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Turkey, "genocide" and the Democrats
Posted by: McQ on Monday, October 15, 2007

Jim Gerahty, linking to a QandO article which claims the effort by Democrats to pass a nonbinding resolution condemning the Armenian genocide is, in realty an end-run to muck up the works in Iraq, asks:
Is the aim of this to louse up our effort in Iraq? If the upside were bigger, and the downside were smaller, this kind of talk would be easier to dismiss.
Indeed it would. In fact, most people would think that such talk is just crazy, as the "loyal opposition" would never do anything that underhanded or calculated to mess up our country's war effort.

Trust me, I didn't write that because I've suddenly gone over to the conspiracy theory side of blogging and see black helicopters everywhere. As I've watched the Democrats operate since they've come to power, I find nothing out of the ordinary, based on their actions to date, to indicate this isn't anything but what I've claimed it to be.

Let's consider the fact that Turkey has already acknowledged the deaths of the Armenians:
The Turkish government has bitterly protested the use of the word genocide - acknowledging the deaths of more than a million Armenians, many during forced relocations, but saying there was no intent to eliminate them. The deaths occurred before the creation of the Turkish republic in 1923.
The deaths, in fact, occurred during the Ottoman Empire which was much more than just Turkey.

Turkey is a very proud state, but a member of the honor/shame societies of the Middle East. Humiliation at the hands a of supposed ally would be about as dishonorable and shameful an act as one can suffer in their eyes. Yet Democrats, and specifically Nancy Pelosi, who are quick to lecture others on our abysmal relationships with states in the ME or how we don't understand their culture is now determined to alienate at least one more by proving her point about cultural ignorance. She seems bound and determined to push this as far as it will go with no real or apparent purpose evident than some vague posturing about reviving our "moral authority" in the world.

And, one has to wonder, how many condemnations or denunciations of the event are necessary. In 1981, President Reagan referred to the Armenian massacre as genocide in a proclamation commemorating the Nazi Holocaust. Seems pretty official to me and just as "binding" as what Pelosi, et. al., are setting out to do.

And then, speaking of the Democrats commitment to bi-partisanship, there's this 2000 example from which to draw:
Citing claims by President Clinton that the consideration of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.596) would endanger American lives, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert today broke his pledge to bring the measure to the House floor, acceding to the President's request that he withdraw the resolution. This action was taken only moments before the resolution was to come to the House floor for a vote, reported the H.Res.596 Committee.
But not Pelosi. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead:
The speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives insisted Sunday that she would bring to the full chamber a resolution condemning the killings of Armenians nearly a century ago as genocide, even as a Turkish general warned that this could lastingly damage a military relationship crucial to American forces in Iraq.

A House committee Wednesday passed a nonbinding resolution declaring the killings, which began in 1915 in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire, to be genocide, and the speaker, Representative Nancy Pelosi, said Sunday that "I've said if it passed the committee that we would bring it to the floor."
As others have pointed out, ad nauseum, there are plenty of genocides or mass killings available that have yet to be condemned by Congress. Why this one at this time?

This will not do one positive thing for anyone. What it will do is set off a possible chain of events that could severely hurt our ability to support the troops in Iraq, and yes, actually lead to some lives lost.

How? Well first a little more background:
The stage is thus set for a major showdown, with unknown consequences, if the full House approves the genocide resolution.

[...]

Ankara's past warnings have not been hollow. Last year, it halted military cooperation with France after French lawmakers passed a genocide resolution.
Lesson? Turkey's threats are not to be taken lightly. They have and probably will carry them through.

And the threat? To disallow our use of Incirlik air base as a logistics and intelligence hub for our effort in Iraq:
The dispute now threatens to turn into an international logistics and intelligence-gathering crisis if Ankara decides to impose sanctions over the use of its military facilities in retaliation.

The Turkish authorities allow the US to use the giant Incirlik base as a main supply hub for Iraq. Unmanned aerial drone spy missions over Iraq and Iran are flown from there.

They also allow overflights of Turkish territory by US transport aircraft, allowing them to reduce the risk of being shot down by insurgents inside Iraq's troubled northern provinces.

Pentagon officials confirmed yesterday that 70% of the military cargo sent to Iraq goes via Incirlik or on routes over Turkey.

It could take months to increase operations in other logistical hubs, including Jordan, Kuwait and at the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr in the northern Persian Gulf, the officials added.
Additionally:
Included are about 95% of the new “MRAP” — mine-resistant, ambush-protected — vehicles designed to save the lives of American troops.
Now I'd love to call Pelosi's determination to see this through as idealistic pigheadedness. But it's not. Pelosi is neither idealistic nor pigheaded. But she is about as calculating as any politician out there and if you recall, was one of the early backers of John Murtha's "slow bleed" strategy for ending the war in Iraq. This would simply be one more cut. And, of course it is vital now, because, you see, things are going quite a bit better in Iraq and, as you might imagine, that is just not acceptable in an election year.

And people want to trust Dems with our national security?
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
As I said at my own place;
Nobody... even Democrats... can be quite this stupid by accident... we must assume it’s by intent. And confirming their intentions, it’s of a piece with their previous words and actions.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Well, at least she isn’t supply AQI with IEDs. Yet.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Success in Iraq going into an election year could be a politically existential threat to the Democrats. Look for them to fight it like cornered animals.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
This is part of General Sanchez’s nightmare. A nightmare of incompetent strategic leadership that includes Capitol Hill.
There has been a glaring, unfortunate, display of incompetent strategic leadership within our national leaders. As a Japanese proverb says, “action without vision is a nightmare” there is no question that America is living A nightmare with no end in sight.

Since 2003, the politics of war have been characterized by partisanship as the republican and democratic parties struggled for power in washington. National efforts to date have been corrupted by partisan politics that have prevented us from devising effective, executable, supportable solutions. At times, these partisan struggles have led to political decisions that endangered the lives of our sons and daughters on the battlefield. The unmistakable message was that political power had greater priority than our national security objectives. Overcoming this strategic failure is the first step toward achieving victory in Iraq - without bipartisan cooperation we are doomed to fail. There is nothing going on today in Washington that would give us hope.

- General Sanchez
Funny how the AP made it sound different.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
CQ has a story on Reid’s popularity in Navada that demolishes one of Scott Erb’s favorite facts.

Harry Reid less popular than George Bush in Navada.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
What? Madame Ambassador to Syria, about to create another Middle Eastern policy blunder?
Quelle Surpise.

I’ve already seen the local foreign policy experts take on this, he thinks if Turkey doesn’t like it they can lump it and that’s a good thing. He’s very in tune with our relations with foreign governments you know.

Unless of course Bush was doing it, then, ah, different story all together, and again, quelle surprise.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
I’ve already seen the local foreign policy experts take on this, he thinks if Turkey doesn’t like it they can lump it and that’s a good thing. He’s very in tune with our relations with foreign governments you know.

Unless of course Bush was doing it, then, ah, different story all together, and again, quelle surprise.
Yup ... another on an endless list of reasons why you should simply ignore him.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
This is stupid on several levels:
1. Short Sighted - yeah they might damage the ongoing success in Iraq but worse they will damage our ability to monitor key events to the North of Turkey - what’s the name of that little country up there I think they have a city called Moscow...

2. It’s a little like saying they are going to pass a resolution condeming the USSR for something like Stalin’s purges (not that they would ever condem Stalin - he’s their hero ) to piss of the Russians of today.

How does this makes any sort of sense? The Ottoman empire, which preceded Turkey, and ALL of it’s population from those years is long dead and gone who cares if you think the did something bad... can we throw in a note about how we’ll like them better if they become a democratic republic?
 
Written By: BIllS
URL: http://bills-opinions.blogspot.com
Well, if this resolution makes it more likely that the US won’t be able to continue the fiasco in Iraq, that’s an "upside," not a "downside."

As to this kind of thing:
yeah they might damage the ongoing success in Iraq
The US cannot win in Iraq. There is no ’ongoing success.’ The cost of this fiasco is real, and we will be paying for it for a long time. What has been on display in Iraq is the relative impotence of the American military to truly shape political outcomes. Even massively winning a war led to a situation that was uncontrollable in a small country that had already been devastated by sanctions, war, and dictatorship. The fantasy that the rest of the world wants to join the free democracies like Japan and Germany did after World War II has been shown to be wrong. Sure, people in the abstract want to be free. But they might think their neighbors not deserving of the same right, or believe that different ethnic groups require punishment for past deeds. Corruption, culture, religion, and history all play a role, and Iraq is a case study of how ignoring such factors can lead to disaster.

While some want to cling to the notion that our tactics were wrong — we could have ’done a better job,’ and a few still hope somehow that all will turn out well, the reality is that Iraq is symbolic of two things: 1) the end of America’s unipolar moment; and 2) the re-emergence of isolationism as a dominant foreign policy attitude. This will have a major impact on the coming years, both in terms of domestic politics and foreign policy. Americans will find themselves less able to control economic and political developments on the planet, and international institutions will increasingly ignore American demands. Our economy won’t be able to sustain its current accounts surplus, and we’ll find ourselves on every level losing the benefits of hegemony that the US has enjoyed for decades. If we can learn to work with others as partners, and form multilateral arrangements, this doesn’t have to mean painful sacrifice. But if we blindly try to ignore the obvious and pretend we still are top of the heap and demand others play the game by our rules, we’ll become increasingly isolated and the problems will intensify. We are entering a new era of world affairs, and the Iraq fiasco symbolizes what it means for the United States.

But like many world powers we seem to need to learn the hard way. The fact that some people want to still deny the obvious failure of the policy in Iraq shows that reality is hard concept for some to grasp.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
For every complaint launched against President Bush, Nancy Pelosi has placed herself firmly in line to receive the same. For every short sighted ill- thought out plan of action offered up by Bush, Pelosi is second only in title.

 
Written By: AnnabelleDickson
URL: http://annabelledickson.blogspot.com/
Well, if this resolution makes it more likely that the US won’t be able to continue the fiasco in Iraq, that’s an "upside," not a "downside."
By that logic, every IED that kills American soldiers is "upside"

Nice job. You a member of AQM?
The US cannot win in Iraq. There is no ’ongoing success
Keep wishing Scotty. Tinkerbell may come back to life if you wish hard enough
While some want to cling to the notion that our tactics were wrong —
No, that’s people like you who are fixated on it. Most of us like to focus on what’s going on NOW
Iraq is symbolic of two things: 1) the end of America’s unipolar moment;

Until Iran or NoKo gets a nuke, then they’ll come running back to us. Really, until the EU or someone else decides they want to commit troops around the globe, we’ll continue to enjoy our "unipolar moment"
and 2) the re-emergence of isolationism as a dominant foreign policy attitude
Meh. I don’t get that at all. Maybe it’s a Maine academic thing.
Americans will find themselves less able to control economic and political developments on the planet,

That’s possible given world trends, but it has zero to do with Iraq.
and international institutions will increasingly ignore American demands
.
So what?
Our economy won’t be able to sustain its current accounts surplus, and we’ll find ourselves on every level losing the benefits of hegemony that the US has enjoyed for decades. If we can learn to work with others as partners, and form multilateral arrangements, this doesn’t have to mean painful sacrifice. But if we blindly try to ignore the obvious and pretend we still are top of the heap and demand others play the game by our rules, we’ll become increasingly isolated and the problems will intensify.
What does this load of craptastic drivel have to actually do with Iraq? Holy Jeebus, you like to project your hobbyhorses onto anything handy don’t you??!

If we’re not on top of the heap, please tell me who is?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Well, if this resolution makes it more likely that the US won’t be able to continue the fiasco in Iraq, that’s an "upside," not a "downside."
Good plan. Who cares if it has long standing implications.
It’s the whim of the moment that we ought to be concerned about, and like the dems, proving Iraq was WRONG is paramount.
But they might think their neighbors not deserving of the same right, or believe that different ethnic groups require punishment for past deeds.
and obviously you’re numbered amongst this group - punishing modern Turkey for the deeds of their government of a previous century, and for the deeds of our current administration.
If we can learn to work with others as partners, and form multilateral arrangements, this doesn’t have to mean painful sacrifice. But if we blindly try to ignore the obvious and pretend we still are top of the heap and demand others play the game by our rules, we’ll become increasingly isolated and the problems will intensify.
And we know we create partners by needlessly, and pointlessly, insulting them. After we’ve done that, they’ll heel to our demands, there won’t be any painful sacrifice to get back into their good graces.
Blindly issue an obvious insult, demand they play the game by our rules and pretend we are at the top of the heap. After all, this won’t isolate us from an ally in the region, and if it does, too bad, it’ll help stop Iraq! Tough on the Turks, they can lump it!
But like many world powers we seem to need to learn the hard way. The fact that some people want to still deny the obvious failure of the policy in Iraq shows that reality is hard concept for some to grasp.
And by God, you’re dedicated to making us learn the hard way on this by driving a wedge between Turkey and the US or perhaps the reality of this condemnation is a hard concept for you to grasp.

I have wonder if you ever read what you’ve written after it’s lept from your fingertips to the keyboard
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
What does this load of craptastic drivel have to actually do with Iraq?
Did you catch this:

the reality is that Iraq is symbolic of two things:

Iraq is symbolic of some major changes in the US status in the world, and in fact hastens our decline. Shark, you did a lot of emoting and asserting your post, but it just convinces me that you’re going more on wishful thinking than a real assessment of the current state of affairs.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Good plan. Who cares if it has long standing implications.
If our leaders have put the country in a situation where condemning an early twentieth century genocide has long standing implications, then we must be very weak and vulnerable.

Nothing about acknowledging the genocide "punishes" Turkey or insults them. It’s stating the truth. Again, what if Germany wanted to deny the holocaust?

One can make a strong argument that states which try to whitewash their past and deny genocides are setting a dangerous precedent if the response is, "gee, it was a genocide but my golly, they might be upset if we say the truth so we’ll just keep quiet."

Of course, the reality is that Turkey’s policy is driven by its national interest. To think that they’d do something primarily because of a Congressional resolution is absurd. They may use it as an excuse, but they are driven by their security concerns. If it’s in their interest to work closely with us, they will. It is perhaps indicative of the blog world’s emphasis on rhetoric over substance that they believe a state would alter it’s foreign policy and ignore its interests because of a perceived "insult." Sheesh.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
By that logic, every IED that kills American soldiers is "upside"
Yep. Nancy "heart" IEDs . . .
Iraq is symbolic of some major changes in the US status in the world, and in fact hastens our decline.
Our status would be enhanced by a win, reduced with a defeat. But of course, the Donkey Party is more concearned with its prospects in 2008 than in Iraq or US interests.

Nancy’s stunt hurt American status in Turkey, without helping American status much anywhere. But if it could help in the job of hurting US success in Iraq, it might help out in 2008 . . . gotta keep the big picture in sight.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
But like many world powers we seem to need to learn the hard way. The fact that some people want to still deny the obvious failure of the policy in Iraq shows that reality is hard concept for some to grasp.
Thanks Scott. That really clears up the whole Turkey issue. I wish I could charge you for the wasted time I spend reading your posts...

 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Nothing about acknowledging the genocide "punishes" Turkey or insults them. It’s stating the truth.
Well, hell, man... if that’s all there is to this, explain to us why the Democrats didn’t do this the last time they had control of Congress, huh?


 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.florack.us
Of course, the reality is that Turkey’s policy is driven by its national interest. To think that they’d do something primarily because of a Congressional resolution is absurd. They may use it as an excuse, but they are driven by their security concerns. If it’s in their interest to work closely with us, they will. It is perhaps indicative of the blog world’s emphasis on rhetoric over substance that they believe a state would alter it’s foreign policy and ignore its interests because of a perceived "insult." Sheesh.
So, what you’re saying is, since we’re top dog, they have to do what’s in their best interest for their relations with us.
Huh, who’d have thunk, so many times before we’ve been blessed with your thoughts of how we don’t understand foreign cultures and all. But clearly, your view of how they will handle this tells me, you understand the Turkish, as you do most other cultures, far better than anyone else, and have determined they’ll just learn to live with this. Even though you’ve sworn up and down on other cultures in the region that ’face’ is important to them whenever we (George Bush) slight(s) them.
Nothing about acknowledging the genocide "punishes" Turkey or insults them. It’s stating the truth. Again, what if Germany wanted to deny the holocaust?
And so, we need to make this absurd Congressional resolution now, this moment. We need to state ’truth’ to them and the world, now, because....uh, why was it again? Oh, yeah, because now’s a good time to make a statement of ’truth’ to one of or allies.
We’re here, because we’re here, because we’re here, because we’re here.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Well, hell, man... if that’s all there is to this, explain to us why the Democrats didn’t do this the last time they had control of Congress, huh?
Or why, when it was brought up in 2000, it was a Democratic President who asked it be withdrawn for obvious reasons?
Citing claims by President Clinton that the consideration of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.596) would endanger American lives, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert today broke his pledge to bring the measure to the House floor, acceding to the President’s request that he withdraw the resolution. This action was taken only moments before the resolution was to come to the House floor for a vote, reported the H.Res.596 Committee.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
If our leaders have put the country in a situation where condemning an early twentieth century genocide has long standing implications, then we must be very weak and vulnerable.
No, it doesn’t mean that at all.

We need allies in the war on Islamic terrorists. Turkey can play a key role, and our efforts are hindered if they don’t support our efforts. Of course, you understand this; you are just playing stupid.
Nothing about acknowledging the genocide "punishes" Turkey or insults them. It’s stating the truth.
They think otherwise—and it’s their view on this that matters.

And—the truth is often the most insulting thing.
If it’s in their interest to work closely with us, they will.


Ahh, such a picture of black and white—no shades of gray.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
So, what you’re saying is, since we’re top dog, they have to do what’s in their best interest for their relations with us.
Uh, no. I’m saying they will simply do what’s in their best interest, whether it benefits us or not.

But it’s really lame to be afraid to label something a genocide because you might hurt the feelings of someone who wants to deny that it was a genocide — now and in 2000. I also don’t think culture is an excuse to deny a genocide. Perhaps you think differently (’well, they deny they committed genocide, but that’s OK, in their culture genocide denial is normal.’)

People have been calling for this kind of resolution in the face of Turkey’s inability to admit their past for a long time. The idea is that genocide denial is not a good thing. Whether or not that’s a good or necessary thing to pass can be debated. But the idea we should base our decision on Turkey’s desire to refuse to admit genocide occurred smacks of moral weakness.

Don claimed:
They think otherwise—and it’s their view on this that matters.
Do you realize what you just said? Our view doesn’t matter for Congressional action, but foreign views do?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The US cannot win in Iraq. There is no ’ongoing success.’


The current situation in Iraq is already an improvement over the Saddam Hussein on almost any scale you choose for measurement: stability of the region; future threat to American security; human rights abuses and repression in Iraq; quality of life for ordinary Iraqis, etc.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
2. It’s a little like saying they are going to pass a resolution condeming the USSR for something like Stalin’s purges (not that they would ever condem Stalin - he’s their hero ) to piss of the Russians of today.
Not to mention the fact that Stalin’s death toll was a lot larger the Armenian one and much more recent. But of course bringing forward a resolution condemning Russia’s atrocities doesn’t help sabotage the war in Iraq.

Nobody involved in the Armenian genocide is even alive anymore? What’s the point? How far back do we go back with these resolutions? It’s kind of hard to throw stones about things that happened "way back when" when our own history vis a vis our Native Americans ain’t that great.
 
Written By: Bob
URL: http://
But the idea we should base our decision on Turkey’s desire to refuse to admit genocide occurred smacks of moral weakness.
You have yet to explain why it’s so important for the current American Congress to jam a genocide resolution (and a meaningless, toothless, powerless, fart in your general direction resolution to boot) down the throat of the current Turkish government and it’s current population.

Why now Prof? Why now?
Perhaps you think differently (’well, they deny they committed genocide, but that’s OK, in their culture genocide denial is normal.’)
Could it be their culture has changed? Don’t you think the time for these pronouncements on dead people is better served at the time the people involved are dying and killing than 100 years in the future when it does no good to anyone.
Because we think they ought to feel guilty? because you have some angst for what their forbears did? we ought to issue a verbal slap in the face to them and tell them we spit on their ancestors and their actions (and wave our private parts in their auntie’s faces too!)?
To what purpose?
When will we be telling the Italians we didn’t like what they did to Spartacus and the slaves?
We don’t like the way the Teutonic Order crusaded against the Slavs?
We’re angry about the Nordic (a three fur! Sweden, Norway, Denmark) Viking raids in France and particularly upset about Lindisfarne?
We’re upset about the slaughter of the aristocracy in France during the glorious revolution (that’s only a 100 years further back than Armenia, so, why the hell not?)

What does the resolution (or any of the other asinine resolutions I suggested) do that is positive? As Mario would say, I’ll type slowly for you.

nothing.

So, why do it, now, or ever? How is historical commentary the business of the US House and/or Senate?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
The current situation in Iraq is already an improvement over the Saddam Hussein on almost any scale you choose for measurement: stability of the region; future threat to American security; human rights abuses and repression in Iraq; quality of life for ordinary Iraqis, etc.
Saddam wasn’t in a position to kill large numbers of people in 2003. So most of the tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis would be alive today. They probably would have better services, and more security. Iran’s position would be relatively weaker. The average Iraqi would be better off, women would be much better off (they have suffered the most by the rise of strict Islamic rules in many parts of the country), and the Kurds would still have autonomy.

Moreover, the chances of a stable transition away from Saddam’s regime would be greater. I doubt his sons would have been able to assure themselves power, and who knows, Saddam might have been internally deposed with a stable transition.

Moreover, hundreds of thousands of Americans wouldn’t have been as affected. About 4000 military deaths, much larger numbers of wounded, and many psychological problems, divorces (affecting children as well as the couple), and the like. The US would not have gotten such international bad will, we wouldn’t have paid so much money...

No, I can’t say I agree with you at all, Aldo.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
But it’s really lame to be afraid to label something a genocide because you might hurt the feelings of someone who wants to deny that it was a genocide — now and in 2000. I also don’t think culture is an excuse to deny a genocide.


Can we talk about Profit Mo’s mass murder, rape, and child abuse then?
Do you realize what you just said? Our view doesn’t matter for Congressional action, but foreign views do?
Take things outta context much?

It is the Turkish view that will determine if this is an insult or not. It doesn’t matter one whit whether Erb thinks it’s an insult or not.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Bob, the Russians admit to Stalin’s atrocities.

Looker, The reason many people (myself included) have long thought we should condemn the Armenian genocide was the fact that genocides should be acknowledged after the fact, history should not be a series of cover-ups. Should it have been done long ago, sure. And, if the Turkish government acknowledged it was a genocide and blamed it on the Ottoman Empire’s collapse causing atrocities to be embraced, then cool, I’d not want a resolution.

Again, this is really as if the government of Germany denied the holocaust, as if the government of Cambodia denied the Khmer Rouge’s crimes, etc. The extraordinary length you go to rationalize being afraid to condemn genocides that aren’t being acknowledged is bizarre. You’re so scared of hurting the Turkish government’s feelings that you don’t seem to think that maybe they are smart enough to base their foreign policy on interests, not emotional reactions to Congressional resolutions. Because frankly, to try to have an ethical foreign policy, you can’t be afraid of honesty.

Don, the Turks can take it as an insult if they want. That’s their problem, not ours.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Saddam wasn’t in a position to kill large numbers of people in 2003. So most of the tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis would be alive today. They probably would have better services, and more security. Iran’s position would be relatively weaker. The average Iraqi would be better off, women would be much better off (they have suffered the most by the rise of strict Islamic rules in many parts of the country), and the Kurds would still have autonomy.
Wow.
 
Written By: Twizz
URL: http://
women would be much better off (they have suffered the most by the rise of strict Islamic rules in many parts of the country),
Gee, your’e cute when you defend brutal dictators.

However, it is worth noting that women’s equality was suffering under Saddam. Islamic rules restricting women were increasing in Iraq prior to the US invasion. Essentially, Saddam’s Iraq was increasingly Islamic.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
If the Democrats are honestly doing this just to speak out against genocide, then I look forward to the several-dozen forthcoming resolutions condemning all the other genocides in recent history (no need to bring up ancient history; there is an ample supply within the 20th century.) If I recall correctly, Native Americans are a Democratic voting bloc...maybe the Democrats will throw them a bone and condemn the attempts of Australia to destroy the Aborigines (which was a continuing policy up until about thirty years ago.) I am sure this will not have any consequences either (insulting someone never does, natch. Try it for yourself!)
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
The US cannot win in Iraq. There is no ’ongoing success.’
Yes, of course. Civil war as far as the eye can see. Quagmire! No WMDs found, so it was all a bad idea. Arrogance of power. Waste of money. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

If you had any metrics, any numbers, any evidence besides your own pigheaded opinions about how bad Iraq is and will always be, then your opinion on this might be worth a lot more.

If violence gets under control and stays that way, what’s wrong with us continuing to have a presence while the Iraqis learn how to run a free society? What exactly is so bad about our mere presence? Why can that never lead to success?

You exemplify the worse aspects of today’s antiwar left. You’re so d*mn sure of yourself and your opinions that nothing good can come out of this, and completely unwilling to allow the possibility of patience and experimentation to achieve a goal that would make our country safer for generations, as well as improve the lives of countless citizens of the Middle East.

Could it be, Scott, that you just can’t accept the fact that, despite the blundering by the Bush administration and all the caterwauling by the left, that this effort might just have a decent outcome after all? Would it just destroy you psychologically to admit such a possibility? Do you have to maintain your absolutist "no possible way to win" attitude with no realistic alternative except pulling out and leaving a vacuum for the Iranian theocrats to occupy?

Open your mind, Scott!
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Scott Erb wrote:
Moreover, the chances of a stable transition away from Saddam’s regime would be greater. I doubt his sons would have been able to assure themselves power, and who knows, Saddam might have been internally deposed with a stable transition.
Yugoslavia begs to differ, chap. Countries rife with sectarian divisions are in for a ride when their ruthless autocrat passes. If he was deposed in a stable transition, odds are it would just be another dictator overthrowing him in a coup.
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
Don, the Turks can take it as an insult if they want. That’s their problem, not ours.
It also has the potential to be our problem.

Right now it makes sense to get the most out of Turkey, Pakistan, etc., to help us defeat AQ.
the Russians admit to Stalin’s atrocities.
All of them? Really?

How about Lenin’s?
The reason many people (myself included) have long thought we should condemn the Armenian genocide was the fact that genocides should be acknowledged after the fact, history should not be a series of cover-ups.
How would not having this resolution be a cover-up?

Do you think we should have had a resolution condeming Stalin in 1943? When we were still at war with Nazi Germany?
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Yugoslavia begs to differ, chap. Countries rife with sectarian divisions are in for a ride when their ruthless autocrat passes. If he was deposed in a stable transition, odds are it would just be another dictator overthrowing him in a coup.
Yes, and as I noted, women were facing increasing restrictions in Saddam’s Iraq. An indication where Iraq was headed.

The choice I see was: tackle the Iraq problem, or pass it down to the next generation.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Don, the Turks can take it as an insult if they want. That’s their problem, not ours.
Is this part of that John Kerry type nuance that will make the US more liked ?
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
the Russians admit to Stalin’s atrocities.
All of them? Really?

How about Lenin’s?
Last I heard Stalin was being rehabilitated. Today’s Russian youths have generally positive views about Stalin because Putin is stoking nationalist fires and cooking the text books. Isn’t it time for our Congress to condemn Soviet atrocities? If they become offended well then that’s their problem...right Professor Erb? Boy, you’ve got a bright future in the State Department....NOT!

 
Written By: Bob
URL: http://
Is this part of that John Kerry type nuance that will make the US more liked ?
Yea, about as nuanced as Obama declaring he’ll violate the borders of one of our allies to chase after Osama. If Pakistan is offended, tough luck. National defense and foreign relations....not strong cards for our lefties.
 
Written By: Bob
URL: http://
So most of the tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis would be alive today. They probably would have better services, and more security.
You forget the moon ponies, despite the evidence that he wasn’t spending the ’oil for food’ money on food or fixing the country all through the 90’s.
Somehow that would have changed in the new century.
The average Iraqi would be better off, women would be much better off
Standard supposition, no facts available to prove it.

You went from a ’probably would ’ world to a ’would’ world half way through your lecture.
Your facts don’t bear out with the previous reality of his regime from the end of the 1st Gulf War to the start of the 2nd. Except for your whimsical thoughts that things would have been ducky if we’d just left him alone.
That’s their problem, not ours.
No Prof, when you insult someone, it’s both your problems. And when you needlessly do it to satisfy some angst Professor Erb has that demands that atrocities be admitted -
The reason many people (myself included) have long thought we should condemn the Armenian genocide was the fact that genocides should be acknowledged after the fact, history should not be a series of cover-ups
If we KNOW it happened, it’s not a cover up Professor.
When will Nancy Pelosi be recommending the acknowledgement of Viking terror by the Swedes/Danes/Norwegians?

When Congress start taking more interest in genocides as they occur let me know.
Not when it’s a cool thing to do to sabotage the American military & the President (and more importantly his party).
Given "War is politics by other means" they’re engaged in a pre-warfare state with the President of the United States.

Keep talking though, you’re convincing the uncertain about your true convictions. Maybe some of your students read your posting here and that would be a good thing.

You still can’t explain why NOW is an important time to make this resolution, other than to give the obvious clue that you recognize it could damage our efforts in Iraq (oh joy, oh joy, but you support the troops).
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Don wrote:
The choice I see was: tackle the Iraq problem, or pass it down to the next generation.
Alternately, we could have just sat this one out, let Hussein fall on his own on his own time, and then condemn the resulting killings from the chaos nearly a century later (because genocide/ethnic cleansing/lots o’ killin’ must be spoken out against! Doing something about it though, well that’s not very fun.)

It’s kind of amusing, seeing some of the Bush doctrine (we don’t care who we offend, we’ve gotta do X!) being re-appropriated by the left, except in diplomatic relations instead of regarding military endeavors.
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
Iraq is symbolic of some major changes in the US status in the world, and in fact hastens our decline. Shark, you did a lot of emoting and asserting your post, but it just convinces me that you’re going more on wishful thinking than a real assessment of the current state of affairs
I was waiting for your little trick here. This is your standard tactic that you use to avoid responding to someone.

IT DOESN’T WORK HERE PALLY. You get called out when you pull that idiocy.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Nothing about acknowledging the genocide "punishes" Turkey or insults them. It’s stating the truth.
HAHAHAHA.....because when Bush calls Iran or N. Korea for what they are, suddenly just "stating the truth" is no good, then it is inflammatory rhetoric, counterproductive, etc etc

Try again
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Wow.
You’re so scared of hurting the Turkish government’s feelings that you don’t seem to think that maybe they are smart enough to base their foreign policy on interests, not emotional reactions to Congressional resolutions.
Yes Scott Erb has stated that smart people base their foreign policy on interests and...
Because frankly, to try to have an ethical foreign policy, you can’t be afraid of honesty.
...idiots base their foreign policy on emotional appeal.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
shark wrote:
HAHAHAHA.....because when Bush calls Iran or N. Korea for what they are, suddenly just "stating the truth" is no good, then it is inflammatory rhetoric, counterproductive, etc etc
The "Axis of evil" remark was cruel slander and feelings were hurt. Kim Jong Il hasn’t been the same man since :(
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
they are smart enough to base their foreign policy on interests, not emotional reactions to Congressional resolutions.
Foreign policy based on iterests! WOW you’ve discovered the concept!

So, you mean, like:
Supporting the Shah in Iran to secure the Persian Gulf?
Supporting Hussein with intel when he was fighting Iran
Supporting the Mujahadin when they were bleeding the Soviets in Afghanistan
Supporting a military regime in current Pakistan?

are you saying other people do things that are in their interest and that’s okay, but if we do something in OUR interest, it’s not?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
If the Democrats are honestly doing this just to speak out against genocide, then I look forward to the several-dozen forthcoming resolutions condemning all the other genocides in recent history (no need to bring up ancient history; there is an ample supply within the 20th century.) If I recall correctly, Native Americans are a Democratic voting bloc...maybe the Democrats will throw them a bone and condemn the attempts of Australia to destroy the Aborigines (which was a continuing policy up until about thirty years ago.) I am sure this will not have any consequences either (insulting someone never does, natch. Try it for yourself!)
I’d stick to those cases where the country involved doesn’t admit a genocide occurred. Out of principle, with respect to victims of all genocides, we should not tolerate denial of the truth.

Could it be, Scott, that you just can’t accept the fact that, despite the blundering by the Bush administration and all the caterwauling by the left, that this effort might just have a decent outcome after all?
I hope it does have a decent outcome, but the policy has failed in its own terms already, and looking at the situation, I’m convinced that this isn’t going to go well. And, given that so many of us were right before the war in warning that this wouldn’t be easy your indignation that I appear to think I’m so sure of myself, when so many who were dead wrong about the war refuse to admit it. I’ll state my opinions strongly, I’ll admit when I’m wrong, and I’ll back up my opinions without resorting to name calling or insults. So far, the pro-war side has more reason for humility in how they analyzed and predicted this "war" than the anti-war side.

You see, Billy, you’re exemplifying the worst of the anti-libertarian pro-war crowd, positing some long term goal of stability imposed by a major power which kills and destroys in a big government social engineering experiment to shape another society. Your faith that patience plus big government will make this turn out well shows an unbelievable sense that the state can determine what is good for people and use raw power, the initiation of force, and moral judgements made by the state to try to inject itself in other cultures in distant parts of the world.

I simply don’t share your faith in big government, and for the state to make these kinds of moral judgments and then kill and destroy, spend our tax dollars, and rationalize it with "maybe if we keep at it long enough something decent might come out of it."

I consider our policies in Iraq to be horribly misguided, immoral, and dangerous to the region. Even though the intent of the decision makers was good, though misguided due to their ignorance of history and culture, the result is a policy that means a lot of pointless death, injuries, psychological damage, divorce, etc. We’re not doing good in the world with this kind of policy, it is an example of big government at its worst.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
It’s funny how so many of you are going over the top in order to somehow say we should avoid condemning genocide that another country tries to deny happening because we should worry that the other country might feel insulted.

I think the vehemance of the emotion in the responses shows that deep down you know I have a point: if we worry that we can’t take ethical stands even in labeling a genocide as such because we might offend another country, our foreign policy won’t be based on ethics or national interest, just fear of offending, even if we are stating the truth.

And that’s one big problem in this country — an inability to state the truth and take a moral stand because it might "offend" someone.

Looker, all of those things you mentioned (support the Shah, etc.) actually hurt us in the longer term, and can now be seen as mistakes. I believe that a foreign policy based on principles ultimately is in our best interests. We have to make pragmatic compromises based on the nature of the system, but if we practice a non-interventionist policy that will happen far less often (and certainly didn’t require us to arm the people who would later become al qaeda and the Taliban because they were fighting a collapsing empire). That’s why I think a libertarian approach to foreign policy, rather than a Machivellian one, works best. Turkey’s military, however, is more Machiavellian, and based on that I make my prediction on what their likely behavior is.

You can’t, however, justify current actions based on imagined actions that would have otherwise happened. We’re responsible for what we do and the choices we make. We can engage in voluntary defensive alliances, but when we start saying "our government knows what’s better for these people and we’ll impose it" it’s no surprise that the people whose families are dying and being shot at and humiliated won’t like us too much. The US doesn’t deserve to be liked by the Iraqis, given our policies.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
And it would actually be in the interest of our government’s military actions in Iraq NOT to screw with the Turks at this time.
Well, if this resolution makes it more likely that the US won’t be able to continue the fiasco in Iraq, that’s an "upside," not a "downside."
You obviously recognize that the Democrats are actually another ’power’ apart from our government and it’s in their interest to do this and you recognize it would be a ’good thing’ if it was to sabotage the military effort in Iraq to insult Turkey at this time.
I know, it’s because you’re worried we might appear ’whimpy’ for not condeming the dead Ottoman Turks! (We empty our nostrils at them! If they fail to respond we will taunt them a second time!)

Pretty slick. Glad you explained to me about this interests thing.
Since you can’t explain why now, other than to thump your chest and demand that a moral accounting by the living Turks be made for the dead ones, this instant, that’s all this is ’war by another means’.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
No, Looker, CONGRESS is another branch of government, with the power to check the President. Congress can have different interests than the President, and can work against the President’s policy interests if it wants. To be sure, my comment was meant to be amusing, but in any event Congress doesn’t have to support the President’s foreign policy.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
You can’t, however, justify current actions based on imagined actions that would have otherwise happened
Why not? You objected to current actions in the same vein, complaining about how great it would have been in Iraq if we hadn’t intervened and deposed Hussein, you know, the people being better off, fewer dead, better rights for women....you remember, right? Back up the page?
We have to make pragmatic compromises based on the nature of the system, but if we practice a non-interventionist policy that will happen far less often (and certainly didn’t require us to arm the people who would later become al qaeda and the Taliban because they were fighting a collapsing empire).
We did, we were fighting the SOVIETS, remember? Those things we did didn’t occur in a vacum, we believed those were in OUR best interest, and the interest of the West. I’ll settle for dealing with the GWOT rather than face the continued prospect of nuclear oblivion on a daily basis.
But, after all, I’m sure you knew what the ultimate outcome of arming the Taliban against the Soviets would be, right?
It’s funny how so many of you are going over the top in order to somehow say we should avoid condemning genocide that another country tries to deny happening because we should worry that the other country might feel insulted.
.
.
.
if we worry that we can’t take ethical stands even in labeling a genocide as such because we might offend another country, our foreign policy won’t be based on ethics or national interest, just fear of offending, even if we are stating the truth.
Fine, why is it so important we do this thing right now? Why not next year?Haven’t got the answer for that do you.
Because, "deep down you know we have a point".
And that’s one big problem in this country — an inability to state the truth and take a moral stand because it might "offend" someone.
heh, interesting for you to make such a point. The timing of the offense is rather key, as you yourself hope.
No, Looker, CONGRESS is another branch of government,
And, where is it a power of Congress to issue non-binding resolutions about foreign countries? Funny, a quick scan indicates the foreign nations thing is in the purview of the Executive branch.
This resolutions thing (MoveOn, Rush, Turkey, French Fries) has gotten way out of hand.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
And that’s one big problem in this country — an inability to state the truth and take a moral stand because it might "offend" someone.
Well, I’d agree with you if we were discussing islam, and if we changed "this country" to "the West".

You are fine and good to insult our allies, but can’t quite bring yourself to insult our enemies. Interesting pathology.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Looker, are you saying Congress can’t pass non-binding resolutions condemning past genocides just because they didn’t occur on US soil? Really?

The Soviets were already in collapse by 1979 when they invaded Afghanistan, they just were kept alive a little longer by the petrodollar boom. We didn’t need to fund the Islamic extremists, especially by funneling money via Pakistan, who assured the most extreme groups were funded.

I already said we should have done this a long time ago, so I’m not arguing in favor of the timing.

I don’t accept the metaphor of "war" to describe counter-terrorism, nor do I think we are "at war." Iraq is a big government social engineering experiment, the war was won four and a half years ago. The rest has been, oh, what would be a good term..."a nightmare without end."

You can’t, however, justify current actions based on imagined actions that would have otherwise happened

Why not? You objected to current actions in the same vein, complaining about how great it would have been in Iraq if we hadn’t intervened and deposed Hussein, you know, the people being better off, fewer dead, better rights for women....you remember, right? Back up the page?
And how was I trying to justify current actions based on this? I’m just noting that the argument that Iraq is better off appears very weak.

Don, I’ll gladly condemn the conservative form of Islam being promoted by the ulama, which considers the Hadiths to be completely accurate and rationalizes actions against women and non-believers. I’ll gladly condemn the interpretation of Islam practiced by the Taliban, I’ll condemn Khomeinism. I think when the conservative/traditional power of the ulama took precedent over the rationalists who wanted to unite Aristotle with Islam, and use reason to interpret how the Koran applied to daily, changing life, the religion took a path that meant stagnation (Aquinas and the Catholic church succeeded where the Muslim rationalists failed) and created the kinds of problems we see today. I won’t insult all of Islam or the religion as whole because of that — I blame political leaders, power hungry and wanting to use Islam for that. Islam can be many things, from the rationalists in the past to the mystical sufists, to various modern forms of Islam. Unfortunately, the conservative ulama holds sway right now in much of the Muslim world, and I believe not only is this bad, but it really embraces ideals which contradict the vision of Muhammad in the Koran.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I consider our policies in Iraq to be horribly misguided, immoral, and dangerous to the region.
Translation - it is immoral to destroy a tyrannical regime that engages in ethnic killings and misguided to remove any tyranny.
And that’s one big problem in this country — an inability to state the truth and take a moral stand because it might "offend" someone.
Translation of "take a moral stand" - shout a phrase loudly, but never ever doing anything about it; see also - condemn. To use in a sentence: Scott Erb is known to take a moral stand against the killing of Kurds in northern Iraq and reject any attempt to remove the regime of Saddam Hussein.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
"Never attribute to malice that which can be attributed to stupidity." or something like that.
 
Written By: arcs
URL: http://
Tokyo Erb writes:
The US cannot win in Iraq. There is no ’ongoing success.’ The cost of this fiasco is real, and we will be paying for it for a long time.
"Oh, you silly American soldier. You not know you can’t defeat great imperial car bombers and kamikaze drivers? Powerful and mighty Islamic supermen will slay you and your Great Satan homeland. Silly, silly American boys."
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Translation - it is immoral to destroy a tyrannical regime that engages in ethnic killings and misguided to remove any tyranny.
So you want to set yourself up to determine which regimes are bad and then go and attack them, unleash internal violence, kill lots of people, and rationalize it all because the regime there was bad? Somehow, I don’t think that makes much sense.
Translation of "take a moral stand" - shout a phrase loudly, but never ever doing anything about it; see also - condemn. To use in a sentence: Scott Erb is known to take a moral stand against the killing of Kurds in northern Iraq and reject any attempt to remove the regime of Saddam Hussein.
Hmmm, the Kurds in Iraq had autonomy in 2003. When Saddam was killing them, the US was supporting Saddam. By 2003 Saddam was a defanged.

But at a fundamental level your argument rests on the idea that a state can determine if the regime of another state is tyrannical, and then decide to go to war with that state, overthrow its government and try to shape a new government. That fails on moral grounds (how does one state get the right to impose its beliefs on morality) and pragmatic grounds (the risk of creating something worse is very high, the chances of success low).

By your logic, an enlightened state could be justified in invading and conquering the US in 1840 in order to end slavery, stop the genocide of native American indian tribes, and stop the mistreatment of women who weren’t even allowed to vote. The idea that we had to work out these issues ourselves would have been rejected. Do you really want to argue that point? Would a state have been morally justified to eliminate the US government in 1840 in order to force us to have what they would have seen as (and we might now agree is) a better government?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I’ll condemn Khomeinism. I think when the conservative/traditional power of the ulama took precedent over the rationalists who wanted to unite Aristotle with Islam, and use reason to interpret how the Koran applied to daily, changing life, the religion took a path that meant stagnation (Aquinas and the Catholic church succeeded where the Muslim rationalists failed) and created the kinds of problems we see today.
I should add there the irony that Aquinas was able to discover Aristotle in large part due to the work of Muslim rationalist scholars, whose writings brought Aristotle to the attention of the western world.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I’d stick to those cases where the country involved doesn’t admit a genocide occurred. Out of principle, with respect to victims of all genocides, we should not tolerate denial of the truth.
How about we condemn Japan’s Rape of Nanking and Unit 731 bio-weapons division? How about China and Tiananmen? What about Australia’s stolen generation that I’ve referred to earlier? Or how about we condemn Ahmadinejad and Iran for their denial of the Holocaust? There’s oodles of other denied genocides we can condemn, tell those Dems to get crackin’! There’s plenty if you only look, and if the Democrats intentions are as pure as they’d like to think, I’m sure they will not disappoint.
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
Tokyo Erb writes:
So you want to set yourself up to determine which regimes are bad and then go and attack them, unleash internal violence, kill lots of people, and rationalize it all because the regime there was bad? Somehow, I don’t think that makes much sense.
I think that he was merely giving a synopsis of your argument for defeat of the the day, Boris.

Your insinuation of his "rationalization" is so lame that it doesn’t merit straw man status.

But then you are a deep thinker, going to the depth of a Roosevelt dime.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Tokyo Erb writes:
stop the genocide of native American indian tribes,
There was no genocide of American Indian tribes, Boris.

You’ve been corrected on this so many times now, one wonders if you’ve acquired an anti-American streak. Could it be?

While American Indians were mistreated to some extent and there were wars in the 19th Century, the population of the North American tribes were decimated by disease, mostly smallpox, and to the greatest extent by the end of the 18th Century.

But don’t trouble yourself getting the facts straight, Boris. After all, it’s not like you’re a qualified university professor, or anything.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Dr Erb the world would have been justified in invading the US for it’s treatment of Indians, IF that treatment had not been acceptable within limits and norms of International Conduct, as THEN ACCEPTED. Sadly, for Saddam, his conduct was NOT within the acceptable limits of international conduct.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Saddam wasn’t in a position to kill large numbers of people in 2003.

That is not what the New York Times was reporting in January of 2003:
In the end, if an American-led invasion ousts Mr. Hussein, and especially if an attack is launched without convincing proof that Iraq is still harboring forbidden arms, history may judge that the stronger case was the one that needed no inspectors to confirm: that Saddam Hussein, in his 23 years in power, plunged this country into a bloodbath of medieval proportions, and exported some of that terror to his neighbors.

Reporters who were swept along with tens of thousands of near-hysterical Iraqis through Abu Ghraib’s high steel gates were there because Mr. Hussein, stung by Mr. Bush’s condemnation, had declared an amnesty for tens of thousands of prisoners, including many who had served long sentences for political crimes. Afterward, it emerged that little of long-term significance had changed that day. Within a month, Iraqis began to speak of wide-scale re-arrests, and officials were whispering that Abu Ghraib, which had held at least 20,000 prisoners, was filling up again.

Like other dictators who wrote bloody chapters in 20th-century history, Mr. Hussein was primed for violence by early childhood. Born into the murderous clan culture of a village that lived off piracy on the Tigris River, he was harshly beaten by a brutal stepfather. In 1959, at age 22, he made his start in politics as one of the gunmen who botched an attempt to assassinate Iraq’s first military ruler, Abdel Karim Kassem.

Since then, Mr. Hussein’s has been a tale of terror that scholars have compared to that of Stalin, whom the Iraqi leader is said to revere, even if his own brutalities have played out on a small scale. Stalin killed 20 million of his own people, historians have concluded. Even on a proportional basis, his crimes far surpass Mr. Hussein’s, but figures of a million dead Iraqis, in war and through terror, may not be far from the mark, in a country of 22 million people.

Where the comparison seems closest is in the regime’s mercilessly sadistic character. Iraq has its gulag of prisons, dungeons and torture chambers — some of them acknowledged, like Abu Ghraib, and as many more disguised as hotels, sports centers and other innocent-sounding places. It has its overlapping secret-police agencies, and its culture of betrayal, with family members denouncing each other, and offices and factories becoming hives of perfidy.

"Enemies of the state" are eliminated, and their spouses, adult children and even cousins are often tortured and killed along with them.

Mr. Hussein even uses Stalinist maxims, including what an Iraqi defector identified as one of the dictator’s favorites: "If there is a person, then there is a problem. If there is no person, then there is no problem."
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
I don’t see it in the report you cite, Aldo. It’s vague and general, and meshes the past with the situation of 2003. Yes, people disappeared still — but nothing like the masses killed since 2003.

Joe, the world did not approve the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and US action was deemed by most as unacceptable. In any event, you are avoiding the larger point: if it is moral to remove an immoral regime, then if a country had been strong enough to end America’s government in 1840 would, by that logic, have been justified to do so. The country doing so, if the world didn’t approve, would just say something like "if the UN Security Council won’t do its job, we will."
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
You have all allowed Erby to distract you from the point here.

The thrust of this post is that the Dems are pushing this resolution hard now, either because of the reaction they think will get from Turkey, or in spite of it, either way to the knowing detriment of our troops on the ground.

Instead, Comrade Erb has you all debating the merits of side issues.

Well done Erb.

Lets get back to the original point Scotty.

Is it wrong for the Dems to try to make an end-run to make Iraq more difficult to win? Is it wrong for them to add burden and danger to our troops there via these actions? And even if it is legally ok, is it moral?

(LOL, the thought of a Maine leftist trying to discuss morality makes me amused)

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
No Dr. Erb you miss the point, it is norms of INTERNATIONAL CONDUCT, at the time...sorry Saddam violated the norms of his time. The US of TODAy would be justified to intervene in the US of 1861.

Did the world not approve? Gee I guess the two dozen or so nations particiapating in the war and immediate aftermath don’t count. I’d say 45-50% of the world’s GDP approved, of course Putin and the PRC weren’t too keen but then I’d argue that nasty old oil money had a say in that.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"Joe, the world did not approve the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and US action was deemed by most as unacceptable."

Mom: If all the other kids jumped off a cliff, would you follow?

Erb: yes, mommy.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
No Dr. Erb you miss the point, it is norms of INTERNATIONAL CONDUCT, at the time...sorry Saddam violated the norms of his time. The US of TODAy would be justified to intervene in the US of 1861.
Besides the fact you’re making a completely relativist argument, you’re still wrong. The norms of international conflict today are NOT that a state has the right to simply choose to remove another state’s government because that state is tyrannical. Moreover, Saddam was not engaged in offensive military action or in violation of the norms of international conflict. So I don’t see how you claim that the 1840 analogy doesn’t hold.
Is it wrong for the Dems to try to make an end-run to make Iraq more difficult to win?
The premise of the statement is flawed. Relations with Turkey were already fraying, this isn’t going to matter much, and I doubt the purpose some kind of end run. Moreover, we can’t "win" in Iraq anyway. If you think otherwise, give a precise definition of "win," and posit how that can be done, other than a faith based ’slowly things will get better, Iraq’s leaders will see it’s in their interest to cooperate, etc." That "Deus ex macchina" sort of victory rests on wishful thinking that ignores the realities in Iraq.

And given that you’re the one that trusts big government and the power of the state to engage in a massive social engineering experiment costing perhaps hundreds of thousands of lives, with immense social cost, I’m not sure why you would call me a "leftie." You have that leftist love of big government, without much concern about the innocents who suffer when it uses its power in some ill fated ’do gooder’ mission.


 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"Moreover, Saddam was not engaged in offensive military action or in violation of the norms of international conflict."

1. firing at our planes in a no-fly zone that was part of an agreed upon treaty and cease-fire? Note cease-fire means a war is technically still in place.

2. If your review the records of the weapons inspectors, you will find stuff like this...4th FFCD on Biological Weapons...what’s FFCD mean? Full & Final Complete Declaration. Why did Iraq have to do that 1, 2, 3, 4 times? Oh, they were hiding an offensive biological program that could make weaponized anthrax only revealed by a defector in 1995. So yes, Iraq had a long, long pattern of breaking the cease fire. And he wasn’t some simple authoritarian like in Burma now.

3. The norms of international conflict today don’t really exist. You are just claiming that whatever European public opinion supports is the norm. About the only norm I could imagine is that you can’t annex territory captured in war. In fact the whole "national sovereignty" norm is in complete flux - the times they are a changing. If its okay to strip Kosovo from Yugoslavia or okay to regime change in Haiti, why not in Iraq? Now, please, try to argue that Kosovo wasn’t a popular war in Europe.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Is it wrong for the Dems to try to make an end-run to make Iraq more difficult to win?
The premise of the statement is flawed. Relations with Turkey were already fraying, this isn’t going to matter much,

Based on what? Turkey has made it pretty clear this is going to have repercussions. What makes it a "flawed" assumption?
and I doubt the purpose some kind of end run
.
Of course you do....

Moreover, we can’t "win" in Iraq anyway.
Why, just because you say so? Don’t bother wasting our time with one of your paragraphs, it all amounts to the same thing: 50% guesswork, 50% wishful thinking.

So since we can’t win, this kind of stuff is ok? My my my, what a strange world of situational ethics you live in Mr. Erb.
If you think otherwise, give a precise definition of "win," and posit how that can be done, other than a faith based ’slowly things will get better, Iraq’s leaders will see it’s in their interest to cooperate, etc." That "Deus ex macchina" sort of victory rests on wishful thinking that ignores the realities in Iraq.
Again, just because you say so doesn’t make it so.

You don’t seem to understand how this stuff works.

LOL, anti-Americanism both abroad and domestic is going to take a gigantic spike upwards if a Dem (especially Hillary) wins the Presidency, when all you people see that despite rhetoric for years and years, they do not abandon the Iraq project, that they will use force against Iran (especially to keep the oil flowing)...reality is going to give a lot of you a bad slap in the face in that case. What’s a MoveOn to do then?

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
The premise of the statement is flawed. Relations with Turkey were already fraying, this isn’t going to matter much,
You and your wife were having problems, she cheats on you with another man.

Hey, your relations were already frayed, this won’t matter much!
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Besides the fact you’re making a completely relativist argument, you’re still wrong.
You’re point is....
The norms of international conflict today are NOT that a state has the right to simply choose to remove another state’s government because that state is tyrannical.

It was ONE of the reasons, WMD’s, and UN Ceasefire Violations as well as his human rightsd violations. Of course, I’m a believer in Walzer’s Just and Unjust Wars . Example, the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, the human rights violations of the Pakistani government justified Indian intervention. What you’re saying is that YOUR moral code doesn’t allow for it.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Who’s interest is served by this resolution? Some Armenians are a little happier. That’s it. What we stand to lose is quite clear. Either the Democrats are doing this just to please a small constituency of diaspora Armenians (earning votes and dollars,) or because they think the negative consequences are perversely a good thing. Unless Congress starts condemning the many other denied genocides out there, we can reasonably assert that one of the two scenarios I’ve outlined is the ulterior motive (and unless Kim Kardashian promised to leap into bed with Harry Reid, I’m betting on it being the second of the two.) Assuming that’s the case, arguments about this simply being "the right thing to do" are missing the point - it’s not being done because it’s the right thing to do, it’s being done for some political end.

Funny that Democrats are so keen to "take a moral stand" against the Ottoman empire, "even if it offends," but yet they’re too afraid to take a real honest ’moral’ stand against the Iraq War (by totally stopping funding) because they’re afraid of offending voters.

If "taking moral stands" against topics are so important to Democrats, why didn’t more of them take a stand against the slander of Petraeus by MoveOn? Sure, it would have offended their crazy partisans, but that shouldn’t stop us from doing what’s right! Maybe they could have taken a stand against Ahmadenijad from speaking at Columbia - after all, he’s a noted Holocaust denier, and it’s crucial we speak out against any denial of genocide. Unfortunately, Prez Bollinger was too busy "taking a stand for free speech" to be worried about some dumb ol’ Jews getting their feelings hurt (gotta have priorities!)
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
That fails on moral grounds (how does one state get the right to impose its beliefs on morality[?])...
By being accepting there are common morals shared by all people and that all people are of equal value.

If it is universally moral to prevent the gassing of an unarmed village, then it is absolutely moral for anyone to prevent this even a foreign state. To fail this on moral grounds requires proof that the gassing of an unarmed village is itself a moral act.

In the absence of that proof isolationists typically argue that they’re own people’s moral value is of superior worth to that of foreign people and thus the act of intervention is not justifiable if it requires themselves to be less than absolutely perfectly moral. So it is in Iraq where the deaths caused by American actions are quantitatively less than those committed by AQI or the old Saddam regime, but because Arab foreigners are lesser moral actors (to an isolationist) their actions are weighted less morally bad than the actions America takes to prevent these actions - thus the war is immoral.
...pragmatic grounds (the risk of creating something worse is very high, the chances of success low).
A much better argument to make, but totally beside the point when addressing morals.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Harun, the no fly zones were not approved, thus they can be interpreted as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty, and Iraqi fire is thus understandable.

Many states aren’t trusted in terms of international agreements, that’s not a reason to invade, bomb, kill, maim and destroy!

As for the norms of international conflict, that was Joe’s point in response to my analogy about the US in 1840.

Shark, again, please define what it would mean to "win" and how you see us doing it. Right now, you’re really rambling. The idea that a Hillary victory (which I also don’t want to see) will cause anti-Americanism to rise is odd, to say the least. Do you travel much?

Unaha, the problem is, who gets to define universal morals? Do we, because we are convinced we are right? That’s convenient, but philosophically untenable. Of course, we were SUPPORTING Saddam when he was gassing innocent villages, so our morality is doubly suspect from that kind of ’universalism.’ A non-interventionist policy would not support that kind of thing. If we hadn’t supported Saddam in the eighties, perhaps he’d not have had the career he did.

Also, if our actions create an anarchy where other actors can engage in violence, then we do bear some responsibility for it. A non-interventionist policy does not have to be one where one ignores things like gassing villages; rather, you recognize that engaging in war as a response can do more harm than good. Instead, the international community can work together to non-violently sanction and isolate the regime in question. In any event, if your universalism accept wars of aggression based on a state’s judgment of the morality of another state, it’s not a moral universalism I can embrace.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Also, if our actions create an anarchy where other actors can engage in violence, then we do bear some responsibility for it.


One suspects that if we are responsible for making a mess in Iraq, cleaning up said mess to the best of our abilities is also our responsibility.
Instead, the international community can work together to non-violently sanction and isolate the regime in question.
It worked/works so wonderfully against North Korea, Sudan, Cuba, Iran, Iraq...
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
Mr. Scott Erb,
With all due respect sir you deserve 0 credibility. From your responses on this thread:
"And that’s one big problem in this country — an inability to state the truth and take a moral stand because it might "offend" someone. "
From your own writing:
October 5 - Chinese toys <2007>
"...Once in K-Mart a man came to show us that our car seat was too loose, and it was dangerous to the baby. Excuse me, you don’t just go up to strangers and start adjusting their baby’s car seat! Apparently he worked for the state and was involved in training on proper car seat use (this was about four years ago, I don’t recall exactly what his story was). Not only had I purposely loosened it for going around in the store, but a slightly loose car seat isn’t exactly child abuse. Maybe my mom was too lenient when she let me stand up in the back of her convertible, or my sister and I would play in the back of the station wagon on trips, but come on. Lead in paint, car seat strips, seat belts..."
That’s right you had purposely loosened your car seat placing your child at risk - but that isn’t "child abuse". Poor example sir - let’s do a quick statistics comparison -
# of children killed in 2005 in traffic fatalities: 1451
# of US Troops in the same year: 846

So with all due respect regarding your comments on Iraq; as someone who places his child at more risk for his convenience and complains when someone intervenes and doesn’t fit his personal "inability to state the truth and take a moral stand because it might ’offend’" to protect his child - your arguments against the war sound hollow and your advice not worth following.

As for your parenting I’m not going to say your kids aren’t fine and won’t be fine but - I’m guessing you don’t pay much attention to your kids, Me I found my kids chew vs. lick and baby teeth cut through most anything especially paint which is then swallowed - your licking comment regarding lead strikes me as someone who didn’t notice or didn’t want to apply reality to your argument.
 
Written By: BillS
URL: http://
Erb,

Thanks for the info on the no fly zones. Part of the cease-fire agreement allowed the Iraqis to fly helicopters to help civilians, not to gun them down. So there’s a violation in spirit at least of that agreement, which led to the use of no-fly zones later justified by the UN resolution. Whether or not its truly justified I don’t know as IANAL, but you definitely are correct that its disputed at least.

But there are now many precedents for intervening in a sovereigns affairs. Seeing as how Clinton is not being arrested in Belgium for his "illegal" bombings of Iraq in 1998, I suspect the legal case for attacking Iraq must be stronger than we think. (You are not a lawyer either.)

Again, while I am arguing the legal stuff, its really my point that these norms/laws don’t really matter in international affairs when the rubber meets the roads. Its funny that all of the lpeople I meet in Taiwan carp about "Bush’s illegal wars" also want the US to save Taiwan in case of a war with China...uhhhh that’s illegal according to international law!

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Boris Erb writes:
Harun, the no fly zones were not approved, thus they can be interpreted as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty, and Iraqi fire is thus understandable.
Wrong again, Boris. The no-fly zones were a measure used to enforce UN Security Council resolution 688 aimed at protecting ethnic "minorities" in Iraq ("minorities" in quotes because the Shi’a were hardly a minority) from Saddam.

There was no violation of Iraqi sovereignty because Hussein had clearly agreed to conditions that placed limits on that sovereignty as part of the cease fire embodied in resolutions 686 and 687.

All of these resolutions were enforceable under 678, which was reaffirmed as in full force and effect, by the way, by 686.

But you say you "teach this stuff," Boris? I would say you just make it up as you go along.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Boris Erb writes a compound lie:
Unaha, the problem is, who gets to define universal morals?
For Iraq, the "universal moral" was the law of nations as embodied in the United Nations and adjudicated and enforced by the UN Security Council, Boris.

But as to the American capacity to act on its own, that’s also based on the law of nations and on the national security considerations involved.
Do we, because we are convinced we are right?
Did Saddam start a war with Iran? Did Saddam invade Kuwait and annex it? Did Saddam develop nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons? Did he murder his own people? What would convince you, Boris, that we were right?
That’s convenient, but philosophically untenable.
It’s neither convenient nor philosophically untenable.
Of course, we were SUPPORTING Saddam when he was gassing innocent villages, so our morality is doubly suspect from that kind of ’universalism.’
First of all, Boris, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was long a client of the Soviet Union. That is why he drove Soviet tanks, flew MiGs and had his various security organizations trained by the KGB.

We gave Hussein some intel help when Iraq was about to be overrun by the Iranians. And we were never averse to weaning a Soviet client state off of the Bear’s tit.

But you say you "teach this stuff"? How could that be, when you appear to know nothing about it and have no desire to learn?
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
So with all due respect regarding your comments on Iraq; as someone who places his child at more risk for his convenience
Wow, you’re going over the top. First, I loosened the car seat while in K-Mart so the baby would be more comfortable in the store, it was tightened again when the car seat was put back in the car. Second, you cite number of Americans killed; I count Iraqi deaths as being just as important. But you’re really stretching to find someway to avoid dealing with the real issues!

Especially to the point that you attack my parenting (which is hilarious if you realized just how much time I spend with them — you’re so off base it’s funny) rather than talk about the reality. This shows someone frustrated by another’s political view but, rather than discuss that view, attacks the person in a personal way, based on lies. Pretty pathetic.

As for lead paint, my point was that when I was a child, nearly everything had lead paint, I doubt very much having two toy trains from China with lead paint is a serious health hazard. Nonetheless, those trains are on my desk, used as a prop when I talk about globalization and trade with China. As soon as the recall came, we removed them. Seriously, though, it’s really sad if you resort to that kind of personal attack on another person in order to avoid talking about the issue at hand.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Harun, of course you’re right that when a major power decides to do something, international law becomes virtually irrelevant. If a permanent member of the UN Security Council wants to do something, nothing can prevent it. It’s hard to legally justify the Kosovo war (which is only seen as a success because of how the Clinton PR machine spun it) or the Iraq war.

So with the no fly zones, Saddam could say that the US was violating Iraqi sovereignty, not even allowing training flights and other use of the airspace, and the US could claim it was trying to enforce the peace agreement. The US developed twisted legal arguments to justify the Kosovo war and the 2003 Iraq war, claiming it was legal under old Security Council resolutions (something other security council members and most scholars of international vehemently reject).

If we put aside the legal arguments, then it comes down to: a) arguments based on self-interest (has this war improved American security and supported the national interest) and ethics (has the war helped achieve moral good). One can, of course, argue both sides of each question. The pro-war arguments for "a" are that the US has destroyed alot of al qaeda in Iraq, and ended a regime that may have been willing to later on threaten US interests. For "b" Saddam is gone, Iraq has a chance for a democracy, the Shi’ites are no longer oppressed. However, I think the arguments against the war for both "a" and "b" are much, much stronger, and people should have seen this kind of result coming back in 2002-03 (indeed, many people did).
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Boris Erb writes:
The US developed twisted legal arguments to justify...the 2003 Iraq war, claiming it was legal under old Security Council resolutions (something other security council members and most scholars of international vehemently reject).
1. The 2003 Iraq war was justified under both a new UNSC resolution (1441) and the previous resolutions that underlie and are the basis for 1441 (principally 687, the cease fire resolutions, and 678 which authorized the enforcement of all the UNSC Iraq resolutions, and which was clearly restated and reaffirmed in 1441).

2. Boris quotes one of his favorite sources: "they" of "they say" fame, here put in one of his favorite forms "most scholars."

Boris says he "teaches this stuff." I think he just lies about it. That’s so much easier, according to most scholars.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Boris Erb writes:
As for lead paint, my point was that when I was a child, nearly everything had lead paint,
As that going to be your defense when you’re finally hauled before the ethics committee? You make things up in the classroom because you ate lead paint as a child?
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Boris Erb lies:
I count Iraqi deaths as being just as important.
You’ve long been thrilled to death with car bombers killing Iraqis, Boris.

Don’t lie about it.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Unaha, the problem is, who gets to define universal morals? Do we, because we are convinced we are right? That’s convenient, but philosophically untenable.
Is this anything like being wimpy for not speaking ’truth’ about Turkey? (You remember, Turkey right?)

Who’s universal morals are you using, and why now, to insist we condemn the dead Ottoman Empire for it’s behavior 100 years ago?
Are you doing it because you’re convinced you’re right? Or are you doing it to help further sabotage efforts in Iraq?

Which truth - the one where you thought this would be an ’up side’ thing if it inhibited our effort in Iraq today, or the one about how we ’need’ to tell the Turks we know about and condemn the Armenian Genocide 100 years ago?

Yeah, you’re a foreign policy wiz, you are. And so honest too!
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Mr. Erb as I expected you missed the point of my last post and you attempted to dodge my points because to you it’s all relative and you are willing to ignore facts in order redirect an argument to something you feel you can win. You think everything is relative so you freely try to change the topic to something which isn’t clear in the hopes of out arguing or making your opponent look like yourself - a fool.

I changed focus specifically because like so many other responses you don’t want to look in a mirror... just like when you responded to my post you tried to change the subject just a bit more subtly - I wanted to draw attention to the act so I wasn’t subtle.

So let’s go through this. Oh one other thing - your response indicates I was successful in not taking you out of context - I wanted to not do that because the loosening of your child seat wasn’t the point your earlier comments were. And later I’ll even admit that my use of statistics gave the wrong impression, so...

Let me state again: I specifically said I was NOT attacking your parenting skills - to wit "As for your parenting I’m not going to say your kids aren’t fine and won’t be fine...". I put that line in there explicitly because I don’t judge the parenting skills of others. I did say you either aren’t paying attention or are choosing to ignore facts - I’ll take it you would prefer to ignore facts.

Since I do think you ignore facts - like claiming you can lick paint off a toy with led paint - it’s not a risk if you just lick it’s a risk if you chip and injest which takes chewing. Or my favorite claiming lead isn’t a big deal because -you don’t think it is-
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 1978 there were 13.5 million children in the United States with elevated blood lead levels (i.e., 10µg/dl). By 2002, that number had dropped to 310,000 kids.
You claim to have probably had lead toys - well lead causes brain damage and it was a problem until we started preventing it’s existance in things children were exposed to - there are millions of adults who have low grade lead poisoning
this perhaps without their knowledge could interfere with key reasoning or emotional skills.
Fortunately for me I know that I wasn’t exposed to any significant levels of lead. And no I’m not interested in a debate on all the sources of lead - the key is - just because you or I don’t want to consider it a problem doesn’t mean it isn’t.

Next the car seat - two things here. Although we’ll get to the statistics the key focus was on the fact that you claim people don’t stand up for what they believe - I don’t think you have any argument but that the individual who corrected your car seat cared about and stood up for what they believed - you supposedly believe in that - but didn’t think it was appropriate when applied to you...

As for the death statistics - let me say I should have made clearer that I was again addressing relativism and not indicating that your kids weren’t and wouldn’t be safe.

However, the point is that for all your claims about how many lives are lost in something approaching a one to one comparison the war hasn’t made our "kids" any less safe then driving in cars and using car seats. Let’s be honest the number of 0-16 year olds is roughly equivalent to the number of 18-34 year olds which make up the majority of our armed services (in theory there are a few less of the 18-24 year olds due to attrition but with the individuals older then 34 out there I’m figuring its a wash).

So the point if you are of service age you are at less risk ( in part because you probably aren’t in Iraq) then if you are a child in a car. That’s across the entire population. As painful as each service members death in this war I would argue it is no less painful then the death of every child and someone who stands up for that shouldn’t be made fun of by you because you don’t think it’s a relative big deal.

So how does it relate - well look at your response to me you take one snippet out of context and attempt to build a relativistic argument around it. You don’t want the reality to be what it is so you become devisive and attempt to make relativistic arguments - the fact is we are currently having success and in the context of the current operations it is ongoing success. Any claims you make to the contrary are just what you want they aren’t based on facts they are relativistic arguments.

Your claims of ’impossible to achieve success’ aren’t based in reality. Success can be lost, in fact it would be easy to lose and fast to lose but doing the best we can - we can achieve victory and you can’t post any argument that doesn’t show us able to win if we just do our best to make the Iraq situation the best we can make it.
 
Written By: BIllS
URL: http://bills-opinions.blogspot.com
By your logic, an enlightened state could be justified in invading and conquering the US in 1840 in order to end slavery, stop the genocide of native American indian tribes, and stop the mistreatment of women who weren’t even allowed to vote.
In 1840, the only state that was more enlightened than the US might have been England.

The US was not engaged in genocide against the indians. US women lived in one of the nations where women were treated best. And America tore itself apart dealing with the slavery issue.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
BillS, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Honestly, I can’t make sense of your post. Can you succinctly make your point? You don’t seem to counter any argument I make, and I’m not sure what your point about probability of death is. I also don’t know how you can possibly call Iraq a success at this point.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Of course, we were SUPPORTING Saddam when he was gassing innocent villages, so our morality is doubly suspect from that kind of ’universalism.’ A non-interventionist policy would not support that kind of thing. If we hadn’t supported Saddam in the eighties, perhaps he’d not have had the career he did.
As Martin already pointed out, Saddam’s Iraq was a Soviet client state. Note the Soviet made tanks, the Soviet made artillery, the Soviet made aircraft and air defenses, and the Soviet made small arms.

In the ’80s, we were faced with an Islamic fundamentalst Iran (thanks to Jimmy Carter) and a Baathist Iraq. And these two bad apples went to war. We aided both sides (remember Iran-Contra, where we provided TOWs to Iran?), since victory to either side was against our interests, and everyone else’s interests (except the nasty people; the Soviets would have liked Saddam to win, as would Saddam, and the fundamentalists would have liked Iran to win).

Providing the Iranians TOWs so they could "brew-up" Saddam’s Soviet made tanks was a good move. Providing Saddam the intelligence he needed to stop an Iranian attack was also a good move. Working to prevent a victory for either side and maintain a stalemate was the proper course.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Looker, you’re worked up about this Turkey issue than any other one I’ve seen you comment on — and with a few more insults than usual.

Anyway, in terms of morality, you’re ignoring a fundamental difference:

1. To stand for your moral beliefs do you attack others, kill, destroy, and try to shape the destiny of others; or
2. Do you publicly state your moral views, honestly and openly, but do not initiate force to try to get others to live by them?

Bluntly: there is a difference between condemning a genocide and invading a country.

The principle of non-intervention does, of course, come up against the thorny issue of when there may be times in which intervention is morally acceptable or even required. I’m not going to write much about it here, because it would go on for pages, and I’ve thought through and continue to think through these sorts of issues. My blog today is on the morality of war, and I explain a bit more my view on that sort of thing.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I also don’t know how you can possibly call Iraq a success at this point.
How about the fact that things have been going well there? Imoprovement is good, right?

We certainly can’t call it done and finished yet, but it isn’t a failure yet either.

Screwing around with Turkish sensibilities is stupid at this point. Unless Donkey Party prospects in 2008 are more important to you than US national interests and the Iraqi people.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Bluntly: there is a difference between condemning a genocide and invading a country.
Yeah, one of the above is just empty words.

Talk is cheap, particularly when you are talking about bad guys who are long dead. I’d like to see Nancy do some good Mo cartoons, see if she is capable of words that might have some blowback (that doesn’t aid the Donkey Party).
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
The US was not engaged in genocide against the indians. US women lived in one of the nations where women were treated best. And America tore itself apart dealing with the slavery issue.
The point remains: If a superior state existed that saw slavery as evil, denial of basic rights to women, including the right to vote, as wrong, and saw the slaughter and theft of innocent peoples as genocidal and wrong, would they have been correct to conquer America and impose their superior moral order?

As for the Indians, entire peoples were wiped out. Direct violence was used eliminating tribes, blankets that had been used by people with small pox were given as gifts in order to spread the disease. You can say it’s not genocide, but given the racist and social darwinist views at the time, I think of it as a low tech holocaust. But I guess like the Turks, a lot of Americans don’t really want to confront the evil deeds in our past.

And talk may be cheap, but it’s better than killing people, destroying businesses and homes, creating widows and orphans, and sparking chaos by disrupting a country’s stability and development. That does have real blowback, and we’re only starting to feel it.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The point remains: If a superior state existed
Such a thing didn’t exist.
As for the Indians, entire peoples were wiped out. Direct violence was used eliminating tribes, blankets that had been used by people with small pox were given as gifts in order to spread the disease. You can say it’s not genocide, but given the racist and social darwinist views at the time, I think of it as a low tech holocaust. But I guess like the Turks, a lot of Americans don’t really want to confront the evil deeds in our past.
The direct violence used by the English/Americans usually was a reaction to indian deprevations. The "standard model" of English/American conduct was to 1) attempt to get along, 2) fail to get along due to the significant cultural differences, 3) respond to indian attrocities with total war, and 4) repeat process.

Generally speaking the British and US governments attempted to minimize conflict and protect the indians and settlers. There were incidents of bad behaviour on the part of the English/US, typically comitted by men who had years of experience with indian depredations. The "Trail of Tears" is a US example, the infected blankets an English example (although the blankets were not effective, and it was an effort by a small group and I’m pretty sure the Crown wouldn’t have approved).

One key aspect was the effectiveness and efficiency of the English and Americans in pressing total war. They were typically long suffering, but when they engaged they did so to the fullest extent to achieve victory. Once victory was achieved they often took good care of the indians they previously fought.

For example, Custer would walk among the Chayanne women captives, who could have killed him; the US treated these women well, eventually releasing them (one of these women claims to have chased away braves at the Little Bighorn to prevent them from mutalating Custer; he was one of the few 7th Calvery dead who was not mutalated by the indians).

Another example is the warrior Rain-in-the-Face who was believed to have killed and mutilated Tom Custer at the Little Bighorn (something he admitted to, although modern historians are not convinced): after the war he went on the US talk circuit.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Boris Erb lies:
As for the Indians, entire peoples were wiped out.
You’re trying to cloud an issue by saying "entire peoples" when you mean this or that tribe was wiped out. Name one tribe that you believe was intentionally killed off. One.
Direct violence was used eliminating tribes,
Name the tribe(s), Erb. Cite something besides "most scholars."
blankets that had been used by people with small pox were given as gifts in order to spread the disease.
That is what’s known as a tall tale, Boris. In the modern world they’re called urban legends.
You can say it’s not genocide, but given the racist and social darwinist views at the time, I think of it as a low tech holocaust.
You’re a liar, Erb. "Social Darwinist views?" You’re a joke, in addition to being a liar. There was no genocide committed against American Indians. The vast decimation of North American Indians occurred because of disease, much of it without ever having contact with Europeans. Smallpox was the big killer, but there were several other diseases, including measles, tuberculosis, syphillis, almost all of the damage done before 1800. (Before Darwin was born, by the way.)

You need to be run out of higher education, Boris. You need to be managing a Pizza parlor, if they’ll have you.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Boris Erb writes:
But I guess like the Turks, a lot of Americans don’t really want to confront the evil deeds in our past.
How about an evil deed in our present. For instance, you being paid by the State of Maine to walk into a university classroom and lie to and spread what is essentially enemy propaganda to students, depriving them of facts and an honest education?

Where are the Americans willing to confront that?
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Boris Erb writes:
Bluntly: there is a difference between condemning a genocide and invading a country.
The adjudication of the situation in Iraq was the most thorough in the history of the United Nations, Boris.

The U.S. didn’t just invade a country, although there was indeed a case to be made apart from any UN adjudications. But that case didn’t need to be made in about Iraq because the process had already been underway for 12 years, something you dismissed earlier in this thread as "old resolutions."

You show how willful your ignorance is when you use terms like that. You talk like some toothless hillbilly who won’t let his family be vaccinated against the plague when it’s working its way up the road.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
. Do you publicly state your moral views, honestly and openly, but do not initiate force to try to get others to live by them?
You do well in dancing around the issue and have avoided it - why now.

Insults - perhaps, rather mild in comparison to the norm for you.
You were the one who mentioned you thought it was an ’up’ side in condeming Turkey if it obstructs our Iraqi efforts, so you’re not ’unbiased’.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
You do well in dancing around the issue and have avoided it - why now
What issue?

You were the one who mentioned you thought it was an ’up’ side in condeming Turkey if it obstructs our Iraqi efforts, so you’re not ’unbiased’.
As I said earlier, I meant that first comment to be amusing — twisting the upside and downside from McQ’s post. To be sure, I’m not unbiased, nobody is. That’s one reason why I support an anti-interventionist foreign policy, recognition of peoples’ tendency to always assume their own perspective as being the correct one.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
As Martin already pointed out, Saddam’s Iraq was a Soviet client state. Note the Soviet made tanks, the Soviet made artillery, the Soviet made aircraft and air defenses, and the Soviet made small arms.

In the ’80s, we were faced with an Islamic fundamentalst Iran (thanks to Jimmy Carter) and a Baathist Iraq. And these two bad apples went to war. We aided both sides (remember Iran-Contra, where we provided TOWs to Iran?), since victory to either side was against our interests, and everyone else’s interests (except the nasty people; the Soviets would have liked Saddam to win, as would Saddam, and the fundamentalists would have liked Iran to win).

Providing the Iranians TOWs so they could "brew-up" Saddam’s Soviet made tanks was a good move. Providing Saddam the intelligence he needed to stop an Iranian attack was also a good move. Working to prevent a victory for either side and maintain a stalemate was the proper course.
You clearly abstract conflict in order to see it in collective identities and power terms, rather than thinking of the actual impact that all these weapons have on real people. I find that to be morally questionable.

However, here you’re wrong even on pragmatic grounds. First, we can’t really claim moral high ground in condemning Saddam’s chemical weapons attacks when we refused at the time to act against him or remove the support we gave. The fundamentalist Iran came about thanks to the coup we had where we intervined and installed a dictator in place of a democracy, and then supported that dictator, gaining a lot of animosity and anger from the Iranian people who rose up in rebellion. Trying to continue to support a tyrant in that way would have only delayed the inevitable, and may not have delayed it by long.

Working to keep a war going so more people die is inherently immoral, and in this case totally unnecessary. Many of our problems today stem from our policies in the eighties and nineties. I strongly suggest you read the book Blind Spot: The History of American Counterterrorism by T. Naftali. You interpret history in a very simple way designed to support your ideology. It’s much more complicated.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
One key aspect was the effectiveness and efficiency of the English and Americans in pressing total war. They were typically long suffering, but when they engaged they did so to the fullest extent to achieve victory. Once victory was achieved they often took good care of the indians they previously fought.
What you call total war, I call evil. The fact that survivors got treated well (and, of course, many thought the only good indian was a dead indian) doesn’t change the essential nature of and outcome of the violence. The Europeans conquered the entire continent, decimated native tribes, spread disease, stole land, and virtually eliminated the cultures and way of life of the natives. They gave them bits of land, which were more often than not hardly able to provide for their welfare. This was a shameful and disgraceful period in our past, one rationalized at the time through raw racism (read Michael Hunts Ideology in American Foreign Policy) and social darwinism. I can’t see it as anything other than a low tech holocaust done over a long period. European colonialism was even worse in many ways, as it decimated political cultures all over the world.

The violent past of the West certainly can’t be denied. I get amused when people point to the Islamic world hundreds of years ago as proof of their violent nature and ignore the evil done in the name of the West.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The point remains: If a superior state existed
Such a thing didn’t exist.
As for the Indians, entire peoples were wiped out. Direct violence was used eliminating tribes, blankets that had been used by people with small pox were given as gifts in order to spread the disease. You can say it’s not genocide, but given the racist and social darwinist views at the time, I think of it as a low tech holocaust. But I guess like the Turks, a lot of Americans don’t really want to confront the evil deeds in our past.
The direct violence used by the English/Americans usually was a reaction to indian deprevations. The "standard model" of English/American conduct was to 1) attempt to get along, 2) fail to get along due to the significant cultural differences, 3) respond to indian attrocities with total war, and 4) repeat process.

Generally speaking the British and US governments attempted to minimize conflict and protect the indians and settlers. There were incidents of bad behaviour on the part of the English/US, typically comitted by men who had years of experience with indian depredations. The "Trail of Tears" is a US example, the infected blankets an English example (although the blankets were not effective, and it was an effort by a small group and I’m pretty sure the Crown wouldn’t have approved).

One key aspect was the effectiveness and efficiency of the English and Americans in pressing total war. They were typically long suffering, but when they engaged they did so to the fullest extent to achieve victory. Once victory was achieved they often took good care of the indians they previously fought.

For example, Custer would walk among the Chayanne women captives, who could have killed him; the US treated these women well, eventually releasing them (one of these women claims to have chased away braves at the Little Bighorn to prevent them from mutalating Custer; he was one of the few 7th Calvery dead who was not mutalated by the indians).

Another example is the warrior Rain-in-the-Face who was believed to have killed and mutilated Tom Custer at the Little Bighorn (something he admitted to, although modern historians are not convinced): after the war he went on the US talk circuit.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Boris Erb tries nonsense:
First, we can’t really claim moral high ground in condemning Saddam’s chemical weapons attacks when we refused at the time to act against him or remove the support we gave.
What support, Boris? We gave Saddam some intelligence when he was about to be overrun by Iran. Other than that, what?

Then, in the 1980s the context of the problems in the Middle East was the Cold War. That dominated everything. When that was over and Saddam attempted to use the power vacuum to make Iraq the Arab superpower, his first act being the invasion and annexation of Kuwait, we acted against him immediately.

You’re a lying fool incapable of integrating facts.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Me -
You do well in dancing around the issue and have avoided it - why now
You -
What issue?
The issue McQ posited - why is it soooooooo important, right now, that we issue a condemnation of the Ottoman Turks for the Armenian Genocide?
I support an anti-interventionist foreign policy
But you are in favor of meaningless resolutions by the current US Legislature that pertain to foreign governments long dead?

What are we attempting to correct with this resolution?
Why must we do it now, knowing full well we have not done it in the past specifically at the request of the Executive branch,
knowing full well to do it now will cheese off the Turks (they’ve said as much....).

Why aren’t we working our way forward on these, or backward on these, why have we chosen to focus our condemnation resolution time machine on one of our key allies in the struggle for Iraq and the Middle East at this instant in time?
Why now.
Well, if this resolution makes it more likely that the US won’t be able to continue the fiasco in Iraq, that’s an "upside," not a "downside."
It was a joke - uh, yeah, okay, so, many a truth spoken in jest, right?

And, actually, there have been other issues I’ve been much more interested in, I just despair of seeing you engage in the same tactics for every discussion.
You excel at changing the focus.


Your first venture into the post was to switch from the subject of Turkey to your views on Iraq -
The US cannot win in Iraq. There is no ’ongoing success.’ The cost of this fiasco is real, and we will be paying for it for a long time. What has been on display in Iraq is the relative impotence of the American military to truly shape political outcomes. Even massively winning a war led to a situation that was uncontrollable in a small country that had already been devastated by sanctions, war, and dictatorship. The fantasy that the rest of the world wants to join the free democracies like Japan and Germany did after World War II has been shown to be wrong. Sure, people in the abstract want to be free. But they might think their neighbors not deserving of the same right, or believe that different ethnic groups require punishment for past deeds. Corruption, culture, religion, and history all play a role, and Iraq is a case study of how ignoring such factors can lead to disaster.
Which, we’ve all heard, endlessly.
And yet, in the very meat of your own latest argument you bring up this business of wanting to punish ethnic groups for past deeds, and presumably you think that is wrong - hello? The Turks? The Ottomans, The Armenians, 100 years ago? The past?

and then later you tell us you think it’s okay that the Turks might get pissed off at this, that they should just accept it, and if not, too bad.
We’re trying, like you tried to tell everyone about Iraq, to tell you, that we think ignoring the fact that the turks will get angry can lead to disaster.

This resolution certainly does nothing to punish the Ottomans professor, so there’s only one group it can possibly punish. And you’re ignoring the fact that they will perceive it as punishment. And we think that can cause problems for us in the region, and that could lead to further disaster.

pretty simple....

So, why is it now so important to condemn the Ottoman Turks? I mean, other than so you won’t think we’re wimpy.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Boris Erb lies:
The Europeans conquered the entire continent, decimated native tribes, spread disease, stole land, and virtually eliminated the cultures and way of life of the natives
One more time you lying imbecile: the North American Indian tribes were decimated by disease — not disease intentionally spread by Europeans as your construction insinuates — BEFORE 1800. Before the ’Orrible European white man had much made his way off of the Eastern seaboard.

Innoculation for smallpox was the predecessor of vaccination and was being used circa the 1790s. When it was offered to Indians as a way of protecting them against the disease, they most often rejected it because they didn’t like the idea of it. It was not in line with their concept of medicine.

Even at that, by that time the tribes had already seen the bulk of the population kill-off, very often with minimal contact with Europeans. Indian traders would become infected and bring the disease back to remote tribal communities and the smallpox would rage through them.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
You clearly abstract conflict in order to see it in collective identities and power terms, rather than thinking of the actual impact that all these weapons have on real people. I find that to be morally questionable.


The Iran Iraq War would have been a disaster for Iran if Iraq won, a disaster for Iraq if Iran won. Either way, it would have been a disaster to the US and to freedom.

Only the evil would have been served by a clear victory.
However, here you’re wrong even on pragmatic grounds. First, we can’t really claim moral high ground in condemning Saddam’s chemical weapons attacks when we refused at the time to act against him or remove the support we gave.
Huh? Claiming moral high ground isn’t pragmatic. Preventing the Iranians from defeating Saddam was pragmatic. However, I don’t agree that we gave up the moral high ground: the moral high ground was in guiding two evils into a stailemate.

Since our support was intelligence, it would be kinda hard to take back—"Saddam, forget what we told you!".
The fundamentalist Iran came about thanks to the coup we had where we intervined and installed a dictator in place of a democracy, and then supported that dictator, gaining a lot of animosity and anger from the Iranian people who rose up in rebellion.
You mean we deposed the guy who dissolved the Iranian parliment and violated the Iranian constitution. It isn’t like Mossadegh was an Iranian George Washington, he was more of a proto dictator along the lines of Hugo Chavez.

Incidently, Mossadegh had had a falling out with the Islamists. Had he remained in power in ’53 we may have ended up with an Islamist Iran sooner rather than later. What is clear, however, is that Carter’s failure to support the Shah resulted in an immediate Islamist take over, and a loss of a key American ally of the Cold War.
Working to keep a war going so more people die is inherently immoral, and in this case totally unnecessary.
Had either side won, many more deaths would have resulted.
You interpret history in a very simple way designed to support your ideology. It’s much more complicated.
Except that my interpretation has been more complicated and nuanced than yours. You are the one with the simple interpretation.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Mr. Erb,
As I noted you are trying to change what is pretty clearly a manipulative move by a group of people that isn’t in the long term interest of the country into a different discussion. This discussion isn’t is the war right, or even are we winning.

You cherry picked a single statement, and didn’t say "I think ’ongoing’ is a stretch perhaps recent would have been more accurate". Instead you used it as a jumping point to get away from the real issue. The threads which talked about lead were no different except that as I stated the change of topic was purposely much less subtle.

Why did you do this - you wanted to argue in gray areas, areas that aren’t as clear as how wrong this resolution is.

I mentioned in my original response many layers of wrongness. One which I removed (self edited) was a reference related to the US Civil War. It would spur a non topic discussion, but since I’ve brought it up here it is...

Keep in mind we aren’t asking for an apology and neither would my next hypothetical question. Again, I don’t want to discuss things like passing a similar resolution to chastise the Democrats of today just because the Southern Democrats of 1860’s seceded from the Union over slavery.

Since the current day Democrat party is in fact based on the Southern Democrats of the Cival War era (Northern Democrats merged with the Whig and other parties of that day to create the Republican party) shouldn’t the Republicans of this country draft a resolution admonishing the Democrats for their support of Slavery, their willingness to split from the country to defend slavery and the hundreds of thousands of Americans who were killed during that war?

Keep in mind the current Democrats are suggesting that events which occured "... during 1915 to 1918 as the Ottoman Empire was breaking up." should be used to accuse an entirely different country Turkey of genocide.

Shouldn’t we pass a resolution decrying the Democrats and the events caused by their split with the United States in 1861-1865?

Since such a resolution does not build any unity, and I don’t think so. But it highlights a similarity this current attack on Turkey based on the actions of almost a century ago by a different country - it has no positive benefit (for anyone). The current resolution is wrong in every sense, including what is in our best interests.

We don’t remember events in history just because congress passed a resolution condeming someing. If congress wants to condem someone or those events let them condem the Ottoman Empire - and oh by the way when you discuss the holocust note the Hebrews and others blame the Nazi party - not Germany.

So stop trying to make excuses for why it’s OK to undermine our efforts, stop trying to redirect the conversation to something almost but not quite related to the issue. Because you haven’t been able to defend the current actions, it isn’t OK to try and point at other errors in history. You want to discuss other issues that’s fine but don’t pretend to be adressing the current resolution, you aren’t you are just looking for other topics on which you can argue your views without admitting these people are doing something wrong.

If you want to argue topics other then this resolution we could try a topic like success in Iraq vs. the state of Israel. Let’s use Israel and the success they’ve had in particular with their supposed US backing. Let’s discuss how if the US is supporting Israel as a successful democracy in the region (although hated), why you are so sure Iraq couldn’t build a similar state based on Islam instead of Judaism? Why are you so willing to leave the Iraqi people either under a brutal dictator or a policatl mess rather see the Iraqi’s given the assistance they have desperately needed? But none of this paragraph is germaine to the fact that our Congressional Democrats (the party of secesion) is continuing to attempt to undermine the United States.
 
Written By: BIllS
URL: http://bills-opinions.blogspot.com
The Europeans conquered the entire continent, decimated native tribes, spread disease, stole land, and virtually eliminated the cultures and way of life of the natives.
The Spanish conquered Central and South America, but the English and French never engaged in a similar conquest.

In the case of the English (and later the Americans), settlers would spread out into "virgin" territory. They would build houses and plant fields, and eventually encounter natives, and eventually have conflict with the natives.

The Puritians, for example, went 18 years before their first indian war, and prior to that they made every effort to buy land from the indians. The problem was, the indians didn’t have similar concepts of property rights, and theft was generally considered ethical in their warrior cultures (for example, the Crow warriors who stole horses from white men, then sold the horses back to their origional owners while bragging about stealing them . . .).

The Jamestown colonists didn’t go to the same extent to buy land, but they did not drive off indians and take their land, except when the indians had initiated hostilities. They did have the misfortune of landing among a hostile indian proto-empire that was conquring neigboring tribes.

It becomes more complicated after hostilities commenced, since there were always English/Americans with a grudge from past wars. But the pattern was like I describe.

Very little of the English/American behaviour was outright land theft (stealing from the civilized Cherokees during the Jackson administration is an obvious exception). The fundamental problem was the inability of civilized English culture to live beside primitive warrior cultures.

Property rights are not important to a primitive warrior culture. But they are a basis for the success and dominance of civilized culture.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
One more time you lying imbecile: the North American Indian tribes were decimated by disease — not disease intentionally spread by Europeans as your construction insinuates — BEFORE 1800. Before the ’Orrible European white man had much made his way off of the Eastern seaboard.
The Indians of the Eastern seaboard were already decimated by disease by the time the first Jamestown colony was founded in the early 1600s. The disease was brought to North America by Spanish explorers.

Interestingly, disease probably didn’t wipe out the indians of the carribean, and it didn’t wipe out those on Mexico or South America until after the respective Spanish conquests. In other words, Cortez siezed Mexico without the aid of disease, and Pizzaro did the same in Ecuador/Peru.

The Spanish brought the disease that enabled the later English colonization of North America.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
So, we showed up, and sometimes behaved barbarically against the locals, using modern tools, as some of the locals were sometimes behaving using more primitive tools against the other locals.

Sorry, I’m not basing the quality of my morality on the basis of the acceptable moralities of the 1600’s from Europe or Asia, or the moralities of the locals.

I didn’t do it, no one I know did it, and no one anyone else knows did it, or ever knew anyone who did it. I’d condemn it if someone tried to do it today.
We are not guilty for the sins of the fathers.

Yawn.

Why does the US Legislature need to condemn the Ottoman Empire for the Armenian Genocide right now?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Prof, when John Murtha sides with our point of view, you need to give the whole morality, ’being wimpy’ thing a rest.

Who’d a thunk Murtha wouldn’t be for something designed to screw things up further in Iraq, but there it is, truthier truth ya just can’t buy.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Erb writes:
The fundamentalist Iran came about thanks to the coup we had where we intervined and installed a dictator in place of a democracy, and then supported that dictator, gaining a lot of animosity and anger from the Iranian people who rose up in rebellion.
What coup did we intervene in and how? What dictator did we install?
Do you have any idea what you are talking about?
 
Written By: ABC
URL: http://
You mean we deposed the guy who dissolved the Iranian parliment and violated the Iranian constitution. It isn’t like Mossadegh was an Iranian George Washington, he was more of a proto dictator along the lines of Hugo Chavez.


Back in 1949 the British made a deal with Iran’s conservative Prime Minister General Ali Razmara to renegotiate the deal between the government and the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC). Opposition to the agreement with the AIOC grew, as Iranians were angered by how little they had been getting in oil royalties — the British profits had been almost three times the royalties paid, and in fact the AIOC paid more in taxes at home than to Iran. The new Majles (Iran’s parliament) had strong sentiment against the oil deal. Prime Minister Razmara was assassinated by an Islamic fundamentalist/nationalist from Fedaiyan e Islam (a group which assassinated ‘enemies of Islam’).

A group of parties led by Mohammad Mosaddeq started to gain support in the Majles, and though the Shah (whose powers were quite limited) chose Hosain Ala to be the new Prime Minister, the Majles pushed for and got Mosaddeq. He led a rather rag tag group of religious and nationalist parties called the “National Front,” and announced plans to nationalize Iran’s oil industry. This was part of a comprehensive plan to restructure Iran’s economy and end dependence on outside powers. The US had supported Iran’s refusal to go along with the AIOC at first, hoping to get more influence for American companies. But Mossadeq’s decision to nationalize went too far for the Americans.

The British were incensed and tried to take Iran to the International Court of Justice. But states can nationalize as long as they compensate, and Iran promised just compensation. The US and Great Britain launched a campaign against Mosaddeq, hyping him as a fanatic, a communist, someone who would be a tool of the Tudeh (Iran’s communist party). The US saw nationalization as socialist and contrary to our goal of maintaining control of the oil needed for the western economy.

The US and Great Britain organized a boycott of Iranian oil by major oil companies, cutting off oil revenues to the government. The boycott was effective. There were other economic actions taken against Iran as well, and soon Iran’s economy was in tatters. This led to unrest, and ultimately instability in the Mosaddeq government. The Tudeh increasingly argued that all this showed that ties to the West were unhelpful, and Iran should turn to the Soviet Union.

The Shah, the British, and the Americans decided that Mossadeq had to go. First they tried to influence the government with a mix of promises and inside deals to replace him. The Shah dismissed him in 1952 and installed Qavam as-Saltaneh. But public demonstrations and refusal of the Majles to accept the choice got Masaddeq restored. The Tudeh party gained in strength, and ultimately Mossadeq brought them in to government. Note: a few American historians cite Mossadeq’s ties with the Tudeh as the reason for installing the Shah – he was letting himself become aligned too closely with our Soviet enemies. BUT without the oil boycott and attempts to undermine Mossadeq’s reforms, the Tudeh would have never reached that position.

Mossadeq was much more popular than the Shah, and tried to get the US to move away from the economic death grip on Iran’s economy, but the US continued to support the oil boycott. British intelligence worked with the CIA to plan a coup to oust Mosaddeq in 1953. Despite a few difficulties it ultimately worked, and the Shah, who would turn out to be a brutally repressive dictator, came to power with American and British support. Preference was for the Shah over democracy because he would support the US and Great Britain; democratic governments might give considerable power to Islamic and nationalist parties, as well as the Tudeh, after all.

Mossadeq remains a hero to many Iranians across the religious and political spectrum due to how he stood up to the West. But what if we had worked with him rather than against him? What if Iran’s democracy had been allowed to grow on its own, using its own oil revenues, rather than having our influence protected by a thuggish dictator whose rule ultimately collapsed? What if anti-western anger after 1953, especially amongst nationalist and Islamist groups, had not been kindled? If we had resisted the urge to intervene we would likely not be facing an Iran led by an Islamic fundamentalist government, with a nascent democracy more limited in the one in the early fifties.

There is a lesson to be learned here, but like so many lessons of history, it tends to get ignored. This lesson about the dangers of trying to control the politics of another state is especially important now, especially as we try to figure out what to do in Iraq.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The Indians of the Eastern seaboard were already decimated by disease by the time the first Jamestown colony was founded in the early 1600s. The disease was brought to North America by Spanish explorers.
I grew up in South Dakota. The history of the Lakota Sioux is a tragic one, going from dominating the plains to being wiped out, the food supply decimated, and ultimately having their great culture and society destroyed. You’ll never convince me not to consider what happened to the native tribes a low tech holocaust, even a genocide. I do understand in that era the sensibilities were different, racism was normal, as was social darwinism. Yet we can learn from that, and acknowledge past evil deeds. We weren’t there, we aren’t guilty. But we need to reflect critically on what happened.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I grew up in South Dakota. The history of the Lakota Sioux is a tragic one, going from dominating the plains to being wiped out, the food supply decimated, and ultimately having their great culture and society destroyed.
Yeah, they really enjoyed acting as river pirates, extorting travelers (refer to Lewis & Clark), etc., and they also enjoyed driving the Crow and Pawnee out of the Black Hills.

Sorry—the Lakota were a belligerent warrior society. I’m not going to cry for them. And in any case, to a large extent it was whites who were indirectly responsible for Lakota success: the horse and the rifle being key items in that.

I’ll save my concern for the Crow, who were consistent friends, but since they didn’t rape and murder white folk they don’t seem to get respect, or acclaim from those that worship the noble savage.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Prof, when John Murtha sides with our point of view, you need to give the whole morality, ’being wimpy’ thing a rest.
That’s silly. Look, I’m just saying that we shouldn’t be so afraid of offending other countries by stating the truth about things like genocide. I’ve already agreed that the timing is fishy, but if we want to condemn a genocide, then that’s our business. It’s like when the Phillipines were charging us high rents to have a base there. People complained, but it was argued that the base was so strategically important that we needed to pay. George Kennan countered that we shouldn’t let them push us around, tell them if they don’t drop the rent we’ll leave.

Bush the Elder, Clinton and Bush the Younger all are/were wrong to try to stop that resolution.

Aasif Mandvi on the Daily Show: "You help us with the war on Iraq, and we’ll help you with your past...Germany not in the coalition, that’s a shame, we could have turned the holocaust into a half-a-cost."
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Oh, Jon Stewart also said on October 11th in talking about Turkey, has the US apologized for "slavery and indian genocide." Hey, Stewart agrees it was a genocide, I consider that vindication ;-)
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/17/washington/17cnd-cong.html?ei=5065&en=20af3ab48140086a&ex=1193198400&partner=MYWAY&pagewanted=print

 
Written By: BillS
URL: http://
by stating the truth about things like genocide
Have we denied it occurred? No.
You’re always concerned about foreign relations. This is a bad foreign relations move in the current world paradigm.
Things that to us are essentially meaningless (and a non-binding resolution certainly qualifies...), that we can delay, or avoid, that are not meaningless to other countries, we probably ought to delay, or avoid.
Well, if this resolution makes it more likely that the US won’t be able to continue the fiasco in Iraq, that’s an "upside," not a "downside."
But, you’re all for speaking to truth to power if it ’heh-heh’ helps stop us from continuing the fiasco in Iraq.
(Hint, next time you’re being humorous, and there’s absolutley no indication you were in that post, add a ’heh’ or a smiley face, and your subsequent arguments that you were only joshin will be better received. Most of us see this as another of your ’oops, shouldn’t have said that’ moments).

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Hey, Stewart agrees it was a genocide
In the specific case of the Sioux, it would be hard to justify that claim.

The main battles with the Sioux were the Dakota War (where many Sioux attrocities against civilians were committed), Red Cloud’s War, the Little Bighorn campaign, and Wounded Knee.

Wounded Knee resulted in the massacre of Sioux who had adopted a doomesday cult, and who refused to be disarmed. It is more like Janet Reno’s actions in Waco than Hitler’s actions in Eastern Europe.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
The turnaround is the first major failure for Pelosi, who has successfully muscled through the agenda she set out when she became leader of the Democratic majority in January.

This first has begot this legacy ..

Krauthammer’s razor (with apologies to Occam): In explaining any puzzling Washington phenomenon, always choose stupidity over conspiracy, incompetence over cunning. Anything else gives them too much credit.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://

 
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