February 28, 2005

The Murderous Reign of Saddam Hussein

The Iraqi Truth Project has released a DVD documentary called Weapon of Mass Destruction: The Murderous Reign of Saddam Hussein. One of my favorite historians, Victor Davis Hanson, and one of the best up-and-coming documentary film-makers, Evan Coyne Maloney, both had a hand in this film. It will be shown at the war crimes trials of both “Chemical” Ali and Saddam Hussein.

I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I did watch the trailer. It damn near knocked me out of my chair. I knew right away I had to order this movie at once. I’ve been back to watch the trailer several times already. It’s an incredibly powerful minute-and-a-half of footage and music.

(I fell in love with Arab music when I went to Tunisia and heard it constantly for two weeks. The problem is I usually didn’t know which musicians were playing. If anyone knows who recorded the piece of music used in this trailer, please let me know. I want to own it.)

I already own the movie. I’m just waiting for it to show up in my mailbox. It looks like something that should not be missed, so go take a look. The link to the trailer is at the top of the page.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at February 28, 2005 06:43 PM
Comments

As long as it's not my grandkids who have to go fight in Baghdad, wmd=murderous regime sounds like a good pretext for war to me.

Posted by: fred at February 28, 2005 06:57 PM

Ahh, the compasion and devotion to human rights of the Left...

Posted by: F at February 28, 2005 07:30 PM

Hmmm, I get a different sentiment from fred's comment...

Posted by: Shawn at February 28, 2005 07:40 PM

It appears that this is only available in the USA at this point,so I guess I will have to wait.I must say , in viewing the small segments on preview,that the juxtaposition of images of Saddam's brutality with visions of Tim Robbins and Michael Moore was very jarring.According to articles today on the net,Robbins wore a diamond-studded peace symbol to the awards last night.How utterly apt.

Posted by: dougf at February 28, 2005 07:41 PM

It appears that this is only available in the USA at this point,so I guess I will have to wait.I must say , in viewing the small segments on preview,that the juxtaposition of images of Saddam's brutality with visions of Tim Robbins and Michael Moore was very jarring.According to articles today on the net,Robbins wore a diamond-studded peace symbol to the awards last night.How utterly apt.

Posted by: dougf at February 28, 2005 07:42 PM

Fred,

sometimes the "pretext" is just as good a reason.

Posted by: Carlos at February 28, 2005 08:31 PM

my sense is that fred is just saying that he wouldn't send his grandkids there, he's not that much different from George Bush Sr. in that regard. Ya don't see any of the Bush kids going to Iraq and why should they, there are plenty of working class kids who can do the job.

Posted by: lukes at February 28, 2005 08:55 PM

First, welcome back Michael!

Second, just tried to order my copy of WMD, but seems like it's US only at this point. Grrr... This would be a great flick to assist me in the de-Baathification of my clueless neighbour.

Posted by: MisterPundit at February 28, 2005 09:16 PM

Michael,

The next week will see the world change in ways unimaginable even yesterday.

As a nation we have acted, in the face of great risk and at grave cost, to deliver the most precious commodity that one person can ever give another.

Hope.

The recipients of the gift are beginning to make use of it. The impact isn't limited to where we can focus military might; the effects are clearly felt far, far and away beyond any mere perimeter.

I just want it all to work - and work for everyone involved. The losers in the coming days, weeks, and months are going to be the despots and their cronies. Oh, and our own people who have banked on failure, too, but they will be grateful for the tacit lack of scrutiny that will surely follow in the wake of what is about to happen.

I'll go out on a limb and say it: I don't think the chances of anybody's grandkids having to hunt WMD's in the mideast are very good right now. And that's just great.

We live in wondrous times.

Posted by: TmjUtah at February 28, 2005 09:41 PM

>>>"Ya don't see any of the Bush kids going to Iraq and why should they, there are plenty of working class kids who can do the job."

lukes,

tell that to the working class kids in the military who overwhelmingly voted for Bush, and the GOP generally, and who want nothing to do with you Lefties. It sounds to me like they've spoken.

Posted by: Carlos at February 28, 2005 09:49 PM

there's really little in the way of evidence that working class kids vote for repubs, even in the military. it's a mantra out there that has nothing to back it up except various 'polls' conducted by the military with major sampling along with other basic methodology issues.
and what you claim is bizarre on the face of it, face it. somehow you're claiming that working class kids are in Iraq because of their love of Bush's politics? if that were so, wouldn't way more rich kids' children be fighting in Iraq?

Posted by: lukes at February 28, 2005 10:33 PM

some of the best info out there on the web about war is at http://antiwar.com
wingnuts think it's 'left-wing'...ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha...
as I say, better in Puerto Rico sipping on Rum than in Baghdad breathing in the desert sands...

Posted by: lukes at February 28, 2005 10:39 PM

Lukes,

If you have evidence that the military is primarily staffed by anti-war lefties, please cite some evidence. I'd love to see it.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at February 28, 2005 10:46 PM

I wonder if our foreign minister Joschka Fischer will ever see it. If so I'd like to know whether he would still claim to be "not convinced".

Posted by: Paul13 at March 1, 2005 03:04 AM

Spare me the rhetoric about "the children".

No one sent their kids or grandkids to fight the war in Iraq. The President, with the concurrence of Congress, commits our military, and it's troops, to these engagements. For their part, the troops, made up of fully formed and responsible adults, have made their own choice, for their own reasons, to join and serve in our all volunteer military.

Posted by: too many steves at March 1, 2005 05:19 AM

Luke,

I just retired after 24 years in the military. The military is very much republican. They watched as the Dems have systematically destroyed both our military and intelligent services. I can list on one hand the number of people who even remotely sounded like they would vote for a Dem of any strip - and those liked Lieberman (sp?). And all the officers I knew believed that Iraq was the 'obvious' next move in December of 2001. Yes, 2001. It's called draining the swamps (or for the reality challenged left - dealing with the root causes).

And it's working.

And I did my time over there liberating countries who have only seen death and tyranny for centuries. That's the view the military has of the situation.

Posted by: buffpilot at March 1, 2005 06:34 AM

I tend to believe buffpilot. Yes, the american officer class is solidly republican. And yes, many of them believe they're on a crusade to spread democracy with bombs.

I see no solution.

Posted by: J Thomas at March 1, 2005 07:15 AM

J Thomas,

What solution are you looking for? The military tends to be the most reality-based organization on the planet. Not being so tends to get you killed. So far, I have seen and helped two countries be liberated from horrible tyranny, both slowly struggling into democracy (which will take a lot of time), and good secondary effects spreading throughout the ME. There are some problems but none that are insoluble and casualties have been incredibly low (see Somme, first day for comparison). I see the glass as half full with it still filling.

Posted by: buffpilot at March 1, 2005 07:27 AM

I almost puke when I read the comments by Fred, Luke & J. Thomas. If you guys were in the real world instead of being in a fantasy you would see truth. What will it take, more American deaths inside our borders? Or will you write that we all deserve to die and suffer for our SINS?? Can you not have any feelings for the victims of Saddam and his ilk? Must you always say our great nation is worse? I hate to write negative like this but must make my thoughts public just like you people do. Note that I say you are people, I have heard and seen in writing that your type does not consider the rest of us people. Is that why you cannot see atrocities other than in a fantasy world of your own making??

Micheal posts truth. I respect him, but not you guys.

Posted by: Gene at March 1, 2005 07:36 AM

The left hates the military because it is made up of young people, many of whom are women and minorites, that for the most part come from lower income families. That's their demographic! But these people are different. They have the nerve to take responsibility for their lives, rather than rail against "the man", wrap themselves in vicim-hood status and sue for equality through watever legislation that can be packaged as "levelling the playing field" or "giving a leg up".

What's even more perplexing to the left is that many in the military really love their country. I'm talking about real pride here, not the "I support the troops, but" category that is the best most on the left can do. Benjamin from yesterday illustrates this. MJT posts some nice pictures from PR, and all Ben can do is run off to dig up whatever dirt he thinks casts America in a bad light. Typical and disgusting.

J. Thomas: Can you give me an example of one commissioned officer that believes he is on a crusade to spread democracy through bombs? I think you are making shit up. You got the republican part right though.

Posted by: Zymurgist at March 1, 2005 07:47 AM

I tend to believe buffpilot. Yes, the american officer class is solidly republican. And yes, many of them believe they're on a crusade to spread democracy with bombs. I see no solution.

J Thomas,

the news if far worse than even you could imagine. The GOP vote in the military isn't restricted only to the "officer class" (unless you want to tell me that 73% of the military are "officers").

We now have fairly compelling evidence, in the form of a Military Times survey of its readership (primarily career military officers and enlisted personnel), that reports of the demise of Bush's popularity were premature. By an astonishing 72 to 17 percent margin, the active-duty military personnel who took the survey favored Bush over Kerry (Guard and Reserve respondents favored Bush, 73 to 18 percent).

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A25656-2004Oct11.html

Sorry lukes, I'd never waste my time looking for honest information on a website called "antiwar.com".

Posted by: Carlos at March 1, 2005 07:48 AM

But you see, the beautiful thing about being lukes' is that he really does know what's best for the downtrodden working classes, no matter what the ungrateful heathens think.

The bad thing, of course, is he's got to be feeling somewhat like a missionary among canibals these days....

Posted by: Mark Poling at March 1, 2005 08:14 AM

Oh no, reading luke's comments leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. I have sworn off junk food, you see.

Posted by: Lestat The Cannibal at March 1, 2005 08:44 AM

does the movie show Abu Garib are you conservatives once again using "selective reality" again?

Posted by: Where are the WMDs? at March 1, 2005 08:53 AM

Shorter "Where":

There is no evil so great that it cannot be excused with some amature porn.

Talk about selective reality.

Posted by: Mark Poling at March 1, 2005 09:05 AM

The movie shows the prisons in Iraq as and interviews the victims Saddam and his regime tortured and murdered. It is also shows how 9/11 caused the US to re-think its past foreign policy.

I am certain the left does not understand why people are demonstrating for freedom today in the Middle East... and voting.

Watch the movie with an open mind, it is a true documentary by an "average" american who honors our troops and believes that the whole world has a responsibility to stop people like Saddam.

Posted by: OZ at March 1, 2005 09:15 AM

Michael posts a frickin movie plug and ya'll are duking even that out in the comments... utterly amazing. Several of you might want to go back and re-read your old comments alongside what you just posted. It's like watching two poorly programmed turing machines debate... or an afternoon in the Argument Clinic.

Michael, thanks for the tip on the video, I'll have to rent it when it comes out. I don't own F 9/11 (but did watch it for free) because I try not to buy propaganda... I'll watch this first, before I decide if its got merit. The title sounds like propaganda though, I hope it's just their marketing people.

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at March 1, 2005 09:23 AM
It's like watching two poorly programmed turing machines debate...

<Grin />

Ah, it's been ages since I've been called out by Tosk. I've missed it so.

Yeah, the title does sound like propaganda; and the site OZ linked to has that squirm-inducing feel to it as well. But (and here's the self-important meta-analysis) how much of that gut-reaction comes from a deep cultural bias against believing regimes like Hussein's can exist? How many people's brains simply shut down when contemplating the Holocaust, or Stalin's Gulags, or the Killing Fields, or The Great Leap Forward? (The 20th Century was a bitch, wasn't it?) Ears in the fingers, la-la-la, let's watch the Michael Jackson trial.

I am reflexively hostile to formulaic ("all our soldiers are from the oppressed classes") and blinkered ("Abu Ghraib makes Bush indistinguishable from Hussein") reasoning. Hence, I swing the clue-bat.

So far I'd guess my batting average is somewhat below that of a bench-warming utility infielder, but I do in fact just want to help the Team.

Posted by: Mark Poling at March 1, 2005 10:08 AM

I can give the movie two anti-propaganda points without even seeing it. One, distinguished classics professor and military historian Victor Davis Hanson had a hand in it. Two, it will be shown at Saddam Hussein's and Chemical Ali's war crimes trials. Hack propaganda wouldn't make it that far.

Also, for whatever it's worth, Jano Rosebiani was involved in this too. His past films about Iraq have won critical praise from The Guardian and the BBC. If he was a right-wing hack that would not likely have happened. You don't see The Weekly Standard praising any of Michael Moore's movies. Know what I'm saying?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at March 1, 2005 10:14 AM

If a movie that ends with "townspeople of Exeter, California, gather[ed] on a high school football field for the memorial service of Army Specialist Daniel Unger," and it's being shown at a legal trial about the genocide of people who were not Daniel Unger, let me be the first to decry the show trial of Saddam Hussein. Propaganda like that wouldn't even set foot in a courtroom under any civilized system of justice.

Posted by: FC at March 1, 2005 10:38 AM

I'm sure that Europeans can show us the proper way to prosecute Hussein - they are doing such a grand job with Slobodan's trial.

Posted by: Matthew Cromer at March 1, 2005 11:00 AM

FC,

Who is to say that scene will be shown at the trial? The film obviously contains evidence that the court is interested in. It doesn't mean the court will want to see the whole thing.

What on earth would be the point of a "show trial" for Saddam Hussein? Your use of that phrase suggests you think he is innocent. I think you need a new angle.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at March 1, 2005 11:31 AM

I plan to see this film, but one question: why were three anti-Michael Moore documentaries made, before the first anti-Saddam Hussein documentary?

Posted by: Stephen Silver at March 1, 2005 12:37 PM

Stephen Silver,

Probably because Saddam is so obviously evil. He doesn't have ten million fans or sit next to American presidents at Democratic National Conventions. It's not the degree of evil that counts but the degree of the need of a clue.

Posted by: Jim Ryan at March 1, 2005 12:53 PM
I plan to see this film, but one question: why were three anti-Michael Moore documentaries made, before the first anti-Saddam Hussein documentary?

Simple:

"Because everyone knows the barbarity of Saddam. But, few know about the nefariousness of Chimpy McHitler."

Even the perpetually humorless joke (as once again seen at the Oscars on Sunday night) that is Sean Penn recognized it as he tried to defend the regime from attack.

Posted by: Bill at March 1, 2005 12:54 PM

The term "show trial," is well defined by Wikipedia - "The term show trial serves most commonly to label a type of public trial in which the judicial authorities have already determined the guilt of the accused: the actual trial has as its only goal to present the accusation and the verdict to the public as an impressive example and as a warning. It tends to retributive rather than to correctional justice."

One might also think that a show trial might be used to justify prior bad acts by the authorities.

Nothing in the definition of "Show Trial" presumes the innocence or guilt of the person under "Show Trial." Words, as they say, have meanings. That you chose to ignore them is a failing not of mine, but of yours.

Posted by: FC at March 1, 2005 01:04 PM

I doubt this will mean anything to Lukes, but one of the first U.S. military to die in the liberation of Iraq was in fact descended from U.S. Presidents. Furthermore, Capt. Adams' father had founded a bank and an S&L. Hardly downtrodden working class.

Posted by: triticale at March 1, 2005 01:17 PM

"why were three anti-Michael Moore documentaries made, before the first anti-Saddam Hussein documentary?"

Because Republicans are Evil. Howard Dean says so.

Posted by: butch at March 1, 2005 01:55 PM

doesn't have ten million fans

Who ever said Michael Moore had ten million fans? Michael Moore?

Posted by: Stephen Silver at March 1, 2005 02:13 PM

To answer the question about why there were three anti-moore films before the anti-Hussein film (again).

Because you don't fight monsters like Hussein with films. You fight them with guns and bombs and lives. The liars and deceivers you fight with words, film, and the facts. Thus there was a need for documentarians to step up and point out the falsehoods of Moore. A film about Saddam Hussein is just there to educate you so you recognize him the next time.

Posted by: Mark at March 1, 2005 02:13 PM

FC - do you also think that the trial of Slobodan Milosevic is a 'show trial'?

Posted by: mary at March 1, 2005 02:20 PM

FC,

Oh, how the Left cries for Saddam. But don't. Even though the "authorities have already determined his guilt", he will have the best legal representation the planet has to offer. Literally, not figuratively. Rest assured, he'll get everything he deserves.

Posted by: Carlos at March 1, 2005 02:26 PM

Haven't seen the movie - am certainly put off by the title and some of the marketing -

But it isn't like this movie is covering new territory. There isn't much conjecture involved. Conditions in Iraq have been, for almost 20 years, well known by anyone willing to do a little more than read the newspaper. It is almost impossible to overstate the dimensions of Baathist badness. The regime was pure, unadulterated evil; the country a charnel house. So - there really isn't much room for propagandizing by exageration.

By the by, as a starting place for reading, I suggest Kanan Makiya's Republic of Fear. This was written in the late 80s, while Saddam was still in U.S.'s good graces, and while many old real politck conservatives with some degree of enthusiasm worked with genocidal prison states (in this instance as a foil to Khomeini). Beyond that, his Cruelty and Silence gives the accounts of numerous eyewitnesses. There are others, but these are the books that first formed my understanding of Iraq, many years before this latest war. And there are reams of reports by folks like Amnesty and the UN Special Rapotteur (sp), many of which can be found online - you just have to imagine past words like 'widespread and systematic use of torture'; an exercise which would by rightly enhanced by pictures of mass graves, the torture of children, and dark, arabic music playing under descriptions of the episodes of genocide.

Posted by: saintalbatross at March 1, 2005 02:59 PM

FC: "Propaganda like that wouldn't even set foot in a courtroom under any civilized system of justice."

The U.S. sucks at propoganda. That should be totally obvious by now. Only in the U.S. could Michael Moore get away with making his blockbuster film to universal acclaim while the country is at war and while his seditious film is hailed by half the country seeking political power in an election year while simultaneously the Arab press freely engages in the worst sort of propoganda against the U.S. and "Jews".

Any "civilized" system of justice?

What precisely is your definition of "justice"? A system where Saddam could walk because someone could argue that the evidence (say this film) is "prejudiced"?

Would that meet your definition of "civilized"?

What is your definition of "civilized"? Is it a relative term or does it have some absolute basis - and if its the latter - I am very curious to understand on what that absolute standard is based.

Of course our legal system is based on the concept of "innocent until proven guilty". So you entertain the idea that Saddam is possibly "innocent"? And if you don't entertain that - then how far over backwards is any "civilized" person obligated to bend - to make the case for Saddam's innocence?

I ask this, e.g. because it seems that alot of liberals are quite willing to accept Sharia law or at least to grant it some legitimacy. So given that - what are our obligations towards Saddam vis a vis our legal codes? Why not just go with the absolute minimum and even sloppy legal requirements to convict? And if you disagree with that - on what grounds would you disagree?

Posted by: Caroline at March 1, 2005 04:32 PM

MJT,

I watched Moore's film with the thought "This is most likely propaganda, but I will see." I decided that it did indeed seem like propaganda. I'll do the same with this and hopefully come to a different conclusion.

I wouldn't put many strikes against the idea just yet though.

Propaganda:
1. The systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause.

2. Material disseminated by the advocates or opponents of a doctrine or cause: wartime propaganda.

Posted by: Ratatosk at March 1, 2005 04:54 PM

Propoganda: "The systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause."

What does that mean other than having a point of view and disseminating information that reflects that POV? I am actually surprised that the definition doesn't include some attempt to control the positive information and restrict the counter-information by force?

In any case - that would be my understanding of "propoganda". if you don't use some levers of control to restrict information to only that information which benefits your POV - how is it propoganda? I suppose that by that definition - even F/911 doesn't constitute propoganda. Michael Moore didn't restrict any counter-information did he? It seems to me that this term "propoganda" - is bandied about a little too freely.

Posted by: Caroline at March 1, 2005 05:06 PM

“...while Saddam was still in U.S.'s good graces, and while many old real politck conservatives with some degree of enthusiasm worked with genocidal prison states (in this instance as a foil to Khomeini).”

And I don’t apologize in the slightest. The United States also earlier allied itself with Joseph Stalin. We live in a world where compromise is often required. Did somebody promise you a world of absolutist moral purity? If they did---you were badly deceived. This is why I expect to strongly dislike Christopher Hitchen’s “The Trial of Henry Kissenger.” I received the book a few days ago. Chile is today a free and prosperous nation. Oh well, I shall read it first before saying anything more.

Posted by: David Thomson at March 1, 2005 05:22 PM

"Did somebody promise you a world of absolutist moral purity?"

No. And I do expect that, at times, we will still find a need to be in cahoots with less than savory "allies" (see: Pakistan). I was mostly commenting to pre-empt attempts to paint Makiya as a 'neo-conservative stooge' - something I've heard more than once.

Otoh, I think that by minimizing one's dependence on such "allies", as is currently being done with promising results, we'll save ourselves a world of headaches. This seems to me the thrust of the neo-conservative argument. I've come to find it pretty convincing.

I'd like to comment further that, while the alliance with Stalin was neccesary to beat Hitler, it ended with half the world spending decades ruled by a loathsome totalitarian government - a qualified victory, I think. I have no idea what might have been done differently. I'm only acknowledging that making Yalta with such "allies" will always have its downside, and so each case should be examined closely, and errors should be made on the side of not allying with such governments.

I don't know that the alliance with Saddam was neccesary. He fought to a standstill with Iran for years. He was almost entirely equipped and funded by the Soviets and later the French. Did we tip the balance and allow him to hold back Iran (which was initally fighting a defensive war)? That seems doubtful, anyway, considering his other alliances and Iran's dubious ability to project military power beyond its borders. I know that he was a repulsive arch-devil of the very lowest order, and that we did ally with him, and that our hands are dirtied by that fact.

~

Posted by: saintalbatross at March 1, 2005 05:50 PM

You guys sound more like the American Christians who were so thrilled that McKinley brought The White Man's Burden to the darker nations. They were doing God's work and spreading the good news of civilization. It would be a generation before they realized the natives were not acting like they thought they should. Castro was just one of the nice blow back of The White Man's Burden.

Remember the Maine!!!...I mean 9-11!!!

"Nope, no Bin Ladden over there," said Mr. Bush, as another picture showed the leader of the free world looking under a couch. "Maybe under here," he continued to more laughter.

From:
"How to Appease Bin Ladden and Keep His Backers Happy? (Washington Time)

"What Excuse Can You Use to Kill 100,000 Iraqis?" (Weekly Standard)

Posted by: NeoDude at March 1, 2005 05:56 PM

Hey didn't Totten just return from PR. I wonder what the average PR thought of their liberation from Spain? Hawaiian's? And that would be a non-Anglo Hawaiian.

Dreamy imperialist never seem to recognize the natives their killing to liberate.

Posted by: NeoDude at March 1, 2005 06:17 PM

white man=bad (especially Christian white man)
brown man=good

If there's some other point you wish to make with your numerous posts neodude, I sure wish you'd put it out there in plain English because I for one, can't quite grasp what it is. Plain speak - to the point - might help.

Posted by: Caroline at March 1, 2005 06:19 PM

Remember the Maine!!!...I mean 9-11!!!

NeoDude,

It's cool to hate whitey, we know that. That makes you smart and informed and "edgy". And to hate whitey is to hate America. We know that too. But heaven forbid anybody say anything that even hints of concern about non-whites or non-westerners. That's just hate. We understand that too.

Anyway, do you mean to imply that 9/11 was an act of self-sabotage, as is sometimes assumed of the sinking of the Maine? If so, just come out and say it. That way I can confirm whether or not to pay anymore attention to anything else coming out of your pie hole.

Posted by: Carlos at March 1, 2005 06:31 PM

I love Christian White Men, if they are not killing in the name of [insert latest cultural fad here].

Mark Twain was seriously anti-Imperialist, but he was not a Christian.

Many White Christians, who knew better than trying to reorder the sould of other people:

American Anti-Imperialist League, 1899

Posted by: NeoDude at March 1, 2005 06:32 PM

That should be soul not, sould.

And you all like the socialist Orwell, what would he have to say about Westerners using democracy as a pretext for imperialism?

Posted by: NeoDude at March 1, 2005 06:34 PM

Neodude,

When white northern Americans forcibly changed the southern Confederate culture at gunpoint, were they taking up the "White Man's Burden" and imposing their political system on the black man? Or were they freeing black men, women, and children from tyranny?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at March 1, 2005 06:37 PM

And you all like the socialist Orwell, what would he have to say about Westerners using democracy as a pretext for imperialism?

Typical slogan monger. "Imperialism". What a joke. It's an "empire" where the conquered get democracy instead of dictatorship and WE get to foot the bill. Clearly they don't make "empires" like they used to. They should be so lucky to be conquered by such an "empire."

Posted by: Carlos at March 1, 2005 06:42 PM

Neodude - can I assume from the logic of your previous post that you love brown men as long as they are not killing in the name of Islam? What do you have to say about Arabs using Islam as a pretext for imperialism? And given that there might currently be a competition between the 2 forms of imperialism - one advocated by the white men (democracy) and one by the brown men (Islam) - do you have a preference vis a vis the final outcome for yourself or your loved ones?

Posted by: Caroline at March 1, 2005 06:45 PM

So Iraq is comparable to a state in the United States?

Other nations, separate from the US are now considered part of the US?

Do you think the South had learned its lesson conserning fellow Americans after the Civil War? They were allowed to place Jim Crow laws on the darker Americans. Imagine Germany being allowed to place Jim Crow laws on non arayans after WW2. The South still hasn't learned that their culture was sick and still is sick.

But most of all, what would have happened if Great Britain and France invaded the South, during it's most horrible legagcy of lynchings, and forced them to learn pluralism? Do you think that would have worked or made things better? The federal government ignored the ethnic cleansing of black towns, so it was clear they didn't care! Woodrow Wilson really believed the South to have a legitimate culture and they should be left alone.

Even most radical anti-Jim Crow folks would have thought an invasion of the South, to make them "more freedom loving" would have only made things worse.

The South, got away with mass killings and worse, so the Civil War really was not even a start. The American government was complicite in this.

It has been allowed to fester in its hatred for hundreds of years...so you tell me, who should have invaded the South and make them more pluralistic?

Posted by: NeoDude at March 1, 2005 06:52 PM

And most of the Neocons embrace the notion of Imperialism...

Neocons love Empire

Posted by: NeoDude at March 1, 2005 06:58 PM

Neodude: "And most of the Neocons embrace the notion of Imperialism"

From your link: "“We have seen the spread of liberty in our own country as our power spreads, as well as around the world," he points out. "The history of the twentieth century is how, as we have grown more powerful, we have extended rights to women, to racial minorities, to everyone."”

Evil Evil imperialists!!

Posted by: Caroline at March 1, 2005 07:05 PM

The Romans thought they were spreading incredible culture and technology...that is no justification for empire. The Romans thought they were God's gift on earth, that did not mean the occupied loved them, nor thought they were so rightious.

What did those white men who sighned the Declaration of Independence think of imperialism and empire?

Posted by: NeoDude at March 1, 2005 07:10 PM

NeoDude,

Iraqis didn't look so unhappy on election day. Did they look unhappy to you? Did the purple fingers look like a sign of empire? Good luck trying to market that "empire" to regular folks of the non-Leftist variety. I can tell you right now, it's going to be a hard sell. If it were a business venture and I was a venture capitalist, I wouldn't give you a penny.

Posted by: Carlos at March 1, 2005 07:16 PM

What the hell are you talking about...the most anti-Imperialist folks on earth are American traditionalist!

Carlos, do you read any of the Neocon crap...they love the notion of American Empire...they are hoping the real red-blooded Americans will soon sign up in the military, to spread it!

Kagan, Kristol, et al, all have embraced that term, you seem to be out of the loop.

Posted by: NeoDude at March 1, 2005 07:21 PM

Neodude - I don't know what world you live in. You might as well go stand in the middle of the LA freeway, close your eyes, trust that the world is a benevolent place, and pray that you don't get run over.

Posted by: Caroline at March 1, 2005 07:21 PM

Neodude: I wonder what the average PR thought of their liberation from Spain?

What are you talking about? The Spaniards slaughtered and enslaved the Puerto Ricans for hundreds of years starting in the late 1400's. When the PR's revolted they were slain and the survivors fled to the mountains. Also the Spaniards brought in slaves from Africa and took all the riches and sent it all back to Spain. In the 1800's the PR's began another revolt only to be slaughtered again. Slavery wasn't abolished in PR until 1873. Spain finally gave PR its "autonomy" in 1897 but then the US took it over in 1898 after the Spanish American War. The US then instituted the first civil government in PR in 1900. It didn't work so great until 1917 when President Wilson signed the Jones Law giving PR's American citizenship, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to a trial and all those other horrible freedom things that the Spaniards never gave them. How terrible of the US to provide freedom for the Puerto Ricans.

I would be interested to hear what Michael has to say about the feelings ot the Puerto Ricans toward the US and their history with Spain.

Posted by: Brian at March 1, 2005 07:22 PM

NeoDude,

who are these "American traditionalists" you're talking about? I've never heard those two words used as a term before.

Posted by: Carlos at March 1, 2005 07:24 PM

The Madness of Empire

Could carlos point to the pro-Imperial and pro-Empire works of the American founding fathers.

Posted by: NeoDude at March 1, 2005 07:33 PM

Remember the Maine!!!...I mean 9-11!!!

NeoDude - On 9/11, wealthy islamists, financed and trained by wealthy Saudis, slaughtered thousands of Americans in an unprovoked act of war. A lot of my friends and relatives lost loved ones in that attack. My uncle, retired FDNY, was going to funerals for weeks afterwards.

I hate to waste the time and pixels to address your lame attempt to pin the blame for this atrocity on Americans. Are you using this statement to tell us that you’re yet another America/democracy-hating tinfoil hat troll with too much time on his hands? We got that message already.

Tell it to the Raelian clone worshippers. If you're not already an honorary priest, they might make you one.

Posted by: mary at March 1, 2005 07:35 PM

A month after 9/11, the Weekly Standard featured a cover article by Max Boot titled “The Case for American Empire.”

Posted by: NeoDude at March 1, 2005 07:35 PM

NeoDude,

I'll ask you again. Who are these so-called "American traditionalists" who hate empire so much. Did you pull that out of your ass too?

Posted by: Carlos at March 1, 2005 07:38 PM

No I am not saying the Ameriucan's did it, what I am saying is that,

Why would the Bush admin. let Bin'Laden get away?
Why do Pakistan and Saudi Arabia get to fund Al-Queda and their opperations while the Neocons talk about American Imperialism in Iraq?

Posted by: NeoDude at March 1, 2005 07:39 PM

Please do not feed trolls. I realize I'm as guilty as the rest of you, but it's time to pull the plug.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at March 1, 2005 07:42 PM

Conservatives Against a War with Iraq

Posted by: NeoDude at March 1, 2005 07:44 PM

Thanks NeoDude. I guess that means not all white folks are genocidal rapists and cultural imperialists after all.

Posted by: Carlos at March 1, 2005 07:50 PM

Nope, most white folks are cool. It's the rich ones who make money off war and the ones who like killing in the name of cultural fads that piss the world off...and it pisses of other white folks.

Posted by: NeoDude at March 1, 2005 08:21 PM

NeoDude,

don't forget the christians. Rich folks and white christians.

Posted by: Carlos at March 1, 2005 08:26 PM

I realize this comment thread is hopelessly out of control so this will be lost, but for you people complaining about a propaganda film being used in a trial: what the web site states is "The documentary footage in this film will be used as evidence...". So what I think they are saying is NOT that this film will be shown, but rather the documentary footage. This film lets us non-tribunal types see the same footage.

Posted by: Van Gale at March 1, 2005 08:41 PM

Carlos,

You got me, that was to funny, man.

g'night

Posted by: NeoDude at March 1, 2005 08:58 PM

neodude, this is cool, you've gotten totten to reveal himself as a Mark Twain Hater [or at least mark twain the anti-imperialist]
then again, i'd be pretty angry at the antiimperialists too while i was sipping away at a rum n' coke avoiding death in Iraq

Posted by: lukes at March 1, 2005 09:47 PM

You need to watch the movie... and comment on the contents. If you have seen it... give your impression.

Posted by: OZ at March 1, 2005 10:03 PM

Lukes, you're hilarious.

Posted by: Shana Barrow at March 1, 2005 10:24 PM

Do I need to dish out some troll warnings? Do I need to kick some people out of here? I don't like having to do either, but no one else around here can or will and I'm getting sick of the juvenile bullshit - especially from people who really ought to be old enough to behave better than that.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at March 1, 2005 10:29 PM

Why are you the only folks in denial of empire? Does the thought of being a cheerleader for imperialism sound, un-democratic? “No need to run away from the label,” argues Max Boot, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York: “America's destiny is to police the world.”

But one should always be suspicious when military powers claim to be doing weaker states favours by occupying them.

Is There an American Empire? by Michael Walzer (Dissent)
The war in Iraq has given new urgency to the debate about "American imperialism." In fact, there hasn't been anywhere near enough of a debate; the term is used routinely by critics of the war and routinely rejected by its supporters-though some of the supporters seem to believe if not in imperialism exactly, then certainly in empire. So, is Washington the new Rome? Is there an American Empire? Was Iraq an imperialist war? It seems to me that we need a better understanding of America's role in the world than this old terminology provides. Criticizing the uses of American power is now a central political task, so we had better recognize what is going on before our eyes.

Illusions of Empire: Defining the New American Order by G. John Ikenberry (Foreign Affairs)
Summary: From Washington to Baghdad, the debate over American empire is back. Five new books weigh in, some celebrating the imperial project as the last best hope of humankind, others attacking it as cause for worry. What they all fail to understand is that U.S. power is neither as great as most claim nor as dangerous as others fear.

The EMPIRE strikes suspicion (Econonomic Strategy Institute)
The American Empire: The very phrase sounds like a contradiction in terms. The land of the free tethered to the realms of Alexander, ancient Rome and redcoats on the march; the home of the brave bound to a word synonymous with a stranglehold on power.

Manifest Destiny Warmed Up? (The Economist)
WHAT is the shelf-life of an idea? Just a few short months ago, the talk—and not just in Washington, DC—was of empire, America's that is. Even before the invasion of Iraq, pundits of all stripes were casting aside their coyness to proclaim that America was the latest imperial power to bestride the world. Today, with tribulations besetting the new Romans in both Afghanistan and Iraq, their most recent conquests, the chorus has died down, but the idea is far from dead. Too many people have invested too much in it.

For several years, after all, commentators have been announcing the discovery of an American empire. Books and articles have poured forth, professors and pundits have pondered the implications— and a surprising number have welcomed the new role. “No need to run away from the label,” argues Max Boot, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York: “America's destiny is to police the world.”

Posted by: NeoDude at March 1, 2005 11:02 PM

“No need to run away from the label,” argues Max Boot, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York: “America's destiny is to police the world.”

NeoDude,

what about this quote:

"We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

~ John F. Kennedy

Was JFK an "imperialist" too? At the very least it was "policing" right? If so, then you can count me in any day of the week. If terrorists and Leftists are against it, then I know we're on the right track.

Posted by: Carlos at March 1, 2005 11:56 PM

Carlos, the problem I have with that is that we aren't really a superpower any more. The money we're spending on iraq is all borrowed from china. (And japan.)

I can sympathise with wanting to help other countries become more democratic, but we need to build up our strength before we spend too much of it. We haven't recovered from the cold war yet. The russians collapsed and we aren't that far from it.

So if we're going to help other countries democratise we need a cheaper way to do it, some method that uses a lot less avgas and a lot fewer bombs.

Posted by: J Thomas at March 2, 2005 05:53 AM

Caroline asserts that Michael Moore's film was "seditious."

Such a charge is out of the relm of civilized discourse. While the charge of chickenhawkedness is also outside of such a realm, does such a "troll warning," apply to both?

Moving on from Carolines paranoid McCarthite ravings and to the "meat" of her comment, irrelevencies designed to enflame the passions of a jury are inadmissable under all civilized codes of justice. The end of this film has no value to a jury other than such, and if a judge allowed such evidence to be shown, I believe the appropriate action of a judge is to declare a mistrial. It is up to the prosecution to determine if Saddam Hussein is important enough a criminal to retry after such. I believe that he is important enough of a criminal to retry.

I do not merely entertain the idea that Saddam is innocent, under our cannon of justice, as he has not been tried of any crime, I assume he is innocent.

The minimum grounds to convict someone is neither sloppy not minimal. It is proof beyond a reasonable doubt of a crime. There has been no proof of anything presented to a competent court of law.

Finally, you try to bring in the right-wing fable that Sharia law is supported by the left. This is absolutly and completly fabricated. While private actors acting privately can contract to have disputed adjudicated via any method they choose, there is no western civilization that allows for Sharia law without such a contract in place. Stop reading WorldNetDaily - they lie to you.

Posted by: FC at March 2, 2005 07:18 AM

I do not merely entertain the idea that Saddam is innocent,... I assume he is innocent--FC

Yeah.You would.And that pretty much sums up what is fundamentally WRONG with your attitudes on an existential level.One can legitimately say that the 'due process'of establishing 'legal guilt'must be played out as required in a 'civilized'state,without asserting something so foolish as Saddam's 'innocence'.He is as guilty as SIN,and the trial is clearly merely a dotting of the "I's",and a crossing of the "T's".Let's put it to a vote shall we?
All those who believe that Saddam will NOT be convicted,simply because he is GUILTY,please raise your hands.Come on,don't be shy.
Anyone ?

Posted by: dougf at March 2, 2005 07:35 AM

Why blame Hussein? Didn't the Republicans used to defend his radical anti-Kurdish Communist and anti-Iranian skills with that oldie but goodie...IT WAS A FEW BAD APPLES!!!!

Posted by: NeoDude at March 2, 2005 07:50 AM

Carlos,

So when did Kennedy invade and occupy a Soviet puppet regime to freedomize it?

Posted by: NeoDude at March 2, 2005 07:52 AM

Coffin v. United States, 156 U.S. 432; 15 S. Ct. 394: The principle that there is a presumption of innocence in favor of the accused is the undoubted law, axiomatic and elementary, and its enforcement lies at the foundation of the administration of our criminal law.

That you think finding someone guilty is crossing T's and dotting I's is repulsive to our system of justice. I'd answer your angrily typed question (it comes across in the punctuation and capitalization), but I can't understand what it is you're trying to say. Take a deep breath and try again.

Posted by: FC at March 2, 2005 07:55 AM

So when did Kennedy invade and occupy a Soviet puppet regime to freedomize it?

NeoDude,

Got anything else in your little grab bag of nothings? C'mon, you can do better than that.

Posted by: Carlos at March 2, 2005 08:00 AM

So if we're going to help other countries democratise we need a cheaper way to do it, some method that uses a lot less avgas and a lot fewer bombs.

J Thomas,

I can relate to your last post. That was my primary concern with the Iraq invasion too. The cost in blood and treasure, the long-term committment, etc. I would oppose any invasion to topple a dictator if it were not also in our national interests to do so. But deposing Saddam WAS in our national interests for a number of reasons, and I'm sure you've already heard them all at this point so I won't bother repeating them. And in addition to that, here our national interests came together with my own personal satisfaction at seeing a subjugated people freed from tyranny. So in this case, the cost was worth it. But I agree with you that the Iraq invasion shouldn't be standard operating procedure.

Posted by: Carlos at March 2, 2005 08:10 AM

Finally, you try to bring in the right-wing fable that Sharia law is supported by the left. This is absolutly and completly fabricated.

FC,

The Left doesn't "support" sharia, but their silence is DEAFENING. Observe how the Leftist witches feverishly hunt down Lawrence Summers while ignoring how women under islam are subjugated (even on our own soil). When feminism and multi-culturalism collide, the Left goes silent. Not a whisper.

But that won't stop the feminist witches from looking elsewhere for all sorts of imagined ills and "oppressions", like poor Lawrence Summers and his suggestion that men and women have physiological differences. The horrors! All the while the same Leftists hunt for the "gay gene" to prove homos and heteros are different. No irony there right?

The same can be said of Leftist silence about the murder of free speech in Holland. I guess when free speech and multi-culturalism collide, the Left goes silent too.

Posted by: Carlos at March 2, 2005 08:24 AM

More silence:

Muslim Rape Epidemic in Sweden and Norway - Political Correctness Looks the Other Way

http://fjordman.blogspot.com/2005/02/muslim-rape-epidemic-in-sweden-and.html

Posted by: Carlos at March 2, 2005 08:45 AM

Carlos asserts without evidence that the left is silent on the subjugation of women in Islam.

That, of course, is a fabrication. Organizations on the left have publicized and fought against the plight of women in those countries before the right even knew they existed.

The real people silent about the subjugation of women? The right, who only cares about the subjugation of women in countries they want to invade. I searched for "Female Genital Mutilation" and found nothing but leftists.

Posted by: FC at March 2, 2005 09:13 AM

Feminist Fog

By Kay S. Hymowitz

AS news of the appalling miseries of women in the Islamic world has piled up, where are the feminists? Where's the outrage?

For a brief moment after 9/11, when pictures of those blue alien-creaturely shapes in Afghanistan filled the papers, it seemed as if feminists were going to have their moment. The Feminist Majority, to its credit, had been publicizing since the mid '90s how Afghan girls were barred from school, how women were stoned for adultery or beaten for showing an ankle or wearing high-heeled shoes, how they were prohibited from leaving the house unless accompanied by a male relative, how they were denied medical help because the only doctors around were male.

But the rest is feminist silence. You haven't heard a peep from feminists as it has grown clear that the Taliban were exceptional not in their extreme views about women but in their success at embodying those views in law and practice.

In the United Arab Emirates, husbands have the right to beat their wives to discipline them - "provided that the beating is not so severe as to damage her bones or deform her body," in the words of the Gulf News. In Saudi Arabia, women cannot vote, drive or show their faces or talk with male non-relatives in public.

You didn't hear much from feminists when in the northern Nigerian province of Katsina a Muslim court sentenced a woman to death by stoning for having a child outside of marriage. During her trial she had no lawyer, although the court did see fit to delay her execution until she weans her infant.

You didn't hear much from feminists as it emerged that honor killings by relatives, often either ignored or only lightly punished by authorities, are also commonplace in the Muslim world.According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, every day two women are slain by male relatives seeking to avenge the family honor.

WHY the sisterly silence? It is helpful to think of feminisms - plural rather than singular. Though not entirely discrete philosophies, each of three different feminisms has its own distinct reasons for causing activists to "lose their voice" in the face of women's oppression.

The first variety - radical feminism (or gender feminism, in Christina Hoff Sommers' term) - starts with the insight that men are, not to put too fine a point upon it, brutes. Radical feminists believe that maleness is a kind of original sin. Masculinity explains child abuse, marital strife, high defense spending, every war from Troy to Afghanistan, as well as Hitler, Franco and Pinochet.

Thus, the war in Afghanistan could not possibly liberate women from their oppressors: It would simply expose women to yet another set of oppressors, in gender feminists' view.

If guys are brutes, girls are their opposite: peace-loving, tolerant, conciliatory and reasonable - "Antiwar and Pro-Feminist," as the popular peace-rally sign goes. Real women, gender feminists believe, would never justify war.

Yet this idea of superior feminine virtue is becoming an increasingly tough sell for anyone actually keeping up with world events.

Mothers all over the Muslim world are naming their babies Osama or praising Allah for their sons' efforts to kill crusading infidels. Last February, 28-year-old Wafa Idris became the first female Palestinian suicide bomber to strike in Israel, killing an elderly man and wounding scores of women and children. And in April, Israeli soldiers discovered under the maternity clothes of 26-year-old Shifa Adnan Kodsi a bomb rather than a baby. Maternal thinking, indeed.

THE second variety of feminism, especially prevalent on college campuses, is multiculturalism and its twin, postcolonialism.

The postcolonial feminist has even more reason to shy away from the predicament of women under radical Islam than her maternally thinking sister. She believes that the Western world is so sullied by its legacy of imperialism that no Westerner, man or woman, can utter a word of judgment against former colonial peoples. Worse, she is not so sure that radical Islam isn't an authentic, indigenous - and therefore appropriate - expression of Arab and Middle Eastern identity.

It is not men who are the sinners; it is the West. It is not women who are victimized innocents; it is the people who suffered under Western colonialism, or the descendants of those people, to be more exact.

Caught between the rock of patriarchy and the hard place of imperialism, the postcolonial feminist scholar gingerly tiptoes her way around the subject of Islamic fundamentalism and does the only thing she can do: She focuses her ire on Western men.

SHE ties colonialist exploitation and domination to maleness; she might refer to Israel's "masculinist military culture" - Israel being white and Western - though she would never dream of pointing out the "masculinist military culture" of the jihadi.

American concern about Afghan women? Merely a "device for ranking the 'other' men as inferior or as 'uncivilized,' " according to Nira Yuval-Davis, professor of gender and ethnic studies at the University of Greenwich, England. An example of what renowned Columbia professor Gayatri Spivak called "white men saving brown women from brown men." Brown men, having been victimized by the West, can never be oppressors in their own right. If they give the appearance of treating women badly, the oppression they have suffered at the hands of Western colonial masters is to blame.

THE final category in the feminist taxonomy, which might be called the world-government utopian strain, is in many respects closest to classical liberal feminism. Dedicated to full female dignity and equality, it generally eschews both the biological determinism of the gender feminist and the cultural relativism of the multiculti postcolonialist.

Stanford political science professor Susan Moller Okin, an influential, subtle and intelligent spokeswoman for this approach, created a stir among feminists in 1997 when she forthrightly attacked multiculturalists for valuing "group rights for minority cultures" over the well-being of individual women. Okin admirably minced no words attacking arranged marriage, female circumcision and polygamy, which she believed women experienced as a "barely tolerable institution."

But though Okin is less shy than other feminists about discussing the plight of women under Islamic fundamentalism, the typical U.N. utopian has her own reasons for keeping quiet as that plight fills Western headlines. For one thing, the utopian is also a bean-counting absolutist, seeking a pure, numerical equality between men and women in all departments of life.

She greets Western, and particularly American, claims to have achieved freedom for women with skepticism. The motto of the 2002 International Women's Day - "Afghanistan Is Everywhere" - was in part a reproach to the West about its superior airs. Women in Afghanistan might have to wear burqas, but don't women in the West parade around in bikinis?

Cynical about free markets and globalization, the U.N. utopian is also unimpressed by the liberal democratic nation-state "as an emancipatory institution," in the dismissive words of J. Ann Tickner, director for international studies at the University of Southern California.In fact, like the (usually) unacknowledged socialist that she is, the U.N. utopian eagerly awaits the withering of the nation-state, a political arrangement that she sees as tied to imperialism, war and masculinity.

Having rejected the patriarchal liberal nation-state, with all the democratic machinery of self-government that goes along with it, the utopian concludes that there is only one way to achieve her goals: to impose them through international government.

UTOPIAN feminists fill the halls of the United Nations, where they examine everything through the lens of the "gender perspective" in study after unreadable study. (My personal favorites: "Gender Perspectives on Landmines" and "Gender Perspectives on Weapons of Mass Destruction," whose conclusion is that landmines and WMDs are bad for women.)

That this combination of sentimental victimhood, postcolonial relativism and utopian overreaching has caused feminism to suffer so profound a loss of moral and political imagination that it cannot speak against the brutalization of Islamic women is an incalculable loss to women and to men.

The great contribution of Western feminism was to expand the definition of human dignity and freedom. It insisted that all human beings were worthy of liberty. Why shouldn't feminists want to shout out their own profound discovery for the world to hear?

Perhaps, finally, because to do so would be to acknowledge the freedom they themselves enjoy, thanks to Western ideals and institutions. Not only would such an admission force them to give up their own simmering resentments; it would be bad for business.

The truth is that the free institutions - an independent judiciary, a free press, open elections - that protect the rights of women are the same ones that protect the rights of men. The separation of church and state that would allow women to escape the burqa would also free men from having their hands amputated for theft.

IN other words, to address the problems of Muslim women honestly, feminists would have to recognize that free men and women need the same things - and that those are things that they themselves already have. And recognizing that would mean an end to feminism as we know it.

Kay S. Hymowitz is a contributing editor at The Manhattan Institute's City Journal. From the Winter issue of CJ.

http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/_nypost-feminist_fog.htm

Posted by: Carlos at March 2, 2005 09:21 AM

Wow, someone from the Manhattan Institute says that they don't hear leftists saying things about

Honor Killings

or

A death sentence for adultery in Nigeria

When do you apologize for lying?

Posted by: FC at March 2, 2005 09:28 AM

The Silence of the Feminists
February 4, 2005

Why don't left-leaning Western women speak up about abuses in the Islamic world, asks Pamela Bone.

In Canada, the Government of Ontario has been deciding whether to allow some Muslim leaders to set up sharia courts to settle family law matters, and Alberta is considering whether to follow Ontario's lead. Most opposition to these proposals is coming not from Canadian-born feminists and liberals (Canada, after all, invented multiculturalism), but from Muslim women who have knowledge of sharia law, a code based on the Koran.

http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2005/02/03/1107409981815.html?oneclick=true

Posted by: Carlos at March 2, 2005 09:42 AM

Actually, that's not even remotely what's being set up in Canada. If two private actors contract together to resolve a dispute under Sharia law, then they are allowed to do so under Ontarioan law.

Please, stop before you embarass yourself again. Any time a right-wing opinion columnist says something is true, assume it's false.

Posted by: FC at March 2, 2005 09:57 AM

FC - I shouldn't have used the term sedition for Moore's film, although I have no problem using the term 'traitorous' - which doesn't imply that I think any legal action should be taken against him - simply that his film was clearly designed to demoralize our troops (do you deny that?)and had the consequence of giving aid and comfort to the enemy. You might be interested in this article re first amendment issues throughout history when we were at war -

free speech for terrorists?

Re my original post - I was trying to draw a distinction between Process and Justice. You evidently see no distinction between the 2. But it happens all the time that people manipulate the process so well that Justice isn't done, while poor people get crappy lawyers. That's one form of "sloppiness" in the process.
But of course Saddam will get the best attorneys in the world who may well know how to manipulate the system. Were he to get off (I assume you still envision that possibility as you actually assume him to be innocent) Justice would not have been served. Presumably you will think it has been because you seem to equate process and justice. Re Sharia law - I assume in your mind because 2 people agree to adjudicate according to Sharia there's justice. But that overlooks how much choice the Muslim woman actually has in the matter from a sociocultural perspective. Again - it puts Process above Justice.

I admit to being a little curious about the tone of your post which seems unduly supercilious. I didn't really think my point was all that outrageous. I'm just saying that in a Just world, Saddam would get sloppy representation.

Posted by: Caroline at March 2, 2005 09:59 AM

You shouldn't have dug yourself deeper, Caroline, by using another loaded word like traitorous. How about "that I don't like," which is all you really have against it, right?

The film was obviously not designed to demoralize our troops. Did you see the film? I don't think so.

If you believe our legal codes back in the days that article discusses I would like to introduce you to two italians. I believe they were called Sacco and Vanzetti.

Our legal system is founded on process over justice, because without process there can be no justice.

If you ask me if I believe Saddam will be found guilty? I am substantially certain that when the evidence is revealed in a court of law the jury will find him guilty of something.

It seems very disengeniuous of you to say that if someone signs a document saying that they aggree to something the "sociocultural perspective" on why someone signed something should allow them to back out of the deal.

Posted by: FC at March 2, 2005 10:08 AM

PS: In a just world, no one would get sloppy representation. In your world, people you were sure were guilty like Sacco and Vanzetti would be railroaded to the chair.

I'll take the just world, thanks.

Posted by: FC at March 2, 2005 10:10 AM

Any time a right-wing opinion columnist says something is true, assume it's false.

FC,

but it's muslim women who are opposing it, not rightwing commentators, and not Leftwing feminists either.

Posted by: Carlos at March 2, 2005 10:35 AM

FC (Factckeck I presume?) – I don’t think I’m digging myself in deeper by calling MM traitorous. I said I didn’t think he should be charged with any crime but the word has meaning outside of a legal context as well, and that’s the sense in which I’m using it.

FC: "If you ask me if I believe Saddam will be found guilty? I am substantially certain that when the evidence is revealed in a court of law the jury will find him guilty of something."

Thats a bit of semantics it seems to me. When you say "substantially sure”, you’re pretty much acknowledging that the evidence already suggests “beyond a reasonable doubt” – which means guilty. Do you have a reasonable doubt re his guilt? If so, I’d be curious as to what it is.

"In a just world, no one would get sloppy representation"

We don't live in a just world. Laws are man-made things. Excellent representation can get the guilty off just as sloppy representation can get the innocent convicted. Justice is served when the guilty are convicted and the innocent are freed. In a just world, the innocent would get the best lawyers money can by while the guilty would get the lousy lawyers. The law as its practiced is just the best process we happen to have. But its still a Process. It isn’t the same thing as Justice.

“It seems very disengeniuous of you to say that if someone signs a document saying that they aggree to something the "sociocultural perspective" on why someone signed something should allow them to back out of the deal.”

Not at all. Sharia is inherently unjust. It shouldn’t be permitted in the west period.

Posted by: Caroline at March 2, 2005 10:35 AM

Carlos is right - muslim women in the west are opposing Sharia because they know that cultural pressures from within their communities will not permit them to have a genuine choice about whether to use Sharia courts. Leftists don't seem to get this.

Posted by: Caroline at March 2, 2005 10:39 AM

Carlos, you posted an article that presumed that courts were being set up by the ONT government. That was a fact presented in the article.

It was also wrong. I'm not saying discount the opinions presented by the right wing, just check all the facts. I'd say the same about the left wing, but they're not the ones lying here.

No evidence has been presented, so I am not certain beyond any doubt at all that he is guilty. He cannot, in fact, be guilty untill evidence is presented to a jury. I presume him innocent in the absence of any evidence to the contrary. There is no evidence presented to a jury to the contrary, so he is currently innocent. Due process is the highest moral of our laws here, not justice. There is no requirement that people be treated justly, just with due process.

If Muslim women don't want to sign a contract, they should decline to sign a contract. I don't sign contracts I don't want to sign, why should they? Sounds like a choice to me. What you want to do is prevent Muslims from having their decisions arbitrated in religious courts, while turning a blind eye to the Jews and Christians who have that choice.

Are you saying that poverty and society drove them to do something terrible to themselves?

I thought I was the Democrat here, not you.

Posted by: FC at March 2, 2005 11:16 AM

Hey FC, here's an award for the single silliest statement yet...

"He cannot, in fact, be guilty untill evidence is presented to a jury."

So, if I shoot you today and am never caught, that means that I'm not guilty? Sorry but this seems very representative of your logic throughout this argument

As Caroline has said Justice > Process. Justice is the guilty caught and punished and the innocent free. The process is the imperfect way that imperfect humans try to accomplish Justice.
And there are many possible processes the one we have used seems to work best given our culture and society, but, it's not the only possibility.

Posted by: AlanC at March 2, 2005 11:33 AM

In the legal sense of the word, you are not guilty untill tried and convicted before a jury, so in that case, you would not be guilty.

Justice is mentioned once in the constitution - in the preamble. Process is mentioned four times. Proceedings are mentioned fifve times. Why do you think that is?

Posted by: FC at March 2, 2005 11:42 AM

FC - Muslim women may decline to sign a contract at the risk of a good beating when they get home, because beating women is sanctioned by the Koran. Sharia law only gives a woman's testimony 1/2 of the weight of a male's so it is inherently unjust. You say you thought you were the Democrat here. But that is precisely what is wrong with liberals today - they fought unapologetically for equal rights for women and blacks in the west for decades, only to turn around and actually consider allowing Sharia law in the west? Why? Aren't they democrats anymore?? (By the way - FC - I have always been a democrat until the last election. In opposing Sharia I think I'm being quite consistent with what I take to be basic democratic values.)

Posted by: Caroline at March 2, 2005 11:43 AM

A contract signed under duress or threat is not a contract. If the woman who signed the contract under duress appeals to the standard civil courts and was in fact under durress, the contract will be invalidated. As such, your example is moot.

I continue to fight for equal rights for women, including the equal right to have their trials, if they are stupid enough to want it, decided in whatever forum they contract to have their trials heard in.

No one has considered allowing Sharia law in the west. They have considered allowing private actors acting privately to have civil disputes heard infront of the meditator of their choice and in the manner of their choice. Please. Stop. Lying.

Posted by: FC at March 2, 2005 11:47 AM

"So when did Kennedy invade and occupy a Soviet puppet regime to freedomize it?"

Kennedy did send the CIA into Guyana to overthrow their government which ke thought was marxist.

http://www.lossless-audio.com/usa/1451061902.htm

He tried at cuba but chickened out at the last minute -- maybe because it was already failing. That may have encouraged the russians to later put nukes in cuba; with their nukes there we would be extremely careful about invading cuba -- we wouldn't want put the russians in a "use them or lose them" situation. We came close to nuclear war over that, before we found a compromise the russians could accept.

And Kennedy was starting to get us into vietnam before he was killed. The rationale was something like this: We had our Green Berets training; they were supposed to go into communist etc dictatorships and help the people organise revolutions. We hadn't actually done that yet -- or if we did it's stayed secret all these years -- and we had the special forces ready when the south vietnamese government was threatened by communist revolution. So the reasoning was, they know about revolutions, let them go in and help stop the revolution instead. So they'd been trained to do things like help peasants revolt against absentee landowners, and here they were on the giant plantations helping the landowners put down the peasant revolt. They had some successful battles where a lot of peasants were slaughtered but they weren't actually very successful at putting down the revolt, and Johnson quickly got past "advisors" and into regular troops, and the north vietnamese army got more involved, etc. Hard to be sure what Kennedy would have done but not unlikely it would have been similar to Johnson. And of course Kennedy had already OK'd Diem's ovethrow.

Maybe if the special forces hadn't gotten sidetracked to prevent revolution in vietnam instead of their intended purpose of creating revolutions, Kennedy would have started more revolutions.

Posted by: J Thomas at March 2, 2005 11:52 AM

FC: "No one has considered allowing Sharia law in the west. They have considered allowing private actors acting privately to have civil disputes heard infront of the meditator of their choice and in the manner of their choice. Please. Stop. Lying."

FC - I am not a lawyer but I just read at least 10 articles on the issue of Canadian Muslim arbitration tribunals and as far as I can tell - they all refer to "law" (does arbitration fall under the domain of jurisprudence?) and they all refer to Sharia. Canada is in the west. So what part of referring to "Sharia law in the West" is lying? (And incidentally - I could be mistaken but that is different from lying.)

one example

Posted by: Caroline at March 2, 2005 12:54 PM

No, private actors acting privatly in arbitration is not "the law." Let me summarize - Private actors? Not the law. Public actors? The law. If these women didn't want it decided in Sharia arbitration, they shouldn't have agreed to sign a document allowing it to be decided in Sharia arbitration.

I thought that you Republicans believed in making people responsible for their actions. I guess I was wrong.

Posted by: FC at March 2, 2005 01:00 PM

FC: No, the women do not have to sign a contract. That will not leave them any less beaten or dead when the don't. Justice? A contract signed under duress is not a legal document. They can argue that from the hospital or, if anyone cares, from the cemetery. Justice?

Semper Fi

Posted by: RickM at March 2, 2005 01:43 PM

"That was my primary concern with the Iraq invasion too. The cost in blood and treasure, the long-term committment, etc. I would oppose any invasion to topple a dictator if it were not also in our national interests to do so.

[...]

in this case, the cost was worth it."

Wolfowitz originally estimated the cost at a few billion. I'd go along with that. $10 per american, that's not so bad. I'd have gladly paid $500 of my hard-earned money to see Saddam gone and a democratic government put in. I wouldn't have minded if we paid Saddam to go away and just bought the country from him -- under the circumstances he'd probably let it go cheap.

But as it is, we're paying about 300 billion so far and no telling how much more, and results are emphatically not guaranteed.

There is no schedule for when it will be over; Bush says "whatever it takes" and senior people estimate 5 to 10 years -- that is, beyond the foreseeable future. There is no estimate for how much more it will cost. Five years near current rates would be at least another half trillion.

The casualties are heating up, but maybe someday the iraqis will take our casualties for us. Get them to occupy themselves for us....

Signs of democracy are decidedly mixed.

If we could have gotten out in a year for a hundred fifty billion dollars and left a working democracy behind I'd figure it was worth it. As it is, it's a real speculative investment.

"But I agree with you that the Iraq invasion shouldn't be standard operating procedure."

Good! So what should we do about syria? Just bomb them and tell them to make democracy for themselves, or what?

And what about iran, which has some nukes? Just bomb them and hope we get the nukes and then tell them to overthrow their government and start a democracy?

Posted by: J Thomas at March 2, 2005 01:58 PM

"That was my primary concern with the Iraq invasion too. The cost in blood and treasure, the long-term committment, etc. I would oppose any invasion to topple a dictator if it were not also in our national interests to do so.

[...]

in this case, the cost was worth it."

Wolfowitz originally estimated the cost at a few billion. I'd go along with that. $10 per american, that's not so bad. I'd have gladly paid $500 of my hard-earned money to see Saddam gone and a democratic government put in. I wouldn't have minded if we paid Saddam to go away and just bought the country from him -- under the circumstances he'd probably let it go cheap.

But as it is, we're paying about 300 billion so far and no telling how much more, and results are emphatically not guaranteed.

There is no schedule for when it will be over; Bush says "whatever it takes" and senior people estimate 5 to 10 years -- that is, beyond the foreseeable future. There is no estimate for how much more it will cost. Five years near current rates would be at least another half trillion.

The casualties are heating up, but maybe someday the iraqis will take our casualties for us. Get them to occupy themselves for us....

Signs of democracy are decidedly mixed.

If we could have gotten out in a year for a hundred fifty billion dollars and left a working democracy behind I'd figure it was worth it. As it is, it's a real speculative investment.

"But I agree with you that the Iraq invasion shouldn't be standard operating procedure."

Good! So what should we do about syria? Just bomb them and tell them to make democracy for themselves, or what?

And what about iran, which has some nukes? Just bomb them and hope we get the nukes and then tell them to overthrow their government and start a democracy?

Posted by: J Thomas at March 2, 2005 02:02 PM

For any system to function well, common sense needs to be used. FC - this seems to be your real argument, that common sense isn't of value, only the letter of the law. Eliminating common sense creates nonsense such as "zero tolerance" and murderers being set free over trivial technicalities. I doubt that our Founding Fathers meant to eliminate common sense from government and the courts. I prefer systems where people use their brains and implement common sense and logic into decisions and judgements, not judicial activism, just common sense. Does it really make sense to treat Saddam as an "innocent" when he is on record for slaughtering, torturing, and brutalizing thousands of people for 20 years? Hitler never had a trial - does that make him innocent? Common sense says no.

Posted by: Brian at March 2, 2005 02:29 PM

FC - Canadian Muslim women oppose Shariah in Canada for this (and many other) reasons:

"Sharia law is not a homogeneous civil code but rather a very complex system of Muslim jurisprudence interpreted by culturally and ethnically diverse individuals often from a patriarchal perspective. There are no norms or standards for settlements, e.g. amount or length of alimony and support payments, age of male or female children for custody awards. It is precisely the arbitrariness of these awards that will jeopardize the equality rights of Muslim women. CCMW fears that arbitration using Sharia/Muslim family law will continue to be based on a very narrow, conservative interpretation of Islam, which has already had a negative impact on some Canadian Muslim women and Muslim women world-wide."

This article explains how current Muslim family structure would keep Muslim women from taking advantage of their rights under Canadian law.

Shariah civil laws are, by their nature, a violation of civil rights. Shariah criminal laws (hudud) are a violation of basic human rights.

Posted by: mary at March 2, 2005 02:49 PM

Why would banning Sharia courts lead to a downtick in beatings? If you're going to beat someone for not going to a Sharia court, how does not having a Sharia court keep them from being beaten?

I do not argue against common sense. I argue against common sense being used as the determining factor of guilt or innocence. Michael Jackson dosen't need a trial - the man is wierd, so common sense says lock him away. Ignore the fact that the accuser might lack credibility. Wierd. Jail.

No, I'd prefer that common sense, also known as "Sacco and Vanzetti" take back burner to strict regulation of process. That's why "common sense" isn't mandated in the constitution, but "due process" is.

I know, wouldn't it be great if you could hang Saddam yourself! We could go to the jail he was being held at, storm it, take him out, throw a rope over a tree and string him up! Common sense!

Please don't bring up Hitler. It's offensive, and outside the ground of rational discourse. Didn't Michael put a troll warning up there? Why aren't those things ever enforced?

Posted by: FC at March 2, 2005 02:49 PM

If they don't want to sign the document, they don't have to. If they are threatend with violence when the document is signed, it's not valid. That's not "law," that's private actors acting privately. Where's the personal responsibility? You could say the same thing about Sharia arbitration that you do about arbitration by the American Arbitration Association.

No one has ever proposed the use of Sharia criminal codes in the western world. Your strawman non-argument is refuted.

Posted by: FC at March 2, 2005 02:53 PM

Good! So what should we do about syria? Just bomb them and tell them to make democracy for themselves, or what?

J Thomas,

I'm no more pleased than anybody else that the war didn't turn out like in the playbook and that it's costing more than was forecast. But it doesn't necessarily follow therefore that I'm anti-war or anti-Bush. Conversely, had everything Wolfowitz predicted come true, I doubt the anti-War Left would have voted GOP last November. See how it works? Both sides have a chosen path, and minor inconveniences aren't going change that. Even major inconveniences and setbacks aren't going to change it if you belief in the justice of your cause.

We won't invade Syria. There's no political will for it. It's a non-issue. Bush will further isolate them politically, with European help, that's all.

Re Iran, I wouldn't be opposed to escalating the pressure on them to the point of air strikes on their facilities if that's what it takes. I'm glad the Israelis did it to Saddam, so why shouldn't we also support similar measures against Iran?

Posted by: Carlos at March 2, 2005 03:00 PM

FC:

And your "Nyah, I'm right and you're not" doesn't change the fact that the world the women live in does not care whether or not they choose to sign the document. They can sign the document or suffer the wrath of sharia law. Either way the women end up brutalized.

When a Muslim male, regardless of location, states that his wife will follow the outcome of a Muslim mediator where are her rights? When a Muslim women agrees to follow the outcome of a Muslim mediator under threat of punishement where is your Justice?

Nyah to you and your "strawman."

SemperFi

Posted by: RickM at March 2, 2005 03:17 PM

You ask:
When a Muslim male, regardless of location, states that his wife will follow the outcome of a Muslim mediator where are her rights? When a Muslim women agrees to follow the outcome of a Muslim mediator under threat of punishement where is your Justice?

Assume we're still talking Canada, In the first case - nothing happens to her rights. A man cannot sign a contract on behalf of his wife to force her into Sharia. If we are not talking about Canada, their legal codes are inhumane if a husband can bind his wife into such a contract without consent. I hope you would join The Feminist Majority in protesting such.

In the second case, violations of Canadian Criminal law are dealt with by the Canadian authorities. If you know of such a case, please contact them. In either case, contracts signed under duress are invalid.

Posted by: FC at March 2, 2005 03:25 PM

No one has ever proposed the use of Shariah criminal codes in the western World.

Wrong. The members of the Muslim Brotherhood devote their lives to the establishment of Shariah criminal codes in the Western World.

Their well-funded American community outreach program, the Muslim Society of America, also has that goal.

As I said, Shariah laws are a violation of civil and human rights. Can you think of a reason why these anti-civil/human rights laws should be on the books in any nation of the world? I can’t.

Posted by: mary at March 2, 2005 03:26 PM

“We won't invade Syria.”

We don’t need to invade Syria. President Bush merely has to occasionally bomb their facilities when the Assad Government gets out of line. These thugs are not nihilists. They desire to live lavishly. The Syrian Baathists are somewhat similar to Tony Soprano and the Mafia.

Posted by: David Thomson at March 2, 2005 03:34 PM

Brian: “For any system to function well, common sense needs to be used…Hitler never had a trial - does that make him innocent? Common sense says no.”

Thank you Brian for a simple nod to common sense. FC knows Saddam is guilty. He’s simply forsaking common sense for the sake of an abstract argument.

FC: “ Michael Jackson dosen't need a trial - the man is wierd, so common sense says lock him away. Ignore the fact that the accuser might lack credibility. Wierd. Jail.”

Wrong – common sense doesn’t say that. Common sense tells us that it is quite possible that MJ is a victim of people looking to make a buck off his celebrity. There is not sufficient evidence to suggest beyond a reasonable doubt that that isn’t the case. That is common sense. We actually need to see and evaluate the evidence.

But FC – isn’t common sense itself the basis for trusting a jury of one’s peers to determine guilt or innocence in the first place? Isn't common sense precisely what we count on in a court of law?

Frankly FC– I’m not sure I would want you on any jury because you seem to overthink – i.e. – literally overanalyze to the point that you have lost touch with “common sense”.

Posted by: Caroline at March 2, 2005 03:39 PM

Brian: "For any system to function well, common sense needs to be used. FC - this seems to be your real argument, that common sense isn't of value, only the letter of the law. Eliminating common sense creates nonsense such as "zero tolerance" and murderers being set free over trivial technicalities”"

Following the letter of the law also leads to such absurdities as:

1. Iraq is a sovereign state and we have no business interfering in their internal affairs.
2. The UN has issued hundreds of resolutions condemning Israel - therefore Israel must be wrong.
3. The UN hasn't defined the mass killing in Darfur as "genocide" - therefore - there's no genocide going on.
4. Saddam hasn't been convicted in a court of law, therefore he's "innocent".
5. Muslim women in Canada have the choice to choose a Sharia-based arbitration court - therefore justice is served when they are deprived of all their financial assets.

There is no doubt that the rule of law is a huge step up from the law of the jungle but its still man-made and therefore imperfect. And as Brian stated above - the whole concept of law ultimately rests on "common sense" - that's what we ultimately rely on when we gather together a jury of 12 of our peers to decide on life and death matters. So FC - I would ask you - who are those 12 people? On what basis do you trust them to ultimately decide such matters? What are they relying on to make those determinations re Justice that you trust in the first place?

Posted by: Caroline at March 2, 2005 04:19 PM

FC: “I continue to fight for equal rights for women, including the equal right to have their trials, if they are stupid enough to want it, decided in whatever forum they contract to have their trials heard in.”

Your protests to the contrary – you aren’t fighting for “equal rights for women”. If those were white men – rather than brown men – claiming that Sharia law=equality for women – you’d be laughing out loud. Incidentally – I do love the “if they are stupid enough to want it”! Let's just say that that statement probably reflects your "common sense".

FC: “If these women didn't want it decided in Sharia arbitration, they shouldn't have agreed to sign a document allowing it to be decided in Sharia arbitration. I thought that you Republicans believed in making people responsible for their actions. I guess I was wrong.”

And I thought Democrats believed in compassion and justice. I guess I was wrong…

Posted by: Caroline at March 2, 2005 04:48 PM

“If those were white men – rather than brown men – claiming that Sharia law=equality for women – you’d be laughing out loud.”

Lord, can I get a witness? Do you desire to see a grown man bawl like a baby? I repeatedly beg people to please imagine that the Islamic nihilists are white skinned, blond haired, and blue eyed. This, by itself, may open your eyes to the crisis. The virus of political correctness hinders many people from thinking logically on these most important issues.

Posted by: David Thomson at March 2, 2005 05:57 PM

David Thompson -

This is how I feel sometimes ...

Caroline

Posted by: Caroline at March 2, 2005 06:50 PM

Caroline, Bush's divisive strtegies will do that to people sometimes. Just keep remembering, only four more years.

Posted by: J Thomas at March 3, 2005 05:21 AM

Bush's divisive strtegies will do that to people sometimes. Just keep remembering, only four more years.

J Thomas,

what do you mean by "devisive"? I've heard Libs accuse Bush of that, and it seems to me he's devisive only because they don't like it? Or is there some other criteria by which someone is judged "devisive."

Posted by: Carlos at March 3, 2005 07:26 AM

Carlos, that's it exactly.

He pushes fast for radical extreme programs that large numbers of americans oppose and that his supporters don't understand.

Rather than persuade a large majority before making giant changes, he tramples right over the opposed and the undecided.

Divisive.

He isn't the first to do that. For example, the civil rights movement was very divisive; we tried to punish racists rather than persuade them, and eventually they got organised enough to push back hard. In the long run that sort of thing doesn't work very well.

Posted by: J Thomas at March 3, 2005 10:52 AM

For example, the civil rights movement was very divisive;

Then being "devisive" isn't always bad necessarily. The issue is WHAT you're "devisive" about. In other words, it can be either good or bad.

So I guess being devisive is a non-issue, and Lefties are just blowing air when they call someone devisive.

Posted by: Carlos at March 3, 2005 11:45 AM

Carlos, you have missed the point.

Being divisive is almost always bad. We got all divisive about slavery, and so we had a war that killed millions of people and the result was that instead of being slaves a whole lot of blacks got to be sharecroppers with the KKK after them. We'd have done a lot better to get a consensus.

And after around 90 years of that we were ready to do a whole lot of mechanised agriculture so those blacks got pushed off the land, and there was no place to put them except yankee cities, and there were no jobs, and so the choice was have a workable welfare system or let them starve. We sort of had a consensus on that one, but it eroded over time.

And as the south prospered there was room for blacks to get more education and jobs and stuff without whites losing any. That was the chance, right then. We could let blacks improve economically faster than whites and start to catch up, and nobody would have to suffer for it, everybody would be improving together. But we didn't get a consensus, we just imposed it on people who didn't see it was a good thing. And one result was the Dixiecrats turned republican and we've had a whole lot of venal corrupt government from it, that might have been less if we'd waited and gotten more agreement.

At about the same time we had vietnam. We kind of backed into that. Johnson didn't have much of a consensus and he sure didn't have a consensus for how much it would cost, so he fudged the budget. The economists didn't know the budget was a lie and they didn't adjust for it. Pretty quick the economy wasn't growing nearly as fast and it turned into one of those things where blacks couldn't do better somebody else did worse. The start toward consensus on civil rights was gone right then and we've never gotten it back.

We aren't going to get race war in the USA for the foreseeable future, and that's for two reasons -- the black churches are still strong and they urge forgiveness and patience. And the Reserves are mostly white and they're very well armed.

This is not a situation we can tolerate when we're facing a terrorist threat. We don't need black separatist groups doing terrorist stuff when we're looking for arabs. Hell, all they need is a few arab corpses and we'll think it's arab suicide attacks. But to prevent that we'd need conciliation -- we'd need to reach a consensus about how to get prosperity and respect for all our citizens. I hesitated to even mention the issue because the consensus is so broken that it's almost divisive to say anything about it, it seems racist to bring up the subject. I have no idea how we can bridge that gap, and I don't think it's anywhere on Bush's agenda at all. He gets more political capital by pointing to Rice and Powell and then hinting that blacks like democrats so that should tell regular people who to vote for.

Posted by: J Thomas at March 3, 2005 02:58 PM

J:

Consensus works as long as you can find one. It gets to a point though where the search for a consensus gets in the way of progress. How many decades of searching for a consensus are enough? Don't you reach a point where, as a leader, you have to say "Screw this, action is required."?

I think the reason the Left is being trod upon is they are frantically working for no change. A consensus for the Left today equals whatever the it takes to maintain the status quo. "Change=bad unless it is our change." The current changes are being driven by the Right and it is driving the Left insane.

Semper Fi

Posted by: RickM at March 4, 2005 07:03 AM

Rick, yes.

However, when you work without a consensus you have to accept the consequences.

You have to be ready to enslave or destroy the opposition, or let them go their own way so long as they don't bother you.

It doesn't seem like such a big deal to enslave or destroy the arabs, but it's gotten a lot closer to home. I figure the democrats are wimpy enough they'll put up with being enslaved, but they haven't gotten used to it yet.

But then, the USA is potentially subject to ethnic problems. We have 69% nonhispanic whites compared to only 60% shia in iraq, and our black and hispance populations are only about 13% each as compared to 20% for sunni arabs and kurds. But if the majority is split, how can they keep the minorities down?

Sure, the big majority of the army and the reserves are republican and conservative, but that just means the democrats and liberals won't do an armed revolt. You need their support. An armed minority can keep the majority down -- as the Ba'athists did in iraq -- but it's unstable and not very productive.

I think our leaders have been most successful at getting action without a consensus when they've demonstrated a clear crisis. FDR got his social programs through when it was clear a lot of people would starve otherwise, and then the Fed prolonged the depression and the crisis continued. Then by goading the japanese into Pearl Harbor he got a quick consensus for the war that we'd been avoiding. And 9/11 similarly got a temporary consensus; for a little while there we were ready to invade whoever Buth wanted. Maybe another, bigger 9/11 would get us another consensus. Provided it didn't get traced to us.

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