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Forced "national service"? Not only no but hell no!
Posted by: McQ on Friday, November 24, 2006

Paul Wagner entitles his Houston Chronicle article "Rangel is right about the need for national service". He sub-heads it, "Democrats shouldn't be so hasty to dismiss draft."

Now let me be careful to separate a couple of thoughts here before they become all mixed together when they shouldn't be.

Do I think "national service" in which young Americans volunteer a couple of years to help out in areas in which our country has specific needs might be helpful to both the individual and the country? Yes, in fact I do.

But the key is to be found in one particular word: "volunteer". That describes a process which involves choice. Free choice.

Certainly both the country and the individual can't help but benefit from voluntary service. And no one will argue there aren't plenty of areas outside of the military where such service would be greatly useful.

But that isn't what Charlie Ragel and Paul Wagner are talking about. Nowhere in Rangel or Wagner's discussion does the word "volunteer" appear (although Wagner does talk about "enlistees" in a different context). They make no bones about it, they believe people should be forced to serve the state for their "own good" but mostly for the benefit of the state.

Coercion in the name of 'service' is tantamount to slavery. It's forced labor. It is involuntary servitude. It can't be accurately described in any other way. A draftee is even worse than an indentured servant because unlike indentured servants of old, he has no choice as to whether he wants to enter into such a contract or not.

Oh, course that doesn't stop the spin which characterizes such involuntary service as a positive and stresses all of the 'benefits' one will accrue (while simply ignoring the stark fact that it is totally involuntary and coerced).

So how does one justify such a blatant intrusion on the liberty of a free people? Well how about the 'dues paying' argument:
The country has many needs that only the young can fulfill in an economical fashion. And, since the young have the most to gain from a flourishing and stable America, it only makes sense that they pay their dues as have their grandparents and some of their parents.
The best way for anyone to pay their "dues" is to become a free and productive member of society, raise a family, hold down a job, work within your community and essentially do all the positive things a free person does in his society. That pays any "dues" necessary to a free society.

That doesn't mean one can't volunteer to help in some capacity within their country if that is something they wish to do of their own free will and for their own reasons. But no one owes any 'dues' in that regard.

Then there is the patriotism argument:
This country needs: more border patrol; public transport security; EMTs; fire and police personnel. We need young people to work in the inner cities and the country's most rural sectors. The Vista and the Peace Corps programs also need inexpensive and talented personnel filled with a sense of patriotism and mission.
Ah, yes, an involuntary draft and forced servitude is bound to increase both patriotism and sense of mission among those pressed into service isn't it? Just like it did in the '60s and '70s. We saw a great patriotic revival then, didn't we?

This issue and these arguments are simply a revival of the age-old collectivist arguments that puts the mythical "needs of the country" (or society, or the collective) over the freedom of choice of the people. It places the people in a subservient role to the state. And we know how that works out, don't we?
A renewed draft should distribute personnel into each of these sectors for two years' service as warranted by the country's needs, not the draftee's desire.
My goodness who's heart wouldn't pump red, white and blue with that sort of a program?

Here's my favorite benefit though:
The increase in enlistees we could anticipate from reinstatement of a draft would increase the professionalism of the services above. Draftees would fill the country's immediate needs for service and protection at moderate cost since they would be paid at salaries much lower than enlistees.
Wagner, if I were to guess, has never spent a day in uniform nor was he around when there was a draft army as opposed to today's volunteer army. If he knew a single thing about either he'd be laughing ruefully at this bit of nonsense as hard as I am. Increase professionalism? That is simply ludicrous. People who don't want to be somewhere doing what they are doing certainly don't approach the tasks assigned as professionals. They don't care. And what happens is the real professionals spend 80% of their time with the 20% who don't want to be there and no one does well.

Probably the worst argument Wagner makes though is this one:
Moreover, by serving those most in need or by protecting all Americans regardless of race, creed, sexual preference or religion, draftees would be far more likely to learn not just tolerance but compassion for all residents of their homeland. The loss of freedom during basic training would do much to create in draftees a visceral feel for the true value of personal liberty. Nothing teaches a person quite like losing something of value, even temporarily.
Amazing. Let's teach them the value of personal liberty and choice by denying them personal liberty and choice and coercing service. Make sense?

So what lesson does Wagner hope they'll take from their enforced service? Who knows? But I can "volunteer" a guess. They'll take the same lesson draftees of the '60s and '70s took from the military draft and apply it to politics to again end coerced involuntary servitude since that is anathema to a free society.

Want to encourage voluntary national service? That's fine. But in a free country that stops short of coerced involuntary national servitude.

Democrats claim to be the party of choice. They claim to be the party of personal liberty. They rail against intrusions on our liberties and claim such things as NSA wiretapping and the Patriot Act are threats to us. And yet one of their members in a leadership position introduces one of the most anti-liberty proposals one can imagine and goofs like Paul Wagner and other fellow travelers see this as something to be seriously considered and are thankful for the opportunity Rangel has given us to "discuss the issue".

There is no worthy issue here and there is no discussion to be had about it. Any reaction to this should be completely dismissive as it is an idea which has no place in a society of free people.

UPDATE: Also claimed by those who argue from an egalitarian standpoint the volunteer military places an unfair burden on the poor and those with fewer options comes this myth-buster in graphic form (source and url noted in graphic):

 
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There is no worthy issue here and there is no discussion to be had about it. Any reaction to this should be completely dismissive as it is an idea which has no place in a society of free people.
I could not agree with that more. It has been an obsession of mine since Buckley introduced a purportedly "voluntary" national service scheme in ’91 or so, and lots of right-wingers at the time thought even a mandatory one would be just fine. (I know, because I tended to hang in right-wing venues back in the old days of Compu-Serve, and many thought it would be good for the young ’uns; teachin’ ’em to love God and country etc. My vehement disagreement was frequently attributed to the bizarre eccentricities of "those libertarians.")

Rangel, and some other on the anti-war left, argue in egalitarian terms that a draft makes stakeholders of the rich and powerful who vote for war with other people’s children as the bomb fodder. First, a draft didn’t prevent the bloody folly of WWI, and moreover, I see no evidence in history that a nation that has a huge standing army, with a huge swath of its young militarized, won’t be more likely to find wars "necessary."

But more importantly, there is nothing — NOTHING — more antithetical to liberty than a state which may compel the innocent into involuntary servitude, aka, slavery. It means totalistic control of one’s life. Just because it is in some respects distinguishable from the chattel slavery of the Old American South means nothing — slavery throughout history was often more benign than that.

I don’t care who it is, or what their reason are, I will fight tooth and nail any effort to enslave Americans.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://inactivist.org/
Rangel, and some other on the anti-war left, argue in egalitarian terms that a draft makes stakeholders of the rich and powerful who vote for war with other people’s children as the bomb fodder.
It won’t. A draft would push the burden of service to the poor. The military will end up being a sewer on incompetence and ne’er do wells. You think Abu Ghraib was bad with the current military. Just wait and see what the new blessed group does.

People who push for a draft (and I know you aren’t) are complete friggin’ idiots who have spent as much time thinking about it as Hamsher did for this piece. None.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Where is your patriotic spirit?

Remember, this is Armageddon. The "enemy" will stop at nothing until all of our freedoms are taken away and the West is totally destroyed.

Surely, this generation is equal to the "Greatest Generation" that fought in World War II.

I say, sign right up! Everybody! No school deferments. Or marriage deferments. The rich and the poor go off to fight this insane war that Republicans said we needed to fight and win.

Who will be the first Chickenhawk trolling for the Bush administration to sign up?!?
 
Written By: Mimi Schaeffer
URL: http://howlinglatina.blogspot.com
Mimi, the rank dishonesty of that little rant is shameful. You don’t believe that one must sign up to participate in policies you support, yet you pretend to do so when other people support policies you oppose? You know that’s dishonest.

I don’t know if you supported any of the deployments during the Clinton administration, but I don’t recall many Democrats insisting supporters all run off to sign up. I’d bet you support socialized medicine, but are you signing up for a career in health care? Have you sent all your money to help the poor before insisting that money be taken from others, as well?

No? Then don’t pretend you believe that ’chickenhawk’ nonsense. It’s dishonest and it’s beneath intelligent people.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
Who will be the first Chickenhawk trolling for the Bush administration to sign up?!?
I voted a straight Democratic ticket on 11/07, and turned totally against the Bush GOP over a year ago. I regard my initial support of the Iraq war as the worst political mistake of my lifetime.

My son and daugher-in-law also voted straight Dem this time, and during our little Thanksgiving get together yesterday, it was the consensus (including my ex who voted for Kerry in ’04) that if the Dems bring us mandatory universal service, including a military component, we will go back to the GOP, as vile as they have become. It is evil to makes some sort of egalitarian point with the lives of my son, my step-son, and my 7 and 8-year-old grandsons. Their lives, their choice(s) to make. (And my daughter-in-law, btw, made much the same point as is reflected in the graph in McQ’s update.)

Even come close to doing it, and I’ll never pull another Dem lever again. Nor will the whole Jon Stewart audience that was so helpful to the Dems this last round.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://inactivist.org/
Who will be the first Chickenhawk trolling for the Bush administration to sign up?!?
Mimi, when you prove that you’ve been a firefighter, a cop, an EMT, a sanitation worker and several other vital professions that you rely on, profer opinions on, and comment on, then I’ll consider it, m’kay?

Hypocrite.
 
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
Good post, McQ. I agree with every word.

Granted that Rangel’s dream is a nightmare that has little or no chance of coming to life. Nevertheless, his plan includes a point that I haven’t seen anyone on this or any other blog address yet, but it is one that would be more disruptive to our society than anything ever contemplated in previous drafts. The inclusion of persons aged up into their 40s inserts the long arm of the draft into a much larger segment of society than normal military drafts that capture young men at the beginning of their careers, before most have established a serious job and started a family. I think this provision offers an additional powerful point for arguing against Rangel’s plan.

McQ, could you please explore what the enforced servitude of virtually all of our middle-aged workers and parents might do to our economy? To their job prospects? To their families? Would the kinds of financial and family problems now faced by members of the National Guard and the Reserve (who were abruptly pulled away from their jobs into full-time service in a manner that surprised many) be amplified a million-fold when most of the adult population of America is similarly yanked out of their productive roles into mandatory national service? In an economy that enjoys near full employment, where would replacement workers come from to fill in for the experienced employees who are taken away for enforced servitude? (Perhaps the open boarders policy would create a useful source for these new workers. Would amnesty grant an exemption from national servitude for illegal aliens? The Senate proposal gave them so many privileges that are denied to citizens, why not this one as well?) Just coordinating the scheduling for when these millions of "loyal comrades" would each begin and end their tour of duty would require a monstrous bureaucracy, one that would surely not be much concerned with the needs of employers who require an uninterrupted supply of experienced, capable employees to stay in business profitably. I would expect such scheduling to be capricious, without regard for limiting the intrusion into any particular business.

I don’t think Rangel’s plan will pass. But a large number of do-gooder, social engineering types will support it, in word if not in deed. A surprising number of Americans don’t seem to understand the traditional concept of liberty the same way QandO readers do. I think we need to muster every legitimate argument against this proposal, and its effects on middle-aged citizens and on the economy should be essential points in this battle to retain the American way of life.
 
Written By: PhoenixPat
URL: http://

The "enemy" will stop at nothing until all of our freedoms are taken away
yeppers, like the current freedom not to be forced to perform national service.


 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Shark beat me to it.

One note: "They can take my involuntary service from my cold dead hands" might make a good slogan.

I do have one quibble, though...
Want to encourage voluntary national service? That’s fine. But in a free country that stops short of coerced involuntary national servitude.
McQ, after the speeches have been given (and they should be), how do you "encourage" voluntary national service? That typically involves providing incentives, incentives that have costs... costs which are borne by the taxpayer, who pays involuntarily and thereby has his or her labor owned by the government.

It’s kinda hard to get around this one.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
McQ, after the speeches have been given (and they should be), how do you "encourage" voluntary national service? That typically involves providing incentives, incentives that have costs... costs which are borne by the taxpayer, who pays involuntarily and thereby has his or her labor owned by the government.
The incentive may be nothing more than a real desire to serve and do something positive for a limited amount of time. The job would be to make such service attractive. And the payoff (incentive) may be the experience gained (sound like the military? It should, that’s the prototype for this sort of a thing). If that appeals to .5% of the country, that’s a lot of people. I’d leave working out the details to those looking for such volunteers (the incentives, the approach, the term). But if they’re looking for help anyway, volunteers on a short-term basis may actually save money.

What I’m trying to say is there are probably ways to encourage making service to your country a priority that would avoid costly programs and permanent bureaucracies. But the draft isn’t one of them.


 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I’t seems to me that forced service would have a backlash affect among many who really do not like to be bossed around and told what to do, basically, it is discriminatory to individualistic type people. Just put the bloody national service programs in place if they think they are so great and let people voluntarily serve if they want to. Even pay them for it. Kind of like the California Conservation Core job I had in high school. That way the people that join will feel much better about what they are doing, nobody is being forced to do anything, and good deeds are being done all around. Whoopy!

The people who wan’t to force this stuff on us are just thinking on a whole different plane.

"The Democrats claim to........" Just because one Democrat proposes something does not tarnish the whole party. If you want to get into that we could go down the list of things some Republican has proposed. Lets wait and see how the rest of the party responds. So far it has been generally a good response along the lines of: "I do not support the draft but agree with the sentiment expressed by Rangel that the people supporting the war are not being asked to or willing to make any personal sacrifice."
 
Written By: Paul XQ
URL: http://
"The Democrats claim to........" Just because one Democrat proposes something does not tarnish the whole party.
No one said it did, Paul despite the fact it is a Democratic legislator (and a relatively powerful one at that) proposing this. It is simply a statement saying that if they are what they claim, this shouldn’t have a ghost of a chance at consideration or passage.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Pelosi has already said Rangel’s proposal is DOA.

Here’s an idea - Why don’t we give Robert A. Heinlein’s proposal a whirl - only those who’ve served in the military can vote. Aren’t prepared to defend the nation-state in which you live, then why should you have a say in it’s policies? One can join at any time, and those fit enough can join combat units, while others can serve in a support position. Conscientious objectors don’t have to join, but of course they can’t vote either.

Given that there are many vets who are anti-war or "liberal" - Kerry, Murtha, Rangel - to name but three, any argument about the "military running the country" are invalid on their face.

Alternatively, we can have a society where those who pay taxes - income and property - vote and those who don’t, can’t. We can even weight the vote based upon the amount one pays. The more you pay, the more votes you have. Once again, given that most of rich folks in Congress are Democrats, don’t argue that the rich are all "against the poor".

Combine the two, and taxpaying vets are the only ones who can vote - works for me.
 
Written By: mitch Wayne
URL: http://
Nah Mitch bad idea UNLESS Federal Service is made EXACTLY like Starship Troopers...you can’t be refused. I like voting.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Nah Mitch bad idea UNLESS Federal Service is made EXACTLY like Starship Troopers...you can’t be refused. I like voting.
That’s right - anyone can join up at anytime in their life. Once you’ve served, you, Joe, can vote. Doesn’t have to be onerous - say two years service for a lifetime of voting.
 
Written By: mitch Wayne
URL: http://
Problem IS Mitch I already HAVE a lifetime voting privilege, by virtue of decades of UNDISCOVERED crime, US citizenship, and by virtue of the fact that I have exceeded the age of 18. We’d have to phase this in, everyone born AFTER 2011 will have to serve to vote OR just fight a disastrous war that ends society as we know and then rebuild...
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Is a draft acceptable or justifiable in time of war, or when war seems imminent? I am rather surprised that hasn’t been mentioned yet. The obvious examples would be WWII and the Civil War, neither of whose outcomes would have been favourable to the United States without the draft.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Problem IS Mitch I already HAVE a lifetime voting privilege, by virtue of decades of UNDISCOVERED crime, US citizenship, and by virtue of the fact that I have exceeded the age of 18. We’d have to phase this in, everyone born AFTER 2011 will have to serve to vote OR just fight a disastrous war that ends society as we know and then rebuild...
Why 2011? Would all those who haven’t served would be ineligible to vote after the first group of "11ers" finish their service when they’re 19 (having signed up when they’re 17) in 2030?
 
Written By: mitch Wayne
URL: http://
Why 2011, why not? We need to choose some ARBITRARY date don’t we?

Well, timactual to SOME the draft is ALWAYS evil...
1) Paleo-Libertarians believe that Lincoln was a Tyrant who deserved to lose and so the draft was illegitimate
2) Paleo-Conservatives spend a lot of time complaining about Mr Roosevelt’s War and so THAT draft was illegitimate, too.
3) An-Cap’s just believe we need Lettres of Marque, Bounties, and voluntarism to defeat our enemies.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Why 2011, why not? We need to choose some ARBITRARY date don’t we?
Fair enough

Too bad it won’t happen.
 
Written By: mitch Wayne
URL: http://
How about this Mitch. If you vote you have to pay taxes and if you don’t vote you don’t have to pay. No taxation without representation.

Most rich folks in Congress are Democrats? Where did you pull that one out of?
 
Written By: Paul XQ
URL: http://
How about this Mitch. If you vote you have to pay taxes and if you don’t vote you don’t have to pay. No taxation without representation.
No vote=No taxes...well that’s functionally what we have now, isn’t it? The poor pay almost no tax but also don’t vote...also it’s a good plan, as long as we abolish Social Security. After all, that is the largest tax burden on lower income folks, but if they aren’t paying taxes they can’t get the benefit, can they?
Most rich folks in Congress are Democrats? Where did you pull that one out of?
You didn’t know this? The Republicans are rich, but the Democrats are SUPER-Rich in Congress. Corzine and the like. They are called "Lear Jet Liberals."
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I think in Europe the tendency is to move away from both universal conscription and national service. In part this is due to costs and the fact that training of a modern professional army can’t be done well in the short time they require. But that is also partially because the time required has consistently dropped — German conscripts serve only 10 months (non-military service is longer). Personally, I think that as the traditional statism of European society shifts to a more liberal attitude, the idea of forced service is becoming less popular. Individualism is stronger now in Europe than it has been perhaps at any time. For America, which has always had stronger individualism and less statism, to consider national service as mandated would be, in a word, absurd.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Charlie Rangel’s reasoning, as quoted by the Associated Press via Yahoo News.
"There’s no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm’s way," Rangel said.

Rangel, a veteran of the Korean War who has unsuccessfully sponsored legislation on conscription in the past, has said the all-volunteer military disproportionately puts the burden of war on minorities and lower-income families.
Talk is cheap when you’re a member of the 101st Keyboard Fighting Brigade and get to do your fighting and calling to arms behind your computer!
 
Written By: Mimi Schaeffer
URL: http://howlinglatina.blogspot.com
Oh and shark, I was against the war from day one. So no hypocracy.

My good friend with the CIA told me Bush & Company were full of crapola. There were no weappons of mass destruction, Saddam was not a threat and we were making a monumental mistake by invading a sovereign Muslim country as if we owned the whole world!

The Middle East is now an unholy mess, we need more soldiers, so I say all those who supported the war, ginny up and support your commander in chief.
 
Written By: Mimi Schaeffer
URL: http://howlinglatina.blogspot.com
Yet Mimi, you do notice that the UPPER QUINTILE of incomes is contributing it’s share and more to the US Army? The Upper Clahhhsses ARE contributing to the war.

Rangel’s REAL reason is to spark more anti-war feeling... after all it was the "Smelly Hippies" that helped end the war in Vietnam.

Oh and BTW, Mimi you can release your DD-214 and demonstrate that you AREN’T a member of the 101st Keyboard Brigade, yourself. Alternatively, provide me your arrest record that demonstrates you’ve been fighting Da Man’s Illegal, Immoral and Fattening War in Iraq.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Well Joe and mitch, looks like I learned something today. At least according to this Roll Call article, "The 50 Richest Members of Congress", four of the top five richest in Congress are Democrats. Five of the ten richest are Republican. Twelve of the twenty richest are Republicans. Thirty-four of the fifty richest are Republicans. The Republicans in the White House are no slouches either.

Corzine is out of Congress now.
 
Written By: Paul XQ
URL: http://
Talk is cheap when you’re a member of the 101st Keyboard Fighting Brigade and get to do your fighting and calling to arms behind your computer!
28 years in the Army, Mimi.

Infantry.

And you?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
four of the top five richest in Congress are Democrats
Note: I’m glad we helped inform you of the truth, Paul.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://

My good friend with the CIA told me Bush & Company were full of crapola. There were no weappons of mass destruction, Saddam was not a threat and we were making a monumental mistake by invading a sovereign Muslim country as if we owned the whole world!

The Middle East is now an unholy mess, we need more soldiers, so I say all those who supported the war, ginny up and support your commander in chief.
Afghanistan, meanwhile, is getting worse as well as the Taliban infiltrates towns and even cities, building loyalty by protecting people without trying to steal from them, as anarchy reigns in much of the country. NATO bombing mishaps, arrests and raids further push people away from the government and NATO. That makes the Iraq fiasco even more a disaster.

The ability of Americans to think that we are being altruistic when we intervene, or worse invade and conquer, another country is rooted in a kind of self-delusion that our values are inherently right, and trying to force others to adapt to how we believe the world should run will be good for everyone. Iraq is a clear lesson that when you go and try to change the world by invading and using military force, the violence unleashed often leads to more violence. Saddam was bad, but the situation now is far worse. Those who site deaths under Saddam focus mostly on people killed in his wars, something he was incapable of by 2003. Now Iraq is in civil war and the ethnic hatreds unleashed will persist for generations. We have totally messed up Iraq, and I’m amazed — truly amazed — by how in denial people have become about the situation. In fact, the claim that if we leave Iraq will devolve into total civil war is itself problemmatic — our presence is arguably not providing security or stopping the slide into civil war. Military action caused this; it won’t cure it.

I also can not understand the view of some who see this as an unfolding "WWIV" or view Islamic extremism as a major threat, worthy of risking more American deaths and Middle East chaos. It seems so absurd (unless its connected with peak oil theory and these are seen as resource wars, but most don’t do that). Terrorist groups are small minorities, governments have regional concerns. It’s so absurd I almost have to laugh...until I think of the tens of thousands of people dead thanks to the choices made by this Administration.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
And you?

I’m still waiting to find out how many criminals she’s arrested, fires she’s put out, sewers she’s cleaned, etc.

Good thing I haven’t been holding my breath, or I’d need the EMT she likely hasn’t been, either.

Oh and Mimi, argumentum ad verecundiam is pretty sad to start with, but trying to invoke the "Craniums In A**es" as the authority is downright risible.
 
Written By: Achillea
URL: http://
How about this Mitch. If you vote you have to pay taxes and if you don’t vote you don’t have to pay. No taxation without representation
I can go for that
Most rich folks in Congress are Democrats? Where did you pull that one out of? Just check out numerous lists by Conservtive bloggers noting the richest members of the US Senate. Dems occupy I beleive 8 out of the top 10. THe House may be different.
 
Written By: mitch Wayne
URL: http://
In any event, rich or not, a pox on both their houses
 
Written By: mitch Wayne
URL: http://
In any event, rich or not, a pox on both their houses

Not a useful attitude...SOMEONE is going to run the nation, that whole US Constitution thing kind of mandates it. There IS going to be a US House and a US Senate, so it might behoove us to have a more constructive attitude. It’s gonna be populated by SOMEONE and they are gonna pass laws, so let’s at least put some effort in getting "our" side in charge... whosoever "Our" side is, not just wishing bad things on everyone.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
So no hypocracy.
"Hypocracy" eh? Sounds like most systems of government out there... ;^)
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://

"My good friend with the CIA told me Bush & Company were full of crapola."

Is that classified information or his own opinion?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"Well, timactual to SOME the draft is ALWAYS evil..."

It may be evil, but is it an acceptable evil if the situation requires it? I am not familiar with this Libertarian stuff.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
One could always argue that there are trade-offs in all things: if it comes down to requiring temporary slavery to stave off permanent dhimmitude, I think most people who are less than thrilled about the idea of a draft would change their tune.

But at the moment, there is considerable disagreement about (a) whether a draft would help or hinder the war effort at this point and (b) whether, if it would help at all, it’s actually necessary to stave off something worse.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Talk is cheap when you’re a member of the 101st Keyboard Fighting Brigade and get to do your fighting and calling to arms behind your computer!
Talk is cheap when you’re a member of the 101st Begging Keyboarders and you get to demand everybody else pay for your charity.
Oh and shark, I was against the war from day one. So no hypocracy.
And you were also opposed to the Afghanistan war, the war in the Balkans, the deployment to Haiti, etc? You are also opposed to the whole idea of a standing army, too, right? And do you give away all of your money before voting for redistributive taxation?

No? Then spare me the intellectually dishonest bull you’re spreading here.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
If the government and the people who elect the policians think a war is a good idea then they should be willing to pay to pay soldiers to fight, whatever the cost may be. I have a feeling that we wouldn’t have fought a lot of wars over the years based on this principle. Of course if you really want to stop unnecessary wars the best way is to take away the ability for governments to print money.

Something tells me that if the United States was actually invaded (which it hasn’t been since the War of 1812, unless you count the "Civil War" in which the defending nation had no problem finding volunteers) that you’d have plenty of volunteers. It’s getting people to volunteer to fight other people’s wars and invade other countries that usually requires coercion.
 
Written By: DS
URL: http://
Something tells me that if the United States was actually invaded (which it hasn’t been since the War of 1812, unless you count the "Civil War" in which the defending nation had no problem finding volunteers) that you’d have plenty of volunteers.
Definitely. And after 9-11 there were volunteers to go hunt down Osama. Politicians play power games with lives and money. If we’re smart, we don’t buy into their rhetoric.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
When Congress can finally shake the wool from its gelatinous, spineless being and actually USE the War Powers given to it by the People, IN FULL, I will never, ever support the Draft. I am more than willing to contribute to Individuals and American Companies given full Warrant by Congress to stop the flow of goods to our Enemies and give due and just reward for those doing so. And as many of these enemies are NOT Nations we must use the non-Nation State War Powers that are IN the Constitution to address same and have been there since the day of the founding of the Nation.

No treaty can take that away, as a President or Congress have not that power to Amend the Constitution or write those Rights away. When will Congress stop its bleating and address the just Power and Rights given it by the People? Our enemies use asymmetrical warfare and think that we have no means to respond... I beg to differ with that 20th century conception of what the actual War Powers of the United States are, as they are in the Constitution. I am willing to pay what money I can spare as my body is not fit for service... and if some group wants my thoughts and insights to address Our enemies, I will give that to them for free along with my time to do so. That is how We the People agree to join fights: on Our own terms for those Enemies described by Congress. So that We can fight asymmetrically in ways the Enemies cannot respond... seems fair to me.
 
Written By: ajacksonian
URL: http://ajacksonian.blogspot.com/
Not a useful attitude...SOMEONE is going to run the nation, that whole US Constitution thing kind of mandates it. There IS going to be a US House and a US Senate, so it might behoove us to have a more constructive attitude. It’s gonna be populated by SOMEONE and they are gonna pass laws, so let’s at least put some effort in getting "our" side in charge... whosoever "Our" side is, not just wishing bad things on everyone.
Of course it’s useful - the less people vote the more ridiculed the system becomes and the pundits will have a field day when, for discussion’s sake, only 15% of the electorate votes. Perhaps then actual change may occur i.e. third parties ascendance, proportional voting, adherence to the Constitution, laws applying to politicians as well as the populace, no job security for government employees, etc...

"Don’t Vote. It Only Enourages Them" - Simon Jester
 
Written By: mitch Wayne
URL: http://
"Don’t Vote. It Only Enourages Them" - Simon Jester
Exactly the wtong attitude...don’t vote, good for ME, sucks for everyone else. Means my vote counts 2.5 TIMES what it ought, making me more powerful than those who don’t vote. Meaning, don’t vote, let my Congress bribe me, with THEIR money.

That attitude is the same sort of idea/foolishness attached to Pink Floyd’s "Have a Cigar", or anyone else that lampoons the music business, MUSIC EXECUTIVES laugh all the way to the bank! "Make fun of us MORE, if it gets your album to platinum." Who actually benefits from the cynical view of "Don’t vote, it encourages them?" POLITICIANS. Make fun of them all you want, they laugh all the way to the bank.

BTW,
unless you count the "Civil War" in which the defending nation had no problem finding volunteers) that you’d have plenty of volunteers.
Uh, dude, ACTUALLY IT DID, the Confederacy instituted a limited draft too...something that many libertarians don’t like to recall.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Perhaps then actual change may occur i.e. third parties ascendance,
Illogical, voting only encourages them...hence why vote, 3rd party or otherwise? See why that attitude doesn’t work? So in this theory it takes a NEAR-MIRACLE to achieve any change? Then change is very unlikely, so why even worry or advocate? Cynicism is self-defeating and supports the status quo.
proportional voting, adherence to the Constitution,
Whoa, which one? Proportional rep-NOT in the Constitution or the Constitution? And what makes Proportional rep so great? So that the LP has power and can hold up necessary actions, UNTIL we restore the Gold Standard? There’s no Fair Vote System, Fair depends on what norms you value...look at Eretz Ysrael, IF you value "inclusion" then the Knesset is fair, BUT power is disproportionately wielded by splinter parties representing a tiny fraction of the voting populace, is that FAIR? Alternatively, Clinton never got more than 49% of the vote, but could claim a mandate? Is that fair, it is IF you value GOVERNANCE as a norm. Proportional Rep is what little parties, with small popular appeal like, because it makes them stronger, but does it really help the overall system?
laws applying to politicians as well as the populace,
Hard to argue.
no job security for government employees, etc...
So you’d bring Patronage back? Each Administration could fire any and ALL employees, UNLESS they contributed before or after the Election? So you’re saying you support the shakedown of employees by their employers AND wish to ensure that the government is populated by "term-limited" staff who have little or no institutional memory and who have EVERY incentive to shake down the public in order to produce the "Campaign Contributions" they owe?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Exactly the wtong attitude...don’t vote, good for ME, sucks for everyone else. Means my vote counts 2.5 TIMES what it ought, making me more powerful than those who don’t vote. Meaning, don’t vote, let my Congress bribe me, with THEIR money.

That attitude is the same sort of idea/foolishness attached to Pink Floyd’s "Have a Cigar", or anyone else that lampoons the music business, MUSIC EXECUTIVES laugh all the way to the bank! "Make fun of us MORE, if it gets your album to platinum." Who actually benefits from the cynical view of "Don’t vote, it encourages them?" POLITICIANS. Make fun of them all you want, they laugh all the way to the bank.
Politicians HATE being ridiculed - the more ridiculed, the more they freak out. Witness the samizdat publications in the former USSR -banned by the Commisars, but rampant throughout the country. The press - if they ever get any cojones - will have stories galore. Ditto the blogs.

The game has changed - time to put pedal to the metal and keep the pressure on the fools in office. Mock them every day, every way, and everywhere.

Kick ’em when they’re up, kick ’em when they’re down
Kick ’em when they’re up, kick ’em when they’re down
Kick ’em when they’re up, kick ’em when they’re down
Kick ’em when they’re up, kick ’em all around

—Don Henley, "Dirty Laundry"
 
Written By: mitch Wayne
URL: http://
unless you count the "Civil War" in which the defending nation had no problem finding volunteers
Really? Then why

The key piece being " The first general American military draft was enacted by the Confederate government on April 16, 1862, more than a year before the federal government did the same."

 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Hmm - the link didn’t take

http://www.wtv-zone.com/civilwar/condraft.html
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
So you’d bring Patronage back? Each Administration could fire any and ALL employees, UNLESS they contributed before or after the Election? So you’re saying you support the shakedown of employees by their employers AND wish to ensure that the government is populated by "term-limited" staff who have little or no institutional memory and who have EVERY incentive to shake down the public in order to produce the "Campaign Contributions" they owe?
Yes. Fire their asses. If the only ones contributing are potential government employees, so be it. But I would also push for a Constitutional Amendment along the lines of:

If you can’t vote for a politician, you can’t contribute to them

Unfortunately it’s not gonna happen - too many government-benefits junkies in the county
 
Written By: mitch Wayne
URL: http://
Joe-

Sadly, it appears as though you’re a promoter of government institutions, and the creation of junkies, to which I say...

"God damn The Pusher
God damn The Pusher
I said God damn, God damn The Pusher man"

—Steppenwolf
 
Written By: mitch Wayne
URL: http://
"Something tells me that if the United States was actually invaded (which it hasn’t been since the War of 1812, unless you count the "Civil War" in which the defending nation had no problem finding volunteers..."

Something told you wrong. The United States was invaded during the Civil War(Antietam, Gettysburg, etc.), during which both sides had a draft. Which side, incidentally, was the defending nation?

Is it your position that WWII should not have been fought by us, since we couldn’t get enough volunteers?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Terrorist groups are small minorities, governments have regional concerns
Yeah Scott, sure. Yet another member of the Mikey Moore "there is no terrorist threat" brigade. Criminey, I sure wonder how those 2 big building in Manhattan fell down a few years ago.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Something tells me that if the United States was actually invaded (which it hasn’t been since the War of 1812, unless you count the "Civil War" in which the defending nation had no problem finding volunteers..."
What, the Aleutian Islands get no love here ;)
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Yeah Scott, sure. Yet another member of the Mikey Moore "there is no terrorist threat" brigade. Criminey, I sure wonder how those 2 big building in Manhattan fell down a few years ago.
Exactly what is the threat. Be specific. What is the enemy’s strength, capacity, and ability to achieve victory? Who exactly is the enemy? Again, be specific.

Counter terrorism is necessary. The loss of two big buildings in Manhattan is small compared the destruction we’ve reigned down over the years on Serbia, Iraq and Afghanistan. We feel our own pain so intently, but seem totally oblivious to the fact that what we’re doing to others — mostly not terrorists but innocents who happen to live there — is experienced by the victims with just as much pain and suffering. Of course now in Iraq the result of our use of violence has led to a civil war which, if it follows similar kinds of ethnic violence, may last generations.

And are we safer? If we are, it’s because of legitimate counter-terrorism and homeland security, not launching wars or fantasizing about some kind of ’civilizational threat.’ Global warming and potential oil shortages are far greater threats than Iran or al qaeda could ever be. A desire for invulnerability is a fools persuit, it can’t happen.

The terrorists can goad us into acts which weaken and harm ourselves — and that’s what they’ve done, thanks to the mixture of militarism and fear which defined post-9-11 American foreign policy. I think, though, Bush is finally realizing his error and making policy corrections. I hope so. But so much damage has been done, I doubt we can ever come away with a true success here.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"What, the Aleutian Islands get no love here ;)"

From what I’ve read and heard about them, we should have let the Japanese keep them, at least for the duration.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Exactly what is the threat. Be specific. What is the enemy’s strength, capacity, and ability to achieve victory? Who exactly is the enemy? Again, be specific.
Why the artificial need to be specific? On this particular issue, the threat may be difficult to define precisely, but it’s not difficult to see that it can get much more dangerous than four planes and three buildings. Since four planes and three buildings caused incredible damage to our economy, it doesn’t take much imagination to see how much worse a, say, radiological or biological weapon could be, much less a nuclear device. You think the Iraq War is expensive? Try a truck with a nuclear device detonated in the middle of Manhattan, or Los Angeles, or Washington, DC.

It’s not a simple calculation of force strength. All it takes is one guy with a capability we weren’t fully aware of, and we could be talking about cataclysmic damage to American power. And that’s not a "fantasy." The technology exists, the intent exists, the funding is there, and we know our borders and ports are not secure.
Of course now in Iraq the result of our use of violence has led to a civil war which, if it follows similar kinds of ethnic violence, may last generations.
There was already a war going on in Iraq. It was between the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people, and the people had been losing for decades.

But just say it: you prefer an ethnic-cleansing, oppressive dictatorship to chaos in two cities.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Exactly what is the threat.
*SIGH* If you even have to ask....the rest of what you write is just moral equilivilance in your usual overblown style.

Global warming and potential oil shortages are far greater threats than Iran or al qaeda could ever be
Global warming? I’m sorry Scott, this sentance disqualifies you from ever being taken seriously again.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Global warming and potential oil shortages are far greater threats than Iran or al qaeda could ever be.
What the HELL????? Did you say this with straight face?

Credibility meter is reading negative numbers.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Joe-

Sadly, it appears as though you’re a promoter of government institutions, and the creation of junkies, to which I say...
Yeah that’s me, so Mitch you don’t drive on the INTERSTATE HIGHWAYS, right? (Spondsored by Ike)
All your products are grown locally, nothing you use comes from THE RAIL SYSTEM? (Sponsored by the US Congress)
But D@mn, that machine you’re using and the system of communication it’s hooked to, GOVERNMENT SPONSORED (The result of the need for large amounts of computional power for both thermo-nuclear weapons modeling and the Space Program)
Dude be pure; start your own garden and get off the ’Net, because YOU ARE A JUNKIE OF GOVERNMENT SERVICES!
Dude, it’s laughable what you just wrote...or are these ACCEPTABLE Government services? Get back to me on which government you like and how you distinguish Good Government from Bad government....

And whilst you’re at it, next time you pass by a road crew from DoT, you might think, "Do I want patronage hacks building, maintaining, and desiging my bridges and overpasses."

Libertarianism is a Millenial/Utopian Movement. Libertarians tend to be the Anti-Marxists, just as theoretical and convinced they represent the future, but just as limited by their Materialistic view. Me I’m just a Conservative who thinks that many libertarian ideas work better than their Progressive/Conservative alternatives, but who realizes that the Utopia of Rothbard or Rockwell isn’t going to happen and SHOULDN’T happen. That tomorrow there will be a Republican or a Democrat in power and that government is not likely to be much less than 15-25% of GNP. And I know that if the Libertarian Party ever gets 25-30% of the vote, they’ll back off their love of Proportional Representation, realizing that they COULD BE IN CHARGE and they have too important a vision to have it watered down by small "fringe" parties.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Global warming? I’m sorry Scott, this sentance disqualifies you from ever being taken seriously again.
Anyone who doubts global warming is, quite frankly, in extreme denial of reality. It is like denying evolution. I know numerous scientists and they universally get angered by the reality-deniers who put politics first on such an important issue. In fact, "sustainability" has become a campus theme here, pushed by the natural scientists who recognize that the political effort to pretend there is no global warming nis one of the most vile and dangerous bits of propaganda out there, and must be stopped. The universities are a place to try to innoculate people from baseless and dishonest political propaganda.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Why the artificial need to be specific? On this particular issue, the threat may be difficult to define precisely, but it’s not difficult to see that it can get much more dangerous than four planes and three buildings. Since four planes and three buildings caused incredible damage to our economy, it doesn’t take much imagination to see how much worse a, say, radiological or biological weapon could be, much less a nuclear device. You think the Iraq War is expensive? Try a truck with a nuclear device detonated in the middle of Manhattan, or Los Angeles, or Washington, DC.
OK, I’ll meet you halfway. There is a threat that a small band of terrorists could do significant harm to our economy if they were to use a WMD terrorist weapon in a major US city. Moreover, they are attempting to get that capacity, and only need to get lucky with a mootly band of fanatics to pull it off. Thus the risk is high, and the danger to the economy is real.

That is specific enough for me. To be sure, don’t underestimate the resiliency of the American economy — I think we could recover relatively quickly from even a major WMD attack, the economy is huge. It would be a short term shock that would be intense, so the danger is real.

So now how do we counter that? One plan: spread democracy throughout the Mideast to undercut support for terrorists. That isn’t working, and isn’t likely to. Another plan: overthrow any regime we can imagine potentially arming terrorists. My critique: that’s an unrealistic and even slightly paranoid policy. Most states aren’t going to simply arm terrorists against us, even Iran would jealously guard its nuclear arsenal as a protection against Israeli and American strikes (the fear they’d attack Israel is misplaced — they know Israel could eliminate that regime in an instant). Also, as Iraq shows, it’s very costly to overthrow even the easiest regime to dispose of, both in real terms, lives, and American influence and power (we are less feared and less respected today than in 2002). To expand that to Syria and Iran would be dangerous, and would likely feed terrorism and extremism.

So treating this as a military war against major states involving an analogy to WWII, etc., or a threat to civilization by Islamic fundamentalists is incorrect. I don’t see evidence to support that view. Instead we need effective and real counter-terrorism, that focuses on terror groups, uses diplomacy and threat to decrease state support for such groups, and emphasize not doing things that will enhance the appeal of fundamentalist groups.
It’s not a simple calculation of force strength. All it takes is one guy with a capability we weren’t fully aware of, and we could be talking about cataclysmic damage to American power. And that’s not a "fantasy." The technology exists, the intent exists, the funding is there, and we know our borders and ports are not secure.
I don’t think it would be cataclysmic, but I also don’t think fighting major wars in the Mideast will do anything but increase the scope of that threat, especially since we see in Iraq how difficult such wars are (and how they divide us politically at home). Real counter terrorism is mostly off screen and can involve working with some motely characters. I think we’re doing this to some extent (and I think the Bush Administration gets credit for some good counter-terrorism in the policies we don’t see daily), but need to really focus on that — as well as the positive aspects of engaging others in the region to undercut the threat of terror orgs. Iran almost went to war with the Taliban, after all — we have mutual dislike of Sunni fundamentalism.
There was already a war going on in Iraq. It was between the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people, and the people had been losing for decades.

But just say it: you prefer an ethnic-cleansing, oppressive dictatorship to chaos in two cities.
By that logic we could go to war with numerous oppressive regimes. Yet in this case Saddam was a defanged tiger by 2003, not even in control of his own country, with his repression limited. He would die, his sons might not be able to succeed, and over time Iraq would develop. As it is we went in and created something even harder to solve than an oppressive regime. We can’t make the world operate according to our moral principles. Attempting to do so by force is counter productive. It’s one thing when bad stuff happens, it’s worse when it happens because of things we do — however well intentioned it might be.

Now, if peak oil theory is correct, the policy calculus becomes quite different, but I’ll not go there now.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Anyone who doubts global warming is, quite frankly, in extreme denial of reality. It is like denying evolution.

The question IS is it caused by man, or is it simply not a part of the NATURAL cooling and heating cycles of the Earth. And will Kyoto do anything other than cripple developed economies?
I know numerous scientists and they universally get angered by the reality-deniers who put politics first on such an important issue. In fact, "sustainability" has become a campus theme here, pushed by the natural scientists
No Scott, you mean pushed by Greens and Reds in spite of any evidence that their efforts are doing a thing for "sustainbility."
who recognize that the political effort to pretend there is no global warming nis one of the most vile and dangerous bits of propaganda out there, and must be stopped.


The most VILE propaganda is put out by those who are convinced that their secular religion of sustainability is the only one true way.
The universities are a place to try to innoculate people from baseless and dishonest political propaganda.
You mean indoctrinate the students into the religion of Climate Change and it’s related religion of sustainability and Green politics.

There fixed some of your typo’s Dr. Erb.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://

The question IS is it caused by man, or is it simply not a part of the NATURAL cooling and heating cycles of the Earth. And will Kyoto do anything other than cripple developed economies?
Bottom line: I listen to the scientists. I talk with them about the evidence. Both Republicans and Democrats are represented. They are adament that there is no way the massive amounts of CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere is not doing havoc, and they point to numerous models, evidence, and often their own research.

Most people’s position on global warming can be predicted by their politics — it is absolutely clear that the those who deny that humans are a cause of climate change are driven by politics, not science. It is a discourse where a few studies and doubts (which were more common before 2000 — in the time since then evidence has grown tremendously against the deniers) are used politically. The key: do people base their beliefs open minded on what scientists are saying, or do they develop a kind of conspiracy theory mentality and focus on those few studies that doubt the existing consensus to argue for doing nothing?

Now, what to do about it — or if anything can be done about it — is another matter. But those who deny humans have considerable responsibility for what’s happening with green house gas emissions deserve as much respect as those who deny evolution for their ideological purpose. Science should guide politics, politics should not guide science.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
They are adament that there is no way the massive amounts of CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere is not doing havoc, and they point to numerous models, evidence, and often their own research.
You mean the models that can not take their end state and back track to current conditions? You refer to a Science that can not preidct next month’s weather, but CAN predict next century’s?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"Global warming? I’m sorry Scott, this sentance disqualifies you from ever being taken seriously again."

Shark, it grieves me to say it, but you are a slow learner.

"Credibility meter is reading negative numbers."

*sigh* You too, meagain.

***************************

"The universities are a place to try to innoculate people from baseless and dishonest political propaganda."

They have obviously failed.


" There is a threat that a small band of terrorists could do significant harm to our economy"
"the danger to the economy is real."
"the resiliency of the American economy — I think we could recover relatively quickly from even a major WMD attack, the economy is huge."

It is so typical of those who have chosen the isolation of the ivory tower of academia to consider only the abstract, impersonal aspects of a situation. Those of us who have real world experience of these things know that although the effects on the economy may be large, the truly important things are the pain and suffering of the victims of a terrorist attack. You cannot put a dollar value on human life. Think of the children.

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"it is absolutely clear that the those who deny that humans are a cause of climate change are driven by politics, not science"

It may be clear to those whose every thought is driven by politics, and who cannot conceive that others may actually have a thought that is not idealogically motivated. To less biased, more open minded people, things are not always that clear. If everything in life is that clear to you, and it seems to be, you may need some professional attention.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
It is so typical of those who have chosen the isolation of the ivory tower of academia to consider only the abstract, impersonal aspects of a situation. Those of us who have real world experience of these things know that although the effects on the economy may be large, the truly important things are the pain and suffering of the victims of a terrorist attack. You cannot put a dollar value on human life. Think of the children.
Argumentum ad hominem: and a dishonest one at that. The fact is I am pointing out that the militarists have been the ones ignoring the cost of our policies in real lives, feeling our pain intently and being oblivious to the pain of innocents killed by our weapons, or by violence we unleash. We’ve killed a lot more innocents than the terrorists on 9-11 did with our wars in Serbia, Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet we seem to ignore the fact that the suffering of those victims and their families is the same as the suffering of the victims of the terror attacks. You seem to want to put a dollar value on American life, but ignore the lives lost by those who are killed by our weapons. Perhaps you are the one isolated.

I have two young sons, and you can bet that the reality of parenthood far outweighs any alleged "isolation" one has because of having a particular profession (and as for real world experience, working through college 30 hours a week, 60 in summer between a number of jobs, working in DC for a Senator including trips to Greece and Turkey, being night manager of a restaurant, and teaching all are very real world). The fact is that the threat, while real, warrants sober and realistic assessment and response, not an emotional gut reaction that ignores the cost of our response in real, human terms.

Think about it.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
You mean the models that can not take their end state and back track to current conditions? You refer to a Science that can not preidct next month’s weather, but CAN predict next century’s?
Yes, it’s much easier to model general trends than specific fluctuations.

But your mind is made up, you will not listen to the science. You’ll search for anything that might support your position, and focus on that, rather than honestly trying to understand and pay attention to one of the strongest scientific consensuses in history. You’ll say science might be wrong in order to avoid recognizing they are usually on the right track.

I was a global warming skeptic until about 1995 or 96, and wasn’t truly convinced until even later. Follow the science, not the politics.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Global warming? I’m sorry Scott, this sentance disqualifies you from ever being taken seriously again.
Anyone who doubts global warming is, quite frankly, in extreme denial of reality. It is like denying evolution. I know numerous scientists and they universally get angered by the reality-deniers who put politics first on such an important issue. In fact, "sustainability" has become a campus theme here, pushed by the natural scientists who recognize that the political effort to pretend there is no global warming nis one of the most vile and dangerous bits of propaganda out there, and must be stopped. The universities are a place to try to innoculate people from baseless and dishonest political propaganda.
Try reading for comprehension Scott, especially before launching into one of your long winded columns. You’re trying to rebut a statement I didn’t make. You stated:
Global warming and potential oil shortages are far greater threats than Iran or al qaeda could ever be
I stated that you lose all credibility because of that statement.

Now excuse me if I’m wrong, on one hand you have the threat of a nuke armed Iran, on the other hand you have the threat of the wrath of Gaia. I think I know which one is the more pressing and serious threat.

I’m not going to get into a thing about your religion of global warming, but you’ll understand if I’m not so hot to believe all those scientists that were running around yelling about the impendinhg ice age a few decades ago. A couple decades before that they were running around yelling about overpopulation being the end of the earth. A few decades from now, the same chicken little types will be running around yelling about killer Okapis or some such nonsense. That scientific standard may be good enough for you intellectual types, but I require more proof than "Al Gore sez so" before I join a new cult
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Now excuse me if I’m wrong, on one hand you have the threat of a nuke armed Iran, on the other hand you have the threat of the wrath of Gaia. I think I know which one is the more pressing and serious threat.
Iran is not a threat to the US. Even if it gets a nuke in a few years, it will have very few, and certainly not give them to a nemesis like al qaeda. Israel has hundreds and the US thousands. Deterrence works. Iran is and will be a regional power with some clout, but no real threat to the US.

Global warming and oil shortages (esp. if peak oil theory is accurate) fundamentally threaten western economic structures. Iran can’t. Terrorists can only inflict short term pain through a lucky strike. We’re not in WWIV.

As for your dismissal of science because it contradicts your politics...well, I suspect you’ll be as wrong on that as you were on Iraq. Reality bites.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"Argumentum ad hominem: and a dishonest one at that."

It was a parody of you, moron. I admit I don’t do it as well, but then I don’t get as much practice as you.

"and as for real world experience,..."

I believe my words were "these things", not "real world". do tell how your experience as a night manager, etc. gave you experience in the effects of violence and the pain and suffering of innocents. Was there a lot of food poisoning at your establishment?


"one of the strongest scientific consensuses in history."

Right up there with phlogiston and the flat earth.



" In fact, "sustainability" has become a campus theme here"

Having spent a fair amount of time on several college campuses, I don’t think that is much of a recommendation.

"fundamentally threaten western economic structures. Iran can’t."

*sigh* Once again your materialistic preoccupation with property points out your almost inhuman and callous disregard of the human tragedy and suffering involved.

*********************I

Speaking of Global Warming, what does the scientific consensus say is the correct temperature of the earth? Who gets to be Goldilocks? Anybody?



 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"Argumentum ad hominem: and a dishonest one at that."

It was a parody of you, moron. I admit I don’t do it as well, but then I don’t get as much practice as you.
I try very hard to avoid calling names or using ad hominems. When I trip up and get called on it, I apologize.
"one of the strongest scientific consensuses in history."

Right up there with phlogiston and the flat earth.
Another fallacy (though flat earth wasn’t ever a scientific consensus) is to argue that because science has been wrong at times, it can’t be trusted in given cases now. Overall, the track record of science is pretty good, especially when there is so much evidence, modeling and consensus. Sure, they could be wrong, but I’ll trust science over a politically motivated opinion either way (that’s one reason I was a skeptic of global warming until about the mid-nineties as the scientific consensus grew).

You also ignore my point that it is precisely because I’m concerned with the human side that I criticize militarist responses to 9-11, and especially in Iraq. I care just as much for a civilian killed in Iraq as one killed here on 9-11; I think sometimes people ignore the true value of human life in favor of a them vs. us calculus. I daresay all of us have enough experience to feel for the innocents if we let ourselves empathize and think through what happened. I don’t think it accurate that you can claim that somehow because my profession is teaching you have a privileged capacity to understand suffering.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
do tell how your experience as a night manager, etc. gave you experience in the effects of violence and the pain and suffering of innocents.
Actually, I’d guess that being a college professor would give him quite a lot of experience in the pain and suffering of innocents.
Speaking of Global Warming, what does the scientific consensus say is the correct temperature of the earth? Who gets to be Goldilocks? Anybody?
Humans do. Among those who need a specific range for survival and comfort, we’re the only one’s who can change it.

Separately...

The discussion is a bit pointless. Once you talk about "potential" danger, you’ve opened up a bottomless box of possibilities. If we’re talking about "potential" danger, then I’d rank a super-virus, meteorite collision or uncontrolled, adaptive nanotechnology as a greater potential danger. Any of those could wipe us all out, which is more than a nuclear Iran or climate change could likely do. We are not limited to addressing one danger at a time, though, and we should address each possibility in relation to its danger and it’s probability.

In any event, the threat of a nuclear Iran is almost certainly not that it will precipitate a nuclear war. It is that, with a nuclear umbrella, Iran will be able to conduct a much more aggressive foreign policy without fear of retaliation. Nuclear threats are deterrable, but, with nuclear weapons, threats short of nuclear war become less deterrable.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
As for your dismissal of science because it contradicts your politics...well, I suspect you’ll be as wrong on that as you were on Iraq. Reality bites
How do you read what I wrote and come away with that? Next time read for comprehansion. I suspect you really don’t bother to read what anyone says before you type. Explain to me why the global warming "crisis" is anymore valid than the global cooling crisis or the overpopulating crisis that sooooooooooo many scientists were yelling about way back when.
Iran is not a threat to the US.
Based on what? All that flowery rhetoric about wanting to destroy us?
Even if it gets a nuke in a few years, it will have very few,

All it takes is ONE to ruin your whole day Scott. Or maybe not you, but your two sons.
and certainly not give them to a nemesis like al qaeda.

And you know this because..........? Ok, maybe they won’t give them to AQ, but I’m sure they wouldn’t mind transferring them to Hezbollah, their proxy client. OOOPS, you forgot about them didn’t ya?
Israel has hundreds and the US thousands.
Meaning what?
Deterrence works.

Until it doesn’t. So if an Iranian originated nuke goes off in Chicago for example, can we expect to see you with a "my bad"?
Iran is and will be a regional power with some clout, but no real threat to the US
Yeah, right.

But the wrath of Gaia, we’re in danger!!!!
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
"When I trip up and get called on it, I apologize."

Apologies, even if sincere, are meaningless blather when the offense is repetitive.

"it is precisely because I’m concerned with the human side that I criticize militarist responses to 9-11,"

Your concern is irrelevant. Lord knows we have heard how concerned you are. You evidently feel more of other people’s pain than Bill Clinton.(A timesaving hint; make a template and cut and paste a paragraph or so of your lip biting). What is offensive is your castigation of others who do not ceaselessly express their concern. I will make a deal with you. We will all(I think I can get an Amen here) sign a statement testifying to your compassion and concern if you will just shut up about it. We may even be able to impose on the management here to put a header on each comments section(it would take up less room than "Shopzilla") saying something about "Erbe the compassionate and merciful" or something appropriately deferential to your superior moral awareness.

**********************************

"Actually, I’d guess..."

Most excellent. I enviously bow my head.



"Humans do."

I am human. I would like it about 10 degrees cooler, since I do not like to sweat. I have a friend, also human, who moved to Fla. and still thinks it is too cold. Which of us gets to choose the correct temperature and dictate policy? Of course neither of us are scientists.

*******************************

"All it takes is ONE to ruin your whole day Scott."

Yeah, but it will only temporarily damage our resilient economy, and anyway, being barbarians, they will most likely overlook really important places like Maine.

"But the wrath of Gaia, we’re in danger!!!!"

You may jest, but it’s not nice to fool with mother nature.

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I try very hard to avoid calling names or using ad hominems. When I trip up and get called on it, I apologize.
I can back up Mr. Erb on this one.
Why the artificial need to be specific? On this particular issue, the threat may be difficult to define precisely, but it’s not difficult to see that it can get much more dangerous than four planes and three buildings. Since four planes and three buildings caused incredible damage to our economy, it doesn’t take much imagination to see how much worse a, say, radiological or biological weapon could be, much less a nuclear device. You think the Iraq War is expensive? Try a truck with a nuclear device detonated in the middle of Manhattan, or Los Angeles, or Washington, DC.
OK, I’ll meet you halfway. There is a threat that a small band of terrorists could do significant harm to our economy if they were to use a WMD terrorist weapon in a major US city. Moreover, they are attempting to get that capacity, and only need to get lucky with a [motley] band of fanatics to pull it off. Thus the risk is high, and the danger to the economy is real.

That is specific enough for me. To be sure, don’t underestimate the resiliency of the American economy — I think we could recover relatively quickly from even a major WMD attack, the economy is huge. It would be a short term shock that would be intense, so the danger is real.
Well, we’ll have to disagree on that one. To say nothing of the potential direct costs of millions of lives and trillions of dollars’ worth of property, the shock to the American economy and to the view of American deterrence capabilities, in my view, would be catastrophic—not necessarily civilization-ending, if we’re only talking one big bomb, but quite bad enough that the costs are much much higher than the costs of quite a bit more chaos in the Middle East.
So now how do we counter that? One plan: spread democracy throughout the Mideast to undercut support for terrorists. That isn’t working, and isn’t likely to.
Well, there’s been some reform, and tens of millions of people voting a few times after decades of totalitarian rule isn’t anything to sneeze at.
Another plan: overthrow any regime we can imagine potentially arming terrorists. My critique: that’s an unrealistic and even slightly paranoid policy. Most states aren’t going to simply arm terrorists against us, even Iran would jealously guard its nuclear arsenal as a protection against Israeli and American strikes (the fear they’d attack Israel is misplaced — they know Israel could eliminate that regime in an instant).
I doubt any regime would be stupid enough to get caught arming terrorists with nukes—any nuke originating from their reactors could be identified pretty quickly, and who’d trust anyone you can’t control with a weapon that powerful?
But, as Jon pointed out, that’s not the real danger of Iranian nukes, per se.
I’m more worried about groups obtaining weapons clandestinely, as far as bombs going off this side of Tel Aviv.

And those terrorists get all kinds of support from all kinds of sources; maybe they get a free trip through Iran today, with semi-private Saudi funds and some labyrinthine hawala money transfer paying their way, and they get their explosives from a Syrian smuggler who operates with the tacit acceptance of officials in the Assad regime. Maybe they’re trained in a camp in Pakistan’s border regions, where Musharraf’s government is brokering deals that essentially establish a Talibanistan just south of the Afghan border. When their bomb goes off somewhere between Bali and London, what return address does the US plug into its missiles?

And how is our diplomacy going to make sure this doesn’t happen? What kind of counter-terrorism are we going to use if we can’t operate in Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia?

Maybe these regimes need to feel the American military breathing down their neck. We’re inside or next door to every country I just named, and I think that allows us to put more pressure on them than we could before we invaded Iraq.
Also, as Iraq shows, it’s very costly to overthrow even the easiest regime to dispose of, both in real terms, lives, and American influence and power (we are less feared and less respected today than in 2002). To expand that to Syria and Iran would be dangerous, and would likely feed terrorism and extremism.
I really wonder how much more we can "feed" terrorism and extremism at this point. Practically everything we do "feeds" terror/radicalism/extremism, or so we’re told. If we attack, we’re just feeding the fire by "crusading" in their territory; if we retreat, we’re a paper tiger; if we try to appease them, we’re seen as weak; if we hit back when struck, we’re reactionaries; we base troops anywhere in the area, and we’re defiling their sacred land. Hell, we trade with ’em and they claim we’re cultural imperialists, and they start threatening everyone in their own country who owns a satellite dish or runs a blog.

Maybe saying we’re sick of it and hanging a Damoclean sword over every head of every tyrant in the region wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Maybe that "fear and respect" might return pretty quick, or at least the "fear" part. Given their history, maybe a little fear would lead to a little respect. (Echoes of Nixon’s Madman Theory, but in different circumstances and with a slightly more dangerous-sounding PotUS.)
So treating this as a military war against major states involving an analogy to WWII, etc., or a threat to civilization by Islamic fundamentalists is incorrect. I don’t see evidence to support that view. Instead we need effective and real counter-terrorism, that focuses on terror groups, uses diplomacy and threat to decrease state support for such groups, and emphasize not doing things that will enhance the appeal of fundamentalist groups.
A few problems there:
1. You really don’t see how this could develop into a threat to our civilization?
2. You don’t see major states, e.g., Iran, as a big part of the problem?
3. How do you do "effective and real counter-terrorism" on territory you don’t control, when the state is cutting deals with the terrorists (see Pakistan)?
4. Regarding diplomacy, what combination of carrots and sticks hasn’t been tried against Iran, short of war, to get them to change their behavior? Why haven’t the diplomatic efforts of the US or Europe made any lasting headway in all that time?
5. Again, what actions do we take that don’t "enhance the appeal of fundamentalist groups" according to some Islam expert or another? We interfere in their affairs, they decry us; we back off, they see vulnerability (which they absolutely love, see Europe) and try to exploit it.
It’s not a simple calculation of force strength. All it takes is one guy with a capability we weren’t fully aware of, and we could be talking about cataclysmic damage to American power. And that’s not a "fantasy." The technology exists, the intent exists, the funding is there, and we know our borders and ports are not secure.
I don’t think it would be cataclysmic, but I also don’t think fighting major wars in the Mideast will do anything but increase the scope of that threat, especially since we see in Iraq how difficult such wars are (and how they divide us politically at home). Real counter terrorism is mostly off screen and can involve working with some motely characters. I think we’re doing this to some extent (and I think the Bush Administration gets credit for some good counter-terrorism in the policies we don’t see daily), but need to really focus on that — as well as the positive aspects of engaging others in the region to undercut the threat of terror orgs. Iran almost went to war with the Taliban, after all — we have mutual dislike of Sunni fundamentalism.
I think fighting losing wars is what really divides us at home. The American people, when they’re fed up, will rally behind the flag; when the leadership fails them, doesn’t fight to win, and gets mealy-mouthed with the public, support wanes.

Props to you, by the way, for recognizing some of the efforts of the Bush administration; most of their successes are the kind you never hear about.

As for Iran almost going to war with the Taliban and disliking Sunni fundamentalism (well, Sunnis in general), well, that’s part of the problem these days, isn’t it?
There was already a war going on in Iraq. It was between the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people, and the people had been losing for decades.

But just say it: you prefer an ethnic-cleansing, oppressive dictatorship to chaos in two cities.
By that logic we could go to war with numerous oppressive regimes. Yet in this case Saddam was a defanged tiger by 2003, not even in control of his own country, with his repression limited. He would die, his sons might not be able to succeed, and over time Iraq would develop. As it is we went in and created something even harder to solve than an oppressive regime. We can’t make the world operate according to our moral principles. Attempting to do so by force is counter productive.
I over-reached with my last comment there.

But if people are going to criticize the Bush administration for the humanitarian problems in Iraq, they have some questions to answer about why they weren’t equally passionate about stopping Saddam from doing what he did.
Saddam was not totally defanged; he was still disappearing political dissidents and potential threats with the best of ’em, and while he may not have *controlled* all his own territory, that’s misleading; he still operated all over the place and was putting people in the ground.

As for his sons maybe not being able to succeed him, I’ve heard that before. Now Kim Il-jung is in charge in North Korea. Anyone taking any bets that Communism will collapse in Cuba? I might go out on a limb and start mentioning a few other regimes that I think will be around a while.
It’s one thing when bad stuff happens, it’s worse when it happens because of things we do — however well intentioned it might be.
How about the bad stuff that happens because of things we don’t do? Let’s not linger too long on the blame here, what matters more at this point is what happens, period. We’ll probably be blamed for it anyway.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Well, it has been a while, so I will ask again. What is the Libertarian position on whether WWII was worth fighting if it meant having a draft? Is there no conceivable circumstance under which a draft is justified? I would think, for example, that a Nazi or Japanese victory would have been more antithetical to liberty than a draft.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I’m categorically opposed to a draft anytime, anywhere. If a Nazi or Japanese victory is that bad (and that likely), people will sign up. If they don’t, it might be worth considering that the probability of their victory is not, in fact, that high or that the threat is not that direct. If the threat is that great and we really do need more volunteers, we can just keep hiking the compensation until we get enough volunteers. There is a sufficient army available at some price.

I think a good case could be made that our entry into WWI and WWII (when we did) actually made the post-war situation worse than it might otherwise have been. I’m not really sure I’d make that case, but I think a good one can be made. Throwing off the balances of power can, and has, lead to very bad states of affairs.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
That is specific enough for me. To be sure, don’t underestimate the resiliency of the American economy — I think we could recover relatively quickly from even a major WMD attack, the economy is huge. It would be a short term shock that would be intense, so the danger is real.
Well, we’ll have to disagree on that one. To say nothing of the potential direct costs of millions of lives and trillions of dollars’ worth of property, the shock to the American economy and to the view of American deterrence capabilities, in my view, would be catastrophic—not necessarily civilization-ending, if we’re only talking one big bomb, but quite bad enough that the costs are much much higher than the costs of quite a bit more chaos in the Middle East.
I hope you’re wrong because, frankly, I see this as a question not of if, but when. The prepetrator may not even be an Islamic fundamentalist, but perhaps from a movement out of Africa born from the endemic violence and poverty there. I would be really surprised (but delighted) if we would get to the year 2050 without some kind of WMD terrorist attack.
So now how do we counter that? One plan: spread democracy throughout the Mideast to undercut support for terrorists. That isn’t working, and isn’t likely to.
Well, there’s been some reform, and tens of millions of people voting a few times after decades of totalitarian rule isn’t anything to sneeze at.
Actually Iran has made progress towards democracy, though depending on how fair the next elections are the victory of the hardliners for the first time since the revolution may yield anything from backsliding to an end of the democratic Iranian experiment. But just as we had slavery for our first 80 years and women couldn’t vote for 140, we need to be patient. Democracy is very difficult to build, and usually takes generations to lay the cultural foundations of compromise and peaceful transitions of power. I’m not saying we should expect nothing, but we need to be patient.
Another plan: overthrow any regime we can imagine potentially arming terrorists. My critique: that’s an unrealistic and even slightly paranoid policy. Most states aren’t going to simply arm terrorists against us, even Iran would jealously guard its nuclear arsenal as a protection against Israeli and American strikes (the fear they’d attack Israel is misplaced — they know Israel could eliminate that regime in an instant).
I doubt any regime would be stupid enough to get caught arming terrorists with nukes—any nuke originating from their reactors could be identified pretty quickly, and who’d trust anyone you can’t control with a weapon that powerful?
But, as Jon pointed out, that’s not the real danger of Iranian nukes, per se.
I’m more worried about groups obtaining weapons clandestinely, as far as bombs going off this side of Tel Aviv
.

Yes I agree, that is a true danger. But I wonder if any feasible Iranian regime would truly retreat from nuclear research and development given the regional balance of power (Israel and Palestine with nukes, and animosity between Iran and each of those). At a fundamental level your comment raises another important issue: the role of non-state actors in modern world politics. Our policies focus on states, that’s the way the world has worked at least since the 1700s. But with terror organizations involved and clandestine efforts involving or not involving states, I think we have to be careful our policy is not too state-centric.
And those terrorists get all kinds of support from all kinds of sources; maybe they get a free trip through Iran today, with semi-private Saudi funds and some labyrinthine hawala money transfer paying their way, and they get their explosives from a Syrian smuggler who operates with the tacit acceptance of officials in the Assad regime. Maybe they’re trained in a camp in Pakistan’s border regions, where Musharraf’s government is brokering deals that essentially establish a Talibanistan just south of the Afghan border. When their bomb goes off somewhere between Bali and London, what return address does the US plug into its missiles?

And how is our diplomacy going to make sure this doesn’t happen? What kind of counter-terrorism are we going to use if we can’t operate in Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia?

Maybe these regimes need to feel the American military breathing down their neck. We’re inside or next door to every country I just named, and I think that allows us to put more pressure on them than we could before we invaded Iraq.
I agree to a point. But I think they feared us more before we invaded Iraq due to both the way the conflict in Iraq has unfolded, and the divisions within America about the war — as well as the cost of the war to America. I think they figure we simply don’t have the capacity to invade.

Yet they do still fear us. They know we can do enough damage to their regimes to cripple or destroy them. At this point they think the cost to us would be too high, but they aren’t sure about how we calculate (and it could in fact be doing us good that articles are coming out saying Bush is determined to hit Iran before leaving office — even if not true, it creates pressure on the Iranian government).

I’d advocate a mix of true diplomacy (not just ultimatums and threats) with explicit and implied threats. The explicit threats should be lines in the sand — cross this and we’re done talking, and we will do whatever appropriate to respond. Implied threats should be vague, and leave them uncertain about the boundaries (areas we’re open to negotiation and horse trading as well).

Also, as Iraq shows, it’s very costly to overthrow even the easiest regime to dispose of, both in real terms, lives, and American influence and power (we are less feared and less respected today than in 2002). To expand that to Syria and Iran would be dangerous, and would likely feed terrorism and extremism.
I really wonder how much more we can "feed" terrorism and extremism at this point. Practically everything we do "feeds" terror/radicalism/extremism, or so we’re told. If we attack, we’re just feeding the fire by "crusading" in their territory; if we retreat, we’re a paper tiger; if we try to appease them, we’re seen as weak; if we hit back when struck, we’re reactionaries; we base troops anywhere in the area, and we’re defiling their sacred land. Hell, we trade with ’em and they claim we’re cultural imperialists, and they start threatening everyone in their own country who owns a satellite dish or runs a blog.
We shouldn’t appease terrorist organizations, of course. But here is where I think the state vs. non-state actor situation comes into play. Terrorists grow because of emotion and anger at the West or the US, as well as internal instability. That’s why extremists just try to ignite civil wars and I’m convinced they would love it if we were to expand the war and attack Syria and Iran. They aren’t bound to states, but are convinced that the more things fall apart, the better for them.

I think resentment to the West and the US is a mile wide and only a few inches deep. As soon as headlines stop arousing anger (not just Abu Ghraib and Haditha like incidents, but various allegations of atrocities or deaths of innocents and children), a lot of people who don’t really believe in Islamic extremist ways of life will find their anger for the West subsiding and their support for terror organizations weaker than ever. Concern about being seen as a "paper tiger" impacts deterrence between states. But extremist groups might be hurt by a US military dis-engagement, especially if engagement doesn’t truly threaten to defeat them. So use diplomacy, don’t throw away military options, but recognize that the hearts and minds of the people of the region are not with the extremists, even if they may be temporarily supporting or tolerating them due to anger at the US/West.
Maybe saying we’re sick of it and hanging a Damoclean sword over every head of every tyrant in the region wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Maybe that "fear and respect" might return pretty quick, or at least the "fear" part. Given their history, maybe a little fear would lead to a little respect. (Echoes of Nixon’s Madman Theory, but in different circumstances and with a slightly more dangerous-sounding PotUS.)
One thing worse than retreating is to try to expand and intensify the war and fail. So the key is not just to do something, but to do something we can be successful at, and which won’t inflame the publics of the region to a point that it becomes more dangerous for us. Perhaps my bias against military action leads me to too quickly discount the possibility that such action could be effective in this case. But given what’s going on in Iraq, I fear getting in deeper and failing would only make things much worse. But what would succeed? How certain can we be about success given the miscalculations on Iraq?
So treating this as a military war against major states involving an analogy to WWII, etc., or a threat to civilization by Islamic fundamentalists is incorrect. I don’t see evidence to support that view. Instead we need effective and real counter-terrorism, that focuses on terror groups, uses diplomacy and threat to decrease state support for such groups, and emphasize not doing things that will enhance the appeal of fundamentalist groups.

A few problems there:
1. You really don’t see how this could develop into a threat to our civilization?
2. You don’t see major states, e.g., Iran, as a big part of the problem?
3. How do you do "effective and real counter-terrorism" on territory you don’t control, when the state is cutting deals with the terrorists (see Pakistan)?
4. Regarding diplomacy, what combination of carrots and sticks hasn’t been tried against Iran, short of war, to get them to change their behavior? Why haven’t the diplomatic efforts of the US or Europe made any lasting headway in all that time?
5. Again, what actions do we take that don’t "enhance the appeal of fundamentalist groups" according to some Islam expert or another? We interfere in their affairs, they decry us; we back off, they see vulnerability (which they absolutely love, see Europe) and try to exploit it.
To answer point by point:

1. Oh, I can imagine scenarios where the West goes down in flames (though I think a third world vs. first world conflict in the middle of the century would be the most likely cause for such a scenario). I just don’t think that religious extremists ultimately have the capacity to win out over hundreds of millions of people in the US and Europe who value reason and freedom.

2. They are now a part of the problem, but states have interests, and can be dealt with. I am one of those convinced that Nixon-Kissinger’s policies set up the peaceful end of the Cold War by assuring the Soviet Union would be a status quo state trying to maintain the system. Once you get Iran and Syria to that point, then I wouldn’t be surprised if their political systems underwent major transformations within twenty years. Iran had been making progress before the 2004 and 2005 elections.

3. Pakistan is a real problem. I don’t know what to do about that. We need the help Musharraf can give, but at what price? How often do we look the other way when the ISI helps Taliban remnants? How much pressure can we put on Musharraf without causing an unprising or a coup? What about Pakistan’s nukes? But tips from Pakistan have been important in stopping potential terrorist threats, and making important arrests. Iran would probably be a similar kind of uncertainty if we were to engage them — though ironically their insistence on adherence to Islam makes them a bit predictable, and can perhaps point to ways to influence policy. We simply have to try to improve relations with states in a real verifiable manner (we don’t give if we don’t get), and focus on undercutting non-state actors.

4. I don’t think we’ve tried much of anything with Iran diplomatically. I’m not talking about the efforts to get them to stop uranium enrichment, I’m talking about true talks over a variety of issues, linking uranium enrichment and other issues in a broader effort to develop an understanding. I think the Iranians want foremost to be treated with respect and are angry about perceived double standards. Maybe it won’t work, but you can’t know if you don’t try — and again, I’m not saying give something for nothing.

5. I don’t think backing off shows weakness or hurts us. I think that this is an odd type of war in that the more enemy we kill, the larger the enemy force! In some ways, we are their best recruiters (I’ve seen that from numerous sources, including people working against extremism inside countries like Saudi Arabia). In fact, the fear of showing weakness is itself one of the most dangerous forms of weakness as it shows lack of confidence — sort of like the egomaniac who is afraid to admit a mistake even when it’s obvious. If we "back off" in a way that includes diplomatic engagement and does not simply "cut and run" as the saying goes, we may find we gain far more than we lose.
It’s not a simple calculation of force strength. All it takes is one guy with a capability we weren’t fully aware of, and we could be talking about cataclysmic damage to American power. And that’s not a "fantasy." The technology exists, the intent exists, the funding is there, and we know our borders and ports are not secure.

I don’t think it would be cataclysmic, but I also don’t think fighting major wars in the Mideast will do anything but increase the scope of that threat, especially since we see in Iraq how difficult such wars are (and how they divide us politically at home). Real counter terrorism is mostly off screen and can involve working with some motely characters. I think we’re doing this to some extent (and I think the Bush Administration gets credit for some good counter-terrorism in the policies we don’t see daily), but need to really focus on that — as well as the positive aspects of engaging others in the region to undercut the threat of terror orgs. Iran almost went to war with the Taliban, after all — we have mutual dislike of Sunni fundamentalism.
I think fighting losing wars is what really divides us at home. The American people, when they’re fed up, will rally behind the flag; when the leadership fails them, doesn’t fight to win, and gets mealy-mouthed with the public, support wanes.
Nothing succeeds like success, but beyond that people have to be convinced there is a reason for our people to kill and die. In Iraq the rationale has shifted, and the administration has lost credibility due to comments like "the last throes." When the President says Iraq is the most pivotal point in a war to protect our civilization but we have less than a third of the forces we had in either Vietnam or Desert Storm it seems shrill rather than serious.
Props to you, by the way, for recognizing some of the efforts of the Bush administration; most of their successes are the kind you never hear about.
Sometimes I wish I could spend just a few hours getting briefed on what’s going on in those secret battles, that’s where this will be won or lost.
As for Iran almost going to war with the Taliban and disliking Sunni fundamentalism (well, Sunnis in general), well, that’s part of the problem these days, isn’t it?
King Abdullah of Jordan says civil wars could break out in numerous places in the Mideast. That does help extremists, but it really puts us in a difficult situation. That danger is why I think our foreign policy has been risky. Stability first, democracy later. I suspect that from your perspective that has an amoral tone, but I would argue that this is actually a moral position. There is a real danger that even well intentioned intervention against an oppressive power can lead to warped development and more problems down the line. I fear we’ve done that in the Mideast, and the region will be harder than ever to deal with. Stability first, but not stability as an ultimate goal.

There was already a war going on in Iraq. It was between the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people, and the people had been losing for decades.

But just say it: you prefer an ethnic-cleansing, oppressive dictatorship to chaos in two cities.
By that logic we could go to war with numerous oppressive regimes. Yet in this case Saddam was a defanged tiger by 2003, not even in control of his own country, with his repression limited. He would die, his sons might not be able to succeed, and over time Iraq would develop. As it is we went in and created something even harder to solve than an oppressive regime. We can’t make the world operate according to our moral principles. Attempting to do so by force is counter productive.
I over-reached with my last comment there.
East to do in these kinds of debates — I overreach far too often and get in trouble for it!
But if people are going to criticize the Bush administration for the humanitarian problems in Iraq, they have some questions to answer about why they weren’t equally passionate about stopping Saddam from doing what he did.
Agreed. But how to intervene? And when? And why the heck did we give him support in the eighties when we knew he was using chemical weapons?

I’m convinced that practically the only way effective intervention can work is if there is a truly international effort, and the focus is primarily humanitarian with shared costs. That seemed to work against Iraq in 1991, but then look at how the world community ignored Rwanda (BTW, an excellent book and documentary is Shake Hands With the Devil by Romeo Dallaire, the Canadian general heading the UN mission. He came back with post traumatic shock syndrome, almost killed himself with anti-depressants and alcohol, blaming himself for a failure that was the world’s. He tried. He fought to do what he could, and the US, France, and the rest of the major powers turned away completely.
Saddam was not totally defanged; he was still disappearing political dissidents and potential threats with the best of ’em, and while he may not have *controlled* all his own territory, that’s misleading; he still operated all over the place and was putting people in the ground.

As for his sons maybe not being able to succeed him, I’ve heard that before. Now Kim Il-jung is in charge in North Korea. Anyone taking any bets that Communism will collapse in Cuba? I might go out on a limb and start mentioning a few other regimes that I think will be around a while.
But how do we deal with these? That’s a serious question. North Korea and Cuba will ultimately change, they are relics, holding on because they are isolated, but I don’t think that can last. Saudi Arabia, many African states have intense violence and evil being done. We ignore those.
It’s one thing when bad stuff happens, it’s worse when it happens because of things we do — however well intentioned it might be.
How about the bad stuff that happens because of things we don’t do? Let’s not linger too long on the blame here, what matters more at this point is what happens, period. We’ll probably be blamed for it anyway.
I’m not so much worried about blame, but more of a moral issue — sort of on the order of "first, do no harm."

But you are right. One can’t just be morally outraged about US actions in Iraq and then ignore how we do nothing about Rwanda, Sudan, decades long violence in other parts of Africa, etc. Rwanda is a telling case study of that kind of failure. Surely Clinton deserves as much condemnation as any President for refusing to do anything there. So, I guess the bottom line is that there is a gap between the kind of realist approach I’d advocate for the Mideast, and the humanist concerns I also share on other issues. My best way to bridge this gap may be to recognize that cultures change usually slowly over time, and trying to push sudden change to what we think is best might be less effective than gradual development (again, look how long it took us to get rid of slavery and to give women the vote). But it’s a real dilemma.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
MCQ: "Coercion in the name of ’service’ is tantamount to slavery"
==
Slavery! That’s a disgusting thing to say. We’ve all obviously lived protected lives and can’t even conceive what words like ’lavery’ and ’indentured servitude’ really mean, but by Jove, we should try, before slinging them around like so much confetti.

I doubt that a mandatory civil service would work well, and if a voluntary army or civil service or anything else works best, then that’s what we should do.
But I have a real problem with the emotional reactions here. It seems that by ’liberty’ you mean only the liberty to take - to take whatever you need from the society built up over generations But should you be required, not volunteer, to give something back, it’s slavery!

It’s like going into a candy store and being outraged that you might be required to pay something for the goodies you take.

 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
It’s not at all like that, Laime. Slavery is involuntary servitude. That’s precisely what a Draft is. Don’t fight it...own it.

In any event, I’ve been "giving something back" for a long time now, in the form of services performed for money, voluntary social cooperation and the relationships I’ve formed with many people over the years. Perhaps you think "giving back" can only be involuntary or unpaid, but the central lesson of Adam Smith was that (invisible hand and all) self-interested laborers "give back" whether we intend to do so or not.

I don’t "owe" you involuntary servitude. You may be able to force it on me, but let’s not pretend there’s some sort of metaphysical "ought" involved here. You’re just trying to browbeat other people into doing your bidding.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
Scott, can you do me a favor and boil down your last comment into some brief bullet points? I make it a policy not to read any comments that are as long as novellas. Thanks.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
It seems that by ’liberty’ you mean only the liberty to take - to take whatever you need from the society built up over generations But should you be required, not volunteer, to give something back, it’s slavery!
Every taxpaying, law abiding, voting, informed and active citizen "gives back" to the country.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Jon Henke: "Slavery is involuntary servitude That’s precisely what a Draft is"
==
For heaven’s sake, get a grip!
You are insulting all those who have ever been slaves! Think of the little girls in Thailand, who really do know what slavery is.

You are, in effect, crying ’famine" because your menu might be limited to only six choices for desert.

Voluntary contributions are laudatory. But you volunteer when and how much you want, not when your country needs you. I have a different idea of patriotiesm than you. In my view, a patriot doesn’t go ballistic at the mere thought that something might be ’required’ of him for his country’s sake.

I am NOT advocating for the draft or for any other proposal out there. If ’voluntary’ works I’m elated. I am very sensitive to the idea of UNNECESSARY coersion. But I have no sympathy for a not-ever and under-no-circumstances view.

It’s the extreme nature of the reaction, that I really, really resent. Then I go ballistic.




 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
Your entire objection is "it could be worse". While that’s true, that’s not actually a criticism of my point. Nor is limited choice equivalent to forcible, involuntary servitude.

In any event, if the country "needs" soldiers, it can do what everybody else has to do. It can buy them.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
Scott, can you do me a favor and boil down your last comment into some brief bullet points? I make it a policy not to read any comments that are as long as novellas. Thanks.
I’ll try most of the time, but OrneryWP posted a long, thoughtful post which I thought deserved a full response. Next time something like that arises I’ll proofread and try to be more concise.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Appreciate it Scott!
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
:Your entire objection is "it could be worse"
==
NO!
My objection is that some things lie so far apart in real experience, that they don’t deserve to be called by the same name.
Suftering an inconvenience is not the same as being assaaulted.
—————————————————————————
"In any event, if the country "needs" soldiers, it can do what everybody else has to do. It can buy them"
——
I don’t know if by ’buying’ you are referring to our volunteer military forces, who get paid, or mercenaries. For me, these two involve separate issues,principles, and concerns.
I suspect you are relying on your market theory here. As MCQ constantly reminds me, this is a libertarian site, so I doubt we could find a common language to discuss buying soldiers. While I find the libertarian approach attractive in many ways, it’s absolutist aspect troubles me no end. I don’t see any ism as the cure-all for all that ails man, especially not in its extreme forms. Men will try to corrupt any system instituted, and in my view, a moral vision has to exist outside of the market place, as a reminder that we are attempting to be a society of some principles. The ’things will work out’ promise leaves me utterly unconvinced.
I’m sure you don’t see the phrase ’buying soldiers’ as moral relativism, but especially when ti comes to mercenaries, I do.

 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
" If a Nazi or Japanese victory is that bad (and that likely), people will sign up. If they don’t, it might be worth considering that the probability of their victory is not, in fact, that high or that the threat is not that direct. "

Is??? Did I miss something on the news? I was referring to WWII, and they didn’t sign up in sufficient numbers. I guess the price wasn’t right. Buying soldiers didn’t work in the Civil War either. It amuses me a little, when I read all the nice things that are written here about the patriotism and sacrifice of our boys and girls in uniform, and then read that money may be the real motivator.
How are you going to pay them? I thought that taxes were also anathema to Libertarians. And I don’t know about you, but if I were a mercenary, when the sh*t really gets deep, I am giving my notice. By mail. Some things just aren’t worth whatever you are able to pay, and my b*tt is one of them.

This topic has reminded me why I never have, and probably never will, vote for a Libertarian. In my opinion they are at best naive and impractical.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Bottom line: I listen to the scientists. I talk with them about the evidence. Both Republicans and Democrats are represented. They are adament that there is no way the massive amounts of CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere is not doing havoc, and they point to numerous models, evidence, and often their own research.
What scientists are you talking to? What is their specific line of research?

A lot of the "global warming" scientists are in fields that make them dubious experts on the basic science involved. They may be biologist who has a good idea of the effect a change will have on some plant, but that doesn’t make them experts on the relevent issues causing warming.

With respect to CO2, my understanding is that it hasn’t increased anywhere near as much as it should. The implication is that there is a significant CO2 sink. If you leave a CO2 sink out of your model, your model will give bogus results.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I just don’t think that religious extremists ultimately have the capacity to win out over hundreds of millions of people in the US and Europe who value reason and freedom.
I can’t envision them winning out, but they can land us in a world of hurt.

I think you underestimate the threat, take England for example:

1) A small group of English born muslims bombed London trains.

2) A poll of English muslims indicated that 40% supported the bombing.

3) The English police have some 1,600 young English muslims under surveillance.

You can argue that 1) above was a small minority, that 2) was likely inaccurate, and that 3) represents an overreaction, but put all of them together and it becomes foolish to accept a handwave argument that Islam isn’t a threat. Each of the three is troublesome. The combination should cause pause, and perhaps rethinking whatever you think you have learned from Juan Cole et al.

Further, Europe seems to have limited inclination to defend itself at this point.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
When the President says Iraq is the most pivotal point in a war to protect our civilization but we have less than a third of the forces we had in either Vietnam or Desert Storm it seems shrill rather than serious.
Iraq certainly had the potential of being pivital, if the thesis that the lack of democracy in the Middle East was the key problem was true.

That thesis may die out, and the remaining competing ideas are:

1) It’s the fault of US forign policy.

2) It’s the culture/religion of the region.

Frankly, I don’t think the "US policy" thesis holds water.

With respect to troop levels, they sufficed to take down Saddam. If the "democracy" thesis was sufficiently strong, then in the follow up to the invasion heavy troop levels would not have been required. At this point then, we have to conclude that the "democracy" thesis is either wrong, or at least only "weakly" true.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
With respect to troop levels, they sufficed to take down Saddam. If the "democracy" thesis was sufficiently strong, then in the follow up to the invasion heavy troop levels would not have been required. At this point then, we have to conclude that the "democracy" thesis is either wrong, or at least only "weakly" true.
Democracy is tough to build. Americans often think that if we get rid of dictators the people will want to build democracy and embrace markets. But democracy and free market economies rest on numerous cultural beliefs and practices which take time to build. That’s the real lesson here. We shouldn’t give up on promoting democracy, but we need patience — again, we had slavery for 80 years as we developed our democracy.

The political culture of the region is still closer to the Ottoman Empire than the West. That won’t change quickly.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

I think you underestimate the threat, take England for example:

1) A small group of English born muslims bombed London trains.

2) A poll of English muslims indicated that 40% supported the bombing.

3) The English police have some 1,600 young English muslims under surveillance.

You can argue that 1) above was a small minority, that 2) was likely inaccurate, and that 3) represents an overreaction, but put all of them together and it becomes foolish to accept a handwave argument that Islam isn’t a threat. Each of the three is troublesome. The combination should cause pause, and perhaps rethinking whatever you think you have learned from Juan Cole et al.

Further, Europe seems to have limited inclination to defend itself at this point.
Why do you say that? European Muslims tend to be more modern and secular than Muslims anywhere else, despite groups of extremists. European police forces have more capacity to watch and confront potential threats than do American police. I think Americans overstate the threat to Europe from their Muslim immigrants.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Why do you say that? European Muslims tend to be more modern and secular than Muslims anywhere else, despite groups of extremists.
That’s great, but it doesn’t square with the facts: the 40% of English muslims that support terror (according to polls); the large number of extremists Europe produces; etc.
European police forces have more capacity to watch and confront potential threats than do American police. I think Americans overstate the threat to Europe from their Muslim immigrants.
But Scott, Europe has a problem right now. High rape rates, riots in France, murder of film makers and politicians.

The IDF has trouble dealing with the local muslim problems, I suspect that Euro police will have serious problems regardless of Euro laws: it isn’t a problem of just a few terrorists.

Furthermore, Europe’s PC tendencies appear to make it impossible for them to deal with the problem. It is possible that, if the problem grows, the Euros will resort to form and resort to harsh methods to solve the problem.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
we had slavery for 80 years as we developed our democracy.
Slavery didn’t exist long in the Anglo-Saxon North. It existed 80 years in the Scotch-Irish South, until the Anglo-Saxon North imposed its morals on the South, with considerable difficulty. Previously those other Anglo-Saxons made a significant effort at ending the slave trade on the world’s oceans.

And, it was the Anglo-Saxon North that chiefly created our constitutional republic (the key Virginians involved were Anglo-Saxons, not Scotch-Irish).

The point is, seperate cultural traditions were responsible for our constitutional republic and slavery.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I was a global warming skeptic until about 1995 or 96, and wasn’t truly convinced until even later. Follow the science, not the politics.

Written By: Scott Erb



When did they resolve the difference between ground data and satelite data? I think that occured in the past few years. We now know global warming is true, the causes remain unknown.

A skeptic until ’95 or ’96? Doesn’t sound like following the science to me, unless ignoring data you don’t like is "science".
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
New Look at Satellite Data Supports Global Warming Trend (2003):

http://www.ucar.edu/communications/newsreleases/2003/wigley2.html

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
But Scott, Europe has a problem right now. High rape rates, riots in France, murder of film makers and politicians.

The IDF has trouble dealing with the local muslim problems, I suspect that Euro police will have serious problems regardless of Euro laws: it isn’t a problem of just a few terrorists.

Furthermore, Europe’s PC tendencies appear to make it impossible for them to deal with the problem. It is possible that, if the problem grows, the Euros will resort to form and resort to harsh methods to solve the problem.
Despite a few high profile cases, Europe is generally very safe. Get out of Paris and London, and it’s very, very safe. I don’t know what you mean by "PC tendencies." European police usually have more leeway with suspects than do Americans because of our focus on civil liberties. They can stop anyone in most European countries at any time and ask to see an ID card.

There are and will be problems (though I doubt they will be as serious as the racial problems American experienced during the civil rights movement), but Americans sometimes talk as if Islam was going to engulf Europe and European Muslims were going to rise in the streets to try to overtake the west. That’s not the case at all!
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The point is, seperate cultural traditions were responsible for our constitutional republic and slavery.
Cultural traditions meant it took 80 years to get rid of slavery.
Cultural traditions meant it took 140 years to allow women to vote.
Cultural traditions meant that it took nearly 190 years to overcome separate but equal treatment of blacks, and move towards full civil rights.

Democracy progresses along with culture. We cannot expect other cultures to have our style of democracy, or progress quickly to the kind of democracy we would like to see. These things take time. Germany had two failed attempts at democracy before economic success helped the third one take. France is on its fifth Republic, and Italy’s first attempt at democracy yielded fascism. Japan’s first move to democracy gave way to imperialism, and the post-war effort saw pre-war like relations between government-industry-finance last until nineties (and even now they still persist in many ways). Japan was basically a one party state until recently, based on that government-industry-finance linkage, much like before the war.

 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Despite a few high profile cases, Europe is generally very safe. Get out of Paris and London, and it’s very, very safe.
Europe’s crime rate has risen for the most part. England now has a higher overall crime rate than the US, or at least it did when I last looked. That represents a significant increase in a short time. While it can still be called "generally very safe", the trend is troubling. And it is places like London and Paris where the problem tends to be.
I don’t know what you mean by "PC tendencies." European police usually have more leeway with suspects than do Americans because of our focus on civil liberties.
"PC tendencies" means multiculturalism and an inability to face up to the nature of the problem (reports of violent "youths" that manage to miss the point that they were all muslim, for example).

I understood your point with respect to the police. My point is that IDF has leeway as well, and still has problems. I think you underestimate the threat.
Americans sometimes talk as if Islam was going to engulf Europe and European Muslims were going to rise in the streets to try to overtake the west. That’s not the case at all!
It seems to be going on in parts of Paris already.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Cultural traditions meant it took 80 years to get rid of slavery.
Cultural traditions meant it took 140 years to allow women to vote.
Cultural traditions meant that it took nearly 190 years to overcome separate but equal treatment of blacks, and move towards full civil rights.
Like I said, slavery was maintained by the Scotch-Irish cultural tradition, and brought down by the Anglo-Saxon tradition. The same could also be said of separate but equal treatment of blacks. You really have two different cultural traditions here, not one that is evoloving (although the two were both evolving).

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Got this link from LGF:

French police the target in urban guerrilla war

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
And this one as well:

The 751 No-Go Zones of France
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
"PC tendencies" means multiculturalism and an inability to face up to the nature of the problem (reports of violent "youths" that manage to miss the point that they were all muslim, for example).
I watch German TV; they do extensive reporting on issues involving Muslim integration, problems in Germany and other countries, and they never shy away from noting difficulties with Muslim youth.

I see that in other European press too. I think the Europeans are in many ways less PC than Americans.

But I think you may be right about Paris — if the French can’t learn to integrate foreigners and continue to ghettoize them, they might have some real problems. But what is Paris without riots and rebellions now and then? :-)
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Like I said, slavery was maintained by the Scotch-Irish cultural tradition, and brought down by the Anglo-Saxon tradition. The same could also be said of separate but equal treatment of blacks. You really have two different cultural traditions here, not one that is evoloving (although the two were both evolving).
But the point is that democracies aren’t easy to create, and have to develop along with the culture (or cultures — as in Iraq’s separate groups). I think at base it’s correct that democratization of some sort is the only long term solution for the region, but we’re going to need patience.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I watch German TV; they do extensive reporting on issues involving Muslim integration, problems in Germany and other countries, and they never shy away from noting difficulties with Muslim youth.
I haven’t noticed much reporting on German problems with Muslims. Perhaps it’s that the German Muslims are mostly Turks, perhaps no one wants to mess with the Germans.
But the point is that democracies aren’t easy to create, and have to develop along with the culture (or cultures — as in Iraq’s separate groups). I think at base it’s correct that democratization of some sort is the only long term solution for the region, but we’re going to need patience.
I agree.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
But the point is that democracies aren’t easy to create, and have to develop along with the culture (or cultures — as in Iraq’s separate groups). I think at base it’s correct that democratization of some sort is the only long term solution for the region, but we’re going to need patience.
Absolutely. 100% agreement. I think cultures can be helped along to some extent through the use of soft power (trade and the economic "imperialism" which you’ve derided), but we haven’t done enough on that front.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
I haven’t noticed much reporting on German problems with Muslims. Perhaps it’s that the German Muslims are mostly Turks, perhaps no one wants to mess with the Germans.
Overall there is a lot of integration of Muslims in Europe that doesn’t make the headlines. That doesn’t mean there won’t be problems, but the news isn’t all bad:
http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/11/28/opinion/edshore.php
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
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