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What does academia owe the tyrants of this world?
Posted by: McQ on Monday, September 24, 2007

A continuence of my post below on moral equivalence with a focus on Columbia University's invitation to Amadinejad:
Columbia University said it would welcome any notable figure visiting the United States — even Adolf Hitler himself — to speak to students and faculty at the Ivy League college.
Stunning. What, pray tell, would be so "notable" about Hitler that he would deserve an invitation to speak at a leading institution of higher learning? I assume Pol Pot would get the same invitiation? Or Joseph Stalin? Mao?

Is there a point where moral outrage and acts of tyranny and despotism are enough to say "no" he or she doesn't deserve the sort of legitimization such an invitation gives those sorts of people?

Columbia qualifies the Hitler invitation:
As for Hitler, he said, prior to the invasion of Poland in 1939, “if Hitler were in the United States and wanted a platform from which to speak, he would have plenty of platforms to speak in the United States. If he were willing to engage in a debate and discussion, and be challenged by Columbia students and faculty, we would certainly invite him.”
I'd point out that given Iran's activity in Iraq, it is well past "1939" in terms of invitations to that country's leader. And the excuse that he is willing to engage in "debate and discussion" is utter nonsense as was evidenced on "60 Minutes" last night:
"It is an established fact now that Iranian bombs and Iranian know-how are killing Americans in Iraq. You have American blood on your hands. Why?" Pelley asked.

"Well, this is what the American officials are saying. Again, American officials wherever around the world that they encounter a problem which they fail to resolve, instead of accepting that, they prefer to accuse others," the president replied. "I'm very sorry that because of the wrong decisions taken by American officials, Iraqi people are being killed and also American soldiers. It's very regrettable."

"The American Army has captured Iranian missiles in Iraq. The critical elements of the explosively formed penetrator bombs that are killing so many people are coming from Iran. There's no doubt about that anymore. The denials are no longer credible, sir," Pelley pointed out.

"Very good. If I may. Are you an American politician? Am I to look at you as an American politician or a reporter? This is what the American officials are claiming," Ahmadinejad replied. "If they accuse us 1,000 times, the truth will not change."

"Are you saying that it is not the policy of this government to send weapons into Iraq? Sir, forgive me, you're smiling, but this is a very serious matter to America," Pelley said.

"Well, it's serious for us as well. I daresay it's serious for everyone," Ahmadinejad told Pelley. "It seems to me it's laughable for someone to turn a blind eye to the truth and accuse others. It doesn't help. And the reason that I'm smiling, again, it's because that the picture is so clear. But American officials refuse to see it."

Asked if he could very simply and directly say that Iran is not sending weapons to Iraq, Ahmadinejad said, "We don't need to do that. We are very much opposed to war and insecurity…"

"Is that a 'No,' sir?" Pelley asked.

"…by Iraq. It's very clear the situation. The insecurity in Iraq is detrimental to our interests," Ahmadinejad said.
He's looking for opportunities to propagandize and Columbia is willing to provide that in the name of free speech (and even that sort of evasion isn't enough to see him condemned by some on the left, who, instead, prefer to condemn the interviewer).
Columbia University President Lee Bollinger issued a lengthy statement defending the school's decision to host Ahmadinejad and said that during his introduction to the event, he would challenge the Iranian president on the following:

—the Iranian president's denial of the Holocaust;

—his public call for the destruction of Israel;

—his reported support for international terrorism that targets innocent civilians and American troops;

—Iran's pursuit of nuclear ambitions in opposition to international sanctions;

—his government's widely documented suppression of civil society and particularly women's rights;

—his government's imprisoning of journalists and scholars, including one of Columbia's own alumni, Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh.
I refer you again to his answer to the "60 Minutes" question as well as Judea Pearl's assessment of what Columbia is actually doing. Given the above answer, is their any question of how he'll "debate" Columbia's questions? Any question of what the outcome of such a "debate" will be?

And note the irony of the last question that is to be posed to Ahmadinejad.

At what point do you draw the line and refuse to allow (or in fact provide) a tyrant a forum, in the name of "free speech" and "academic freedom", from which to propagandize and legitimize his odious and murderous regime?

Columbia, using its own example, says 1939 for Hitler. I say that if true, then Ahmadinejad's Iran is well into the equivalent of the '40s right now. But it damn sure isn't "1939".
 
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Stunning. What, pray tell, would be so "notable" about Hitler that he would deserve an invitation to speak at a leading institution of higher learning? I assume Pol Pot would get the same invitiation? Or Joseph Stalin? Mao?
Oh, they would, but G.W. Bush or any other "neocon warmonger" wouldn’t. Just look at the Bruhaha over Rumsfeld being named to some campus thinktank in CA.

Murderous dictators = worthy. Neocons= unworthy.



 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
It still seems like a rather NEW IDEA. Did they invite Pinochet?, Boetha?, Franco?

These are all erstwhile right wingers that I’m sure could have enlightened us at some point in the past about their attitudes and policies. Of course, none of them was directly indictable in the killing of US marines or are directly involved in the killing of Americans presently.
 
Written By: Orlando Armaswalker
URL: http://
It’s not really that surprising; back in 1933 Nicholas Murray Butler, the Bollinger of his day; although I do think he did serve as US ambassador toLondon
for a time. Invited Hitler to a speech. a few years, they invited Hans Luther, the German ambassador there. Harvard invited Hitler’s sax playing press secretary, Ernst "Putzi’ Hanfstaegl, ’11, there in 1937.
 
Written By: narciso
URL: http://
Did you read the comments on the link to the Ezra Klein post? The Bush Hatred Brigade is out in force.

It’s really sad to see so many on the left admiring Ahmadinejad, and thinking that Bush is the greater evil of the two.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
Who wants to bet that Armanidinnerjacket receives better treatment than the Minutemen founder did? The fascists assaulted him and chased him off-stage. Meanwhile, they’ll all be swooning for this Islamist nutter. If you ever had any doubts about the worthlessness of a liberal arts degree (aside from a select few such as econ)...
 
Written By: Jordan
URL: http://
"He’s looking for opportunities to propagandize"

Yep, and I would say he made that pretty obvious with this statement, referring to visiting the WTC site;
"Usually you go to these sites to pay your respects. And also to perhaps to air your views about the root causes of such incidents."

I would agree to his speaking at Columbia on the condition that he receive the same welcome Jeanne Kirkpatrick et al. received. It is truly amazing how open minded and tolerant these academic types are to those who wish to destroy us, yet how intolerant they are to people like Jeanne Kirkpatrick, etc. "Speaking Truth to Power" is so much more fun when you know that the power won’t hit back.


 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
free speech cuts both ways. it should be protected regardless if you like it or not. if you dont want to hear it change the channel or walk away.
 
Written By: SLNTAX
URL: http://
SLNTAX, no one is arguing that Ahnadinejad can’t speak freely (despite his unwillingness to let those in his own country do so). What we’re complaining about is Columbia University supplying the platform when it was clearly not obligated to do so.

Part of our free speech is the right to criticize the university for its decision.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
Here’s a simple question: if a Democrat were in office, would Columbia University still have extended this invitation to an avowed enemy of the United States?

And follow-up questions if the above answer is yes: Would the hue and cry from the right be any different? [I’d bet no.] Would it be different from the left? And the media? Would Bollinger feel a higher level of pressure to cancel the "debate"? To resign?

Just askin’...
 
Written By: Warrior Needs Food Badly
URL: http://
Academia should be completely open to free speech. Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric hasn’t been all that more bombastic than some of President Bush’s, and clearly you don’t want academia to be in the business of determining what is politically correct. That means that notable speakers, whether fascist, leftist, communist, libertarian, or whatever should be listened to, and their arguments countered on the grounds of evidence and logic. To dismiss anyone by a gauge of political correctness or societal consensus would be to undercut the fundamental importance of academic discourse.

As for the reception they get, I believe that protesters trying to disrupt anyone’s ability to speak, whether it be Kirkpatrick or Ahmadinejad should be barred by strict rules that focus on the need for listening and engaging ideas. If they manage to disrupt any proceeding by any speaker, there should be real punishment, including suspension from the university if it is a student, and criminal charges if appropriate.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Clearly, Columbia University is not completely open to free speech, because they have banned the ROTC. Obviously in this case, Columbia is trying to determine what is politically correct, and that does not include military service. If they aren’t willing to defend free speech equally, then it is our obligation to chastise them for that.
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric hasn’t been all that more bombastic than some of President Bush’s
I don’t remember Bush stating a state should be "wiped off the map" or Bush denying historical events like the holocaust or leading his people in "Death to Iran" chants. So would you please provide me with some examples of Bush’s bombastic rhetoric? Or are we going to play some moral equivilent games again?
clearly you don’t want academia to be in the business of determining what is politically correct. That means that notable speakers, whether fascist, leftist, communist, libertarian, or whatever should be listened to, and their arguments countered on the grounds of evidence and logic. To dismiss anyone by a gauge of political correctness or societal consensus would be to undercut the fundamental importance of academic discourse.
And that is not happening now? Ask Larry Summers, former president of Harvard University.
If they manage to disrupt any proceeding by any speaker, there should be real punishment, including suspension from the university if it is a student, and criminal charges if appropriate.
And given Columbia’s treatment of the students that disrupted Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist’s speech, your comment carries no weight whatsoever.

Erb, in a perfect world I agree with you that academia should be a haven for free speech. And right now it is such a haven so long as your agenda lleans hard to the left. So let me know when we reach perfection.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric hasn’t been all that more bombastic than some of President Bush’s,
And if you think there is no difference in goals and also likely means, such that the two cannot in fact be fairly compared as being like each other, you show your immense moral blindness.
and clearly you don’t want academia to be in the business of determining what is politically correct.
That ship sailed. They do that now. Your sort would have to do whole lot of shutting up, sitting down, and encouraging the hiring of conservatives for what you just claimed for an ideal to be a reality.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://tomdperkins.blogspot.com/
Off topic — but I’m wondering what academics like Erb owe to honesty:
A small non-monetary wager JWG. It’s now May 22nd and we had this exchange on Q&O blog comment 6053. On October 1 we’ll look at the situation in Iraq...If the surge is continuing and there is little no move to internationalize in the manner described, I’ll admit you are right and I read the article with bias. In a little over four months we should know how credible the source is.
Now that we’re one week away from Erb’s deadline, I wonder where he stands on his wager?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
there should be real punishment
Don’t taze me, bro!
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric hasn’t been all that more bombastic than some of President Bush’s
Well, no, unless when Bush says we might have to defeat the NoKo government, what he really means is we’ll have to kill all the dirty NoKo’s who are alive.
Because if you think Ahmadinejad ISN’T talking about the extermination of the Jews in Israel you’re kidding yourself.

How about his idea that the Holocaust never happened? Yeah, Bush has rhetoric right on par with that doc.

And don’t try to hide inside the ’all that more’ phrase. In standard english you have essentially given the two bombastic parity.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
"free speech cuts both ways."

Not at Columbia.

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

" but I’m wondering what academics like Erb owe to honesty:"

Honesty? You mean that construct of the European/Western capitalist patriarchy designed to suppress truth? Is it ’honesty’ that kills hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis in the name of ’democracy’? If you were honest you would acknowledge the misery and suffering caused by US/Western neo-imperialist policies that serve only to destroy what they claim to build.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
SShiell: Axis of evil, regime change, with us or against us, etc., are all pretty bombastic and threatening. Ahmadinejad’s opinion about Israel is the same as that of much of the Arab world, including our Saudi allies (try finding Israel on a map in the Arab world). They don’t think Israel should exist. He expressly said that Iran would not attack Israel to make that happen.

I agree with you on the other points — what happened to Summers was a farce, and student disruptions of speakers is anti-academic and shouldn’t be tolerated.

Tom, I absolutey (and in my professional actions) oppose any effort to enforce political correctness in academia. However, one thing even people like Horowitz agree on is that political ideology should not be a factor in hiring — hiring should be on quality of research and teaching (not taking political ideology into account is one point in the ’academic bill of rights’ that conservatives have tried to promote).

JWG, I’ll look at that thread you’re noting, I don’t recall the issue off the top of my head. I’ll post back later on that.

Otherwise, my blog today has more about the Columbia decision and my reaction.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Who wants to bet that Armanidinnerjacket receives better treatment than the Minutemen founder did?
The biggest difference is that Mahmoud Ahmadinebuchadnezzar’s security detail won’t be as forgiving.

I suspect that the question by CBS’ Scott Pelley questioning for 60 Minutes will be the toughest questions in the period +- 2 weeks from now. The Kos Kids thought Pelley was rough.

The crowd at Columbia won’t rise above a Homer Simpson level question.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
SShiell: Axis of evil, regime change, with us or against us, etc., are all pretty bombastic and threatening
Is this a joke?

Go read the post on moral equivalance and get back to us.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
SShiell: Axis of evil, regime change, with us or against us, etc., are all pretty bombastic and threatening.
Actually, Bush said "Either you are with us or with the terrorists." Not quite the same thing. (What exactly is threatening about "axis of evil"?) But none of that approaches demanding that Israel be wiped off the map or leading "Death to Israel" chants.

Not that I want to get into a debate with you, since you are incapable of ever admitting you are wrong. But it’s fun to tweak the troll now and then.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
Academic free speech, period. Unless you’re specifically calling to violence, don’t censor people.

I don’t support suppression of conservative speech either, nor will counter-suppression solve that problem, only exacerbate it.

One of many obvious differences between Hitler in 1939 and Iran now is that Iran has no plans to invade anyone. Nor is the Iranian regime engaged in mass killings to anyone’s knowlede. Ahmadinedjad isn’t even a Synghman Rhee, much less a Pol Pot or a Stalin. Iran’s human rights record, violations and all, is better than our friends in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Then again, he’s probably arming the Shiites in Iraq, so it’s entirely natural for people to hate his guts and exaggerate his threat. But if you really don’t want war with Iran, organizing hate-Iran domestic brigades is unlikely to help you avoid this outcome.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Academic free speech, period.
So that’s your answer?

Academia owes to tyrant what tyrants won’t give to academia?

Wonderful.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
“You exhibit all the signs of a brutal and petty dictator.” - Columbia U. President Lee Bollinger!
Sounds like Bollinger was rougher.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
McQ, academia doesn’t owe anything to tyrants. Academia only owes to itself the need to live up to its value of free discourse and free speech. To word it as "owing something" shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the issue at play. And, to be sure, part of it is engaging the other side, which it sounds like the President of Columbia did. He sure didn’t sound like he was paying off some kind of debt now, did he? Perhaps you need to reconsider your premise.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Academia should be completely open to free speech. Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric hasn’t been all that more bombastic than some of President Bush’s, and clearly you don’t want academia to be in the business of determining what is politically correct. That means that notable speakers, whether fascist, leftist, communist, libertarian, or whatever should be listened to, and their arguments countered on the grounds of evidence and logic. To dismiss anyone by a gauge of political correctness or societal consensus would be to undercut the fundamental importance of academic discourse.
A few things here:

First, comparing any American President, regardless of ideological perspective to someone like Ahmadinejad is intellectually dishonest, and it’s disgraceful hearing that, yet again, from a university professor. I get my fill of that in classes, sir, and can only suffer having my intelligence mocked so much. I kindly ask you to think before you write. Your degree wasn’t written with crayon, kindly reflect that.

Secondly, logic must also be tempered with common sense: the purpose of free speech in academia is the free flow of uncensored information in an intellectual forum to discuss ideas and philosophy for an ends. Can you kindly explain to me what ends, exactly, is fulfilled with this guy speaking in a forum such as Columbia University? What does this guy have to offer that people like, say, Hitler or Stalin haven’t already contributed and shown in full effect? What ’debate’ can be had, honestly, with a man that turns undeniable fact such as the holocaust into an oppinion? You’d sooner have an intellectual discussion with a baboon and you’d probably get just as much out of it.

Spare me: if you want to have ideological debate, invite George Soros and Bill O’Reilly to duke it out. Have Geraldo and the founder of the Minutemen go at it. Get Bill Buckley, Jr and George Stephonopolis in the same room. But don’t presume to try to paint a blatant political stunt by an avowed enemy of our state into a question of ’Academic Speech’. I’m not buying.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Which also begs the question: if Osama bin Laden where to ask Columbia University for a platform to speak his ’philosophy’, given the very loose guidelines given to us by Professor Erb and CU, that would mean that Bin Laden would be able to speak at Columbia because of the ’tough questions the students and staff would pelt him with.’

Give me a break. It’s reasons like this that no one takes academia serious anymore. They have their noses so far up in the air it’s a hazard for birds.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Joel C. You make accusations about comparing rhetoric of two Presidents, but you don’t give any substance or evidence, just name calling. Of all that I wrote, that one comparison seems to have ruffled feathers. But the point is you have to look at his rhetoric and then look at how Bush’s rhetoric would seem to people in the Mideast, or to leaders of states like Iraq and Iran. You can argue that Bush’s tough rhetoric was justified or based on a desire to expand liberty while Ahmadinejad’s is based on fanatical superstition, and I think you’d make a good case. But you need to understand how we are heard by others who don’t think like us — anything else causes us to fall into a trap of thinking it’s self-evident that we’re good and others are bad.

Second, one end filled by this speech was he was effectively engaged by Columbia’s President, who challenged him on a number of fronts. Also, you can’t decide that only speech that serves political ends is allowed — that determines the ends ahead of time based on a political agenda. The goal of free speech is to get as many voices heard as possible, listen to different ideas, engage and argue against different ideas and in all expand knowledge and understanding. You can’t do that if you set up a political set of criteria on what is allowed.

And, of course, the President of Columbia University aggressively challenged the President of Iran on a number of fronts, in a tough, public manner aimed as much for the Iranian audience (and thanks to globalization, they’ll hear about this) as our own. That was a politically significant act, and one that represents what academia should be about — free discourse, with a willingness to challenge viewpoints as well as listen to them.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Joel, I’d let Osama talk, but make sure that the cops are there too, ready to haul his a$$ to jail as soon as he finished (and, given he’s a criminal, I’d not complain if they interrupted him!)

(Your last comment is ironic — if nobody took academia seriously, this discussion wouldn’t be happening!)
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Sounds like Bollinger was rougher.
So Bollinger called him names and Ahmadinejad propagandized.

And that passes for "debate and discussion?"
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Academia owes to tyrant what tyrants won’t give to academia?

Yeah. That’s called "having a moral philosophy".

Your answer is to have academia imitate them. Some people call that a form of flattery.

The Iranian present admitted the Holocaust happened today, which can only be seen as a victory over anti-holocaust propaganda, and frankly, for arab-israeli long-run peace. That’s unlikely to have happened in Teheran.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
So Bollinger called him names and Ahmadinejad propagandized.
Oh, come on, McQ, admit for once you were wrong. You thought this was some kind of propaganda coup for Ahmadinejad, but Bollinger did far more than call names, he raised real challenging questions and issues.

Face it, your attempt to demand academia be "politically correct" is contrary to both libertarian and academic values. Admit you got this one wrong.

 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Yeah. That’s called "having a moral philosophy".
Uh no, it is precisely what Judea Pearl called it:
... Western intellectuals overextending two-sidedness to reckless absurdities, it reflects nothing but lazy conformity.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
[The President of Columbia] sure didn’t sound like he was paying off some kind of debt now, did he?
Is it just a coincidence that Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh, a Ph.D. graduate of Columbia, was just released from an Iranian prison?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
The Iranian present admitted the Holocaust happened today, which can only be seen as a victory over anti-holocaust propaganda, and frankly, for arab-israeli long-run peace. That’s unlikely to have happened in Teheran.
Perhaps that’s the reason some don’t like this sort of thing. For some it’s politically expedient to keep an opponent as a caricature, someone you can mock and selectively quote. To give that person a chance to respond to questions and challenges risks humanizing him and perhaps even creating an opportunity to pressure and develop peaceful ways of settling disputes. Perhaps that’s what worked during the Cold War.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
One of many obvious differences between Hitler in 1939 and Iran now is that Iran has no plans to invade anyone. Nor is the Iranian regime engaged in mass killings to anyone’s knowlede. Ahmadinedjad isn’t even a Synghman Rhee, much less a Pol Pot or a Stalin. Iran’s human rights record, violations and all, is better than our friends in Egypt and Saudi Arabia
.

Oh my, how good that via history we can determine what Hitler had planned in 1939 so we can see the differences between NAZI Germany then and their plan THEN and Iran’s plans for the future.

And Dr Erb, after seeing the Swift Boat ’liars’ vs Dan Rather discussion yesterday, I’m certainly not surprised he can make the comparison needed to equate Bush and Ahmadinedjad.

Tyranny in academia - sorta like charity, it begins at home.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Go read the post on moral equivalance and get back to us.
Accusations of ’moral equivalence’ are often used as cheap rhetorical devices to avoid confronting some of the immoral actions beind done in our name. When one avoids anothers’ argument and simply responds by charging ’moral equivalence,’ it’s usually a lazy way of saying "I don’t want to think about the implications of what you’re saying."
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
And Dr Erb, after seeing the Swift Boat ’liars’ vs Dan Rather discussion yesterday, I’m certainly not surprised he can make the comparison needed to equate Bush and Ahmadinedjad.
I have an opinion on the swift boaters attempt to smear a decorated American veteran for political purposes. But if they wanted to come to my campus and speak, I would be polite, I would support fully their right to speak without interruption or attempts to silence them, and, like Bollinger today with Ahmadinejad, I’d have some tough questions prepared should I get the chance to ask them. I would be polite, however — at that kind of forum I would not call them liars (academic forums are different than blog commentaries, obviously), though I might ’doubt their intellectual honesty’ like Bollinger did with Ahmadinejad today.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Perhaps that’s the reason some don’t like this sort of thing. For some it’s politically expedient to keep an opponent as a caricature, someone you can mock and selectively quote.
Want to discuss his view of the ’problem’ of homosexuality which he says doesn’t exist in Iran Doc?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Scott Erb:
For some it’s politically expedient to keep an opponent as a caricature, someone you can mock and selectively quote. To give that person a chance to respond to questions and challenges risks humanizing him and perhaps even creating an opportunity to pressure and develop peaceful ways of settling disputes.
I wonder if U. Teheran would cordially invite Mr Bush or Shimon Peres or Pope Benedict for some lively debate critical of Iranian policy, so they can see our side of the story. After all, that’s what academic discourse is all about. Maybe they could even allow a state visit to the Fountain of Blood, so we can pay tribute to their war dead!
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
it’s usually a lazy way of saying "I don’t want to think about the implications of what you’re saying."
If you really believe that, then you’ve once again demonstrated just how shallow you really are.

For example:
Ahmadinejad’s opinion about Israel is the same as that of much of the Arab world, including our Saudi allies
And the Saudis are building nuclear weapons against the wishes of the international community you look to so often?
He expressly said that Iran would not attack Israel to make that happen.
Well, never mind then. It’s not like Iran has a history of supplying training, arms, and finances to anyone attacking Israel.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Accusations of ’moral equivalence’ are often used as cheap rhetorical devices to avoid confronting some of the immoral actions beind done in our name. When one avoids anothers’ argument and simply responds by charging ’moral equivalence,’ it’s usually a lazy way of saying "I don’t want to think about the implications of what you’re saying."
Show me a speech where GW says we ought to ’wipe (country-x)’ off the map.
Then get back to us on the moral equivalence thing, you were the one who said these two leaders were essentially the same in terms of ’bombast’.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Joel C. You make accusations about comparing rhetoric of two Presidents, but you don’t give any substance or evidence, just name calling. Of all that I wrote, that one comparison seems to have ruffled feathers.
Because you’re attempting to morally equate a ruthless dictator who’s oppressing millions of people, murdering dissenters, killing American soldiers, and trying to cause a civil war in a neighboring country to an American President. If you cannot see the absurdity in that, then I feel very, very sorry for you and your students.
But the point is you have to look at his rhetoric and then look at how Bush’s rhetoric would seem to people in the Mideast, or to leaders of states like Iraq and Iran.
Oh? How can you even begin to make a comparison? Our Administration is open to blatant criticism every single day by anyone in this country, his policy under constant scrutiny and his very person mocked. Can you imagine what would happen to the poor sap(s) who would even dare think about doing that in Iran?
Fact is everything that comes out of the American press is biased liberally, but it’s still free. Information in the Middle East is first screened and then filtered and changed to suite the politics and desires of the despots who rule the region. We could say ‘what nice people’ and they’d turn that into an insult.
You can argue that Bush’s tough rhetoric was justified or based on a desire to expand liberty while Ahmadinejad’s is based on fanatical superstition, and I think you’d make a good case. But you need to understand how we are heard by others who don’t think like us — anything else causes us to fall into a trap of thinking it’s self-evident that we’re good and others are bad.
Because some things are really that self evident: he’s an evil bastard intent on murder and genocide and we’re not. It really is that simple. I’m sorry, but if you mean to tell me that genocidal fanaticism is just as rationally and acceptable as the philosophy of freedom and democracy, I’m calling you a fool.
Second, one end filled by this speech was he was effectively engaged by Columbia’s President, who challenged him on a number of fronts. Also, you can’t decide that only speech that serves political ends is allowed — that determines the ends ahead of time based on a political agenda.
What other reason is there for a politician to speak…anywhere? It’s a fact that his speech will serve no other purpose than political ends.
But even then, my question was just about political ends, it was open ended. What’s do we get out of the free flow of ideas when we already know them to be wrong? What does a person who’s preaching genocide have to offer us? We have to be open to the idea that maybe, just maybe, he’s onto something. That’s the flaw in your argument.
The goal of free speech is to get as many voices heard as possible, listen to different ideas, engage and argue against different ideas and in all expand knowledge and understanding. You can’t do that if you set up a political set of criteria on what is allowed.
It isn’t political, it’s simple right and wrong! You HAVE to draw a line somewhere. Why is it they don’t hold forums for the KKK or the Aryan Nation? Because there is no intellectual discussion there, just hate filled rhetoric. We don’t invite them to speak at forums which legitimize them because it’s well established and a universal truth that they are wrong. How are they any different than this clown?
And, of course, the President of Columbia University aggressively challenged the President of Iran on a number of fronts, in a tough, public manner aimed as much for the Iranian audience (and thanks to globalization, they’ll hear about this) as our own.
If you believe that then I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I’d like to sell you. I’d like to you keep in mind the level of poverty and control that the Iranians have over their people. The general public will never hear a word of this that isn’t filtered through the government.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Joel, I’d let Osama talk, but make sure that the cops are there too, ready to haul his a$$ to jail as soon as he finished (and, given he’s a criminal, I’d not complain if they interrupted him!)
And how is Ahmedinjad not criminal? He’s currently breaking multiple international statues, including the one about Genocide.

But I’ll tell you what; if he’s arrested after he speaks at CU, then I’ll retract my statement. Fair enough?
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
I posted:
Want to discuss his view of the ’problem’ of homosexuality which he says doesn’t exist in Iran Doc?
Correction - he didn’t use the word ’problem’ he used the word ’phenomenon’.
And the Iranian leader denied that homosexuality existed in his country when asked to explain the execution of homosexuals in Iran.

"In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country," he said, to laughter and boos from the audience. ’In Iran we do not have this phenomenon. I don’t know who’s told you that we have this."
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Perhaps that’s the reason some don’t like this sort of thing. For some it’s politically expedient to keep an opponent as a caricature, someone you can mock and selectively quote. To give that person a chance to respond to questions and challenges risks humanizing him and perhaps even creating an opportunity to pressure and develop peaceful ways of settling disputes. Perhaps that’s what worked during the Cold War.
BS. This Chaimberlainian style of thought is not only absurd, it’s downright dangerous.

Last time someone thought the way you did against an enemy like this had any real power, the Germans had siezed control of 3/4’s of Europe and were systematically killing Jews.

...which is funny, when you think that if you replace ’Europe’ with ’The Middle East’ you will have the exact same situation if those with your thought are ever given the reins.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Erb, unfortunately I think you’re wrong when you claim that these challenging questions will be reported in Iran. Sure, you’ll have some Internet users who will pick up on the exchange, but the media has totally capitualted to the hardline regime and absolutely won’t report anything that reflects poorly on A-job’s visit.

I would like to be wrong here but that will require a pretty quick about-face from the regime.

 
Written By: spongeworthy
URL: http://
Academic free speech, period. Unless you’re specifically calling to violence, don’t censor people.
What a sophomoric statement! Ahmadinejad has many ways to make his views known. He’s not being censored.

Failure to provide a megaphone isn’t the same things as taping his mouth shut.

Besides, Ahmadinejad has called for violence, and continues to do so.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
Joel, no I’m only comparing rhetoric. I’m not comparing them on moral terms or their ideologies. You read far too much into what I wrote, what you claim I said is simply not there.

I also doubt that Ahmadinejad is intent on genocide and murder. You’ve gone off the rhetorical deep end there. You seem to be emotionally reacting rather than thinking through the issues. Also, you have your view of right and wrong, others have different views — and you obviously make snap judgements about others without listening to them. That’s why people like you — or me, or anyone — should not be allowed to determine a political correctness measure about speech. Unless we keep the forums open and allow free speech and challenges to ideas, you cannot assume or stipulate that your view is accurate. Also, you need to back up your charges against Ahmadinejad. What statutes is he breaking? What proof do you have? Where is he committing genocide? You’re being absurd. It sounds like his speech was interesting too — not just hate filled rhetoric. I don’t agree with the guy, and am glad the President of Columbia challenged him forcefully, but you seem to be assuming him to be some kind of devil on very flimsy evidence (and a misunderstanding of Iran’s political system — he doesn’t have a lot of personal power, that rests with the Guardian Council and the Supreme Leader, as well as the elected Majles).

You don’t like the guy’s ideas (or what you imagine them to be) so you would prefer to silence him. But unless we listen to and think about the variety of ideas, we’ll not be able to solve the world’s ills. We have to understand how different people think and communicate, only then can we avoid bloody confrontations.

And when you start going into Germany and WWII, you’ve essentially given up any claim to have any logic in this argument.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Steverino, please state precisely how Ahmadinejad has called for violence? He hasn’t called for violence against Israel, and rejected any Iranian effort against Israel (you and I might not believe him, but that’s what he said). When we call for or engage in violence, does that mean our leaders should be shouted down or not allowed to speak? Many on the left have made that arugment, I disagree with them for the same reason I disagree with you on this. Also, we show the world something great about ourselves when we allow this kind of exchange. We are better than those who would prefer to silence someone not ’politically correct.’ We engage them, allow them to speak, and ask tough questions. That’s a sign of strength; being afraid to let him speak or giving in to political pressure would be weakness.

Oh, spongeworthy, I agree Iran itself won’t report this, but I think satellite dishes and other things are ubitquitious enough that this will be widely known. I’ll ask an Iranian friend and see what he thinks.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
And when you start going into Germany and WWII, you’ve essentially given up any claim to have any logic in this argument.
Yeah, you do that, and you’ll have to discuss this whole Holocaust thing that didn’t happen, or may not have happened, or needs MORE research, and anyway isn’t the fault of the Palestinian people.


"That wiped off the map thing, heh heh, I really meant, we would erase the name and come up with a different one, like, how about, Hymie-stan maybe" said Ahmedinedjad while he sipped a gin & tonic later at an impromptu gathering at a well known New York strip-club.

Is that what you think he has in mind doc? Is that what you think he means when he gives a speech to his people and says Israel should be wiped off the map?

Keep dancin Nijinksky.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
I have an opinion on the swift boaters attempt to smear a decorated American veteran for political purposes.
You mean by telling the truth as they remembered it, one much better supported (by documentary evidence) than what was seared in Kerry’s memory?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://tomdperkins.blogspot.com/
For some it’s politically expedient to keep an opponent as a caricature, someone you can mock and selectively quote. To give that person a chance to respond to questions and challenges risks humanizing him and perhaps even creating an opportunity to pressure and develop peaceful ways of settling disputes. Perhaps that’s what worked during the Cold War.
Oh my God you are a fatuous idiot. Yeah, right. The rope to hang ourselves with bit, the shoe banging—everything from crushing Hungary to the Afghani invasion and the "openness" seen re Chernobyl—these things gave us all these appropriately tender feelings for the Soviets.

That’s what ended the Cold War.

Your continued paid employment boggles the mind.

Wait...

You’re trolling. Gotta be.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://tomdperkins.blogspot.com/
I also doubt that Ahmadinejad is intent on genocide and murder.
The only plausible means in the foreseeable context to his declared end—that Israel not exist—is the use of a great many nuclear bombs against that nation. His nation at his direction is ignoring the will of most of the other nations in the world—as expressed by the UN and many other bodies—in order to acquire not merely the technological means of creating the weapons, but the also fissionable material to do it.

There is no credible purpose for this given the alternatives open to him but that he wants to equip his nation with nuclear weapons and employ them against Israel.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://tomdperkins.blogspot.com/
Steverino, please state precisely how Ahmadinejad has called for violence? He hasn’t called for violence against Israel, and rejected any Iranian effort against Israel (you and I might not believe him, but that’s what he said).
There’s this bunch of thugs called Hezbollah, you may have heard of them. They shoot Israeli civilians with Iranian rockets.

I suppose you find no pertinent fact in that which contradicts you.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://tomdperkins.blogspot.com/
Steverino, please state precisely how Ahmadinejad has called for violence?
I’ll answer that when you explain how "axis of evil" is threatening, and then correct your error on "with us or against us".

Here’s a hint: "Death to Israel"

While you’re at it, check out some links:

From CNN:
Hezbollah, which enjoys substantial backing from Syria and Iran, is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and Israel. The group holds 23 of the 128 seats in Lebanon’s parliament.
While I’ll grant you that providing backing for an organization that commits hundreds of terrorist attacks against Israel isn’t technically calling for violence against Israel, it’s hard to argue that Ahmadinejad wants to peacefully coexist with Israel.


Here’s another cite that destroys your argument:
"Do the removal of Israel before it is too late and save yourself from the fury of regional nations," the ultra-conservative president said. He once again called the Holocaust a "fairy tale" and said Europeans have become hostages of "Zionists" in Israel.
And finally, here’s a video

NOW will you admit that Ahmadinejad has called for violence to Israel as well as the US?
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/

Accusations of ’moral equivalence’ are often used as cheap rhetorical devices to avoid confronting some of the immoral actions beind done in our name. When one avoids anothers’ argument and simply responds by charging ’moral equivalence,’ it’s usually a lazy way of saying "I don’t want to think about the implications of what you’re saying."


Or in the case where I called you out on it, 100% accurate and correct and called for.

You’ve spent this thread comparing things Bush says like Axis of Evil to what Crazy Joe Iran (not caring enough to spell his name) says about wiping a country off the map.

So either stop trying to weasel around this and basically lie about it, or have the decency to ignore the point and try to pull this oily used-car salesman act on someone who isn’t paying attention to your bulls**t.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Accusations of ’moral equivalence’ are often used as cheap rhetorical devices to avoid confronting some of the immoral actions beind done in our name. When one avoids anothers’ argument and simply responds by charging ’moral equivalence,’ it’s usually a lazy way of saying "I don’t want to think about the implications of what you’re saying."
PS- You know what a cheap rhetorical device is? EXACTLY WHAT YOU WROTE ABOVE. You try to dismiss what I wrote while wrapping yourself in an academic, above it all patina.

It doesn’t work here Scotty. You may teach up at some useless moose college, but don’t ever for a second think you’re not among your intellectual betters here, no matter what kind of snotty front you put on in your posts.

You’d rather not address my point so you seek to be lazy and dismiss it. You project more than a 20plex camera.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
When we call for or engage in violence, does that mean our leaders should be shouted down or not allowed to speak? Many on the left have made that arugment, I disagree with them for the same reason I disagree with you on this.
I never said that someone calling for violence shouldn’t be allowed to speak. Those were glasnost’s words, take it up with him. And next time, read for comprehension.
and rejected any Iranian effort against Israel (you and I might not believe him, but that’s what he said).
Words are one thing, actions are another. It’s easy to say "don’t attack Israel" while simultaneously providing cash, weapons, and logistical support to organizations that do attack Israel. Given his support for proxies like Hezbollah, do his words mean anything at all? And if they don’t, why are you using them as an example?

It took me less than 5 minutes to find 3 references where he’s calling for violence against Israel....why didn’t you bother looking?
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
being afraid to let him speak or giving in to political pressure would be weakness.
God, what sophistry! It’s not that we’re afraid of letting him speak, it’s that his views are so morally repugnant that we refuse to dignify them.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
Damn, Erb. Have you checked the bottom of your shoes lately? Seems like you really stepped in it this time. Not that you haven’t stepped in it in the past - defending the likes of Juan Cole, Jimmah Carter, John Murtha and all. But this time you accuse others of exactly what you did yourself to start all this ugly mess - moral equivilence! Remember this?
Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric hasn’t been all that more bombastic than some of President Bush’s
Back where I come from that is called "the deep end of the pool"! And your backstroke sure needs some work, there Doc.
You’ve gone off the rhetorical deep end there.
Now that surely put him in his place and now he should tow the line, wouldn’t you say! Jeez, Doc. Cut us some slack here.
I have an opinion on the swift boaters attempt to smear a decorated American veteran for political purposes.
And I have an opinion that anybody with a military record like Kerry should take care when basing his nomination on "Reporting for Duty!" I would like to believe Kerry’s record is better than that but, if so, why doesn’t he release it for the rest of the world to see? He stated on at least two public occasions to do so and hasn’t yet. Go figure.
He expressly said that Iran would not attack Israel to make that happen.
And if that be true, Doc, then why are so many Iranian missiles pointed at Israel and the head of their Air Force stating that any attack on Iran will be responded to with missiles flying on Israel. You see, Doc, you may be able to say:
He hasn’t called for violence against Israel, and rejected any Iranian effort against Israel
’Cause you don’t have a dog in that fight. But I don’t think anybody in Tel Aviv will be sleeping any sounder knowing that is what you believe.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Scott Erb wrote:
"The swift boaters have been thoroughly debunked and shown to be dishonest."

So was John Kerry in Cambodia Christmas of 1968 (as was seared into his memory)?

As per the ’No Man Left Behind’ narrative, did the all the boats flee the scene while John Kerry came back?
 
Written By: anonymous
URL: http://
Glasnost: One of many obvious differences between Hitler in 1939 and Iran now is that Iran has no plans to invade anyone. Nor is the Iranian regime engaged in mass killings to anyone’s knowlede.
How do you know about Iranian plans?

And, the Nazis didn’t commence the Holocoust until 1942. In 1939 the Nazis did engage in a number of small mass killings, but these were not known to the outside world at the time, as far as I know. The Soviet mass murder of Poles was more significant.

On the other hand, there is the matter of Iranian support for Hezbollah.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Anonymous: John Kerry himself admitted he had the date wrong. That’s very common in trying to remember specific times and places, getting little details like that wrong happens in memoirs all the time (just compare memoirs from people of different administrations). A recent example is George Tenet remembering a meeting with I believe Richard Perle when Perle was out of the country. The conversation probably happens, he remembers it in a meeting, but got the date and time wrong.

Now, since everyone gets memories wrong, it’s easy to cherry pick "this was wrong" and try to claim this means everything was wrong. But that is dishonest, and clearly that’s not enough to verify the smears against Kerry. In fact, the very attempt to take something Kerry already recognized was an error and use that one thing shows that there is little in the substantive claims that can be defended.

SShiell: heavy on assertions, but you’re short on evidence. Also, Israel has a number of nuclear weapons and has made direct threats on Iran. So by your own standards, the Israelis are as bad as the Iranians. It’s politics, two sides distrust each other and want to deter each other.

Steverino, I see you can’t support your argument so you equate Iranian support for Hezbollah as being the same as ’calling for’ violence against Israel. Weak, very weak. Then a video (do I trust the translation) which claims that people around the Muslim world are shouting "death to Israel" equals a call for violence, when he explicitly says he doesn’t want violence. No, it’s not the same.

Note: even if Iran gets nuclear weapons, Israel has hundreds and better delivery systems. The Iranians aren’t suicidal, they know they can’t wipe out Israel, they know Israel can wipe them out. It’s posturing, it’s political games. You gotta start engaging people and not overreacting to internal red meat rhetoric. Yes, Hezbollah is a problem. That’s part of why we have to try to engage in the region, it’s not like we can wipe them all out or use bombs to eliminate all the problems.

If you read "Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counter terrorism" there are interesting tidbits of how Iran and Syria have trouble controlling Hezbollah, that Ronald Reagan until the end considered Iran to be a potential friend despite their support for Hezbollah, and wanted to continue the dialogue. So you can take your rhetoric against me and apply it to Ronald Reagan — he was far more optimistic about dialogue with Iran than I am.

In any event, it was clearly a valuable event today to have that give and take with Ahmadinejad, and those who would cover their ears and say "don’t talk to him, he isn’t all sweetness and light" (as if we were ... oh, I forget, our killing and violence is OK because we’re not ’morally equivalent’ — so the innocents dead because of our actions don’t count, only those that can be tied to their actions) are shown to be wrong. This event made a difference, and was definitely a positive.

(Sorry for a hurried response to everyone, but it’s a busy evening.)
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
But Steverino (or anyone else), as Warren Meyer from Coyote Blog asks, does letting Ahmadinejad speak at Columbia confer any legitimacy on him? Really? Columbia? I’m not saying academics owe the man anything, but if he wants to speak, let any institution that wants to associate itself with Ahmadinejad do so. Let them give him a podium.

So he wanted to propagandize. If the jerk wants to come to America and show off what a lying loon he is for network television, so be it; I wish more jerks would do so. I think that his interviews and appearance at Columbia have done more to harm him than help him, and have helped to show the useful idiots in this country for what they are.

Think about it: how many times has America had this close a look at what a dissembling punk he is? He is so clearly evasive, and has such ridiculous answers to so many questions, that he’s digging his own hole and doing it all over the 24-hour news cycle. Take the following:
QUESTION: Mr. President, the question isn’t about criminal and drug smugglers. The question was about sexual preference and women.

(APPLAUSE)

AHMADINEJAD (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals, like in your country.

(LAUGHTER)

We don’t have that in our country.

(AUDIENCE BOOING)

AHMADINEJAD (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I don’t know who’s told you that we have it.

(LAUGHTER)
Classic.

And I say, (if I may switch metaphors) give people like him as much rope as they need. If anything, he should be first in a series, where we invite all the autocrats and thugs of the world to show off what an ideology of failure looks like, from the mouths of the people who put it in action. We’ll YouTube the idiots, maybe put a little news ticker under their talking heads showing what’s going on in the countries they have under their heels. It just might occur, to some of those with shorter attention spans or airy ideas of relativism, just what we’re dealing with.

And then, when somebody decides to associate himself (or his institution) with those thugs, he gets to deal with the consequences of that.

It would certainly look a lot better than giving the impression that "We’re afraid of what you might say, given the proper podium."
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
Scott Erb: I have an opinion on the swift boaters attempt to smear a decorated American veteran for political purposes.
Uh, Erb, get a clue. The Swiftees included lifelong Democrats (and some of the few veterans who supported Kerry were Republican).

The Swiftees hated Kerry because he smeared them back in the day. It was payback. He betrayed the team. They were not motivated by political purposes beyond that.

The veterans who stood by Kerry were those who served closest too him—those who’s loyality to Kerry outweighed his vile behaviour in betraying his fellow servicemen.

Aside from that, the Swiftees were right on Xmas in Cambodia, the First Purple Heart, and the Bronze Star. To my knowledge, they didn’t lie, and they certainly were not debunked.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Anonymous: John Kerry himself admitted he had the date wrong.
He wasn’t there. At least not while serving his country in uniform.

He lied.

Just like he lied for his first Purple Heart and his Bronze Star.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
when he explicitly says he doesn’t want violence
Erb also believes that there are no homosexuals in Iran.

Idiot.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Erb, you claim they have been thoroughly debunked. Yet then, when challenged, you admit they were correct, at least about some issues. John Kerry just got the date wrong, that was seared into his memory, on numerous occasions, including on the floor of the Senate. And then when he admits to getting the date wrong (which I pointed out to you several times previously), says he was running weapons to the Khmer Rouge (what was this, just another little detail he got wrong?)

So, were they thoroughly debunked, or were you just getting a ’little detail’ wrong?
 
Written By: anonymous
URL: http://
It would certainly look a lot better than giving the impression that "We’re afraid of what you might say, given the proper podium."
It has nothing to do with fear of what he might say.

He said pretty much what most expected he would say.

It has to do with legitimizing the man. He’s a terrorist. He should be shunned, not sought for ’speaking engagements’ (regardless of how ill mannered the hosts become after extending the invitation).
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
It has to do with legitimizing the man. He’s a terrorist. He should be shunned, not sought for ’speaking engagements’ (regardless of how ill mannered the hosts become after extending the invitation).
Yeah, and a lot of people have said similar things about American Presidents (you know, due to CIA covert acts, attempts to disrupt other states and impact their domestic politics, and actual acts of aggression against other states). But you know what — you are actually calling for us to somehow make a determination when political rhetoric is ’terrorist’ and thus should be shunned, or if it’s ’normal statescraft’ and be praised. For you it seems that comparing the acts of violence by the US with those of Iran are wrong because it implies ’moral equivalence’ between the two — that our acts of violence are OK because they have moral backing, while theirs have immoral ends and thus are to be condemned. The problem is that they would of course claim the same thing, and reject having themselves compared with America.

So you have two sides, each saying from their perspective they represent morality, and the other does not. You have two sides lying — Iran backs Hezbollah, but we also know that there are likely special operations and efforts to disrupt and spy on Iran, which we officially deny.

So you have two choices: a) simply assert that one side — ones own — is right and try to defeat and weaken the other side, and prevent it from being heard; or b) take a perspective that its best to listen to all sides and engage, and let the people compare and see the rhetoric and ideas for themselves. In academia we CANNOT simply assume we are right, we need to listen to all ideas and let the power of logic and evidence defeat bad ideas — not simply shunning them because we’ve labeled them a certain thing.

Moreover, in the real world where you can’t just shun and "delegitimize" world leaders and states, you have to deal with them and work out solutions. That meant Nixon sitting down with Mao, who committed atrocities and normalizing the relationship, even allowing China to take its rightful place on the UN Security Council. That meant dealing with former terrorists (even Menachem Begin had been a terrorists) to try to change situations - warmakers and terrorists can change their approach, and in the real world that can be useful.

So yeah, one can huff and puff and don a false air of moral superiority and claim that all these ’bad guys’ should be shunned. But that’s fake — it makes assumptions about moral superiority which are simply asserted and do not withstand real tough comparisons, and ignores the reality of the world and the need of communication. Moreover, it implies a political correctness standard that academia must not surrender too, no matter how much the partisans screech and yammer. The business of ideas is too important to surrender at the alter of political bias. And that goes just as much for those on the left as those on the right.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
It has nothing to do with fear of what he might say.

He said pretty much what most expected he would say.

It has to do with legitimizing the man. He’s a terrorist. He should be shunned, not sought for ’speaking engagements’ (regardless of how ill mannered the hosts become after extending the invitation).
Of course I trust that you’re sincere, and you’re right that this has nothing do with an "exchange of ideas" as Scott Erb has asserted. No exchange took place; Ahmadinejad won’t be taking any liberal concepts home with him.

Still, when you express disgust at the legitimacy conferred upon him by a speaking engagement at a prominent university, it gives the impression that you don’t want what he says to be legitimated, either. That’s exactly what some people took away from the disgust at Ahmadinejad. Whether or not you actually fear what he has to say.

And again, I think that when you deal with thugs like Ahmadinejad, keeping your enemies close (so to speak) and letting them make asses of themselves for your entire country to see has a value in itself. His obvious evasions to straightforward questions, his ignorance and his attitude all hurt him; as a result, I don’t know that Columbia conferred all that much legitimacy on him (despite what the Islamic Republic News Agency did with it), such that it was on balance good for him.
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
Steverino, I see you can’t support your argument so you equate Iranian support for Hezbollah as being the same as ’calling for’ violence against Israel. Weak, very weak. Then a video (do I trust the translation) which claims that people around the Muslim world are shouting "death to Israel" equals a call for violence, when he explicitly says he doesn’t want violence. No, it’s not the same
I knew you wouldn’t admit the truth. You are incapable of intellectual honesty.

First, I said:
While I’ll grant you that providing backing for an organization that commits hundreds of terrorist attacks against Israel isn’t technically calling for violence against Israel, it’s hard to argue that Ahmadinejad wants to peacefully coexist with Israel.
You completely sidestepped my point, that supporting terrorist proxies is one very short step removed from an outright call for violence. It’s not weak at all, despite your desire for it to be.

Second, you completely ignored the cite from The Bangkok Times. That’s a pretty strong indictment of Ahmadinejad’s intentions.

Finally, you refused to address my request that you show how "axis of evil" is threatening, and refused to correct yourself on "with us or against us".

You’re a fraud, a liar, and an intellectual coward.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
A colossal waste of time and money. Did anyone actually learn anything new from this mess? I knew beforehand that Ahmadoodah was an ignorant tyrant, and I also knew he would get a better reception at Columbia than Jeanne Kirkpatrick et al. All the idiots can pat themselves on the back and crow about how tolerant and open minded they are, the Iranians can complain about the rudeness of Bollinger and others, and Iran will continue developing nuclear weapons and supporting terrorists.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Seriously, Erb, you seem to be saying that as long as Ahmadinejad says he doesn’t want Iran to attack Israel he can support terrorist groups like Hezbollah — which do attack Israel — and Ahmadinejad isn’t calling for Israel to be harmed.

Is this really what you want us to believe? You’d have to be insane or completely brain dead to believe that anyone would buy into such an argument.


Let’s draw a lesson from history: Reagan never had US forces attack the Sandanistas in Nicaragua, but he funneled support to the Contras. Does this mean that Reagan never intended to harm the Sandanistas?
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
So yeah, one can huff and puff and don a false air of moral superiority and claim that all these ’bad guys’ should be shunned. But that’s fake — it makes assumptions about moral superiority which are simply asserted and do not withstand real tough comparisons, and ignores the reality of the world and the need of communication. Moreover, it implies a political correctness standard that academia must not surrender too, no matter how much the partisans screech and yammer. The business of ideas is too important to surrender at the alter of political bias. And that goes just as much for those on the left as those on the right.
OIC, so there’s no evil in the world just different points of view. If we just sit down with Ahmadinejad and treat him as an equal then he’ll reciprocate and deal with us in good faith. That’ll warm the cockles of those homosexuals in Iran (the ones that don’t exist) and allow the Israels to sleep peacefully at night. I can just see Prof. Erb declaring "Peace in our time!" while proudly holding up a document where Ahmadinejad professes no evil intent towards Israel.
 
Written By: Bob
URL: http://
SShiell: heavy on assertions, but you’re short on evidence.
OK, Erb. you wanted it. You got it. But before we begin, I would like you to remember your own words:
Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric hasn’t been all that more bombastic than some of President Bush’s
25 May 2007: "If this year you repeat the same mistake of the last year," the Iranian president intoned, "the ocean of nations of the region will get angry and will cut the root of the Zionist regime from its stem."

11 May 2007: "If the West does not support Israel, this regime will be toppled", Ahmadinejad told a student gathering in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta. "As it has lost its raison d’être, Israel will be annihilated", he said. He rejected international condemnation of his previous remarks about Israel, daring the West to end its support for the Jewish state.

March 1, 2007: Declares that the U.S. and Israel are behind every armed conflict everwhere. (Jerusalem Newswire)

January 23, 2007: During meeting with Syria’s foreign minister. U.S. and Israel "will soon come to the end of their lives." (Y Net News)

December 20, 2006: Declared that Britain, Israel, and the U.S. would disappear like the Egyptian pharoahs. (Iran Focus)

December 12, 2006: 2nd day of Iran’s infamous Holocaust (denial) conference in Tehran. Said that Israel "will be wiped out soon." (Jerusalem Post)

December 1, 2006: Doha, Qatar. Israel "on the verge of disappearing." (Jerusalem Post)

November 13, 2006: At council meeting with Iranian ministers. Declares Iran "will soon witness [Israel’s] disappearance and destruction." (Y Net News)

October 19, 2006: Called Israel the "greatest insult to human dignity." Said Israel must be removed from the Middle East and called the Holocaust a "fairy tale." (M&C News)

August 3, 2006: Said the solution to Middle East crisis is the destruction of Israel. Speech during “emergency meeting” of Muslim leaders in Putrajaya, Malaysia. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/03/AR2006080300629.html

July 22, 2006: Compared Israel to Hitler. "Just like Hitler, the Zionist regime is just looking for a pretext to launch military attacks."

May 11, 2006, in Jakarta, Indonesia: Said the "evil regime" of Israel will soon be "annihilated." (Iran Focus)

April 15, 2006: At opening of conference supporting the Palestinians. "Like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation . . . . The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm." Said that "existence of this (Israeli) regime is a permanent threat" to the Middle East, and that "[i]ts existence has harmed the dignity of Islamic nations."

February 11, 2006, in Tehran: Palestine and "other nations" will remove Israel from the Middle East. Holocaust is a "fairy tale." Warns that "harsh" measures against Iran’s nuclear program will result in Iran walking away from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. (Bangkok Post World Net Daily)

December 14, 2005: Suggested the Jews be relocated to Alaska. (Turkish Weekly)

December 8, 2005: Interview with Iranian state television’s satellite channel Al-Alam. Referred to Israel as a "tumor" and suggested it be relocated to Europe; also questioned the Holocaust. "If somebody in their country questions God, nobody says anything, but if somebody denies the myth of the massacre of Jews, the ‘Zionist’ loudspeakers and the governments in the pay of ‘Zionism’ will start to scream." (Turkish Weekly)

October 26, 2005, speaking at the "World Without Zionism" conference in Tehran:
"As the Imam [Ayatollah Khomeini] said, Israel must be wiped off the map."
"The Islamic [community] will not allow its historic enemy to live in its heartland . . . . anyone who signs a treaty which recognizes the entity of Israel means that he has signed the surrender of the Muslim world." (Al Jazeera) "There is no doubt that the new wave in Palestine will soon wipe off this disgraceful blot from the face of the world."
Anyone who recognizes Israel "will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation’s fury." (Jinsa Online )

October 2005: "The Zionist regime is counterfeit and illegitimate and cannot survive," he said in a speech to a crowd in the town of Islamshahr in southwestern Tehran. (Televised on Iranian state televison)

And on the 27th anniversary of the Islamic revolution he said: "We ask the West to remove what they created sixty years ago and if they do not listen to our recommendations, then the Palestinian nation and other nations will eventually do this for them" (bangkokpost.com)

So - you still with me there Erb? I’ll ask the questions one at a time:
1) You want to look over the above mentioned referenced quotes and tell me the citizens of Tel Aviv can sleep easy now, they have no reason to fear Iran?
2) You want to look over the above mentioned referenced quotes and tell me Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric hasn’t been all that more bombastic than some of President Bush’s?
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
1) You want to look over the above mentioned referenced quotes and tell me the citizens of Tel Aviv can sleep easy now, they have no reason to fear Iran?
2) You want to look over the above mentioned referenced quotes and tell me Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric hasn’t been all that more bombastic than some of President Bush’s?
Bush invaded a country and the result is tens of thousands of dead people, widows, orphans, and a lot of suffering. Ahmadinejad hasn’t done that. Actions speak louder than words.

You can cherry pick quotes, and I can find quotes of the ’axis of evil’ and similar things threatening other countries from Bush. But the bottom line is that Columbia University did the right thing both having him speak, and challenging him on things he’s said and what his government does. Iran is a major threat to regional stability, but that doesn’t mean we have to define the regime as unable to negotiate or talk with. We have to attempt communication — and in academia we have to listen to all points of view. You can apply tests of political correctness if you want, I won’t go that route.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
You can cherry pick quotes
Erb. you are so full of sh*t, it boggles the mind. "Cherry Pick" quotes? The referenced quotes came from a simple google search using "Ahmadinejad and the destruction of Israel" for the search parameters. 962,000 hits were returned and the referenced quotes were from only the first 100 hits. That’s really cherry picking that is!
But the bottom line is that Columbia University did the right thing both having him speak, and challenging him on things he’s said and what his government does.
And that wasn’t the issue.
Bush invaded a country and the result is tens of thousands of dead people, widows, orphans, and a lot of suffering.
Bush, all by himself, did all of that did he? Damn, he’s good! The issue was your use of moral equivilence, or should I say, your misuse. And the best you can do when confronted is:
You can apply tests of political correctness if you want, I won’t go that route.
No, being ths academic coward you are, you will just pick up you ball and bat and go home. See Ya!
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Bush invaded a country and the result is tens of thousands of dead people, widows, orphans, and a lot of suffering. Ahmadinejad hasn’t done that. Actions speak louder than words
OMG

http://hrw.org/englishwr2k7/docs/2007/01/11/iran14703.htm
http://web.amnesty.org/report2006/irn-summary-eng
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Ahmadinejad_alleged.JPG
I can find quotes of the ’axis of evil’ and similar things threatening other countries from Bush
Do so. Prove everyone wrong.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Erb. you are so full of sh*t, it boggles the mind.
*shrug* Clearly you are bothered by my opinions. Yet you don’t really argue against my points about academia and free discussion. You also ignore the points of how the US rhetoric and actions are perceived by other states and people, focusing instead on what I agree are rather absurd statements by Ahmadinejad — what we in America would call red meat political rhetoric. I don’t place near as much importance on that as you do, we’re dealing with another state and a leader, and hearing him answer tough questions is by definition good. He also learns our perspective, and I think his rhetoric and style is changing because of that.

But hey, if you want to ignore my points and call names, that’s cool. It’s not relevant to any argument and achieves no end except perhaps allowing you to feel good. You might find yourself learning more if instead of attacking other perspectives nad misinterpreting them (you seem to think I’m defending Ahmadinejad) you read carefully and engage in a forthright manner. Just a suggestion.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
So yeah, one can huff and puff and don a false air of moral superiority and claim that all these ’bad guys’ should be shunned. But that’s fake — it makes assumptions about moral superiority which are simply asserted and do not withstand real tough comparisons, and ignores the reality of the world and the need of communication. Moreover, it implies a political correctness standard that academia must not surrender too, no matter how much the partisans screech and yammer. The business of ideas is too important to surrender at the alter of political bias. And that goes just as much for those on the left as those on the right.

OIC, so there’s no evil in the world just different points of view. If we just sit down with Ahmadinejad and treat him as an equal then he’ll reciprocate and deal with us in good faith. That’ll warm the cockles of those homosexuals in Iran (the ones that don’t exist) and allow the Israels to sleep peacefully at night. I can just see Prof. Erb declaring "Peace in our time!" while proudly holding up a document where Ahmadinejad professes no evil intent towards Israel.
Since you are responding to me, I need to point out some real glaring errors in your post. First, nothing I wrote said there was no evil in the world. Rather, I argue that just because someone asserts someone else is evil doesn’t mean you just accept that. That leads to people of different cultures by definition defining themselves as good and others as evil. There is evil, but you don’t get it with moral pretense and refusal to consider different perspectives and ideas — and challenge them with logic and evidence.

Second, I have no illusions about Ahmadinejad and the Iranian guardian council. They were behind some major terrorist attacks in the 90s, Hezbollah is far more dangerous than al qaeda, and their strategic position on the straights of Hormuz give them the potential to do considerable economic damage. Now, we can bluster and don that air of moral superiority, or we can see, "it’s a tough world, we need to do what we can to see if these problems can be dealt with without it leading to major confrontation, because a huge war in the region could be devastating."

It amazes me that any attempt to say it’s possible to talk to a foreign leader and listen to their perspective gets equated with somehow thinking them harmless or friendly. Luckily, world history and American diplomacy virtually never deals in such stark contrasts. That’s why Ronald Reagan had an even more optimistic view on Iran than I do (again, your criticism could be applied to Reagan, who had a positive view of Iran in the 80s, despite their involvement in the Beirut bombings). The real world doesn’t fit nice neat blogger stereotypes.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
In other words, Erb will be avoiding all further requests to back up his statements with actual facts.

Run away, weasel boy.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
How’s that investigation into the internationalization of Iraq going, Erb?

Are you going to weasel out of YOUR wager and pretend you didn’t write it?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
What statements are you talking about JWG? Yeah, I’m not going to bother finding Bush’s old rhetoric, I don’t have time. I fully agree that this means people can dismiss my claim as unsubstantiated, and that’s fine. But it’s also a side issue compared to the real issue of academia allowing free discussion and the importance of engaging in dialogue with those of different perspectives. So I won’t be sidetracked into a debate about whose rhetoric is worse — I’ve stated my opinion (buttressed by the fact we’ve engaged in large scale violence) and people can reject it if they want.

But since you’re ignoring the fundamental issue, I’ll note that my points about the importance of academia allowing such discussion, and the benefits of engaging Ahmadinejad and confronting him with hard questions has not been refuted. I suspect the reason you focus on a side issue is that you don’t have an argument on the larger issue, except assertions about ’legitimizing’ (as if a world leader needs legitimation, or if a university can provide something of value on that front).
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I also doubt that Ahmadinejad is intent on genocide and murder. You’ve gone off the rhetorical deep end there. You seem to be emotionally reacting rather than thinking through the issues.
No, I’m actually quoting from the UN Convention on Genocide.

Article III. The following acts shall be punished: a) Genocide; b) Conspiracy to commit genocide; c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide; d) Attempt to commit genocide; e) Complicity in genocide.

Kindly note ‘b’ and ‘c’. Now, when he says ‘we’re going to annihilate Israel’ or ‘we’re going to wipe them off the map’…it’s very reminiscent of a certain Austrian Painter from the 1930’s. What his name again? Adolg? Adolt? Adolf! That was it!

Also, you have your view of right and wrong, others have different views — and you obviously make snap judgements about others without listening to them.
On the Contrary, I make snap judgements after listening to them. I don’t need to listen to much more when all I hear is ‘Death to America! Death to Isreal!’ funny thing about ‘death’…it’s pretty darn final and cannot be misinterpreted.
That’s why people like you — or me, or anyone — should not be allowed to determine a political correctness measure about speech. Unless we keep the forums open and allow free speech and challenges to ideas, you cannot assume or stipulate that your view is accurate.
What part of ‘Death to America’ can be misinterpreted? Give me a break, professor: you’re being sophomoric.
Also, you need to back up your charges against Ahmadinejad. What statutes is he breaking? What proof do you have? Where is he committing genocide? You’re being absurd.
Article III, sections B and C of the Convention of Genocide of the United Nations, December 9, 1948.
You can read his speeches where he calls for the death of the Jews and of Israel. That sounds like ‘intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group’, as defined by Article I of the same Convention.
You don’t like the guy’s ideas (or what you imagine them to be) so you would prefer to silence him.
That’s right, I would: Preferably with a bullet or a well placed bomb, because, unlike yourself, I do learn from the histories of the Holocaust and, unlike Ahmedinejad, would like to prevent it from happening again.
But unless we listen to and think about the variety of ideas, we’ll not be able to solve the world’s ills. We have to understand how different people think and communicate, only then can we avoid bloody confrontations.
Kinda hard to do that when he’s, ya know, killing American Soldiers in a proxy war.
And when you start going into Germany and WWII, you’ve essentially given up any claim to have any logic in this argument
Obviously not, since you clearly have no understanding of history or International Law, which leads me to seriously question your capabilities and credentials.
In this, I am quite serious: if you were my professor, I’d file a complaint with the board for incompetence.
Steverino, please state precisely how Ahmadinejad has called for violence? He hasn’t called for violence against Israel, and rejected any Iranian effort against Israel (you and I might not believe him, but that’s what he said).
According to WaPo:
‘Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday the solution to the Middle East crisis is to destroy Israel.’
That’s just one article. Google it, professor: you’re just being lazy and purposefully dense. I’m not doing anymore of your Homework for you.
When we call for or engage in violence, does that mean our leaders should be shouted down or not allowed to speak? Many on the left have made that arugment, I disagree with them for the same reason I disagree with you on this.
Except we haven’t called for Genocide, professor: stop trying to equate our intentions with their stated goals. This kind of moral relevancy is precisely what makes academia a laughable bunch of posh blowhards who are out of touch with reality.
Now, since everyone gets memories wrong, it’s easy to cherry pick "this was wrong" and try to claim this means everything was wrong.
You know, this could very easily be solved if John Kerry would have released his military records…
A great man once said "Trust, but verify"

SShiell: heavy on assertions, but you’re short on evidence. Also, Israel has a number of nuclear weapons and has made direct threats on Iran. So by your own standards, the Israelis are as bad as the Iranians.
Oh? Show me where Israelis have paraded in the streets shouting ‘Death to Iran!’ or ‘the solution is wiping Iran off the face of the Earth’…or even where Israel threatened to use nukes on Iran.
For one accusing others of rhetoric and assumptions, you seem very heavy on them yourself.
Note: even if Iran gets nuclear weapons, Israel has hundreds and better delivery systems. The Iranians aren’t suicidal, they know they can’t wipe out Israel, they know Israel can wipe them out.
…except you forget that with the fall of Soviet Russia, we have tons of unaccounted nuclear material floating around in the Black Market. Iran would never launch a direct strike against Israel because it can be traced.

However, supplying a terrorist group with a small nuke to martyr themselves with Israelis…kinda like they’re doing now with conventional bombs…? Ringing any bells?
Bush invaded a country and the result is tens of thousands of dead people, widows, orphans, and a lot of suffering. Ahmadinejad hasn’t done that. Actions speak louder than words.
Very true: Bush has also liberated 59,389,561 people, hasn’t called for genocide against anyone, stopped the oppressive regimes of two countries, and is currently trying to stop murders from killing more of the people you listed above.

Actions DO speak louder than words, professor.
You can cherry pick quotes, and I can find quotes of the ’axis of evil’ and similar things threatening other countries from Bush. But the bottom line is that Columbia University did the right thing both having him speak, and challenging him on things he’s said and what his government does. Iran is a major threat to regional stability, but that doesn’t mean we have to define the regime as unable to negotiate or talk with. We have to attempt communication — and in academia we have to listen to all points of view. You can apply tests of political correctness if you want, I won’t go that route.
Except what’s the point in talking with someone who isn’t interested in a serious debate? Or, better yet, explain to me how you communicate meaningfully with someone like the Iranians. how do you tell them ’Please, Mr. Mullah, stop killing innocence, American Soldiers, enslaving your women, etc’.

Ahmedinjad proved how frivolous and an utter waste of time this was for everyone involved: he didn’t answer a single question directly and only succeeded in proving what a dangerous buffoon he is: a dangerous buffoon in pursuit of nuclear weapons, mind you.

Professor, you’re dead wrong here: it isn’t even a question of opinion vs. opinion, it’s fact vs unintelligible drivel and poorly thought out phrases based solely on moral relativism.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
*ahem*

No answer to my questions, eh, Erb? Is that a yellow streak I see running up your back?
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
I’d also like to point out that while you have a Ph.D in Political Science and I am merely an undergraduate student in the same field...the roles here seem to be reversed. You’re the lazy one basing his argument on rhetoric while I’m the one citing international law.

Now, correct me if I’m wrong...but shouldn’t you KNOW this law?
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
I’ll note that my points about the importance of academia allowing such discussion, and the benefits of engaging Ahmadinejad and confronting him with hard questions has not been refuted.
Until you can show a real benefit from the confrontation, it is just another unsubstantiated opinion.

Pay up on your wager.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
I learned a very valuable lesson today. I read the following and thought Erb means what he says.
SShiell: heavy on assertions, but you’re short on evidence.
I decided I should provide for him some evidence. After a Google search for "Ahmadinejad and the destruction of Israel", 962,000 hits were returned, I reference 19 quotes from only the first 100 hits and the response was:
You can cherry pick quotes, and I can find quotes of the ’axis of evil’ and similar things threatening other countries from Bush.
Erb blew me off. I asked questions of him that he did not even deighn a response. I have to admit it angered me and being the perceptive devil he is, Erb responded:
Clearly you are bothered by my opinions.
Let me ’splain something to you, Doc. Your opinions bother me not one whit. The moral and intellectual superiority you surround yourself with bothers me. If you are representative of Academia in this country, then that bothers me.
We have to attempt communication — and in academia we have to listen to all points of view.
Except when that communication provides a point of view that interrupts your particular world vision. The day you quit looking down your nose at the rest of us humans is the day you are going to realize the sun doesn’t rise and fall on your opinion. McQ got it right a long time ago. I have had to learn this lesson the hard way. You superior attitude is not worth the effort to plunk on a keyboard so this is the last time I will respond to anything you have to say on any matter in this blog. Enjoy my silence.

See Ya!
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Joel, he explicitly said Iran would not use force against Israel. He also said that Jews and Arabs should vote democratically for who should rule Palestine. If you tried to make a case that he violated the genocide convention, you’d be laughed out of court. Seriously. When I first heard his quote reported, I thought it was a threat and in my blog I wrote that Iran should be threatened with UN explusion if he didn’t take it back. I later read the transcript and information about the translation, and realized that he was simply restating a view that almost every Arab state that hasn’t recognized Israel has stated. I still find his rhetoric inappropriate for the President of a UN memberstate, but to accuse him of violating the genocide convention is absurd. In short, he’s said nothing new. His rhetoric also pales in comparison to Mao’s anti-American rhetoric...but Nixon went to China anyway.

As far as your rambly tirade, and questioning of my ’credentials’ (by the way, I teach a course on international law), well, I simply have to laugh. You seem over the top in your rhetoric, and wrong on your basic assertions. I’d suggest you settle down, learn to be a bit more polite, and try to converse rather than attack. You might learn something.

You are absolutely right that Iran is helping arm militias in Iraq. You also should acknowledge that we have almost certainly had covert operations in Iran and have tried to subvert Iran’s government over the years. Iranian support of terrorism in the 80s and 90s (before Ahmadinejad, and before Reagan tried to entice them with his arms deals and friendship offerings to the Iranian leadership) and of Hezbollah creates a real source of instability. But while you can pontificate about how bad he is, that accomplishes nothing, and shows no real understanding of the complexity of the issue. You have to deal with reality, and the reality is that Iran is a regional power, our war in Iraq has at least in the short term benefited Iran, helped extremists recruit, and if not for our war, Ahmadinejad would almost certainly not have won the Presidential election in Iran. We’ve overstretched the military and have a very difficult situation to deal with. So we can’t pretend Iran doesn’t exist, we can’t cover our ears and say ’nanananananana.’ Better to engage, stating forcefully our perspective (as was done yesterday by Columbia University’s President) then retreating behind moral pretense.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
This has been interesting: I make a point on academia needing to listen to all perspectives, with a side point that Bush’s rhetoric has often been seen in the Mideast as being as bellicose as Ahmadinejad’s. Everyone jumps on that side point, posts the predictable Ahmadinejad quotes, and then somehow you SShiell want to claim that I’m ignoring this or it shatters my world view. If you’ve been reading my conversations here and in fact my own blog, you’ll know I’ve been pointing to Iran as the real regional threat for a long time, from the day Ahmadinejad has been elected. I noted that the worst aspect of the Iraq war was the way it empowered the right wing in Iran, who represent an Islamic fascism. My world view is one where the biggest threat to world economic stability and regional stability in the Mideast comes from Iran, and we need to take that seriously. Iran is our major foreign policy adversary right now, and an especially dangerous one. For you to assert that somehow this is foreign to me or shatters my world view is dishonest, since my own writing clearly posits a real Iranian threat, especially using Hezbollah proxies. Nothing I posted detracted from that point. You aren’t paying attention, and accusing me of things I never did.

Also, do you think I don’t know those quotes existed? I’ve been paying close attention to Iran since Ahmadinejad took power because I recognize the fundamental danger that regime poses to the region. His quotes are often like those from Tancredo, who has said we should consider nuking Mecca if terrorists strike again, over the top. And yes, I think his rhetoric has been far worse than that from President Bush. But Israel has hundreds of nukes and could easily stop Iran from ’destroying’ Israel, and the Iranians know it. You’re over-reacting to blustering red meat rhetoric (almost all of it too vague to be considered a direct threat) of the sort that you hear all the time in the Mideast, and not really considering the reality of the situation.

I suspect Iran’s right wingers do have a plot — some kind of destabilization by Hezbollah that will lead to an uprising by Palestinians. Clearly implementing this is not a sure thing: it would be controversial within Iran’s diverse governing circles, and something that a mix of threat and diplomacy might be able to mitigate (work for a peaceful resolultion, prepare for potential conflict). Having Ahmadinejad speak at a unversity campus can do no harm, and might do considerable good, especially if you recognize that humans are not caricatures and can learn and change.

 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Okay, trying one last time (but I know I won’t get an answer):

Erb, answer the following questions:

Exactly how was "axis of evil" threatening?

Will you admit you were wrong about Bush saying "you’re either with us or against us"?

Will you show how the following statement:
Do the removal of Israel before it is too late and save yourself from the fury of regional nations,
is not an intimation of violence?

Ahmadinejad says that he doesn’t want Iran to attack Israel and yet still supports terrorist organizations that attack Israel. Is it your position that Ahmadinejad really doesn’t want to harm Israel and wants to peacefully coexist with Israel?

Is it your position that Ahmadinejad has never called for violence against any country, not just Israel?

Will you correct yourself for attributing one of glasnost’s comments to me?

Do you have the smallest iota of honesty or courage?
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
*Erb Logic Alert*

Erb originally said:
Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric hasn’t been all that more bombastic than some of President Bush’s
Then he switches to:
with a side point that Bush’s rhetoric has often been seen in the Mideast as being as bellicose as Ahmadinejad’s
That’s not what you originally argued — and you can’t claim that’s what you originally said. You can’t run from your words — they are there for all to see.

Now the question remains:
Will Erb once again prove he is a weasel, or will he fulfill his wager from May?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
But Israel has hundreds of nukes and could easily stop Iran from ’destroying’ Israel, and the Iranians know it
That assumes Iran wants to survive the attack. Iran can still obliterate Israel, and go out in a blaze of glory. So, Israel’s nuclear weapons "prevent" Iran from destroying Israel only to the extent that Iran wishes to survive the encounter. MAD worked in the cold war only because both sides wanted to avoid destruction. But we’ve seen many Islamist fanatics destroy themselves just to destroy a few Israelis. During the first Gulf War, we saw Iraq lob SCUDs at Israel without any provocation. How much of a stretch is it to imagine an Islamic leader willing to sacrifice his nation for the "glory" of ridding the world of Israel?
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
By the way, from my blog from October 2005:

Take the statement by Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Israel should be wiped off the map. (I analyzed how US policy helped him win in Iran in my blog last June if you’re interested — click June 2005 above, go to June 24 and on). World reaction is rather vocal in its condemnation of Ahmadinejad, but it is just rhetorical. No one seems to be taken seriously calls to kick Iran out of the UN, or use this to impose some major sanctions. But that is the kind of thing we should be doing. We have to engage more forcefully such challenges to the international system with a united approach. If a United Nations member state’s Head of State claims another member state should be wiped off the map, and that is affirmed as official policy, then that state should not be in the UN. Period.

To do this effectively the US has to help lead and join a new ’coalition of the willing,’ but one that emphasizes concerted political and diplomatic action, and eschews the idea of military force in cases where it is not absolutely required. We should not be afraid to sanction or refuse to work with states who violate some basic norms of the international system, or who support and promote terrorism. That might mean tough questions regarding Saudi Arabia and others. It also means that although I remain very critical of Israeli policy, a clear message needs to be sent that while the Palestinians deserve a state consisting of most of the territory taken in the 1967 war, Israel’s right to exist must not be questioned, and the international community will defend that.


And June 27, 2005

Perhaps the most damaging result from the Iraq adventure is the impact US interventionism has had on Iranian politics. In the election held this weekend the hardliner, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, won a landslide victory.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/26/AR2005062601029.html

That, combined with the 2004 Majles election that put hardliners in power means Iranian politics has shifted to the right, and is more nationalist and conservative in their approach. This hurts the reform movement, and makes it less likely that Iran will be convinced to scrap its nuclear program. Moreover, with US forces stretched thin in Iraq, the Iranians know that the US is in no position to make any kind of military threat (and Iran could use its assets in Iraq to hurt the US if we tried). The turning point in Iranian politics from slow moves towards liberalism to a resurgence of the popularity of hardliners came after the US declared Iran part of the axis of evil. It is caused in large part by growing anti-Americanism in response to bombastic anti-Iranian rhetoric from the White House, and, of course, the US presence in Iraq.


Steverino, short on time, but I’ll try to hit the main points: Sorry if I attributed someone else’s comment to you, I didn’t mean to. Axis of evil was seen as a direct threat by the states listed, especially as regime change was embraced for one of the states. I think it was meant as a threat. You are right that support for terror organizations like Hezbollah threatens Israel, and in that can be seen as more important than his claims that Iran will not attack. I think it’s very important to deal with the Iran-Syrian-Hezbollah issue, that could destabilize the region. I thought Bush said you’re either with us or against us, are you saying he didn’t? (If it was earlier in the thread I apologize, I’ve been far too hurried, I’ll look back later). Finally, there is definitely an intimidation of violence, though I’d say Bush’s rhetoric had intimidations of violence as well (’everything is on the table, including military options’, etc.) Also, I will admit I was wrong in too directly comparing the rhetoric of Bush and Ahmadinejad. Bush’s bellicose rhetoric is often overlooked by Americans, but you are right that Ahmadinejad’s is worse.

Gotta run, sorry to be hurried.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
But Israel has hundreds of nukes and could easily stop Iran from ’destroying’ Israel, and the Iranians know it.
You’re aware you can pretty much drive the length and breadth of Israel in a day, right?

So, one well placed nuke in a truck is going to do what to a country that size? Or for that matter one bio device or one chem device.

MAD is not an option for Israel, Mr foreign affairs and policy expert, they have no ocean to buffer them, no massive continent to take refuge in.
and the Iranians know it
The Iranians know nothing of the sort - they’re preparing to take the US on and are probably convinced they can fight it to a draw precisely because we won’t go where they’ll go weapons wise and that we WON’T occupy their territory, that’s what the Iranians KNOW. They watched us play with Saddam from 1991 till 2003. They’re playing with us NOW, thinking we won’t actually do anything about the weaponry they smuggle to Iraq (or Afghanistan).

All the ’deeply regrets’ in the world won’t do much for the Israelis if someone detonates a WMD anywhere in their territory. And to top it off, the son’s of b!tch’s who do it, will probably blame the Jooooooooooos for any Arab casualties suffered as a result in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, and any damage to any holy places as well. Which is why I think they’ll lean towards chem and bio, followed by a ’quick’ Syrian/Hezbollah ground push, followed by cheers of ’Allah Akhbar’ all around, followed by internecine fights amongst the occupiers over the holy places, you can read about it my blog today... (yaddah yaddah yaddah).

It troubles me that you have a platform beyond the Internet to disseminate your views to impressionable minds.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Israel seems to think that Iran has threatened them:
Ahmadinejad has threatened the State of Israel with annihilation several times in recent months, and has recently added the US and Britain to the list of countries he says will be destroyed.
Just applying Erb’s logic here. Since Israel saw Ahmadinejad’s words as a threat, clearly Ahmadinejad threatened them.
I thought Bush said you’re either with us or against us, are you saying he didn’t? (If it was earlier in the thread I apologize, I’ve been far too hurried, I’ll look back later).
This was way up in the thread. Perhaps you shouldn’t step so deeply into the muck, you might find it easier to defend yourself.

Bush’s actual quote was "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." Text of the speech. Bush has often been misquoted on this point. The phrase "Those who are not with us are against us" came from Jesus (Matthew 12:30). Interesting that Jesus would be so belligerent....maybe He knew that there are some things that must be fought against.


I don’t agree that "axis of evil" was all that threatening. But I’ll concede that there are some evil nations who took it as a threat. Frankly, that’s a good thing. The only time evil backs down is when the good people fight against it.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
Erb, you claim they have been thoroughly debunked. Yet then, when challenged, you admit they were correct, at least about some issues. John Kerry just got the date wrong, that was seared into his memory, on numerous occasions, including on the floor of the Senate. And then when he admits to getting the date wrong (which I pointed out to you several times previously), says he was running weapons to the Khmer Rouge (what was this, just another little detail he got wrong?)
Of course, Kerry was lying about Cambodia. Not just lying about the date, but lying about being there at all.

But, WRT "Xmas in Cambodia", to claim that he "just got the date wrong" is willfully stupid. The date was a key aspect in the emotional appeal of Kerry’s lie. Which he repeated several times for political gain.

Does Erb not grasp this? Or does he grasp this, and willfully overlook it (i.e., lie)? Is Erb a lier or a fool?
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
(Quick note to Don: I referenced the Wikipedia article on Kerry and the swiftboaters, and it talked about Kerry likely being in Cambodian waters, and analyzed the swiftboaters smears, with cites and links. This — following links and cites — convinced me that Kerry was the victim of a vicious and dishonest attack, but I’ve learned on issues like this some of you are so absolutely sold by partisan rhetoric that it’s not worth discussing, sort of like abortion issues.)

On Iran: Some of you seem to be making the assumption that Iran will, if it gets nukes, automatically go after Israel, even though Israel will respond by utterly destroying the regime. You are commiting a fundamental error in foreign policy analysis: assuming an opponent to be suicidal and crazy. The Iranian foreign policy over the last 28 years has been not at all suicidal and crazy, but shrewd and patient. They will not risk their regime simply to take out Israel with nuclear weapons, weapons that will kill Palestinians as well as Israelis. Their goal for these weapons is twofold: deterrence, and to leverage themselves into being a dominant regional power. Iran sees itself competing in the region not so much with Israel, but with China and Russia for influence in Central Asia, and with the US for influence in the mideast. Nuclear weapons would assure no American inspired regime change, scare off Israeli strikes, and give them leverage with Russia and China. Of course, if the US or Israel attacks, they could well use whatever they have, though their delivery systems are poor.

Now, if you would like a more realistic scenario. There are three actors linked, but still able to act independently. Hezbollah is the most dangerous, supported by Iran and Syria (though controlled by neither — they’ll do what’s necessary to get Syrian and Iranian support), and virulently anti-semetic. Hezbollah’s goal, especially after Israel failed to critically weaken them in 2006, is to establish a base of operations in Lebanon that can join with Palestinian forces to launch an uprising against Israel. If Iran actively supports this at a far greater level than in the past, this could become an existential threat for Israel. At the same time, Syria’s goal is more focused: they want the Golan Heights back, and they worry about being overshadowed by Iranian power and Hezbollah. Iran is also considered a threat by the Sunni states, especially Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Sunnis in Iraq. There is a power struggle going on, with the Arabs resenting Iranian efforts to gain power in their region.

OK, this is dangerous stuff. But it’s not insane stuff, any practioner or student of power politics will recognize these kinds of situations.

US national interest is first, assure stable flow of oil so that the world economy does not get shocked into depression. Iran’s geostrategic position gives them the power to threaten that, but our massive military power gives us the capacity to deal a crushing blow to the Iranian economy. At this point, neither side believes it can benefit enough from acting against the other, so each are deterred. Iran does what it can get away with, which is to arm various militias in Iraq in order to assure that once the US leaves, the militias can prevent any kind of pro-American government from being established. They will probably succeed at that (which is one reason I favor partition).

Second interest: Find a way to create a Palestinian state that is viable, but does not threaten the security of Israel. President Bush has been clear on this as a priority almost since the beginning. This has proven difficult because the PA was immensely corrupt and lost popularity, while Hamas has refused to endorse the PA’s recognition of Israel’s right to exist. Hamas gets support from Saudi Arabia, and both are suspicious of Iran and Hezbollah. Hamas has also been under immense pressure, and knows they may not win the next election if they can’t make things better. So this is very difficult, but not impossible to improve. And, of course, Hamas wouldn’t want Palestine to be nuked by the Persians, nor would any Arab!

So yeah, tough problems, balances of power, competing interests, and some dangerous fundamentalism included. But Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric shouldn’t be overhyped. He lost a lot of clout because of that rhetoric in Iran, and he is not the one who would make a decision about any kind of military force. The power is with the Guardian Council and the Supreme Leader. And, in recent elections for the body who would choose the next Supreme Leader, Ahmadinejad’s party did very poorly, virtually assuring that an extremist will not be named to that position.

Looker, you are right that Iran considers themselves in a position of strength vis-a-vis the US, but you seem to think that means they want war with us. Bluntly, their military is not that dumb. They know that we can do considerable damage, and the things they would do to respond would undercut a lot of what they achieved in their effort to become a regional power. So it’s dangerous, but not something to panic about. Also, don’t forget that the Persians need to stress anti-Israeli rhetoric because they are trying to appeal for support from a largely Sunni Arab world, and this is one issue that can generate sympathy for Shi’ite Persians. Political rhetoric needs to be taken in context. Israel of course does not want Iran to become a regional power, and greatly fears (as they should) the Hezbollah-Syrian-Iranian nexus.

But if it comes to all out war, we’ll could well into economic depression as oil prices skyrocket, terror and extremism will spread, and Israel will be in more danger than in any of their 20th century wars with the Arabs. So we need both diplomacy/engagement and strength to try to avoid that happening.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Joel, he explicitly said Iran would not use force against Israel. He also said that Jews and Arabs should vote democratically for who should rule Palestine.

He’s also said he wants nuclear materials for peaceful purposes, and that there are no homosexuals in Iran, and that Iranian Women are among the freest of the world.
He’s said a lot of things.
If you tried to make a case that he violated the genocide convention, you’d be laughed out of court. Seriously. When I first heard his quote reported, I thought it was a threat and in my blog I wrote that Iran should be threatened with UN expulsion if he didn’t take it back. I later read the transcript and information about the translation, and realized that he was simply restating a view that almost every Arab state that hasn’t recognized Israel has stated.
…which only shows that most of those despots also want to annihilate the Jews. Again: there’s no real way to misinterpreted ‘Death to Israel’
I still find his rhetoric inappropriate for the President of a UN memberstate, but to accuse him of violating the genocide convention is absurd. In short, he’s said nothing new. His rhetoric also pales in comparison to Mao’s anti-American rhetoric...but Nixon went to China anyway.
Facts are facts: He is calling for the elimination of a religious/ethnic group and inciting people to do the same. Pointing to a similar situation in which we did nothing in the past is a logical fallacy: it doesn’t make what he’s doing any more justifiable. The law is pretty black and white there.
But your right: I will be laughed out of court, just like General Dallaire was ignored when he presented evidence of genocide.
And Mao was also a mass murdering schmuck who deserved the end of a noose: but Mao was also in a position that threatened a bigger enemy than China, the Soviets, in a time where we embraced a flawed system of ’the enemy of my enemy is temporarily my friend’. So, again, big difference.
As far as your rambly tirade, and questioning of my ’credentials’ (by the way, I teach a course on international law), well, I simply have to laugh. You seem over the top in your rhetoric, and wrong on your basic assertions. I’d suggest you settle down, learn to be a bit more polite, and try to converse rather than attack. You might learn something.
In this case, your mistaking criticism with rudeness and adding a touch of haughtiness: I find it amazing that a person with your credentials is making such basic, elementary mistakes, one which would earn you a complaint where I actually a student of yours paying for your class.
I gave no rhetoric: I’ve backed everything I said with facts, whereas you give us psychobabble and relativism coupled with justifications and rationalizations. My assertions are sound, seeing as I can cite academic sources with the same credentials you share, so that’s incorrect too.
Don’t mistake criticism and questioning with rudeness: that’s arrogant.
You are absolutely right that Iran is helping arm militias in Iraq. You also should acknowledge that we have almost certainly had covert operations in Iran and have tried to subvert Iran’s government over the years.
I do: and I would also like to remind you that Iran is a State Sponsor of Terrorism worldwide. Again: equating our actions to theirs is intellectually dishonest.
Iranian support of terrorism in the 80s and 90s (before Ahmadinejad, and before Reagan tried to entice them with his arms deals and friendship offerings to the Iranian leadership) and of Hezbollah creates a real source of instability. But while you can pontificate about how bad he is, that accomplishes nothing, and shows no real understanding of the complexity of the issue. You have to deal with reality, and the reality is that Iran is a regional power, our war in Iraq has at least in the short term benefited Iran, helped extremists recruit, and if not for our war, Ahmadinejad would almost certainly not have won the Presidential election in Iran. We’ve overstretched the military and have a very difficult situation to deal with. So we can’t pretend Iran doesn’t exist, we can’t cover our ears and say ’nanananananana.’ Better to engage, stating forcefully our perspective (as was done yesterday by Columbia University’s President) then retreating behind moral pretense.
And engage with them, how, exactly? We aren’t going to allow them to have Nukes, for obvious reasons. We aren’t going to allow them to gain dominance, for obvious reasons…so what are we going to ‘negotiate’ about?
Don’t be naïve.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
it talked about Kerry likely being in Cambodian waters
Well, except for all his crewmates (the ones actually on his boat) saying otherwise.
I’ve learned on issues like this some of you are so absolutely sold by partisan rhetoric that it’s not worth discussing
Yes, Erb is convinced of the TRUTH after reading a wiki article. Don’t bother him with any other data, please.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Erb seems to have plenty of time to write about Iran.

How much time do you think it would take him to fulfill his OWN wager?

Pay up.

Or are you admitting you are a weasel?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Looker, you are right that Iran considers themselves in a position of strength vis-a-vis the US
In your response you completely avoided anything dealing with the danger to Israel of any kind of use of WMD on their soil in a first strike situation.
You are also presuming the Iranians, apparently, are going to fly Iranian flags, stamp all their equipment ’made in Tehran’ in English, Farsi and Hebrew, and will declare war before they attack, as opposed to providing some nutjobs from Hezbollah, eager to become a martyrs with the WMD for delivery to Israel while the Iranians stand by and say "oh no, how awful! Snicker snicker". What they say is clearly a big deal to you. Despite all the little rants about actions speaking louder than words. That only seems to apply to the US of course.

Iran isn’t going to confront us, if a shooting war starts, it’ll end up being us that has to start it.
So, no hot war, and that is precisely what Iran figures on, and will continue to rely on.
We’re unlikely to get a Pearl Harbor moment from them, and they’re unlikely to offer to share the South West with Mexico in return for an attack on our southern borders.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Joel, Dallaire actually didn’t call it genocide for over a month, he said it took awhile for them to realize that it wasn’t just sectarian mass violence, but something that would be called genocide. Bodies were piling up.

Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric isn’t anywhere near enough to charge Iran or Ahmadinejad with violation of the UN convention. Here’s why: he is careful to use wording that calls for the end of a regime and replacement by a Palestine with democratic elections (or, he says, if the Jews believe they should have a state due to the holocaust, put it in Germany where the perpetrators were from, not in Palestine — he considers most of the Jews remnants of European colonialism). He says that Jews not only can participate in those elections, but also says that Jews and Christians, as ’people of the book’ are respected in Islam. Indeed, the Iranian parliament has special representation for their Jewish, Christian and Zoroasterian populations. So a charge of genocide simply could not be supported, even if you tried to define it very liberally (far more so than scholars of international law define it, which is very strictly limited).

You also seem to be yearning for a war with Iran. Be careful what you wish for. Besides the fact our military is overstretched, the Iranians can do severe harm to the oil markets if pushed. It’s also not clear we can stop them from getting nuclear weapons or becoming a regional power. You seem to be overestimating American military power and underestimating the ability of Iran to find ways around our tactics. Given that similar errors lead to fiascos in Kosovo and Iraq, it’s important to learn from past mistakes. We can do a lot of damage, but it would be far better to avoid conflict in the region.

I think you need to be more careful when you tell people they are ignorant or wrong; on this case, you’re the one with the wrong analysis and who has made factual errors.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Looker, the conventional wisdom is that Israel has plans for responding to a first strike WMD attack, and certainly that’s what the Arab world believes. The fact is, no matter how much Israel is hurt, Palestinians and Arabs will suffer greatly, and Israel can respond. And, of course, during the Cold War the danger to the US and the world of nuclear war was even greater.

JWG, you said something about a wager concerning October. You seem to think you’re right about something and seem awfully excited by that prospect. When October comes, I’ll look at the old thread and let you know what I think.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
(Quick note to Don: I referenced the Wikipedia article on Kerry and the swiftboaters, and it talked about Kerry likely being in Cambodian waters, and analyzed the swiftboaters smears, with cites and links. This — following links and cites — convinced me that Kerry was the victim of a vicious and dishonest attack, but I’ve learned on issues like this some of you are so absolutely sold by partisan rhetoric that it’s not worth discussing, sort of like abortion issues.)
Except that Kerry was never in Cambodian waters. His leaders never thought he was there, his log never indicated it, his shipmates knew they were not there, and at the time it would have been essentially impossible for Kerry’s boat to go to Cambodia without orders and without everyone on board knowing they were there.

It was a lie.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
When October comes, I’ll look at the old thread and let you know what I think.
Yes, because within 5 days the internationalization of Iraq will take place just as you predicted.

Weasel.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Well, Don, I’ve read differently, and looked up the cites. We have no choice but to simply disagree.

Here’s from the Wiki (you’ll have to go there to follow the cites, which appear solid):

No official documentation of any accidental or other incursion by either of Kerry’s boats has been discovered. In addition, none of Kerry’s crewmates have confirmed ever being sent to Cambodia. One of Kerry’s crewmen, SBVT member Steven Gardner [55], asserted that it was physically impossible to cross the Cambodian border, as it was blocked and patrolled by PBRs (a type of patrol boat) [56]; however, Kerry’s boat was evidently patrolling with PBRs during the mission in question [57]. Some crewmembers have, moreover, stated that they may at some point have entered Cambodia without knowing it. James Wasser, who was on PCF-44 on that December mission, while saying that he believed they were "very, very close" to Cambodia, did not recall actually crossing over; he also stated that it was very hard to tell their exact position in the border area. Kerry’s own journal entry on this, written the night of the mission, does not specifically say they entered Cambodia. However, it does state that PCF-44 was somewhere "toward Cambodia" to provide cover for two smaller patrol boats, and in sarcasm, that he considered messaging Christmas greetings to his commanders "from the most inland Market Time unit" and that a court martial for the incident "would make sense" [58]. In addition, George Elliott noted in Kerry’s fitness report that he had been in an ambush during the 24 hour Christmas truce, which began on Christmas Eve [59].

Michael Meehan, a spokesman for the Kerry campaign, responded to SBVT’s charges with a statement that Kerry was referring to a period when Nixon had been president-elect and before he was inaugurated. Meehan went on to state that Kerry had been "deep in enemy waters" between Vietnam and Cambodia and that his boat came under fire at the Cambodian border. Meehan also said that Kerry did covertly cross over into Cambodia to drop off special operations forces on a later occasion, but that there was no paperwork for such missions and he could not supply dates. [60]

Based on examination of Kerry’s journals and logbook, historian Douglas Brinkley placed the covert missions soon after Christmas. In an interview with the London Daily Telegraph, Brinkley stated that Kerry had gone into Cambodian waters three or four times in January and February 1969 on clandestine missions, dropping off U.S. Seals, Green Berets, and CIA operatives. Brinkley added:

He was a ferry master, a drop-off guy, but it was dangerous as hell. Kerry carries a hat he was given by one CIA operative. In a part of his journals which I didn’t use he writes about discussions with CIA guys he was dropping off. [61] [62]

In the book, O’Neill argued that a Swift boat commander would have been "seriously disciplined or court-martialed" for crossing the Cambodian border. Critics point out the inconsistency between this description and O’Neill’s own claims documented in a conversation with President Nixon in 1971:

O’Neill: I was in Cambodia, sir. I worked along the border on the water.
Nixon : In a Swift boat?
O’Neill: Yes, sir. [63]


So I don’t see how you can make your claim with any kind of certainty. You seem just motivated to dislike Kerry out of poltiical grounds so you WANT to believe negative things about him.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Joel, Dallaire actually didn’t call it genocide for over a month, he said it took awhile for them to realize that it wasn’t just sectarian mass violence, but something that would be called genocide. Bodies were piling up.
Incorrect: watch the Documentary Ghosts of Rwanda or read We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families by Philip Gourevitch
I am currently taking a class titled Comparative Genocide, taught by the Department Head for Political Science at my University. All of our books disagree with you. Dallaire called for reinforcements from the moment the President’s plane was shot down and was denied.

In fact, according to PBS, your timeline is incorrect.
Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric isn’t anywhere near enough to charge Iran or Ahmadinejad with violation of the UN convention. Here’s why: he is careful to use wording that calls for the end of a regime and replacement by a Palestine with democratic elections (or, he says, if the Jews believe they should have a state due to the holocaust, put it in Germany where the perpetrators were from, not in Palestine — he considers most of the Jews remnants of European colonialism). He says that Jews not only can participate in those elections, but also says that Jews and Christians, as ’people of the book’ are respected in Islam. Indeed, the Iranian parliament has special representation for their Jewish, Christian and Zoroasterian populations. So a charge of genocide simply could not be supported, even if you tried to define it very liberally (far more so than scholars of international law define it, which is very strictly limited).
And Hitler was doing much the same thing: ‘Emmigrating’, ‘Relocating’, and ‘Evacuating’ the Jews from Germany to ‘purify’ the fatherland of the ‘Jewish Taint’. In fact, they went so far as to protect their citizenship legally in the Nuremburg Laws created in the mid ‘30’s. Do you mean to tell me that we have it all wrong and that Hitler didn’t, in fact, order a massive secret extermination project?
You also seem to be yearning for a war with Iran. Be careful what you wish for.
Hardly. In fact, I never even alluded to the fact.
Let’s say the UN decides to do something it has never done since its inception and enforce one of its mandates/laws and arrests Ahmedinjad: what would happen? Iran boots the UN from it’s country? They refuse to cooperate with International Edicts? They continue their illegal uranium enrichment program? They start killing Coalition Forces in Iraq using the Iranian Guard?
…aren’t they doing that already?
Besides the fact our military is overstretched, the Iranians can do severe harm to the oil markets if pushed.
They won’t: Russia and China would then get involved, and France definitely will (Sarkozy, apparently, is something unique in French culture: he has a pair.)
It’s also not clear we can stop them from getting nuclear weapons or becoming a regional power. You seem to be overestimating American military power and underestimating the ability of Iran to find ways around our tactics.
No, I merely overestimated the gravitas of the American Left and the International Community. You’d be surprised what a few well placed bunker busters can achieve, Professor.
Given that similar errors lead to fiascos in Kosovo and Iraq, it’s important to learn from past mistakes. We can do a lot of damage, but it would be far better to avoid conflict in the region.
…and allow an avowed enemy and psychopath with direct ties to terrorist organizations who have sworn to use nuclear weapons on Israel and the United States once they attain them to attain nuclear weapons.
I think you need to be more careful when you tell people they are ignorant or wrong; on this case, you’re the one with the wrong analysis and who has made factual errors.
Really? You’re the one who doesn’t know the timeline in Rwanda, not me. You’re the one who wasn’t even aware of the UN Convention on Genocide, not me. You’re the one who has been addressing this issue from the standpoint of moral relativism, not me. You’re the one who’s been excusing and rationalizing the acts of a terrorist, not me. You’re the one who wants to legitimize a terrorist, not me.
I’m sorry Professor, but the general consensus would favor my analysis over yours, even if I’m decades your junior and a mere student.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Sorry, Scott. I’ll take the actual documents written at the time and the words of others who were there over the lies Kerry told Brinkly.
Next, the (Kerry) campaign leaked a new version through the medium of historian Douglas Brinkley, author of "Tour of Duty," a laudatory book on Kerry’s military service. Last week Brinkley told the London Telegraph that while Kerry had been 50 miles from the border on Christmas, he "went into Cambodian waters three or four times in January and February 1969 on clandestine missions." Oddly, though, while Brinkley devotes nearly 100 pages of his book to Kerry’s activities that January and February, pinpointing the locations of various battles and often placing Kerry near Cambodia, he nowhere mentions Kerry’s crossing into Cambodia, an inconceivable omission if it were true.

Now a new official statement from the campaign undercuts Brinkley. It offers a minimal (thus harder to impeach) claim: that Kerry "on one occasion crossed into Cambodia," on an unspecified date. But at least two of the shipmates who are supporting Kerry’s campaign (and one who is not) deny their boat ever crossed the border, and their testimony on this score is corroborated by Kerry’s own journal, kept while on duty. One passage reproduced in Brinkley’s book says: "The banks of the [Rach Giang Thanh River] whistled by as we churned out mile after mile at full speed. On my left were occasional open fields that allowed us a clear view into Cambodia. At some points, the border was only fifty yards away and it then would meander out to several hundred or even as much as a thousand yards away, always making one wonder what lay on the other side." His curiosity was never satisfied, because this entry was from Kerry’s final mission.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A27211-2004Aug23.html
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
ya know...i do have to ask the relevance of this all in the grand scheme of things...Kerry’s not even important anymore, except to provide young lefties a chance to get tasered.

Also, Professor: you never answered my point. If Senator Kerry really wanted to put this to bed, all he has to do is release his military records.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
I see, Don, you’ll selectively use the quotes you want to try to deny that there are any other sides to the story out there. Typical.

Joel, again you call me wrong when you were wrong. I’ve read Dallaire’s book a few times. Yes, he called for reinforcements early, but he reflects in the book about how he did not think about it as a genocide or use the term genocide for quite some time after the killings began. Have you actually read Dallaire’s book (I’ve seen and read all those you cite — Dallaire’s book I believe is the most powerful, far more powerful than the documentary, which itself is good. I also recommend a book by Michael Barnett, Eyewitness to Genocide, giving the perspective at the UN during the genocide, with real personal and vivid reflections on why people at the UN didn’t do more, and at the time it seemed rational).

Also, you seem to think we have knowledge of where all the potential nuclear equipment is, and you falsely believe that Ahmadinejad would have his hands on Iranian nuclear weapons if they developed them. He is not the most powerful actor in Iran, and he alone could not make the decision to use nuclear weapons. Also, it’s unlikely he’s a psychopath.

At the end you just lie. You claim I don’t know the Rwanda time line, which is silly, and you claim I don’t know about the genocide convention, which is absurd. (Indeed in my international law course we have intense discussions about the treaty in relation to Rwanda and UN actions). You claim I’m a moral relativist, but I’m definitely not, and nothing I wrote suggests I am (certainly you haven’t pointed to anything). You’re reduced to lies after your argument has been shown weak. You need to learn how to deal with arguments clearly, and to admit when you are wrong. It’s sad to see how quickly you fell into lies and insults.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
By the way, for some of my thoughts on Dallaire, read my May 24 and 26, 2006 blogs (scroll down to the 24th), as well as March 23, 2007. On January 31, 2007, I also write about Pol Pot and Leo Tolstoy, two very different approaches!
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Ah, so now you move from irrational revisionism to character sniping. Are you sure you’re not a democrat?

Fact is, I have indeed read Dallaire’s book, and this is the last I’ll mention this since it’s irrelevant: whether he called it Genocide or not (which he didn’t do until may, about 30 days into the 100 days of murders) doesn’t change the fact that Dallaire, from the beginning, requested from the UN the authorization and reinforcements to stop the killings that were taking place through the use of force. The US, French, Dutch and others were able to land almost 5000 troops to evacuate their personel, but not to intervene: something they could have accomplished with those 5000 plus Dallaire’s forces. Instead, the ever incompetent and criminally negligent Kofi Anan decided against it, as did Madeline Albright, the Dutch and the French. This was a travesty and we knew about it, we chose to ignore it. There was no ’rational reason for not acting’. The only people to this day who still say that are Clinton and Anan.

Secondly, we do have knowledge as to where the material is being kept, but even if we didn’t, if we bombarded their infrastructure and labs it would severely hamper them and leave their research impotent. Enriching uranium leaves tall tale signs which we can find from space, even the Feds admit that much. So it’s a matter of when, not if, the strike is ordered we strike.

Also, I’m calling slander: Show me where I lied? You clearly have the timeline mixed up, and I referenced where you were wrong. You said I was daft for saying Ahmedinjad was in violation of international law, asked for citation, and I provided it, even after you scoffed at me, which leaves the impression in both cases you were either ignorant of the facts or forgetful.

Your attempts at moral reletivism in this thread alone is documented and quoted back at you, all you have to do is read back to where i say ’moral reletivism’ and look at the quote above it. If not, ask everyone else who’s also called you the same thing.

You need to learn to admit when you screw up and not hold on to this absurd notion of infallability: you’re not the Pope. You also need to learn to do basic research before you post, lest you make yourself look like a fool when you’re clearly not (though you are acting like one). Finally, resorting to personal attacks while trying to condemn others of doing the same thing is the height of hypocrisy.

You’ve just lost your credibility in this thread, Professor. Ask around if you don’t believe me.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Link To Dallaire’s warning

 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
and this is the last I’ll mention this since it’s irrelevant: whether he called it Genocide or not (which he didn’t do until may, about 30 days into the 100 days of murders)
The rest of your post you’re falling all over yourself trying to insult me and attack me. Don’t let yourself get too emotionally involved in an internet exchange, or have grudges against other people. You should simply respond to what’s posted, admit when you’re wrong (like about Iran and the genocide treaty, when Dallaire used the word genocide, etc.) You need to actually politely engage someone rather than imagining insults (I’ve been polite to you, especially compared to your attacks).

Since you know agree with my claim about Dallaire, you should add an apology for saying I was wrong and didn’t know the time line. Do you have honor enough to do that?

You lied in saying I didn’t know the Rwanda timeline, you lied in claiming I didn’t know the genocide treaty (indeed I showed pretty clearly why your claim that Ahmadinejad broke it was wrong) and you lied about moral relativism.

Can you either back up those claims or have the courage to apologize for making unfounded insults?

Or will you stay safely behind the bravado and insults, apparently believing that if somehow that makes you appear stronger? Internet insults are meaningless. Don’t let yourself be bothered by them, and don’t imagine them when they are not there.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Now you’re just being silly.

Show me where?

First two paragraphs where about Rwanda and Iran. Third paragraph was me clarifying and asking you for clarification (no attacks). The fourth is criticism, not attacks, except for possibly the last sentence.

So no, you’re incorrect and acting way too defensively here.
Since you know agree with my claim about Dallaire, you should add an apology for saying I was wrong and didn’t know the time line. Do you have honor enough to do that?
..what? From the get go I was saying Dallaire asked for resources to deal with what was happening in Rwanda and was denied it: I never argued whether or not he termed it ’Genocide’, ’murder’, or ’hunting season with bunny rabbits and tasers’. It was irrelevant.

Again, all I ask is that you quote me where I said otherwise.
ou lied in saying I didn’t know the Rwanda timeline, you lied in claiming I didn’t know the genocide treaty (indeed I showed pretty clearly why your claim that Ahmadinejad broke it was wrong) and you lied about moral relativism.
very well, since you insist on playing this childish game:

But the point is you have to look at his rhetoric and then look at how Bush’s rhetoric would seem to people in the Mideast, or to leaders of states like Iraq and Iran.
Moral relitivism and Logical Fallacy (Tu Quoque)
You can argue that Bush’s tough rhetoric was justified or based on a desire to expand liberty while Ahmadinejad’s is based on fanatical superstition, and I think you’d make a good case. But you need to understand how we are heard by others who don’t think like us — anything else causes us to fall into a trap of thinking it’s self-evident that we’re good and others are bad.
Moral Relitivism
Bush invaded a country and the result is tens of thousands of dead people, widows, orphans, and a lot of suffering. Ahmadinejad hasn’t done that. Actions speak louder than words.
Moral Relitivism and Logical Fallacy (Tu Quoque)
You can cherry pick quotes, and I can find quotes of the ’axis of evil’ and similar things threatening other countries from Bush.
Moral Relitivism and Logical Fallacy (Tu Quoque)
But the point is you have to look at his rhetoric and then look at how Bush’s rhetoric would seem to people in the Mideast, or to leaders of states like Iraq and Iran.
Moral Relitivism and Logical Fallacy (Tu Quoque)
If you tried to make a case that he violated the genocide convention, you’d be laughed out of court. Seriously. When I first heard his quote reported, I thought it was a threat and in my blog I wrote that Iran should be threatened with UN expulsion if he didn’t take it back. I later read the transcript and information about the translation, and realized that he was simply restating a view that almost every Arab state that hasn’t recognized Israel has stated.
and

I also doubt that Ahmadinejad is intent on genocide and murder.
when, clearly, given his speeches and rhetoric, he is in direct violation of the UN Convention on Genocide, which I backed up by citing the Law.
I still find his rhetoric inappropriate for the President of a UN memberstate, but to accuse him of violating the genocide convention is absurd. In short, he’s said nothing new. His rhetoric also pales in comparison to Mao’s anti-American rhetoric...but Nixon went to China anyway.
A lack of understanding of the UN Convention on Genocide laws and Logical Fallacy (Tu Quoque)

You are absolutely right that Iran is helping arm militias in Iraq. You also should acknowledge that we have almost certainly had covert operations in Iran and have tried to subvert Iran’s government over the years.
Moral Relativism and Logical Fallacy (Tu Quoque)

So there you go: my laundry list of complaints. You seem to rely heavily on Tu Quoque to make arguments.

Now, I gave you the courtesy of outlining all of my grievances, would you be so kind as to do the same, specifically to
You lied in saying I didn’t know the Rwanda timeline, you lied in claiming I didn’t know the genocide treaty (indeed I showed pretty clearly why your claim that Ahmadinejad broke it was wrong) and you lied about moral relativism.
personal attacks is another logical fallacy, Ad Hominem, which you are now relying on.

I don’t ’stay safely behind bravado and insults’, mostly because the only insulting thing you can take from my posts is me calling you a hypocrite (which I did because I firmly believe you were being a hypocrite). So, again, stop being so defensive.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Joel, Erb’s next round of comments will center around you "writing a lot of words but not addressing his points," even though you quote him line for line.

Erb has a very distinct and predictable M.O. Once backed into a corner over his own words he will try to alter both your arguments as well as his own. It’s fun to watch, but if you take him seriously you’ll likely think you’re in the Twilight Zone.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Joel, since you’re unable to admit an error, it’s really not worth my time playing your games.

This is directly from your post (italics my point):

Joel, Dallaire actually didn’t call it genocide for over a month, he said it took awhile for them to realize that it wasn’t just sectarian mass violence, but something that would be called genocide. Bodies were piling up.

Incorrect: watch the Documentary Ghosts of Rwanda or read We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families by Philip Gourevitch
I am currently taking a class titled Comparative Genocide, taught by the Department Head for Political Science at my University. All of our books disagree with you. Dallaire called for reinforcements from the moment the President’s plane was shot down and was denied.
You clearly are stating I’m incorrect in saying that Dallaire didn’t actually call it genocide for a month. Then you later say I don’t know the timeline.

You were wrong, I caught you on it, and now you dance and weave instead of doing the only sane thing, given that everyone can see you erred, and admit to making a mistake and apologize. You make yourself look weak if you can’t even admit to an error. Just say ’oops, sorry,’ and that’s cool. Can’t you even do that?

If you can do that, I’ll respond to your post. But there is no way you can look at that exchange and your use of it to say I don’t know the Rwanda timeline.

Later you post:

whether he called it Genocide or not (which he didn’t do until may, about 30 days into the 100 days of murders) doesn’t change the fact that Dallaire, from the beginning, requested from the UN the authorization and reinforcements to stop the killings that were taking place through the use of force.
I agree completely. He called for action as early as January, months before the killing started, when he learned of the plans. But you here essentially admit my point above was accurate, yet you refuse to acknowledge you were wrong in saying I was incorrect. Again, unless you can show the level of honor to apologize for a very obvious error — and certainly understandable, in the heat of debate everyone makes mistakes — then there is no reason for me to spend more time on you. Show that bit of decency, and I’ll answer your points fully and in a polite, complete manner.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Can you admit error Erb?
Were you wrong to say the SBVfT have been thouroughly debunked?
 
Written By: anonymous
URL: http://
Anonymous, I guess it would be wrong to say they were thoroughly debunked. My opinion is the evidence is strongly against them, but thoroughly debunked was going to far. So you, I was wrong to say that.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
You were wrong, I caught you on it, and now you dance and weave instead of doing the only sane thing, given that everyone can see you erred, and admit to making a mistake and apologize. You make yourself look weak if you can’t even admit to an error. Just say ’oops, sorry,’ and that’s cool. Can’t you even do that?
What?

Look: you were responding to this:
I will be laughed out of court, just like General Dallaire was ignored when he presented evidence of genocide.
Now: I never said ’Dallaire called the situation genocide’. I said ’he presented evidence of genocide.’ Whether he called it so or not was not my point: my point was that the evidence was there, clear, written in black and white a full three months prior to the assassination of the Hutu President and it went ignored while Dallaire was castrated militarily.

You misinterpreted what I said and have been trying to put words in my mouth ever since.

So no, there’s no apology coming from here because there’s nothing to apologize for.

In fact:

I agree completely. He called for action as early as January, months before the killing started, when he learned of the plans
shows we’ve been arguing the same point for a while now, with a major exception: you were sticking on the ’Did Dallaire specifically use the word ’Genocide’ before May’ whereas I was saying ’The man tried his damndest to do what he could with the crap he was given and was ignored by those who had the power to stop this thing.’

You weren’t even on the same page with me.

Be that as it may: you cannot ask me to point out where you’ve erred and defend myself and then add a condition to returning the common courtesy. What are you, Five?
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
"Anonymous: John Kerry himself admitted he had the date wrong."

Strange. I always thought Christmas fell on the same date every year, and I have yet to meet a person who confuses that holiday with some other day.



"but I’ve learned on issues like this some of you are so absolutely sold by partisan rhetoric"

Actually, some of us have read more than just one source to come to our conclusions. There are a lot more sources than Wikipedia. And why do you assume that defenders of Kerry are non-partisan?

"You are commiting a fundamental error in foreign policy analysis: assuming an opponent to be suicidal and crazy.....They will not risk...Their goal for these weapons is... Iran sees itself... "

It seems you are making a few assumptions yourself. And of course history shows us that sometimes opponents do make suicidal, irrational, and crazy decisions.

"Looker, the conventional wisdom is that Israel has plans for responding to a first strike WMD attack"

Does the conventional wisdom say how Israel will respond if a nuclear first strike destroys their capability to respond? I don’t think the Israelis have a nuclear triad like we did, precisely to avoid being disarmed by a surprise first strike.


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




 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
You misinterpreted what I said and have been trying to put words in my mouth ever since.
Erb does it on purpose. If you perform a search you’ll see it again and again.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
OK, Joel, you show you can’t apologize for an error, so I will not respond to your comments except to note: a) you clearly don’t understand the genocide convention if you think that Ahmadinejad is guilty of violating it — note that not even the US is trying to charge him with that; b) you said "incorrect" about a specific statement, which you don’t have the honor and integrity to apologize for; c) you clearly don’t understand what moral equivalence means; and d) your posts are mostly ad hominem attacks (which you don’t understand, because apparently you think my pointing out when you lie is an ad hominem). I hope you learn both more about the material you’re writing about, and about personal integrity. You show little of both here. But until you can apologize for saying blatantly false things, you do not deserve more of my time — you can’t educate the willfully ignorant. Ciao!
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
And I’m sorry, Scott (I will no longer give you even the modicrum of respect by calling you ’professor’, since it is an insult to the field) but you seem singularly incapable of debating without resorting to Ad Hominum attacks and seem hell bent on twisting the words of others to paint yourself as a victim.

You accuse me of personal attacks and being rude, yet you have never stopped to realize that though I disagree with you vehemently, I have never once stopped calling you ’professor’ in deference to your education and Ph.D. But no more: you are undeserving of even that, since you are incapable of showing even a modicrum of respect. You cannot debate with the arrogant.

I answered the questions you asked, and quite candidly, too. I went point for point and listed my problems with you. But, like a child, you instead put your fingers in your ears and run away, choosing instead to insult me personally.

That’s ok, if you want to act like a child having a tantrum, that’s your affair. But don’t presume to dictate to me, or anyone else here, EVER AGAIN, to back up any statement they make, since you have yet to do it yourself. I wont stand for hypocrisy, and plan on me calling you out on it from now on. All this proves that education doesn’t equal intelligence and integrity.

but don’t take my word for it: my points seem to be the ’conventional wisdom’ around here.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
I’ll respond once more, Joel. I’ve not resorted to ad hominems (that being arguing against the person). I have pointed out when you’ve told lies: that I don’t know the Rwanda timeline, don’t know about the genocide convention, or argue from a position of moral relativism. That is not an ad hominem.

BTW, I far prefer "Scott" to "Professor," which sounds pretentious anyway.

Second, I was prepared to seriously deal with your points — many I still consider ill developed or wrong — if you had the decency to apologize for this:

ME: Joel, Dallaire actually didn’t call it genocide for over a month, he said it took awhile for them to realize that it wasn’t just sectarian mass violence, but something that would be called genocide. Bodies were piling up.

YOU: Incorrect: watch the Documentary Ghosts of Rwanda or read We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families by Philip Gourevitch

Note I was talking about use of the term "genocide," not about Dallaire asking the UN for support. You said my statement was incorrect. It was not incorrect. You used my statement to assert I didn’t know the Rwanda timeline. Apparently you read it quickly and thought I was saying that Dallaire didn’t ask for support for a month. Clearly that is not in that statement.

Now, if I had made that error, I’d have said, "oh geez, I’m sorry — I connected it to my past post and thought you were talking about Dallaire asking for support rather than use of the term Rwanda. I apologize for claiming you didn’t know the Rwanda timeline." I’d have been humble and friendly in apologizing.

And, if you had done that, I’d have said "no sweat, it’s easy to miscommunicate — that’s why I’ve learned not to jump to quickly to conclusions and to ask questions, I’ve made the same kind of error a lot in discussions."

Go back and compare "insults" or "ad hominems" between our two posts. I think you’ll see I’m not calling you names, and I try to stay on the topic of the argument. I don’t take internet debates personally, I don’t know you. I try to focus on the argument. If I don’t, point it out in a friendly manner, and you’ll see I’ll be very gracious in admitting my error. If you attack me, my replies get stiff and a bit condenscending, but I try not to launch into insults.

So one last time, can you admit you were wrong in labeling my statement "incorrect," and using it to claim I didn’t know the Rwanda timeline? An apology is a sign of strength, not of weakness.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
There’s one small problem there, Scott: you forgot to include the first sentence that sparked that debate:

ME: just like General Dallaire was ignored when he presented evidence of genocide.

YOU: Joel, Dallaire actually didn’t call it genocide for over a month, he said it took awhile for them to realize that it wasn’t just sectarian mass violence, but something that would be called genocide. Bodies were piling up.

ME: Incorrect: watch the Documentary Ghosts of Rwanda or read We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families by Philip Gourevitch

Now: kindly show me where I said ’Dallaire called it Genocide’. I said he was ignored when he asked for support first in January then in April. You said something irrelevant.

So, again: what’s there to apologize about? I firmly believe you didn’t understand the timeline at the time because of your ridiculous response, much like I believe you have no understanding of the UN Convention on Genocide, since you couldn’t understand why Ahmedinejad is in violation of it. When specialists in International Law are calling for his arrest, you’ll forgive me if I take their word over yours.

Finally, you are playing games here. You asked me to back up my critiques (which you falsely labeled as ’insults’), and I did so. But when i asked you to do the same, you start playing this ’righteous indignation’ game. Furthermore, you attempt to redirect any criticism of you and your documented fallacies back at your accuser for, and this is where your logic becomes even worse, accusing you of a fallacy. This is that adult version of ’I’m not lying, you liar!’
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Joel, you’re creating the false impression that I put your statement in front of mine. Mine was the first statement of the post, and it was about genocide. Moreover, it was a correct statement! You were wrong you called it incorrect, and when you used it to say I didn’t know the time line. Read the words. Nothing in my statement was incorrect. Nothing suggested lack of knowledge about the time line. You interpreted it as a response to the statement you made, but nothing in that statement implies that. The discussion was about genocide, and whether that term is accurate when applied to Ahmadinejad. I was patiently explaining to you about what is required to constitute a genocide, you can’t just say someone yelling ’death to Israel’ is considered to be ’inciting genocide.’ You need to learn how these terms are defined and applied (that comes from scholarship on international law).

Now, I can understand why you made the error, and can certainly forgive your mistake. I can even say that I should have been more clear in making my point. But the bottom line is that nothing in my statement was incorrect. You made an error. I’ve been polite and patient in explaining this to you and giving you the opportunity now THREE TIMES to the honorable thing and admit you erred. Everyone makes errors in this kind of give and take. You can either admit it, or make up excuses not to take responsibility for your own words.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Joel, you’re creating the false impression that I put your statement in front of mine. Mine was the first statement of the post, and it was about genocide. Moreover, it was a correct statement! You were wrong you called it incorrect, and when you used it to say I didn’t know the time line.
It was incorrect because it was irrelevant to what I had said. What’s so difficult to understand about that?

If I’m talking about Tax Cuts and you say Terrorists Kill People, while it’s true that terrorists do kill people, it has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE DISCUSSION.
You need to learn how these terms are defined and applied (that comes from scholarship on international law).
I know how they’re applied: not at all/only way after the fact.

However, as far as legalese goes, it is an incontrivertable fact that Ahmedinejad is in violation of the UN Convention on Genocide, and is in violation of Article III B and C. Your answer about Dallaire neither discusses that point nor does it adress what i said about either him or Rwanda: it was superfluous and irrelevant.

By being unclear, you made it appear you did not understand either the conversation at hand or the timeline of events.

However, that doesn’t make me a liar. At worst, it was a miscommunication, but to claim it was a lie?

That’s why i haven’t, nor will I, apologize, until you retract the ’you’re a liar’ bit.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Joel, allow me to repost a "fake but accurate" representation of a typical exchange with Erb:

McX: The earth orbits the sun.

Erb: No, McX, you have no idea what you’re talking about. The earth is not in orbit around Alpha Centauri. In addition, there is no moon around the earth.

McX: Umm, my statement is accurate. Here is evidence. You’re talking about a different star. Plus, your statement about the moon is completely wrong. Here is more evidence.

Erb: You need to take an astronomy class. I know the earth does not orbit Alpha Centauri. I should know since I own a telescope.

McX: You are insane.

Erb: You really shouldn’t resort to emotion. Your insults prove that I’m right and you know it.

McX: Didn’t you claim that I had no idea what I was talking about in stating the earth orbits the sun? Didn’t you state that earth has no moon?

Erb: The reality is that earth and Alpha Centauri have no significant relationship in orbital matters. You just can’t accept reality.

McX: OK, you really are insane.

Erb: The band Rush has a quote involving rage. Rush Rulz!

McX: You’re talking about Alpha Centauri while the rest of us are talking about the sun. You stated there is no moon.

Erb: Nothing you have written contradicts what I said. You know it.

McX: Everything I have written proves that you are wrong. I even linked to evidence.

Erb: Your evidence is irrelevant. It had nothing to do with earth’s moon orbiting Alpha Centauri.

McX: What are you talking about?

Erb: Your claim that earth’s moon orbit’s Alpha Centauri is obviously wrong. You just can’t admit it. It’s not hard to admit you made a mistake. You should try it sometime. No one will think less of you.

McX: Just answer these questions: Didn’t you state that I "had no idea what I was talking about" after I wrote that the earth orbit’s the sun? Didn’t you state there is no moon around the earth? When did I ever say anything about Alpha Centauri?

Erb: [crickets]
You current "discussion" with Erb is just a different variation of this theme. Erb is trying to reframe the argument into something he can actually control. He likes to change the original point when he gets trapped. It’s his version of "accidentally" kicking the chess board when you’ve got him cornered.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Joel doesn’t have the moral integrity to apologize for an undeniable error (nor can he point to anything I said in that statement which is incorrect). Sorry, Joel, but I have to conclude you are either dishonest or afraid to admit when you are wrong. Either way, you’re not worth my time, and I gave you plenty of opportunities.

JWG resorts to fiction. I guess you do that when you can’t deal with real debates.

I’d also note that if you scroll up, one poster has posted a lot of very detailed discussion of Iran, the threat it poses, the options we have, and the nature of academia. One poster in this thread has focused on content over attacks. And only one poster as admitted to error — errors of saying the swiftboaters had been ’definitively debunked’ (it wasn’t definitive) and an error in suggesting that Bush’s rhetoric was as bad as Ahmadinejad’s.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Joel doesn’t have the moral integrity to apologize for an undeniable error (nor can he point to anything I said in that statement which is incorrect). Sorry, Joel, but I have to conclude you are either dishonest or afraid to admit when you are wrong. Either way, you’re not worth my time, and I gave you plenty of opportunities.
and this same poster has resorted to dishonest tactics to end debates not going his way.

i already said that as long as the premise is ’apologize and admit you lied’, you can shove it in your ear.

I outlined where you were wrong and the likes, and you have yet to do the same. From what i understand, this isn’t the first time nor am I the first person this has happened with. That’s called a ’pattern’.

If 50 people have the same problem with you...chances are it’s NOT the 50 people, Scott.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
My condescension meter broke a ways back up the page, anyone else get a reading?

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Erb — answer the question:
It was incorrect because it was irrelevant to what I had said. What’s so difficult to understand about that?
You claim the "discussion" is no longer worth your time because you want to avoid dealing with the flaw in your statement.

Nowhere have you addressed the issue that you were incorrect because your statement completely avoided the point. You keep hiding behind your claim that the statement was correct while purposefully sidestepping the fact that it was also irrelevent.

You score another weasel point.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
LOL! The depths you go to JWG to try to avoid admiting I was right on something. So a factual statement is incorrect if it isn’t relevant to something someone else wrote in an earlier post? *chuckle* Think of the implications of that statement!

However, what I said was relevant to the debate about the nature of genocide and the genocide convention. Genocide is not a term that gets used for all ethnic violence, let alone the kind of rhetoric that Joel was claiming could be considered "inciting" genocide. Dallaire didn’t even use that term until well into the violence. Joel doesn’t understand how international law treats genocide, he seems to think anyone saying "death to Israel" has violated the treaty.

The bottom line is that nothing I wrote was factually wrong. Nothing. If he would admit that and apologize rather than hem and haw and hide behind insults, I’d take some blame for causing him to err by not being as clear as I could have — that kind of miscommunication is common. But he stubbornly does not want to even acknowledge that what I wrote was factually correct, that he was wrong to write "incorrect" and wrong to assume it meant something not contained in the words. He’s very quick to attack, but won’t accept even on hint that he might not be perfect. I can’t take people like that seriously.

And I’m an extremely patient and good natured person, which is why insults don’t bother me and I hold no grudges. But time is valuable, and one has to choose how to spend it.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
So a factual statement is incorrect if it isn’t relevant to something someone else wrote in an earlier post? *chuckle* Think of the implications of that statement!
I refer you back to my fake but accurate comment:

——-
McX: The earth orbits the sun.

Erb: No, McX, you have no idea what you’re talking about. The earth is not in orbit around Alpha Centauri.

——-

Erb’s fictional statement is correct but irrelevent to the fictional discussion.

Yet, according to real life Erb Logic, it is laughable that anyone would consider the statement contextually incorrect.

That’s why it’s called "Erb Logic" rather than logic.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
LOL! The depths you go to JWG to try to avoid admiting I was right on something. So a factual statement is incorrect if it isn’t relevant to something someone else wrote in an earlier post? *chuckle* Think of the implications of that statement!

However, what I said was relevant to the debate about the nature of genocide and the genocide convention. Genocide is not a term that gets used for all ethnic violence, let alone the kind of rhetoric that Joel was claiming could be considered "inciting" genocide. Dallaire didn’t even use that term until well into the violence. Joel doesn’t understand how international law treats genocide, he seems to think anyone saying "death to Israel" has violated the treaty.
First: No one is saying that what you said about Dallaire is inacurate: the point, Scott, is that in the context of the conversation it was irrelevant and, therefore, an incorrect answer to the DEBATE.

Example: if we’re debating about tax cuts and you say ’The sun is a star’ you would be incorrect: not because we think the sun isn’t a star, but because the sun being a star has NO RELEVENCE to the topic at hand. THAT is why you were incorrect: it had no relevence (Unless, of course, you’re implying that Rwanda wasn’t, in fact, a genocide. In which case, it is relevant and opens up a new bag of cats).

Secondly: my analysis comes from specialists in international law, not poli scie professors: When you couple the rhetoric coming out of Ahmedinajad with his method of inciting violence, the result is intent to commit genocide. Here’s why: a group like Hezbollah exists to eliminate the the Jews. They want them all dead. Iran provides this group with logistics, training, funds, intelligence and the wherewithall to commit heinous and illegal acts against a foreign nation specifically because of a nation’s ethnicity. He is, therefore, guilty of two of those conventions, and a possible third with a good enough lawyer.

So, again sir, you are flagrantly incorrect in your analysis. Whether or not the UN has acted sluggishly in the past and has only labeled genocides ex post facto is, also, irrelevant. The Truth of the matter doesn’t change because of the inactions of a International Organization or Governmnet Body.

Now, this has gone on long enough: you’re acting like a child. You call me a liar, insult my character, and then demand to apologize under those pretenses which, by the way, is a not so clever way of having me admit to being a liar. That is unacceptable. Disagreements does not equal a Lie, and that’s where my objection lies.

Did I misunderstand what you said about Dallaire? yes, and it’s so obvious it doesn’t bear mentioning. But to you, it’s not about clearing the record, it’s about appearing infallable.

Again: you’re not the Pope, and I’ve already showed where your logic has been flawed from the onset and where your facts where incorrect (and contrary to your belief, me saying so doesn’t equate to blasphemy).

So there. Take that as you will, I’m tired of playing childish games with an arrogant, condescending elitist professor who can’t get past his ego long enough to admit he was wrong.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
What’s frightening is that he’s a professor at a University.

What’s worse is that I’ve dealt with professors like him before, and unfortunately they’re too commonplace these days. The state of academia is very, very sad.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Someone says "The sun rises in the West."
Someone else says "Incorrect. You obviously have no understanding of orbital projectories."
The first person gives proof he was right, the second person agrees.
The first person asks him to admit he was wrong to say incorrect and apologize him for insulting his intelligence of orbital projectories.
The second person goes into long tirades, claiming they weren’t talking about the sun anyway, that he had been talking about Venus, and no way will he apologize. He says this only proves that the first person was dishonest, and he can get two or three friends to call names too!

The first person simply shakes his head slowly and walks away, dumbfounded that someone would be so scared of admitting to an obvious and documented error.

The second person remains furious, insults the first person as he walks away.

The first person looks back, "Sorry you feel that way, and I wish you well. If you ever want to discuss the issues at hand, simply find it within yourself to say, ’yes, you were correct, I was wrong when I said ’incorrect’, I thought you were talking about something else, we agree on the orbit of the sun, and I was wrong in saying you didn’t understand the sun’s orbit.’ If not, well, have a great life!"
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Damn, and I just got the meter working again.
Crap.

You know, in the long exercise between you and Joel, you were the first one to use the word lie.
At the end you just lie. You claim I don’t know the Rwanda time line, which is silly, and you claim I don’t know about the genocide convention, which is absurd. (Indeed in my international law course we have intense discussions about the treaty in relation to Rwanda and UN actions). You claim I’m a moral relativist, but I’m definitely not, and nothing I wrote suggests I am (certainly you haven’t pointed to anything). You’re reduced to lies after your argument has been shown weak. You need to learn how to deal with arguments clearly, and to admit when you are wrong. It’s sad to see how quickly you fell into lies and insults.
So, the story about that first person ought to include the part where he calls the second person a liar, just for accuracy sake.

And the bit about moral relativism from the guy who ended up apologizing for equating Bush’s rhetoric to Ahmadinejad’s, well....
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
And the bit about moral relativism from the guy who ended up apologizing for equating Bush’s rhetoric to Ahmadinejad’s, well....
Hey, when I make a mistake or an error, I admit it.

Here’s the thing about moral relativism: it’s a charge often used as a dodge for avoiding confronting moral dilemmas. For instance, if I note that we have also done things that are morally questionable (aiding Iranian militias, sending covert operations there) which, if done to us would make us angry, I get accused of moral relativism. Hogwash. I’m noting that we do morally questionably things ourselves, and we need to think about that. You can’t use the moral superiority of a free democratic system to justify everything done in the name of that system. That would be a kind of ’ends justifies the means’ moral relativism right there!

It’s about the morality of the deed. Or, as the line from the song goes, "evil is still evil, in anybody’s name." An evil deed done in the name of Iran does not necessarily become less evil if done in America’s name. In fact, a strict application of that principle is moral absolutism (evil is always wrong, no matter who it services), not moral relativism.

(About ’condenscending’ remarks: if someone becomes insulting or bombastic, I try to be completely logical and to the point — sort of donning a Spock kind of persona, eliminating emotion from my response and thinking. That is to avoid being sucked into a flame war or mutual name calling. The result ends up being that some people respond to me the way McCoy responded to Spock...)
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Oh, almost forgot:

1. Moral relativism: It’s OK for Iran do arm militias because we’re arming dissident groups and engaged in covert operations in Iran.

2. Moral absolutism: Neither country should engage in these activities because they are morally wrong.

3. Moral relativism: It’s OK for the US to engage in operations against Iran because Iran is arming militias (it’s OK for us to attack them because they are attacking us).

4. Moral absolutism: Even if Iran is doing things like arming militias, which is morally wrong, that does not justify us doing immoral acts and killing Iranians.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"What’s worse is that I’ve dealt with professors like him before, and unfortunately they’re too commonplace these days."

I think this is one reason certain disciplines are populated by predominantly leftish faculty; us rightish folk prefer more rigorous areas of study. Planck’s constant is, fortunately for us all, constant. A matrix has the same eigenvalues no matter who calculates them. Even chaos has its rules and a certain predictability. One might say that chaos is less chaotic in the math. dept. than it is in the political ’science’ dept. It is nice to live in a non-malleable reality.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Speaking of Spock, I am sure that although he is undoubtedly familiar with the concepts involved, he was definitely not a poly. sci. major.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
One might say that chaos is less chaotic in the math. dept. than it is in the political ’science’ dept. It is nice to live in a non-malleable reality.
Studying social science is, to be sure, full of challenges due to the problems of perspective (everyone’s bias plays a role) and complexity (multiple variables in play without the ability to control most of them) and thus it’s a lot harder to come up with conclusions than in natural science. Why people would avoid those difficulties out of political perspective is unclear — some people don’t want to deal with the reality of the uncertainty of the social world? Some people aren’t comfortable with the fact there are no clear, definitive solutions? Yeah, well, that’s reality.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
3. Moral relativism: It’s OK for the US to engage in operations against Iran because Iran is arming militias (it’s OK for us to attack them because they are attacking us).
Except the basis for the argument you’re making here hasn’t been reported by the world media to my knowledge, meaning I have to conclude you’re assuming it’s happening.
Not exactly like Reuters loves us and wouldn’t cover us trying to destabilize the Iranian government if they had evidence of it, and not exactly like Iran would hesitate to tell the world if they could prove it themselves.

Whereas, the opposite seems to be true for information about Iran moving things in the opposite direction in Afghanistan (even if you presume we are wrong, and biased about the IED’s and rockets to Iraqi ’insurgents’).
And Iran giving gear to Hezbollah, etc.

We’re not all sweetness and light, I’m aware of that, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to give Amhedinajad a pass for his rhetoric, and it doesn’t mean I think it would be acceptable for his government to possess a nuclear capacity.

"Everybody does it" is a cheap excuse for not taking a stand.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Looker: Again, I’ve been saying all along that Iraq is supporting Shi’ite militias and doing everything it can to assure that the US doesn’t gain a pro-American ally in Iraq. They see the US as a threat, believing we want to undermine their regime and play a pivotal role in the region. If they can bleed us through terror attacks (like Beirut in the 80s — they essentially chased us out of there) or by aiding insurgents in Iraq or even Afghanistan (they almost went to war against the Taliban in the 90s, but they could be thinking that instability there is worth aiding their former enemies), they will. They have no moral aversions to that, despite their claims of Islamic morality they are Machiavellian in their foreign policy, and have been since the revolution. That’s why I dismiss claims they’d be suicidal and attack Israel if they had nukes, that would contradict their entire foreign policy history.

It’s a virtual certainty that we have operations going on to destabilize Iran and support Iranian opposition groups. There is money budgeted for that sort of thing, and it would be a rational policy for us.

My view, both sorts of things are immoral, one doesn’t justify the other, but thats the world we have to deal with. For Iran, the key is to make it worth while for them to change policy. That can be done with a carrot, stick, or a mix of each. If you try to do it with a stick and the stick isn’t big enough, you’ll end up worse than before. If the stick is big enough, you still may have unintended consequences that do more harm than good. If you try with the carrot and they see no reason to change, they’ll just gobble the carrot and carry on with their activities. So you mix enticements and concessions with demands and the threat of possible force, and try to ’make them an offer they can’t refuse.’ It’s power politics diplomacy.

Morally, should we playing that game? I don’t believe so, my anti-interventionism is based on a moral belief. But pragmatically once we injected ourselves into Iraq we bought a host of problems and circumstances we can’t extricate ourselves without making things worse.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"Some people aren’t comfortable with the fact there are no clear, definitive solutions?"

There are areas of math. where there are no clear, definitive solutions. A difference is that in the real sciences, everyone admits it, and agrees where these areas are. You will not find physicists arguing in support of the luminiferous aether theory, but you will find political ’scientists’ who argue for Marxism or socialism. Socialism doesn’t work. That is pretty clear and definitive. Perhaps that is why those who are "comfortable with the fact there are no clear, definitive solutions?" gravitate to fields where socialism is alive, if not well.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
The problems in social science are complexity and perspective. The world is very complex, and it is virtually impossible to run controlled experiments on some of the most important issues. That means that people can come at the data from a particular perspective and interpret reality to fit their perspective. Moreover, with the myriad of data out there, people have to be selective about the data they choose and thus are able to choose those which fit their perspective better (but still can interpret other data into their perspective).

The goal of the social scientist is to do whatever possible to overcome those problems and not get trapped by bias and to try to work through complexity.

That’s not easy, and most people fall comfortably into an ideology-driven view of reality whereby they take what they have already decided they know to be true and interpret the world through that prism. Breaking out of that is difficult, but I would argue also liberating.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"That means that people can come at the data from a particular perspective and interpret reality to fit their perspective"

I believe that was my point.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Gee, we agree on something.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Sh*t happens.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

 
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