

    but the right is little better, and hasn't been for centuries. the idolization of sparta and rome through the lens of prussian militarism is no way to live well.

  • ||

    Gaius,

    You just will never understand that weekness encourages enemies and that some enemies cannot be placated. Al Quada gets stronger when the West looks week and bows to its demands. Few wants to die for a loosing cause. Many will sacrifice their lives if they think that they are doing so to be a part of something bigger. Al Quada wants nothing less than the complete destruction of Western Civilization. Themore itis placated, in the name of not creating more hatred and terrorists, the stronger it will become. The more it is beaten down and looks like the loosing side the less appealing it is to potential recruits. It is your stategy of appeasment if not outright surrender that will create more terrorists. Appeasment just allows the terrorists to point at the appeasment and say "see what we accomplished and how weak the West is".

  • ||

    Mark,

    The cold war was not a coninuation of WWII. World War II was conclusive in that it ended the nearly century long conflict between Germany and France and the threat of Japan. Both Germany and Japan are not mature democracies and not threats to their neighbors. That makes WWII a conclusive war. The fact that world communism and the agressive Soviet state continued after the war does not make the war conclusive since the war was not against communism.

  • gaius marius||

    How on earth is a radical Islamic movement a popular front if communishm is not? Isn't Islamist government the subjegation of the people to the intelligencia (in this case the mullahs or religous leaders)?

    mr john, do you actually think we're fighting arab governments? this may come as a bit of a shock, but the west put and keeps people in power over there. turkey, egypt, saudi, jordan are all american client states of one flavor or another. the baathists in syria and iraq were the idea of the british and the french. and the shah was our man.

    we aren't fighting them -- as desperate power-addicted autocrats, they're inherently on our side whether we want to admit it or not. what we're trying to fight runs far deeper in the soul of islamic civilization than that.

  • ||

    "mr john, do you actually think we're fighting arab governments? this may come as a bit of a shock, but the west put and keeps people in power over there. turkey, egypt, saudi, jordan are all american client states of one flavor or another. the baathists in syria and iraq were the idea of the british and the french. and the shah was our man."


    Gaius,

    You are absouletly right, which is why the U.S. had a moral duty to remove the worst of those autcrats, Saddam Husein.

  • ||

    John,

    From whence does this "moral duty" come?

  • ||

    Phileleutherus,

    If you beleiv Gaius' point that the united States has been creating and supporting these autocratic regimes over the years, then it should follow that the United states owes the victims of these regimes some compensation namely through helping them to get rid of the governments. I don't necessarily buy the idea entirely, but if you take Gaius' point for the sake of argument, it is difficult to see how the U.S.could now, after creating and purpetuating these regimes sit idely by and let them terrorize thier people.

  • gaius marius||

    You just will never understand that weekness encourages enemies and that some enemies cannot be placated.

    this is what i mean of a deep and abiding faith in the virtue of darwinian struggle, mr john. goebbels would have agreed. that paragraph could have spilled of the mouth of any early-20th c fascist.

    and it's also wrong. the world is not zero-sum, and the people who disagree with you are not all mindless and unsatisfiable fanatics. they have material goals, the meeting of which would benefit us both.

    moreover, should we choose not to, we've picked a fight that we can't win by force. al qaeda may morph into something else, but what it represents is the rejection of western empire as decadent, corrupted and oppressive -- any military lashings simply confirm that belief to billions around the world and win new converts to their cause both without and within the west. remember, alaric was met on the road to rome not only with no resistance but by cheering romans.

    The cold war was not a coninuation of WWII. World War II was conclusive in that it ended the nearly century long conflict between Germany and France and the threat of Japan. Both Germany and Japan are not mature democracies and not threats to their neighbors. That makes WWII a conclusive war. The fact that world communism and the agressive Soviet state continued after the war does not make the war conclusive since the war was not against communism.

    ah, i see.

  • ||

    "From whence does this "moral duty" come?"

    The Declaration of Independence.

  • ||

    gaius: I well know that almost all 20th Century "Wars of National Liberation" were essentially battles in the Cold War/WW3. That being said, which non-communist popular uprisings are you referring too? Even such anti-colonial fights as Ireland v. UK and ANC v. the old S. African regime had significant Marxist elements.

    Still looking for that modern William Wallace.

    Kevin

  • gaius marius||

    You just will never understand that weekness encourages enemies and that some enemies cannot be placated.

    this is what i mean of a deep and abiding faith in the virtue of darwinian struggle, mr john. goebbels would have agreed. that paragraph could have spilled of the mouth of any early-20th c fascist.

    and it's also wrong. the world is not zero-sum, and the people who disagree with you are not all mindless and unsatisfiable fanatics. they have material goals, the meeting of which would benefit us both.

    moreover, should we choose not to, we've picked a fight that we can't win by force. al qaeda may morph into something else, but what it represents is the rejection of western empire as decadent, corrupted and oppressive -- any military lashings simply confirm that belief to billions around the world and win new converts to their cause both without and within the west. remember, alaric was met on the road to rome not only with no resistance but by cheering romans.

    the U.S. had a moral duty to remove the worst of those autcrats, Saddam Husein.

    such is the argument of the neoconservative true believers. but what is to replace them? and there's the crux -- a western democracy with western philosophies and western ethics. in other words, another puppet state under the de facto control of the west.

    that is not a resolution to any grievance these people have. they don't want democracy; they want the west to stop managing their political and economic affairs.

    The cold war was not a coninuation of WWII. World War II was conclusive in that it ended the nearly century long conflict between Germany and France and the threat of Japan. Both Germany and Japan are not mature democracies and not threats to their neighbors. That makes WWII a conclusive war. The fact that world communism and the agressive Soviet state continued after the war does not make the war conclusive since the war was not against communism.

    ah, i see. this explains much, though probably not what you'd intended.

  • ||

    John,

    Well, again, from whence does such a duty arise? After all, one could argue that sovereign states exist in a state of nature (more or less), and entities which exist in a state of nature can't compel action (except by some sort of force). That isn't necessarily my opinion, but that is an argument that some philosophers and the like have made.

  • ||

    "this is what i mean of a deep and abiding faith in the virtue of darwinian struggle, mr john. goebbels would have agreed. that paragraph could have spilled of the mouth of any early-20th c fascist."

    Israel pulled out of southern Lebanon. Hezbollah declared victory and used southern Lebanon as a staging ground to terrorize / attack Israel.

    Israel pulled out of Gaza. Hamas declared victory and used Gaza as a staging ground to terrorize / attack Israel.

    But why let facts get in the way of your idealism.

    Oh, and don't quit your day job.

  • ||

    a blog I read says that Beirut police are reporting that Hezbollah kidnapped two foreign journalists on Thursday. As I've been watching and listening to the reporting out of Beirut, I've seen at least two reporters (CNN and ABC, IIRC) taking Hezbollah-escorted tours of the bombing sites and I've been thinking - ok, maybe you want to buy the defenders-of-the-people's-heroic-resistance line, but - do you really want to entrust yourself to the care of Hezbollah? Does it really seem so farfetched that the guys who have kidnapped Israeli soliders, who claim that they will destroy Israel and the US, who clearly target exclusively civilian areas, who have been reported to have kept their own civilians from escaping the area, who deliberately base their actions in heavily populated civilian areas - do these guys seem like the type of guys who will scrupulously observe international laws and norms regarding journalists? Cos that's not the impression I get.

    I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the way Isarel has gone about this, and I do think they should've gone straight to Damascus already, but I still think the lion's share of the blame for this whole tragedy rests squarely with Hezbollah and I'm sickened at the obvious sympathy this bunch of butchers are getting from the media on the ground.

  • ||

    Nice to see you again g. marius.

    I understand that Hezbollah may have some valid points in regards to Israel and that Hezbollah's actions may be a response to Israeli "stimulus". ...but when I hear that someone's goin' after Hezbollah, I'm tempted to fall back on the enemy of my enemy is my friend theory...

    If the world isn't big enough for both us and those who, for political ends, would target civilians specifically, shouldn't we count it as a blessing if someone's willing to go after them? ...into places maybe we aren't willing to go, to do things maybe we aren't willing to do? If Hezbollah represents a threat to the United States, isn't it be better if some ally (even an unsavory one) meets that threat and keeps the United States out of Lebanon?

    Our efforts in Afghanistan surely played a critical role in the struggle against expansionist communism. Might not Israel play a similar role in the struggle against terrorism? Hezbollah and Hamas seemed to be gaining momentum politically--if those groups are indeed a threat to American security, I have to ask, how should we face that threat?

    In the past, as I recall, you've been critical of various recent TV revolutions (cedar, rose, and orange) as work of American interests rather than as local, organic movements. Local support for Hezbollah and Hamas (even if financed from elsewhere) seemed to be authentic as evidenced by elections over the past year. Don't recent electoral victories by Hezbollah represent the same kind of expansionism by Syria and Iran that you recognized western interests perpetrating in places like the Ukraine?

    ...How should the free world respond to that kind expansionism by Syria and Iran? Do consider Hezbollah and Hamas threats to American security? Do you consider Syria and Iran threats to American security with or without Israel?

  • ||

    I don't remember gaius marius sounding like such a pragmatist. Were the few posts I read anomalies, or were my blinders on?

  • ||

    Jefferson,

    How so?

  • Shannon Love||

    i'm no lefitst, ms love

    Yes, you are MISTER marius. You exhibit all the unconscious attributes of someone with what Sowell termed the "unconstrained vision". You certainly have the prerequisite sneering contempt for the intellects of ordinary people and the disdain for Western civilization. You believe that articulated rationality can solve all conflict and violence never solves anything. Most telling you routinely implicitly endorse the idea of perfect solutions by declaring all actions that fall short of perfect as failures ex WWII didn't solve the Nazi problem because some Fascistic ideas still exist.

    In fact, I can't think of anything you have ever posted that reflects the generally rightist or constrained vision. Perhaps you are an odd duck and difficult to qualify like many of us here but I don't think your postings reflect that.

    bt i do understand that we make our own destiny by our acts. we are complicit in what we have made of the world.

    There is a vast gulf between the idea our choices effect what happens to us and the idea that our choices can avert all negative acts. Simplistically, your argument boils down to "she was asking for it" as a universal explanation for why people become the targets of violence.

    I think it is very revealing of your unconscious axioms that you responded to the thought experiment asking what the response should be to a cross border attack by stating categorically that entity getting attack actually caused the attack by providing a negative stimulus. Even though the parameters of the thought experiment didn't assert that such a stimulus existed you had to assert that it did exist because that is the only explanation for conflict that you could find reasonable.

    Your no doubt accidental use of nomenclature of behavioral conditioning just clinched it.

  • ||

    When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. � That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, � That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. � Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

    He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

    He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

    He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

    He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

    He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

    He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

    He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

    He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

    He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

    He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

    He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

    He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

    He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

    For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

    For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

    For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

    For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

    For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

    For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

    For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

    For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

    For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

    He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

    He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

    He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

    He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

    He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

    In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

    Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred. to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

    We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. � And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

    � John Hancock

    New Hampshire:
    Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

    Massachusetts:
    John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

    Rhode Island:
    Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

    Connecticut:
    Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

    New York:
    William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

    New Jersey:
    Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

    Pennsylvania:
    Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

    Delaware:
    Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

    Maryland:
    Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

    Virginia:
    George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

    North Carolina:
    William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

    South Carolina:
    Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

    Georgia:
    Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

  • gaius marius||

    marxism was the philosophie du jour for the 20th c, and it shouldn't be surprising that almost any insurgent political movement carried a marxist wing -- just as any self-respecting poliical movement in the late-18th/early-19th espoused the republican precepts of the enlightenment. they all adopt the panacea of the time.

    but i'd argue that the movements themselves were intended to address problems that were not being addressed by the extant political elite -- and these problems had nothing to do with the form of government and much to do with the results of it. after all, any monarchy can be beloved of its people, and any democracy reviled. russian peasants didn't revolt to install communism; they revolted because they could not survive as peasants being managed as they were, and communism was the rational alternative of the moment.

    in that sense, they're all non-communist.

    but when you see a faction of marxists fighting in malaysia that represent a small rural fraction of the population, they clearly aren't a popular movement. that's what i'm driving at.

    Still looking for that modern William Wallace.

    perhaps his name rhymes with "twin laden".

  • ||

    Jefferson,

    *sigh* How does the DOI force upon me or anyone else a moral duty of the kind in question here?

  • ||

    Shannon,

    Are you living in Gaius' head? You must be to have pegged him that well. I could not in my wildest dreams taken him apart as well as you just did. Arguing with Gaius is like charging a machine gun of sophistry. There is just so much sophistry and misinformation coming out, it is difficult not to be overwhelmed by it. Your post was like a well placed artillery shell.

  • gaius marius||

    Yes, you are MISTER marius.

    ms love, wadr, you've never said anything that convinces me that you actually understand your own politics and philosophy, much less anyone else's. i think "leftist" for you is a catchall for that which you disagree with.

    so, if that is your standard, then you can call me "leftist" all you like. i'll wear it as a dubious badge of honor. :)

    but let me address just this

    disdain for Western civilization

    you'll never find someone who admires western civilization more deeply than i do, ms love, and few who lament its decline more deeply.

  • ||

    you'll never find someone who admires western civilization more deeply than i do, ms love, and few who lament its decline more deeply.

    If you lament its decline so much, why are you so unwilling to do anything to stop the people who most want to destroy it? Do you really beleive western civilization as we know would continue in a world in which radical Islam advances unchecked? The conflict between Isreal and Hezbollow, the United States and Al Quada is nothing but the continuation of the conflict between western civilization and oriental despitism that has been going on since the time of the Greeks. You seem to want the despotism to win this time.

  • ||

    gaius marius,

    As I recall, Shannon Love may be a guy. Shannon Love is free to correct my statement of course.

  • ||

    Sorry, but I must opt out of any effort to equate bin Laden with William Wallace. After all, my cognomen is the Wallace family's motto. Not good form if I don't defend my ancestors and cousin William :)

  • ||

    "*sigh* How does the DOI FORCE upon me or anyone else a moral duty of the kind in question here? (emphasis added)"

    Moral duties aren't FORCED on anyone. They are simply suggestions that folks with a conscience are encouraged (by their Creator) to follow.

    PS Go *sigh* up your mother's cooter-box you condescending, smug-assed prick.

  • ||

    Blame in on Ronnie the B-list Hollywood actor. He cut and run from Hezbullah and their Iranian and Syrian sponsored terror comrades back in '83. In fact, you can blame the entire current situation on his program of terrorist appeasement. Like John said, if you cower and run, they will become emboldened. This was further compounded by the elder Bush who let down the Shia following Desert Slaughter.

    Of course, none of that matters now. It is what it is. Perhaps the Cedar revolution made Hez more powerful after Syria went back to their country. Totten predicted all of this a month or more ago with his excellent reporting from the Is/Leb border.

    If the US cut off Isreal, does anyone here seriously think that they will be more restrained? In any event, it is pointless to bicker over events that are destined to unfold in time no matter what the US or the UN does.

    Now, where did my latte go to?

  • ||

    Pro Libertate,

    Heh. :)

  • ||

    mr marius,
    Shannon Love is Mr. Love, not Ms.

  • gaius marius||

    If the world isn't big enough for both us and those who, for political ends, would target civilians specifically, shouldn't we count it as a blessing if someone's willing to go after them?

    you say that, mr schultz, like we don't target civilians specifically. at this moment, israel isn't bombing military installations in lebanon. they are, in their own words, attempting to punish the lebanese people for hezbollah -- as though they could make hezbollah just go away.

    if you want something to revile in the abdication of western principles, there it is.

    in the end, hezbollah is at least in part a reprehensible organization -- don't forget its massive and very real humanitarian function, in most ways much more important than its militiamen -- but by those same standards, so are the governments of israel and the united states. pretending that they are not, in the end, morally comparable seems silly and prejudiced to me. why are they not? because we are familiar with nation-states?

    i would posit that the reason the west is so easily reviled is its refusal to set its own house in order while lavishing highminded advice on the east. i am a citizen of the west, and will therefore reserve my criticisms for my own house -- and if we all did more of that, i'm convinced we would have far fewer of these problems.

  • ||

    I'd have to speculate as to why so many seem so interested in taking pot shots at g. marius whenever he shows up. ...People used to do the same kind of thing to Phileleutherus Lipsiensis too. Smart people with different ideas makes for mo better forum.

    If you don't understand or don't like someone's ideas, why not ask him about them or criticize them? ...his ideas, that is. ...rather than pointlessly speculate about the constitution of his bias or character or, worse yet, call him names. Smart people with different ideas makes for mo better forum.

  • ||

    Jefferson,

    Moral duties aren't FORCED on anyone. They are simply suggestions that folks with a conscience are encouraged (by their Creator) to follow.

    Well, that's a substantive answer at least. You apparently believe that the moral duty arises from a God. Is that right? But, see, I'm an atheist. Why should I recognize a God-based claim like this?

    PS Go *sigh* up your mother's cooter-box you condescending, smug-assed prick.

    *sigh*

  • ||

    you say that, mr schultz, like we don't target civilians specifically


    No actually we don't. If we targeted civilians, with the lethality of U.S. weapons, there would be millions of civilians dead in Iraq right now. The fact that you believ that shows the depths of moral relativism you have sunk. No act no matter how barbaric cannot be justified or explained away as long as it is committed by an oppressed group and no act of self defense no matter how justified cannot be twisted into an unjustified act of violence that creates more violence as long as it is committed by the United States or Israel. Would anything please you gaius beyond complete and abject surrender?

  • gaius marius||

    why are you so unwilling to do anything to stop the people who most want to destroy it?

    because they don't, mr john -- to say that they do clearly misunderstands the entirety of the last two centuries of geopolitics, which you clearly do to judge by your other comments here.

    but i suspect that fact is completely lost on someone who has clearly been immersed in the paranoid militarism of our new sparta for quite a while now, and certainly this message board isn't going to change your mind.

  • ||

    Ken Shultz,

    A thread has definately jumped the shark once people start to psychoanalyze each other instead analyzing their arguments.

  • gaius marius||

    No actually we don't

    lol. i can safely ignore you now as one of the devoted blind order of the state.

  • Observational North American E||

    PL:

    especially when they claim to be against might-makes-right arguments and bullying :)

    Grin.

  • ||

    Gaius,

    Are they lying when they say they do? Have you read anything that is put out by Al Quada or Bin Laden? Bin Laden is not insane. He has a clear plan to establish a pan muslim caliphate which would then destroy to west and convert or subjugate all non-Muslims. Will this really happen, no, but if it were up to you it would.

    Do you deny these writings exist? How do you explain them? You are so insanely naive as to be really beyond belief.

  • ||

    Observational North American Elk,

    Cool nickname. :)

  • ||

    I, for one, really like gaius.

  • ||

    I, for one, really like gaius.

  • ||

    Phileleutherus Lipsiensis,

    Yes, one of these days, I'm painting myself white and blue and attacking the oppressors.

    You know, you've really gotten good at taking abuse. It'll add years to your life, I think. Soon, you'll be quoting Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius. I tried to preach Stoicism to my girlfriend, but she beat me like a (Roman) slave for daring to make such a suggestion :)

    I'm with Ken about gaius, et al. There are a variety of viewpoints expressed here that I don't agree with--at least, not completely--but that doesn't mean that I don't want to hear them at all. Besides, there's a universe of difference between gaius and, say, Dr. X or the Evil JMJ. Come on, y'all, you've never sat around and thought, "Hey, I wonder if we're in the 'decline and fall' phase of our little experiment?" gaius just feels that way all of the time. Who knows? Maybe he's right. I'm just not ready to concede the match, that's all.

  • ||

    I take back my earlier statement about gaius being a pragmatist. I just checked out his blog. He's a Cubs fan.

  • ||

    Gaius,

    What evidence do you have that the U.S. targets civilians other than it fits your crazy beleifs? My evidence is that if the U.S. wanted to, it could destroy entire cities and everyone in them. Since this hasn't happened, then we are clearly not targeting civilians. Of course, you don't seem to have a problem with Hezbollow sending 1600 rockets specifically targeted at civilians. You have completely lost your ability to make moral distinctions. It is really sad. I can safely ignore you as a complete and total nutcase. I am really sorry to hear you have children. Hopefully you won't infect them too much.

  • ||

    you say that, mr schultz, like we don't target civilians specifically.

    We have may have done that in the past. Doing things like that, as a matter of policy, is something I'd like to think that we're generally ashamed of. Even if you're talking about things like Operation Gomorrah or Dresden or Hiroshima or Nagasaki, we argue about whether they were moral relative to whether the ultimate objectives were military in nature.

    You may think that's a thin veneer on some ugly facts, but I still think there's a big difference. When our troops get caught freelancing and murdering the enemy's civilians, they get court marshaled. Hezbollah, Hamas, et. al. just don't do that.

    at this moment, israel isn't bombing military installations in lebanon. they are, in their own words, attempting to punish the lebanese people for hezbollah -- as though they could make hezbollah just go away.

    Perhaps. ...but the Mujahideen who fought the Soviets weren't doing it to win the Cold War for America and keep the world safe for free market capitalism either. ...and yet we made common cause to excellent effect.

  • ||

    "Stoicism to my girlfriend, but she beat me like a (Roman) slave for daring to make such a suggestion :)"

    So are the Romans still seeking reparations?

  • ||

    Agreed thoreau (and Ken Shultz). You can't help admiring a guy who maintains rational argument in the face of increasingly absurd screeching.

  • ||

    "at this moment, israel isn't bombing military installations in lebanon. they are, in their own words, attempting to punish the lebanese people for hezbollah -- as though they could make hezbollah just go away."

    Got a link to the alleged quote?

  • gaius marius||

    Have you read anything that is put out by Al Quada or Bin Laden? Bin Laden is not insane. He has a clear plan to establish a pan muslim caliphate which would then destroy to west and convert or subjugate all non-Muslims.

    i would have to ask that question of you as well, mr john. you choose to ignore the fact that al qaeda's goals are largely material and seek muslim self-determination -- and that, more importantly, once the material considerations were meaningfully reconciled, al-qaeda and radical movements that call for unrealistic goals would lose what drives them -- popular appeal. insurgencies need a broad base to survive, and deprived of what makes them an object of sympathy in the east al-qaeda would be reduced from a popular figurehead to a fringe outfit of crackpots and fade out of existence.

    if you can't accept that the world has crackpots, then i don't know what to tell you. but, for my part, it seems that the idea is not to behave in a manner that gives ordinary people a reason to think the crackpots are on to something -- which is all we've been doing at every turn, and we're at it again in lebanon.

    this is an age-old story with many precedents. again, remove the stimulus and the irritation subsides. there's no need to panic and indulge visions of apocalypse under a global caliphate if we don't bomb the hell out of lebanon.

  • ||

    Perhaps. ...but the Mujahideen who fought the Soviets weren't doing it to win the Cold War for America and keep the world safe for free market capitalism either. ...and yet we made common cause to excellent effect.

    And here I thought we "reaped the whirlwind" what with our training and arming the Afghan mujahideen to come attack us and to pin us down in a pitiful little backward country that no one cares about. Or is that not the meme I've been sold?

  • ||

  • gaius marius||

    Got a link to the alleged quote?

    virtually every israeli official has said as much and said as much about going into gaza as well. the target selection is all about punishing the lebanese electorate -- i don't have the inclination to bring you up to speed, but israeli papers aren't hiding it. read some.

  • ||

    GAius,

    Al Quada is not seeking Muslim self determination. Even if you believe that their goals relate only the Muslim world, they are seeking to subjugate Muslims under a strict, oppressive Islamic theocracy. They do not want self determination. Would you call Afghanistan under the Taliban self determination? I sure wouldn't. The Taliban were an occupying Arabic power operating one of the most oppressive and barbaric regimes in recent memory.

  • ||

    Besides, there's a universe of difference between gaius and, say, Dr. X or the Evil JMJ.

    How did u feel about the Dave W. banning, then, original PL?

  • ||

    Dave was banned?

  • ||

    Dave was banned?

  • ||

    "seek muslim self-determination"

    There's a flag on the field! Inappropriate euphamism for theological autocracy! 10 yards!

  • ||

    Sorry for the double post.

  • ||

    Sorry for the double post.

  • gaius marius||

    the Mujahideen who fought the Soviets weren't doing it to win the Cold War for America and keep the world safe for free market capitalism either. ...and yet we made common cause to excellent effect.

    did we really, mr schultz, in the larger scope? seems to me that those people are now knocking over buildings in new york.

    Would you call Afghanistan under the Taliban self determination? I sure wouldn't.

    don't confuse democracy with self-determination, mr john. the french were self-determined under louis xiv.

    many are opposed to american imperial management, which is what they have. they want to work out their social form for themselves -- and that they can't and perceive they can't is what makes al qaeda both popular and relevant.

  • ||

    Dave/Dave Surrogate, why were you banned? Did they tell you? Are you sure it wasn't just some quirk of this godforsaken server? Unless Reason is in the hands of Big HFCS, I can't think of why they'd ban you and not others.

  • ||

    don't confuse democracy with self-determination, mr john. the french were self-determined under louis xiv.

    many are opposed to american imperial management, which is what they have. they want to work out their social form for themselves -- and that they can't and perceive they can't is what makes al qaeda both popular and relevant.

    What the hell does that mean? Self determination means the people choose what their government shall be. No way would a majority of Muslims choose to live under a theocracy. Further, the Taliban were not Afghans. They were predominately Saudi and Arab. They were a foreign elite who subjugated the people of Afghanistan. Even by your whacked definition of self-determination, that was not self determination.

    Moreover, your commitment to self determination seems to mean that any regime no matter how oppressive and unpopular is proper as long as it is the local thug or thugs who are doing the oppression.

  • ||

    don't confuse democracy with self-determination, mr john. the french were self-determined under louis xiv.

    many are opposed to american imperial management, which is what they have. they want to work out their social form for themselves -- and that they can't and perceive they can't is what makes al qaeda both popular and relevant.

    What the hell does that mean? Self determination means the people choose what their government shall be. No way would a majority of Muslims choose to live under a theocracy. Further, the Taliban were not Afghans. They were predominately Saudi and Arab. They were a foreign elite who subjugated the people of Afghanistan. Even by your whacked definition of self-determination, that was not self determination.

    Moreover, your commitment to self determination seems to mean that any regime no matter how oppressive and unpopular is proper as long as it is the local thug or thugs who are doing the oppression.

  • ||

    did we really, mr schultz, in the larger scope? seems to me that those people are now knocking over buildings in new york.

    I would argue that the USSR's failures in Afghanistan contributed significantly to its downfall. ...Perhaps we mishandled our relationship with the major players in Afghanistan between 1989 or so and 2000, but I don't think the Soviet Union would have collapsed when it did had it not been for its failures in Afghanistan, among other things.

    ...and if Israel is to Hezbollah, Syria and Iran, et. al. as the Mujahideen was to the Soviet Union, what are the chances that Israel will turn on us as bin Laden and company did?

  • ||

    gaius-

    The Taliban, as I recall, got a lot of support from Pakistan. Initially they were indeed welcomed, but mostly because they seemed like the sort who could at least make trains run on time and keep the streets quiet. (And the Taliban were certainly brutal enough to keep in check any thugs who weren't on their team, and they did make some metaphorical trains run on time for the purpose of getting opium to market.)

    Embracing foreign-backed fanatics as a desperate effort to stave off bandits after a period of chaos is not the same thing as self-determination. I'm willing to contemplate the possibility that self-determination is not always democratic, but that doesn't mean that every anti-Western despot is an expression of local self-determination.

  • ||

    Self determination means the people choose what their government shall be. No way would a majority of Muslims choose to live under a theocracy.

    Do the names Sadr and Sistani ring a bell? How do you explain electoral wins over the last year for theocratic parties in Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon? ...Voters gave Hamas a majority in the Palestinian legislature. How do you account for this?

  • ||

    Do the names Sadr and Sistani ring a bell?

    Sistani is not a fanatical theocrat and has come out against a theocracy in Iraq. Sadr, while a thug with a band of followers has nowhere near the juice that Sistani has and couldn't be elected dog catcher even in Shia Iraq.

    How do you explain electoral wins over the last year for theocratic parties in Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon? ...Voters gave Hamas a majority in the Palestinian legislature. How do you account for this?

    I explain them as the result of the complete failures of the parties in power to provide for their people. Those parties were elected to make the trains run on time. Certainly a minority of Muslims would choose a theocracy. The majority would not, especially after they were forced to live in one.

  • Same Observant North American ||

    "The Taliban were an occupying Arabic power"

    Arabic? huh? Occupying? huh huh? It has Arab support, but it was originally a Pashtun movement. And it was local. It took over in Afghanistan in the Mid 90s after about a year of fighting.

    But with your blinders, I guess they all look alike. And why bother learning what's going on? It's the enemy, right? One shouldn't study or know about them, right?

    We need a hot shot military lawyer to take charge here. If only one were around.

    If only..................................

  • ||

    Arabic? huh? Occupying? huh huh? It has Arab support, but it was originally a Pashtun movement.

    But it was taken over and funded by the Saudis. The core of the group including Mullah Omar were Pashtun, but he rank and file were foreign fighters who were primarily Arab. No, they do not all look alike. Jackass.

  • gaius marius||

    No way would a majority of Muslims choose to live under a theocracy.

    why don't we let them decide that, hm?

    I don't think the Soviet Union would have collapsed when it did had it not been for its failures in Afghanistan, among other things.

    perhaps, mr schultz, but i tend to think the russians would have failed with or without us. the afghans tossed them out, not us, and our support only accelerated (and even that is arguable) the eventuality.

    moreover, it must be said that there was no revolution in the collapsing soviet union. scholarship is showing that it was a conscious choice made by progressives in russia to abandon what had become a debilitatingly expensive empire. certainly, conditions like afghanistan contributed as part of their military expense, but defeat there may not have been any greater an accelerant than continued occupation.

    i concede, though, that the psychological impact probably led to the decision to give up empire in a manner that vietnam did not here -- but that adventures like iraq still might.

    Embracing foreign-backed fanatics as a desperate effort to stave off bandits after a period of chaos is not the same thing as self-determination

    i'm not so sure about that, dr thoreau. they made the choice, and if they regretted it it was always in their power to make another. i think we all understand the nature of societies well enough to know that no government -- even and perhaps especially the most brutal kind -- long exists without the complicity of the populace. charles i of england and louis xvi of france have much to say on the subject, as i recall. :)

    because we, in our insular postmodern western bubble, cannot conceive of peoples not rebelling against authority as we do does not mean that all people want all freedom at any cost. indeed, we need look only at our own history as westerners to see as much.

    they looked at the price of change and decided on balance against it, at least for the time being. we may not like or even understand the choice, but i don't recall any afghani asking for an american invasion to help change their society. and we, of course, are given every opportunity to hear those voices with the help of government propaganda.

  • gaius marius||

    what are the chances that Israel will turn on us as bin Laden and company did?

    in light of the aipac scandal in the vice president's office, i'm not sure that they really were ever "with us" in the devotional and grateful sense many hubristic americans would like to imagine.

    But it was taken over and funded by the Saudis.

    mr john, you are clearly far out of even a dilettante's depth in discussing these issues. that's too simplistic by orders of magnitude. the taliban is and always will be pashtun.

  • gaius marius||

    for those who question where the bombs are going, read michael young's account. civilians everywhere are being targeted.

  • El Ante Sarcastico||

    Tis a pity. And this from the same proud warrior who promised not to engage.

    And - it's not a mule-type. It's an Elk type. Dammit, man, learn your hooved creatures. I can see how you get Pakistanis mixed up with A-rabs. Probably think Iranians and Kurds and Turks are A-rabs, too!

    Good thing there's no (military lawyer here). He'd set us straight.

    And it was a good thing that Saudi Arabia and the UAE dropped diplomatic recognition of the Taliban in late September 2001. Only Pakistan remained recognizing that awful regime.

    So, yeah, they took over. This is some realpolitik master!!! Get Charlotte over here! She can make a new web for this one!

  • ||

    thoreau,

    (And the Taliban were certainly brutal enough to keep in check any thugs who weren't on their team, and they did make some metaphorical trains run on time for the purpose of getting opium to market.)

    The Taliban was very anti-drug. They banned opium cultivation with extreme prejudice.

    Or maybe I'm misunderstanding what you mean with metaphorical trains and whatnot.

  • ||

    perhaps, mr schultz, but i tend to think the russians would have failed with or without us. the afghans tossed them out, not us, and our support only accelerated (and even that is arguable) the eventuality.

    Errr, no. The muj were dying in droves before the US got serious about funding their effort. The Soviet methods, crude and brutal as they were, would proably have succeeded enough for thier purposes. The CIA and the Saudis developed a dollar-matching deal, and created training bases, hospitals and sent along gobs and gobs of gear. The Afghans continued to do the fighting and dieing, but without US $$$ it would have mostly ended up as dieing.

  • ||

    What seems simplistic by several orders of magnitude is the assumption that it is possible to leave the middle east alone such that they will leave you alone. Yes, you can redeploy your troops. Color me skeptical that it would matter much.

    There is Israel. If we leave everyone alone, what happens there? You think you have seen Israel hitting too hard recently? Wait until they are utterly isolated. Butting out of the region seems to mean allowing Syria and Iran at a minimum to fund outright war against Israel on more even terms.

    There is mass media and trade, or cultural imperialism if you will, which may be enough for the true believers all by themselves.

    There is the mystery of Spain getting bombed. I thought you could just leave people alone? Oh, you mean as long as you give them back huge tracts of land they feel entitled to.

    There is the disconnect between despots and popular will - the results, apparently, of 'self determination'. Diplomacy with despots is a tricky business because the interests of most people are not related to the interests of the despot.

    There is oil. For the time being, people need it. I would frankly love to see a world where the relevant misery of middle eastern self determination were to devolve into the irrelevant misery of Africa. And that is the most optimistic endgame of complete disengagement, by the way. Idiotic theocracies and tyrants keep vast marjorities of people stupid and poor and maintain authority by marching armies.

  • ||

    theDumbfish-

    The Taliban were very clever. They cracked down on heroin production, especially by people not in their clique. That drove the price sky high. Then they sold their copious reserves. This has all been reported in the Economist.

  • ||

    leftism today centers on the abdication of personal responsibility, using society as a tool by which to relieve themselves of the burdens of free people. i have no love of that.

    I was thinking more of your foreign affairs rhetoric, whether in terms of style, substance, or intellectual/philosophical justifications.

    but the right is little better, and hasn't been for centuries. the idolization of sparta and rome through the lens of prussian militarism is no way to live well.

    Surely you don't think your average 17th-19th century European aristocratic traditionalist was much better. Perhaps he wasn't as much of a hard-core militarist, depending on where he was at, but his racism and love of imperialism were certainly much stronger than that of any remotely mainstream right-wing politician or commentator of the present-day.

  • ||

    Hey, just quit stimulating me by your refusal to hand over Andalusia and Vienna, and I promise to leave you alone. Really. As long as you quit drinking booze, too. And start having your women cover up their skin. Oh, and stop that dancing....it's stimulating me!!!!!!

  • ||

    Would you Jews stop stimulating us with your confounded insistence on metabolizing! Really, prior to 1948, we thought you were all swell, and wouldn't have harmed a hair on your head! Truly, if you people would just stop stimualting us so much, we would get along fine with you, cuz, really, we're not capable of developing our own organic political culture; everything we do is a response to your stimuli! Stop it!

  • ||

    This has all been reported in the Economist.

    Now I actually remember an HnR post from you talking about just this a while back. I searched and found an Economist article talking about this, but it only really had a single line about the Taliban's opium stash. Do you know of anthing that has more details?

    I thought your post was suggesting that the Taliban were some big drug traffickers. I guess they were actually drug market manipulators.

    A shame really. Such clean cut young men. Getting mixed up in that nasty business.

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