All entries are based on my experiences and opinions.
posted by Loser @ 6:56 PM
Geez, aren't you aware that the United States is not supposed to be judged by the same standards it applies to the rest of the world? I mean it was okay for Truman to incinerate 200,000 Japanese civilians but it's not okay for any other country to have nuclear technology unless the emperor says it's okay. It is okay for the CIA to use abandoned gulags for the purposes of torturing "enemy combatants". I know it seems wacky, but the USA is ruled by a bunch of neo Jacobin/ neo Trotskyites disguised in freemarket clothing. Leftists worldwide will point to the failure of the neocon agenda, rise to power and then advace their own Wilsonian imperialist agenda. The results will be the same, and it will continue until people realize that the regimented bureaucratized society created by the state is an abomination. Sorry for the rant.
give me a break...A terrorist is a non-uniformed combatant that attacks non-military targets. The US military is neither of those. If civilians are aiding the insurgents then they become insurgent forces or resources which are military targets.Let's also ignore the fact that so far the following have been found in Iraq:1) 1.77 metric tons of enriched uranium (a potential WoMD)2) 1500 gallons of chemical weapons (WoMD)3) a roadside bomb loaded with sarin gas (WoMD)4) 1000 radioactive materials which could be used in "dirty" bombs (a potential WoMD)5) 17 chemical warheads, some containing cyclosarin (that's worse than sarin gas) (yet another WoMD)(This information is in the book "Disinformation" by Richard Miniter)So, there are/were WoMD in Iraq. It takes a while to find them when you give criminals a long time to hide them before you try to disarm them. Their presence is not widely reported because both the Arab media and the US media want to perpetuate the idea that the war was unjust. The fact WoMD were found also makes France, Russia, and Germany look pretty stupid and impotent in standing up to potential threats. Considering Russia and France were two of the biggest payees in the "oil for food" scandal, it makes a lot of sense why they wouldn't want to de-stabilize their income source.
AnonymousIt seems we are talking past eachother. I neither know nor care if Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, what's it matter, we have them, many of our allies have them, are we supposed to dictate which countries are allowed to have them and which are not? Sure Saddam was a bad guy, a really bad guy to be honest, but the world is full of such men. But compared to many Middle Eastern countries Iraq under Saddam was relatively free. Yes I know he gassed the Kurds, I said he was a bad guy. It was easier to buy and own a handgun in Bagdhad than New York City, the consumption of alchohol was less regulated than in many US cities. Prior to the first Gulf War, Iraq was a relatively prosperous secular state, albeit ruled by a tyrant. The Oil for Food fiasco only happened because of the sanctions imposed on Iraq in 1991. In 1998, Clinton's Secretary of State Madeline Albright was asked on 60 Minutes about the 500,000 or more Iraqi civilians who had died as a result of the sanctions, her response- "we think it's worth it." Well, there you have it, it is okay for US politicos to support policies which kill hundreds of thousands of civilians, that's more deaths than Saddam can be credited with. And we wonder where much of the resentment toward us comes from. Oh and before you try to say that I'm blaming the victim, I assure you I am not, the victims of the September 11 attacks were not to blame for US foreign policy. That dubious distinction goes to the politicians and bureaucrats stretching back at least to William McKinley.
some guy,I wasn't talking past you, I was ignoring you completely.Your ignorant view of how Truman ended World War 2 pretty much told me that you don't understand the circumstances or resolve of the Japanese people. They were ready to fight to the last CHILD. Their belief in "honor" and "sacrifice" meant they would have rather have been exterminated than lose the war. They also felt that if they could impose severe enough casualties on the Americans, they might be able to get a negotiated peace rather than a total surrender. Dropping atomic weapons on them showed they could be exterminated with minimal casualties. That is the ONLY reason they surrendered as peacefully as they did.You also seem to think that the "emperor" that is the US thinks it's okay for Pakistan, India, North Korea, Russia, and a host of other countries to have nuclear weapons/technology. The truth is the US has little or no say in whether or not a country has that technology. However, if that country has a history of aggression and/or supports and aides terrorist agendas then the US has to act in it's own self-defense. So far, the US has lost over 2000 military personnel in Iraq. That's still fewer than the number of CIVILIANS who were lost in one attack by Al Quaida here in the US. The US is fighting them on their territory to protect civilians on American soil.Please note that these "enemy combatants" as you call them are actually "illegal enemy combatants" and are not protected by the Geneva Convention. I would also like to see proof that they are being tortured. 500,000 Iraqi civilians dying because of UN sanctions happened because Saddam let it happen. He could have complied with the UN and not faced sanctions. Non-compliance and sanctions were his choice. It was also his choice to horde food and other supplies for his military rather than letting his civilians have some. The 500,000 civilians who died as a result of sanctions are on Saddam's tally of deaths. A better ruler would have protected his people. Saddam chose to protect his rule and let his people die (which is pretty much par for the course with Saddam).You are right about one thing, your ideas do seem wacky.
Since when are incendiary devices "chemical weapons"? I mean, what's next to be given the "Bush used it so it's TEH EVIL" treatment? High explosives? Rifle cartridges? Air conditioners?
anonymousAre you professor Victor Davis Hanson aka. the world's worst historian? Come on, you are surely aware that the whole Japanese fighting to the last man-atomic bomb saving millions of lives thing is a myth. I won't even bother to address the stupidity of the doctrine of unconditional surrender. Also, please don't bring up Pearl Harbor, by this point even most of FDR's admirers are willing to admit that he did everything he could to goad the Japanese into attacking as a backdoor into a war with Germany. I will not go so far as to say that he knew Pearl Harbor was coming, he didn't think the Japanese were capable of such an audacious attack. but I guess you know more about it than Eisenhower or Adm. Leahy, or Douglas MacArthur or any of the other officials who decried the use of hte atomic bomb as unworthy of a civilized nation. It is you who doesn't understand the circumstances of World War II, or much of the history of the past hundred years I bet. Your attempt to justify sanctions fares no better than your lecture on WWII history. The whole history of blockades and sanctions demonstrates that innocent people suffer and that the most beligerent parts of the political class benefit. Saddam profited, his people suffered, this was entirely foreseeable.I'm willing to bet you classify yourself as conservative, you might even adhere to the idea of limited government, well as Randolph Bourne once observed, "war is the health of the state". Keep up that unquestioning support of the war, and watch as the government gets bigger and bigger at a faster rate than even the most commited leftist could imagine.
some guy,Nice argument. You spent more space saying what you weren't going to talk about than actually refuting what I said. By the way, just because you say it's a myth doesn't really mean it is. It's your opinion. Until you post a fact, it's still only your opinion. Do you realize your estimate of 200,000 incinerated Japanese is fewer than some estimates of how many lives (American, Japanese, and Okinawan) were lost in the battle for Okinawa? Some estimates place the losses as high as 250,000. Do you think fewer people would have died if the atomic weapons weren't used and the US did a conventional invasion of Japan?Foreseeable or not, you still have to try to avoid war and give a person a chance to cooperate with the UN. War is (or should be) an option of last resort. Negotiation and economic pressure are used to bring about cooperation between nations so that war can be avoided. The sanctions didn't convince Saddam to cooperate, so force was used. The important thing here is, Saddam was given a choice. Cooperation with the UN would have saved his people and his rule, but it would have hurt his pride. He chose pride, and both he and his people lost. Are you saying that since we, or rather YOU, knew he wasn't going to cooperate with the UN with sanctions imposed that the US should have gone to war with Iraq sooner to save those 500,000 Iraqis?My political views, whatever they may be, have nothing to do with this discussion. The fact you even bring something like that up clearly tells me you are uncomfortable trying to discuss the ideas here and would rather attack me personally.
Sorry for the anonymous posts in this thread. My previous account was deleted.
DougThe only thing close to a personal attack was my comparing you to Victor Davis Hanson. Also, I only spent one sentence talking about what I wasn't going to talk about. The only reason that I made any reference to your possible political philosophy was that the political right, in America, long held a principle of non interventionism, and that this is, in fact, the only foreign policy principle compatible with a limited government approach. It was my hope that you might reevaluate your position in light of traditional conservative principles, clearly I was in error. You want to discuss ideas though, okay. Correct me if I'm wrong but I will try to present a fair picture of what your ideas are. You hold that the world is divided up into entities called nation states, and that these entities carry certain moral responsibilities. Therefore, if Saddam orders his army to invade Kuwait, you hold that Iraq invaded Kuwait, and therefore, Iraq must be held to account. Is it also your contention that other states have a responsibility to respond to Iraq's transgressions? Are citizens of Iraq to be held responsible for the actions of Saddam? Some on the pro war side say yes, I do not know your opinion on the matter. The most common view on the pro war side is that the citizens are innocent but when they die as a result of UN imposed sanctions or our bombs, it is the fault of their ruler for putting them in that situation. I might be wrong but I suspect this is more likely your view. If these are the premises under which you operate, then we will reach an impasse. I am an individualist, and you are a collectivist. I am not criticizing you, just stating where we differ. If I have misstated your position please correct me. Regarding Truman's baby-killing, I am very familiar with the scholarship around his decisions to drop the bomb. You are, no doubt, familiar with Paul Fussel's "God Bless the Atomic Bomb and Other Essays", where the eminent historian presents the same argument that you make about the number of lives saved. The problem is that this estimate (typically 500,000 lives saved as a result of bombing) first appeared years later, the military's own casualty estimates at the time suggested that a full on invasion of Japan would cost around 40,000 lives. Now you may well argue that the lives of 200,000 Japanese civilians are a worthy sacrifice for the lives of 40,000 American soldiers, but I hope you will understand if others have misgivings about this. You might counter that more Japanese would die as a result of invasion. Who knows, I rather doubt it though. Even if true, these casualties would typically be combatants, not people going about their daily lives in Hiroshima or Nagasaki. I guess now I have to bring up the stupidity of unconditional surrender. Why was it necessary to declare a policy of unconditional surrender? This was the type of thinking that gave birth to the monstrous Treaty of Versailles 27 years earlier, and it is what caused the war to be prolonged. I am sure that you will have a response to this, no doubt full of insinuations about how you are smuch smarter than I. I suspect you will want me to dig through my books and journals to find exact citations for everything, I will have these for you later. Till then, fire away.
I am aware there is no wuch word as smuch, an unfortunate typo I assure you.
Here are some articles.Regarding the phoniness of the 500,000 lives saved figure: Barton J. Bernstein, "A Post-War Myth: 500,000 US Lives Saved" Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 42, no. 6 (June July 1986)"Wrong Numbers" the Independent Monthly (July 1995)Regarding Unconditional Surrender:Barton J. Bernstein, "Understanding the Atomic Bomb and the Japanese Surrender: Missed Opportunities, Littles Known Near Disasters, and Modern Memory"G.E.M. Anscombe "Mr. Truman's Degree", did not have the bibliographical info on hand, you should be able to google it. I know I used two articles by Bernstein, that's only because they are good.
Sorry, I forgot to point out that Bernstein's unconditional surrender article appeared in Diplomatic History 19, no. 2 (spring 1995)
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