March 15, 2005

Dueling Photo Galleries

Glenn Reynolds likes to post photos of protestors in Lebanon, both for and against Syria’s military and intelligence personnel, and asks “who would you rather hang out with”? It’s a compelling question when you take a good hard look at who goes to each kind of rally.

I went surfing around Yahoo’s vast collection of images looking for more. (See here and here, for example.) It’s incredible, really, how uniformly pleasant the anti-Syrian demonstrators look compared with the nastiness of the pro-Syrians. If anyone thinks Glenn has been cherry-picking photos they haven’t sifted through the reams of those that are out there. I can look through the galleries and instantly guess with very nearly 100 percent accuracy whether a given image was from a pro- or anti-Syrian rally.

Check these out. They really do speak for themselves.

Those Who Want Syria Out

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Those Who Want Syria In

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Posted by Michael J. Totten at March 15, 2005 08:12 PM

Comments

Sheesh. It almost looks like Men and Elves vs. Orcs from the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, doesn't it? Too bad that in many ways it is. Let's hope the outcome is the same, albeit with a lot less bloodshed.

Posted by: Tim at March 15, 2005 08:34 PM

Gee, all the pro-Syrian marchers like to show their great big guns. Should we show them ours?

Posted by: richard mcenroe at March 15, 2005 08:43 PM

The "Syria Stays" crowd do wear a lot of masks. Are they at all confident Syria will win? Or are they thinking of the day when Lebanon is free?

Posted by: Alan Kellogg at March 15, 2005 09:03 PM

What you see is the difference b between
pure hearts and evil ones. The smile on an evil face can never be as refreshing ad one one a good face. Evil betrays itself for all to see.

Posted by: Jim Martin at March 15, 2005 09:15 PM

Lotsa pics:
1,
2,
lots

Posted by: DANEgerus at March 15, 2005 09:15 PM

So when does PLAYBOY'S the "Protest Babes of Lebanon" hit the news stands?

Posted by: David/California at March 15, 2005 09:19 PM

liberty versus tyranny is always about the battle between personal freedom and collective coercion.

coercive people are almost always mean, angry, repressive, and they think it's all for the greater good.

but most individuals everywhere just want to be free - TO PURSUE HAPPINESS.

Posted by: reliapundit at March 15, 2005 09:23 PM

REMEMBER: "Standing Liberty" is almost always depeicted as a TOPLESS BABE!

Posted by: reliapundit at March 15, 2005 09:24 PM

Look at the faces in each group...A picture tells a thousand stories.
One group looks happy and free,
*******while the other,*********
with their faces covered, looks dark and violent, (why?).

Which kind of world would you vote for ????

Posted by: Chanel at March 15, 2005 09:31 PM

"So when does PLAYBOY'S the "Protest Babes of Lebanon" hit the news stands?"

It won't do you any good when it does. I've already bought all the future copies of this PLAYBOY special.

Posted by: David Thomson at March 15, 2005 09:34 PM

The main difference I see between the two sets of pics is one shows assertive, liberated (wealthy) secular women without weapons, the other angry (poor) religious men with guns. Both sides claim to be patriots. Both sides fear for national security. Let's transplant that dynamic to this country, with less emphasis on the economic factor, and what do we end up with? Something surprisingly close to the divide in the US. Guess which party is which.

Posted by: Dave B. at March 15, 2005 09:39 PM

Sad truth, but my money's on the angry guys with the guns.

Just like here, as an astute commentator notes above.

Posted by: Kimmitt at March 15, 2005 09:45 PM

Dave B.,

Hey, I would love to have been able to support the Democratic Party this time around. I always have in the past. But John Kerry can't say "democracy" and "Middle East" in the same sentence. So I didn't. I hope that makes at least a wee bith of sense to you.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at March 15, 2005 09:47 PM

Dave B., your comment is very telling. your assumption that the Pro-freedom protesters are wealthy and secular,(read capitalist and pro-western) and the Pro-Syrians are poor and religious is biased, class-envy crap. Christians live in Lebanon too, you know, and don't wear their religion on their sleeves (or heads). Poor and middle class people yearn for freedom same as anyone else. The fanatical foaming brainwashed mobs that support the Syrian oppresion are not in any way representative of any group here..... Are they?

Posted by: Kat at March 15, 2005 09:52 PM

Kat: The fanatical foaming brainwashed mobs that support the Syrian oppresion are not in any way representative of any group here..... Are they?

I don't think so. But since Dave B felt like opening that can of worms, I'll go out on a limb and say the Syrian thugs look a heckuva lot like the anarchist punks who riot in the streets of San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland, all the way down to the flag-burning and masks.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at March 15, 2005 09:55 PM

ive seen many of these photo comparisons in blogdom, but somehow the contrast is lost on tv.
Hmmm.

also, can someone please tell me the difference between the mentality expressed in the "keep syria in" pix and random crowd photos from the upcoming Not in Our Name rally taking place in SF and all across the usa?

anyone?

anyone at all.

dont be shy.

Posted by: spwb2k at March 15, 2005 09:58 PM

So far no Lefties on this thread have overtly come in favor of the pro-Syrian, pro-occupation marchers. But it's still early, and I'm patient.

Posted by: Carlos at March 15, 2005 10:02 PM

Somehow, Dave B., I missed the, uh, piety in the pictures of the "religious" supporters of Syria.

Posted by: Suburbanguy at March 15, 2005 10:04 PM

Don't hold your breath, Carlos. Breathe.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at March 15, 2005 10:08 PM

Don't forget, Carlos, Jacques Chirac is on our side this time. (!)

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at March 15, 2005 10:09 PM

ridingsun blog has a wire photo of a dazzling beauty in a red t-shirt and yankee style sunglasses and a smile that would light up
the peace process, cheering from the shoulders of her guy friend. all the while a muslim bro is in the bottom of the photo giving her the eye as if no one is looking.

of course the camera was looking and now the world sees: women are going to be a catalyst for the coming revolution in the middle east. the silence of american femnobots who are proccupied with anti-bush femnobotism is deafening.

Posted by: spwb2k at March 15, 2005 10:13 PM

"Dave B"'s comments above really shows the complete ignorance of American Liberals. Still mired in class envy and cultural elitism.

No wonder that the Arab Spring takes place under a Republican in the White House.

Posted by: Johan in Europe at March 15, 2005 10:13 PM

Why every freedom loving Lebanese thanks God that John Kerry did not become President :

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=2&article_id=11679

Enuff said...

Posted by: J.K at March 15, 2005 10:16 PM

It almost looks like Men and Elves vs. Orcs from the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, doesn't it?

Maybe Assad will wake up one morning, catch a strong scent of cedar in the air, and look out the window and find that his palace is surrounded by Ents.

Posted by: Alan K. Henderson at March 15, 2005 10:30 PM

Anyone else notice that the Syrians (despite their self-purported status in the world) just can't seem to allow themselves to be contacted by e-mail?

Sort of reminds me of some of our Senators (yes I'm thinking of J F Kerry, but he isn't the only "I DO NOT WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!" secrecy hog on the hill).

'Uigi

Posted by: 'Uigi at March 15, 2005 11:10 PM

Maybe Assad will wake up one morning, catch a strong scent of cedar in the air, and look out the window and find that his palace is surrounded by Ents.

...dunno about that. Rangers in Ghillie suits might be doable, tho.

Posted by: rosignol at March 15, 2005 11:19 PM

Two comments:

In the second picture note the use of English on the sign. Some playing to the American public through the western (read American) news media?

In the last picture note tha a flag other than an American one is refreshing.

Posted by: Bill Ewing at March 15, 2005 11:22 PM

If you were going to draw any comparison to the Hezbollah protests in Lebanon, it would be the lynchings of blacks in the US during Jim Crow.

The Hezbollah folks have the same appalling look that the lynch mobs did. People back then viewed (up until the very late sixties when the Feds finally stopped it) lynching as a sport. They weren't poor or dispossesed either, you had wealthy, middle class, and working families treating it as ENTERTAINMENT and disgustingly taking souveniers.

Some people are just evil, some organizations are just evil, the people and groups in the Hezbollah pictures are both. They're just like the lynchers of which a truly disgusting and shocking exhibit toured American musuems in the late nineties.

Posted by: Jim Rockford at March 15, 2005 11:33 PM

Is it just me, or do those pro Syrian protesters look strangely like the anti-war/anarchy crowd in the US? With their covered faces, anti-Bush signs, and abu ghriab pics. Kind of funny to see.

Posted by: Joe Turk at March 15, 2005 11:47 PM

Jim Joe Kat and Michael.....when it comes to the US comparison, I think you mean this-

Cox and Forkum

Posted by: Tman at March 16, 2005 12:24 AM

Well let that be a lesson ot me.I get here late and all the unpleasant things that I might have been able to vent at the 'left' for their total moral bankrupcy have been said.I feel--- good .

So,I guess I'll just post a link to this article which is now OT for this thread.

Elections?Elections?We Don't Need(or support)No Stinkin Elections !!>

Posted by: dougf at March 16, 2005 01:28 AM

Great photos, Michael.
I loved Kimmit's: "Sad truth, but my money's on the angry guys with the guns.

Just like here, as an astute commentator notes above.

'Cause the US Army nearby, the pros with the guns, ain't gonna let no Syrian mafia death squad gov't murder thousands (of hot babes) in Lebanon. And if the death squads can't kill thousands, or at least hundreds, they can't stop the protesters.

And so, as Lebanon does get some freedom -- it will definitely because of the guns. Guns in the hands of the US military nearby, and the speeches Bush has made declaring his support for democracy.
Bush will NOT let death squads murder the demonstrators, he will NOT allow Beirut to be a Beijing 1989.

But Hezbollah, including terrorists and non-, will be a big part of any future political future. An unstable mess is almost certainly coming -- top guys seem to be dying in Ukraine, too.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at March 16, 2005 01:55 AM

Kimmitt, you had to find that reference to the Middle East, democracy and John Kerry in the Democratic Party Platform. The trouble is, that part of the platform wasn't written by Kerry. It was written by Joe Lieberman.

Kerry could never bring himself to say that a democratic Iraq was in the mission of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He refused to say he was committed to freedom in Iraq, much less to freedom throughout the Middle East.

For that failure, Kerry lost my vote. I'm a liberal, and there is no liberalism without liberty, no peace without freedom.

Back to those pictures of Lebanon: In one crowd, we see the cheerful, hopeful liberals. In the other, we see the angry, goofy conservatives. (Note that all the babes are liberals.)

What we have to remember is that, if democracy is to work in Lebanon, both crowds will have to learn how to work together.

Posted by: Frank Warner at March 16, 2005 02:00 AM

Speaking of picture comparisons...look at the top two pictures on this site! ;)

But seriously, I think Austin Bay nailed one problem I have with the Democrat Party and Kerry in his post "The Armed Liberal".

http://austinbay.net/blog/index.php?p=143

As for the everyone in Lebanon working together. We can hope our 200 year struggle to determine what Freedom and Democracy really mean will shorten the process, it has in some places, but we shouldn't be surprised if the road is rocky.

QM

Posted by: Quilly Mammoth at March 16, 2005 03:59 AM

Late to the party but...

Dave B., the main difference I see between the two sets of pictures is people (including some really pretty women) happy about and excited by the sudden and breathtaking prospect of hope and change after years of having to keep their heads down, versus people clinging to a power that's slipping out of their grasp, prominently displaying the only means to power left to them. While that may be reflective of a similar dynamic in the US, I don't think it's the dynamic you're thinking of.

Posted by: Jamie at March 16, 2005 04:01 AM

Dueling photos indeed.

Hah!

http://myopiczeal.blogsome.com/2005/03/16/dueling-photo-galleries/

Posted by: Myopic Zeal at March 16, 2005 04:06 AM

Clearly these fotos show that Syria's represive occupation of Lebanon has been good for some and bad for others.

Posted by: walter at March 16, 2005 04:43 AM

"my money is on the angry guys with guns.

Just like here."

Kimmit, I must have missed it when Chimperor McShrub used artillery to flatten San Fransisco in retaliation for dissenting to his iron-gripped rule.

Perhaps that's because it didn’t happen here, but actually happened in Hamma, Syria.

Your comparison is simply hysterical, and I don’t mean that in the sense of “funny”.

Posted by: Al Maviva at March 16, 2005 05:23 AM

If we had any stones whatever we'd organize a little "solidarity tour" to aquaint ourselves better with this budding, nubile freedom movement in Lebanon. To show that we back their play, you know, and how we're down with what they're doing.

But instead we'll just sit here at our desks, like little weenie-men. Because our wives might get angry and we might lose our pitiful, meaningless jobs.

sigh

Posted by: spongeworthy at March 16, 2005 05:40 AM

Am I the only one who remembers the angry, ugly little people trying to wreck the Republican Convention, terrorizing the nice mid-western women conventioneers trying to have dinner in Manhatten?

Lets not get confused by right wing left wing here. This is about revolutionaries vs reactionaries. So who is trying to change things and who is constantly fighting to obstruct change in the American political sphere?
Somebody (maybe Glenn) noted this long ago, but Dems lost their lock on the 'hot babe' factor a while back, and arent even winning anymore. Just check out the presidential contenders daughters.

Posted by: Mark Buehner at March 16, 2005 06:12 AM

I share your sentiments. But I'd rather have Hizbollah holding rallies and burning flags than planning terrorist attacks. Bush does too...he is hoping that Hamas, for instance, can be integrated into the emerging Palestinian state. So is every other realistic person.

Posted by: markus rose at March 16, 2005 06:20 AM

I don't think so. But since Dave B felt like opening that can of worms, I'll go out on a limb and say the Syrian thugs look a heckuva lot like the anarchist punks who riot in the streets of San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland, all the way down to the flag-burning and masks
Ah, good point. Hate in any form tends to twist its host into the same sort of nasty looking creature, yes? And that is what it all boils down to, in the end, does it not? Useful, that, makes them easy to spot.
Go, Ents!

Posted by: Kat at March 16, 2005 06:30 AM

Yep, more media bias. It's just that this time the media happens to have chosen to slant the news towards the "good guys."

Posted by: jms at March 16, 2005 06:35 AM

Re "hot babe factor", anyone who thinks the Bush twins are hotter than Kerry's daughters is letting political bias interfere with their judgement, or just has no taste at all.

Posted by: Vanya at March 16, 2005 06:49 AM

Michael--

Damn.

Posted by: Pete (Alois) at March 16, 2005 06:50 AM

Hizbollah holding rallies and burning flags than planning terrorist attacks. Bush does too...he is hoping that Hamas, for instance, can be integrated into the emerging Palestinian state. So is every other realistic person.

Hell, no. Realistic people know that terrorists kill, maim, hack up people in the market place and slaughter hundreds of soldiers as they sleep because they want political power. If they get more power, they won't be killing hundreds, they'll be killing thousands, or more (see the Islamists in the Sudan)

They’re not trying to win hearts and minds, they’re trying to bully people into giving them what they want.

Reasonable people do not want to give it to them.

Posted by: mary at March 16, 2005 07:25 AM

Hey ya'll,

Did you know John Kerry served in Vietnam?

Foxy

Posted by: foxy at March 16, 2005 07:35 AM

Worrywart, yes - but I am worried about Bush getting pressured into trying to coopt terrorist movements (Hezbollah, Hamas) and then finding out the hard way (a la arafat and adams) how strategically wrong that was.

Posted by: Miriam at March 16, 2005 07:56 AM

The anti-syrian women are not too shabby indeed.

Posted by: Larry at March 16, 2005 07:56 AM

I was kind of impressed that Kimmitt could find a statement written for Kerry that ended in a period.

Posted by: funhawg at March 16, 2005 08:09 AM

Mary --
If you don't want Hizbollah and Hamas to become legitimate political organizations, just what do you want them to become? Hizbollah just got a half million Lebanese to come out to Martyr's Square last week for a rally. Are you proposing to send them all to reeducation camps?

from Joe Klein's "Look Who Has a Shot at the Nobel Peace Prize" in this week's Time:

"Under the enlightened leadership of Grand Ayatullah Ali Husaini Sistani, the Shi'ite majority has played the democracy game with gusto...Most important, it has resisted the temptation to retaliate against the outrageous violence of Sunni extremists, especially against Shi'ite mosques. Several Administration officials told me they hope that Hamas and Hizballah will respond...to the peaceful desires of their people, that they will emphasize stability, economic development and social services and avoid military posturing and attacks on Israel. Yes, the U.S. still considers Hizballah a terrorist organization, but it won't insist on the disarming of the group's militia, as required by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559, before Lebanon's May elections.

"One wonders what that noted hardfella Dick Cheney thinks of all this.

"One can only imagine the Republican wrath and utter ridicule—the Rush Limbaugh fulminations—if, say, John Kerry had proposed a similar policy: Let's pin our Middle East hopes on the statesmanship of Hizballah and Hamas. But that is where the democratic idealism of the Bush Doctrine has led us. If the President turns out to be right—and let's hope he is—a century's worth of woolly-headed liberal dreamers will be vindicated. And he will surely deserve that woolliest of all peace prizes, the Nobel."

Posted by: markus rose at March 16, 2005 08:40 AM

Mary --
If you don't want Hizbollah and Hamas to become legitimate political organizations, just what do you want them to become? Hizbollah just got a half million Lebanese to come out to Martyr's Square last week for a rally. Are you proposing to send them all to reeducation camps?

from Joe Klein's "Look Who Has a Shot at the Nobel Peace Prize" in this week's Time:

"Under the enlightened leadership of Grand Ayatullah Ali Husaini Sistani, the Shi'ite majority has played the democracy game with gusto...Most important, it has resisted the temptation to retaliate against the outrageous violence of Sunni extremists, especially against Shi'ite mosques. Several Administration officials told me they hope that Hamas and Hizballah will respond...to the peaceful desires of their people, that they will emphasize stability, economic development and social services and avoid military posturing and attacks on Israel. Yes, the U.S. still considers Hizballah a terrorist organization, but it won't insist on the disarming of the group's militia, as required by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559, before Lebanon's May elections.

"One wonders what that noted hardfella Dick Cheney thinks of all this.

"One can only imagine the Republican wrath and utter ridicule—the Rush Limbaugh fulminations—if, say, John Kerry had proposed a similar policy: Let's pin our Middle East hopes on the statesmanship of Hizballah and Hamas. But that is where the democratic idealism of the Bush Doctrine has led us. If the President turns out to be right—and let's hope he is—a century's worth of woolly-headed liberal dreamers will be vindicated. And he will surely deserve that woolliest of all peace prizes, the Nobel."

Posted by: markus rose at March 16, 2005 08:40 AM

Markus,

Do you dismiss reports that many of those Hezbollah turned out were not, in fact Lebanese? Do the parallels with the Hezbolah rally and the Oxford, Miss anti-desegregation rallies of the early 60's cut no ice with you? Would you support integrating the KKK into the political process?

Posted by: Ged of Earthsea at March 16, 2005 08:47 AM

The woman second from the bottom, wearing the scarf and holding the pole, with the maniacal look in her eye. . . could that be. . . Rachel Corrie!? She's Alive!!! Alert the University authorities.

Posted by: Happy at March 16, 2005 08:57 AM

"anyone who thinks the Bush twins are hotter than Kerry's daughters is letting political bias interfere with their judgement, or just has no taste at all."

Ugh. The Kerry nags? You've got to be kidding. Jenna just needs to drop 30 pounds. There's no cure for a face that belongs in the paddock at the Belmont Stakes.

Posted by: Dave S. at March 16, 2005 09:01 AM

I guess my comment caused a reaction. Comments like mine don't do much to broach the left-right divide, and for that I apologize. But I think the comparison largely stands.

"your assumption that the Pro-freedom protesters are wealthy and secular,(read capitalist and pro-western) and the Pro-Syrians are poor and religious is biased, class-envy crap."

No, actually, the anti-Syrian protestors, especially those in the earliest rallies (dubbed the "BMW" revolution) are generally middle-class and decidedly more secular than Hezbollah (hence the bared heads and midriffs). It's a factual observation.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A59555-2005Feb28.html

The left has traditionally supported women's rights in this country, as in Lebanon. However, liberalism (broad sense) is so ensconced in this country that the US right has more in common with the Lebanese left than with any conservative party there. I find this ironic, but hopeful.

And my point about the guns is this: as non-Lebanese, we find the prospect of militant nationalists alarming (Hezbollah, in my view, is as pro-Lebanon as the other groups. Syria is a means to its ends). Many non-Americans are similarly alarmed when they see armed nationalism here on the rise.
Will the left ever be able to demonstrate peacefully in this country without the specter of the tiny minority of violent anarchists being dredged up?
Finally, I hope none of this is construed as support for Hezbollah or opposition to democracy in Lebanon, because that is far from the truth.

Posted by: Dave B. at March 16, 2005 09:12 AM

It's being construed as some silly shit. There's no "armed nationalism" going on around here and there's no spectre of gun-toting yahoos busting up your moonbat confabs.

Posted by: spongeworthy at March 16, 2005 09:47 AM

I took a vow not to think of anyone's political opinions as stupid. Thanks, Dave B, for making me break my vow.

Posted by: george at March 16, 2005 09:48 AM

Ged --

"Do you dismiss reports that many of those Hezbollah turned out were not, in fact Lebanese?"

No, I put them in the mental file with the reports on Al-Jeezera that spotted a bunch of non-Arab servants at the most recent huge anti-Syria rally. And then I provisionally call it a wash.

"Do the parallels with the Hezbolah rally and the Oxford, Miss anti-desegregation rallies of the early 60's cut no ice with you?"

No, they cut some ice. There seem to be some similarities between the two.

"Would you support integrating the KKK into the political process?"

Given that my preferred course of action -- a two state settlement between Dixie and the rest of the United States -- has always been a political nonstarter, my answer of course is yes. The KKK has just as much right to run candidates for public office and to hold rallies as you or me.

Posted by: markus rose at March 16, 2005 10:10 AM

MJT,

I think that is a profound observation. I am not sure what broader implications it warrants, but I see the importance. Thanks for the blog. You are fast becoming one of my favorite sites. I am not so sure that I can keep you in the list of liberal sites that I read.

By the say orcs vs elves -- I like it.

Kermit,

While I typically bet on the guys with guns, I rarely bet against the social power of women having fun. If you were a young man in Lebanon, who would you rather hang around with?

Posted by: JBP at March 16, 2005 10:10 AM

MJT,

I think that is a profound observation. I am not sure what broader implications it warrants, but I see the importance. Thanks for the blog. You are fast becoming one of my favorite sites. I am not so sure that I can keep you in the list of liberal sites that I read.

By the way orcs vs elves -- I like it.

Kermit,

While I typically bet on the guys with guns, I rarely bet against the social power of women having fun. If you were a young man in Lebanon, who would you rather hang around with?

Posted by: JBP at March 16, 2005 10:10 AM

If you don't want Hizbollah and Hamas to become legitimate political organizations, just what do you want them to become?

Dead, of course. Supposedly, we’re at war against terrorism. In a war, killing enemy combatants is sort of a requirement.

Of course, if these fascist groups were made obsolete and powerless, that would be the best alternative.

Hezbollah was marching in favor of Syrian power. This proved that Islamist fascists are allied with Ba’thists, another group that is supposed to be our enemy. This is a sign that we should encourage them to run for election?

Timothy McVeigh’s attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma was a great show of white supremacist strength. If he had followed his attack with a huge march in downtown Washington, should we have given him a chance to run for election?

If we had, would you have supported it? If not, why should we inflict these fascist organizations on the Lebanese people? They’re opposed to the Islamist/Ba’thist alliance.

We also know that when fascist groups want power, they don't play by the rules.

Giving terrorists political power gives them the chance to oppress more people. If Bush is supporting and encouraging the idea of giving fascists political power, than he is not fighting a war against terrorism. I hope that's not what he's doing.

Posted by: mary at March 16, 2005 10:17 AM

Markus - what does the KKK have to do with 'Dixie'? I think the largest concentration of Nazi groups per population is right here in Jersey.

Posted by: mary at March 16, 2005 10:20 AM

Mary -- I thought you were in favor of reeducation camps. I guess you've jettisoned that in favor Death Camps.

Hizbollah is the primary representative of Lebanese Shia, one of the four main ethnic groups. Therefore the camp'll need to hold at least several hundred thousand.

Can't wait to see your blueprints.

Posted by: markus rose at March 16, 2005 10:29 AM

Mary -- the KKK started in the South, now they're all over the place, I guess. Whatever.

I support putting terrorists in jail. I support allowing the KKK and the Nazis to exercise their first amendment rights, just like the ACLU and, I assume, Alan Dershowitz does.

Posted by: markus rose at March 16, 2005 10:33 AM

I love the way a liberal on this thread identifies with the protesters in Lebanon. The sheer self-delusion of it is beyond belief.

The protesters who would have been mowed down like those in the town of Hama, which was surrounded by tanks and leveled, had the 'liberals' gotten their way and kept the US military out of the region.

The last two uprisings against Ba'athist regimes were ended by bloodbaths. Thanks the George W Bush, this is no longer a viable option.

Posted by: brb at March 16, 2005 10:50 AM

The unfortunate aspect is the scary looking pro-Syrian protesters are the ones who are armed to the teeth.

Posted by: Doug at March 16, 2005 10:51 AM

Markus - do you want terrorism and fascism to thrive in Lebanon? Giving Hezbollah power would do that.

If you don't want terrorism and fascism to thrive in Lebanon, how do you think we can prevent it?

The KKK has a lot of members in a couple of blue states. They also despise Israel, hate Bush and support Hezbollah, al Qaeda and Hamas.

Posted by: mary at March 16, 2005 10:52 AM

Mary -- this is a ridiculous conversation we are having. Hizbollah, which is how as they like to spell it themselves, is an ex-terrorist organization made up of ex-terrorists, their supporters, and other Shia Lebanese. They are now a major Lebanese political party. The decision to grant them this legitimacy was made by the Sunnis, the Christians and the Druze, as part of the settlement that ended 20 years of civil war in the country. That's their call, not yours. And like Klein points out above, Bush agrees with me, not you, on this matter.

The way to fight what you call "terrorism and fascism" in Lebanon is by doing exactly what Bush and Chirac, our ally in this effort, are doing: insisting on a quick, full Syrian pullout. We also need to move "faster, please" on an independent Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza, so the Palestinian refugees in southern Lebanon can go home.

Posted by: markus rose at March 16, 2005 11:15 AM

Dave B.: However, liberalism (broad sense) is so ensconced in this country that the US right has more in common with the Lebanese left than with any conservative party there.

Indeed, that is true, and a much fairer observation than your first one. "Left" and "right" mean completely different things in different countries and cultures.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at March 16, 2005 11:16 AM

Correct, the divide is between reactive and proactive, and say what you will the left in this country is reactive on the vast majority of issues, particularly foriegn policy.

As far as Hezbollah goes, the good news is we dont need to make any decisions. Either they will be folded into the political process or they will be marginalized and hunted down. We should give them the chance. You dont kill movements, you kill people and there is no way we can kill enough Hezbollah to destroy them. They have to choose to undue themselves as a terrorist entity, via whatever pressure the world can bring to bear. The individuals can thus be dealt with magnanimously.
That is generally how things are done. Look at the KKK (realistically dead as any political force), a former member is now a sitting senator. This in itself may not be a good thing, but we certainly didnt have to hunt down and neutralize every member to marginalize them.

Posted by: Mark Buehner at March 16, 2005 11:35 AM

Kimmitt, you had to find that reference to the Middle East, democracy and John Kerry in the Democratic Party Platform.

Sir, if you'd bothered to follow the link, you'd find that it was pulled directly from Senator Kerry's website. I expect an apology.

Posted by: Kimmitt at March 16, 2005 12:37 PM

I was kind of impressed that Kimmitt could find a statement written for Kerry that ended in a period.

Heh, you gotta figure his staff proofread the sucker. Otherwise, there's no way.

Posted by: Kimmitt at March 16, 2005 12:38 PM

The discussion on whether Hizbollah should be treated as a legitimate entity or not reminds my of a Lyndon Johnson quote: "It's better to have your adversaries inside the tent pissing out than outside pissing in."

Nobody could have predicted that the Syrians would quickly bug out of Lebanon. Could be good, could be bad. Nobody knows how it will turn out. Any predictions are merely speculation - there are too many unknowns. Is the Lebanese military strong enough to keep control when the Syrians leave? Probably not. I think the only way that it could work is if the Lebanese military/government makes a deal with Hezbollah - otherwise Hezbollah could wreck everything as they do have a lot of power. And the only way for Hezbollah to go along with cooperation is to be seen as a legitimate entity which the EU and the US (grudgingly) are doing. After all, Hezbollah does have a few seats in parliament. That is reality. The Syrians had some control over Hezbollah, how much they can control them after the Syrians leave is unknown. The Syrians picked Hezbollah as their favorite troublemaking group and helped to keep other groups from forming. Will the withdrawal of the Syrians lead to a rise of new terrorist groups in Lebanon? Will the Syrians support Hezbollah as much once they leave? Don't know. Hezbollah has used Palestinian militants as proxies to attack Israel, will the Hezbollah support for these groups increase or decrease? Will there be more of an effort for Hezbollah to support peace between the Palestinians and Israel? Don't know. How much will Iran support Hezbollah in the future? So many unknowns. Hopefully the Lebanese won't repeat their 1975 civil war and will be able to live in peace. And hopefully Hezbollah can transform themselves into something more productive and peaceful. I wish the Lebanese luck. Interesting times.

Posted by: Brian at March 16, 2005 01:17 PM

Kimmett:

I followed the link and noticed you still didn't meet the challenge. The statement was that Kerry wouldn't use the words "Democracy" and "middle East in the same sentence.

The quote you provided still didn't include "Middle East", but we'll say "Iraq" is close enough. With that being the case, you still put two sentences together with an elipses(...). That can't be considered the same sentence.

I say you should apologize to the world for attempting to perpetrate an obvious fraud onto the blogosphere. :)

Posted by: deltanine at March 16, 2005 01:18 PM

Markus – it is a ridiculous conversation that we’re having. Why are you trying to sell me the idea that Hezbollah isn’t a terrorist organization? Do you think I can’t read the news?

US House urges EU to name Hezbollah as terrorist organization:

It "condemns the continuous terrorist attacks perpetrated by Hezbollah," as well as continued Hezbollah support "of Palestinian terrorist organizations on the European Union terrorist list, such as the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine."
Democrat Tom Lantos said that "given Hezbollah's bloody record ... it is very odd, indeed, that the European Union continues to omit Hezbollah from its list of terrorist organizations.

Via Newsday: The resolution's main sponsor, Republican Rep. Jim Saxton, R-N.J., asked "how can anyone, European or American, deny the simple fact that the ideological fabric of Hezbollah is based on the ideals of radical Islam, and the central purpose of the organization is to kill innocent human beings?"

From CBS News, an article about Hezbollah as the "A team" of Terrorists, doing their patented Sieg Heil salute.

Here’s another Hezbolla Sieg Heil salute, with Mullahs. Gee, I wonder what kind of government they’d create.

Before the Cedar Revolution, we believed that ‘The Arab Street’ supported their Ba’thist leaders. The press and the Left supported that belief. Once those leaders lost power, we discovered that a large part of the population loathed their leaders.

I hope that the situation will be the same for Hezbollah. Like all terrorist groups, they rule through fear (and through the support of the Left, the press and random Nazi groups) When they’re powerless, we’ll see how many Lebanese supporters they have.

When we deal with Hezbollah we should always be aware that we’re dealing with a terrorist/fascist organization that deserves absolutely no power or legitimacy.

We saw what happened when the British gave the Saudi dynasty control over Mecca and Medina. The Muslim world still hates us for that. We don’t want to make the same idiotic mistake twice.

Posted by: mary at March 16, 2005 01:45 PM

It may be a pipe dream, but what a time this would be to run the table diplomatically by forging a deal between Israel, Syria, Hezbollah, Lebanon, and ourselves. It seems impossible but all the elements are there. Israel might be pushed to return the Golan Heights in exchange for American guarantees of their security (via our Iraqi bases). This would cut the legs out of Hezbollahs reason de entre. Syria would exchange similar treaties as Egypt's for the heights and the opportunity to return to the Wests good books.

There really isnt much required for the plan that would be difficult aside from convincing Israel, and that obviously wouldnt be easy (although realistically Israel has no use for the Heights strategically other than as a bargaining chip). Still, such a move would strike another blow to the rotten status quo of the region, and really give the terrorists another political problem. Icing on the cake is a kick to the Euro argument that nothing in the ME can ever be talked about until the Israeli situation is resolved. This wouldnt solve it but it would be an important step.

Posted by: Mark Buehner at March 16, 2005 01:51 PM

I don't see any group that I would like to "hang out" with. I happen to agree, like most sane people, that Syria should get out. But I'm not so feminized that I would want to "hang out" with a bunch of women.

Posted by: Robin at March 16, 2005 02:36 PM

Looking at this set of photos, I have come to the conclusion that a big part of the clash between the east and the west right now turns on the differences in male-female relations - power and control over women - in the west vs the east. Personally, as a woman, I think that the west has alot to defend on that score. It's a much better system. As people have pointed out. The "opposition" look like happier, less rigid people. It might be fair to say that we are witnessing the beginning of a sexual revolution in the ME. This will probably ultimately topple Islam. Alot of it is a women's rights issue (well, as well as a killing all infidels issue.)

Posted by: Caroline at March 16, 2005 03:05 PM

Funny that the conservatives on this site seem to relate themselves to the anti-Syrian protestors and liken the pro-Syrian group to liberals (“punk anarchists”).

Let’s play a fun game called U.S. history.

1. Can you name the political faction that peacefully protested for women’s suffrage at the beginning of the century and peacefully protested for equal rights for women in the latter part?
2. Can you name the political faction that peacefully protested for equality and desegregation for African Americans in the United States?
3. Can you name the political faction that has peacefully protested for equal rights and against discrimination of homosexuals in the United States?

Okay. Those were easy. In all three cases, liberals have faced threats, risked bodily harm and, in some cases, died fighting for freedom and liberty.

So, what rights have conservatives marched for in this century?
1. The right to own and carry automatic weapons. The NRA marches them out anytime the law enforcement community wants to restrict handguns or weapons.
2. The right to impose religion in education (creationism & the pledge of allegiance), in courthouses (ten commandments) or in private life.

So, come on now. Really! People out marching for rights, liberty and freedom with hot chicks on their shoulders. The hot chicks should have been an indicator right there. Here’s a quick table for your future use:

1. Protest with hot chicks on shoulders = Liberals
2. NASCAR race with hot chicks on shoulders = Conservatives

Feel free to print it out and use it a later date.

Posted by: Jon at March 16, 2005 03:22 PM

Jon, can you name the political party that filibustered against the Civil Rights Act? Can you name the party that broke that filibuster?

Go ahead, google is your friend.

Posted by: Bostonian at March 16, 2005 03:31 PM

And J0n, the reason that the conservatives identify with the pro-Lebanese faction is because we know that the presence of our troops in Iraq is encouraging them to stand up to the bullies of Syria.

If the Leftists had their way, none of this would be happening.

Posted by: Bostonian at March 16, 2005 03:34 PM

Jon,

Nice pedantic tone, about the best I've heard. Your theory as to why your unparalleled profundity is not shared by more American voters?

"The right to impose religion in education (creationism & the pledge of allegiance), in courthouses (ten commandments) or in private life."

What would it look like were people merely opposing an imposition of irreligion? How would it differ from the actual reality we share?

Posted by: Ged of Earthsea at March 16, 2005 03:44 PM

Hey, here’s another good one.
1. Who was the president of the United States when the U.S. decided to pull out of Lebanon allowing Syrian-backed Druze and Muslim militia forces to take control in the first place?

Hey, Bos – Where were these conservatives that proudly see themselves as fighters for world freedom during Bosnia? (crickets chirping) And do these freedom-loving conservatives you mention have any concerns about oppressed people in Africa, Asia or South America? Should we expect to see “Free Tibet” bumper stickers next to the Cheney/Bush ones?

A Man Named Geb, don’t forget the importance of separation of irreligion and null states.

Posted by: JON at March 16, 2005 04:28 PM

Jon: Funny that the conservatives on this site seem to relate themselves to the anti-Syrian protestors and liken the pro-Syrian group to liberals (“punk anarchists”)

That sentence is an insult to liberals everywhere. Don't you know the difference between, say, Hillary Clinton and an anarchist punk? What's the deal?

Anyway, I know the difference very well, and that's why I very specifically did not compare the Syrian thugs with American liberals.

Besides, the only reason I compared the pro-Syrians with any domestic faction at all is because someone first compared them to the Republicans. I don't think either is very accurate, to be honest, but at least there is some visual similarity between some of the pro-Syrians and some of our own anarchists. In any case, I know the anarchists and the Republicans very well, and neither yearn to live in a totalitarian police state.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at March 16, 2005 04:34 PM

Too true, guys, too true. We can totally judge these mass movements - hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people - by a handful of pictures hand-picked by a few bloggers with political agendas.

So let's all do our part in supporting democracy by writing about freedom in Lebanon on our blogs and totally calling out pussy liberals for the freedom haters they are. And as a reward, later we can beat off to pictures of hot Lebanese babes on Instapundit. Freedom!

Posted by: Proud Conservative at March 16, 2005 04:53 PM

Jon, check out these pictures:

http://www.kimdutoit.com/ee/index.php/skinpics/hottiesguns1/

...and keep in mind that not one of these women would put out for a cowardly worm like you.

Posted by: I, the Militia at March 16, 2005 05:37 PM

I can't help but mention I'm a bit irritated by all objectification of the female lebani protesters (yes I'm serious, and not I'm not a pussy). It marginalizes the power of what they are doing. These are the ONLY mass protests in the middle east right now where women are taking a significant, and assertive role in demanding their freedom.

Yeah they are beautiful, enough to captivate me, but not because of what's below their neck lines, because of what's behind their eyes. It is a fire burning hot with courage and empowerment.

Posted by: Mike T. at March 16, 2005 05:56 PM

I say you should apologize to the world for attempting to perpetrate an obvious fraud onto the blogosphere. :)

I humbly throw myself on the mercy of the blogosphere, noting in my defense only that the Middle East is a subset of the world and that Iraq is a subset of the Middle East.

Also, Senator Kerry is a windbag.

Posted by: Kimmitt at March 16, 2005 06:18 PM

Markus,

"Given that my preferred course of action -- a two state settlement between Dixie and the rest of the United States"

Does it not give you some pause that the most prominent voices who have advocated that very course of action in our history were marching in Oxford, that their grandfathers took up arms to defend that course of action at Gettysburg? The federal government you so clearly love, with some good reason, would have been stillborn had they won. Surely you must know this?

We part company here, my friend.

Posted by: Ged of Earthsea at March 16, 2005 06:37 PM

I wish you Totten Kool-Aid drinkers were just smart enough to realize how damn stupid you are.

Posted by: Todd Wrigley at March 16, 2005 06:59 PM

Hey Jon, 'what have you done for me lately?'

This isnt about the past, its about the present. What does the so called progressive party propose to spread liberty to the world? What initiatives? Anything, aside from kneejerk obstructionism against the administration that freed 50 million people? What do you have to suggest to free a single human being?

Posted by: Mark Buehner at March 16, 2005 07:00 PM

Ged -- I haven't completely thought it through, but if a state wants to leave the union, I have a problem prohibiting such a move. Particularly when that very union was born on the basis of a claim to the right to revolution and self-determination "when in the course of human events". And then there is the likelihood that a union that did not include the South would be more to my liking politically (i.e. more liberal)...

But on the otherside, of course, is the question of slavery. And a bunch of other things that Lincoln spoke about.

I'm still tossing this around.

Posted by: markus rose at March 16, 2005 07:12 PM

Mike T. - you might have the makings of a romance novelist. :-)

In defense of the lechers, however, there has to be an element of sexuality connected to this whole democratic revolution into the ME. Compared to life under a black sheet, however, it's cool to see these women asserting themselves. And they should be able to do that without being held responsible (and sometimes killed) for the effect they have on men. There’s a big difference between leachery and honor killing. I can't help but think - what a slap in the face to bin Laden. Eat your heart out buddy.

Todd: “I wish you Totten Kool-Aid drinkers were just smart enough to realize how damn stupid you are.”

What part of taking delight in freedom do you have an objection to?

Posted by: Caroline at March 16, 2005 07:24 PM

As usual, the comments on Micheal's blog are lively, excellent, entertaining, civil, and generally a terrific example of Americans noodling and arguing and observing.
Is this a great country or what?
Nor Hamlon
Grand Junction Colorado USA

Posted by: nor hamlon at March 16, 2005 07:58 PM

A picture = how many words ?

Right vs. Left.
Hope vs. Anger.
Peace vs. Violence.
Freedom vs. Slavery.

The Syrian government is Leftist, as are the terrorists they sponsor in Lebanon. As are the "anti-war" protestors in the US. And they are all angry ! Why ?

Simple. Freedom-loving people as a group are always optimistic, creative, peace-loving. These things happen spontaneously as civil society evolves organically in freedom. Free people value the life of the mind, inventiveness, entrepreneurial energy, prosperity and choice it brings. Free people naturally become interdependent and peaceful.

The Left CANNOT ultimately be optimistic because they hate everything that makes humans so wonderful ( inequality of talents and outcomes, etc), and makes life worth living. They are social engineers, so violence is in their political DNA. The Left hates the human race, because most people on the Left hate themselves ( for any number of reasons ). That is why you will never see happy, smiling people on the Left. Most of the "smart" Leftists know the Left is dying. But they are too self-important to admit it. Why ? An alleged "struggle" for the "oppressed", which in reality is militant narcissism.

Love vs Hate.

Posted by: freeguy at March 16, 2005 10:30 PM

I'm so late to this party I'm afraid the party's over. But reliapundit, you and I were thinking along parallel lines, apparently. You mention "standing liberty"--well, here's my take on it. Pretty much the same idea, no?

Posted by: neo-neocon at March 16, 2005 11:15 PM

Freeguy: The Syrian government is Leftist, as are the terrorists they sponsor in Lebanon.

Sorry. I'm just not seeing it. The Syrian Baath has an element of leftism about it: socialism. Other than that, it's fascist. But fascism always had a socialist element to it anyway. So I guess, when you get right down to it, Baathist are a fusion of radical left and radical right.

In any case, there is nothing even remotely leftist about Hezbollah. They are the radical religious-right of Lebanese Shi'ism, and I don't see any way you can spin it otherwise.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at March 17, 2005 01:27 AM

Perhaps the pro-Syrians represent the charicature of the American right that deluded leftists carry in their addled heads, but dedication to individual liberty and limits on state power are ideas of the right, not the left. Name a leftist policy and you will see it empowered by the forced taking of something, liberty, money, property, from one to meet the needs of another. Whatever you call it, it is not based on the concept of freedom or liberty in any sense that Americans understand the words. On this scale, the "I want to make others live the way I think they should live" scale, the Left clearly falls with the pro-Syrians.

How a side which advocates for "stability" in the ME, and which considers Bush as dangerous radical, can at the same time identify with those who have drawn the courage to demonstrate in these numbers from actions that the left opposed, is beyond my comprehension.

Posted by: brb at March 17, 2005 06:05 AM

Nearly everyone on this post seems to forget that bringing liberty to the Middle East was never a stated objective in the run-up to the Iraq War. Instead, the Bushies have trotted out their new found concern for the plight of the Iraqi people as a convenient means of covering up their deception and incompetence in the prosecution of the war.

Whether the region stabilizes or descends further into chaos remains to be seen (the improvement in the Palestinian situation is occurring not because of the US, but in spite of it). But lets not kid ourselves into believing that W is a great and visionary leader who is bringing freedom to the opressed.

Posted by: Loren at March 17, 2005 11:04 AM

And as long as I'm poking a stick through the bars...

Freeguy wrote:
"The Left CANNOT ultimately be optimistic because they hate everything that makes humans so wonderful ( inequality of talents and outcomes, etc), and makes life worth living. They are social engineers, so violence is in their political DNA. The Left hates the human race, because most people on the Left hate themselves ( for any number of reasons ). That is why you will never see happy, smiling people on the Left. Most of the "smart" Leftists know the Left is dying. But they are too self-important to admit it. Why ? An alleged "struggle" for the "oppressed", which in reality is militant narcissism."

Boy, his soul is full of love, isn't it?

Okay, here's my take on the right. Conservatives stand for (ironically) the Darwinist view of the world in which the most able reap the benefits and the weak die out. Righties believe that not all men are created equal, and those that are superior should be able to use their natural primacy to accumulate as much material wealth as possible. They should be permitted to exploit the available resources of the Earth as much as they see fit, without regard to the needs of others or future generations, because they are the chosen.

Conservatives believe that in our land of opportunity, all people have the chance to achieve, if they just want it bad enough. Those that fail do so because they are lazy, not because they are victims of racism, poverty, or even bad luck.

Righties support an "Ownership Society" in which every dollar they earn belongs to them, ignoring the fact that the concept of "society" collapses when members care nothing about the plight of the least among them.

Conservatives believe not in seeking out the causes of societal problems, but rather in dealing with the aftermath. Instead of trying to address the reasons why people turn to crime or drugs -- a process which is difficult and expensive -- righties prefer to simply punish those who transgress by building ever larger police forces and prisons.

You use the term "social engineering" as though it's an epithet. I think that engineering a thing to try and make it work better is positive, and I wear it as a badge of honor.

By the way, I am a smiling and happy, self-loving leftist, without the least bit of violence in my DNA.

Posted by: Loren at March 17, 2005 11:41 AM

Loren, I'm a conservative, and I can assure you that you merely make a caricature of conservatism: Fat men chewing on cigars, sitting around their pools, cutting the wages of their toiling employees and cackling in delight. Also, they're intolerant born-agains, not atheists like me. Yeah, right. Uh huh.

You're very bright, a likable leftist, too. Please don't demean yourself with such prejudices. In fact, I have such faith in you, that I think you will no longer do so.

As for Bush's caring about the Iraqi people and his aim of bringing peace to the Middle East, he stated these things long before the liberation. Here is an example. You haven't been listening. You are prejudiced. I'm not insulting you. If I din't think you had the right stuff, I wouldn't even reply.

Say, you do read lots of conservative commentary (NR, NRO, what have you)? Don't you?

Posted by: Jim Ryan at March 17, 2005 11:57 AM

I didn't begin to caricature conservatives in the manner you imply. Did any of the things I actually said align with your world view? If yes, then your criticism of me masked by kind words ring hollow.

And yes, I read and listen to plenty of conservative commentary. As you may guess, I don't agree with most of it, but I do attempt to understand what others believe.

Rather than patting me on the head like a misbehaving child, please respond to the things I posted.

Posted by: Loren at March 17, 2005 12:16 PM

Alright, Loren, I'll bite. I ignored freeguy because I suspect he may be a fake conservative, but you actually sound sincere. i'm a little too naive for my own good, so I'm risking looking silly here if you are fake.

"Okay, here's my take on the right. Conservatives stand for (ironically) the Darwinist view of the world in which the most able reap the benefits and the weak die out."

Yep, that's why the right is fighting to cut off life support to Terry Schiavo. Let the weak die out. Doh!

"Righties believe that not all men are created equal,"

Yeah, they hate that old Declaration of Independence. that's why you'll find the "originalists", who wish to take our founding documents at their word, firmly ensconsced on the left.

"and those that are superior should be able to use their natural primacy to accumulate as much material wealth as possible."

So you stand for the dissipation of material wealth? There's a vote winner. Makes it tougher to, you know, care for the poor though.

"They should be permitted to exploit the available resources of the Earth as much as they see fit, without regard to the needs of others or future generations, because they are the chosen."

I will admit that I know several people who are fond of the label "tree-hugger" and use it too freely. Some out of sheer frustration - they see the utter environmental degradation of the former Soviet bloc and the comparative progress made via free enterprise systems leavened by vigorously enforced environmental regulation; some out of the same ill-informed malice you youself exhibit in your screed.

"Conservatives believe that in our land of opportunity, all people have the chance to achieve, if they just want it bad enough. Those that fail do so because they are lazy, not because they are victims of racism, poverty, or even bad luck."

Would you attribute your own success in life to your willingness to see yourself as a victim, or something else? The conservatives I know, many who, like myself, have actually dedicated large chunks of our lives to lifting up these very victims you declare your alliegance to, are concerned with results. The kind of results that the victimology approach alone has yet to produce.

"Righties support an "Ownership Society" in which every dollar they earn belongs to them"

Coincidentally, this also implies that the dollars you own belong to you as well. At least grant your right-wing hobgoblins their foolish consistency. Something about government by the consent of the governed. Oops, forgot that conservatives don't care about our founding documents.

"ignoring the fact that the concept of "society" collapses when members care nothing about the plight of the least among them."

Nothing. Right. Nice world you live in there. Glad I don't have to share it with you. Bleak world, that. My largely conservative red-state community raised over half a million dollars, and we're by no means rich, for tsunami relief for those even more least than the least among us, but we must have been motivated by something other than care then.

"Conservatives believe not in seeking out the causes of societal problems, but rather in dealing with the aftermath. Instead of trying to address the reasons why people turn to crime or drugs -- a process which is difficult and expensive -- righties prefer to simply punish those who transgress by building ever larger police forces and prisons."

Considering the havoc that crime wreaks in the lives of all, but especially the least among us, locking up criminals itself is an essential root-cause solution. There is insightful scholarship left, right , and center on these questions, but much remains to be done. The most effective solutions have combined approaches from all three, which would be precluded by your simple-minded worldview.

"You use the term "social engineering" as though it's an epithet. I think that engineering a thing to try and make it work better is positive, and I wear it as a badge of honor."

I'm an engineer by training now doing social work, and I would think that anyone who knows anything about the century just past would at least hesitate to combined those two words ever again.

"By the way, I am a smiling and happy, self-loving leftist, without the least bit of violence in my DNA."

Unless you're a Vulcan, I think your sample is from the wrong species. There will be violence in human DNA as long as we're human or until, God forbid, given the unforeseen consequences that would ensue, it is engineered out. The question our founders asked, and many conservatives (and liberals, and, someday hopefully the left will) ask is how that violence can either cancel itself out, or be subsumed by dedication to a more noble cause.

Posted by: Ged of Earthsea at March 17, 2005 02:57 PM

Ged,

Heh.

Loren,

Love ya', babe.

Posted by: Jim Ryan at March 17, 2005 04:37 PM

Loren: “Nearly everyone on this post seems to forget that bringing liberty to the Middle East was never a stated objective in the run-up to the Iraq War”

Speak for yourself and your own understanding of the reasons we went to war. Plenty of folks understood the broader aims of “Operation Iraqi Freedom”. Or did your own deafness cause you to hear “Operation Blood for Oil”?

“Righties support an "Ownership Society" in which every dollar they earn belongs to them, ignoring the fact that the concept of "society" collapses when members care nothing about the plight of the least among them.”

Please do point out to us the more perfect societies that have successfully realized your utopian goals and I might think you have a point.

“You use the term "social engineering" as though it's an epithet. I think that engineering a thing to try and make it work better is positive, and I wear it as a badge of honor.”

You should be treated as what you are – potentially dangerous. Hitler thought the same thing.

Posted by: Caroline at March 17, 2005 04:48 PM

Caroline,

Don't worry yourself. Anyone who thinks a compelling response to a banal caricature is to outbanal the caricaturist is unlikely to be a danger to anyone but himself.

Posted by: Ged of Earthsea at March 17, 2005 05:03 PM

Ged of E
You're way too clever for me.

After like 4 readings, I concluded that you might not be calling ME banal. Even if you were though, I'd be unlikely to take issue with you. You are one serious debater - that's for sure - although I've seen Carlos give you a pretty good run for your money :-)

BTW - I seem to recall from a previous thread with neodude (do I need to get a life or what?) - that you are a Presytarian minister? If so - FWIW - you give "clergy" a good name :-)

Posted by: Caroline at March 17, 2005 05:18 PM

Gee, I've been called banal, ill-informed, a danger to myself, deaf, and Caroline even played the Hitler card. Yep, that's some pretty fancy debating, all right.

I said:
"Okay, here's my take on the right. Conservatives stand for (ironically) the Darwinist view of the world in which the most able reap the benefits and the weak die out."

and you replied:
"Yep, that's why the right is fighting to cut off life support to Terry Schiavo. Let the weak die out. Doh!"

Perhaps I'm missing something, but what does one have to do with the other?

I wrote:
"and those that are superior should be able to use their natural primacy to accumulate as much material wealth as possible."

and the response was:
"So you stand for the dissipation of material wealth? There's a vote winner. Makes it tougher to, you know, care for the poor though."

I don't know if you are intentionally missing the point, or if there is something more sad going on. However, the overall point of my "screed" involves the so-called "small government" ideal expressed by conservatives. What they really mean is "I don't want to give money to people who, in my view, didn't earn and don't deserve it." Conservatives ONLY want to give money to government for programs for which they can measure a tangible benefit to THEMSELVES -- military, roads, police -- and never to the dreaded entitlement programs that benefit others.

What righties fail to see (and pardon me if I paint with a broad brush here) is that preventing a child from embarking on a life of drugs and crime is, in the long run, far less expensive than putting them in prison after the die is cast.

and Ged wrote:

"Don't worry yourself. Anyone who thinks a compelling response to a banal caricature is to outbanal the caricaturist is unlikely to be a danger to anyone but himself."

What a compelling and thoughtful statement.

Posted by: Loren at March 17, 2005 06:04 PM

A Man Named Jed, as far as I can see, you didn’t really respond to Loren’s well-spoken observations. You just twisted them one by one and used apples to respond to oranges, the result of which was far from fruitful.

1. “Yep, that’s why the right is fighting to cut off life support for Terry Shiavo. Let the weak die out.”

Come on. The issue with Terry Shiavo is a right to die, death with dignity issue not a Darwinian one. I suspect that, as Baby Boomers age, this issue may come more to the forefront. Her situation is tragic on both sides. Your response is on life-support.

2. “Yeah they hate the Declaration of Independence. That’s why you’ll find the ‘originalists,’ who wish to take our founding documents at their word, firmly ensconced on the left.”

There are both liberal and conservative originalists. Both argue as to the true intent of the document. Regardless, when in recent history have conservatives shown equal rights to be among their priorities? What you meant to say was that conservatives believe that “All men are created equal, but some are more equal than others.” In these Orwellian times, when “Clear Skies” means more pollution and “Patriot Act” means reducing civil liberties that real patriots fought and died for, I’m surprised that neo-cons haven’t renamed it the “Suggestions of Independence.”

3. “So you stand for the dissipation of material wealth?”

Again, not the point that was made. Go back and read it again.

4. “The utter environmental degradation of the former Soviet bloc and the comparative progress made via free enterprise systems leavened by vigorously enforced environmental regulation.”

The environmental regulation under Bush and the political conservatives have been far from “vigorously enforced.” His policies and initiatives have been extremely generous to business and industry at the expense of environmental protection. I think that the worst thing that the EPA does these days is put polluters on Double Secret Probation. Yet another self-righteous, self-deluding conservative argument.

By the way. Fun science experiment: Feed your child swordfish every day for a year. Watch for changes in cognitive development. (http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/fishadvice/advice.html) When impairment is severe enough, they vote Republican. (Poke. Poke.)

5. “The kind of results that the victimology approach alone has yet to produce.”

Poor angry Jed. Your victimalysis is victimperaneously flawed. I love that, when the chips are down, you can always count on a conservative to stand up for the person who needs it least. Certainly there is strength in the “hand up, not hand out” approach but what I see on the conservative side is the Rush Limbaugh/Pain Killer Addiction hypocritical “blame the rape victim until it happens to me” approach.

That’s all I got to say ‘bout that.

Posted by: JON at March 17, 2005 06:08 PM

Loren, you need to make arguments before you can claim that others bear the burden of refuting you. You can't just make a claim and hope it's legitimate to say, "Refute that!" To shift the burden of proof, you must argue for your views. After that, your interlocutor will be on his heels and have to show why your arguments are no good. If you don't make an argument, your interlocutor can merely say, "I disagree," and that's the end of the story. Or he'll say funny stuff, as Ged did.

"Leftists like to kill puppies. There. Refute that." Now that would be silly wouldn't it? Or, "The Bush administration is a good one. There. Refute that, why doncha!" Pretty not-so-good, right?

Posted by: Jim Ryan at March 17, 2005 06:27 PM

Wow Jim Ryan, I guess you've put me in my place! I was unable to discern the subtle wit behind Geds observation that:

"I will admit that I know several people who are fond of the label "tree-hugger" and use it too freely. Some out of sheer frustration - they see the utter environmental degradation of the former Soviet bloc and the comparative progress made via free enterprise systems leavened by vigorously enforced environmental regulation; some out of the same ill-informed malice you youself exhibit in your screed."

Perhaps it was the irony in the term "vigorously enforced environmental regulation" applied to "The Clear Skies Initiative" or other similarly Orwellian Bush Administration program.

As for Jim Ryans observation:
"you need to make arguments before you can claim that others bear the burden of refuting you"

My earlier post contains plenty of juicy argument, just waiting for some refutation. However, if you prefer your philosophical discussion weighed down with examples...

I asserted earlier that "Righties support an "Ownership Society" in which every dollar they earn belongs to them, ignoring the fact that the concept of "society" collapses when members care nothing about the plight of the least among them."

The current debate regarding privatization of Social Security is a perfect example. When "W" sings the siren song of private accounts, he appeals to peoples base instincts to think only of themselves. Social Security was never intended to be a private pension program. It was created to provide a safety net so that the US could move toward eliminating the shameful spector of senior citizens starving in the most prosperous nation on earth.

Social Security was not created as an evil scheme to redistribute wealth to those who did not earn it. Rather, it is the visible result of citizens who realize that to be a member of "society" requires that we all adhere to the terms of the social contract. Once we decide that our own needs, however petty, are more important than the lives of others, than this nation will have taken the first step to extinguishing its greatness.

Those who desire to provide for their golden years have dozens of federally-created, tax-deferred options. To dismantle what has been the most successful social program in history based on selfishness and greed would be tragic.

Refute that!

Posted by: Loren at March 17, 2005 07:30 PM

JON,

Interesting spelling of my nom de guerre. Must have been my revelation of where I'm writing from that threw you off. Jed, as in Clampett, I take it. I've been called worse. You can stick to "sparrowhawk" if Ged is too difficult.

Caroline,

I apologize for my lack of clarity, the only way in which your observations risk banality is in the infrequency with which I can find objections to them. Hope you keep speaking up - the blogosphere does indeed need more female voices, despite what that evil reactionary Kinsley thinks!

"Gee, I've been called banal, ill-informed, a danger to myself, deaf, and Caroline even played the Hitler card. Yep, that's some pretty fancy debating, all right."

Well, if the shoe fits. Glad you decided to join the conversation, hope you learn as much as I have (friendly comments toward the left on my part derive largely from my exposure to Markus, Kimmitt, etc, in this comments section. Friendly comments toward liberals are sui generis).

So much (deliberate? no, I for one don't think so) misunderstanding, so little time.

"Yep, that's why the right is fighting to cut off life support to Terry Schiavo. Let the weak die out. Doh!"

Perhaps I'm missing something, but what does one have to do with the other?"

Are you familiar with the culture of life? Do you believe this is all bogus? On what grounds?

"What they really mean"

Among conservatives I know, the ability for folks to tell what you really mean from your, you know, words, is highly valued. No decoder ring required. Perhaps this could help you understand these strange creatures who have invaded your country (though as far as I can tell theyv'e been here longer than my family of late 19th century immigrants).

"I don't want to give money to people who, in my view, didn't earn and don't deserve it."

Again, in my experience, they are more likely to mean: I'd rather not invest this hard-earned money in institutions that have pissed it away for the past thirty years. I'd rather give it directly to those in need, or to organizations that have things like auditors (I served four year as an auditor for a prominent non-profit, so I speak from some experience. Our most prominent donors came from across the political spectrum).

I hope you will not protest if I feel compelled to speak up when my fellow citizens are unfairly denigrated in this manner. I would do the same for you. If it was unfair.

"pardon me if I paint with a broad brush here"

Let's just say you've got a brighter future in house painting than faberge eggs.

"is that preventing a child from embarking on a life of drugs and crime is, in the long run, far less expensive than putting them in prison after the die is cast."

However, in this case your point is entirely valid. Indeed, what I most frequently contest is a false dichotomy when the optimal solutions often combine the approaches of both left and right. A combination prevented by forces who have neither your nor my best interests at heart, but instead seek to keep our house divided against itself for their own advantage.

"You just twisted them one by one and used apples to respond to oranges, the result of which was far from fruitful."

Actually I was just employing a fairly run-of-the-mill rhetorical strategy of posing counter-factuals to overly broad generalizations. The broadness of Loren's generalizations betrayed a lack of engagement with the sort of diverse viewpoints which have historically made our social system espeically robust. I in fact have great sympathy with many of Loren's avowed values. We could all stand to learn how to defend them more effectively.

"The issue with Terry Schiavo"

Just because you are only able to see one isssue does not necessarily imply that only one issue exists. I'm very sympathetic to your concerns, but I have a previous commitment to the culture of life. As do many conservatives. They care so deeply for the least among us they actually pay attention to the results of programs designed to help them.

"when in recent history have conservatives shown equal rights to be among their priorities?"

Bush v. Gore? Look, I think it's time that liberals came to terms with the fact that they have won many of the battles that they rightly started fighting in the sixties. Our black, female SoS might be a clue. Exclusive control of the education establishment for a generation will do that for you.

"Again, not the point that was made. Go back and read it again."

He claimed that conservatives are evil because they want to accumulate material wealth. I'm just saying, material wealth will be handy to have around as long as we have material needs. Just being a good Marxist materialist here. Nothing to see here, move along.

"The environmental regulation under Bush and the political conservatives have been far from “vigorously enforced.”"

Nor did I claim it was. I'm saying our choice is between a utopian socialist ideal that worked worse than what we have whenever it has been tried, but still captures much of the environmentalist imagination, frustrating sensible folks to the point where they speak derisively of "tree-huggers" and our own system, with offsetting interests continually negotiating relatively workable solutions. Given that conservatives can count on there always being in this country a vociferous community that demands vigorous environemntal regulation, it's not irrational for them to make sure that other interests are also heard.

Including those interested in producing that evil material wealth necessary to devise new environmental technologies. What your broad brush obscures is the innovative free-market approaches to environmental preservation championed by folks as diverse as Bobby Kennedy and the former head of Greenpeace. Many of this school call themselves conservatives 9ceraintly not Kennedy, though!), but bear no resemblance whatsoever to your, yes, banal caricatures.

"Poor angry Jed"

It takes someone of Markus's caliber to make me angry. I know Markus, Markus is a good friend of mine, and I'll tell you, JON and Loren, you're no Markuses. Exasperated. That you do well.

Indeed I am poor. Kinda goes with the profession. I guess by your reasoning I therefore don't care for myself, which could explain why I've spent the last hour writing this response.

On the other hand, I don't consider myself particularly conservative. I'm liberal by temperament and by the values I hope will prevail, both here and abroad. However, I will defend my fellow Americans, conservative or no, from baseless calumny.

"Refute that!"

Fine genreal sentiments. Unfortunately they are being exploited to serve as a fig-leaf for the blantant abuse of their proclivity to vote by the senior generation, the wealthiest generation, to seize the working capital of the poorest generation, working young families. Capital they could use to start their own businesses, save for their children's college education, or, you know, put food on the table. Instead this money goes to pay for grandpa's viagra and vacation home on the golf course. Given the demographics of the generations involved, if one took a clear look at social security system as it currently stand, one would see massive transfer payments from young, poor, often minority working families to older, rich, often white, non-working, often able-bodied people living a life of leisure.

Good thing I'm not a Foucaultian, or I'd say that power and privelege drives the system, as the powerful retain their privelege by preventing competition from rising generations by confiscating their capital. But I'm not, so I say it's just good intentions gone bad. You can do social insurance in a way that does take from the poor and give to the rich. Surely you will concede this. I think the best way is to allow the poor to keep their money, hence personal accounts.

Posted by: Ged of Earthsea at March 17, 2005 08:52 PM

"You can do social insurance in a way that does take from the poor and give to the rich."

Obviously, this should read, "You can do social insurance in a way that does not take from the poor and give to the rich."

And no, the slip was not Freudian, unless, that is, Freud did work I'm not aware of on sleep deprivation.

= )

Posted by: Ged of Earthsea at March 17, 2005 08:59 PM

I just read the series of posts since mine last night. I was tempted to reply in detail to Lorane's comments, but I see that several of you have already done so. I will try to avoid redundancy, but I will make a few additional comments and observations.

Lorane, violence IS in the DNA of social engineering, because social engineering is inherently coercive. It MUST be. Look at the century just past. There was more social engineering in the 20th century than all of prior human history combined, and over 100 million people died as a result, not including the world wars which resulted from that social engineering. Maybe I should have used the term "statist" instead of "Leftist", but statism is the means - and I would argue the end - of Leftism. The Left is ALWAYS at war with civil society. Rules of engagement which protect individual liberty, private property, and contract law are required. In a just society, the state's role is to enforce those laws, and little else. Otherwise, the state becomes nothing but a vessel of force used by politicians and pressure groups, and whoever has the most brute power wins, regardless if that power is expressed through the barrel of a gun, or via the ballot box. It IS that simple Lorane.

If I want to keep all of my money, you are not in a position to declare that I am selfish, or that you or "society" would spend it better than I would. How incredibly arrogant. What if that extra money you take in taxes from one person - a small amount by goverment standards - might have been used to start a new business that would grow, become a multinational company, employ hundreds of thousands of people, and greatly reduce poverty ? Could goverment do the same amount of good with that money ? You know the answer.

Lorane, you have confused "society" with "government". That attitude, which is almost ubiqitous among Leftists, is very revealing. It's as if ALL money which is NOT in the hands of the state represents "selfishness". As if no good is done with private money? Hello ! Most of what constitutes society has NOTHING to do with government. Societies are not created. They develop without central direction. MOST of the reduction in poverty that has happened in this world has been due to the productive capacity of business, NOT goverment redistrubution. That is a fact.

Earth to Lorane : THE US IS NOT A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY, thank GOD HUGE, HUGE difference.
A society in which every decision was made democratically would be total slavery.

In a free economy, virtually every action I take with my money is restrained by the needs and desires of others. If I do something bad or stupid, I will suffer ( as I should ) sooner or later. In a free economy, consumers rule. Business people SERVE consumers, Lorane.

Government, on the other hand, has the power to steal and engage in corruption almost endlessly, without consequence, as long as the parasites who feed on the corrupt beast get out to the polls and vote, so they can force the population of producers to continue feeding the monster. This is what the Left wants more of. In-sane !!

Look around you Lorane. There are two systems at work in the world. One is seen on the faces of those hopeful people in Lebanon in the first set of pictures above, and can be seen in the seemless and growing global market in goods, services and travel; free people all over this planet acting merely through their own self-interested acts, are - without even trying, and certainly without any central direction - making the world ever more prosperous, peaceful and interdependent. And the Left and the Jihadists HATE it !

The other system is that favored by the Left, the bureaucratic elites, much of academia, and power-hungry thugs of all stripes. It is a system of centralized control, paranoia, social engineering, tribalism, and poverty, culminating in mass violence, global war and genocide.

Those two systems are at war right now in the Middle East, and in a much more benign way, right here in the US.

Posted by: freeguy at March 17, 2005 09:30 PM

I meant Loren, not Lorane. My apologize Loren. ;-)

Posted by: freeguy at March 17, 2005 09:33 PM

Correcting TYPO in last post.

One more time : My "apologies", Loren. It's late here. ;-)

Posted by: freeguy at March 17, 2005 09:35 PM

I think the Hizbollah=US Left meme up-thread is puzzeling. Let's see, according to the meme, Lefties want what Hizbollah wants:

- prayer in school
- no sex ed
- the prohibition of women in sports
- the prohibition of women wearing pants
- flat-earth science

Oh, wait, those are the positions of ...... Oops. Better not go there, might offend the "Real" Americans.

Posted by: sfrefugee at March 17, 2005 09:41 PM

In my last big post I stated that the US IS NOT A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY. I had another statement after that one which somehow disappeared in the post. I need to clarify.

HERE IS THE POINT I WAS MAKING : The US is not a democratic society. It is a free society with a democratic government. Huge huge difference !

The next time you hear someone say the US is a democratic society, please help stop this lie, and politely tell them that they are incorrect.

Posted by: freeguy at March 17, 2005 09:50 PM

sfrefugee states :

I think the Hizbollah=US Left meme up-thread is puzzeling. Let's see, according to the meme, Lefties want what Hizbollah wants:

- prayer in school
- no sex ed
- the prohibition of women in sports
- the prohibition of women wearing pants
- flat-earth science

Oh, wait, those are the positions of ...... Oops. Better not go there, might offend the "Real" Americans.

sfrefugee :

WHAT the US Left and the tribal neanderthal terrorists of Syrian and Iran want is not the point. The point is that they should not have the power to use violence, or the state, to force me to abide by their wishes; or, if they try to do so, they will be punished for violating my individual rights. It matters not if it is Noam Chomsky or Jerry Falwell doing the forcing. Force is the issue. Women wearing skirts, pants, or nothing is not the issue. If individual women wish to conceal their faces in burkahs, I could not care less. But do not force my women friends to do so.

You are confusing content with method.

Incidently, there are no "real" Americans, just as there are no "real" blacks, or "real" midwestern semi-rural libertarian homosexuals (like me). Either you are, or you are not.

Posted by: freeguy at March 17, 2005 10:08 PM

Loren,

Much applause. You have at last given an argument - please remember assertions are not arguments - for your view that conservatives are selfish, namely that they support private accounts. I don't suppose you thought of grandma struggling on her social security check in a crappy apartment, when, had she put the same money into conservative mutual funds during her life, she could be up in some kick-ass condo in Ft. Lauderdale packing her bags for yet another trip to Venice for a week's vacation. Of course, we should have a welfare net for the unfortunate; don't mistake conservatives for libertarians. But social security is a hole and, especially with wage indexing, a ponzi scheme, to boot.

But don't let's load down this thread with policy wonking. Let's just say I salute you and leave it at that. You got brains, kid. (In other words, see you at the GOP convention in, oh, about 2016 or so.)

Posted by: at March 18, 2005 07:10 AM

That was I.

Posted by: Jim Ryan at March 18, 2005 07:10 AM

Jim Ryan,

If power continues to corrupt in the next ten years as it has in the previous 5,000, I'll see you at the Democratic Convention in 2016!

;-)

Let's hope they've pulled some collective heads out of some collective asses by then.

Posted by: Ged of Earthsea at March 18, 2005 07:33 AM

sfrefugee,

"Better not go there, might offend the "Real" Americans."

Better not go there, or you might meet some actual conservatives, which would force you to abandon your oh-so-convienient prejudices that serve to prop up your intellectual hegemony.

Apologies for turgid prose. Poor attempt at satire.

Posted by: Ged of Earthsea at March 18, 2005 07:58 AM

Freeguy,

Only your caricatures are banal, not so your insights. Here's where I think you miss the boat:

"Maybe I should have used the term "statist" instead of "Leftist", but statism is the means - and I would argue the end - of Leftism. The Left is ALWAYS at war with civil society."

Always is a long time. In the future, this may not hold, as isn't hasn't always in the past. Indeed, the original leftists got their name from their location on the left bank of the Seine (the river that flows through Paris), where they opposed the incestuous marriage between Altar (church) and Throne (state) on the right bank.

The left has not always been infatuated with state power. Perhaps its time for an intervention to encourage her to drop her abusive boyfriend.

Posted by: Ged of Earthsea at March 18, 2005 08:05 AM

You get the feeling that for some people rhetoric is the English equivalent of asparagus?

Posted by: Alan Kellogg at March 18, 2005 11:51 AM

which would force you to abandon your oh-so-convienient prejudices that serve to prop up your intellectual hegemony.

Heh, I dunno which real conservatives you are related to, but the ones I'm related to are pretty dang close to the charicature.

Posted by: Kimmitt at March 18, 2005 12:05 PM

Wow, I never thought about weighing the merits of opposing arguments based on which side is more affluent, better dressed and well-groomed.

And they say Americans are shallow and provincial.

Posted by: Sinclair First at March 18, 2005 12:44 PM

I was at both events, the pro- and anti- Syrian
marches, and I have to say that it is a peculiar
choice of yours to display the pro and anti
groups.

The groups are remarkably similar in terms of their
population, this is: there are beautiful looking
girls on both camps, and in both camps there are
males screaming and outraged. You can prove
anything you like with that.

Both marches were peaceful, and like any other
mass demostration, they had their problems: you
get pushed around, there is not enough air to
breathe, someone smokes pot, women are not
particularly well protected from the most
enthusiastic males jumping and screaming.

The selection of images is interesting, it
almost seems like someone was trying to
advance an agenda of vilification of one side
with it.

The promotion of hatered and the vilification
of one group of people in the last four weeks has
costed the lives to at least 30 syrian workers
which have been lynched, stabbed or murdered by
this new found nationalism.

Those lynched were syrian workers, very much like
mexican workers in the US, they tend to do the
jobs that no lebanese would like to do. The
rich syrians living in Lebanon have little or no
problem.

Posted by: mig at March 18, 2005 03:26 PM

Finally, an easy way to see which side of a political debate I'll support.
Assuming the media isn't presenting selected images..... I'll just watch the media source with the prettiest presenters!

Posted by: Mark Hamm at March 18, 2005 05:01 PM

Mig

Those were very interesting comments. Both groups have pretty girls, both groups have pot (?! - Hezbollah?)and so on (in other words both groups were more alike than they were different as the pictures would seem to suggest). I think I can speak for most folks here in saying that it is utterly appalling that 30 Syrian workers were murdered. You say that you joined both marches. Can you give us a little more insight into where you stand on what is unfolding there and why?

Posted by: Caroline at March 18, 2005 05:20 PM

Kimmitt,

Conservatives you are RELATED to? There's your problem.

= )

If I went by my relatives...

Let's just say that there are more powerful dynamics at work there than mere politics.

Let's see, do conservatives I know want the following?

- prayer in school

Most want the opportunity, few the enforcement

- no sex ed

Pretty much think the culture already covers this, and too well. Also think perhaps leaving this to the state does not quite allow for adequate diversity of viewpoint.

- the prohibition of women in sports

Please. Title IX abuse? Sure.

- the prohibition of women wearing pants

This has pretty much gone the way of the horse and buggy, nor have I ever heard the word prohibition in this context, but there are still some LOL's who frown on the practice. If asked.

- flat-earth science

There is significant concern over various scientific theories becoming the new orthooxy, and these folks have first hand experience with orthodoxy, so they may be on to something.

Hope this will help you aim your barbs better. Another group of folks who would call themselves conservatives but who would not fit into the above analysis are those who defend property rights with the same vehemence as your defense of our civil liberties. With some justification, given history.

Posted by: Ged of Earthsea at March 18, 2005 06:05 PM

Hello Caroline,

I can not say that I have a side to take on.

Each side has its own reasons for liking or
disliking the Sirians. Lebanon history is extremely complicated and so is Syria's involvement in the conflict. There is no short answer for explaining the internal affairs of the country.

Everyone is cashing out on Hariri's death. And even his political enemies are demanding for explanations.

I personally think that all countries are better off without a foreign army in their soil, so I sympathize with this group;

But the other group sees Syria as an ally that has helped them keep Israel out of Lebanon (Hezbolah was the guerrilla movement that forced Israel and the Lebanese Southern Army a rogue army at the service of Israel to withdraw from Lebanon). In particular, those closer to the abuses of Israel in the 1982-2000 period tend to side with Hezbolah (towards the south, particularly in the Tyre region).

Am afraid there is no short answer to this, but we should listen to all the sides before demonizing one group.

People's interest in Lebanon and Syria has been fueled by Hariri's death and possibly by a desire to justify the war on Iraq. But Lebanon is a complex country that has sadly made many mistakes in its history and has also become easy pray for others.

We can only wish that a peaceful solution can be achieved and hope that they have a smooth transition to become a modern state that looks after its own population.

Posted by: Mig at March 18, 2005 08:13 PM

Mig-

I just wanted to say that in the entirety of this lengthy thread, yours are the first spot-on comments I've read.

I'm amazed at how this conversation evolved into bitter back and forths about domestic American issues that have absolutely nothing to do with Lebanon. Politics are (thankfully)far more complicated than a battle between good, attractive peace and freedom lovers and the ugly, angry evil freedom haters.

Posted by: MattSchiavenza at March 19, 2005 12:38 AM

There's nothing beautiful about Syria's politics, or desire to oppress Lebanon further. Say what you will about the different crowds, the anti-occupation group is fighting and hoping for something far better than the pro-occupation group.

Among those 30 Syrian workers (link?), how many were Syrian intelligence? It's very simple: There is no excuse or reason, for the continued occupation. That's the issue here, not comparisons to liberals and conservatives in the US, or who has hotter women.

Posted by: Uncle Mikey at March 19, 2005 06:19 AM

Syria out now!

Posted by: Nandir at March 19, 2005 08:20 AM

MattSchiavenza,

"Politics are (thankfully)far more complicated than a battle between good, attractive peace and freedom lovers and the ugly, angry evil freedom haters."

As is mathematics (thankfully) far more complicated than simple addition. But until you can understand that 2+2=4, you'll never make it to the fun stuff.

Posted by: Ged of Earthsea at March 19, 2005 09:27 AM

Syria and Iran(Hizbullies) out... now...

Posted by: DANEgerus at March 21, 2005 04:16 PM

Lebanon was formed by the French as a partition of their Syrian colony to allow for defensible borders to protect the Christian minority.

The ironic parallels to Israel shouldn't escape you.

Decades of civil war followed only because, where as Israel was able to defend her borders, Lebanon was not. The Islamic militias were able to recruit material and manpower from both Syria and Iran and over the decades have subjected Lebanon to a civil war where peace is only purchased through superior local firepower.

Such as...

'Black September' refers to the Jordanian's military attack on Arafat's armed militias within her borders. More Arabs died then in all the wars agains the Jews combined. The irony is of course that Arabs slaughtered Arabs and both sides blamed the Jooooooos.

The solution was to allow a corridor across Syria for Arafat's militias to 'settle' in sourthern Lebanon, on the Christian side of the Green-line... of course.

How convenient.

This meant a substantial increase in attacks accross the border against Israel by Arafat's militias as well as brutal oppression of the local Christians and the civil war became 'hot' again.

It was against this decades long historical backdrop that the Israelis made the mistake of riding to the rescue of the Christian militias with their invasion.

A mistake because, although they stopped the cross border attacks targeting Jewish civilians, the 'Christian' militias launched a retaliatory attack on a village of Arafat's militia and the newsmedia conveniently presented the 'massacre' as the fault of the Jooooooooooooos.

The eventual Israeli withdrawal, in fact it's abandonment of the 'Chrisitan' militias, was a consequence of bad press and failing support among the dwindling 'Christian' militias.

You can look any of this up... I present these facts only to highlight the extraordinary heroism of the Lebanese waving those flags.

The constrast is as stark as the history.

Men and woman together waving flags versus Iranian/Syrian armed thugs waving guns.

Self determination versus armed oppression.

Liberty versus militant ideology.

Life versus death.

If any of you folks look into the actual history of Lebanon, and it reflects poorly upon the apologists for terrorists...

Well... facts do that.

Posted by: DANEgerus at March 22, 2005 07:22 AM

I admit I couldn't read this whole thread. I got as far a Marcus, that twit, calling Hezbolla an "ex terrorist organization".

Marcus it's been all of two or three weeks since a bomb in Israel attributed to Hezbolla.

By your standards Al Qa'eda's an ex terrorist group... Actually by your standards there are no terrorist groups in the world. No wonder you're so care free. Baka! (I took time out from my Japanese studies to type this, so I couldn't resist)

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