May 20, 2005

Saddam Hussein Exposed

The Sun is in trouble for publishing this:

Saddam_Underwear.jpg

The US military has condemned the Sun for publishing photographs of a captive Saddam Hussein and said it was "aggressively" investigating who took them.

Today's paper carries a series of photographs showing the former Iraqi dictator in his cell, including one on the front page showing him in his underwear. Another shows him washing clothes under the headline "Tyrant? He's washed up".

The Sun says it obtained the photos from "US military sources" who handed them over "in the hope of dealing a body blow to the resistance in Iraq".

"Saddam is not superman or God, he is now just an ageing and humble old man," the paper quotes its source as saying. "It's important that the people of Iraq see him like that to destroy the myth."
I guess the U.S. military should at least go through the motions of looking into this. But I doubt anyone outside George (wide boy) Galloway's circles are going to get bent out of shape about it.

Galloway and Saddam.jpg

(Reuters caption: George Galloway is pictured speaking in Baghdad during a conference on solidarity with Iraq in September [2002].)

UPDATE: Yahoo news headline: Bush promises probe into Saddam underwear pictures. I would have written that another way myself.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at May 20, 2005 03:25 PM
Comments

British politics are great, none of that media-savvy mildness. Just a lot of in-your-face insults. But I think Galloway got the better of that interchange.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 20, 2005 04:09 PM

DPU,

Galloway got the better of what exchange? The one with Hitchens?

Here's what else Hitchens had to say about Gallloway.

[H]e looks so much like what he is: a thug and a demagogue, the type of working-class-wideboy-and-proud-of-it who is too used to the expenses account, the cars and the hotels - all cigars and back-slapping. He is a very cheap character and a short-arse like a lot of them are, puffed up like a turkey. He has managed to fuse being a Baathist with being a Muslim sectarian and a carpet bagger in the East End - as well as a front for a creepy sub-Leninist sect, the Socialist Workers' Party. He's got the venomous riff-raff at one end and your one-God fanatics on the other. Wonderful. Just what we need.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 20, 2005 04:25 PM

I'm talking about the exchange before the testimony.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 20, 2005 04:43 PM

Galloway only gets the better of an exchange in his dreams. There he is invincible.
But you cannot help but feel sorry for Saddam. He is being so humiliated and all he ever did was cause the deaths of over a million people. I think the americans overreacted.

Posted by: Bravo at May 20, 2005 05:23 PM

I saw a brief TV report of Galloway before the congressional hearing.

Most memorable quote:

"I've met Saddam exactly as many times as Donald Rumsfeld has met with him. The difference is Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns and give him maps. I met him to try and bring about an end to sanctions, suffering and war, and on the second occasion, I met him to try and persuade him to allow Hans Blix and U.N. inspectors back into country."

The Congressional panel were squirming in their seats and seemed eager to bring the questioning to a close.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/05/18/oil.food/?section=cnn_topstories

Posted by: VinoVeritas at May 20, 2005 05:45 PM

Aaaggghhhh!!!

Great. Now I have to go bleach my eyes.

Posted by: Evil Otto at May 20, 2005 06:27 PM

H]e looks so much like what he is: a thug and a demagogue, the type of working-class-wideboy-and-proud-of-it who is too used to the expenses account, the cars and the hotels - all cigars and back-slapping. He is a very cheap character and a short-arse like a lot of them are, puffed up like a turkey.

Methinks he focuses too much on Galloway's appearance. And isn't it a bit strange for a Trotskyist to be accusing anyone of belonging to a "creepy sub-Leninist sect?" I mean, if ever there was a creepy sub-Leninist sect, it's the Trotskyists. For that matter, The Socialist Worker's Party is Trotskyist. Maybe just not the right brand of it, possibly.

As the old joke goes, what do you get when you put two Trotskyists in a room together? Three Trotskyist political parties.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at May 20, 2005 07:05 PM

"As the old joke goes, what do you get when you put two Trotskyists in a room together? Three Trotskyist political parties."

I've heard the same joke told by Israelis, about Israelis.

Posted by: VinoVeritas at May 20, 2005 07:19 PM

Please (if you haven't seen this site already), please--look at this at least once in your life:

whowilldietoday.blogspot.com

Posted by: RK at May 20, 2005 08:56 PM

whowilldietoday, sounds interesting. Will it be an Iraqi civilian or someone in the Congo (have we hit the 4 million mark yet)? Was it Saddam killing some poor bastard? Is it in the Sudan? The French killing somebody in the Ivory Coast (odd name for a nation, fill in the Colonial blank) Maybe Texas or China lined up another execution. What an awful world.

Posted by: Mike #3or4 at May 20, 2005 09:29 PM

What did Bush I say to the people in Iraq that led to the revolt? I have read a ton of comments all over the web that claim Bush Sr. broke his word and I would like to know what he said in the first place. Any quotes or public comments.

Posted by: Mike #3or4 at May 20, 2005 09:36 PM
ex-lefty logic:
fat + moustache => must be evil
Posted by: wooden bridge at May 20, 2005 10:12 PM

How many times do we see American celebrities in their underwear or worse - either by their own hand or just nipple/crack slips that photographers catch - with no complaints, other than general moral decay? I laughed my ass off when I saw that Sun cover. It may be in bad taste, but even Saddam isn't very popular with the hardline Islamists any more. By the way, a belated good to have you back, Michael. Those Lebanese women are hard to leave behind, I'm sure.

Posted by: Greg at May 21, 2005 12:01 AM

“The Sun says it obtained the photos from "US military sources" who handed them over "in the hope of dealing a body blow to the resistance in Iraq".”

This so called military source disobeyed orders and has no business making such a decision on their own. Let’s get real, they were almost certainly motivated by the money. Everything else is pure rationalization. I’m going to take a guess and estimate that the newspaper chain paid them at least $50,000. And yes, I’m sure that we are talking about the violation of the Geneva Conventions. Saddam Hussein is still the former top political leader of Iraq who possesses certain inalienable rights.

Posted by: David Thomson at May 21, 2005 03:58 AM

Speaking of the Karimov regime, I just found this opinion piece by Stephen Schwartz and William Kristol:

“Here as elsewhere, the principle of linkage between a regime's behavior and relations with the United States must be reestablished. And if not in Uzbekistan, where we have so much leverage, how seriously will others take our promises and our warnings?”

http://weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/005/635iihrr.asp?pg=2

Posted by: David Thomson at May 21, 2005 04:41 AM

I was going to post something profound or at least wordy on the media,but really why bother?

Saddam Photos ---- Bad (Maybe,perhaps,possibly).

Newsweek Lie,Nyt's Re-Cycled 2002 Afghansitan News,Foley Calumy --- Perfidious.

Over the top or not,the media as it exists IS an enemy.It's not THE enemy,but its willfull agenda,false historical consciousness, and lack of introspection make it AN enemy.

MSMDE

Posted by: dougf at May 21, 2005 06:58 AM

Galloway is an ass. Naturally another ass would stick up for him, perhaps admire him.

Most folks are brighter than Hitchens, and see him differently:

I knew a bit about Galloway. He had had to resign as the head of a charity called "War on Want," after repaying some disputed expenses for living the high life in dirt-poor countries. Indeed, he was a type well known in the Labour movement. Prolier than thou, and ostentatiously radical, but a bit too fond of the cigars and limos and always looking a bit odd in a suit that was slightly too expensive. By turns aggressive and unctuous, either at your feet or at your throat; a bit of a backslapper, nothing's too good for the working class: what the English call a "wide boy." . . . Galloway says that the worst day of his entire life was the day the Soviet Union fell.

Posted by: Rockford at May 21, 2005 08:49 AM

"Galloway is an ass."

Posted by: Dustin Ridgeway at May 21, 2005 10:51 AM

Rockford: Galloway is an ass. Naturally another ass would stick up for him, perhaps admire him. Most folks are brighter than Hitchens, and see him differently.

Are you saying Hitchens stuck up for Galloway?? You must have missed this from Hitchens on Galloway:
[H]e looks so much like what he is: a thug and a demagogue, the type of working-class-wideboy-and-proud-of-it who is too used to the expenses account, the cars and the hotels - all cigars and back-slapping. He is a very cheap character and a short-arse like a lot of them are, puffed up like a turkey. He has managed to fuse being a Baathist with being a Muslim sectarian and a carpet bagger in the East End - as well as a front for a creepy sub-Leninist sect, the Socialist Workers' Party. He's got the venomous riff-raff at one end and your one-God fanatics on the other. Wonderful. Just what we need.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 21, 2005 11:03 AM

Funny, I watched a good chunk of that Galloway testimony and Galloway came off sounding dumb, desperate and like he had something to hide. I was actually somewhat surprised by his performance. I wouldn't say he got the better of it at all. It's all in the eyes of the beholder I guess.

Posted by: Misterpundit at May 21, 2005 01:33 PM

As much as I hate Galloway (giving me second thoughts about Bethnal Green, lol), the much graver matter that the US 'backed illegal Iraqi oil deals' seems to have gone somewhat underreported.

Posted by: novakant at May 21, 2005 02:06 PM

I never thought I'd be typing the phrase "I agree with David Thomson on this" - but he's right in this case: As someone whose sympathy for Saddam Hussein starts at zero and descends rapidly, I first thought: "who cares if the b*st*rd is embarrased"; but re-thought that. Appearances and procedures are important in international relations and putting this stuff out in the public press can't do anything but make "us" look bad in the world's eyes: maybe not "evil", but petty, silly and rude. Maybe that pales compared with Saddam's crimes, but then: WE are supposed to be the "civilized" ones: we should at least try to maintain the niceties of "civilized" treatment of prisoners: however small.

Posted by: Jay C at May 21, 2005 03:08 PM

Huh, I've periodically checked out the news all day on the Saddam underwear pics, seeing if more riots ensued, and I'm rather relieved to find an appropriate amount of quiet. I'm not happy to see the pics. They're cheap and cheezy and they reflect poorly on us. But I guess I sort of half expected riots somewhere, someplace. If there were any, I was hoping to see Bush say, "I've got news for you folks. I do NOT control the press. That's what democracy is all about, and it's the price we pay for freedom. Believe me, it's a price I have paid many times myself, even though I'm the president of a very powerful country. I assure you though, we're looking into it, as well we should."

Doesn't look like Bush has had to say that so far. I'm glad to see it.

Posted by: Caroline at May 21, 2005 03:42 PM

“WE are supposed to be the "civilized" ones: we should at least try to maintain the niceties of "civilized" treatment of prisoners: however small.”

Saddam Hussein was a national leader when taken into custody. His situation falls under the Geneva Conventions. However, this is not case for the terrorists. They are not uniformed soldiers fighting in behalf of a nation-state---and obeying the rules of warfare. We have every right to take pictures of them in their underwear!

Posted by: David Thomson at May 21, 2005 04:20 PM

Totten seems to miss where even Hitchens admitted that Galloway made micemeat of the heart of the 'committee''s accusations.
Coleman looked like a childish amateur, so much so that even Hitchens couldn't defend him afterwards.

Posted by: stan at May 21, 2005 06:36 PM
I'm pretty sure that the problem with the Saddam photos is that this sort of thing is prohibited by the Geneva Conventions. Convention III, Article 13 reads in part:
Likewise, prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity.
I'm pretty sure this is the part that bans photographs of prisoners of war, especially humiliating ones. Since Saddam really is a prisoner of war, instead of some made-up category of prisoners, he retains Geneva protections. So, legally, the US is required to prevent the release of photos like this one.

I tend to be pretty critical of the Bush administration for its myriad of other Geneva violations, so I don't want to be the hypocrite who says "this isn't so bad, so let them do it", because there are plenty of people saying "this torture isn't so bad..." and I fear that giving an inch will only encourage the taking of a mile. Slippery slope and excusing one violation and all that.

All that said, I'm sure that the propaganda value of photos like this is probably pretty high. Of course, I'd love to see the US "investigating" the weekly release of more photos of Saddam.

Pentagon spokesperson: "We are aggressively investigating the release of yet another set of photographs of Saddam being raped by an orangutang. No, we don't know how the photos got out. No, we don't know how the orangutang got in there. No, we don't know how the orangutang got his hands on viagra. We're still looking for the donkey, and the gorrilla, and that moose from the week before. The local zoo director denies any involvement..."

Posted by: The Commenter at May 21, 2005 07:35 PM

That's too long, the soundbite will be, "It's all Newsweek's fault!!!"
That's a lot easier for Rush to get out to the robots who drink perrier, chase girls in country clubs and support the troops.

Posted by: stan at May 21, 2005 07:46 PM

The media releases pictures of the Butcher of Saghdad which could "deal a body blow" to the insurgency, and the U.S. government gets to deny all responsibility.

This is as win/win as they come. Maybe that's why Libs are so mad about it.

Posted by: spaniard at May 21, 2005 09:11 PM

"I've met Saddam exactly as many times as Donald Rumsfeld has met with him. The difference is Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns and give him maps. I met him to try and bring about an end to sanctions,

Another difference is that Rumsfeld met with Saddam in order to assist him against our common enemy Iran, while Galloway met Saddam merely to assist him.

One was a necessary evil, the other was just plain evil.

Posted by: spaniard at May 21, 2005 09:21 PM

All I have to say about this is, regardless of the content of Galloway's testimony, I saw that and said to myself: "We desperately need more of this in America".

Brits are used to that sort of thing. When they hold elections, they take their elected officials on a BBC show by the name of "Question Time" and crucify them on live TV. Real, actual people ask real, actual questions and no one knows what the fuck they're gonna say before they say it. It's a beautiful thing..."democracy", I believe they call it.

If we fostered half as vibrant a political debate in this country, we'd all be better off. For starters, we wouldn't have to put up presidential candidates like Al Gore, John Kerry, and George Bush.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at May 21, 2005 10:06 PM

PS...

And, yes, I know Galloway is from Scotland. I was merely pointing to the Brits as setting an example we would be well off to follow.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at May 21, 2005 10:09 PM

ah yes....thank god for rummy's helping the Iraqis and Iranians lose some million odd in an unnecessary war. how lucky the world is that he and the reagan administration thought that was a way to protect us all from the evildoers. i feel tons safer as a result as i drink my don perignon, chase girls at the country club, and relax with them in the saunas...to show my support for the troops.

Posted by: stan at May 21, 2005 10:28 PM

I guess the U.S. military should at least go through the motions of looking into this. But I doubt anyone outside George (wide boy) Galloway's circles are going to get bent out of shape about it.

How unsurprising that Michael Totten, keyboard warrior (of military age), neither knows, nor cares about the requirements of the Geneva Convention. After all, it's not him who's going to be captured by an enemy that considers the United States' breaches of the convention as a license to treat American prisioners just however they like.

Posted by: JN at May 22, 2005 02:38 AM

The propaganda value of these photos is immense. You must understand that the arab world loves a winner. Saddam in his underwear in custody is not a winner. Saddam loses the propaganda battle.
As for the Geneva convention, if this were an official coalition/Iraqi government release of photos, it would be a clear violation by a signature party to the convention. But since a lone wolf sold the photos for money, no signatory of the convention is directly complicit.
As long as the coalition pursues the guilty party and prosecutes her, there is no convention violation.

Posted by: Bulginsurcher at May 22, 2005 08:00 AM

"Despite the insistence by the Post that this picture is humiliating, it seems more the opposite. In fact, I believe there are a number of elements that not only soften it, but make it mundane and almost sympathetic.

If someone wanted to create a sense of humiliation, they would have captured an image of Saddam in which he appears to engage (and challenge) the camera. Instead, the fact he is looking down lends an air of modesty -- not to mention, vulnerability. By catching Saddam so obviously unaware, the photo backfires. Rather than shaming the tyrant, it serves more to suggest that -- with the surveillance capability out there -- it could just as easily be one of us. Also, if the Post had other pictures to choose from, they made a mistake choosing this one. The act of folding ones' pants couldn't be more humanizing. At the same time, it simply goes against type seeing "the Butcher" taking such care while attending to housekeeping. "
http://www.bagnewsnotes.com/

Posted by: stan at May 22, 2005 08:30 AM

Today I celebrated the glory of this photographic victory by renting a penthouse suite in the NYC Sheraton and basking in a bath of don perignor to show my support as a 25 year old man in support of the troops! That photo made me support the troops even more!

Posted by: stan at May 22, 2005 08:33 AM

After all, it's not him who's going to be captured by an enemy that considers the United States' breaches of the convention as a license to treat American prisioners just however they like.

JN,

our GIs were tortured and our female pilots sexually molested in violation of the GC during the first Gulf War, which only confirms what the reality-based community is already well aware of-- that the enemies of the U.S. don't need additional license to mistreat American GIs. Nor will our strict adherence to the GC ensure better treatment for our GIs.

Also, if indeed the U.S. military had nothing to do with the photos-- as appears to be the case-- shouldn't you be kinda thrilled about their publication? If not, why not. Have you come to sympathize with the old murderer?

And are you of the opinion that The Sun's photos were a humiliation against muslims? I've heard the Lefties making this claim, and I consider equating Saddam with islam to be the far greater insult against that religion.

Posted by: spaniard at May 22, 2005 08:34 AM

Rather than shaming the tyrant, it serves more to suggest that -- with the surveillance capability out there -- it could just as easily be one of us.

stan,

Arabs aren't Liberals with brown skin. They don't admire someone who could just as easily be them-- they admire a bigger-than-life chieftain.

And they will feel contempt for him, not compassion, when they see he is no better than them.

Posted by: spaniard at May 22, 2005 08:39 AM

spaniard,
interesting, I didn't know there was an undifferentiated singular group known as Arabs who all think and do the same. fascinating relgious theory you have there.

Posted by: stan at May 22, 2005 08:46 AM

Perhaps you've been O'ding on Winston Churchill?

Churchill's account of Kitchener's campaign in Sudan, which described shortcomings in "Mohammedanism" - Islam.

It said: "Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy.

"The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live.

"A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity."

Posted by: stan at May 22, 2005 08:48 AM

fascinating relgious theory you have there.

stan,

what you'll find most fascinating to discover is that "Arab" isn't a religion at all.

Many who study this singular group refer to themselves as "Arabists", though I would never call myself that. I prefer "orientalist."

Posted by: spaniard at May 22, 2005 08:50 AM

I didn't say you said Arab was a religion. I said your theory was religious, kinda like Churchill's and other such 'theorists' of 'race difference'.

Posted by: stan at May 22, 2005 09:12 AM

An 'arabist' is someone who studies peoples belonging to the group roughly defined as "Arab", not someone who like yourself attributes monolithic traits to whole peoples as "Arab". Rather different. the former is historical, complex, even scientific. yours is of the religious variety that Churchill went by to come up with his 'theories' about Arabs.

Posted by: stan at May 22, 2005 09:14 AM

Here's part of the problem with the Blogosphere, and with policy decision-making in general.

The pictures might be of great propaganda value because they show Saddam humbled, weak, and defeated. Message: bad guys, you're next!

The pictures might have the opposite effect: here's Saddam doing domestic housework. Message: he's human, he wasn't so bad after all!

I tend to lean towards the latter. But the problem is that I have no training in psychology or advertising. The first deals with understanding human behavior, the latter deals with manipulating it. Somebody trained in either would be in a much better position to tell us what the value of these pictures should be.

The best option, of course, would be to do massive polling and find out what people actually think (or claim to think) about the pictures. But unless an expert tells us, or we do the polling, we honestly have no freaking clue, and people can make logical arguments either way, and no one will be convinced because it's all just minimally-informed opinion.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 22, 2005 09:20 AM

Woops! I meant to say "I lean towards the former", not "I lean towards the latter". My bad.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 22, 2005 09:20 AM

Perhaps you've been O'ding on Winston Churchill? Churchill's account of Kitchener's campaign in Sudan, which described shortcomings in "Mohammedanism" - Islam.

stan,

my comment was about Arabs, not islam. Can you not tell the difference? Or do all the little brown people (spoken with an Irish brogue) look the same to you.

An 'arabist' is someone who studies peoples belonging to the group roughly defined as "Arab", not someone who like yourself attributes monolithic traits to whole peoples as "Arab".

Arabists regularly assign monolithic traits to their Arab subjects. Ever heard of the term "arab street"?

Tell the truth, Stan. You've got a soft spot for the old murderer.

Posted by: spaniard at May 22, 2005 09:24 AM

Pentagon spokesperson: "We are aggressively investigating the release of yet another set of photographs of Saddam being raped by an orangutang. No, we don't know how the photos got out. No, we don't know how the orangutang got in there. No, we don't know how the orangutang got his hands on viagra. We're still looking for the donkey, and the gorrilla, and that moose from the week before. The local zoo director denies any involvement..."

LOL.Plausible deniability in action.

Would there be videos available at some point ?

Posted by: dougf at May 22, 2005 09:26 AM

Spaniard,

Setting aside the purely moral reasons for the Geneva Conventions ("torture is bad"), there are plenty of utilitarian reasons for them. One of them is, of course, to establish certain norms of behavior and treatment of prisoners. We know that among our enemies are those who would gladly ignore the Conventions. We also can guess that there are some who would like to but who haven't yet or are hesitant to do so thanks to the Conventions. When we start abrogating them, there's no restraint, flimsy as it might seem.

Personally, I think the best utilitarian reason for the Conventions is that it encourages our enemies to surrender to us rather than continue fighting. Look at what the Nazis and the Soviets did to each other when they were surrounded, and knew that their options were death or something much, much worse at the hands of their enemies. Every time a soldier in Abu Ghraib or Bagram tortures one of our enemies, he or she is putting fellow soldiers at risk, because it means that surrender becomes an increasingly unappealing option over resistance to the bitter end.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 22, 2005 09:29 AM

Commenter,

my personal support for the GC is not utilitarian, but moral (though I do agree with you that there are utilitarian reasons as well).

But I don't believe adhering to them makes an iota of a difference when it comes to how our GIs and civilians will be treated by barbaric regimes. I nonetheless believe we should adhere to them to the extent that doing so is moral.

First, I don't believe the Saddam photos were a violation of the GC, as they were released by The Sun, not the U.S. military.

Second, even if they were a violation of the GC, I don't have a moral, nor utilitarian, problem with humiliating a murderous dictator and lowering his stature in the eyes of his followers.

Posted by: spaniard at May 22, 2005 09:37 AM

Spaniard,

I have a feeling that, for once, our thoughts are closer rather than divergent. I don't have a moral objection to humiliating Saddam - as I wrote, I'd love a lot worse to be done to him. It's just that, to me, it's a slippery slope from excusing one violation of Geneva to excusing more than one violation. I don't want to be the hypocrite who says "X is ok but Y and Z are bad" when there are people saying "X and Y are ok but Z is bad" and people who want to say "do whatever you want". If I run around saying "it's ok to violate it a little!" then others are in a better position to say "it's ok to violate a little more!".

We're certainly not going to discourage al Qaeda or the North Koreans from torturing prisoners. That doesn't mean there aren't others we can discourage, and I think for the sake of proctecting our soldiers, we should do our best to continue discouraging them.

Saddam's in US custody, which means that we're responsible for pictures being taken of him and being released. I don't think it matters who published the photos, and that's why the Pentagon is investigating who took them and how they got out. That's all, I think.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 22, 2005 09:49 AM

my comment was about Arabs, not islam. Can you not tell the difference? Or do all the little brown people (spoken with an Irish brogue) look the same to you.

--Spaniard, you seem to be utterly confused by the term religious, as though I was using it in reference to the theological connotation. duh.

On your point about the "Arab Street" notion tends to be much too simplistic and stupidly used surely. And Arabists darn sure do engage in their fair share of nonsensical generalizations that conform to your standards of talking about the political level of Arabs. However there is nothing about studying Arab socieities that determines that simplistic methodology. Most Arabists will immediately reject the notion of a uniform Arab opinion or culture, which you apparently buy into hook line and sinker no less than Churchill did.

Posted by: stan at May 22, 2005 09:59 AM

Spaniard, you seem to be utterly confused by the term religious, as though I was using it in reference to the theological connotation. duh.

stan,

again, Churchill was speaking of islam, and my comment was about Arabs. How else could I possibly phrase this so that you could understand it? I consider this line of argumentation over.

Also, as I've stated repeatedly on this blog, I reason from the general towards the specific, not the other way around. I learned that in college. I'm not opposed to "monolithic" statements (as you appear to be), I'm opposed to incorrect monolithic statements.

Signing off

Posted by: spaniard at May 22, 2005 10:06 AM

You mistake Churchill for a man who distinguished between Arabs and Islam. wrong. he interchangeably made baseless and stupid generalizations about both.

Posted by: stan at May 22, 2005 10:14 AM

Galloway was right again, Coleman wrong:

Officers Plot Exit Strategy

Many young lieutenants and captains, key leaders in combat, are
deciding against Army careers in light of the open-ended war on
terrorism.

By Mark Mazzetti
Times Staff Writer

May 22, 2005

KILLEEN, Texas — Army Capts. Dave Fulton and Geoff Heiple spent 12
months dodging roadside bombs and rounding up insurgents along Baghdad's
"highway of death" — the six miles of pavement linking downtown Baghdad
to the capital city's airport. Two weeks after returning stateside to
Ft. Hood, they ventured to a spartan conference room at the local Howard
Johnson to find out about changing careers.

Lured by a headhunting firm that places young military officers in
private-sector jobs, the pair, both 26, expected anonymity in the
crowded room.

Instead, as Fulton and Heiple sipped Budweisers pulled from Styrofoam
coolers next to the door, they spotted nearly a dozen familiar faces
from their cavalry battalion, which had just ended a yearlong combat
tour in Iraq.

The shocks of recognition came as they exchanged quick, awkward glances
with others from their unit, each man clearly surprised to see someone
else considering a life outside the military.

"This is a real eye-opener," said Fulton, a West Point graduate who saw
a handful of cadets from his class. "It seems like everyone in the room
is either from my squad or from my class."

More than three years after the Sept. 11 attacks spawned an era of
unprecedented strain on the all-volunteer military, it is scenes like
this that keep the Army's senior generals awake at night. With thousands
of soldiers currently on their second combat deployment in Iraq or
Afghanistan and some preparing for their third this fall, evidence is
mounting that an exodus of young Army officers may be looming on the
horizon.

It is especially troubling for Pentagon officials that the Army's pool
of young captains, which forms the backbone of infantry and armored
units deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, could be the hardest hit.

Posted by: stan at May 22, 2005 10:28 AM

We're certainly not going to discourage al Qaeda or the North Koreans from torturing prisoners. That doesn't mean there aren't others we can discourage, and I think for the sake of proctecting our soldiers, we should do our best to continue discouraging them.

Commenter, quick question - can you think of one mass-murdering dictator who has been successfully prosecuted for his or her crimes since 1949?

Idi Amin died of old age in Saudi Arabia. Pol Pot died of old age, Milosevic recently won an election. Running a genocidal dictatorship, given the rules that are in place, really is the perfect crime. The possiblity that Saddam will be successfully prosecuted, given history, is fairly slim.

Since the Geneva convention of 1949, how many millions of Cambodian civilians have died at the hands of their own government? How many Rwandans have died? How many Chinese were killed by their own government? How many Cogolese are currently being killed by French-financed Rwandan Hutus? How many Sudanese have been slaughtered by their governments' Janjiweed militias? How many people have been killed by the terrorists whose rights are protected by international law?

The Geneva C. rules were supposed to protect the victims of conventional war, but since then, there have been very few conventional wars. The old laws are very effective at protecting the lives and the rights of dictators, but they do nothing to protect the lives of potential victims of terrorism, civil war and genocide. In fact, like prohibition and the war on drugs, they seem to increase rather than decrease the problem.

If we're arguing that photos of a mass-murdering dictator in his shorts will endanger the lives of our soldiers, then I think that's a sign that the rules need to be changed. The absurdity of this argument makes prohibition & the war on drugs look like bastions of sanity in comparison.

Posted by: mary at May 22, 2005 10:50 AM

How many Rwandans have died?

"U.S. officials claimed that it was the UN, not the U.S., that should have done more to muster a force to prevent Rwanda's violence. But the UN cannot act independently of its most powerful members. Even when Washingtondoes not use its veto, its economic and military strength ensure that it will be, in Phyllis Bennis's words, “calling the shots” at the UN.

The Clinton administration had earlier determined that Washington would sharply limit its support for peacekeeping operations. Clinton told the UN in September 1993 that the organization had to learn “when to say no,” and to ask “hard questions” before dispatching any further peacekeeping forces. In March 1994, this new policy was formalized in Presidential Decision Directive 25. The specific tough questions that had to be answered included, in essence, being able to predict how the operations would develop, which effectively barred virtually all peacekeeping.

Some have argued that Clinton was here responding to public opinion, particularly after the debacle in Somalia. However, in April 1995 four out of five Americans believed the UN had a responsibility to intervene in conflicts marked by genocide. Despite the obfuscation by U.S. officials as to what was going on in Rwanda, a poll taken in June and July 1994, during the genocide, found that 61 percent would have favored U.S. participation in a “large” UN force to “occupy” Rwanda and “forcibly stop the killing.”

At the time there was no noticeable demand from the Republicans that Clinton immediately change this policy. Zip. nada. Or as close to nada as possible.

http://www.zmag.org/zmag/articles/april96shalom.htm

Posted by: stan at May 22, 2005 11:15 AM

Stan...hmm.. so the US was solely to blame, despite the fact that the French were arming and training the Hutu 'rebels'.

Do you believe that the US controlls the UN's actions?

The Rwandan genocide is currently being echoed in the Sudan. This time, the 'rebels' are trained by Saudi al Qaeda, not the French. But the situation is similar. The US is not doing enough about it, but we're doing more than anyone else. As usual, the 'international' community is useless.

So, how does this link prove that the Geneva convention rules are effectively protecting potential civilian victims of asymetric warfare and genocide?

Posted by: mary at May 22, 2005 11:34 AM

Two weeks after the Council ordered the reduction in UNAMIR, the Secretary General -- responding to public outrage and the insistence of some small countries -- put Rwanda back on the agenda. The Council agreed to authorize a new force, UNAMIR II, 5,500 strong, for dispatch to Rwanda under an expanded mandate. However, as Human Rights Watch explained, “last minute hesitations” by Washington “resulted in orders to deploy in the first instance only a small force of several hundred troops and about 150 unarmed observers.” The deployment of the rest of the force was to depend upon “progress towards a new cease-fire between the RPF and the government, the availability of resources, and further review and action” by the Council.
No Republicans in any significant number objected to this.

Posted by: stan at May 22, 2005 11:40 AM

I'm not a Republican, I know about the events during the Rwandan genocide, so why are you cutting and pasting more information?

Do you think the US controls the UN?

Posted by: mary at May 22, 2005 11:44 AM

Posted by Grant McEntire: "If we fostered half as vibrant a political debate in this country, we'd all be better off. For starters, we wouldn't have to put up presidential candidates like Al Gore, John Kerry, and George Bush."

No you wont.

It will be just more of a circus or a zoo. Watch 'Cross Fire' if that kind of garbage entertains you.

Posted by: mika. at May 22, 2005 01:10 PM

Saddam did not abide by the Geneva Convention and therefore there's little reason to accord him any privileges stemming from an agreement he did not abide by. The pictures are perfectly legit.

Posted by: mika. at May 22, 2005 01:24 PM

I think we better demonstrate our strength by applying the rules to all of our enemies, including Saddam, regardless of whether or not they did or would do the same. When we write the rules and follow them, we're demonstrating that we can write the rules and that we can follow them, regardless of what anyone else does. Besides, the Geneva Conventions, which were signed and ratified by the US, are now the law of the land, and therefore no matter what we might want to do to Saddam, we're legally and morally bound by the rules we wrote ourselves.

Last time I checked, the moral standards that the US set for itself were generally higher than those of anyone else. We do ourselves and the rest of the world a disservice by saying "if you're going to be naughty, then we're going to be just as bad". A lot of people are afraid of moral equivalency - that people like me are arguing that we're just as bad as we're enemies. We're not, and that's a good thing - but the fact that they are bad should not excuse us from acting bad, even if they're still worse.

"Your honor, I only murdered one person, while some serial killers have murdered 10 or 20! How can you possibly punish me when there are worse people out there?"

Posted by: The Commenter at May 22, 2005 01:48 PM

The only way you demonstrate strength to your enemy, Saddam included, is by killing him. The rest is taqqiya.

Posted by: mika. at May 22, 2005 02:00 PM

No party is responsible for terms of a contract if the other party breaches those terms of contract. I don't have a legal degree, but even I can follow that. Further, the Geneva Convention is not compulsory law. It simply contains terms of reference which the signatory parties may or may not abide by.

Posted by: mika. at May 22, 2005 02:13 PM

Last time I checked, the Conventions were a series of treaties regarding behavior during wartime, and when the United States Senate ratifies a treaty, it becomes United States law.

Also, we act better than our enemies because we are better than our enemies. When we decide that because our enemies are bad, that we should act like them, we begin to dismantle the things that make us better in the first place, and for which we're fighting.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 22, 2005 02:25 PM

A treaty, any treaty, like any contract, is conditional on the other party fulfilling its terms of conditions. Why is that so difficult for you to comprehend? And again, the GC "rules of war" are NOT mandatory. Read the damn thing! The GC simply advises the parties on a set of parameters that may or may not be followed. The rules aren't obligatory on anyone! Sheesh.

Posted by: mika, at May 22, 2005 02:43 PM

In that instance, Mary, it sure as heck was a pretty vital player I'd say. In fact it's rare that it's not, since the US controls so much wealth worldwide. Heck, the UN couldn't even put up a real opposition to the US' invasion of Iraq, I'd say the US has had the UN where it wanted it for a long time already. For almost 25 years it was able to deny China representation just because it didn't like the form of government that emerged in the aftermath of the Chinese revolution. No?

Posted by: stan at May 22, 2005 02:47 PM

Mika,

Lord, I don't know why I'm doing this again, but I'll try. A contract between two parties within a legal system can be voided when one party breaches the contract. A contract is different from a ratified treaty which has become law.

But, more importantly, we signed those things for a reason, not because sometimes it would be convenient and other times it would be inconvenient to live up to the requirements.

Isn't that the whole point of the moral high ground? That it's better, and that's why we take it? When we take the moral high ground and then piss it away when it's inconvenient or because we're fighting an enemy that's worse than us, then we start to give up the moral high ground and personally, I'd like to stay there.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 22, 2005 02:51 PM

"just because it didn't like the form of government that emerged.."

Remind the people why is it that totalitarian dictatorships are a legitamate form of government, Stan.

Posted by: mika. at May 22, 2005 02:56 PM

"we signed those things for a reason,.."

Yes. And those reasons no longer apply. Btw, what moral high ground do you wish to claim by according respect to a mass murderer such Saddam and his regime?

Posted by: mika. at May 22, 2005 03:02 PM

Erratum:

..such ^as Saddam and his regime

Posted by: mika. at May 22, 2005 03:05 PM

"Remind the people why is it that totalitarian dictatorships are a legitamate form of government, Stan."

uhm, gee, i don't know, because we allowed scores of totalitarian and dictatorial regimes to have seats on the UN in the 1950's, 60's,...duh. who said having a 'legitimate' form of gov't had anything to do with why the US didn' t allow the Chinese to have a seat for 25 years? Your hypocrisy knows no bounds.

Posted by: stan at May 22, 2005 03:12 PM

We showed respect to Suharto and didn't mind his mass murder, what was the big deal with Saddam? A funny kind of 'concern' or 'revulsion' with Saddam when Suharto was A-ok with couch warriors all along.

Posted by: stan at May 22, 2005 03:14 PM

Those regimes have been in breach of the UN Charter for far too long. Time to cross these regimes off. Don't you think? Btw Stan, it wasn't I that let them on the UN. But it is I that wants them off. How is my hypocrisy showing?

Posted by: mika. at May 22, 2005 03:22 PM

Shorter stan: the bad in the world that is not the direct result of US action is a direct result of US inaction.

Posted by: Mark Poling at May 22, 2005 03:42 PM

mika, you were the one coming up with an extremely weak rationale for keeping China off the UN for 25 years. Mind you, you're the one who sarcastically asked me if I thought the UN was controlled by the US. I guess that one example wasn't something you could handle, thus the non-sequitor of 'totalitarianism'...

Mark, not a question of inaction or action. The US was not 'inactive' in that Clintonesque decision to let Rwandans be slaughtered. The point of that article is quite clear and well documented within, namely the US was actively acting in its interest to not allow any other nation to have any influence on its foreign policy. To the extent a UN empowered with the capacity to act effectively undermined that goal...

Posted by: stan at May 22, 2005 03:50 PM

So, the US effectively controls the UN, and fears it becoming an effective agent in the world.

Gotcha.

Posted by: Mark Poling at May 22, 2005 04:01 PM

"Mind you, you're the one who sarcastically asked me if I thought the UN was controlled by the US. "

You're unhinged. I guess I already knew that. I'll let the others satiate their indulgence with you. Toodle-oo.

Posted by: mika. at May 22, 2005 04:06 PM

All those reasons still apply. We still want our enemies to surrender to us, we still want some norms of treatment of prisoners (regardless of whether or not some of our enemies abide by them - the fact that the Nazis were monsters didn't stop us from applying the Conventions), we still want the moral high ground, we still want to encourage reciprocal treatment of our prisoners, we still want to make the world a better place.

And yes, taking the moral high ground means according the same treatment to each and every prisoner of war. We should not make exceptions whenever we want, because then it stops being a standard. Taking the moral high ground, in this case, might be inconvenient, and it might seem strange to accord these standards to a monster, but we wrote the rules because we thought they were a good thing, they're still a good thing, and we should continue to abide by the rules that we wrote ourselves.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 22, 2005 04:18 PM

Your enemy surrenders to you, because if not, he will surely be annihilated. That's the only reason for surrender. And regards your taqiya bout the Nazis and their allies. We happily bombed their cities into oblivion, killing millions of civilians in the process. And we were better for it. We saved many of our soldiers' lives because of that. That's the moral high ground that should be taken. I don't give a sh*t bout the enemy's well being. That's his problem not mine. He should have thought about his life when he became my enemy.

GC rules are a gentlemen's agreement. They don't apply to monsters. Get it! THAT'S THE POINT. If you don't behave you don't get privileged treatment. The GC are an incentive to behave, nothing more. Further, for this incentive to work, monsters like Saddam need to know what "nice" treatment awaits them when they don't behave. Yours is an inane argument.

Posted by: mika. at May 22, 2005 05:03 PM

Well, no. Soldiers don't surrender if they think they'll be tortured and killed by the enemy. They fight to the death. Look what happened at Stalingrad, or any other confrontation between the Soviets and Nazis - each side eventually knew what surrender meant, and stopped surrendering. Nazis surrendered to us by the city-full because they thought we'd treat them well.

Mika, every time I talk to you, it's all about that taqiya thing. Every time I talk to you, you say "lalalala, I don't have to listen, because of this taqiya thing, lalalalala". Taqiya this, taqiya that. Do you dream taqiya?

I just can't do it anymore. I'm sorry. You're still as crazy as you were last time!

Posted by: The Commenter at May 22, 2005 05:10 PM

And, just as a reminder, the Geneva Conventions are meant to influence not just the behavior of countries, governments, and armies as groups, but also the behavior of individuals. If we abandon the GC because Saddam and some of his soldiers violated them, we're ignoring the enemy who might have incentive to not violate the GC. Not to mention the fact that most of the people abused by US forces have turned out not to be terrorists or, in the case of Iraq or Afghanistan, even enemy soldiers (as opposed to random people who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time).

Posted by: The Commenter at May 22, 2005 05:13 PM

Hassan,
You better check your history books. He's a clue:

On February 2nd, 1943 Paulus surrendered. The Russians took over 110,000 prisoners including 24 generals in Stalingrad. Guess how many retured home to Germany?

Posted by: mika. at May 22, 2005 05:24 PM

Holy fuck, this is what I'm talking about: we're back to the Hassan bit. It makes you look like a clown.

Anyway, look at Stalingrad, how long did those soldiers fight before they surrendered? How long did they go without food, medicine, clothing? How long did they freeze to death? How many fought to the death before the survivors surrendered? How many soldiers did the Soviets lose forcing them to surrender?

Likewise, how many soldiers did the Soviets lose taking Berlin? How many Germans fought on until the bitter, bitter, bitter end?

The Germans tried to string the war along as long as they could and slow the Soviets as much as possible in order to get as many people as possible to the west where they could surrender to the US and Britain. That's motivation, baby. They knew who would treat them well, who wouldn't, and voted with their feet and their last bullets.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 22, 2005 05:34 PM

You're unhinged. I guess I already knew that. I'll let the others satiate their indulgence with you. Toodle-oo.

--Hardly, you're the one with delusions that inform you that the US kept China out of the UN because it was totalitarian. Surely you can't be serious when the evidence is clear that that was the last reason in the world the US would keep a country out of the UN.
And Mark, you ain't got nothin I'm afraid. The US asserts far more control in the UN than a Mika is willing to acknowledge, I'd say that for sure. And yeah, the evidence is pretty clear the US went out of its way to obstruct when it was possible for the UN to do something about UN as a peacekeeping force. But that was unpallatable for the US, be it in Republican or Democratic face.

Posted by: stan at May 22, 2005 05:40 PM

"Anyway, look at Stalingrad, how long did those soldiers fight before they surrendered?"

They surrendered when they knew it was game over. The point being that they surrendered -- something you said they wouldn't.

"That's motivation, baby"

LOL! That's the power of Capitalism, baby! Would you want to live under Communism? Still, I'd like to see the demography statistics pre WWII along the East West division. You have em?

Holy fuck, this is what I'm talking about: we're back to the Hassan bit. It makes you look like a clown.

I think I've already establish who and what you are. No need to go over that again.

Posted by: mika. at May 22, 2005 06:11 PM

That's my point, Mika. You think you've established that I am a taqiya-practicing Muslim named Hassan.

What you've actually established is that you're a paranoid, delusional, racist, proto-fascist schmuck who's obsessed with group identities and rights, who has advocated genocide on occasion.

If you only got the irony of calling a white boy from the suburbs of New York who's been an atheist since he was 8 a Muslim of any sort. If only you got how big an ass you make of yourself.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 22, 2005 06:29 PM

You haven't said a truthful thing yet. Why should you start now. Anyhoo, got them statistics yet? The madrasa did provide you with those, right? Or did you just take their word for it?

Posted by: mika. at May 22, 2005 06:42 PM

Does anyone else see how insane this is? Please, someone tell me I'm not the only one.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 22, 2005 06:48 PM

I'd also like the statistics on how many German Nazis surrendered to the Americans between 1943-44. After all, according to your argument, since the Germans knew the Americans would treat them better, they'd surrender en masse to the Americans.

Posted by: mika. at May 22, 2005 06:54 PM

Current lefty logic: doesn't agree with me = must be stupid,

Posted by: Martin Grossman at May 22, 2005 06:56 PM

Martin,

This isn't about a disagreement. This is about the fact that Mika has decided that I am a Muslim named Hassan who wants to destroy America. If he just disagreed with me, it would be one thing. When he starts having delusions, it's another.

Posted by: The Commenter at May 22, 2005 07:01 PM

Commenter: "Does anyone else see how insane this is? Please, someone tell me I'm not the only one."

Yes, friend, it's insane, but I think the insanity is arguing with Mika-dot. I think he's a troll. Mind you, I often confuse extreme right-wing moon-bats for trolls.

Posted by: VinoVeritas at May 22, 2005 07:11 PM

Haha! Vino to the rescue. Why am I not surprised.

Posted by: mika. at May 22, 2005 07:14 PM

Current lefty logic: doesn't agree with me = must be stupid.

"Americans are the Dumbest People on the Planet."

--Michael Moore

Posted by: spaniard at May 22, 2005 08:07 PM

Commenter - I asked if you knew how many dictators were punished for their crimes after the 1949 Geneva rules were established.

As far as I know, the number is close to zero.

Compare that to the many millions who were murdered by state or indirectly state-funded paramilitary groups.

How many legally declared wars have taken place since 1949? As far as I know, a state of war between the US an North Vietnam was never declared. I don't think we've fought any real wars since WWII.

the Geneva Conventions are meant to influence not just the behavior of countries, governments, and armies as groups, but also the behavior of individuals. If we abandon the GC because Saddam and some of his soldiers violated them, we're ignoring the enemy who might have incentive to not violate the GC.

I'm not talking about abandoning the Geneva convention because of Saddam, I'm talking about changing outdated rules of warfare that no longer work.

The problem goes beyond Saddam. There will be another Saddam, there will be many more Saddams. The rules of the Geneva Convention guarantee it. Dictators are never punished for their crimes. Terrorists are often given political power as a reward for their crimes. Non combatants are slaughtered by these criminals, and therefore punished by these laws, every day.

The Geneva Convention rules were put in place to protect the lives and rights of non-combatants in war. They have failed miserably. Its time for a change.

Posted by: mary at May 22, 2005 08:24 PM

Stan - if you believe that the US controlls the UN, do you believe that the UN should be given more political power or less?

Posted by: mary at May 22, 2005 08:28 PM

Who let Mika and Stan in here? Jeez.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 23, 2005 12:36 AM

Totten,
I let myself in. I smelled shuarma cooking. Or was it taqiya. Hope you don't mind.

Posted by: mika. at May 23, 2005 05:43 AM

Mary, good morning. I hope you have a happy Victoria Day.

"…how many dictators were punished for their crimes after the 1949 Geneva rules were established."

The world doesn't have a great record there. Hopefully Milosevic will be the first. But let's note that Milosevic is being prosecuted in the International Court of Justice, which the USA has refused to join. If the US rejects the authority of the ICJ, who will do the prosecuting? The USA, "because we're America" or "because we're the strongest"? Do you really want to take on that role? Or are failed states themselves supposed to do the prosecuting? or some ad hoc "coalition of the Willing"

"How many legally declared wars have taken place since 1949? … I don't think we've fought any real wars since WWII."

I think both the Korean War and Gulf One qualified as "real" wars. They were both sanctioned by the UN Security Council and thus valid under international law. But how many real wars has America had since WWII? And by "real" war I mean something that involves more than a division, for more than a couple weeks. I think there are only four - Korea, Vietnam, Gulf One, and now Gulf Two. Only the two that were backed by the United Nations were successful. Vietnam certainly wasn't, and Gulf Two is far from over yet.

Yes, we're in a new age, and the world needs to change how it deals with terrorism. But American unilateralism will not unite the world in that fight.

Posted by: VinoVeritas at May 23, 2005 06:54 AM

It was far, far from being unilateral, Vino. I wish those who oppose "non-U.N. sanctioned actions when there is a Republican president" would stop automatically calling them unilateral.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at May 23, 2005 07:05 AM

exhelodrv: "It was far, far from being unilateral..."

If by "it" you mean Gulf Two, you're right, it was not unilateral, but it was also far from being a broad coalition. Only one other nation, Britain, contributed a large number of combat troops.

I was talking not just about war, but also about the American tendency to rewrite rules for shirt-term expediency.

Playing fast and loose with the Geneva Conventions is a prime example. Whatever has been gained in terms of intelligence (and I suspect it is minimal) has been more than offset by damage in the war for "hearts and minds", to use an old phrase. The most recent example is Hamid Karzai who is expressing outrage of American treatment of prisoners in Afghanistan.

(Incidentally, I should have listed Afghanistan as a "real" war. I can't recall if it was sanctioned by the UN, but it was certainly justified, and had international support. There are also many NATO countries that have contributed troops for ongoing peacekeeping operations there.)

Rejecting the authority of the ICJ is another example of shortsighted unilateralism, I believe.

Another is refusing to sign the international treaty banning the use and sale of land mines. Land mines are a poor man's weapon. Why would the most powerful nation on earth refuse to sign a treaty that will hurt its opponents more than it will hurt them?

Posted by: VinoVeritas at May 23, 2005 08:16 AM

Vino,

signing any treaty that only the good guys will have to adhere to-- and that bad guys will flaunt-- is ridiculous.

It's the geopolitical version of gun control-- where law abiding citizens disarm while criminals continue armed to the teethe.

Posted by: spaniard at May 23, 2005 08:19 AM

I don't see how you can say it was not a "broad coalition." What would have made it "broad"? France? Russia? They were obviously never going to participate because they were in the process of getting fleas while laying down with Saddam. The U.N. is so anti-American that nothing will ever get done there if it is going to end up being to our advantage. So that means that we need to get what allies we can, and accomplish the required mission. Land mines are a huge part of our defenses in Korea, for one thing. For another, us signing a treaty on them is not going to keep the other groups from using them. There is no Geneva Convention where the terrorists are concerned, so there is no "playing fact and loose" with it. It is very cut-and-dried on these issues. I acknowledge that most likely, as a whole, some of the events that have occurred have hurt us more via PR than they have helped. But that is also due to the fact that the media gleefully over-reports those instances in an attempt to damage this administration, while rarely putting them into the perspective of how the terrorists act. By ICJ do you mean the international court? If so, IMO there is too much potential for that taking a significant anti-American slant to risk it.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at May 23, 2005 08:52 AM

Spaniard: “signing any treaty that only the good guys will have to adhere to-- and that bad guys will flaunt-- is ridiculous.”

No, it does a couple things. First, it establishes a norm by which actions can be judged – not just by America but by the world. It’s no longer just “you pissed us off, now you’re screwed.” It’s “you’ve violated the laws that civilized countries have agreed to. Now you’re really screwed.”

Second, if the enemy believes he will be treated humanely, he is more likely to surrender. Probably somewhere in the world there is at least one twenty-two year old Muslim who got sucked into the jihad bullshit when he was twenty. Now he’s having second thoughts, but is scared shitless of surrendering to America or America’s allies. Does this serve America’s interests?

exhelodrv: “What would have made it "broad"? France? Russia? They were obviously never going to participate…”

No, but America probably wouldn’t have gotten the allies it did if it didn’t use WMD as a justifications - and Weapons of Mass Destruction, as it turned out, never existed. Oops. Was that incompetence or mendacity? I will leave that debate to others.

Bush would never even have gotten the support of the majority of the American public, if they had known that Saddam was as weak as he turned out to be.

“There is no Geneva Convention where the terrorists are concerned…”

I don’t pretend to be an expert here, but I believe they fall under the category of “non-uniformed combatants”. As such, I believe they are entitled to a speedy trial, not indefinite detention, and certainly not torture.

Posted by: VinoVeritas at May 23, 2005 09:53 AM

Yes, we're in a new age, and the world needs to change how it deals with terrorism. But American unilateralism will not unite the world in that fight.

I wasn't talking about American unilateralism. The Geneva convention rules were formed, like the UN, by the leaders of nations. It's no surprise that these rules and these institutions only protect the leaders of nations, not the citizens.

If the rules of war are to be changed, they should be changed by the people, not the leaders. Under the current laws, civilians are not allowed to defend themselves against crimes committed by their own state, or crimes committed by terrorists.

As we saw in Iraq and in Lebanon, when people are allowed to speak for themselves, they usually do not agree with their leaders, the United Nations, John Kerry or George Bush. Funny thing.

If people were allowed to decide for themselves, they might decide that..

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

..should be added to the Geneva codes. Who knows?

Posted by: mary at May 23, 2005 09:57 AM

Mary: "Under the current laws, civilians are not allowed to defend themselves against crimes committed by their own state, or crimes committed by terrorists."

Just remember Timothy McVeigh. Waco WAS a crime. McVeigh was using your logic to justify what he did.

I'll shut up now, before MJT shuts me up.

Posted by: VinoVeritas at May 23, 2005 10:08 AM

Vino - the quote about militias and the idea that ordinary civilians should be able to defend themselves was from the second Amendment of the American constitution, not Timothy McVeigh. Its part of the foundation of our democracy, a fact of life that we've lived with for more than two hundred years.

Self defense isn't terrorism - it's the polar opposite of terrorism. Why would you confuse the two concepts?

..and why would anyone shut you up. Your comments are always interesting. It's always nice to get different points of view, including Canadian ones.

About giving previously unheard people a voice - I think the web has great potential for that sort of thing. The UN, the press and 'international law' have had their chance to prove that they're capable of speaking for people, and, like the Geneva Codes, they've failed.

Oh, Happy Victoria day.

Posted by: mary at May 23, 2005 10:51 AM

Speaking of the voice of the people, the US govt. seems to be more upset about the underwear photos than most Iraqis. The press is treating it as a good excuse to write puns about "probes" and "briefs."

Posted by: mary at May 23, 2005 10:56 AM

I’m just a simple right-wing city boi, but aren’t rules supposed to be for games, not war?

And why aren't these captured Jihadists in Iraq/Afganistan not presented for a quick tribunal, lined up and shot as simple war criminals, per the Hague Convention? Why are these mosque-itos allowed to merrily serve time at a 4 star hotel in Cuba?

Posted by: mika. at May 23, 2005 11:23 AM

Mika: "Why are these mosque-itos allowed to merrily serve time at a 4 star hotel in Cuba?"

Sorry Mika. The 4 star hotels in Cuba are for Canadians. We don't allow riffraff.

Guantanimo, I believe is mins two stars.

Posted by: VinoVeritas at May 23, 2005 12:10 PM

MINUS two stars

Posted by: VinoVeritas at May 23, 2005 12:11 PM

Nah, you're confused with one of Castro's hotels. Gitmo is a 4 star facility. You even get a running toilet at Gitmo. Try to find one of those in Fidel's beach brothels you Canuckistanis like to patronize.

Posted by: mika. at May 23, 2005 12:56 PM

Mary, I’m well aware of the 2nd Amendment. Canada is a country of 30 million, next to a country of 300 million, so we tend to be much more aware of you than you are of us.

I’ve learned better than to try to convince Americans that the 2nd Amendment is bad public policy. I will simply point out that, over the years, some pretty unsavory groups have embraced the idea that the US government is so bad that insurrection or armed resistance is necessary. These groups tend to be right-wing and/or racist. Think Ku Klux Klan, or McVeigh and the militias. But the left has had its armed loonies too – the Weathermen, the Black Panthers, and the Unabomber. Do you really think it’s so great to live in a society where large groups of people are prepared to go to war (shooting, not cultural) with their government and/or fellow citizens? Careful - that's a black diamond slippery slope you're looking down.

“..and why would anyone shut you up. Your comments are always interesting.”

My lady, you are too kind.

“The press is treating it as a good excuse to write puns about "probes" and "briefs."”

Please, no probe jokes. Because of my age, my socialist government pays for a urologist who, once a year, subjects me to acts that are probably illegal in Alabama.

Posted by: VinoVeritas at May 23, 2005 01:26 PM

I will simply point out that, over the years, some pretty unsavory groups have embraced the idea that the US government is so bad that insurrection or armed resistance is necessary

Compare the 'unsavory groups' in the US to the entire population of Europe, where, in the early part of the 20th century, totalitarianism, in the form of fascism or Communism, ruled.

We spent years and billions of dollars cleaning up Europe's mess, and, of course, they're still thanking us for it. (ha!)

Actually, if you want proof that the US system is better, take a look at Europe now. Look at Britain. Look at George Galloway.

I know that the second amendment is too radical for Canadians to deal with, so I won't try to convince you that it's good public policy. And I won't criticize the Canadian health system, or talk about probes. Really.

Posted by: mary at May 23, 2005 03:29 PM

Youll should use Direct TV Deals.
Youll should use Free Dish Network.
Youll should use Direct TV Offer.
Youll should use Direct TV Deal.
Youll should use Dish Network Deals.
Youll should use Direct TV Offers.
Youll should use Dish Network Deals.
Youll should use Direct TV Offers.
Youll should use Direct TV Deal.
Youll should use Dish Network Offer.
Youll should use Dish Network Offers.
Youll should use Free Direct TV Offer.
Youll should use Direct TV Offers.

Posted by: Free Direct TV at July 17, 2005 12:30 PM

Hi I have been given the task of getting links for our websites thathave good page rank on the links directories.In addition we have many categories so your site will be place on an appropriate page. If you would like to trade links please send me your website details.Best Regards,seopro@walla.com
http://www2w.bravehost.com vs the best casino http://casino.vmedical.us new online casino
casinos
casino
online poker
online gambling
online casinos
online casinos
online casinos
online poker
online casinos
online casino
casino
poker
casino
casino
casinos
online casino
online gambling
casino
poker
neteller casinos
online casino
online poker
online casino
internet poker
free online poker
texas holdem poker
poker
online slots
online roulette
online blackjack
poker
online casinos
online casino
online casino
online roulette
online poker
internet casinos
online slots
online blackjack
online poker

Posted by: online casinos at October 12, 2005 09:10 AM

Take your time to check out some information dedicated to tamiflu purchase tamiflu purchase


http://www.dolev-yomel.com/tami1


tamiflu without prescription


http://www.dolev-yomel.com/tami2


tamiflu in canada


http://www.dolev-yomel.com/tami3


tamiflu price


http://www.dolev-yomel.com/tami4


tamiflu price


http://www.dolev-yomel.com/tami5


real tamiflu price


http://www.archipenko.co.il/tami6


buy tamiflu


http://www.archipenko.co.il/tami7


order tamiflu


http://www.archipenko.co.il/tami8


tamiflu online


http://www.archipenko.co.il/tami9


tamiflu


http://www.archipenko.co.il/tami10


tamiflu and no prescription


Tami Flu

Posted by: online casino at October 26, 2005 04:55 AM

new online poker site ! http://poker.trinitytc.com

Poker

http://www.casino-los-angeles.com/poker

Poker

Posted by: poker at December 11, 2005 09:43 AM

AirfareLowest.net provides great tickets at cheap airfare prices for everyone. We have cheap hotels and cheap rental cars available. You can buy cruise tickets all over the worlds. Feel free to check out our prices so you can see that we have the cheapest prices for all tickets. We have all Airfare our tickets are all Lowest Airfare prices for all Cheap Airfare prices world wide. First Class Airfare is available so as Last Minute Airfare Available. We also provide Cheap Hotels for all Hotel Visitors and we do our own Hotels Reservations including Las Vegas Hotels, London Hotels, New York Hotels, Hilton Hotels, Orlando Hotels. We have all Rental Cars for all the location if you take a cruise ship plus cruise reviews available for all cruises. Plane Tickets available 24 hours a day on our secure server. A fare is the fee paid by a traveller allowing him or her to make use of a public transport system: rail, bus, taxi, etc. In the case of air transport, the term airfare is often used.
The fare paid is a contribution Hotels to the operational costs of the transport system involved, either partial (as is frequently the case with publicly supported systems) or total. We have Hitlton Hotels for all hotel motel places such as chicago hotels for hotels deals. Paris hotels are available all the time San Francisco Hotels 24 hours a day with Habbo hotels, for discount hotel rooms, plus all hawaii hotels, and sheraton hotels, plus malaysia hotels. It's great to spend time in radisson hotels with hotel rooms in New York city hotels plus miami hotels, and singapore hotels. We provide all kind of boston hotels for disney hotels and cancun hotels, plus discount vegas hotels for all our clients. San Diego hotels available with best western hotels in bangkok hotels, and cheap new orleans hotels, amesterdam hotels with great view of the city. Number one choice hotels at wyndham hotels for Prague Hotels and Hyatt Hotels, bellagio hotel. Doubletree hotels phuket hotels and westin hotels we have them all at all times plus toronto hotels, and niagara falls hotels. Many bus and rail systems in the United States recover only around one-third of their operational costs from fares.
The rules regarding how and when fares are to be paid and for how long they remain valid are many and varied. Rail and bus systems usually require the payment of fares on or before boarding. In the case of taxis and other vehicles for hire, payment is Cheap Rental Cars normally made at the end of the ride.
Some systems allow fare transfers: that is to say that a single payment permits travel within a particular geographical zone or time period. Such an arrangement is helpful for people who need to transfer from one route to another in order to reach their destination. Sometimes transfers are valid in one direction only, requiring a new fare to be paid for the return trip.

A Net dating service, also known as hispanic dating service online dating or internet dating, is an example of a dating system and allows individuals, couples and speed dating groups to meet online and possibly develop a social, romantic or sexual interracial dating relationship. Net dating services free dating services provide un-moderated lesbian dating matchmaking through the use of personal jewish dating computers and the Internet.
Such black dating services generally allow people to provide personal information, then search for other individuals using sex dating criteria such as age range, gender and location. Most sites allow members to upload photos of themselves dating lexington online and browse the photos of asian dating others. Sites may offer additional services, including webcasts, dating chat online chat, and message boards. Sites dating advice typically allow people to register for free but may offer services which require a monthly fee.
It seems that everywhere bbw dating you turn today been going to dating sites, people are online dating from site dating. More and more American singles use the online dating services to find love, online personals, friendship, or simply an online friend for matchmaking sites. We were launched to help online dating louisville singles of all ages for free online dating and free dating, religions such as christian datind christian dating services and sexual interests, find exactly what they're looking for with singles dating. Every personals or singles site gets reviewed before being posted here on dating web sites.We have availablegay dating, on our online dating sites, LDS Dating also available for everyone. We have dating tips for everyone, all ages dating available such as seniors dating , internet dating and also we have dating personals We provide all kind of dating such as singles for all singles websites so guys and girls can meet single girls to meet singles online. Many sites are broad-based, with members from a variety of backgrounds looking for different types of relationships. Other sites are more specific, based on the dating personals type of members, interests, location, or matchmaker dating relationship desired.U.S. any dating eharmony has href marriage match more online per service than residents spent $469.5 million on online dating and dating issue personals in 2004, the largest segment of “paid content” on the web, according to a study conducted by the Online free dating personals Publishers Association (OPA) and comScore Networks.

In terms of the dating of free dating site complete authoritative texts, there are dating idea three main versions of the relationship dating Hebrew Bible. There is the Masoretic text of the Torah, thought to be first indian dating assembled russian dating in the 4th century CE. The oldest chicago dating known copy (the oldest is the Aleppo Codex, the yahoo dating oldest complete match dating text is the Leningrad Codex) now dates to the christian dating services tenth century CE. There is the Septuagint, married dating which is a Greek translation of the Torah, made under Ptolemy in the third century BCE. The oldest dating or services copy of the Septuagint is dating direct centuries older than the seattle dating oldest complete Masoretic text, and texas dating fragments of the Septuagint date to the second century BCE. There is also the Samaritan Torah, which teen dating emerged after the Assyrian occupation of the web dating northern kingdom of Israel. The Peshitta, a translation of the Christian Bible into Syriac, a dating game variant of Aramaic, can be useful in determining latin dating authenticity of passages and hence help establish dates. The earliest known copy of the Peshitta dates to 445-460 CE.

Online casino, also recognized as virtual casinos, is the online description of land-based casinos. They permit you to play casino games through the internet casino. Some online casinos supply various games such as casino gambling, while others only offer only one type of game. Online poker is also very well-liked and there are many devoted companies that offer this activity such as casino bonus, free casino games, grand casino and world wide such as uk online casino, las vegas casino.

Online casinos can for sure have games offer better odds than casino on net. Land casinos on slots and other formats where the chance of captivating is resolute by the house. Table games like casino gaming, blackjack which have an casino poker,  recognized house edge: for a given set of rules, they offer the similar payout, online or offline. Reliability and faith are hard to gambling casino online establish. To solve this issue, many online casinos purchase their software from well-known best casino, companies such as Wager Works, Microgaming, OddsOn, Playtech and Cryptologic, though a little study casino on line, into credentials of any e-commerce site you plan to use is gambling casino, ordinary sense. These software companies use a casino online gambling random number maker online casino slot to ensure that the casino online gambling, numbers, cards or dice appear randomly. All reputable companies in service in a regulated environment use robust random number generators.

For this particular online casino game example, this would mean that a player depositing $100 would start with $200 in his account. He must make $5000 in wagers online+casino before withdrawing. This can be played at a game such as blackjack.

online pharmacy, pharmacy, canadian pharmacy, vicodin online pharmacy, canada pharmacy, phentermine online pharmacy, online pharmacy valium, xanax online pharmacy, ultram online pharmacy, pharmacy online, alprazolam online pharmacy, discount pharmacy, mexican pharmacy, internet pharmacy, mail order pharmacy, canada online pharmacy, overseas pharmacy, foreign pharmacy, phentermine pharmacy, tesco pharmacy jobs, on line pharmacy, pharmacy technician, online+pharmacy, international pharmacy, viagra pharmacy, pharmacy job, canadian online pharmacy, pet pharmacy, pharmacy discount, canadian pharmacy online, pharmacy drug, pharmacy canadian, pharmacy order tramadol, cvs pharmacy, pharmacy drugs, lortab online pharmacy, lortab pharmacy, mexico pharmacy, vicodin pharmacy, pharmacy jobs, ultram pharmacy, online pharmacy affiliate program, soma online pharmacy, pharmacy on line, canadian discount pharmacy, discount online pharmacy, viagra online pharmacy, adderol online pharmacy, canadian pharmacy affiliate, online discount pharmacy, vicodin+online+pharmacy, online pharmacy tramadol, canadian pharmacy on line, diazepam online pharmacy, pharmacy schools, online pharmacy no prescription, online canadian pharmacy, valium pharmacy, foreign online pharmacy, hydrocodone, online pharmacy, cialis online pharmacy, wholesale pharmacy, cvs pharmacy career, phentermine+online+pharmacy, brooks pharmacy, line pharmacy, online+pharmacy+valium, xanax+online+pharmacy, alprazolam+online+pharmacy, ultram+online+pharmacy, pharmacy school, walgreens pharmacy, international online pharmacy, mexican pharmacy online, hydrocodone pharmacy, pharmacy tech, best online pharmacy, online internet pharmacy, ambien pharmacy, online doctor pharmacy, pharmacy no prescription hydrocodone, online pharmacy celebrex, online pharmacy medicine, line pharmacy phentermine, pharmacy technician schools, canadian on line pharmacy, online pharmacy pay pal, pharmacy tech online, online pharmacy canada, canada+pharmacy, mexican pharmacy ortho novum cheap florida online pharmacy, canada in online pharmacy, law online pharmacy, aldara online pharmacy, online pharmacy technician, online pharmacy technician course, online pharmacy florida delivery phentermine, pharmacy tech online schools, pharmacy technicians

Posted by: Airfare at January 5, 2006 10:52 PM

破碎机冲孔网彩瓦机烘干机加气混凝土设备鄂式破碎机反击式破碎机加气混凝土设备球磨机价格加气混凝土设备免烧砖机价格免烧砖设备回转窑回转窑设备球磨机价格制砂机价格制沙机价格破碎机价格破碎机生产厂家选矿设备鄂式破碎机颚式破碎机反击式破碎机圆锥破碎机破碎设备加气混凝土设备起重机起重设备桥式起重机电动葫芦防爆电动葫芦行车
http://www.hnjslq.com/http://www.cnyxb.com/http://www.zlpt.net/http://www.yunfu8.net.cn/http://www.yunfu8.net.cn/yunfubugai/http://qiangzhi.net.cn/http://www.qiangzhi.net.cn/http://www.zzyinming.com/http://www.caiwaji.net.cn/http://www.hnzq.net/qiaoshiqizhongji.html
牛皮癣孕妇孕妇补钙牛皮癣牛皮癣治疗牛皮癣的治疗治疗牛皮癣中医治疗牛皮癣牛皮癣中医治疗银屑病银屑病治疗银屑病的治疗治疗银屑病中医治疗银屑病银屑病中医治疗牛皮癣银屑病肝硬化肝硬化腹水肝硬化的治疗肝硬化治疗治疗肝硬化肝腹水肺心病闭经强直性脊柱炎强直性脊柱炎的治疗强直性脊柱炎治疗强直性脊柱炎类风湿风湿类风湿的治疗类风湿治疗治疗类风湿类风湿性关节炎症状类风湿性关节炎肝硬化腹水脑血栓偏瘫脑溢血脑淤血偏瘫后遗症茜妍化妆品
破碎机系列 选矿系列 制砂系列 轧钢系列 煤气炉 鄂式破碎机 矿用搅拌筒 洗砂机 立式破碎机 环锤式破碎机 输送机 球磨机 振动筛 锤式破碎机 颚式破碎机 冲击式制砂机 高效节能球磨机 煤气发生炉 冲击式破碎机 转筒式烘干机 冲击式破碎机 磁选机 球磨机 圆锥式破碎机 压球机 高效洗砂机 转筒式烘干机 破碎机 反击式破碎机 砌块成型机 圆盘造粒机 颚式破碎机 对辊破碎机 重型锤式破碎机 免烧压砖机 滚动筛 提升机 钢轧机 冷轧机 转鼓造粒机 摇床 输送机 炉排 成品筛 高堰螺旋分级机

Posted by: niupixuan at December 15, 2007 01:03 AM

破碎机周易易经zhouyijing冲孔网彩瓦机烘干机加气混凝土设备鄂式破碎机反击式破碎机加气混凝土设备球磨机价格加气混凝土设备免烧砖机价格免烧砖设备回转窑回转窑设备球磨机价格制砂机价格制沙机价格破碎机价格破碎机生产厂家选矿设备鄂式破碎机颚式破碎机反击式破碎机圆锥破碎机破碎设备加气混凝土设备起重机起重设备桥式起重机电动葫芦防爆电动葫芦行车
http://www.hnjslq.com/http://www.cnyxb.com/http://www.zlpt.net/http://www.yunfu8.net.cn/http://www.yunfu8.net.cn/yunfubugai/http://qiangzhi.net.cn/http://www.qiangzhi.net.cn/http://www.zzyinming.com/http://www.caiwaji.net.cn/http://www.hnzq.net/qiaoshiqizhongji.html
牛皮癣孕妇孕妇补钙牛皮癣牛皮癣治疗牛皮癣的治疗治疗牛皮癣中医治疗牛皮癣牛皮癣中医治疗银屑病银屑病治疗银屑病的治疗治疗银屑病中医治疗银屑病银屑病中医治疗牛皮癣银屑病肝硬化肝硬化腹水肝硬化的治疗肝硬化治疗治疗肝硬化肝腹水肺心病闭经强直性脊柱炎强直性脊柱炎的治疗强直性脊柱炎治疗强直性脊柱炎类风湿风湿类风湿的治疗类风湿治疗治疗类风湿类风湿性关节炎症状类风湿性关节炎肝硬化腹水脑血栓偏瘫脑溢血脑淤血偏瘫后遗症茜妍化妆品
破碎机系列 选矿系列 制砂系列 轧钢系列 煤气炉 鄂式破碎机 矿用搅拌筒 洗砂机 立式破碎机 环锤式破碎机 输送机 球磨机 振动筛 锤式破碎机 颚式破碎机 冲击式制砂机 高效节能球磨机 煤气发生炉 冲击式破碎机 转筒式烘干机 冲击式破碎机 磁选机 球磨机 圆锥式破碎机 压球机 高效洗砂机 转筒式烘干机 破碎机 反击式破碎机 砌块成型机 圆盘造粒机 颚式破碎机 对辊破碎机 重型锤式破碎机 免烧压砖机 滚动筛 提升机 钢轧机 冷轧机 转鼓造粒机 摇床 输送机 炉排 成品筛 高堰螺旋分级机

Posted by: posuiji at December 15, 2007 01:10 AM
Post a comment













Remember personal info?






Winner, The 2007 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Pajamas Media BlogRoll Member



Testimonials

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

"Terrific"
Andrew Sullivan
Author of Virtually Normal

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

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

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


Contact Me

Send email to michaeltotten001 at gmail dot com


News Feeds




toysforiraq.gif



Link to Michael J. Totten with the logo button

totten_button.jpg


Tip Jar





Essays

Terror and Liberalism
Paul Berman, The American Prospect

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

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

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

Against Rationalization
Christopher Hitchens, The Nation

The Wall
Yossi Klein Halevi, The New Republic

Jihad Versus McWorld
Benjamin Barber, The Atlantic Monthly

The Sunshine Warrior
Bill Keller, The New York Times Magazine

Power and Weakness
Robert Kagan, Policy Review

The Coming Anarchy
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

England Your England
George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn