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Let’s take a moment to remember how we ended up in Kosovo (update)
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, March 10, 2007

I've noted many times that I was against the war in the Balkans. I bring this up because many times the unthinking will claim that we're just a bunch of war mongers and any war is a good war and just fine with us. Well that's simply not true.

There are those who will read what follows and think I'm the most cynical SOB ever to walk the face of the earth. But I wrote this in 1999 and it is exactly how I analyzed that war and how we got into it. Very instructive are the ways and means Clinton used to avoid not only the UN but Congress in order to fight that particular war.

If ever there was a war of choice, Kosovo was that war. No national interest at stake, no threat to the US, nothing.

What it demonstrates, though, is despite all the outrage on the left today, nothing the executive is doing now is much worse or different than what the executive did during Kosovo. Well, except in the case of Iraq, unlike Kosovo, the President did go to the UN first and then did get the permission of Congress to go to war (something of course a good portion of them are now trying to forget).

Anyway, for your reading pleasure, my 1999 take on why we went into Kosovo.

Divider

The dust-up in Kosovo wasn't about anything but two entities - Clinton and NATO - both with certain needs and finding in each other a way to fulfill those needs.

NATO, after the collapse of the Iron Curtain, needed a job. Clinton, after a rather tawdry and mediocre presidential performance cushioned by a booming economy needed (or at least wanted) a legacy .... shades of FDR and JFK. He even had the audacity to try to drag Churchill's name into this, not to mention Hitler's.

NATO and Clinton found each other's need irresistible.

The UN was too cumbersome, and a ruler by edict such as Clinton, didn't want to be second-guessed by Ghana or Upper Volta. He knew he couldn't pull a GHWB-like coalition out of the UN such as was seen in the Gulf War, and he didn't want to risk the political failure of being told no by the UN (as surely Russia would have done in the Security Council).

NATO was a ready made coalition looking for a job. How perfect that the problem was in Kosovo, spitting distance from dozens of NATO bases .... otherwise he'd have had to ignore the "genocide" like he did Rwanda.

And of course there was that little problem of the US Congress. If he had to deploy troops, he had to have their backing. But, again, with good old Slobo acting a fool right in NATO's backyard, Clinton had coalition forces already forward deployed. How perfectly perfect.

All he had to overcome was the pesky technicality of NATO being a defensive organization with a charter which specifically forbade aggressive action, or for that matter, _any_ action unless one of the NATO allies is actually attacked (we can thank goodness he wasn't crass enough to stage a border post being overrun by Serbian troops, ala Poland in '39).

But for those, such as Clinton, who routinely ignore or flaunt the law, ignore or flaunt the constitution not to mention conventional morality, NATO's charter was a piece of cake.

And Clinton had separation if he wanted it. Win/win all the way. If the mission failed, he simply points to NATO as the culprit and talks about reforming it. If it succeeds he simply points to the largest participant's role (and _why_ it was the dominant role) and pats himself on the back. See option 2 as the eventual outcome.

The Kosovar's? Screw 'em. They got a nice little vacation in sunny Albania while their houses were fumigated, lots of press and the status of victimhood which they should be able to parley into a few billion here and there ...

No one said landing a job or creating a legacy was clean work but hell, that's why the US taxpayer exists.

Pay up, suckers.

Divider

Now given the prosecution of the war in Iraq over the last few years, I can understand the argument that we're as big a sucker now as then. I think a valid argument can be made for that. But before our intervention in Kosvo gets romanticized as a good and proper war, let us not forget the reality of that conflict.

UPDATE: QandO commenter James Fish has a piece on "The Constitutional Matters Project" which compares Kosovo and Iraq.
 
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Comments
You make a good point Mcq if I might add, we got into Kosovo on the basis of LIES...or did we? We were "told" that genocide was occuring in Kosovo and that up to 100,000 Kosovars had been killed by the Serbian militias/government. The President made the claim, Congress accepted it and, though it’s of no NATIONAL import, I accepted it as a justification for an otherwwise needless war...after all we can not allow mini-Holocausts to occur, Yes Billy, Tom, McQ and others we ARE our brothers keepers. We can not sit idly by and watch evil...

Any way, after the peace was established, and the NATO forces arrived it turned out that 100,000 Kosovars had NOT been killed...no where near it....and in fact the Kosovars had been LYING to everyone about it, just to bring down NATO onto the Serbs.

Now did President Clinton LIE or was President Clinton WRONG? I think, and I have no love nor respect for the man, President Clinton was WRONG...Sometimes we get things WRONG....

And so this is one more aspect of Kosovo that mirrors Iraq. Dubya didn’t LIE, he got it wrong...he propagated the Conventional Wisdom, which Congress accepted/believed and we all "knew." Only it turns out, on the basis of WMD claims that the Conventional Wisdom was WRONG...I don’t think I’d condemn Clinton for being wrong and I really don’t think it’s fair to blame the current Administration for being wrong either.

To be fair to Dr. Erb, he can come in and kick both sides equally, because he CLAIMS that he opposed the Balkan War(s) too. This is one were Erb gets to cow a bit...though in all honesty I’d like some evidence he opposed these foreign adventures in the 1990’s, a hyper-link or something or some reference to the Small Town Maine Gazette wherein Dr Erb wrote a scathing lettre to the Editor or something. Any way assuming he’s telling the truth we can cut the good Dr some slack on this...
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Well here’s a hint, Joe ... click on the link and look at whose message this addressed back in ’99.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
MCQ - I’m amazed you have any sanity left... you’ve been wrangling with Erb for more than 8 years?????? There should be some kind of medal for that or something ;-)
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
I’m with meagain. I think I’d have journeyed to Maine and done him in by now...to put the boot into a man who’se not here, Erb’s statement is so typical Political Science majors. It’s like they to have taken the survey courses of US or World History and that’s it. He sees(ed) unaware that the US has NOT had a draft for longer than it HAD one. I am puzzled by a topical field that can be so ignorant of base facts.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
The scary thing is Erby hasn’t learned a whit in all that time.

Are we still suckers? Maybe. But the difference between Iraq and Kosovo seems to be at least motive- why we got involved in each.

It may just be the nature of our country now will make it impossible for but the most dire and necessary of wars to be fully supported for more than 1 month.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
PS

Those running around yelling about stopping Darfur would do well to read what you wrote
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I have a long essay posted on “The Constitutional Matters Project” comparing Yugoslavia at the time after Tito’s death and the present situation in Iraq. Check it out and you will realize their is no difference.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
I actually started to keep what later would be called a "blog" during the Kosovo war. You can find my thoughts, as I recorded them in 1999 here:

http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/nato_bombing.htm

As for McQ, well, I’ve learned that when your opponent refuses to talk and just calls names, well, that’s a sign he’s lost. I never carry grudges and am always open for real discussion.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
By the way, Kosovo was an utter failure. The US bombing was supposed to get the Serbs to sign the Rambouillet accords in a few days. There had been no real ethnic cleansing before the bombing started (that came as a response), and the KLA had been declared a terrorist organization by the US earlier. We bombed from 15,000 feet so there would be no NATO deaths, but that meant we couldn’t help the Kosovars, and many innocent Serbs died and suffered. I read somewhere that the Israelis used that war as a template for the 2006 war against Hezbollah, so good was the Clinton PR machine in making utter failure seem like success.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
when your opponent refuses to talk and just calls names, well, that’s a sign he’s lost
Or it could be a sign that the amount of effort required to get you to concede a point is not worth it. Or that you claim to want a "discussion" but refuse to concede any points by changing goalposts or simply ignoring information.

From your perspective, I guess that means you "win". I don’t play basketball against 4 years old either, so I guess that they can also claim a win.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
By the way, Kosovo was an utter failure.
White is black, Ignorance is Strength, Peace is War. Please Dr. Erb try to tell the truth a bit. It wasn’t an UTTER failure. The ethnic cleansing stopped, the oppression of the Kosovars stopped. The Serbs, whilst not the most depraved group ever, were no saints and their depredations ended.
The US bombing was supposed to get the Serbs to sign the Rambouillet accords in a few days.


So it was a failure because it tooks several WEEKS, not days....By that measure almost any war is a failure, they never end on the predicted schedule. The Serbs DID AGREE and that is success.
There had been no real ethnic cleansing before the bombing started (that came as a response),


Debateable, but is there a level of "acceptable" ethnic cleansing, 10% is OK, but 15% is unacceptable?
and the KLA had been declared a terrorist organization by the US earlier. We bombed from 15,000 feet so there would be no NATO deaths,

Both true, at least you got SOMETHING right.
but that meant we couldn’t help the Kosovars
Yes and that’s why they run Kosovo and may end up as an independent state, we didn’t help them, Please Dr. Erb try to make the claims fit the reality on the ground a bit
and many innocent Serbs died and suffered.

True, but that is oft’ times the unavoidable collateral damage of war. Many French suffered and died from 1943 on in the Second World War, does it invalidate the exercise? Simply stating something that is true, does NOT prove a larger point, it’s simply stating a truth. It might be evidence of a larger point but it is NOT the larger point itself, Dr Erb.
I read somewhere that the Israelis used that war as a template for the 2006 war against Hezbollah, so good was the Clinton PR machine in making utter failure seem like success.

News to me....I believe Dan Halutz managed to come up with whole idea pretty much independently of the US. It has it’s underpinnings in the idea of the "Revolution In Military Affairs" the Second Gulf War (91) supposedly represented. OF course Seversky and Disney had it in the 1930’s and 1940’s in their fantasy, Victory Thru Airpower. Can’t blame Clinton for EVERYTHING, people can come up with bad ideas on their own.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I’m with meagain. I think I’d have journeyed to Maine and done him in by now...to put the boot into a man who’se not here, Erb’s statement is so typical Political Science majors. It’s like they to have taken the survey courses of US or World History and that’s it. He sees(ed) unaware that the US has NOT had a draft for longer than it HAD one. I am puzzled by a topical field that can be so ignorant of base facts.
Talking about murder because of a disagreement on political issues? You need perspective.

What statement are you talking about? The nearest I can see is that at the end of a substantive post I wrote "that is very scary indeed" to a statement which, in retrospect, I should not have said that to. But that’s the old ’gotcha game’ — you ignore the substance of an argument and pick out bits and pieces that were either mistaken or inappropriate and focus on those. And yes, I do that from time to time. As for drafts — I don’t know the history of the draft in the US. My speciality is European politics, and I can tell you more about the history of the Prussian military than the American. One reason I post is to learn from others, including those I disagree with. The amount I’ve learned is great enough to see the insults as a price worth paying.
Or it could be a sign that the amount of effort required to get you to concede a point is not worth it. Or that you claim to want a "discussion" but refuse to concede any points by changing goalposts or simply ignoring information.
Except, of course, if that were true (and it is not), then one could point it out in a debate. I’ve many times admited error and even changed my mind on important issues due to discussions. That’s why I continue, I learn more from confronting other perspectives. If I encounter someone who acts like you claim I do, I don’t insult them or confront them, I ignore them. Insulting someone is like saying to them "I can’t respond to you, but I’m frustrated by you." That’s actually a complement to the person being insulted!
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
but that meant we couldn’t help the Kosovars

Yes and that’s why they run Kosovo and may end up as an independent state, we didn’t help them, Please Dr. Erb try to make the claims fit the reality on the ground a bit
I’m sorry, I wasn’t clear. We couldn’t help those Kosovar Albanians suffering at the hands of Serb thugs raping, burning homes, and beating up ethnic Albanians. The bombing essentially unleashed 11 weeks of such activities.

Your response does show a difference in our perspectives: I think less about abstract political outcomes than the human condition on the ground. The Albanians suffered more because of our actions, even if they might get independence sooner than otherwise. I think you focus more on the larger political results. I suspect our general divergent perspectives on military interventions stems from this core difference. The suffering of innocents is never something to shrug off as "that’s war."

And, of course, after all of that the Albanians turned against ethnic Serbs in the region. Also, NATO did nothing when Croatia ethnically cleansed 600,000 Serbs in 1995.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
we got into Kosovo on the basis of LIES...or did we? We were "told" that genocide was occuring in Kosovo and that up to 100,000 Kosovars had been killed by the Serbian militias/government.
Clinton had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the former Yugoslavia, the claim “we got into Kosovo on the basis of LIES...or did we? We were "told" that genocide was occurring in Kosovo and that up to 100,000 Kosovars had been killed by the Serbian militias/government.” is blatantly false. Genocide and ethnic cleansing was occurring in the former Yugoslavia. To deny the violence that was happening and thousands massacred flies in the face of history.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
Dr. Erb I referred, as did McQ, to rant about the lack of a draft, which mcQ, correctly pointed out, HAD NO HISTORY in the history of the US. Your "point" was underpinned by NOTHING, and had you had a more than cursory grasp of US History you would ahve seen this. And that’s MY point in re; Poli Sci, many Political Scientists seem to have no more than a cursory grasp of history...it’s a failing for many.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Dr. Erb I referred, as did McQ, to rant about the lack of a draft, which mcQ, correctly pointed out, HAD NO HISTORY in the history of the US. Your "point" was underpinned by NOTHING, and had you had a more than cursory grasp of US History you would ahve seen this. And that’s MY point in re; Poli Sci, many Political Scientists seem to have no more than a cursory grasp of history...it’s a failing for many.
You seem to be making a universal statement about my knowledge based on one relatively small point. But I knew even then that the US had not had a draft. I made a stupid "it is indeed scary" as a kind of throw away comment at the end of what someone had written, and that should teach me not to write without thinking. Hopefully I’ve gotten better at that in the last eight years.

I agree completely that knowledge of history is a necessity to make sense of world affairs, especially knowledge of the history of other cultures, including the history of Islam. My knowledge of history, like I suspect everyone’s, has areas of specialization and gaps. I’m far better at European history than American, and have been studying Islamic history and the history of the Mideast quite a bit since 9-11. That’s the thing about history — everyone’s knowledge has gaps, so there is always more to learn!
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I believe we had the Draft three times in American history. The Civil War, World War One, and from World War Two until the end of the Vietnam War. This is no way comparable to the Draft in Europe, which has a long history/
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
You seem to be making a universal statement about my knowledge based on one relatively small point
.
As YOU seemed to be making a universal point, Dr. Erb....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
”I’ve … changed my mind on important issues due to discussions.”
Apparently these “mind changes” were between pursuing meme “A”: of the LN instead of meme “B” due to discussions with other liberals. Or you could cite just one link with contrary evidence. Surely you can recall just one occasion from memory.
”If I encounter someone who acts like you claim I do, I don’t insult them or confront them, I ignore them. Insulting someone is like saying to them "I can’t respond to you, but I’m frustrated by you." That’s actually a complement (sic) to the person being insulted!”
Exhibit “A” of attempting to frame an issue to one’s advantage. Professor Erb attempts to imply that his opposition is frustrated by being unable to withstand his withering intellect. Being unable to effectively counter his discussion points, they turn to insults, you see.
Fact to Professor Erb: Telling a person that they are unresponsive to critical points and that instead of responding, they ignore them or attempt to reframe these critical points to match up with their strawmen is not personal invective. You are ignoring the points, not the person. Nice try.
 
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
The Albanians suffered more because of our actions, even if they might get independence sooner than otherwise.
Prior to the European and American intervention, the Albanians were suffering genocide and ethnic cleansing at the hands of the Serbs. It seems out actions improved their lot rather than making it worse.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
"Yes Billy, Tom, McQ and others we ARE our brothers keepers."
The others can speak for themselves. For my own part, I say: that’s what you think, fool, and you’d better pack a lunch if you think can can enforce something like that on me, because you’re going to have one hell of a long day.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
The others can speak for themselves. For my own part, I say: that’s what you think, fool, and you’d better pack a lunch if you think can can enforce something like that on me, because you’re going to have one hell of a long day.
Ah Billy you arrive and dispense your usual charm and affability mixed with sweet reason and evidence...You keep arguing like that and I’d imagine you’ll manage to convince two or three curmudgeons.

In fact, I PREFER Dr. Erb, he advances an argument and usually produces evidence...Billy merely provides Guidance from Mount Sinai, in a nastier God-like tone.

Any way thank you for dropping by and providing your that ambience that ONLY you can provide a discussion.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Oh and Billy we DID enforce it on your, sad, mad man...they’re called TAXES and they were expended in Kosovo, and YOU provided them. That’s what makes your "arguments" so laughable, people enforce their non-Billy opinions on Billy ALL THE TIME...and when they want his firearms they’ll take them and when they want his contributions for Welfare, they take them and when they want his contrtibutions for Health Care, well you get the idea.

It is NOT a position to, well it IS a position, to say this is "Inarguable"-when people debate that issue or this issue, on this very board or to say things like "enforce something like that on me" when the State most certainly can and DOES.

It’s not whether they CAN, it’s whether they OUGHT, Billy, something you simply don’t seem willing to understand, because your positions may be clear, but they are NOT self-evident, nor self-enforcing, and it takes more than "fool" and "Never enforce that on me" to make it so.

Dale may revere your "logic" but I am far less enamoured. In fact, I find you laughable at times.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"...and YOU provided them."
That’s what you think, caps-boy.

You don’t know who or what you’re talking about, and you’re dead wrong.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Oh and Billy we DID enforce it on your, sad, mad man...they’re called TAXES and they were expended in Kosovo, and YOU provided them. That’s what makes your "arguments" so laughable, people enforce their non-Billy opinions on Billy ALL THE TIME...and when they want his firearms they’ll take them and when they want his contributions for Welfare, they take them and when they want his contrtibutions for Health Care, well you get the idea.
Yeah, I do ... you’re getting to sound amazingly like Erb.

And, for a fact, you don’t know Billy and therefore you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Or to sum it up: You’re wrong.

And those of us who know Beck know that’s not an opinion, it’s a certainty.

So thunder on all you wish, but all it does is put you in a category in which I’m sure you’d rather not be.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
We had a national interest in both Bosnia and Kosovo and it was in not intervening. The situations in both places were both ones which Europeans were quite capable of handling or should have been capable of handling. France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, and the other EU countries need to have the excess capacity to export a little security every now and again. As long as we’re willing to provide backup they’ll be quite content to let their military expenses shrink as a proportion of GDP…and complain that ours is so high.

I’ve got a lot of sympathy for the genocide argument being made in a few comments above. If you’re really, truly committed to preventing genocide putting things in due proportion requires that the most serious cases be considered the most urgent. When do we attack China and Russia, the worst perpetrators?

That, basically, is why I think that preventing genocide alone is not a sufficient reason for us to go to war—we’ve also got to weigh the national interest.
 
Written By: Dave Schuler
URL: http://www.theglitteringeye.com
We had a national interest in both Bosnia and Kosovo and it was in not intervening. The situations in both places were both ones which Europeans were quite capable of handling or should have been capable of handling.


I agree completely. There was no reason for us to intervene other than the two I’ve outlined.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Oh Mcq now you make me laugh...I didn’t realize that Billy was the Hero of Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
It’s apparent, Joe, that you don’t "realize" a lot about Billy.

It was advice given in a friendly manner, Joe. Do with it what you wish.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"I didn’t realize that Billy was the Hero of Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead...."
Those are your words and nobody else’s: nobody has said anything like that except you. None of that, however, has any bearing of the facts, which are directly opposite what you said. You’re wrong. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

And I’ll tell you this: creatures exactly like you are why I took the position that I did thirty years ago, and which I’ve lived my entire adult life. Get this and get it good: nothing about me belongs to you or anyone else, or is available to your summary pronouncements of authority. And: I don’t go about making these sorts of demands on others’ lives — including yours — because I stand for freedom. I’m not like you. I am an American in my blood and bones, my life is mine, and you can’t have it. If you think differently, then haul yourself up on your hind legs as if you were a man and come get it.

You’ll find out.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Apparently these “mind changes” were between pursuing meme “A”: of the LN instead of meme “B” due to discussions with other liberals. Or you could cite just one link with contrary evidence. Surely you can recall just one occasion from memory
I used to think that national health care was a good idea, and I used to think that the 2nd amendment focused on state militias. Many of the ideas discussed on various newsgroups, etc., caused me to rethink and ultimately change those positions.
Exhibit “A” of attempting to frame an issue to one’s advantage. Professor Erb attempts to imply that his opposition is frustrated by being unable to withstand his withering intellect. Being unable to effectively counter his discussion points, they turn to insults, you see.
Fact to Professor Erb: Telling a person that they are unresponsive to critical points and that instead of responding, they ignore them or attempt to reframe these critical points to match up with their strawmen is not personal invective. You are ignoring the points, not the person. Nice try.
Straw man: I am under no belief that my intellect is greater or lesser than most other peoples’ here. In fact, I think if you look, I insult the intellect of others far less often than the reverse. But when the debate gets to debating about the debate we’re so far from substance it’s not really worth much.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
We don’t have to worry about the press pushing too hard for the same intervention in Darfur, because Muslims are the one doing the bulk of the killing, raping, etc. In Kosovo it was argued that Eastern Orthodox Serbs were the bad guys, so there was no reason not to reel them in. Very little print was used emphasizing that these accusations were coming from a group that was mostly Sunni Muslim, and I’d be willing to bet not many Palestinian have been told that we intervened on behalf of the Muslims in a conflict against Christians.

On a seperate note for Erb:
Except, of course, if that were true (and it is not), then one could point it out in a debate. I’ve many times admited error and even changed my mind on important issues due to discussions.
Just like he admitted he was wrong for claiming Linda was dishonest earlier this week when she made the mistake of assuming Dr. Erb knew the meaning of all the phrases he typed.
 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
Prior to the European and American intervention, the Albanians were suffering genocide and ethnic cleansing at the hands of the Serbs.
You’ll need to back that statement up. Serb tactics against the KLA were brutal, and there was the Recak massacre where 49 were killed. But the KLA had been trying to ethnically cleanse the Serbs, and the ethnic cleansing really started after the bombing began.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Erb

I worry immensely about your students. Pray tell, how do you treat them in the event one of them gives an answer that doesn’t adhere to your rigid idealogy?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I worry immensely about your students. Pray tell, how do you treat them in the event one of them gives an answer that doesn’t adhere to your rigid idealogy?
What inspired this gratuitious insult? By the way, I am anti-ideological, I believe that the 20th century focus on ideology-driven understandings of reality is one of the reasons why it was such a bloody century.

And to Billy:

I don’t go about making these sorts of demands on others’ lives — including yours — because I stand for freedom. I’m not like you. I am an American in my blood and bones, my life is mine, and you can’t have it. If you think differently, then haul yourself up on your hind legs as if you were a man and come get it.
The odd part here is the mix of nationalism (the idea that being American matters) with individual freedom. If you are an individualist who believes in freedom, than the ethnic or national identity of someone shouldn’t really matter. Nationalism is a form of collectivism; you seem to be identifying yourself with a collective.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
What inspired this gratuitious insult? By the way, I am anti-ideological, I believe that the 20th century focus on ideology-driven understandings of reality is one of the reasons why it was such a bloody century.

My question is based on the fact that every time someone says something contra your arguments, your response is some variant of "you are irrational due to your political bias" and I just wondered if you used that on your students.

PS- You are so much idealogical as to be a sterotype.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Erb;
Your response to shark shows that I was too subtle. Linda showed that you were flat wrong when you wrote that a nanny state goes "hand in hand" with an interventionist foreign policy earlier this week. There was no admission of error on your part.
 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
"The odd part here is the mix of nationalism (the idea that being American matters) with individual freedom."
It’s only "odd" to you, Erb, because you’re an abject ignoramus without a clue to the fact of the complete originality of the ideal born and politically manifest here for the first time in human history.

Go play on the railroad tracks, sonny.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
”…when the debate gets to debating about the debate we’re so far from substance it’s not really worth much.”
Two points: 1) When you cannot answer; string it out; 2) translation: your response is not substantive (standard liberal comeback when stymied by the facts. Really, Professor Erb, you are so damned predictable. I know that you believe that a falsehood repeated creatively enough and often enough can carry the day, but….

None of this is a link.
”I used to think that national health care was a good idea, and I used to think that the 2nd amendment focused on state militias. Many of the ideas discussed on various newsgroups, (sic) etc., caused me to rethink and ultimately change those positions.”
How about I eschew fine points, demonstrate my bona fides and just accept that as the example I requested. Thank you. However, I am not endorsing your methods and if you pull the same crap again you will encounter the same objection. Also the same request to respond on point and without attempting to reframe the issue to set up your strawman.
”I am anti-ideological.”
Now that is clever, Professor Erb. As Shark says:
”You are so much idealogical (sic) as to be a sterotype.”(sic)
I agree that in your expressions, you are 100% anti-ideological. As for actually BEING an ideologue…
 
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
It’s only "odd" to you, Erb, because you’re an abject ignoramus without a clue to the fact of the complete originality of the ideal born and politically manifest here for the first time in human history.
The American revolution was built on the ideas and ideals of the French and British enlightenments. It was built on European ideas.

Yet...you seem to be positing these ideas as some kind of cultural phenomenon, rather than an objective state of nature. That’s the only way I can reconcile your statement, unless you want to make the claim that we (or rather the enlightenment intellectuals in Europe during the 18th century) somehow discovered a natural and basic set of truths that had been hidden for the rest of human history.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I agree that in your expressions, you are 100% anti-ideological. As for actually BEING an ideologue…
??? Few ideologues I know would refrain from expressing their ideological beliefs — part of being an ideologue is to be driven by that ideology.

I’m not sure when I’ve been saying people who disagree are irrational and responding by political bias. I do think everyone, myself included obviously, tends to be biased and overcoming deeply held biases are very difficult, especially if there is political debate that gets heated. I admit to writing far more provocatively than I should sometimes; however, I daresay I take far more than I dish out in these parts. But that’s OK, I’m here voluntarily!

My approach is probably best labeled "perspectivism." I try to understand how reality looks from as many perspectives as possible, and with that in mind make my call on pragmatic grounds. I also really try hard to keep my mind open on most issues, even things I feel strongly about, like Iraq. Reading lists like this and the give and take they entail helps me do that.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"I try to understand how reality looks from as many perspectives as possible, and with that in mind make my call on pragmatic grounds."
Translation: "’Pragmatic grounds’ means what the NYT says."

This is not definitive, but it would help your case immeasurably if you could cite at least two instances where your "perspective pragmatism" disagrees strongly with the NYT.
 
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
OOps! Will I never learn? I mean, of course, with the CURRENT positions of the NYT. Everyone of all persuasions can disagree with two or more past positions of the NYT.

"I don’t read the NYT". Ugh, sorry, I guess I need to let you post that.
 
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
I believe that the 20th century focus on ideology-driven understandings of reality is one of the reasons why it was such a bloody century.
Compared to past centuries, the 20th, doesn’t hold a candle when it comes to the spilling of blood. As a proportion of the population, many more died in the past. Often entire populations of cities were massacred after they fell. The Hundred years war depopulated Europe. The Chinese suffered millions of deaths under it’s unification and later during the Mongol occupation.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
We had a national interest in both Bosnia and Kosovo and it was in not intervening. The situations in both places were both ones which Europeans were quite capable of handling or should have been capable of handling.
I agree completely. There was no reason for us to intervene other than the two I’ve outlined.
Reasons for involvement:

Serbia was a dictatorship run by communists who no longer considered themselves communists, they had the largest and best armed forces in Yugoslavia/Albania. It was in Americas best interest that they be removed.

Serbs are a Slavic people ethnically related to Russians, it is common for America to act against Russian interests.

And the most important reason? The Europeans at the time were probably capable of handling it, however that would mean a command being set up within the European Union. This command would challenge American status as the only hyperpower.
What it demonstrates, though, is despite all the outrage on the left today, nothing the executive is doing now is much worse or different than what the executive did during Kosovo.
Except as also noted:
Slobo acting a fool right in NATO’s backyard, Clinton had coalition forces already forward deployed.
Serbia was a good (McQ says perfect) battlefield to choose and much better than fighting a war in a hostile region where even your regional allies probably do not want you to succeed.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://
Of course, I WANTED to say the LN instead of the NYT. Heh. "There is no such thing." "I don’t know what you are talking about" (despite lo, these many detailed posts in this space on that subject), "The LN is no more and no less what you (whacko) say it is, so how can I possibly respond", etc. So I went for the NYT as the stand-in.
I would, frankly, like to see the two valid, non-equivocating examples. We need just such a person as Professor Erb describes himself as being here.
Sigh.
 
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
"The American revolution was built on the ideas and ideals of the French and British enlightenments. It was built on European ideas."
(yawn) Go look at what I wrote, dink. Do you see that word, "manifest"? Well, let me give you a clue: it’s been said with smashing acuity that tyranny, while forever descending on America, nonetheless always manages to settle in Europe. And this is the part where you should show me an American Marat or Robespierre, not to mention a Restoration or Bonaparte. I think that even the most ardently average thinkers around here will be able to see the differences in these "European ideas" of yours.

Idiot.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Kosovo is a hot-button topic for me for two different reasons. First; you got Rwanda going on and the world (and the left) complaining that we aren’t doing anything about it. But in Kosovo you have the world (and the left) complaining that we are intervening in another nation’s issues.

Second, you got the Air Farce again, declaring victory, when they essentially did nothing. Thousands of missions and like what, 7 tanks destroyed? The Air Farce continuously claims its capabilities and past deeds and it has never succeeded at a single strategic mission. Forget the Japs in WWII, that was nuclear weapons, not the Air Farce. They didn’t do what they had claimed to do in Europe in WWII, they didn’t do much in Korea, they didn’t do much in Viet Nam (Given, they had political restrictions), they didn’t do what they had claimed to have done during the first Gulf War, didn’t do what they claimed to have done in Kosovo or Serbia, and didn’t do much in the present Iraq war. Then they spend 11 grand changing the F-22 program to the F/A-22 program to make themselves appear to be more relevent to the current situation. Why 11 grand? That’s how much money it took them to change all the stationary and such from F-22 to F/A-22. No lie there, nothing was added to the aircraft to make the change, the Air Farce did it to make the hugely overbudget program more palitable.

civdiv
 
Written By: civdiv
URL: http://
Compared to past centuries, the 20th, doesn’t hold a candle when it comes to the spilling of blood. As a proportion of the population, many more died in the past. Often entire populations of cities were massacred after they fell. The Hundred years war depopulated Europe. The Chinese suffered millions of deaths under it’s unification and later during the Mongol occupation.
Good points, but it still was bloody in absolute terms. Two devastating European wide wars, the holocaust, Stalin’s purges, Mao’s famine, etc. Ideology is, in essence, a secular form of religion.

And to Billy,
Go look at what I wrote, dink. Do you see that word, "manifest"? Well, let me give you a clue: it’s been said with smashing acuity that tyranny, while forever descending on America, nonetheless always manages to settle in Europe. And this is the part where you should show me an American Marat or Robespierre, not to mention a Restoration or Bonaparte. I think that even the most ardently average thinkers around here will be able to see the differences in these "European ideas" of yours.
You again seem to be using collective cultural identities. And, of course, America has its blemishes. We had slavery, the prohibition, and conquest of Indian nations, etc. Billy, the US and Europe, if they are part of some collective identity, are part of the West. Within the West there is tremendous variation, just as there is a huge difference between the culture of rural Maine and, say, the culture of Los Angeles or the rural South.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"...the fact of the complete originality of the ideal born and politically manifest here for the first time in human history."
Ugh, I don’t want to get away from flogging Professor Erb for his past sins, but my (very) limited understanding of history is that the ideas first set forth in (God help me) France found flower in the founding of America. So I don’t understand what, other than actually refining and instilling these ideas into the governing documents of a country, we pioneered here.

Am I a victim of something? I seem to remember this from, oh, sixth grade?
 
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
"The Air Farce continuously claims its capabilities and past deeds and it has never succeeded at a single strategic mission."Nonsense. "Linebacker II" did in twelve days of December 1972 what almost three years of "Rolling Thunder" never accomplished. You’re right about "political restrictions" in the case of RT, but when the gloves came off in ’72, Le Duc Tho very suddenly found the atmosphere around the negotiating table at Paris far more suitable to his sensibilities than Hanoi in flames.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
"Am I a victim of something?"
Yes.

Public education.

It’s not a life-sentence, though. You can get over it.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Good points, but it still was bloody in absolute terms. Two devastating European wide wars, the holocaust, Stalin’s purges, Mao’s famine, etc. Ideology is, in essence, a secular form of religion.


I would rather put it “Religion is a form of Ideology”. You never ask questions when “God’s on your side”. Today’s conflicts between Islam and Christianity, are but a resumption of the Crusades. Even so, in relative terms, it pales when compared to conflict within Christianity. Christians have been killing other Christians, while arguing the number of Angels that can stand on the head of a pin. In one case when asked “How can we tell the true believers from the heretics?” the answer was “Kill them all and let God sort them out.” This was fighting over ideology, spiritual ideology. This was centuries before the reformation when the real slaughter began.

Religion is just as much an ideology as Communism, capitalism, Socialism or any other ism you can come up with. You never know when to expect the Spanish inquisition.

 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
civdiv
Anyone on either extreme in a debate over the usefulness of Air Power has forgetten one of these two lessons of modern warfare:

A) No military advace can succeed if the other side has established air supremacy.
B) The only way to take and hold territory is with troops on the ground.


 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
brain-sushi
"You again seem to be using collective cultural identities."
Yeah, well, there is no accounting for what "seems" to you and there never has been in the eleven years that I’ve been beating your raggedy ass online. That’s because you just make it up as you go along. That’s because you’re as goofy as a soup sandwich.
"We had slavery, the prohibition, and conquest of Indian nations, etc."
You’re free to confuse the principal underpinnings that culminated in the Declaration with the developments that later brought us the Constitution, but I don’t have that problem.
"Billy, the US and Europe, if they are part of some collective identity, are part of the West."
(cold stare) Oh, yeah? Jeez. Does this mean that I need to send you five digits worth of tuition? I mean: thanx a lot for the useless platitude reminding me what a pompous fraud you are. Watch this:
"Within the West there is tremendous variation,..."
That’s exactly right, you ridiculous waterhead, and it’s exactly where you started this chase: with me pointing out the unique case of America, which most certain qualifies as "tremendous variation". I was right the first time and you’re only now catching up.

Christ on a banana-peel. How on earth do you keep your bloody job?

 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
"The Air Farce continuously claims its capabilities and past deeds and it has never succeeded at a single strategic mission."
The Air force has it’s uses, but there is no substitute for a man with a rifle, holding the ground. In the 1930’s air power advocates from Mitchell to Douchet predicated war could be won by only air power. The theory was, aerial bombing would terrorize the enemies population forcing them to capitulate. London’s Blitz, and the mass bombing of German and Japanese cities showed instead of being terrorized, citizens were angered and stiffened their resolve. The use of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not end the war. They only gave the Emperor a way to save face in a war that was long lost. Linebacker did the same for the Vietnam war. It gave the North an "out" and saved face for America.

Despite the claims that wars can be won easily, cheaply and humanely from the air, history shows otherwise. The answer is provided by Carl von Clausewitz "Inability to carry on the struggle can, in practice, be replaced by two other grounds for making peace: the first is the improbability of victory; the second is its unacceptable cost." Air power tries but is unable to achieve that goal.


 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
Ugh, I don’t want to get away from flogging Professor Erb for his past sins, but my (very) limited understanding of history is that the ideas first set forth in (God help me) France found flower in the founding of America.
I think you’ll find there are considerable differences between the French and English enlightenments and we drew almost exclusively from that of England during our founding.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Ummm...I’d like to say something only slightly off-topic here. James, read the article that you and McQ linked, and I liked it very much. However, I have to say that I was more than a little distracted by the unbelievable hottie featured in CMP just above your op-ed. Damn! Have to visit that place more often...
 
Written By: cjd
URL: http://
"Christ on a banana-peel. How on earth do you keep your bloody job?"
Heh. I actually got that one. Not the question, the point.
"...even the most ardently average thinkers around here will be able to see..."


And, Mr. McQuain, I really don’t know the difference between the English and the French enlightenment. Ugh, I guess that disqualifies me from this discussion, eh. Sorry. Bye.
 
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
Ugh, I don’t want to get away from flogging Professor Erb for his past sins, but my (very) limited understanding of history is that the ideas first set forth in (God help me) France found flower in the founding of America.
The reality is France got it’s ideas of the rights of man from the United states. Our founders got them from the Scotts. It was the “Scottish Enlightenment” that formed the basis of our Founding Fathers philosophy. When it migrated to France it mutated into the “terrors”
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
That’s exactly right, you ridiculous waterhead, and it’s exactly where you started this chase: with me pointing out the unique case of America, which most certain qualifies as "tremendous variation". I was right the first time and you’re only now catching up.
Christ on a banana-peel. How on earth do you keep your bloody job?

Is there any chance of having a discussion with out resulting to accusation and invective. I love a good argument, but calling your opponent an “anal orifice” is not arguing, It’s children playing in a litter box.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
That’s exactly right, you ridiculous waterhead
Heh....always a funny insult
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Does this mean that I will never be able to enjoy single malt whiskey?
 
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
Robert
"I really don’t know the difference between the English and the French enlightenment. Ugh, I guess that disqualifies me from this discussion, eh. Sorry. Bye."
I want to tell you something really important. It goes like this:

There is an enormous difference between what one knows, and the quality of one’s thinking. The latter is an operation performed on/with the former; the former is only raw material for the latter.

Look: nobody knows everything. Everybody is ignorant of all kinds of things. None of that, however, precludes learning. In almost all cases, ignorance is nothing to be ashamed of, and can be overcome. If you want to know about matters like this, then you can. The matter at hand is pretty involved, but all that means is that one must consider fairly carefully what the effort is worth to sort through it. Anyone can do it, however, if they want to.

James
"Is there any chance of having a discussion with out resulting to accusation and invective."
Taking that as an interrogative, I answer: No. Not with Scott Erb. I’ve been watching his rotten little horror show online for more than a decade, and I know what I’m talking about even if you don’t. I suppose it’s unfortunate if it doesn’t appeal to you, but I don’t care. We’re living in a time when morals are daily sacrificed to manners, and I don’t play that. Certainly not with the likes of Erb. He gets it square in the teeth from me every single time I even feel like it, and there is never going to be a single word of peace between that rat bastard and me as long as he is what he is. And he is what he is, so you can figure it out and take it from there.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
"...there is never going to be a single word of peace between that rat bastard and me as long as he is what he is. And he is what he is..."
I guess I am still not sure that he is what he is, so I offer him the olive branch. Nevertheless, based on past observations, if pressed, I gottta go with you. I appreciate the advice.
 
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
Does this mean that I will never be able to enjoy single malt whiskey?
Only if there is enough for me.
Taking that as an interrogative, I answer: No. Not with Scott Erb. I’ve been watching his rotten little horror show online for more than a decade, and I know what I’m talking about even if you don’t. I suppose it’s unfortunate if it doesn’t appeal to you, but I don’t care. We’re living in a time when morals are daily sacrificed to manners, and I don’t play that. Certainly not with the likes of Erb. He gets it square in the teeth from me every single time I even feel like it, and there is never going to be a single word of peace between that rat bastard and me as long as he is what he is. And he is what he is, so you can figure it out and take it from there.
As Rodney King said “Can’t we all just get along?” You may think some one is an Idiot, or even know he is an Idiot, but pointing it out only brings you down to his level.

 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
And he is what he is, so you can figure it out and take it from there.
If this is true, why get into a battle of wits with one who is only half-armed. That seems neither challenging, fair or fun.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
I think you’ll find there are considerable differences between the French and English enlightenments and we drew almost exclusively from that of England during our founding.
I’m afraid you’re wrong there McQ. One of the most influential thinkers, and the one who had the idea of checks and balances, was Montesquieu. Of course, one can’t deny the influence of France on Great Britain at that time either.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Certainly not with the likes of Erb. He gets it square in the teeth from me every single time I even feel like it, and there is never going to be a single word of peace between that rat bastard and me as long as he is what he is. And he is what he is, so you can figure it out and take it from there.
LOL! Your punches have no sting, Billy. You’ve not dealt with the apparent contradiction between your alleged individualism and your slip into collective identities. You’ve thrown up a smoke screen of personal insults, but that really doesn’t deal with the issue. Perhaps you can’t. You attack Europe for Robespierre, but put aside slavery and the like in the US because you’re separating the principles of the Declaration and the reality of what happened. That’s pretty weak, Europe is judged by what happened, the US is judged by a document of principles that borrowed heavily from European thought.

Oh well, it’s not that I expected forthrightness from you.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The Air force has it’s uses, but there is no substitute for a man with a rifle, holding the ground. In the 1930’s air power advocates from Mitchell to Douchet predicated war could be won by only air power. The theory was, aerial bombing would terrorize the enemies population forcing them to capitulate. London’s Blitz, and the mass bombing of German and Japanese cities showed instead of being terrorized, citizens were angered and stiffened their resolve. .
Neither airman or GI substitutes for the other. The airforce provides a range of attack or range of defence that the man with the rifle cannot vs. the longevity a GI can have in position.
The use of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not end the war. They only gave the Emperor a way to save face in a war that was long lost. Linebacker did the same for the Vietnam war. It gave the North an "out" and saved face for America.
This is the whole reason you go to war, to get the other guy to surrender to your terms. You have just cited two examples of a perfect result and yet you are dismissive, why?

For a third example take Kosovo. Kosovo was the objective, Serbia did not want you to capture it. The bombing of Serbia (and Russian intervention - another story) allowed them to make an "out". The Serbs surrendered control, ground forces roll in to capture, mission accomplished with them not shooting at you.

If you make the case that Clinton should have attacked Serbia with ground forces and that this would have won the war sooner, you could be right. That is not relevent to the war in Iraq. To make a comparison to Iraq I believe we have to ask could Clinton have won the war without attacking Serbia at all?

Bush is trying to win this one without attacking Syria or Iran. It is irrelevent if airpower or groundforces are superior, because neither of them are being used. Unsurprisingly this complete failure to attack the enemy is have bugger all effect on the enemy. For all we know Iran and Syria are willing to surrender (take an out) the first step a GI makes over the border or on the first sortie - in Kosovo it took Serbia 3 months of bombing. But in Iraq it will take an eternity, because they have no need to save face as they are under no pressure at all.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://
Wow, the level of discourse and the maturity level on this site has dropped considerably with the recent changes.
 
Written By: DS
URL: http://
The use of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not end the war.
You know, what persuades someone to stop fighting, that ends the war.

The Emperor surrendered, e.i. forced the issue on his cabinet, when his own position was not secured, so your insistence does not hold water.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
This is the whole reason you go to war, to get the other guy to surrender to your terms. You have just cited two examples of a perfect result and yet you are dismissive, why?
I am not being dismissive, just pointing out air power is not the panacea it’s proponents suggest.
You know, what persuades someone to stop fighting, that ends the war.
In the case of Japan, the Emperor was looking for a way to surrender without losing face and possibly being assassinated by the military government.

In the case of Vietnam, it gave the North the reason to accept a "flawed Peace” agreement instead to continuing a war they were going to win, even if it took centuries. Peace allowed them to win within a few years

Essentially I am arguing it takes “Combined arms” to win a war. Bombs falling from the air can’t be the only answer.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
The use of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not end the war.
You know, what persuades someone to stop fighting, that ends the war.

The Emperor surrendered, e.i. forced the issue on his cabinet, when his own position was not secured, so your insistence does not hold water.
Precisely correct. The war cabinet split 3 to 3 on surrender and the Emperor, in an unprecedented move, appealed to the cabinet to surrender (which, to the Japanese was as good as a command) as a direct result of those bombs and the devastation they had wrought.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Wow, the level of discourse and the maturity level on this site has dropped considerably with the recent changes.
What "recent changes"? And are you talking about blog articles or comments?

If comments, things like what’s going on happen occasionally. You hope the just burn themselves out quickly, but, hey they’re going to happen.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Essentially I am arguing it takes “Combined arms” to win a war. Bombs falling from the air can’t be the only answer.
Do need combined arms to win a war. The thing the airforce gives is the potential of inducing a surrender before the ground forces are used. It does require the ground forces are capable of potentially following through.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
I guess I am still not sure that he is what he is, so I offer him the olive branch.
My essential political belief rests on a distrust of centralized power and the use of force (both domestically and in foreign policy) to achieve political outcomes (i.e., not directly defensive). This means that I mix a distrust of big government with a distrust of big business/corporations. My core beliefs are pretty libertarian, but I part ways with most libertarians in that I don’t believe that a free market will avoid having strong centralized actors emerging that can use that power to oppress. I also part ways in that I see structural power as real, meaning that there are inequities in society which are unjust (based on structural advantages to some, or unequal opportunity). This means I see the need for some government and some force (taxation) to address those problems. But since I distrust governments, I prefer the units to be small rather than large. That’s why I’d prefer, for instance, a confederal United States rather than the strong central government we have.

I admit these views are unconventional, and often I think people find me hard to pigeon hole since these beliefs lead to positions that don’t fit easily in the traditional schema. But at base that’s what I am: intensely distrustful of centralized power and the use of force, not confident that free markets alone will be effective, and believing that governmental power, while needed, should be close to the people (small — I’d prefer most power at the local level, with regional, state, and supranational authority limited and functional), accountable by rule of law, and focused on maximizing true liberty.

Recognizing that these views are not about to become reality, I am very willing (unlike, say, Beck) to make pragmatic consequences. This is the world I live in, and while I have my own views of what should be, I’m going to make sure I enjoy as much as possible the world I find myself in.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"and there is never going to be a single word of peace between that rat bastard and me..."

Wow. And I thought, for a while, that my attitude was extreme. I do not know you, Billy Beck, but I think I like you.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

 
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