July 28, 2004

The Real Iraqi Resistance

Meet the new Iraqi fascism. Same as the old Iraqi fascism.

70 civilians who were going about their day were torn to pieces on the streets of Baghdad today by Michael Moore’s heroes of the so-called Iraqi “resistance.”

He described them this way:

The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not ‘insurgents’ or ‘terrorists’ or ‘The Enemy.’ They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow—and they will win.
I know very well what Moore means when he writes the word REVOLUTION. It's not, you know, a bad thing, especially since he explicitly compares the jihad to the American Revolution. "Minutemen," my foot. I think Mr. Mike is actually more revolting to me than even Ann Coulter – an impressive feat if that’s what you’re aiming for.

Those bastards running around the country cutting off foreigners’ heads have so far killed a lot more locals than they’ve killed anyone else. Heck, they killed more today than all the foreigners combined since the “resistance” got started. Most of the governments of the West shrug at all this. They’ll change their entire foreign policy regarding that country just to save one of their kidnapped civilians. I understand and respect the impulse. Really, I do. If I were kidnapped I would want my government to do something to save me. But I must say this: if in the process of saving me another country was left to the mercy of murderous totalitarians, the survivor’s guilt wouldn’t be worth it. I don't want someone else’s country getting enslaved on my account.

Because that’s what these jihadists want to do - clear out the foreigners so they can stomp their boots on the locals. Shouldn’t that be obvious by now? They have already turned their knives, guns, and bombs onto the local population. The taped beheadings are more sensational, but less instructive.

There is no “resistance” in Iraq except that of the brave Iraqis who pick up rifles and face the jihadists.


UPDATE: Iraqi blogger Omar at Iraq the Model has a lot more to say on this subject. Hang in there, Omar. We're still pulling for you over here.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at July 28, 2004 04:01 PM
Comments

Yes, Michael Moore's comment was stupid. But yours is ignorant, too. To pretend that all the violence in Iraq has been caused by foreign jihadis, or even jihadis in general, is just, plain, counter-factual.

Of course there's a part of the resistance that is nationalistic. There's another part that's Ba'athist, and would like to resurrect the old Sunni regime, with or without Saddam. And there's probably a heck of a lot of overlap between all these factions.

Posted by: Mork at July 28, 2004 04:39 PM

Mork: To pretend that all the violence in Iraq has been caused by foreign jihadis

I didn't say one way or another whether this attack was by Iraqis or not. I don't know, nor do I care. It makes little difference one way or the other.

I'm not sure what you mean when you say some of the violence is not by jihadists. If you mean that some of those who go around killing people are not religious fundamentalists, then certainly I agree. Some are Baathists as we all know and I've said before. And like I said at the beginning of the post, the new fascism is the same as the old. In some ways this is literally the case.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 28, 2004 04:52 PM

Right, but you're trying to deny that there's any part of the resistance that consists of people who have picked up a gun simply because they hate being occupied by Americans.

Moore is wrong to say that all the resistance consists of those people. You are wrong to say that none of it does.

Posted by: Mork at July 28, 2004 05:00 PM

Mork, Iraqis are not occupied by Americans. That is not to say every American boot has left the country, but I recall the day I left before my trip to Tunisia that Iraq got its own government.

If you want to argue that Iraq is only partially sovereign, fine. I've been out the loop, obviously, and don't know all the current details just yet. Either way, I doubt rather seriously this had anything to do with the massacre of 70 Iraqi civilians today.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 28, 2004 05:08 PM

In any case, Mork, those in the "resistance" who are only interested in killing Americans are still the enemy. Obviously people who kill Americans are the enemy of Americans. They sure as hell aren't friends, and they obviously aren't neutrals. The Swiss are neutrals. They don't shoot our boys.

For Michael Moore to cheer these people on, then make a movie showcasing a woman who grieves for the loss of her soldier son, killed by his pals in the "resistance," sickens me beyond words.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 28, 2004 05:17 PM

"Right, but you're trying to deny that there's any part of the resistance that consists of people who have picked up a gun simply because they hate being occupied by Americans."- Mork

No what MJT is saying I believe is that the 'resistance'is FASCIST both in form and substance and that he does not accord it ANY legitimacy simply because SOME of it may be 'nationalistic'.The SS were VERY nationalistic but were still contemptable(in an objective sense), and fit only for extermination.Scum is scum and moral equivalence is out of place in the context of these murderous actions.
MJT makes a moral point about the essential 'evil' of these animals and you give us this hair-splitting on how a car bomb is less evil and more understandable if perhaps a sleezy Baathist was behind it as opposed to a delusional jihadi.
Either way 'minutemen'these creatures are NOT.

Posted by: dougf at July 28, 2004 05:18 PM

Come on, Michael. Not even you can be that naive.

By that logic, there could not have been any nationalistic resistance to American troops in Vietnam, because South Vietnam was (sort of)sovereign. There could not have been any nationalistic resistance to Soviet troops in Afghanistan, because Afghanistan was sovereign.

Your travels have evidently not given you any greater capacity to imagine the mindset of other people.

Posted by: Mork at July 28, 2004 05:19 PM

Mork, why should I try to get inside the mindset of people who massacre civilians on the streets of Baghdad? What good would that do me or anybody else?

I made friends with Arabs in Tunisia. None of them want to go around killing Americans or anybody else. If they did they would not have asked me to sit with them for tea. It was a good experience for me and I would recommend it to anyone.

I have no desire to "learn" anything from people who want me and my countrymen dead. I really don't give a shit what their reason is. If they want an end to American occupation, FINE. That is completely understandable and requires no great leap of empathy.

A good friend of mine fought in Iraq. He's alive, but his brother was killed in Afghanistan before he went over there. I'm not going to cheer on the fucks who shot at these guys, nor am I going to try to feel their pain. I'm just not, and I think it's frankly bizarre that you're asking me to do so. Hanging around with nice people in Tunisia, people who would not gun for my friends, could not possibly change that. Why would it? Why should I sympathize with violent and fascist Arabs when there are plenty of reasonable Arabs, including liberally-minded Arabs, who I could be friends with instead?

You can't side with peaceful liberal Iraqis and at the same time feel empathy for the nasty people who blow them to pieces. You have to pick sides in wars, especially when your own country is fighting in it.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 28, 2004 05:30 PM

Ah, but there is a difference, Mork.

Afghanistan's government had been replaced prior to the invasion by the Soviets. The invasion that ensued was to replace the sovereign but to uphold him. Additionally, South Vietnam's government was replaced by the invader only after the Americans had left. Both countries maintained their sovereignty during the conflicts.

Iraq did not have sovereignty until we returned it to them.

Your analogy is flawed.

Posted by: jcrue at July 28, 2004 05:32 PM

Mork, Michael's point was that Iraqis are now the primary targets of the mayhem. Specifically, Iraqis who might have the gall to try to rebuild their country.

Today's car bomb was outside a police recruiting center.

If the bombers thought they could achieve their goals within the framework of the coming government, they wouldn't be using these tactics. They don't, so they blow up people who want to be part of that new government.

Here's where you start talking about puppet governments and national pride. All I have to say in response is the Boat People from Vietnam and their children might not take kindly to using Vietnamese "anti-imperialists" as a superior moral actors.

Stop making excuses for murder.

Posted by: Mark Poling at July 28, 2004 05:33 PM

Mork, even if the Iraqi "resistance" are fighting against the U.S. occupiers, they are on the wrong side of morality. The U.S. is trying to give freedom to regular iraqis.
Maybe the "resistance" want freedom from freedom providers.

Yeah, scratch the above youre right.

Posted by: mnm at July 28, 2004 05:34 PM

there should be a 'not' in the sentence. . ."The invasion that ensued was [not] to replace the sovereign but to uphold him"

Posted by: jcrue at July 28, 2004 05:34 PM

Mork, why should I try to get inside the mindset of people who massacre civilians on the streets of Baghdad? What good would that do me or anybody else?

Michael, once again, you confuse "empathy" with "sympathy".

"Sympathy" what you are talking about when you deride "feeling their pain".

"Empathy" is the insight that lets you understand why it is that people act in a particular way so that you can (a) predict what they will do in any given circumstance and (b) understand the consequences of your own actions.

It's for this reason that Robert MacNamara lists the need to empathize with your enemy as one of the eleven lessons he learned from his mistakes in Vietnam.

To put it simply: the more you understand an enemy, the better your chances are of defeating it.

And that has nothing to do with sympathy for their aims or methods.

Posted by: Mork at July 28, 2004 05:47 PM

Mork: To put it simply: the more you understand an enemy, the better your chances are of defeating it.

Sure, okay. I get the difference. But you wrote above as though my trip to Tunisia was supposed to help me out in this regard, so it seemed to me that when you wrote "empathy" you meant "sympathy."

Having tea with nice Tunisians seems to me a pretty separate concept from trying predict the behavior of an enemy.

Anyway, if the Iraqi "resistance" merely wanted Iraqi sovereignty, well, they got it. And not because they shot at our boys. It seems obvious to me that the local Iraqis taking part in the "resistance" don't think they'll get what they want in a democracy so they have to use violence to get what they want instead. And the foreign jihadists are simply up to their usual game of massacring infidels and what they call "low" Muslims.

Anyway, they're bad, and my point is that the real resistance in Iraq, contrary to Moore and other fools, is made of up those who want to build a decent country and are willing to risk their lives to resist the violent political maniacs in that haunt their society. Iraq could look something like Tunisia if my resistance wins the day, but it will look like Afghanistan or Algeria if Moore's "resistance" wins as he clearly hopes.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 28, 2004 05:59 PM

I thought it was a very eloquent expression of the basic reality in Iraq. Thanks.

Posted by: John T at July 28, 2004 05:59 PM

Iraq could look something like Tunisia if my resistance wins the day, but it will look like Afghanistan or Algeria if Moore's "resistance" wins as he clearly hopes.

Well, Michael, I would like to think that your last sentence were true, but I think you're fantasizing about the nature of your "resistance" as well. There are no George Washingtons in Iraq. The internal militias who are doing the most to combat foreign jihadis are themselves (according to the current issue of the Economist) hard-line Islamicists who are also going around smashing up liquor stores, preventing the sale of music CDs and shaving the heads of Gypsy dancers.

You say "it seems obvious to me that the local Iraqis taking part in the "resistance" don't think they'll get what they want in a democracy so they have to use violence to get what they want instead."

But in the way you frame the question, aren't you really projecting your own view of the world onto these people? For example, do you think most Iraqis have the same understanding of "democracy" that you do, ie that they understand what it entails and view it as any sort of realistic possibility, let alone a morally preferable one?

Cultures can be very different things. Just think about where western democracy came from (I mean, going back as far as the theology of protestantism and the philosophy of Locke, Mills, Rousseau, etc.), and what shared understandings preceded it. Can't you conceive that the understanding of the world that we absorb from our society contains a lot of information that is is not obvious, natural and inevitable (although it feels to us like it is), and shapes our behaviour and values in a whole lot of ways?

Posted by: Mork at July 28, 2004 07:10 PM

Mork, let me put it in simple terms for you since I'm clearly not making myself understood.

My sympathies lie with the Iraqi liberals. I'm using "liberal" in the small-l sense of the word here, and am willing to stretch the definition somewhat in this particular case, under the circumstances. Such people really do exist. Read the Iraqi blogs. You will find them there, as well as in many other places in the country.

The people who are blowing shit up and killing regular folks are bad guys. PERIOD.

That's all. That's it. I have no other point to make today.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 28, 2004 07:21 PM

residue of insanity

The only thing these islamo-fascists are ready to "resist" is the will of the people. The only thing they will do in a minute is kill a civilian. They are the residue of Saddam's insanity and Bin Ladin's fanaticism. The few decent nationalists among them died already -- fighting American soldiers.

The VC and the North Vietnamese were no Minutemen either. We got tired of the terror, the killing, the cost and the losses, but we were fighting for freedom. The other side was fighting for a pathetic empty ideology of enslavement. They finally got their way, and you see what we have today in Vietnam -- a better place than North Korea.

Posted by: jj at July 28, 2004 07:24 PM

I sympathize with the liberals, too. Why wouldn't I - they're people who have similar values to me.

But don't you see how uncommon these people are? Is it not self-evident, for example, that an Iraqi who speaks English and has lived in the west is not a typical Iraqi?

Posted by: Mork at July 28, 2004 07:51 PM

Mork: But don't you see how uncommon these people are?

No. I don't see that. I have no idea, really. I haven't been there. And well-behaved people in Iraq don't make news.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 28, 2004 08:01 PM

Also, Mork, I'm a bit weary of the idea that Arabs are simply savages. I know that's not what you're saying here. Iraqis have been traumatized by totalitarianism, and we shouldn't expect them to act like Swedes just yet. But there is this idea, usually not so clearly articulated, that Arab society is just badly wired and can't be fixed and we shouldn't expect anything from them except violence and extremism.

I just don't buy that. I have faith that Arab people, like people everywhere else, are capable of constructing a decent society for themselves if sinister actors will just leave them the hell alone. They did it in Tunisia and I've seen that for myself. They're doing it in Jordan, and Morocco, and Qatar, and Bahrain as well. Those societies aren't liberal democracies just yet, but they're on their way there, and they are doing reasonably well in the meantime.

Good government can do wonders. You're a liberal, so I don't have to tell that to you.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 28, 2004 08:29 PM

Mork --

At the risk of sounding overly simplistic, the only thing we need to know about Moore's "Minutemen" is that they have to be crushed. They are fascists -- the enemies of every liberal impulse from time immemmorial. Perhaps you need to revisit your premises and view the world as it really is rather than as it exists through your anti-Western lenses. Re-making Iraq as a free, liberal country is a noble enterprise, even if the effort in making it so has had its flaws.

Posted by: Ben at July 28, 2004 08:50 PM

And well-behaved people in Iraq don't make news.

Ah, yes, it's all the media's fault for failing to tell you what you want to hear.

I wonder what it would take to interrupt your fantasy.

Posted by: Mork at July 28, 2004 08:52 PM

I just don't buy that. I have faith that Arab people, like people everywhere else, are capable of constructing a decent society for themselves if sinister actors will just leave them the hell alone.

I agree with that statement. But the reality is that the sinister actors are there, and our presence just makes more of them.

We will not create a democracy in Iraq.

It is that simple.

Posted by: Mork at July 28, 2004 08:54 PM

Mork --

We may or may not be able to make democracy in Iraq. Hopefully, we can provide enough support and guidance to Iraqi liberals to enable them to do so. OTOH, we can definitely make fascism in Iraq. If we withdraw now, the Iraqi fascists will triumph, and the liberals will undoubtedly fail to succeed. In other words, in the short term we are the only hope for liberalism in Iraq.

Posted by: Ben at July 28, 2004 09:11 PM

Mork: Ah, yes, it's all the media's fault for failing to tell you what you want to hear.

That's not what I said.

"Shopkeeper was nice to strangers today" is not and should not be a headline.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 28, 2004 09:23 PM

Mork:

Right, but you're trying to deny that there's any part of the resistance that consists of people who have picked up a gun simply because they hate being occupied by Americans.

First of all, no he wasn't. Calling them 'jihadists' is not the same as saying they are all foreign religious nuts.

Secondly, what an astoundingly foolish, simpleminded, shallow, throwaway bit of nonsense that comment is. Why should we care what their reasons are when their actions include blowing up innocents?

Their inexcusable actions relieve me of the desire to understand their motives. I simply don't care why they do what they do, I only care that they are stopped from doing it again. If that means I have to understand them for some tactical advantage, then so be it, but for you to raise that as a banner to argue under is thoroughly foul.

Does it not occur to you that condemning someone's actions has nothing to do with analyzing their reasons?

Would you employ the same bickering over motives to promote empathy for husbands who kill a cheating wife? Arab fathers who kill their daughters for having the temerity to object to marrying a stranger? Men who commmit rape because the victim was 'asking for it'?

Posted by: Kieran Lyons at July 28, 2004 09:35 PM

Mork: We will not create a democracy in Iraq.

I learned long ago that a defeatist attitude produces defeat in life because it prevents a person from doing what is required to succeed. Both my parents taught me this in very different ways. My mother did it by explaining it to me over and over again and by providing examples in her own life and others. My father did it by utterly ignoring me whenever I said anything pessimistic and saying only in response "nobody likes a pissant." I got real tired of hearing that so I finally cut it out. It changed my world.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 28, 2004 09:48 PM

That's not what I said.

No, but it's what you meant, isn't it?

There's a ton of material available through the media about what ordinary Iraqis think and do, and there's very little basis in what's available to assume that there's some vast silent majority that understands what liberal democracy is and how to achieve one. So, either the media is doing a truly awful job of describing Iraqi society, or this silent majority of yours doesn't exist.

But what's interesting is that you are nevertheless prepared to assume its existence - practically as the very justification of the invasion itself. Why?

Posted by: Mork at July 28, 2004 09:55 PM

I learned long ago that a defeatist attitude produces defeat in life because it prevents a person from doing what is required to succeed.

Oh, come on Michael.

Tell me why I'm wrong about what the facts are.

Don't give me this shit that I'm a bad person because I look at what's happening and don't see cause for optimism. If you really think that's a valuable contribution to an argument, well, I can see how you ended up where you did. All you have to do is click your frickin' heels three times and say "there's no place like home" and everything's OK.

Posted by: Mork at July 28, 2004 10:01 PM

Mork: Tell me why I'm wrong about what the facts are.

Because you have no crystal ball, that's why. You don't know the future, and neither do I. Yet you claim that you do.

I can only imagine what you would have said in the middle of World War II. Things looked a lot darker then than they do today.

No, but it's what you meant, isn't it?

No.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 28, 2004 10:43 PM

Mork: there's very little basis in what's available to assume that there's some vast silent majority that understands what liberal democracy is and how to achieve one.

That's why we're helping them.

From Paul Berman's recent essay in The New Republic:

We have learned that Saddam Hussein's Baathist dictatorship was just as bad as everyone said, and worse. We have learned about the 300,000 Shia killed after the 1991 war, the perhaps 30,000 people buried in a single grave, the 40,000 marsh Arabs killed, the millions of refugees, and so forth--mass destruction with and without weapons of mass destruction. We have learned about the survivors. In Baghdad, a woman schoolteacher approached George Packer of The New Yorker and said, "Please, sir, can you help me? ... I must work with Americans, because my psychology is demolished by Saddam Hussein. Not just me. All Iraqis. Psychological demolition."

What would you say to that woman, Mork? That it's hopeless? That she and her society are doomed?

I liked John Edwards tonight. He reminded me why I became a Democrat in the first place. I wouldn't need to have this argument with him. You seem to have forgotten what your own political philosophy is about. This is the kind of argument I used to have with conservatives.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 28, 2004 10:49 PM

I can only imagine what you would have said in the middle of World War II. Things looked a lot darker then than they do today.

In WW2, we had no choice. We were fighting for our survival. No matter how bad things looked, our best option was to keep fighting.

What would you say to that woman, Mork? That it's hopeless? That she and her society are doomed?

That's just emotive crap. Whether or not I feel unhappy about the facts is beside the point. The facts are still the facts.

Whether I want to help her or not is one question. Whether I am able to is another.

And the only reason you want me to focus on the first question is because you're not willing to dispassionately confront the second.

I liked John Edwards tonight. He reminded me why I became a Democrat in the first place. I wouldn't need to have this argument with him.

You must have heard a different John Edwards. I don't hear Edwards defending the decision to invade ... quite the opposite. And I don't hear John Edwards pretending that we're going to create a democracy in Iraq. In fact, by talking about a "stable Iraq" he quite clearly indicated that they don't see that as a realistic goal.

To the extent that the Democrats are committed to staying with Iraq until it's on a stable footing, I agree with them 100%. But it's the fact that they understand why the decision to go in was a mistake is what makes me want to trust them with my security.

You seem to have forgotten what your own political philosophy is about.

I'm not sure what you think my political philosphy is, but it sure as hell doesn't call for wilfull blindness or wishful thinking.

Posted by: Mork at July 28, 2004 11:15 PM

Mork,

About Edwards, I meant I liked him in a general way. I like his temperament. He's a far cry from Michael Moore, isn't he? He's an optimist who wants to help people and believes that he can. You are (at least on the question of Iraq) a doom-monger who wants to give up. At least it looks to me like you want to give up. If you truly think it's hopeless, why try? What's the point? Just abandon Iraq to the wolves.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 28, 2004 11:37 PM

Mork,

Michael Moore lauded these murderers as heroes of the "resistance"; no amount of your spin can change that.

Posted by: David at July 28, 2004 11:38 PM

Or, Mork, if you don't think we should abandon Iraq to the wolves, I guess it's okay with you if we stick some "stabilizing" dictatorship in charge? I'm trying to figure out what you think we should do here. Please don't give me a Henry Kissinger answer. No more Pinochets in my name.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 28, 2004 11:41 PM

You are (at least on the question of Iraq) a doom-monger who wants to give up. At least it looks to me like you want to give up. If you truly think it's hopeless, why try?

I don't want to give up by any means. We have a moral obligation to at least get the country to the point that people are not going to be worse off than if we never came. And even apart from the moral calculation, a precipitous withdrawal would have a devastating effect on America's standing in the world.

But the question of whether we can turn it into a liberal democracy is central to the issue of whether we should have gone there in the first place. And that, as far as I'm concerned, is a live issue until those responsible for the decision have been called to account.

Posted by: Mork at July 28, 2004 11:45 PM

Or, Mork, if you don't think we should abandon Iraq to the wolves, I guess it's okay with you if we stick some "stabilizing" dictatorship in charge?

Unfortunately, Michael, I think that our choices are down to two: abandoning the place, or leaving it in the hands of a strongman who will at least get the ecomony going and keep the place out of civil war.

I wish it were otherwise.

I wish we had never gone.

Posted by: Mork at July 28, 2004 11:47 PM

Mork, I wish you would say "I hope I'm wrong" instead of "I wish it were otherwise." Because maybe you are wrong. You really don't know, and neither do I.

I could be wrong, and I hope I'm not.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 28, 2004 11:52 PM

Anyway, I'm going to bed. Thanks for the discussion. Good night.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 28, 2004 11:53 PM

Good night to you, Michael. Glad you're back. It's always a pleasure.

Posted by: Mork at July 28, 2004 11:55 PM

The "revolution" sure is funny, this is what Moore calls "rising up"?

Posted by: sblafren at July 29, 2004 01:32 AM

as always, you take moore's comments out of context and reinterpret them. when you speak of the resistance, you assume that it includes the kinds of attacks you refer to in this post. then you assume that that is what Moore is referrring to and what he supports. you're wrong on both accounts of course.

Posted by: rparks at July 29, 2004 06:02 AM

The evidence was in long ago, surely. Ask Mrs. Lipscomb, who is also probably the most important part of Moore's film (and also most ignored by people like Mr. Totten).

Posted by: rparks at July 29, 2004 06:04 AM

Folks,

I recommend a good dose of history. Try the American Revolution, with a special focus on the Patriots verses the Torries in the South, during the 4th and 5th year of the War.

We were not that different from those insurgents in Iraq. Patriots tortured, killed, and brutalized Torries is all sorts of horrific ways, the Torries did the same. In fact, it was so bad that the British (who were backing the Torries) finally gave up on using the Torries because the violence and disregard for human life on Both Sides was utterly revolting (no pun intended).

Thats what revolutions are, the will of a few (even here in the states it was not a majority that revolted, only a loud and potent minority) to direct the many. The many usually don't like to be directed... so there are violent, horrible, atrocious acts of violence, until one of the sides gives up or dies out.

Yes, it is sad, ugly, horrible to see 70 civillians wiped out in a single episode of horror. But, that in no way makes all Insurgents evil, it makes them insurgents, revolutionaries and still our enemies.

Grieve for the dead, but do not pretend that we have some moral high ground, our country has its equal share of acts of horror. Do we really want to compare the acts in Iraq today with the acts of our people and our government over the past 200 years? For that matter, any government (I think the french did a bit of head chopping during their revolution as well).

I'm not saying they're right or just, only saying that moral outrage should be tempered with a view of what revolution always is.

Ratatosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 29, 2004 07:04 AM

The moral equivocation and apologetics for our enemies continues unabated from the Left side of the aisle, i.e., yes they're bad, but we're bad too ok guys?

Ok Tosk.

Posted by: David at July 29, 2004 07:18 AM

David,

That's not what I was saying. I was pointing out that what they are doing is not different from what happened in other revolutions, including our own... to say that their violence makes them not-revolutionaries doesn't hold as an argument. All revolutionaries are violent.

Close your eyes if you wish, but it won't keep you from tripping on the truth.

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 29, 2004 07:22 AM

Actually this piece was written by Mohammed, not Omar, and I agree with him. I am proud my country liberated Mohammed and his people from hell so that he may today freely tell us their history.

I also agree with Mohammed's statements that the "anti-war"crowd with all the clowns there such as Michael Moore and George Galloway and their likes...make me SICK" and will be "exposed to all as the disgusting parasites" they are.

Saddam Hussein was himself a Weapon of Mass Destruction as is Micahel Moore a Weapon of Mass Distraction. In Mohammed's eye, as in mine, both are equally evil.

Posted by: syn at July 29, 2004 07:27 AM

Thats right syn, if people don't agree with your worldview, they are inhuman monsters.

Well done.

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 29, 2004 07:33 AM

Ratatosk, I am agreeing with Mohammed's worldview.

Do you bother to read his worldview?

I suppose by your comment neither Saddam nor Moore are, in Mohammed's words, "disgusting parasites"?

Ratatosk, I get the sense that you will say and do everything in your power to prove to the world you are an idiot.

Posted by: syn at July 29, 2004 08:00 AM

heheheheh, well syn, I have to admit, you're great comic relief.

Toskie

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 29, 2004 08:08 AM

>>>"That's not what I was saying. I was pointing out that what they are doing is not different from what happened in other revolutions, including our own..."

Tosk,

your view is rather sterile and academic. And that's far more valid in my eyes than Michael Moore's statement that these "revolutionaries" are the good guys.

(and please don't tell me that's not what he meant, I'm not in the mood for Lefty sophistry this early in the morning).

Michael Moore on their side, and therefore an enemy of this country and of the Iraqi people.

Posted by: David at July 29, 2004 08:09 AM

Ratatosk –

Patriots tortured, killed, and brutalized Torries is all sorts of horrific ways

So, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter – thanks for pointing that out. Minutes had passed since I last heard that cliché, and I was starting to miss it.

History was not my best subject. Do you have links to pages that would prove Michael Moore’s assertion that the insurgents are directly comparable to the Minutemen of the Revolutionary War?

Did the Patriots slaughter hundreds of innocent people during a religious celebration, did they assassinate religious leaders and murder nearly a hundred worshippers, did they deliberately and consistently target the marketplace, slaughter international aid workers, diplomats, and children?

Did the founding fathers hang corpses from bridges, did they encourage children to dismember the bodies and celebrate the mutilation, did they regularly behead foreign hostages?

The Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah fought for the right to establish an oppressive Taliban-style theocratic form of government. Most of the insurgents are motivated by the desire to create an oppressive form of government. Is that what the Minutemen were fighting for?

If you want to discuss Tory brutality, take the issue up with Canada. Most of the Torries headed north after they lost the war. Perhaps the Canadian history of brutal violence keeps them from having any moral high ground, but most Americans have learned to forgive and forget.

Posted by: mary at July 29, 2004 08:14 AM

Toskie, I am delighted to entertain the dumbfounded.

Posted by: syn at July 29, 2004 08:16 AM

David,

Good guys are never the good guys until history says they are. What history will say about the Insurgents is unknown.

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 29, 2004 08:23 AM

Actually, Tosk, it is your view of history that is distorted. It is true that atrocities occurred during the American Revolution and that both sides had innocent blood on their respective hands.

It is also true that the American Revolution was fundamentally different from most other Revolutions. (This should not be controversial because there have been numerous scholarly works from in this regard).

In all probability, the American Revolution was different because of the extraordinary leadership of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, et al. Our Founding Fathers were remarkable men, and we can justifiably look to the founding period with pride. One of the reasons that Michael Moore disgusts me is that he lumps those remarkable men in with the cold-blooded animals that are the Iraqi "insurgents."

Posted by: Ben at July 29, 2004 08:27 AM

Tosk,

I'm not interested in the revision that comes with history.

Here and now, Michael Moore and his "minutemen" are the enemies of America and the Iraqi people, HERE AND NOW. His own words hang him.

Posted by: David at July 29, 2004 08:27 AM

Mary,

The Patriots beheaded many an innocent bystander, either because they or their family had Torrie leanings, or because they publicly stated that they were not interested in either side. Entire families were slaughtered, including children. Hell, there's one diary entry written by a patriot talking about how they cheered after leaving a decapitated body, hanging in the doorway of a home.

The Torries did the same, most of them were backwoods immigrents who had been marginalized by the established 'Americans' and they saw this as their chance to get even. The Brits eventually abandoned the use of Torries, because their actions were too horrifying for the British to even fathom.

My point is not that all Iraqis fighting are Patriots or Minutemen. My point is that there are likely a number of them who feel just as our own Patriots here felt during the War.

Violence and horror do not always exist only in the domain of evil.

If you're really interested I'll get you a list of resources covering the War in the South during the 5th year of the Revolution.

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 29, 2004 08:34 AM

David,

Your opinion is valid, but not necessarily equal to reality. Please remember that when posting.

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 29, 2004 08:36 AM

Ben,

I said that atrocities were committed, you said atrocities were committed... how is my view of history distorted? I never claimed that the Patriots in the south had Washington's, Hamilton's, Jefferson's or Franklin's approval.

Once people tie themselves to a particular ideology, it is easy to commit horrible acts in the name of that ideology. Be the ideology an American republic or a Islamic Iraq.

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 29, 2004 08:40 AM

Wow, looks like Michael's traffic is back up.

Michael, I'm sure this has been pointed out in the comments already, but just in case it hasn't:

Yes, car bombers are bad, terrorists are bad, Baathists are bad, and fascists are bad. But you've lumped everyone together. For example, "Because that’s what these jihadists want to do - clear out the foreigners so they can stomp their boots on the locals." I suspect that those setting off bombs like the one the other day are NOT jihadists, they're secular Baathists. Of course, I could be wrong, but so could you.

I know it's hard to tell one type of terrorist from another without a scorecard, but I think you're making some pretty broad assumptions.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at July 29, 2004 08:45 AM

>>>"Please remember that when posting."

I'll remember that you have a worldview to protect and that you won't allow the facts to prevent that. If we can't agree that Michael Moore's comments were seditious, then we won't even agree on the color of the sky or that water is wet.

Posted by: David at July 29, 2004 08:46 AM

Tosk --

The atrocities committed in America during the Revolutionary period were comparatively few in number and were not pursued a the policy of either side (except in a few isolated times and places). In response to criticisms about the low quality of Soviet troops when compared to their Western counterparts, Marshal Zhukov stated that "quantity has a quality all its own." He was right. The Iraqi "resistance" is pursuing murder of innocents as a policy. That is morally wrong, and it is NOT the policy that was pursued widely either by the American Rebels or by the British. (BTW, the British sympathizers were "Tories," not "Torries").

Posted by: Ben at July 29, 2004 08:46 AM

Tosk,

No one who is killing American soldiers, foreign civilians, or Iraqi civilians in Iraq is fighting for democracy. Maybe that means little to you, but it makes all the difference in the world to me. If they were to win this little micro-war of theirs, the killing would continue on a much larger scale once they took power. That's the key difference between the American Revolution and the so-called Iraqi "resistance."

The only apt comparison to this "resistance" and the American Revolution is that both are violent. And that means very little by itself. The Allies and the Axis in World War II were also both violent, but they certainly were not morally equivalent. What you're fighting for means everything.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 29, 2004 08:48 AM

dpu --

You are reading Christian values into the Muslim extremists. The Muslim religious fanatics have no problem with the murder of Muslim bystanders, because those bystanders then become martyrs to the Islamist cause. To be killed in the service of Islam is the greatest honor that can be bestowed on believers in their opinion. The innocent bystanders who are killed in these attacks are killed in the service of Islam; accordingly, they are entitled to an honored place in Heaven.

Posted by: Ben at July 29, 2004 08:53 AM

Ben - what on earth are you referring to in my post?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at July 29, 2004 09:18 AM

Michael,

I like democracy. I think democracy is a good thing. I do not however, believe that democracy should be the only thing worth fighting for.

People fight for what they believe in. Not every war has been for democracy. Not every war has had a 'good' and 'evil' side. There are so many colors in the spectrum, that to color anything black and white is to limit ones ability to understand Life, The Universe and Everything. Of course the Iraqi insurgents aren't fighting for democoracy. They don't think democracy is good (or at least they don't think that American involvement in Iraq is good, no matter what the motive). I have yet to see any conclusive proof that Democracy will be good for Iraq (better than Saddam, surely, but that may still not be good).

I am not supporting the Iraqi resistance. I am not supporting the murder of innocents. However, I'm not about to lump every resistance fighter under the same label of Evil. Everything is relative, even if you don't think it is. ;-)

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 29, 2004 09:22 AM

My point is not that all Iraqis fighting are Patriots or Minutemen. My point is that there are likely a number of them who feel just as our own Patriots here felt during the War.

As a whole, the insurgency targets civilians, and slaughters hundreds to make a political point. They hope to form an oppressive system of government. There may be a few insurgents who dream of freedom, who hope to throw away their guns after the war and lead a quiet life of contemplation and poetry-writing. But the ‘feelings’ and quiet dreams of this minority have absolutely no demonstrable influence over the actions and goals of the majority.

The insurgents have already installed an Islamist govt. in Fallujah, complete with classic Shariah law. The goal of the majority of terrorists (the Iraqi insurgents, Hamas, al Qaeda, the Muslim brotherhood, the Sudanese govt/Janjaweed, etc) is to install Shariah law. Shariah law allows slavery and supports the current genocidal Islamist jihad. The actions of the insurgents indicate that the instillation of Shariah is their goal.

In my opinion, slavery and genocide are evil. But I’m not a moral relativist…

Posted by: mary at July 29, 2004 09:43 AM

>>>"However, I'm not about to lump every resistance fighter under the same label of Evil."

A person as "evil" is determined by what they choose to do, not some subjective assessment by grandma about how "he's such a good boy if only you got to know him."

Terrorists are EVIL by any objective standard.

Posted by: David at July 29, 2004 09:57 AM

David,

Terrorists may be evil. I was not talking about terrorists, I was talking about the Iraqi Insurgents, some of whom may indeed be evil terrorists. Sorry if you got confused.

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 29, 2004 10:00 AM

If the "insurgents" in Iraq were concerned with getting their country back and expelling the Americans, they wouldn't be murdering Iraqis.

That was NOT the way our Forefathers fought the American Revolution, and to say otherwise is some of the most isane drivel I've ever read.

But you guys go ahead and continue to argue your point. We'll stick around and make sure as many voters as possible know just who Michael Moore and his supporters are and what they REALLY think.

Posted by: Tom at July 29, 2004 10:11 AM

Michael-
Meet the new Iraqi fascism. Same as the old Iraqi fascism.

Ironic that you alude to "Won't Get Fooled Again", which was about regime change. As far as I know, the aspiring fascists (which, surely, some of the insurgents are) are not the "same as" Saddam, given that Saddam didn't set off car bombs.

If there is a valid comparison to be made, it is between Saddam's tactics and the tactics of the emerging Iraqi government. Given the factions within the country, and given the interest of neighboring countries in keeping the situation unstable, I (still) think the most likely outcome is that we set up a new strongman - a new Saddam of our very own. "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

And at what price?

Posted by: Mithras at July 29, 2004 10:16 AM

Mithras,

when Allawi re-opens the rape dungeons and fills the mass graves, then you might have a case. Until then you're comparisons aren't even worth a response.

Posted by: Mithras at July 29, 2004 10:30 AM

above posted by David, not Mithras

Posted by: David at July 29, 2004 10:31 AM

dpu --

I was referring to "I suspect that those setting off bombs like the one the other day are NOT jihadists, they're secular Baathists."

Posted by: Ben at July 29, 2004 10:31 AM

David-
Mass graves? What mass graves are you referring to?

Rape rooms?

Now, tell me. Is it worth a response?

Posted by: Mithras at July 29, 2004 10:34 AM

Tom,

Firstly, I abhor the murder of innocent people, plain and simple. However, I am not yet convienced that the people who set off the bomb and killed 70 people is the total representation of who the insurgents are.

Remember, there are many, many groups, each with their own names, some of whom have appeared only in the past few weeks, and those are the ones we know about... who knows how many other groups are keeping a low profile. We have no evidence that these groups are working together or even that they have a common goal. We know that some of the groups are pro-shariah law, some groups appear to be active Al-Queada cells, some groups don't seem to fit either category.

I think that one problem is that the media only covers a small number of the ongoing insurgent attacks, they cover 70 dead with one bomb, but don't cover the gunfire exchange between US soliders and insurgents, the constant grenade launcher attacks on US bases, etc.

There are men who are commiting evil acts, right now in Iraq. I absolutely agree. However, there is no evidence that ALL the insurgent groups are playing together, indeed it seems that some are terrorists, some are Ba'athists and some just want the Americans to leave. We may never fully know what the ratios are, but it is folly to lump them all together.

As for how our forefathers fought... the atrocities I mentioned before did hppen, they were terrible and they were done by groups that claimed to fight for the American revolution... in some cases though, it appears more like justification to kill the Tories, most of whom were backwoods immigrints that were outcasts from good Southern society. I think the parallel is interesting. The official Revolution leaders thought the actions in the south were horrific. There's a letter that I believe was written to one of Washington's generals, bemoaning the fact that these things were happening in the name of the revolution. Is it that far a strech to consider that the situation in Iraq may have similar groups? (Hell, in France, many pro-revolution groups were horrified at the actions of their Leaders. Even Lafeytte and Thomas Jefferson who maintained close contact through the revolution saw the wonton murder of aristocrats and any who stood against the Revolution as terrible).

Wars are rarely free of evil acts and evil men, no matter what side is examined.

Ratatosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 29, 2004 10:34 AM

Mithras,

Good links I hadn't heard about either of those yet.

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 29, 2004 10:40 AM

Tosk --

A lot of things are shades of gray, but that doesn't mean there is no such thing as black and white. The "insurgents" are fighting for the right to oppress ordinary Iraqis. In my moral calculus, that is evil.

If you cannot see that Democracy will not be good for the Iraqis, you need to reevaluate your premises. The last two centuries of evidence have proven Churchill's maxim that "Democracy is a terrible form of government, but it is better than all of the alternatives." I consider that to be good for ordinary Iraqis. In any event, regardless of whether it is good for them, it will be a whole lot better for us than another fascist government.

Posted by: Ben at July 29, 2004 10:43 AM

Mithras,

so is your point that Blair is a liar? or is it that 5,000 dead Iraqis isn't enough? I still fail to see how you arrive at your Allawi=Saddam conclusion. And what of this:

"It comes amid inflation from an estimate by Human Rights Watch in May 2003 of 290,000 'missing' to the latest claims by the Iraqi Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, that one million are missing.

Mithras, is 290,000 missing not massive enough for you? Or are you saying that Allawi also has dissapeared 290,000 Iraqis? What is your point? None apparently.

Posted by: David at July 29, 2004 10:48 AM

Ben,

I hope that you are right. I hope that democracy will work in Iraq. I hope that the insurgency will die down once Iraqis truly take power in their government. I hope that those insurgents who are not just anti-American occupation, are shot in the stomach and bleed slowly and painfully to death.

However, I am not about to assume that all of this is so.Afterall, democracy doesn't always work. France is a great example where Democracy by force fell apart, because the common citizen had no idea what value democracy had. Those empowered by the revolution abused their power and those under that power felt as abused as they did under monarchy. The same could happen in Iraq. maybe it will work well, maybe it won't, we'll just have to wait and see, and keep in mind that nothing is ever certain.

tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 29, 2004 10:51 AM

David,

I think his point was that the PM and President of the new Iraq, could become another Saddam. The mindset of the people and the politicans are very important in demcoracy... if Allawi were to invoke martial law, he could easily engage in abuses equal to Saddam. Let us hope that he does not. remember, Saddam was once our Man as well, sure he was the lesser evil compared to Iran... but a lesser evil is still capable of great acts of Evil.

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 29, 2004 10:54 AM

Tosk --

Indeed you are correct that wars are full of evil men and evil acts, no matter which side is examined. BUT, there are some wars that are fought for moral or immoral reasons, and there are some wars that are fought in moral or immoral ways -- thus the distinction between ius ad bellum and ius in bello. If a war is fought for moral reasons, then it is incumbent on the parties to attempt to fight it in a moral way, realizing that some failings will occur (humans being what they are). If a war is fought for immoral reasons, it cannot be made moral by being fought in a moral way.

I don't buy for a minute that a substantial number of insurgents are anything other than fascists. Iraqis of good will know that there is a simple way to get the Americans out quickly: support the new government and help stabilize the country. The fact that they know this and continue to cause instability shows that they are opposed to the new government and want a return of fascist control (whether Baathist or religious).

The "insurgents" are fighting an immoral war because they are trying to enslave the population of Iraq. All people of goodwill should be opposed to them for this reason, rather than trying to understand their rage, etc. IMHO, one of the great tragedies of the 20th Century occurred when the Left lost its antifascist orientation. Why is it so hard to say that fascism is evil?

Posted by: Ben at July 29, 2004 10:55 AM

Tosk --

Democracy cannot be imposed by force -- it must arise out of the consent of the governed. Force can protect the seeds of democracy, however. You cannot expect democracy to arise out of a totalitarian environment -- the democrats will be crushed. The purpose of the use of force is to protect them long enough for a democracy to develop.

Posted by: Ben at July 29, 2004 10:58 AM

Why is it so hard to say that fascism is evil?

Sigh. Another strawman argument. Here, I'm a leftist, and let me say it: "Fascism is Evil". There.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at July 29, 2004 11:04 AM

>>>"if Allawi were to invoke martial law, he could easily engage in abuses equal to Saddam."

Tosk,

and aliens could land in the Rose Garden. It's pure speculation, but it could happen.

Posted by: David at July 29, 2004 11:10 AM

>>>"Here, I'm a leftist, and let me say it: "Fascism is Evil". There."

And Bush=Hitler.

Posted by: David at July 29, 2004 11:15 AM

Thank you dpu. Now will you go the next step and say that Saddam Hussein, OBL and the members of their respective movements are fascists?

Posted by: Ben at July 29, 2004 11:17 AM
Tosk: I am not yet convienced that the people who set off the bomb and killed 70 people is the total representation of who the insurgents are

Then you, sir, are a flaming idiot, or massively dishonest.

Michael, I apologize in advance for my language and will make myself scarce. But such idiocy has to be pointed out.

Posted by: Tom at July 29, 2004 11:20 AM

tosk-
"if Allawi were to invoke martial law, he could easily engage in abuses equal to Saddam."

Thank you for understanding my point where others seem willfully blind.

As Ben implies, a democratic Iraqi government (assuming arguendo that one is in the offing) needs to use undemocratic means to protect itself. But a government's desire for self-preservation can quickly become an end in itself, especially in a society unaccustomed to democracy. And the unfortunate fact is, a new despot might be perfectly acceptable to a majority of Iraqis. Ben says blithely "democracy cannot be imposed by force", as if the imposition of democracy by force has not been the entire rationale offered by the pro-invasion side (at least, since it turned out there were no WMD).

Saddam was disarmed and contained by the sanctions and inspections regime. That program cost us barely anything in comparison to this war - virtually no casualties and $1 billion a year, versus untold tens of thousands dead, $1 billion per week, and the horrors of war visited on an entire nation and on U.S. troops, with no real end to our commitment in sight. And in the end, Iraqis will most likely get a new tyrant. Any moral calculus of the worth of the war must account for all those things.

Posted by: Mithras at July 29, 2004 11:21 AM

Tom,

I apologize, mark it up to my Idiot Squirrel Brain. I didn't realize that you had a list of all of the insurgent groups, their agendas and their methods. Silly me, since our government didn't have one, I assumed one didn't exist. Could you post the entire list for us, the names of the groups, their specific goals and how they are carrying out those goals?

Thanks for the Information,

An Idiot Squirrel

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 29, 2004 11:32 AM

Tosk -

Tosk sez "Your opinion is valid, but not necessarily equal to reality. Please remember that when posting."

Tosk later sez this:
"Everything is relative, even if you don't think it is."

Discuss.

Posted by: Bravo Romeo Delta at July 29, 2004 11:35 AM

All y'all who have a complaint with Michael's post, where are you actually going with all this. I'm seeing a lot of negative assertions, but no actual recommendations or counterexamples or anything other than crapping on the posts.

Absent any suggestions about what to do, the current course of action is, axiomatically, the best course of action.

Posted by: Bravo Romeo Delta at July 29, 2004 11:41 AM
Could you post the entire list for us, the names of the groups, their specific goals and how they are carrying out those goals?

Let me make it simple for you, not for the first time. There are two kinds of insurgent groups, those that kill innocent people and those that don't. I have yet to see or hear from the second group so I'm safely assuming they don't exist or are so small as to be insignificant.

But let me take back the "idiot" accusation. You have created a quite clever strawman to abuse at your leisure. According to you, there are "good" insurgents, and "bad" insurgents. Anytime you want to complain about our "occupation" you talk about the "good" insurgents. But when another atrocity occurs, you blame it on those "bad" insurgents, that, of course, have nothing to do with the "good" insurgents.

Like I said, massively dishonest.

Posted by: Tom at July 29, 2004 11:47 AM

BRD,

"Your opinion is valid, but not necessarily equal to reality. Please remember that when posting."

"Everything is relative, even if you don't think it is."

Are those comments not in agreement?

I believe that they are and am more than happy to expound.

1. Everything is relative to the person observing. What they observe is true from their perspective, at the time of observation, with the knowledge they have at the time.

2. Therefore, what the person observes is a valid interpertation of what they percieve as reality.

3. However, that does not mean that one's observation is indeed a reflection of Reality. None of us can definately say what is True in Reality, only what seems true to us based on our observations and the interpertation of these observations throught our neurological system, tempered by our opinions and biases.

QED, everything is relative, all views are valid at some level, yet none of them are necessarily an accurate reflection of reality.

Hope that clears up any misconceptions my earlier statements produced.

Ratatosk (It's why they call me the Squirrel of Discord)

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 29, 2004 11:48 AM

Ben: Now will you go the next step and say that Saddam Hussein, OBL and the members of their respective movements are fascists?

I will happily say that Hussein is a fascist, because he is. Osama Bin Laden is a religious fanatic, in every way as bad and a threat, but is not a fascist.

Are you guys seriously under the delusion that the left thinks these guys are not a threat or something?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at July 29, 2004 11:50 AM

Tom,

I don't believe that there are Good Insurgents and Bad Insurgents. I think that there may be many insurgent groups, some of whom have a patriotic motivation, while others have a theocratic motivation and still others seem to have a facist motivation.

My gripe is not that the Insurgents that killed 70 civillians are bad, I think that was an evil act, perpatrated by bad, bad people... at least in my worldview.

My gripe is that Americans tend to lump numerous groups into that same category. There is apparently some evidence that a number of groups are attacking only millitary targets, they, to my mind may be the enemy, but not necessarily bad. Whereas the groups that are blowing up random people are, in my view, bad.

I don't know who is doing what there, I don't think anyone (even the Iraqis) knows.

If the groups who are attacking only coalition targets are doing so because they view them as an Occupying army, then I think that they are patriots. Still the enemy, still need to be quashed, but not evil, not bad, just patriotic.

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 29, 2004 11:55 AM
If the groups who are attacking only coalition targets are doing so because they view them as an Occupying army, then I think that they are patriots. Still the enemy, still need to be quashed, but not evil, not bad, just patriotic.

Sorry Tosk, but if there were a group such as that operating in Iraq, the very first thing they would do is distance themselves from the "bad" insurgents and make plain their greviances. To date we have yet to see any group like that.

Posted by: Tom at July 29, 2004 12:13 PM

Tom,

That's a pretty big assumption you're making.

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 29, 2004 12:15 PM
Are you guys seriously under the delusion that the left thinks these guys are not a threat or something?

Seems to me that the left's entire argument against the war in Iraq was that Hussein wasn't a threat.

Posted by: Tom at July 29, 2004 12:16 PM

DPU: Are you guys seriously under the delusion that the left thinks these guys are not a threat or something?

That's what Michael Moore says. He may not be "the left," but he is a popular part of the left.

In any case, I don't really believe the left exists any longer. There are people to "the left" of some nebulous center point who believe all sorts of contradictory things. Every left group is viciously despised by at least one other left group. I guess there's nothing new in this, but I've never been so aware of it before.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 29, 2004 12:17 PM
That's a pretty big assumption you're making.

LOL. This coming from the person who said "am not yet convienced that the people who set off the bomb and killed 70 people is the total representation of who the insurgents are".

Hello Mr. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle.

Posted by: Tom at July 29, 2004 12:20 PM

MJT In any case, I don't really believe the left exists any longer. There are people to "the left" of some nebulous center point who believe all sorts of contradictory things.

Same can be said about the right and the center.

That's what Michael Moore says.

Colin Powell said pretty much the same thing about Hussein that Moore did. So did George the First. So why castigate Moore?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at July 29, 2004 12:27 PM

Michael,

Chaos, Discord, Confusion, welcome to the relaity of Eris ;-).

I am no fan of Mr. Moore. I do not agree with many things he says. I think he has a personal agenda and is willing to twist his view (and the view he presents to others) to succeed in his agenda. But, isn't twisting a view to present your agenda to others called politics? Was the view of Iraq pre-war not twisted to some extent in order to support an agenda. (Note: I am not saying anyone lied, only that the truth got one helluva massage)

Moore has the right to present the truth in whatever twisted fucked up way he wishes. I reserve the right to determine for myself if I agree with any of it. The same is true for any left, right, up, down, foreward, back group that might appear on the scene. People need to take responsibility for what they believe. Its not my job to tell anyone that Moore s a piece of crap and that his arguments are false. If they don't bother to research for themselves, then I don't really give a flying fuck what they think.

I classify humans in a couple categories:

1. Talking Monkeys - The vast majority of people I meet get filed into this category. They seem to eat, sleep, fuck and make noises with their vocal chords. They rarely think but often parrot back what they hear, without any examination of the facts. As far as I'm concerned, they can do what they want, I don't really care.

2. Cosmic Schmucks - These are the intelligent Talking Monkeys that think they know whats going on and talk about it endlessly. Usually Talking Monkeys are Cosmic Schmucks on at least one topic. As far as I'm concerned, they can do what they want, I don't really care.

3. Human Beings - Human beings are what people are, during the times that they aren't being talking monkeys or Cosmic Schmucks. Unfortunatly, everyone I've met (including me) doesn't spend nearly enough time just being human beings... and far too much time being either talking monkeys or cosmic schmucks.

Moore is a Cosmic Schmuck, people who vote against Bush based soley on what they saw on the Silver Screen (where they watched Spider-Man and Frodo), are talking monkeys. They can all go jump in a lake.

;-)

"The world will solve all of its problems, when they stop taking themselves seriously."

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 29, 2004 12:36 PM

Mr. Kettle,

"Hello Mr. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle."

Indeed, its one helluva difficult thing to maintain a rational view, isn't it ;-).

Sincerely,
Mr. Pot

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 29, 2004 12:38 PM

DPU,

No, I mean Moore said there is no threat from anybody. No terrorism threat.

I wasn't worried that Saddam was gonna git me. I was even less worried that Slobo was gunning for me. Doesn't matter. The world is better off without both of them.

The world is especially better off without Saddam Hussein. The Middle East badly needs political reform, as we all know. I am not willing to sit back and wait for them to sort this out for themselves, especially not in a place like Iraq where the people were incapable of fixing their problems without outside intervention.

Their political dysfunction is my business because it topples buildings in my cities.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 29, 2004 12:39 PM

The political dysfunction in Iraq resulted in the collapse of the World Trade Center? I had no idea....

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 29, 2004 12:43 PM

Mithras,

You know there is no reason to think that The new leader of Iraq would be anything like the old.

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 29, 2004 12:52 PM

Tosk,

A common trick is when someone states the world and particularly the Middle East is better off without Saddam, someone else replies that this is stating a connection between Saddam and 9-11. Not only was this not done in the previous post, it wasn't even implied.

Mithras,

I was unaware that the sanctions caused virtually no casualties. This contradicts everything I'd heard, up until 2002 that is, when many of the same crowd who denounced the sanctions for causing 5000 deaths per month decided that we needed to "let sanctions work."

Posted by: Peter G at July 29, 2004 12:55 PM

The world is especially better off without Saddam Hussein.

Yes, I agree. What we disagree on is how it should be done. Personally, I don't that Allawi's appointment is a very good sign that any form of reasonable democracy is on its way. That fact that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have agreed to send troops to Iraq to help Allawi out against the inurgency isn't a particualrily good sign either, as both are brutal dictatorships, and that kind of eager alliance worries me.

So when you say "The Middle East badly needs political reform, as we all know. I am not willing to sit back and wait for them to sort this out for themselves, especially not in a place like Iraq where the people were incapable of fixing their problems without outside intervention," I'm a bit uncertain as to what you think that intervention has brought, nor what benefits are likely to arise from this mess.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at July 29, 2004 12:58 PM

Michael Moore will be sadly dissappointed by this story that just crossed the AP wire a half hour ago:

Iraq Police Arrest 270 Militants in Raids
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqi police have arrested 270 militants, mostly from neighboring countries, in recent raids, the interim interior minister said in remarks published Thursday.

Some of the militants were Syrian and Iranian, Falah Hassan al-Naqib told the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat daily.

"I can confirm that 90 percent of those who carried out suicide operations are not Iraqis," al-Naqib said. "I believe that Iraqis' noncompliance with terrorists has made them a target."

He'll have to head to a Boston-area Krispy Kreme to drown his sorrows, although I'm sure his friends have reminded him time and time again that food is not a substitute for love.

Posted by: SoCalJustice at July 29, 2004 01:15 PM

Mithras,

You have misunderstood what I was saying. I did not say that the Iraqi government had to use undemocratic means to establish democracy. I said that force would have to be used to establish order while a democratic government was being established. I am not making a profound revelation by saying that democracy has no chance in an environment where extremists are trying to kill all of the politicians. It is not inconsistent with democratic principles for democracies to use force to put down armed insurrections.

Secondly, you obviously do not understand the rationale for the war. When you say that imposition of democracy by force became the rationale after WMD's stopped being the rationale, you miss the point. There were a lot of reasons for the war, each one of which was sufficient. WMD's and democracy were two of the reasons, but not the only two reasons. You and your Leftist friends are being deliberately obtuse when you say that WMD's were the only reason and then that imposition of democracy by force was the only reason for the war.

Thirdly, your calculations about the costs of containment vs. war are grossly misstated. Containment was far more expensive than $1 bn per year. In addition, the sanctions were arguably costing more Iraqi lives than the war did. Also, sanctions harm the most vulnerable elements in society without noticably affecting the ruling class. Finally, it is not clear how much longer the sanctions regime would be in place in light of the widespread cheating going on and the desire of many nations (e.g., France & Russia) to end the sanctions.

Posted by: Ben at July 29, 2004 01:17 PM

He'll have to head to a Boston-area Krispy Kreme to drown his sorrows, although I'm sure his friends have reminded him time and time again that food is not a substitute for love.

Hyuk hyuk. Michael Moore likes donuts. So witty, so sublime.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at July 29, 2004 01:25 PM

dpu:

So is that your excuse to ignore the substantive point of her post? (Which had nothing to do with the fat disgusting pig's weight, btw. But, for the record, he sure is a fat, ugly, nasally voiced mother fucker. Maybe that's why he's so full of hate.) Anyway, I see no reason to avoid peppering substantive criticisms with nasty ad hominems when dealing with fat Mike, when his career consists almost entirely of the latter while being devoid of the former.

Posted by: Eric Deamer at July 29, 2004 01:29 PM

dpu:

Thank you. He also likes imaginary "minutemen." But since MJT's already refuted that asinine statement, I thought I'd move on to his second love.

Cheers.

Posted by: SoCalJustice at July 29, 2004 01:31 PM

Eric D.:

That would be his post. One of the hazards of posting with a really silly pseudonym.

No worries.

Posted by: SoCalJustice at July 29, 2004 01:33 PM

Tosk,

I appreciate your post, but what I am saying is this, is that your statement, particularly #3:

"3. However, that does not mean that one's observation is indeed a reflection of Reality. None of us can definately say what is True in Reality, only what seems true to us based on our observations and the interpertation of these observations throught our neurological system, tempered by our opinions and biases."

Is not anywhere near slam-dunk certain and accepted across the board. Without drifting off into semantics, and navel-gazing philosophication, the two statements you made:

"Your opinion is valid, but not necessarily equal to reality. Please remember that when posting." "Everything is relative, even if you don't think it is."

struck me as particularly amusing because.

You first chide someone for making a statement of opinion and presenting it as a matter of fact.

Later, in the self-same thread, you make a statement of opinion and present it as a matter of fact.

Aside from that contradiction, the statement:

"Everything is relative, even if you don't think it is."

contains an a priori contradiction.

Much mirth of an musty Aristotelian logic chopping variety was then had by me.

Posted by: Bravo Romeo Delta at July 29, 2004 01:35 PM

So is that your excuse to ignore the substantive point of her [sic] post?

Just trying to keep up with you guys.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at July 29, 2004 01:45 PM

DPU

So are we back to two wrongs make a right yet?

Posted by: Bravo Romeo Delta at July 29, 2004 01:49 PM

Mithras:

The calculus of cost benefit to the war in Iraq that you cite fails to factor in the longer term risks of leaving Saddam inpower. Yes, Saddam was contained by sanctions, but at what price to the Iraqi people? How many more years of suffering should the Iraqi people have been foced to endure for the sins of their government?

So remove the sanctions you say. Then Saddam rearms as fast as he can get away with it. In a relatively short time (thanks to North Korean nuclear sales), the threat would be a nuclear armed Saddam on the offensive re-conquering Kuwait, invading or intmidating Sauid Arabia and using oil as a weapon to devastate the economies of those that oppose him (and also those of the third world where the spike in energy costs would likely do the most damage, picture widespread famine). With the combined production capacity of Kuwait, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Saddam could effectively control world oil prices.

The only way to stop Saddam's rise as the second Saladin (this time with oil resources to buy military harware) would be to wage another war against Iraq, only this time Saddam is stronger and has nuclear weapons. The net effect is merely to postpone the Iraq war number II for however long the Iraqi people are forced to endure sanctions.

IMHO, it was the long term risks of allowing a meglomaniac like Saddam to remain in power that was the most important point to consider. Sucession by one of his sons would have been equally frightening. Thus, I don't know how anyone can honestly escape the conclusion that removing Saddam was a net plus for the entire world.

Posted by: Mark In Chi-Town at July 29, 2004 01:55 PM

"The political dysfunction in Iraq resulted in the collapse of the World Trade Center? I had no idea."--- Tosk Take 1
" Talking Monkeys - The vast majority of people I meet get filed into this category. They seem to eat, sleep, fuck and make noises with their vocal chords. They rarely think but often parrot back what they hear, without any examination of the facts"--- Tosk Take 2

Profound.

Posted by: dougf at July 29, 2004 01:55 PM

BRD So are we back to two wrongs make a right yet?

I believe that was the justification Eric was making.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at July 29, 2004 02:09 PM

DeltaPapaUniform -

I've lost track of how many wrongs and rights were at right now. But at any rate, were you actually going to write a reply to anything else she said in her post, or we just going to have to be satisfied with donut-related commentary?

Posted by: Bravo Romeo Delta at July 29, 2004 02:11 PM

I've lost track of how many wrongs and rights were at right now. But at any rate, were you actually going to write a reply to anything else she said in her post, or we just going to have to be satisfied with donut-related commentary?

She (sorry SoCalJustice, looks like you're stuck with that gender) didn't have much in the post that could be discussed. A link to a story about arrests of possible insurgents, and the speculation that Moore would be disappointed by it. What's to reply to? The donut remark was the highpoint.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at July 29, 2004 02:18 PM

dougf,

You assume that I don't already know that I myself often slip into monkey mode and cosmic schmuck mode? Of course I do... we all do. (And probably more on blogs than in real life).

BRD,

Well, see there's the difference. I reject Aristotelian logic as being far too simplistic to discuss such a topic as reality. As old Robert Anton Wilson likes to say "The only thing I believe, is that the Universe is far more complex than I will ever understand."

I know that the worldview I presented is not accepted by everyone... and it could be wrong. However, it is a difficult theory to disprove, since even the theory itself is subject to the bias and preconcieved notions that our neurological system puts everything through. (thereby proving the theory in some terrible twist of illogic)

Perhaps the better statement should have been:

"Everything is True in some sense, Everything is False in some sense, Everything is Meaningless in some sense. Everything is true, False and Meaningless in some sense."

(Including, of course, that very statement)

Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord

"The Words of The Foolish and The Words of the Wise, are not far apart in Discordian eyes." - Principia Discordia

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 29, 2004 02:18 PM

Tosk,

All that stuff is interesting from a philosophical point of view. But if you lead your life by it you'll be like the crazy hermit guy in the hills who talks to himself and freaks out the kids. It's true that we could all be brains in vats somewhere, that this world is run by a mad genie or by robots using our brains for electricity and giving us a nice Matrix to play in. Can't prove it ain't so, but this doesn't help me better understand terrorism in Baghdad.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 29, 2004 02:26 PM

Tosk,

Now you're just being silly. I would wager a significant amount of beer (why wager money, if all I'm going to do is drink it instead) that you aren't deeply steeped in either logic or philosophy. But are rather self-schooled on such matters. But your quote from RAW doesn't has neither jack nor shit to do with applicability of systems of logic - full stop.

But the fundamental fact that you make an assertion that is not factual, but an opinion in the same thread that you chide someone else for doing the same is just funny.

Seriously, it is an opinion. Full stop. You even recognize it when you note that not everyone agrees with it.

But when you make the statement about relativism, and then assert that it's true even if other people don't believe it then you accord the notion of relativsm with the status of a provable fact. Which it isn't.

I think that your rephrasing with "Everything is True in some sense, Everything is False in some sense, Everything is Meaningless in some sense. Everything is true, False and Meaningless in some sense." is a bit clearer.

It is still, however, axiomatically useless and is simply semantic onanism. To interpret it one way, we could then assert that everything is a matter of opinion, which then crashes head first into your criticism of another poster for presenting opinion as a matter of fact.

Secondly, asserting that everything is a matter of opinon is, in and of itself, a matter of opinion. One to which I can provide counterexamples to which you would then play silly word games.

But all this aside, the aside "Including, of course, that very statement." both shows the fantastic stupidity of the statement - that it is self-refuting, and secondly, shows a staggering ignorance of the scientific method and the entire process of constructing an understanding of the world.

Far from being too complex for Aristotelian logic, the world-view suggested in the "Everything is Whatever" is extraordinarily characteristic of the process the Ancient Greeks used to understand their world.

Posted by: Bravo Romeo Delta at July 29, 2004 02:32 PM

DPU,

Gotcha. Far as I read, the arrest of the raft of foriegn fighters belied Moore's contention that the guys blowing folks up are the Minutemen, et al. Which kind of goes back to the whole thing about the composition and nature of the resistance.

And then there was something donut-related.

Posted by: Bravo Romeo Delta at July 29, 2004 02:34 PM

Michael,

Well, I live in the woods, not the hills and I do talk to myself, but I think thats ok. Its only when I start asking myself to repeat what I just said that I'll need to worry about it.

As for the Kids... it's good to freak kids out. Kids have far too much seriousness imposed on them by grown ups. It nice to see their eyes pop open when you come down the sidewalk hopping backwards on one foot, singing "Oh What A Beautiful Morning" in Cantonese.

It's even more fun to see executives at the huge corporation I work for... I guess they've never seen anyone walk down the hall with a big fuzzy marionette. Go figure. They still pay me lots of money, so I guess they don't mind too much.

Ratatosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 29, 2004 02:38 PM

BRD,

Welcome to the Real World, or some terribly good imitation of it.

And when men become free then mankind will be free.
May you be free of The Curse of Greyface.
May the Goddess put twinkles in your eyes.
May you have the knowledge of a sage,
and the wisdom of a child. Hail Eris.

Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord

And so it is that we, as men, do not exist until we do; and then it is that we play with our world of existent things, and order and disorder them, and so it shall be that non-existence shall take us back from existence and that nameless spirituality shall return to Void, like a tired child home from a very wild circus. - Omar K. Ravenhurst

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 29, 2004 02:42 PM

Have I gone an stiffled dissent?

I need to stiffle dissent so I can go get my digital brownshirt merit badge.

And as far as the Real World goes, I'll take mine perky, gymnastic, and covered in baby oil.

With a side of fries.

Posted by: Bravo Romeo Delta at July 29, 2004 02:45 PM

BRD: Far as I read, the arrest of the raft of foriegn fighters belied Moore's contention that the guys blowing folks up are the Minutemen, et al.

My reading of Moore's comment was that he was comparing the insurgents fighting occupation forces to the minutemen, not the terrorists. That's not an opinion I'd necessarily agree with, but I don't think that people should misrepresent it as support for terrorists.

There we go, a good non-fried bread product discussion. That's all I ask for.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at July 29, 2004 02:46 PM

AHA!

I think.

Ok, so check this -

Scenario A

You got this group of people. They're running around, spreading ill-will and discontent. They get called terrorists, bad guys, whatever. Then MM makes some comment about the glorious resistance, et al. Folks who hear that MM is calling some of the fighters excellent dudes, aren't really busy figuring out all the various reasons that people are being blowing up. So, since they don't subdivide, they assume the Minutemen remark applies to all the shooters.

Situation B:

The other scenario basically has folks, like MM, who postulate the existence of Minuteman-like fighters in Iraq (be it true or not). Subsequently some folks then start blowing stuff up. So the argument then is that these 'good' fighters were joined by some or many 'bad' fighters. After a while, the 'good' insurgents get tarred with the same brush as the 'bad' insurgents.

Situation C (which is what I think MJT may argue)

Regardless of what they are called, the fact that they are blowing up rafts of folks makes them 'bad' guys from the get go.

Posted by: Bravo Romeo Delta at July 29, 2004 02:54 PM

Oh yeah, and [insert donut-related remark here].

Posted by: Bravo Romeo Delta at July 29, 2004 02:55 PM

DPU,

Just like the terrorists you also hate our FR...itters!

you write: "My reading of Moore's comment was that he was comparing the insurgents fighting occupation forces to the minutemen, not the terrorists."

So you think he was saying that only about 10% of the individuals causing violence were "minutemen" - and not "the enemy" and not "terrorists" and yet they will win?

Posted by: SoCalJustice at July 29, 2004 02:59 PM

DPU:

The "terrorists" and "insurgents fighting the occupation" are largely the same groups of people using different violent tactics to achieve their goal of seizing power. The "insurgents," "terrorists" or whatever you want to call them justify their attacks on civilians as being aimed at "collabortors" with the occupation. Thus, you are drawing a distinction without a difference between these allegedly mutualy exclusive groups.

If these alleged groups didn't largely overlap, one would expect an ear splitting outcry from the "good guy insurgents" over the slaughter of innocent Iraqis. Their silence is deafening.

Posted by: Mark In Chi-Town at July 29, 2004 03:07 PM

Scenario A: I don't believe that Moore called them the "glorious resistance". But even so, if some people can't make the distinction between guys setting off car bombs in crowded streets to kill innocent civilians and guys shooting at troops that they regard as foreign occupiers, well, they're stupid.

Scenario B: Ditto

Scenario C: If blowing up rafts of folks automatically makes someone a bad guy, well, how many civilians have been killed by occupation forces so far?

Look, Moore is guilty of shooting his mouth off pretty quick, but that's his schtick. There's lots to criticize about the guy without bending the truth about what he said, or making fun of his appearance or diet or both. And when I hear someone use those tactics, I automatically assume that they're just a lunkhead who can't frame a decent argument and are going for schoolyard bully tactics and cheap laughs.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at July 29, 2004 03:08 PM

The "terrorists" and "insurgents fighting the occupation" are largely the same groups of people using different violent tactics to achieve their goal of seizing power.

How do you know that?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at July 29, 2004 03:09 PM

So you think he was saying that only about 10% of the individuals causing violence were "minutemen" - and not "the enemy" and not "terrorists" and yet they will win?

Huh? Where did you pull that 10% figure from?

You guys seem to have a lot of intel that isn't generally available to the rest of us in blogland. You're not making it up, are you?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at July 29, 2004 03:11 PM

How do I know. Simple. It is by their actions. If they were true patriots, not just violent thugs, they would do one of two things (1) quit the violence and take up political means of ending the occupation or (2)vociferiously denounce the attacks on civilians, the intermin goverment and I.P. They have done neither. Thus, they are all thugs.

Posted by: Mark In Chi-Town at July 29, 2004 03:15 PM

"Situation C (which is what I think MJT may argue)

Regardless of what they are called, the fact that they are blowing up rafts of folks makes them 'bad' guys from the get go"--- BRD

BINGO !!!!

Posted by: dougf at July 29, 2004 03:17 PM

DPU -

First of all, the "glorious resistance" bit was not literal, but rather a reference to that entire episode of shooting his mouth off.

But that's essentially trivial, so we'll just move on, with your permission.

One interesting thing you noted was this "But even so, if some people can't make the distinction between guys setting off car bombs in crowded streets to kill innocent civilians and guys shooting at troops that they regard as foreign occupiers, well, they're stupid."

I think this may drive to part of the deal here. It is my understanding, that attacks on troops have generally been less effective over time (there is a significant disadvantage to shooting at the guys with guns) so the amount of time spent on mounting direct assaults on troops has dropped as well. Unfortunately, insofar as this keeps them out of the spotlight, they have switched to progressively softer and softer targets. Not so much as some sort of childish attention seeking behavior, but face it, terrorism is by nature political, and you can't play politics when you're invisible.

As you've probably guessed, I tend to lump all the "bad guy" shooters together at least as far as the way that I view their morals, and how I think they should be dealt with.

Moreover, while undoubtedly there are some folks shooting at Americans because they are furriners doesn't make that shooting good or right or even really the most effective way to get Americans out of the country.

Posted by: Bravo Romeo Delta at July 29, 2004 03:18 PM

DPU -

Sorry - forgot one thing. The difference between the US military and the "bad guys" is that the "bad guys" have taken to the deliberate and fully intentional targeting of civilians. The military doesn't sit around and use expensive hardware simply for the purpose of shedding blood.

So to elaborate, the assertion of Scenario C is that folks who do deliberately, intentionally target non-combatants are bad people.

Posted by: Bravo Romeo Delta at July 29, 2004 03:20 PM

In the hunt for the "good" insurgents, I think some have been seen - like the folks who issued a statement indicating that they were going to start hunting down and killing the foreign jihadis.

If you want, I can dig up a link for that, but I'm sure you all have read that.

Posted by: Bravo Romeo Delta at July 29, 2004 03:22 PM

My reading of Moore's comment was that he was comparing the insurgents fighting occupation forces to the minutemen, not the terrorists. That's not an opinion I'd necessarily agree with, but I don't think that people should misrepresent it as support for terrorists.

Here’s the entire quote from Michael “donut” Moore’s rant:

"The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not "insurgents" or "terrorists" or "The Enemy." They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow -- and they will win. Get it, Mr. Bush? You closed down a friggin' weekly newspaper, you great giver of freedom and democracy! Then all hell broke loose. The paper only had 10,000 readers!"

Moore was talking about Muqtada Al-Sadr’s newspaper.

Muqtada Al-Sadr is an ultra-conservative religious fundamentalist who is fighting for the establishment of Shariah law in Iraq. His Mahdi Army has slaughtered many Iraqis and he is suspected of assassinating another Shi’ite cleric. He also receives support from Iran.

As a fundamentalist promoting the establishment of Shariah law, al Sadr is pro-genocide, pro-foot-chopping, pro-slavery – he makes the average Nazi look like a liberal..and Moore is telling us that this fascist and his terrorist followers is a ‘Minuteman.’

Michael "two large popcorns with extra butter" Moore supports al Sadr’s Mahdi Army and he lies to his readers. It’s a simple fact.

In the same article, Michael "I also want a Big Gulp and hold the damn ice" Moore says:

"I oppose the U.N. or anyone else risking the lives of their citizens to extract us from our debacle. I'm sorry, but the majority of Americans supported this war once it began and, sadly, that majority must now sacrifice their children until enough blood has been let that maybe -- just maybe -- God and the Iraqi people will forgive us in the end."

Moore supports ultra-conservative fascists and he wants our soldiers to die. That’s not what I say, Moore said it himself.

Posted by: mary at July 29, 2004 03:22 PM

dpu writes: "Huh? Where did you pull that 10% figure from?"

From the quote from the Iraqi Interior Minister in the AP report I posted that you didn't read because my Krispy Kreme comment hurt your feelings.

you write: "You guys seem to have a lot of intel that isn't generally available to the rest of us in blogland. You're not making it up, are you?"

Intel that's reported by the AP is generally available to anyone who reads AP stories, including people in blogland. And I'm not making up the fact that the AP exists, or that they did a story in which they quoted the Iraqi Interior Minister "I can confirm that 90 percent of those who carried out suicide operations are not Iraqis" ... "I believe that Iraqis' noncompliance with terrorists has made them a target."

I'm awfully proud of myself for ferreting that out. Maybe I should join the CIA.

Posted by: SoCalJustice at July 29, 2004 03:23 PM

BRD:

I agree whole heartedly with your comment about the intentional targeting of civilians as being the paradigm example of evil. But, I have a big problem with the "Iraqi good insurgents" that are allegeldy targeting foreign terrorists. The last thing Iraq needs is violence coming from a new direction. Better for them to let the IP handle it.

Posted by: Mark In Chi-Town at July 29, 2004 03:32 PM

BRD: Unfortunately, insofar as this keeps them out of the spotlight, they have switched to progressively softer and softer targets. Not so much as some sort of childish attention seeking behavior, but face it, terrorism is by nature political, and you can't play politics when you're invisible.

This is a the kind of broad assumption that I have trouble with. There are a lot of political factions over there. Some may be blowing up civilians and blowing up troops as well. Some may be doing only one. Who knows? Most people simply seem to be lumping everyone into the same pot.

For example, during the al-Sadr insurgency some time ago, reports that I was reading were indicating that the typical al-Sadr militiaman was a poverty-stricken uneducated unemployed youth from the slums. I doubt these guys have either the smarts or the inclination to be blowing up their fellow Iraqis. They might well be assassinating doctors or policement though. On the other hand, there are a large number of former Baathists who I'm sure have the munitions, the training, the cold-bloodedness, and the motive to shred women and children in the streets.

And thene there are the militias. And the foreigne jihadists. And people like pro-American Iraqi dentist Zeyad who implied threatened revenge on American soldiers alleged to have killed his cousin a few months back. Or people who have had friends or relatives killed and want to avenge them. Etc.

Applying a single label of "terrorist" on all these factions and individuals may make it easier to think about a confusing political mess, but it isn't good analysis.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at July 29, 2004 03:39 PM

BRD So to elaborate, the assertion of Scenario C is that folks who do deliberately, intentionally target non-combatants are bad people.

No argument from me on that issue.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at July 29, 2004 03:41 PM

Tosk,

If the world were run by people with your worldview, then nothing would ever get done.

I mean frankly, I don't even know how you get through a single day. Should I do this or that? Is this right or wrong? How is it going to affect everything else in the known universe?

Its one thing (read important) to take in enough information to make a decision, but its quite another to be paralyzed with indecision because you don't want to make the wrong choice.

Thats what I get from you.

In the real world, you have the information you have and you make a decision on it. Sometimes its a mistake and hopefully most of the time its not.

Personally, I think the war was justified on many levels for various reasons that have been stated above, even if our intel wasn't the best.

Mark In Chi-Town stated it pretty clearly above.

I mean, I don't understand why so many people, mainly on the left, have such a hard time taking a moral stand. Michael has it exactly right.

Posted by: Rampsta at July 29, 2004 03:41 PM

DPU: if some people can't make the distinction between guys setting off car bombs in crowded streets to kill innocent civilians and guys shooting at troops that they regard as foreign occupiers, well, they're stupid.

I agree, but both groups are still the enemy in any case. People who shoot at our troops cannot possibly be anything but the enemy. Sure, they can be less nasty than those who blow up busses. Not all enemies are morally equivalent, to be sure.

Still, Moore saluted the enemy as the new minutemen. I could never be so stupid no matter how fast I shoot off my mouth. It's amazing that thought was rattling around in his brain at all. But, anyway, he actually WROTE those words on his own Web site before later taking them down (probably in shame).

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 29, 2004 03:43 PM

DPU:

Your making excuses for violence where there is no longer any excuse for it in Iraq. The country is now beginning to be rebuilt with new political and legal institutions. Those that want to influence the direction of Iraq should do everything within their power to be involved the process. Violence should be renounced by all were political participation is possible.

Posted by: Mark In Chi-Town at July 29, 2004 03:47 PM

SoCalJ: So you think he was saying that only about 10% of the individuals causing violence were "minutemen" - and not "the enemy" and not "terrorists" and yet they will win?

and

dpu writes: "Huh? Where did you pull that 10% figure from?"

From the quote from the Iraqi Interior Minister in the AP report I posted that you didn't read because my Krispy Kreme comment hurt your feelings.

I did read the AP quote, I just don't know what you're trying to say. The AP quote said that 90% of those carrying out suicide attacks were foreigners (not "violence', by the way, "suicide attacks", only one form of terrorism). That would imply that 10% of the suicide bombers were Iraqi. So could you please explain how on earth that applies to your first comment?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at July 29, 2004 03:49 PM

Your making excuses for violence where there is no longer any excuse for it in Iraq.

Where did I say that?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at July 29, 2004 03:49 PM

Michael:

I strongly disagree with your point about distinguishing between shooting at soldiers and blowing up buses. Any true "patriotic insurgent" should be loudly disassociating themselves from the civilian targeting jihadi terrorists.

If you and I were joined in a political cause together and you decided to kill civilians to promte the cause, I would make damn sure that everyone knew that I condemned you methods. Where is the condemnation from the Iraqi "patriotic insurgents." If those insurgents allow themsleves to lumped in with the fascist jihadis, they deserve their fate.

Posted by: Mark In Chi-Town at July 29, 2004 03:59 PM

Still, Moore saluted the enemy as the new minutemen.

Maybe he did, and even if he didn't "salute" them, it was kind of sloppy to not think that his statement could be interpreted that way. Personally, I think he was trying to break the stereotypical view of the enemy, and presenting it in a way that would allow Americans to identify with some of the participants in what's going on over there (I keep imagining what Americans would be like if their country were invaded and occupied ... I don't think I'd like to be a soldier in the occupying army in that particular scenario, now THAT would be an insurgency).

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at July 29, 2004 04:11 PM

DPU,

If that's what he was aiming to do, I sure wish he'd actually done it. Instead, not only did he say something stupid, but something genuinely harmful.

Posted by: Bravo Romeo Delta at July 29, 2004 04:15 PM

DPU: I keep imagining what Americans would be like if their country were invaded and occupied

If Bush and Ashcroft transformed America into a totalitarian police state and bulldozed a million or so Americans into mass graves, then Tony Blair sent British troops over here to destroy the Bush regime, I would hug the Brits not kill them. Wouldn't you, if you were an American? Wouldn't you be happy if Canada were suddenly turned into a murderous slave state and the Marines came in and destroyed your tyrant?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 29, 2004 04:20 PM

DPU:

"Personally, I think he was trying to break the stereotypical view of the enemy, and presenting it in a way that would allow Americans to identify with some of the participants in what's going on over there."

There, you did it again. You are again justifying violence. Iraq is in the process of rebuilding democratic institutions through which legal and social change can be accomplished. Resorting to violence, instead of participating in the rebuilding of the political system, is simply morally wrong.

"I keep imagining what Americans would be like if their country were invaded and occupied ... I don't think I'd like to be a soldier in the occupying army in that particular scenario, now THAT would be an insurgency."

Yours is a very poor anology. Here is a better one. The U.S. is governed for thirty five years by a brutal despot that is responsible for the deaths of many millions of Americans in serial wars and political executions. An invading army frees us of the despot and turns over limited self-government within a year, with elections to follow within six-months. Do you pick up a gun to oust the occupier or work within the new poltical system?

Posted by: Mark In Chi-Town at July 29, 2004 04:29 PM

There, you did it again. You are again justifying violence.

No, I didn't. I speculated on Moore's rationale, which isn't the same thing at all. Please stop putting words in my mouth.

An invading army frees us of the despot and turns over limited self-government within a year, with elections to follow within six-months. Do you pick up a gun to oust the occupier or work within the new poltical system?

Elections have not occurred, and if I were a gambling man, I wouldn't hold out a lot of hope. After all, there's an excellent chance that if there are free elections, a pro-Iranian and anti-Israeli government will be elected. I don't think that will be allowed to happen.

But to get back to your scenario. I'd probably try to work within the new political system. but then again, I'm well-educated, secular, middle-class, and Canadian. I doubt many Iraqis meet that socio-economic profile, and they may do things a bit differently.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at July 29, 2004 04:35 PM

Wouldn't you be happy if Canada were suddenly turned into a murderous slave state and the Marines came in and destroyed your tyrant?

You guys never invaded to save us from Mulroney, so I don't know.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at July 29, 2004 04:37 PM

DPU: You guys never invaded to save us from Mulroney

All you had to do was ask! We'd love to roll you guys. British Columbia is a fine piece of real estate.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 29, 2004 04:43 PM

DPU:

" I'd probably try to work within the new political system. but then again, I'm well-educated, secular, middle-class, and Canadian. I doubt many Iraqis meet that socio-economic profile, and they may do things a bit differently."

Wow a tripple whammy! Your comment is racist, anti-religious and elitist at the same time. In my view, poor people, muslims and "arabs" are quite capable of making the rational, moral choice to get involved in their own governance, instead of picking up a gun.

Posted by: Mark In Chi-Town at July 29, 2004 04:44 PM

"Elections have not occurred, and if I were a gambling man, I wouldn't hold out a lot of hope. After all, there's an excellent chance that if there are free elections, a pro-Iranian and anti-Israeli government will be elected. I don't think that will be allowed to happen."

Are you suggesting that we don't even try? Your right, we can't force democracy on people, but we can help create initial conditions that allow a democracy flourish.

Whoever else said it, was right (Mork?), when they said that the Iraqis probably don't even know what democracy really means. But that doesn't mean they can't get it. We've only been around for a little over 200 years and we've done okay.

An Islamic state that is also democratic can exist, just look at Turkey.

Posted by: Rampsta at July 29, 2004 04:45 PM

DPU -

Far as I can tell, you've said you don't agree with MM's commentary - please correct me if I am wrong.

But for lord know's what reason, you've gone to extraordinary lengths to somehow hedge, or explain or something. It seems to have been a string of 'His comments were stupid, but...'

I am curious as to why you don't drop the "but..." and just call a shitbird a shitbird. Fine - he said something stupid and asinine. The world isn't going explode based on how this bit of asinity is parsed.

Posted by: Bravo Romeo Delta at July 29, 2004 04:48 PM

BRD:

Bravo! DPU needs to let go of the rationalizations. Got to go do some productive work. Bye.

Posted by: Mark In Chi-Town at July 29, 2004 04:53 PM

MJT: DPU: You guys never invaded to save us from Mulroney

All you had to do was ask!

Now you tell us.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at July 29, 2004 04:54 PM

Far as I can tell, you've said you don't agree with MM's commentary - please correct me if I am wrong.

No, I don't agree with it, I found it based on a kind of mythic quality that I found unrealistic. I suspect a lot of the guys picking up guns and shooting at soldiers are probably not very nice people, and certainly not motivated by the same kinds of things that motivated the revolutionary war soldiers.

But for lord know's what reason, you've gone to extraordinary lengths to somehow hedge, or explain or something. It seems to have been a string of 'His comments were stupid, but...'

I am curious as to why you don't drop the "but..."

Because I don't like the foaming-at-the-mouth attacks on the guy. Besides, his commentary often makes me laugh, and he's one of the few liberals that I've read that takes the time to point out all the stupid stuff that the left does, and calls for them to come clean on it. He's also obviously very much a patriot, and is deeply committed to using the democratic system to make his country better, as he sees it. I find that endearing, and so I'll forgive his brain occasionally coming off the rails.

Besides, he says nice things about my home country. So does MJT, so I keep reading his blog.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at July 29, 2004 05:04 PM

I don't know if I'd go too far in promoting people saying nice things about Canada - it might get you invaded.:)

Posted by: Bravo Romeo Delta at July 29, 2004 05:19 PM

dpu writes: "That would imply that 10% of the suicide bombers were Iraqi. So could you please explain how on earth that applies to your first comment?"

How on earth?

Well, let's see. Many of the explosions that are killing people are perpetrated by suicide bombers. The Interior Minister of Iraq has said that 90% of those are perpetrated by non-Iraqis.

And one particular group, Jamaat al-Tawhid wa'l-Jihad, seems to be taking credit for many of the other roadside bombings and almost all of the beheadings. That group is led by a foreign jihadi named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. He's the most wanted man in Jordan, being a Jordanian himself. He ran a training camp in Afghanistan for Jordanians who wanted to become jihadis. There is a chance that he's recruited a bunch of home grown people and brought them into the fold, but it's probably more likely that he brought all his Tawid al-Jihad buddies with him.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/zarqawi.htm

But you still could be right, and his group could be composed entirely of "minutemen" leading a revolution, who "will win."

Posted by: SoCalJustice at July 29, 2004 05:21 PM

dpu writes: "He's also obviously very much a patriot"

Yes, patriots frequently go to foreign countries and say stuff like "americans are the dumbest people on the planet" and ask the musical questions: "Should such a people (Americans) that ignorant lead the world? 82 percent of us don't even have a passport! Just a handful can speak a language other than English (and we don't even speak that very well)..."

Oh yeah, Patriotism 101. Feel the love.

Posted by: SoCalJustice at July 29, 2004 05:26 PM

Here and now, Michael Moore and his "minutemen" are the enemies of America and the Iraqi people, HERE AND NOW. His own words hang him.

--no, actually there right on the money. even the polls conducted by the US show that they have considerable support. Now, if you're talking about the suicide bombings, they're not widely supported, but the armed resistance to the US occupation of Iraq, that is, according to the polls at least, pretty widely supported. In fact, even if it weren't widely supported, it's supported to a degree that is definitely a real concern to the US military. Odd that so called 'supporters of the troops' would be so nonchalant about the extent of the support.

Posted by: rparks at July 29, 2004 05:27 PM

rparks:

Do you have any links to those polls?

You could very well be right, but IIRC, the questions were about whether they wanted the occupation to end - which had very high support -and not about whether they supported an armed resistence to end the occupation.

But again, I admit, I could be wrong. I'll poke around for the CPL polls.

Posted by: SoCalJustice at July 29, 2004 05:32 PM

SoCalJustice, you took the words right out of my mouth.

Posted by: Rampsta at July 29, 2004 05:38 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraqi_resistance#Polls

Wikipedia:

"Polls in late 2003 showed that about one-third of all Sunni Arabs are staunch supporters of the guerillas and consider armed attacks on American forces acceptable."

"Only about 10% of the Shiite Arab population supported violent resistance."

So 1/3 of the Sunnis, and 1/10 of the Shi'ites, which are the majority.

That's not very high support, but as you say, it's enough to worry about.

According to Wikipedia, the polls were skewed towards the Sunnis, even though they were a minority.

The explanation is in a Guardian story:

"In ORI's poll, 44 percent identified themselves as Sunni Muslim and 33 percent as Shia -- yet, according to other accounts, Sunnis are a minority and Shias a majority. Sahm says this disparity is not a result of unconscious weighting, but of "prestige bias" by Iraqis. "In Saddam's Iraq, Sunni was seen as more prestigious than Shia."

If a large number of respondents answered questions about religion according to what was "prestigious," perhaps they answered others according to what was previously expected -- that you should give a positive appraisal of the powers-that-be. Sahm says the poll was representative because it was "entirely random" and that every resident aged 15 or over had an equal chance of being selected."

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/edit/archives/2004/03/30/2003108502

Posted by: SoCalJustice at July 29, 2004 05:39 PM

Do you have any links to those polls?

--you can't be serious.

Posted by: rparks at July 29, 2004 05:39 PM

rparks asks: "--you can't be serious."

Why not? Are you not allowed to ask people to back up their statements where you come from?

Posted by: SoCalJustice at July 29, 2004 05:42 PM

http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/mld/ledgerenquirer/7243429.htm

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2003-11-12-iraq-cia_x.htm

Posted by: rparks at July 29, 2004 05:43 PM

sure, i just find it unbelievable that a person who claims to support the troops would take such a phenomenon so lightly.

Posted by: rparks at July 29, 2004 05:45 PM

http://66.218.71.225/search/cache?p=poll+iraqis+resistance&ei=UTF-8&n=20&fl=0&u=www.williambowles.info/gispecial/gi_2b3/gi_2b3.pdf&w=poll+iraqis+resistance&d=B8F3F2B537&icp=1

Posted by: rparks at July 29, 2004 05:45 PM

rparks,

Pulling polls from November 2003 isn't the strongest evidence you may be able to provide. For instance anything post March, or even better, post handover, would be absolutely fascinating and really bolster your original assertion.

Conversely, I would also tend to think that an inability to find more recent data that supported your conclusion would, at least to my eyes, discredit your argument.

Thanks for taking the time to look up the info.

BRD

Posted by: Bravo Romeo Delta at July 29, 2004 05:48 PM

What did I take lightly? I just asked if you could produce the polls you spoke about.

I don't see what's so odd about that.

And btw, I had not stated my opinions on the Iraq war at all. All I've talked about is the silliness of Moore's comments and his appetite.

And those stories you linked to, while ominous, do not mention any numbers, and do not say how high the level of suppor is, just that there are indications that it could be growing.

I'm still puzzled as to the source of your outrage, though.

Posted by: SoCalJustice at July 29, 2004 05:50 PM

Rparks,

w/r/t providing information, I have to admit to being a bit piqued at your "--you can't be serious." The way argumentation works is that the person making an assertion bears the responsibility for backing up that assertion. Rather than being snotty about a request for information.

But this is all water under the bridge, and I did find this June 30th article which is at least recent enough to be of some interest, although I expect that things have changed significantly since the handover. link

In which I find the following:

Sahm said one reason that the popularity of the coalition forces has fallen to its lowest point in the last of the four surveys was the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison.

Nearly 70 percent of those questioned said they were surprised to hear about the human rights abuses by American forces there.

But only a third said the coalition forces should leave now.

Sahm said many Iraqis are so worried about the violence in their country that many want coalition forces to remain while the new interim government begins its work.

"The Iraqis are pragmatic. They don't like the fact that the US-led forces are there, but they need them for security," Sahm said.

More than 62 percent of the Iraqis surveyed said they believed the security situation would improve in Iraq under the interim government.

Posted by: Bravo Romeo Delta at July 29, 2004 06:00 PM

How about a more recent poll:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3514504.stm

Posted by: Rampsta at July 29, 2004 06:04 PM

^^^ My link above was a counter to rparks more than a year old poll link. Its no doubt that Iraqis don't like having foreign forces in their boundaries, but most see the need for it.

Maybe early on there was some growing support for the insurgents, since the Iraqis had been under the thumb of a tyrant. Its probably not to hard to understand why some might hedge their bets. But, we're a year later and all recent polls I've seen indicate Iraqis looking toward the future and see the need to have help with security for now.

Posted by: Rampsta at July 29, 2004 06:09 PM

@ Mithras

no mass graves: watch this http://massgraves.info/

saddam and no rape rooms: I escaped personally from such one in Saddam times before getting raped.

sad, mithras, but your are like an old nazi denying the holocaust.

Posted by: Exil-iraqi at July 29, 2004 06:19 PM

rampsta,

Do you think that maybe, just possibly, maybe the Iraqis are not suicidal enough to be great big fans of the people who are killing off great big numbers of other Iraqis?

Posted by: Bravo Romeo Delta at July 29, 2004 06:20 PM

I'm not sure I follow your point.

FYI, I supported the war and think we should stay the course and finish the job. I also think that a free Iraq, with a free press, civil rights, an independent justice system and a representative Iraqi government Iraqi style is what we should be striving for.

If its good for us, can it not be good for them?

Basically, I'm an optimist and recent polls of Iraqis I've read support that hope.

Now we just have to kill everyone of those facist bastards that are killing great numbers of Iraqis as you state above..:)

Posted by: Rampsta at July 29, 2004 06:30 PM

Sorry about that - I forgot to put my closing [/sarcasm] tag at the end of my post. My bad.

No, I think that this Iraq is going to be - in the long run - like anyone of a number of American adventures. A source of violent dispute at the time, that turns out reasonably well in the end.

Posted by: Bravo Romeo Delta at July 29, 2004 06:40 PM

No sweat.

Can't agree more. I just wish people wouldn't use Iraq as a partisan point in an election year so much.

Lets get it done.

Posted by: Rampsta at July 29, 2004 06:58 PM

BRD --

On balance I agree with you. My biggest fear is that we will lose Iraq because of domestic (American) political reasons. The fascists can only defeat us by causing us to lose faith and decide to leave. Michael Moore, et al. are deliberately aiding them in this venture, and we must call them on the carpet for it.

Posted by: Ben at July 29, 2004 06:58 PM

Ben,

You've kind of touched on a really interesting point that I want to write about, but I think I can sum it up quickly here.

Basically, in their heart of hearts, for an aging hippy/baby boomer to highlight their successes, in their own minds, they need to believe that their protests got the US out of Vietnam. On the other hand, that means that they handed America its only lost war. Third, for Democrats, Vietnam was where they lost their National Security credibility (which is particularly damning in light of FDR's Arsenal of Democracy, and Kennedy's handling of the Cuban missile crisis).

So they've got to balance their ego, with their culpability in causing America's first lost war. From there, they then have to figure out how this ties into the taint of weakness that is now associated with their party.

I think part of the psychological response that goes with this is that they want to be able to say that it wasn't just them - a Vietnam can happen to any president and any party, and in so doing exculpate themselves for the damage they did to the country and their party - all without having, then, to shoulder personal blame for the effects of their protests.

Beats me - just a theory.

Posted by: Bravo Romeo Delta at July 29, 2004 07:07 PM

BRD --

You may be on to something. I have had similar thoughts. It seems undeniable that some of these people were jumping up and down screaming "Iraq is another Vietnam!" and "Iraq is a quagmire!" almost before the shooting even started.

Posted by: Ben at July 29, 2004 07:34 PM

Yeah, I'm kind of wondering if this isn't some sort of odd wish-fufllment/projection deal going on here.

Posted by: Bravo Romeo Delta at July 29, 2004 09:20 PM

. For instance anything post March, or even better, post handover, would be absolutely fascinating and really bolster your original assertion.

--you weren't reading what I posted too carefully I see. Not only did I post something recent, I also posted something from the CIA no less...

http://66.218.71.225/search/cache?p=poll+iraqis+resistance&ei=UTF-8&n=20&fl=0&u=www.williambowles.info/gispecial/gi_2b3/gi_2b3.pdf&w=poll+iraqis+resistance&d=B8F3F2B537&icp=1

Posted by: rparks at July 30, 2004 06:41 AM

Rampsta,

I make decisions all the time, I just try to remember that they're based only on my view of reality and may not apply to any actual reality or someone elses. Rather than paralyzing it's quite liberating. I know that I'm completely infallible, as long as I keep in mind that everything I know is True, only in my neurological system.

It also makes it much easier to post silly things in the middle of serious discussions.

Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord
Muncher of The ChaoAcorn
Chatterer of The Words of Eris

POEE of The Great Googlie Mooglie Cabal and All Night BBQ

"A little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest men."

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 30, 2004 08:11 AM

Tosk,

Do you ever take a moral stand, believe that you are right? Then stand by your decision and take responsibility whether you were actually right or wrong in the first place?

Or do you never get to that point saying "I think I'm right, but I can't be sure because they could be right too!".

Of course I'm talking absolutisms and noone is always the samething always, but you get my meaning. Too often in the world today, people are afraid to take stand and declare, "That's not right!"

I have no problem saying that 2 million dead and more dying in the Sudan is wrong, dare I say evil and the farkers that are commiting those acts should be shot.

Lets hear the rest of the world take a stand. Lets see the rest of the world take some responsibility for a change.

It just seems like people in some quarters are afraid to take any kind of moral stand and its a detriment to the world. Its too easy to feel their pain or understand their suffering, but its quite another to actually do something about it.

Hmm, the UN comes to mind.

Posted by: Rampsta at July 30, 2004 09:09 AM

>>>"Everything is relative, even if you don't think it is."

Tosk,

I bet you don't even see the logical inconsistency of this statement (and your reasoning).

Posted by: David at July 30, 2004 09:23 AM

Rampsta,

I do take a stand for what I think, for my ideas and what I percieve to be correct. I too think that we need to deal with the Sudan, just as I thought that we needed to take out the Taliban and Al-Queda. Hwoever, I try (don't always succeed) to remember that I could be wrong, that there could be more to the situation than I know.

Sometimes one must act on what they know, but it doesn't mean they cannot recoginize that they may be wrong.

David,

Who saids I was being logical or using reason? Did you miss the signature I use?

Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord
Chatterer of the Words of Eris
Muncher of the ChaoAcorn
POEE of The Great Googlie Mooglie Cabal

Guerilla Ontologist specializing in the field of Blogs

Remember, King Kong died for your sins.

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 30, 2004 09:54 AM

>>>"Who saids I was being logical or using reason?"

Spoken like a true Liberal.

Posted by: David at July 30, 2004 12:31 PM

Tosk,

On the face of it, I think we can all agree on that. But IMHO it doesn't hold up to the points you were trying to make with respect to the sources of the insurgency.

Anyone shooting at us or Iraqis is the enemy. Know them enough to defeat them, but defeat them.

Understanding the "why" is important in the longrun, but don't let it keep you from moving now.

Posted by: Rampsta at July 30, 2004 01:08 PM

Ramsta,

I have never said we should not try to stop the Insurgents. In fact, I believe that I said pointedly, that they are still the enemy.

However, I think that a better understanding of exactly which groups we're fighting will assist us in finding the best response to the Insurgents. I'm really uncomfortable with the idea that "one offensive fits all".

Perhaps we were miscommunicating.

David,

Too bad I'm not Liberal....

I suppose the hints and clues flowed right through your eyes and got lost. Too bad. I really have to stop hiding them so well.

Ratatosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at July 30, 2004 01:16 PM

>>>"Too bad I'm not Liberal...."

Tosk,

Perhaps you mean you're not a Democrat.

But a Liberal you most certainly are. And like a Liberal, you run from the label. As per formula.

Posted by: David at July 30, 2004 02:16 PM

David, Tosk strikes me as libertarian. But I could be wrong.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 30, 2004 02:30 PM

Michael,

a Libertarian doesn't believe everything is relative. A Libertarian is defined by his economic views, not by his post-modern views.

Post-modern = Liberal.

Perhaps it would be more accurate to say Tosk doesn't KNOW he's a Liberal.

Posted by: David at July 30, 2004 02:34 PM

David,

The relativist stuff is philosophy, not politics. Tosk writes about both, sometimes in the same post, but they're still two separate deals. Anyway, I'll let him define himself.

I don't like it when I get called "right wing" a "pretend centrist" and so on, so I'm inclined to let people apply their own labels to themselves if they choose to have any particular label in the first place.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 30, 2004 02:45 PM

>>>"The relativist stuff is philosophy, not politics."

Michael, there are social conservatives and there are economic conservatives. So to do are the Liberals divided. Some are big government Libs who like high taxes; others are moral relativism Libs who don't care squat about the economics of it but want to protect sex without consequences (for example).

Tosk is a moral relativism Lib, thus his statement about there being no reality.

Not to mention the 'I know one when I see one' factor.

Posted by: David at July 30, 2004 02:57 PM

rampsta, i notice, speaking of relativism, when i presented you with a recent poll and CIA assessment of the Iraqis reaction to the resistance, you just pretend it never happened. now, that i relativism in action!

Posted by: rparks at July 30, 2004 07:13 PM

Rparks,

Your poll was from November 2003, at which point I put up a link from March or April of 2004 which showed very different results.

Also, unless I missed it in another link, you put up a link to an article about a CIA study saying that their indications were that support might be growing for the insurgency.

If I missed some other poll you linked too, please forgive me and point it out again.

Posted by: Rampsta at July 30, 2004 08:15 PM

Rparks,

This link is a recent poll that bolsters your argument and is from a credible source:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2004-04-28-poll-cover_x.htm

It gives the poll results and some analysis which makes sense. Basically it says that Iraqis are getting fed up with the security situation. That blame is pointed at Coalition forces and they want us to leave.

It infers from a few questions indirectly that Iraqi support for the insurgency has increased, but I think its really more of an indication of the frustration the Iraqis currently feel.

Posted by: Rampsta at July 30, 2004 08:35 PM

It gives the poll results and some analysis which makes sense. Basically it says that Iraqis are getting fed up with the security situation. That blame is pointed at Coalition forces and they want us to leave.

--that is correct. actually it's funny to see the would be supporters of the troops on this comments board not taking the support of the resistance seriously. even Powell today spoke of creating jobs for the Iraqis (imagine that, a Republican talking about using government $$ to create jobs for a foreign country, whatever happened to outright Brennerian privatization?). Hmmm...I wonder why Powell thinks it so important to 'create jobs'? I wouldn't count on the jobs being created, but that's another story.

Posted by: rparks at July 31, 2004 02:27 AM

Uh, I just conceded to your point after posting a link to a poll that supports your argument.

Why create jobs with government money?

You can't expect Iraqis to grasp the full extent of privitization, ownership society and all that right off the bat. Maybe someday, maybe never. Its going to be up to them to create their new society.

We want and Iraqis want, via that poll, security first. How do you do that, you spend money to get people working. Its a win-win-win idea right now.

Win #1. You get people working which gives them a sense of future. That they can provide for their families, that there is something in the new Iraq for them.

Win #2. You dry up a potential source of new insurgents. People that are discontent with the current situation. Instead of getting paid to risk their lives ambushing Coalition forces, they get paid to fix roads or refurbish schools.

Win #3. You put them to work building infrastructure, which will help Iraq back into the modern world.

Lets try to use some common sense.

Posted by: Rampsta at July 31, 2004 07:58 AM

Michael,

When one sees the world in black and white, it is impossible to explain purple to them.

For some people there are only their party "and everyone else who must fit on the other side somewhere".

Not really much anyone can do about that.

Ratatosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at August 1, 2004 01:50 PM

Lets try to use some common sense.

--common sense would tell you privatization is not consistent with massive government investment in jobs. iraq, that is, cannot be 1945 Japan. it's idealistic to think privatizer obssessives running the Iraq occupation will ever seriously invest in jobs in Iraq, it would violate their entire ideological edifice.

Posted by: mac1 at August 4, 2004 09:15 AM

If we want democracy to work in iraq, we should stop insisting that they disenfranchise people.

We told them that Saddamis couldn't be in the government. So the Saddamis attacked.

We told them that Salafis couldn't be in the government. So the Salafis attacked.

We told them Ba'athists couldn't be in the government unless they checked out as non-vicious. So the most vicious of them attacked.

We told them Sadrists couldn't be in the government. So the Sadrists took over some towns and invited us to attack, and we did. Somehow we thought the iraqis would like us if we killed a lot of Sadrists. We've killed about 1,500 of them. There are maybe 2.5 million left.

If we just let everybody vote for whoever they want to, and politicians get power proportional to the number of people who vote for them, what would be so wrong with that? Everybody that we say can't participate turns into the enemy, why do we need all those people to be shooting enemies instead of political enemies?

Posted by: J Thomas at August 5, 2004 12:19 AM
Winner, The 2007 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Pajamas Media BlogRoll Member



Testimonials

"I'm flattered such an excellent writer links to my stuff"
Johann Hari
Author of God Save the Queen?

"Terrific"
Andrew Sullivan
Author of Virtually Normal

"Brisk, bracing, sharp and thoughtful"
James Lileks
Author of The Gallery of Regrettable Food

"A hard-headed liberal who thinks and writes superbly"
Roger L. Simon
Author of Director's Cut

"Lively, vivid, and smart"
James Howard Kunstler
Author of The Geography of Nowhere


Contact Me

Send email to michaeltotten001 at gmail dot com


News Feeds




toysforiraq.gif



Link to Michael J. Totten with the logo button

totten_button.jpg


Tip Jar





Essays

Terror and Liberalism
Paul Berman, The American Prospect

The Men Who Would Be Orwell
Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

Looking the World in the Eye
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

In the Eigth Circle of Thieves
E.L. Doctorow, The Nation

Against Rationalization
Christopher Hitchens, The Nation

The Wall
Yossi Klein Halevi, The New Republic

Jihad Versus McWorld
Benjamin Barber, The Atlantic Monthly

The Sunshine Warrior
Bill Keller, The New York Times Magazine

Power and Weakness
Robert Kagan, Policy Review

The Coming Anarchy
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

England Your England
George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn