Threatening Spain

Over at the Across the Bay blog, Tony Bey is following the details of an interesting story picked up by the wire services.

A Spanish police memo evidently leaked to the Spanish daily El Mundo says that the head of Syrian military intelligence, Assef Shawkat (who is also the brother in law of Syrian President Bashar Assad), threatened Spain (and, by inference, Spanish troops in southern Lebanon) if a Syrian arms dealer living in Spain, Munzer al-Kassar, was extradited to the United States. (The original Spanish article is here.)

According to an AFP story: "General Assef Shawkat [...] wrote to his opposite number in Spain: 'If you think we are going to ignore the affront inflicted by north-American henchmen on our brother (Kassar), you don't really know us and [you] are no friends of the Syrian people.'"

More alarming was the information that Spanish foreign minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, had assured the Syrians that Kassar would not be extradited. Moratinos has long tried to maintain good ties with Damascus, to the extent that he refused to even privately admit that Syria had played a role in the bomb attack against the Spanish contingent of the United Nations force in Lebanon last June that killed six peacekeepers. At the time, U.N. officials were privately saying the exact opposite, noting that there was anger with Syria at the U.N. because of the attack. 

Knowing this, you have to wonder if the memo was leaked to negate Moratinos' promise.  

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  • LarryA||

    Moratinos has long tried to maintain good ties with Damascus, to the extent that he refused to even privately admit that Syria had played a role in the bomb attack against the Spanish contingent of the United Nations force in Lebanon last June that killed six peacekeepers.

    Because, like, if you just, like, go along with them they'll be like reasonable and you can all just like get along. Like.

  • Guy Montag||

    LA,

    Yea, the Spanish need a Dr. Paul over there so they can exchange friendship bracelets with the Syrians and leave them alone so they can march into Israel and Iraq peacefully.

  • thoreau||

    If Spain is being threatened by Syria, they should attack Syria, then lose interest in Syria and invade Turkmenistan instead.

  • ||

    thoreau-

    Is there an analogy lurking within your comment?

  • ||

    I think taht Thoreau means taht if Spain is threatened by Syria, it should invade and conquer Syria (even though people like Thoreau don't like it) and then work hard to rebuild it as a peaceful antion, and then finally take notice of treaty, UN Resolution, and armistice violations (not to mention outright acts of war) that Turkmenistan had been committing for ten years and go clean IT out too, so as not to leave it festering for the next administration. Spain should subsequently work itself silly in Turkmenistan to make IT a better place to live... sometimes successfully, sometimes not... and stick with it until change is achieved, leaving Turkmenistan and the world a slightly better place.

    But he can't say that out loud.

  • Kevin||

    "General Assef Shawkat [...] wrote to his opposite number in Spain..."

    Hey, how does one determine their number, so as to better determine who is their opposite number? I've always considered myself a 7 or a 3, but it would be nice to know for sure.

    TiA!

  • Ali||

    ... but Spain has to claim (not "show", "claiming" would just do) that Turkmenistan has WMDs first.

  • ||

    Not really, Ali. Just that Turkmenistan hasn't cooperated with the inspection programs to the extent that the UN required.
    Armistice, remember. That means that the war is still on, just in abeyance. Failure to live up to the terms of an armistice is an act of war- it says so right in the description.
    Think of it as like pointing a gun at a cop- the officer isn't required to wait until you prove that it's loaded, the pointing is enough. And if it turns out that you were pointing an empty gun (maybe because you were so sure that your friends you had bribed with sooo much money from the Oil For Food program would keep anything from happening to you)... too bad.

  • ||

    Gawd DaveP, I love watching a complete and through butt handing. Thanks for that Christmas present!

  • Ali||

    DaveP.- Sadly true :-( But remember, Spain will go to Turkmenistan to spread liberty. The people there are thirsty for it. Spreading freedom and peace by shoving both down peoples' throats. Sounds like reasonable to me.

  • SIV||

    ... but Spain has to claim (not "show", "claiming" would just do) that Turkmenistan has WMDs first.

    And Turkmenistan has to be on record as having WMDs and using them in aggression, and be under UN sanction--requiring regular inspections for WMDs-- for engaging in an aggressive and unprovoked war of conquest. Turkmenistan should refuse to allow those inspectors in "sensitive" military areas even when threatened with a UN sanctioned resumption of the war which threw them out of the country they invaded and devastated their military.Only then, if Spain was the primary liberator of the country Turkmenistan invaded, they could exercise authority under said UN declarations and resume hostilities for geopolitical strategic reasons that are unrelated to the WMDs everyone thinks Turkmenistan has and has threatened to use. The strategic reasons would be in the interest of Spain and many of Turkmenistan's neighbors and would have the added benefit of freeing the Turkmen majority from violent oppression from their dictator.


    Wow, you really have to torture that analogy to make it work.

  • Ali||

    SIV-

    I am enjoying this actually.

    Sure but that is only the "official story". Is it just possible the Turkmenistan's president Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedow was so sure that Spain would not do something as stupid as actually invading Turkenistan that he would actually keep refusing the UN inspections. But why would he do something like that? Here is why:

    (1) He's evil and brutal and does not care about his people whom he have gassed in the past,
    (2) While he knows that his people hate him, he also knows that the people hate Spain even worse due to years of sanctions that Spain is blamed for, and as far as the Turkmen people are concerned, it was Spain that was behind the sanctions that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people,
    (3) "Russia" is next door and is just waiting for Spain to make the (unlikely) invasion to start meddling into Turkmenistan after Spain has done the big task of removing Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedow from power,
    (4) He'd make it possible for terrorists from, say, Chechnya to come into the country to help in the fight against the invaders (he would do that only after an invasion since he really really hates the terrorists since he's an atheist communist who persecuted all forms of religion),
    (5)...

    (you fill in the rest).

    But, lo and behold, all of that logic failed by Spain's supreme interest in getting Turkmenistan's oil and "spreading freedom around the region".

  • The Plea for Sanity Dollar||

    Is there not one day of the year we can just agree to not spew bile, not matter how justified? Don't you guys ever take a fucking break?

  • Ali||

    The Plea for Sanity Dollar:

    You are actually right. I hesitated before I posted. To hell. It is not worth it. Let SIV and Guy keep dreaming.

  • ||

    Where's Lonewacko to cite this as an excellent argument against open immigration from Mexico?

  • Interested Conservative||

    All the same, didn't Spain civilize the Aztecs? Are the Syrians really that different?

  • ajacksonian||

    This is the same Monzer al-Kassar that:

    1) Was involved in the Iran/Contra arms for hostages deal,
    2) Involved in the BNL/BCCI scandal,
    3) Is the head of the al-Kassar family, which controls the heroin supply going through the Bekaa,
    4) Worked out a nuclear power plant and long range missile deal between Hafez Assad and Carlos Menem before Menem won an election in Argentina,
    5) Was involved in the Achille Lauro hijacking,
    6) Ran his own system of agents in Argentina and made contacts with the Cali and Medellin cartels,
    7) Paid for the truck and explosives in the Israeli Embassy bombing in Argentina in 1992,
    8) Brought in Imad Mugniyah to create a Hezbollah Network in Argentina and blow up the AMIA Jewish cultural exchange center,
    9) Ran weapons, including SAMs to FARC,
    10) Shipped arms for Iran to Bosnia from Poland and Argentina, while the Balkans were under UN embargo,
    11) Shipped arms to Somalia that was under UN embargo,
    12) That had one witness in a Brazilian jail murdered, another witness in Marbella get drunk and 'accidentally' fall out of his apartment and a third recant in Spanish jail as Kassar was under piracy charges for the Achille Lauro in Spain... he was not prosecuted,
    13) Worked with Semion Mogilevich out of Marbella, Spain,
    14) Met with Osama bin Laden and used that contact to sink the Imperial Company, so that Kassar could get an Argentine gold mine,

    There is more on the man... lots more...

    Syria is not *joking*: the al-Kassar family has a ton of weight as it runs training camps that have pulled in folks from ETA, IRA, PLO, FARC, Hezbollah, al Qaeda, LTTE, Japanese Red Army, Shining Path...

    al-Kassar has reach into the US and Canada via the family heroin rings and the extended rings via S. American drug cartels and kingpins. Mugniyah set up a group of cells from Toronto to North Carolina for various activities, mostly income generation from smuggling, gray market goods, and bank fraud.

    No, Syria is deadly serious on this one... those connections to ETA are no joke, nor are Kassars to GIA and GSPC which did the Madrid bombing, which he is implicated in, also.

  • Anytown USA||

    All the same, didn't Spain civilize the Aztecs?

    If you want to call wearing cowboy gear, sitting around a trash-strewn yard full of pickup trucks sporting murals of the Virgin Mary blaring mariachi music , while drinking Coronas and grilling a goat they butchered as it hung bleating from a swingset, as their anchor babies scamper about playing with an emaciated dog civilized....
    well yes Spain did.

  • ||

    Is the head of the al-Kassar family, which controls the heroin supply going through the Bekaa

    see? there's some good in everyone, even an al-kassar.

  • ||

    It's cute how the biggest suckers in the world remain certain of their clear-eyed understanding and superior insight in exactly the fields that they've proven themselves to be incapable of setting aside their wishful thinking.

    Of course, the fact that what they wish for is an opportunity to start more wars isn't cute at all.

  • ||

    Let's pretend for a moment that invading Syria, overthrowing its government, occupying it and setting up a client state was the most strategically brilliant, humane policy imaginable.

    We can't. We can't, because the Michael Young-ish foreign policy we've been following for six years has rendered us incapable for doing so. We can't even credibly threaten them with anything durable because we've got our ass hanging in the wind where they can get at it.

  • ||

    Wait !! We did win in Viet Nam though, right? Sure hope the bad guys in the world take that to mind before they mess with us. We'll kick some ass again !!

  • ||

    Geez, when did the anti-liberty libertarians start taking over Reason? There are still people who think the Iraq war was a good idea? What dark corner of the blogosphere is this?

  • ||

    Yea, the Spanish need a Dr. Paul over there so they can exchange friendship bracelets with the Syrians and leave them alone so they can march into Israel and Iraq peacefully.

    Spain is over 1800 miles away from Israel and it is best for her citizens if she doesn't get involved in the hornet's nest of Middle Eastern politics.

  • ||

    Geez, when did the anti-liberty libertarians start taking over Reason? There are still people who think the Iraq war was a good idea? What dark corner of the blogosphere is this?

    I think you have that backwards. The anti-liberty ones are the one who think the Iraq war was a bad idea.

  • Off A Cough||

    The Spanish government has proven itself to be a bunch of cowards, and in a moment of cowardice the populace is scared, too.

    They put Mr. Bean in office out of fear of more Islamofascists attacks, not because of involvement in Iraq directly.

    Is this really a surprise to anyone? Of all countries to bow down to, really, Syria?

    At least Spain's constitutional King has a pair. More people like him in either elected or figurehead government roles should tell Hugo Chavez to STFU in public.

  • ||

    Not really, Ali. Just that Turkmenistan hasn't cooperated with the inspection programs to the extent that the UN required.

    Not quite true, Turkmenistan should stall and eventually let in the inspectors. Then when they finally agree to abide by the inspections, and after the inspectors find nothing, Spain should tell the inspectors to leave and invade because "diplomacy has failed". In the end, the inspectors will be vindicated and the Spanish hawks will be proven wrong (but will cling to their rightness despite being proven wrong time and time again).

  • bour3||

    Spreading freedom and peace by shoving both down peoples' throats. Sounds like reasonable to me.

    Me too. Except it's an open system. Both ends must be stuffed simultaneously. Prevents leakage.

  • Ali||

    Naive question for all those who wish to spread liberty and peace by the gun: After we liberate the rest of the world and bring liberty to all people who do not have liberty, what are we going to do? Start working on this within us are less-liberty loving and convert them? Shall we start with those that do not appreciate liberty most and start working our way upwards?

  • ||

    "Those who make peaceful change impossible, make violent change inevitable" Why is this quote only applicable to dictators allied to US interests like the Shah and Somoza?

  • ||

    ali-

    ... but Spain has to claim (not "show", "claiming" would just do) that Turkmenistan has WMDs first.

    Only while Turkmenistan was 'legally' Spain's "bitch"- due to the fact that the "Turkmenistan War" ended with a "cease-fire" saying that the Turki's would toss Spain's salad whenever requested.

  • ||

    I don't know, Ali. As an American- the nation that has "spread peace by the gun" across the entirety of Europe through Cold war and hot, most of Asia, and now parts of the Middle East... why don't you ask those people in any of the aforementioned places we've "stuffed our boots down" if THEY thought it was worth it?
    Start with France, maybe Japan, South Korea...
    you could ask over in Cambodia, where we acted just as freedom-loving folks like you would have chosen- and abandoned a generation to slaughter. Go dig up a few mass graves and take a poll.

    Places where we've tread have been better for our coming; places where we've left untimely have been worse for our leaving. We've freed nations and never asked for even the room to bury our dead.

    What do we do when we're finished? Ask Germany, or maybe Italy, or the Phillippines. Maybe General Marshall could tell you- all he did was rebuild a world. We open trade, start companies, marry local wives (husbands now I guess) or just go home and tend our gardens. We're free men ourselves, and have better things to do.

    And so do I. Sweet dreams, Ali. Next time you need help... don't ask.

  • Ali||

    DaveP.-

    England, France, and Europe in general asked for the US's help. And the US was attacked at Pearl Harbor. It was a world wide crisis for God's sake! Iraq was not a world wide crisis. The US was attacked on 9/11 by terrorist harbored in Taliban run Afghanistan. Neither I nor many of those who are against the Iraq war would ever argue against bombing the Taliban. For God's we'd argued for it back then, just like you probably did, and we ask for it now. But no, not Iraq. I am sorry.

  • ||

    So the first four years of abject failure in Iraq were just a fluke in the long trend of America successfully spreading democracy by force? Am I missing something here?

  • ||

    I'm wondering about a lot of the people commenting on this..Syria invade Spain? With what?

    I'm also wondering what threat, exactly, Syria can carry out against Spain. Yes, they have a lot of pull with Hizballah, but the last time Hizballah pulled off an attack outside of their traditional playground was the bombing in Argentina, which was over a decade ago, and hasn't been repeated.

    Perhaps the Syrians are simply engaging in empty, but tough-sounding, threats?

    I realize the Syrians spends lot of time puffing themselves up, and our government and media like to play along, but they really don't look too threatening to Spain, even if you ignore the fact that Spain is in NATO. Maybe they can get the ETA to blow up a tapas bar, if they try really hard. Spain's put up with that kind of crap for years.

  • ||

    Nemo Ignotus

    I believe that the contention is that Syria would arrange for its proxy, Hizbollah, to attack Spanish troops in the UN force in Southern Lebanon.

    I'm not exactly sure why Hizbollah would consider that to be in their interest.

  • ||

    I kinda wonder how 3 million dead Vietnamese and the 1 million (or more) refugees feel about our good intentions. It's particularly sad when one considers that the VN are beginning to move towards a free economy.

    Cuba is slowly and incrementally moving in the same direction. Left to itself, communism and religionism gives way to freedom to modernity. Individuals, left to themselves, will always choose what they perceive to be the better path for themselves and their families. War is not a consumer driven product.

  • ||

    France, and Europe in general asked for the US's help.

    france did? afaik, the vichy government (which was frances legitimate government under international law) did not want us there. germany and italy didn't want us there. only england did, hardly europe in general.

    and as usual, joe proves himself to be as stupid as bush by being unable to conceive of knocking off an obnoxious dictatorship without concommitant occupation. you know, he ought to run for president.

  • Episiarch||

    Maybe they can get the ETA to blow up a tapas bar, if they try really hard.

    Actually, all the Sinn Féin-style head honchos (political wing) of ETA got rounded up and arrested about 2 months ago. I was in Spain at the time and saw it on the news. I wouldn't be surprised if there were a few exploding tapas bars soon, possibly pushed along by the Syrians. However, as you say, Spain has been dealing with domestic terrorism for years and would just keep on going.

  • Episiarch||

    and as usual, joe proves himself to be as stupid as bush by being unable to conceive of knocking off an obnoxious dictatorship without concommitant occupation.

    Well, I'm sure he can conceive of it, but that still wouldn't make it right. I can see an argument for whacking a dictator using local intelligence assets. But even as satisfying as seeing someone like Saddam getting his neck stretched might be, it doesn't justify using (and sacrificing) our troops, materiel, and money to attack a place that is, at best, a dubious, nebulous threat to us.

    You want to get rid of a dictator? Donate money or guns to the people in his country that would like to take him out. Maybe provide a little planning assistance, which would be a proper use for the CIA.

  • ||

    Guys,
    Libertarians love their freedoms and, we know that our liberties can only be retained when the US Federal government takes a strong role in protecting our republic.

    That's why American Libertarians support the liberation of Iraq. Those who don't either have no grasp of the relationship between "freedoms" and the functioning, insulating republic, or they are lost Libertarians grasping at isolationist, communitarian facsimiles for freedom.

    As for Spain, it's political discourse is polluted with European collectivist tendencies and a fossilized appeasement-streak left over from centuries of Moslem domination. Islamists know this: once generations have been herded into corrals and bled, their nation's psyche becomes as supple and bend-able as a scared cow's.

    The Middle East's Baathists' political agenda presupposes that Spain, along with most of Europe, has been branded, chained and tamed by their whip. And now, as far as Syria's Baath party is concerned, Spain is ready for the abbatoir.

  • ||

    and as usual, joe proves himself to be as stupid as bush by being unable to conceive of knocking off an obnoxious dictatorship without concommitant occupation.

    Sorry, edna, I didn't realize you pro-failed state. Most of us consider Somalia and post-Soviet Afghanistan to be negative examples.

    But we're probably just stupid.

  • ||

    I don't get the fuss...the United States thinks everyone should play by their rules, but I promise you that we don't play by our own. Why should Spain extradite this criminal to the United States, I don't think the U.S. has an extradition treaty with Syria...it appears our only relationship with Syria is to bad mouth them on tv and then ship people there to be torutured.

  • ||

    DaveP:

    What would you say if there were ships from country X off of the coast of Spain attacking Spanish merchant ships? What if that country was openly supporting rebellion against the Spanish crown? Does it change anything that country X believes in a heathen religion?

    If Spain's actions regarding Syria seem irrational you might want to consider that Spain has been there and done that. Armada's rarely work.

  • ||

    Did I fall down the rabbit hole and wake up in 2002?

  • Guy Montag||

    edna,

    france did? afaik, the vichy government (which was frances legitimate government under international law) did not want us there. germany and italy didn't want us there. only england did, hardly europe in general.

    Don't forget, the US Navy had to sink almost every french ship they encountered in WW II, vicy or not, because they would fire on us. During the Normandy landings the french rounded up downed Allied Aviators and turned them over to the Germans, pelted them with rotten food and stones and were not big on tossing chocolates and roses until the Germans were on the run.

    However, after the invasion of Sicili the Italians voted their "dictator" out of power and jailed him, then welcomed the Allies even while Italian Officers were being executed by German Officers for siding with their government's new position, i.e., following lawful orders.

  • ||

    Yes, Spain should go to war with Syria. It all makes sense.

    Michael Young is still around on Reason? Why? I thought he won the lifetime "Head Up His Ass" award for his infantile faith in the "Great Democracy Wave Sweeping The Middle East!" meme a couple of years ago.

    Dump his ass already.

  • ||

    joe, good luck in iowa!

  • Elemenope||

    ...being unable to conceive of knocking off an obnoxious dictatorship without concommitant occupation.

    Well, I imagine the process would be similar to knocking off elected gov'ts...if so, that's a great suggestion. Worked out great with Allende and Mossadegh, didn't it.

    /sarcasm

  • dhex||

    All the same, didn't Spain civilize the Aztecs?

    just to butt in completely off topic, if by civilize you mean "enslave" then yes!

    i'm not one of those people who thinks "terrible insane neurotic theocratic empire A" being replaced via force by "terrible insane neurotic theocratic mercantilist empire B" is much of a step up.

  • ||

    Gee, got to post 20 before Nam was mentioned. Merry Christmas.

  • Guy Montag||

    dhex,

    The Spanish did get the Aztecs to cut back on that human sacrafice stuff a good bit.

  • ||

    Warty, "Did I fall down a hole..."

    Dude, I'm feeling the same way. But, I'm going back further. I'm reminded of the mosh-pit at a Seattle grunge club pre-Cobain. It's as if Seattle's "truther" free-rag "The Stranger" has entwined with the John Birch Society.

    Leading me to point out that, if one wanted to dull individualism in this country, it would make sense to deliberately obfuscate, misrepresent, and turn people off-of, the concept's guiding ideals. Libertarianism being one of them.

  • Mark E.||

    It looks like a high stake game is being played to do something to Assad of Syria and this guy al Kasser is being requested by other countries because he can testify against Assad (and is an international arms/drug dealer, money launderer, etc.) and Assad is saying if this guy is taken by Spain or the U.S. there will be more trouble in Iraq and Lebanon. I expect a hit to be made on this guy by Assad soon or the Spainards and Bush to cave in to avoid controversy as they've been doing with Syria for years now.

  • Warmongering Lunatic||

    Jimmy Smith --

    Why don't you go to Vietnam and ask the people, instead of inventing answers in your own head? There is virtually no resentment in Vietnam for the U.S. over the Vietnam War, except a mild disapproval of the fact that we abandoned them to Communism. They're capable of looking at South Korea and seeing that they would have been better off.

    In fact, perhaps the best reason for the U.S. to refuse to intervene is the anti-American sentiment we see in South Korea and France. Compared to the attitudes we see in Vietnam and Poland, we can come to the conclusion that the most effective way to gain the resentment of a people is to liberate them, while to gain their goodwill the appropriate action is to abandon them to tyrants.

  • dhex||

    The Spanish did get the Aztecs to cut back on that human sacrafice stuff a good bit.

    they replaced it with their own imported version.

    doing the sacrificing native mexica wouldn't do.

    ...circles within circles...

  • ||

    Don't worry. This is Spain. I am sure that Osama Zapatero and his Islamo-Socialist Party are quietly giving assurances to the Syrians that the last thing they would consider doing would be collaborating with the common enemy of Spain and Syria: the United States.

  • ||

    Oh, look, the idiots have moved on from France to Spain.

    I am so glad you people don't matter anymore.

  • ||

    Paella eating surrender monkeys.

  • ||

    Alain, it's a little early to be so high. Was that a wake and bake, or just a lunch time return and burn?

  • still||

    Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedov? by the time you finish calling his name he's gone

  • ||

    What? No love for Beavis in his "Cornholio" persona?

    I am Cornholio, I need TP for my bunghole... are you threatening me?!....heh heh heh heh. Cool.

    Ah, the early Mike Judge.

  • ||

    Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedov: You can't stop him. You can only hope to contain him.

  • Ali||

    OK, I have to admit. I just copied and pasted his name here. I guess an advantage of Saddam is that his name has by far fewer syllables.

  • ||

    Freedom Rice!

    Freedom Paprika!

    Freedom Fly!

  • SIV||

    Press 2 for Freedom!

  • ||

    Nobody expects the Freedom Inquisition!

  • ||

    Our key weapon is surrender and pacifism.

    Our two key weapons are surrender and pacifism. And appeasement.

    Our three key weapons are surrender, pacifism, and appeasement. And rich, fruity wine drinks.

    Among our weapons...

    Look, I'll come in again.

  • ||

    Mr Lunatic

    60 % of the Vietnamese were born after 1975. I'm afraid I can't ask those 3 million dead, nor can I ask those older folks who have died post- 1975. If we had not "helped" the South, those folks would have lived, Viet Nam would have become one country earlier, Ho Chi Minh was a nationalist, pitching the French out. His communist ties were to get the arms he needed. In '75 he fought both China and Cambodia , both damned fine commies.

    I really don't have to go to VN, all I have to do is ask any of the 14 refugees that lived in my home, from June '75 'til Aug '77. Of course I could ask my wife of 33 years what her opinion is of the democracy that we imposed on her country . 58 K of my generation died in a place that LBJ (with the collusion of Ike and JFK) lied us into.) Many of those dead were personal friends of mine.

    My 2 tours in VN, including working as an advisor to a VN Infantry Division in the Delta,should count towards something.

    Some of us remember that our glorious leaders did not want to leave VN, lose their war.In 1967 I saw the real estate plan for Cam Ranh Bay, that included a school and dependent housing. The plan was to occupy the country. Sorry if the plan didn't work out for the "Real Patriots" I tried.

  • ||

    Before we stuck our noses into southeast Asia, Cambodia was a peaceful kingdom without a communist presence worth speaking of.

    Then - and please note the order here -

    1. We carried out a political campaign to undermine the Cambodian government.

    2. We expanded to the war to Cambodia, killing tens of thousands of Cambodians via aerial bombardments.

    3. A Communist insurgency - one also hostile to the North Vietnamese - came into being.

    4. We did nothing to stop this insurgency, and may have supported them, owing to their hostility to both the uncooperative Cambodian government and the North Vietnamese.

    D. That insurgency took over the country, and starting up the genocide machine.

    Fifth, the enemy we'd been fighting in Vietnam put an end to the Killing Fields.

    To anybody who knows more about Cambodia than "George Bush mentioned it as a reason to Stay the Course in Iraq," its history in the period during and after the Vietnam War is a very strong argument AGAINST American intervention.

  • ||

    From what I can gather many of the Vietnamese, on both sides of the DMZ, who lived through the war simply couldn't understand why the Americans, who they really believed were good people, were doing awful things like bombing their villages.

    Of course, many also suffered through "re-education" camps (ie torture and privation) but there's a huge question of whether that would have happened without our meddling.

    Look, the grim fact is that Ike chose to break the 1954 Geneva Accords which called for elections on a unified VN because he didn't believe Diem could win. Naturally, he was probably right. Instead he chose to prop up the puppet Diem regime with military aid and advisors. The genius JFK and the even bigger genius LBJ chose to expand even further.

    The may have been a time when we could have neutralized Ho in the same way Tito was. Given Viet Nam's traditional hatred of China and almost everyone's mistrust of Stalin, it might not have been that hard. Ho would still have been a Commie but possibly a non-aligned but western sympathetic one like Tito. Oh well, too late now, instead Harry Truman decided (after FDR had promised that the purpose of the war was not to restore European colonial possessions) turn it back over to the Frogs.

    So we really can go back and blame it all on HST after all.

  • ||

    Well, it's fairly certain that the boneheadedness in VN started real early in the piece. And we weren't even responsible.

    The Japanese surrender terms called for VN to be partition into two occupation zones.

    The Chinese (Nationalists) were to move into the North (really, what a kick, getting occupied by your oldest enemy who you probably hate even more than the French and the Japanese) while the British occupied the South.

    The Brits then rearmed the French but even worse yet at one point they armed Japanese POWs and sent them out to suppress Viet Minh uprisings. Hey, guys, way to win hearts and minds.

    In fact the first casualties in the war against the Viet Minh were Ghurkas and Japanese under British command not the French.

    But it just goes to show you that if any Americans are stupid it's likely because they've been paying too much attention to Eurotrash like the British and French.

    It really is amazing that from the ME to SE Asia wellmeaning American administrations have walked into minefields laid by the European powers.

    I don't know if having a president who wasn't an anti-intellectual yahoo from 1945 to 1952 would have helped or not. But that's when the foundations for American interventionism were irrevocably set.

  • ||

    Joe
    IB

    Concur with your VN thoughts and mine. So do we really need to meddle again and again and again in every part of the world. Sure hope the Greenlanders are democratic, I'd hate to fight a really cold war.

  • ||

    Watch out jimmy, we may want to liberate them from their Scandinavian overlords.

  • ||

    Sure hope the Greenlanders are democratic, I'd hate to fight a really cold war.



    NO BLOOD FOR ICE!!!!

    Doesn't really work, does it?

    NO BLOOD FOR WHALE BLUBBER?

  • Ali||

    NO BLOOD FOR ICE!!!!

    But, how? Greenland has ice? Can't be. It is green, no? Sort of reminds me of those pacifists who thought we go to Iraq for their oil. Iraq has oil?

  • Kolohe||

    Sure hope the Greenlanders are democratic, I'd hate to fight a really cold war.

    There is in fact an ongoing, almost literal cold war over an island just off of Greenland between two NATO allies. (one seems a little more adept in the cold weather than the other however.)

  • Guy Montag||

    IB,

    No blood for train oil? Even if it is natural and renewable?

  • ||

    Left to itself, communism and religionism gives way to freedom to modernity.

    Perhaps, but two questions:

    (1) What do you say to the generations who live under totalitarian regimes while we preserve our moral purity and let them "evolve" at their own pace?

    (2) Could we have some examples of totalitarian regimes that gave way to freedom and modernity without any outside pressure?

  • ||

    ARE VERY FUNNY YOUR COMMENTS BUT THE ONLY PROBLEM HERE IS THIS: EVERYTHING IS A BIG LIE, NOBODY THREATENED, NOBODY WROTE A LETTER, NOBODY ANSWERED, NOBODY HAD A MEETING WITH SHAWKAT, NOBODY. EVERYTHING IS A LIE. SO??? WHO IS GETTING PROFIT FROM THIS?.

    IS VERY CLEAR... SPAIN AND SYRIA ARE FRIENDS, THAT IS TRUE, I KNOW SYRIAN, PROBABLY YOU DON'T. BUT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT THINGS YOU HAVE NO IDEA. IS AMAZING!!!.

    THE BIGGEST TERRORISTS ARE AMERICANS AND ISRAEL, WE CAN TALK ABOUT THAT....IRAK, PALESTINE, SERBIA, BOSNIA, AFGHANISTAN, SOMALIA, KOREA, VIETNAM....AND SO.

    DON'T YOU THING IF ISRAEL APPLIED THE U.N. RESOLUTIONS COULD BE BETTER THAN KILL PEOPLE EVERY DAY?

    LAS THING. ASK TO "EL MUNDO" (SPANISH NEWSPAPER) SHOW THE LETTER WHICH YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT... THEY CANNOT PROVIDE IT, THEY CANNOT BECAUSE IS A BIG LIE, DOESN'T EXIST.... ASK THEM...IGNORANTS.

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