June 30, 2005

Euros for the "Resistance"

The far-left and far-right are playing in the same sandbox again. (Hat tip: Vodkapundit.)

Who's funding the insurgents in Iraq? The list of suspects is long: ex-Baathists, foreign jihadists, and angry Sunnis, to name a few. Now add to that roster hard-core Euroleftists.

Turns out that far-left groups in western Europe are carrying on a campaign dubbed Ten Euros for the Resistance, offering aid and comfort to the car bombers, kidnappers, and snipers trying to destabilize the fledgling Iraq government. In the words of one Italian website, Iraq Libero (Free Iraq), the funds are meant for those fighting the occupanti imperialisti. The groups are an odd collection, made up largely of Marxists and Maoists, sprinkled with an array of Arab emigres and aging, old-school fascists, according to Lorenzo Vidino, an analyst on European terrorism based at The Investigative Project in Washington, D.C. "It's the old anticapitalist, anti-U.S., anti-Israel crowd," says Vidino, who has been to their gatherings, where he saw activists from Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Italy. "The glue that binds them together is anti-Americanism."

This isn’t surprising. Far-left and far-right terrorist sympathizers have been mouthing off about this sort of thing for years. Consider for example how Billy Roper, head of the “White Revolution” in Arkansas, reacted to the attacks on September 11.
[T]he enemy of our enemy is, for now at least, our friends…We may not want them marrying our daughters…but anyone who is willing to drive a plane into a building to kill Jews is alright [sic] by me. I wish our members had half as much testicular fortitude.
Last year leftist writer and activist Arundhati Roy told Outlook India that she supports the Iraqi “resistance” as well.
[W]hen you look at the massive amount of violence that America is perpetrating in Iraq, I don’t know that I’m in a position to tell Iraqis that you must fight a pristine, feminist, democratic, secular, non-violent war. I can’t say. I just feel that that resistance in Iraq is our battle too and we have to support it.
It was only a matter of time before cretins like these started putting their money where their mouths are.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at June 30, 2005 12:11 AM

Comments

Well the Ten Euros for Resistance webpage looks like its been idle for over a year. And the Italian one I can't read. So once again the evidence for leftist support of Islamic fundamentalisism is thin to none.

I guess pro-war liberals like repeating the same bullshit to themselves-- cuz the last time we argued this point Totten named his athiest cousin and some Starbucks Frappe guy as evidence that the left supports Islamic fundamentalism.

Posted by: Drydock at June 30, 2005 12:57 AM

Drydock: evidence that the left supports Islamic fundamentalism.

Fringe fanatics, Drydock, not "the left."

Whose fault is it that you can't read Italian?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 30, 2005 01:05 AM

Oh and by the way, Drydock, that Web site was last updated yesterday, not a year ago. If you had learned to navigate the Internet properly you could have figured that out all by yourself.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 30, 2005 01:10 AM

Arundhati Roy by the way made an extensive statement along the same lines just this past week... though I can't say that I read absolutely every word once I caught the drift. She hates America above all else -- this is her religion, really -- but she also hates Tony Blair's Britain, which she would see violently destroyed.

Posted by: Todd Grimson at June 30, 2005 04:20 AM

"It's the old anticapitalist, anti-U.S., anti-Israel crowd," says Vidino, who has been to their gatherings, where he saw activists from Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Italy. "The glue that binds them together is anti-Americanism."

The previous thread on anti-Americanism, along with this, reminds me of that old

Baran-Wallerstein thesis!

Posted by: Caroline at June 30, 2005 04:47 AM

What really discredits Euro/American leftists and peace activists is their behavior.

Funding terror aside, do you remember the Human Shield campaign that got so much press?
The Iraqis were really disgusted by foreigners coming to their country to protect Saddam.

But even worse, as an Iraqi pointed out to me, those human shields did not come back to protect Iraqi voters from the insurgents.
These people were willing to risk their lives to guard Saddam's military installations (they claim they wanted to protect hospitals), but are unwilling to protect the massive number of Iraqis participating in democratic elections.

Not only are leftists thinking only in terms of a Western dialogue (ie, Bush wants war and elections, so I am against them), but they are also endangering the lives of the people they claim Bush is hurting. In fact, the leftists are doing more harm to the Iraqi people by protecting Saddam and funding the terrorists than any US serviceman.

The same goes for Lebanon. Leftists stood with Syria and Hezbollah. I was not a member of the "Opposition" prior to Hezbollah's protest. But given that the left in the US and Europe decided to go with Hezbollah, it became imperative for me to show the world that those fanatics don't represent me.

The ultimate irony is that these terrorists would kill the abortionphilic, homophilic, pro-unrestrained sex leftists the minute they got the chance, and yet the leftists are in love with them.

Posted by: lebanon.profile at June 30, 2005 05:46 AM

"the far right" = another small bone Totten occassionally tosses his Lib readers.

This story isn't about "the far right". It's about how the Left is funding terrorism.

Posted by: spaniard at June 30, 2005 06:43 AM

The ultimate irony is that these terrorists would kill the abortionphilic, homophilic, pro-unrestrained sex leftists the minute they got the chance, and yet the leftists are in love with them.

This irony is so obvious that it's a testament to the blind irrational hatred the Left has for conservatives that they don't notice it. When muslim radicals cite the "decadence" of the West that must be destroyed, they aren't talking about Bushian foreign policy-- they're talking about these very Libs and Leftists to whom you refer.

They're talking about YOU, hippie.

And even as these hippies call for a change of U.S. foreign policies to appease the terrorists, they will make no corresponding changes in their own decadent selves.

Posted by: spaniard at June 30, 2005 07:07 AM

Children of Freedom,

The final struggle is upon us. Our political leaders worldwide have show themselves as hypocrites, liars, thieves and selfish, egotistical bastards. The Republicans who believed that one could support troops without supporting the president, now say that such ideas are unpatriotic. Democrats who supported Kosovo, now act as though they're peacenicks.

Why?

Because their loyalty is to their party. Their country, their constituants, their fellow citizens and every terran alive have become secondary to the infallible god of partisanship. This is your country, this is your land, every man woman and child around you are your fellow brothers and sisters. Do you treat them with disdain? Then you besmirch everything this country has tried to stand for. Do you honor the ideals of freedom and democracy, or do you honor power?

Listen: The final fight is coming. You must decide for yourselves where you will stand or if you wallow in the mire of political games? What value is your freedom if your personal property can be taken from you simply because a strip mall would make more tax revenue? What value is your democracy if the federal government can overrun laws passed by the citizens of a State?

The Jihadists are fools, just as the Republicans and Democrats are. Each believes that their views should be enforced on the rest of the world. Each of them are wrong.

Look: The time has come for a response. But not the response of the Black Panthers, not the response of Weather Underground, nay, they were too obvious, too visible and too worried about winning the hearts and minds of society.

Strange love doesn't care about hearts and minds. Hearts and Minds will not be free, until society is free.

Therefore, you will see no further communication from us. You will not know our numbers. You will not know our plans. We will not take credit for our actions. We will end this farce.

Sanity has not prevailed, only insanity remains as our last hope.

Goodbye Blue Monday

Posted by: Gen. Jack D. R. at June 30, 2005 07:16 AM

I am just saying that if I am wrong and Iraq really does play a vital role in the defense of this nation then we should absolutely have no hesitation whatsoever to call up the necessary resources, from additional tax dollars to personnel.

That is what America does, always has done, in times of war and national emergency. And citizens have always risen to the occasion.

Brie eating Euro trash can participate in compulsory service, but tough Americans cannot, interesting.......

And yes, I do think that instituting the draft will separate the foreign policy wheat from the foreign policy chaff.

Americans will fight when the country needs them, when the world needs them. But they will not fight long when they see no obvious necessity.

When you are against the draft you are tacitly admitting that Iraq was not a national emergency, a serious threat, nor a nessecity. You are admitting that you do not like the draft because, by involving the citizens, generally, in wars of choice based on the designs of the rich and well positioned and the theories of their cynical ivory tower hand-maidens, that you might get have a rebellion.

Folks, this is our country, not Bush's. Invest the citizens and they'll make the right choices.

Posted by: avedis at June 30, 2005 11:57 AM | Permalink to this comment

Posted by: NeoDude at June 30, 2005 07:19 AM

I'll admit to having a lifelong disdain of right wingers and though I am considered a neo-con by many, indeed I find the Pat Buchanan wing of the American Right quite loathsome (of course the feeling is mutual). I must say an alarm goes off inside that says the moral equivalency as expressed is a little off on this one. I do admit to having a very personalized sense of betrayal by my former compadres on the left which causes me to have some exaggerated sentiments, but the fact is if all the right wing people were to pack it in the anti-war crowd would still be a very robust group. If all the left wing groups threw in the towel, then opposition to the WOT would be marginalized and token by comparison. I will say though Michael that I do share your strong negative sentiments to the extremes of both groups.

Joseph Samuel Friedman

Posted by: JSF at June 30, 2005 07:27 AM

Therefore, you will see no further communication from us. You will not know our numbers. You will not know our plans. We will not take credit for our actions. We will end this farce.

Sanity has not prevailed, only insanity remains as our last hope.

Goodbye Blue Monday

..ummm, that was different.

Posted by: mary at June 30, 2005 07:39 AM

Shoter exchange between MJT and his readers:

MJT: Here are some leftists who hate America. Here are some right-wingers who hate America. They are bad.

Reader: I totally agree! Leftists are teh suck! They hate freedom and want to make out with Saddam Hussein.

Posted by: The Commenter at June 30, 2005 07:45 AM

Caroline, thanks for that link. Great piece of analysis, and a great source for future follow-up.

BTW, I love it when Vietnam War envy gets so intense people start agitating for the reinstatement of the draft....

Posted by: Mark Poling at June 30, 2005 07:49 AM

The Commenter,

Well, at least Saddam writes romance novels, he's probably better to make out with than Bush or Blair.

Besides, I hear that mustaches tickle.

Ratatosk (Who now has to go wash his hands after typing that ewwww)

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at June 30, 2005 07:50 AM

I can read Italian and the Iraq Libero website is exactly what the US News & WR article says it is. It shouldn't really be surprising - Italy has always had radical groups ready to jump on any cause du jour. Anti-Americanism in Europe has strong historical roots on the right and left, it will never disappear. My question is what exactly does this mean? Yes, we have real enemies in Europe - what should the US do about it that we're not doing? We know the Italian leadership does not support these people. I don't think these groups have the resources to really help the insurgents in a meaningful way. With any luck the CIA has already infiltrated them

Posted by: vanya at June 30, 2005 08:02 AM

Besides, I hear that mustaches tickle.

Ah, the REAL reason for the Bolton filibuster...

Posted by: Steve at June 30, 2005 08:16 AM

Why does anyone in this day and age still believe this 17th century Romanticized view of War?

Throughout the Pre BC time period, war appears to have been about killing, killing however one could, in any way that one could. During the Middle Ages, it seems that there weren't pretty rules of engagement, there was War.

If someone tries to kill me, I will kick, punch, bite, shoot, stab, or use a nearby rock to pop the person in the head. I will not refrain from hitting below the belt. I will not refrain from ambushing them if I get a chance... I won't even refrain from booby traping the house, if I can.

War is Life versus Death, Win versus Lose. I don't fault the insurgents for not playing by the rules. As George Carlin once said about the US Government "They have flamethrowers". If the Iraqi insurgents tried to fight in uniforms and units and brigades and engaged the US forces on a field of battle, they would be obliterated. Hell, our guys could launch a missle from 100 miles away and go have a beer. Or we could simply drop bombs from planes, while they fillde with their AK-47s.

Now of course, we could present a level battlefield. We could hand everyone a sword and tell them that they are entering hand to hand combat, where there are three possible outcomes (You die, they die, ya both die). I wonder how many people would figth a war when you 2 out of 3 options equal death?

If it isn't fair for Insurgents to bomb, ambush, and suidice... is it fair for us to use superior firepower simply because we have more cash to invest in our killing machines?

Either one has the stomach for war and death, or one does not. To speerate traditional warfare and gurilla warfare into "good and evil" is simply slight of mind.

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at June 30, 2005 08:34 AM

Apologies for the terrible spelling errors above.

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at June 30, 2005 08:36 AM

Either one has the stomach for war and death, or one does not. To separate traditional warfare and guerilla warfare into "good and evil" is simply slight of mind.--Tosk

Well said. However you might not necessarily care for the obvious conclusions to be drawn from your analysis. I know you wouldn't care for the conclusions I draw from it.

ps-- spelling corrections ----- No Charge.

Posted by: dougf at June 30, 2005 08:46 AM

Tosk - are you arguing that nihilistic warfare, terrorism in the name of establishing apartheid laws and the deliberate targeting of children is justifiable?

Posted by: mary at June 30, 2005 08:46 AM

Ratatosk,

Hey, Genius, the issue is that the majority of the "resistance" isn't fighting US forces; they're blowing up random people on the street.

Nice try, though. It's hard to come up with 7 paragraphs against a completely fictitious argument.

Posted by: spiral at June 30, 2005 08:48 AM

>>>"To separate traditional warfare and guerilla warfare into "good and evil" is simply slight of mind."

Then I suppose we can now dispense the Geneva Conventions too, as how we deal with POWs is equally a slight of mind. It's about time we leveled this playing field. Or does your theory only apply when it cuts in favor of the little brown folks?

Posted by: spaniard at June 30, 2005 08:51 AM

Spainard,

As long as we honestly say, in public, to the world, "Fuck the Geneva Conventions, we're bailing out", I'd go along with it.

Spiral,

They're blowing up their 'enemies'. We're blowing up our enemies. What difference is there?

Mary,

I didn't say that anything was justifiable. I simply pointed out the reality of the situation. War is hell. It's hell for the mommies and daddies and kids. If the enemy has superior firepower, then one must finght however they can. IF America wants to win this war, they'll have to realize that and respond in kind.

dougf,

If your conclusion is "fuck them before they fuck us" then I would agree with your conclusion. If we really believe that we're right, then we must win. If this is a farce, then we should get the hell out.

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at June 30, 2005 09:03 AM

IF America wants to win this war, they'll have to realize that and respond in kind

How, exactly, do you think we should respond 'in kind'?

Posted by: mary at June 30, 2005 09:05 AM

There's a certain logic to the reasons why the Far Right supports groups that are anti-women,anti-gay and anti-Jewish. But the Far Left? This is why the term Cretino-Leftist has been coined. It's the pro-Mumia crowd.

Posted by: melk at June 30, 2005 09:06 AM

Mary,

What do you think I meant? Come on, use your imagination.

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at June 30, 2005 09:08 AM

Ratatosk,

They're blowing up non-combatants. How exactly are they their enemies? Before you respond, realize the "enemy" is not synonymous with "people who they don't like."

Posted by: spiral at June 30, 2005 09:12 AM

As long as we honestly say, in public, to the world, "Fuck the Geneva Conventions, we're bailing out", I'd go along with it.

So "slights of mind" are only valid if played out publicly?

That's simply your arbitrary preference, which in my opinion is just another slight of mind.

Posted by: spaniard at June 30, 2005 09:13 AM

"If your conclusion is "fuck them before they fuck us" then I would agree with your conclusion. If we really believe that we're right, then we must win. If this is a farce, then we should get the hell out."--Tosk

ABSOLUTELY . F*** the nuance.No-one should be asked to sacrifice for a MAYBE situation. Whatever it takes to WIN in the most efficient manner is what we should be doing,and if we are not prepared to do that then we should abandon ship and give up.

Posted by: dougf at June 30, 2005 09:18 AM

Our enemies saw off hostages' heads. Their enemies are basically anyone who, well...

Actually, the only people who aren't their enemies are them. You know. The Gang.

That's the depressing thing about the "insurgency." From what I read, it's more a social club for sociopaths than anything like a coherent movement.

So yeah, Rat, I think there's a qualitative difference between our side and "theirs". And yes, I can respect just about any tactic used (in the field) against U.S. soldiers. But the lovely laddies crossing the border to find the shortcut to their 72 heavenly virgins don't seem to be that picky about how many earthly ones they mow down on the way.

This is not a conflict of civilizations. It's a conflict of civilization versus madness. There are signs that civilized people in the Middle East are getting that. Hopefully Edward Said is watching from hell and gnashing his teeth (in between his turns as a virgin).

Posted by: Mark Poling at June 30, 2005 09:21 AM

Spiral,

The enemy is whomever the assailant defines as the enemy. I don't necessarily think that its 'good' for them to blow up random people, but I would think that they must consider random people their enemy.

Mosbunall people tend to think in aristotlean logic (is vs. not is) For mosbunall people they consider the statement "With us or against us" as true. (I think I heard some guy named George say that once). If the Iraqi citizen is not with them... then they must be against them... in mosbunall people's viewpoints.

"So "slights of mind" are only valid if played out publicly?"

Nah, I just perfer honesty. We signed on to the GC, if we need to fight a real war for keeps... then we should tell the rest of the world that we're withdrawing from all thoser nicities. I also think it might make somebunall of our enemies rethink matters if we set their expectations in such a fashion.

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at June 30, 2005 09:22 AM

dougf,

Indeed. Either we're really in a "win or die" situation and we're really desperately trying to end the threat of another 9/11 or we're masturbating all over a bunch of corpses.

Personally, I'm no fan of necrophillia.

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at June 30, 2005 09:27 AM

What do you think I meant? Come on, use your imagination

I don't know what you meant, and I'm asking you for the details. I'm sure you have plenty of ideas, and we would like to know what they are.

In your opinion, what specific tactics do you think we need to use to win this war?

Posted by: mary at June 30, 2005 09:29 AM

Nah, I just perfer honesty.

Tosk,

what you "prefer" is duly noted, even though it's entirely irrelevant to the argument.

Posted by: spaniard at June 30, 2005 09:30 AM

Ratatosk,

Look up the definition of the word enemy. (You'll see that it's not a matter of choice.)

By YOUR definition the insurgents could claim YOU were the enemy, chop your head off, and if anybody thought there was anything wrong with it they would have a "17th century Romanticized view of War."

It would be completely acceptable for you to say, "You know, when I wrote that post I wasn't even thinking about the attacks on civilians, I was just thinking about attacks against US forces. I wasn't clear in my writing." Instead you have too much pride wrapped up in, of all things, a comment on a website. It's depressing because the argument is now not about what's going on in Iraq, it's about your fragile ego.

Posted by: spiral at June 30, 2005 10:13 AM

avedis(?): When you are against the draft you are tacitly admitting that Iraq was not a national emergency, a serious threat, nor a nessecity.

So, anyone who's against drafting police is tacitly admitting that law enforcement isn't a necessity? Being against drafting nurses means one is tacitly admitting medicine isn't a necessity? Firemen and fighting fires? Teachers and education?

The leftista 'draft!' and 'chickenhawk!' memes are sorry enough on their own, combining them just increases their absurdity geometrically.

Posted by: Achillea at June 30, 2005 10:31 AM

Let me throw this out there:

Is it wrong to feel a strong temptation to bring upon these people the exact same type of violence that they are supporting? It's my instinct that by these actions they are joining the fight not just against our soldiers, but also against us; and therefore they should be dealt with not by our government, but by our citizens. I think it's only fitting we do so with their own tactics and the tactics of their beneficiaries. Is not all fair in love and war?

Posted by: Mike T. at June 30, 2005 10:32 AM
Tosk,

Climb down from your Ivory Tower and answer mary @ 09:29

If someone tries to kill me, I will kick, punch, bite, shoot, stab, or use a nearby rock to pop the person in the head. I will not refrain from hitting below the belt. I will not refrain from ambushing them if I get a chance... I won't even refrain from booby traping the house, if I can.

That all rings hollow coming from an Ivory Tower poseur too askaird to talk to a girl.

Posted by: S at June 30, 2005 10:37 AM

I think it's only fitting we do so with their own tactics and the tactics of their beneficiaries. Is not all fair in love and war?

Via Andre Glucksman
"…what do extremist ideologies like the communism or Nazism of yesteryear and the Islamism of today have in common? After all, they support ostensibly very different ideals – the superior race, mankind united in socialism, the community of Muslim believers (the Umma). Tomorrow, it could be altogether different ideals: some theological, some scientific, others racist. But the common characteristic is nihilism."

The root element is the attitude that anything goes, particularly when with regard to ordinary people: I can do whatever I want, without scruples. Goehring put it like this: my consciousness is Adolf Hitler. Bolsheviks said: man is made of iron. And the Islamists whom I visited in Algeria said that you have the right to kill little Muslim children, in order to save them."

The nihilistic philosophy that a certain group of terrorists/oppressors can do whatever they want to "save" their society will eventually destroy the society. Glucksman calls this "belligerent hubris"
Wherever you go, this belligerent hubris is considered lethal. In the huts of the Amazon, young men are taught to conquer this capacity for excessive violence. You can fight together, but you cannot fight in any way that comes to hand, and you don’t set out to fight just anyone. The same idea occurs in the teachings of the Greeks, the paidera. All European education is based on the same principle.
It used to be, anyway.

The indigenous tribes of the Amazon know that terrorism is taboo but apparently some of us do not.

Most people are repulsed by terrorism for the same reason we’re repulsed by cannibalism and incest. It’s taboo, a crime against humanity, abhorrent because it can destroy a whole community, not just individual lives.

Terrorism destroys the societies that use it, one of many reasons why it’s abhorrent. If we adopt the tactics of the Palestinians, our society will become like the Palestinians’ Just one of many reasons why deliberately targeting and murdering children is wrong.

Why does this question even need to be answered?

Posted by: mary at June 30, 2005 10:42 AM

lebanon.profile "But even worse, as an Iraqi pointed out to me, those human shields did not come back to protect Iraqi voters from the insurgents"

That's an excellent point. I was disgusted by watching my snot-nosed peers their using mindless ideocentric beliefs to justify their obnoxious self-important actions. If I was wrong and it wasn't as I said, then I believe I would have seen them shielding men women and children last January.

Why not then? I think simply because, whether they grudgingly admit it or not, they know American troops won't intentially shoot at them, but the Iraqi terrori....insurgents will.

Posted by: Mike T. at June 30, 2005 10:44 AM

No, its not wrong, the problem is going all Godzilla on the places that are providing the foriegn fighters, it seems.

Posted by: Eric Blair at June 30, 2005 10:47 AM

Mary,

Excellent thoughts and good excerpts. I think maybe you misunderstood my question. Allow me to use an anology:

A frightened, scared woman is running down a bombed out street away from a fierce firefight. You see her, she is one of the enemy, but unamarmed; you do not wish to shoot her. She continues toward you and as she nears you watch her bend down to pick up the rifle of a fallen enemy fighter. As she does this you say under your breath not to pick it up, you plead for her not to do so, but she does. And as she raises the barrel towards you, and continues to bear down upon your posiiton, you must then decide "Do I have a right to eliminate this threat?".

My question is do these conscious adults, knowledgeable of their position and what they are doing, qualify themselves as enemies and threats and is it therefore justified to eliminate them as a threat. Are they truly still "civilians" in this fight? Obviously our enemies, the ones they support, do not afford us such consideration.

I don't advocate the killing and maiming of innocents, in particular children; but these people have made themselves, even if by proxy, combatants. Are tney not legitimate targets?

I'm an extremist only in the fact that I am willing, on my own terms, to bring the fight to my enemies, where ever they are in whatever way necessary. I can tolerate those with opposing points of view from my own, be they religious, racial, or social so long as they do not actively threaten my ability to hold my own beliefs. By actively supporting those who do threaten my ability to do so, they then become a threat themselves and thus need to be dealt with.

I'm putting this out there because I sincerely respect the opinions of most of the people here and am more or less taking my "temperature".

Posted by: Mike T. at June 30, 2005 11:14 AM

Mary,
I sense that you have a good and noble soul, but that you are blind to the realities of the world. And that your characterization of the culture of nihilism is just a lot of hand-waving, and is way off base.

In the course of war, the moral rules that we aspire to live by, in the comfort of our peaceful lives, melt away.

Purposeful targenting of innocent women and children (and innocent men as well)? Lets be honest here. The United States willfully targeted for annihalation more innocent people in one night, in Dresden, than all the modern islamist terrorists have killed in the history of their movements. We need not even consider Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, or any of the other major axis cities that got similar treatment.

I suspect that most Americans consider those events totally morally justified. It was a war against what we percieved as a great evil. We felt our own security as a society was threatened. And the tactical equation was that these events would hasten the end of the war, thus saving lives in the long run.

The jihadis, no matter how horrific the society that they seek to establish seems to us, probably follow the same equation. They most likely sincerely believe in the virtue of their ideal Islamic state. From that perspective, they see our culture as unmitigated evil, and in the process of corrupting their own societies. They feel their societies under attack, and they justify their attacks on innocents as a means to hasten the end of the war.

Understanding them is not equivalent to justifying them. They must be defeated, wholly and entirely. But lets dispense with the cartoon-book moralizing, or pretending that we persue our existential struggles on a higher moral plane. We do that when we can, and still prevail. When the struggle becomes more difficult, then we set aside our scruples. Just like anyone else.

In the end, the "nihilism" explantion just does not cut it. These people are fighting for ideals that they see as positive ( I obviously dont agree with that assessment). They use tactics that are as brutal as necessary to achieve their vision.

Posted by: Karl Jr. at June 30, 2005 11:18 AM

Ratatosk, Mike, et all.

You are asserting a false dilemma. To sum it up, either we hamper ourselves and risk losing or we fight like they do. These stem from an assumption that their method of fighting is superior to our method. Seriously, I doubt even the terrorists think that. You don't think they would like to beat us in open warfare on the field of battle? Terrorism is the act of someone who does not have the power to fight conventionally. Terrorists are terrorists because they have no other choice. It is the act of a person who knows he is losing. How many wars have been won by terrorism?

In addition, If we were to act like the terrorists a lot of people would join our enemies. How would that help us. In war, moral authority is a powerful asset. This is why so many anti-American bigots are nearly delusional, pretending like we have none. If we followed your advice we would be giving the anti-Americans bigots exactly what they wanted!

Posted by: JBP at June 30, 2005 11:21 AM

Joseph: the moral equivalency as expressed is a little off on this one

Just showing the far-leftists who they resemble these days.

Besides, right-wing anti-Americanism is huge in Europe. Jacques Chirac, for starters, not to mention Jorge Haider and Jean Marie Le Pen.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 30, 2005 11:39 AM

Mike T.: I think it's only fitting we do so with their own tactics and the tactics of their beneficiaries. Is not all fair in love and war?

What the hell? Absolutely not. Think long and hard about the consequences of what you just suggested.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 30, 2005 11:45 AM

Ratatosk and Karl Jr.;

Your moral equivalency arguments, or facsimiles thereof, are refuted by the facts. According to statements released today by the U.S. military, the vast majority of suicide bombings in Iraq ( the acts which you seek to justify, or put on an equivalent moral plane with U.S. actions) are perpetrated, not by Iraqi insurgents, but by foreign fighters, Saudis and North Africans, i.e. Al Quaida f*ckheads motivated by a twisted ideology, or the desire to sleep with ghostly virgins, rather than an interest in the welfare of Iraqis. They are no more welcome in Iraq than the Americans, as is evidenced by documented armed conflicts between the foreign fighters and the native Iraqi insurgents. Apparently, Iraqi insurgents, regardless of their political persuasion, are less willing than western armchair philosophers like Ratatosk to see their innocent countrymen blown to pieces by foreign extremists.

Posted by: MarkC at June 30, 2005 11:54 AM

MJT "What the hell? Absolutely not. Think long and hard about the consequences of what you just suggested.

Temperature taken; I will reflect.

Posted by: Mike T. at June 30, 2005 12:01 PM

There are two issues here:

1) Is it appropriate to use methods such as torture, etc. in our struggle against the Islamic militants?

IMO, the answer to that is pretty clearly yes.

2) The second, not nearly so clear, are we better off in the long run if we use those methods, based on the effect they have on out personnel, the accuracy of the information we receive, and the PR aspect (which is hugely important in this war) of such actions.

I think the answer to that is yes, but it needs to be used very judiciously, only when there is potential for a significant payoff.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at June 30, 2005 12:02 PM

Mary

Thank you for finally making the true points that needed to be made, much more decency is required and expected of us on all fronts. This is in fact why our enemies home and abroad try to attack our nation and leader’s credibility because they know it is most precious and in some ways more important then even some military aspects of War. This is also why this former liberal holds them much more accountable because they attack from within, they attack our Commander in Chief with propaganda. They carry principles that change with the wind to suit the needs of the arguments of the day. These goal post moving tactics in ways that do more harm then bullets. Much of this is masked in cries of concerns about exit strategies, but the lack of true counter proposing says it all. To say we are bogged down and losing ground in Afghanistan one day, but declare the War is over the next is what this unprincipled behavior leads to. The hyper-focusing on highly exaggerated pictures of a failing War, de-emphasizing the clear progress being made while endeavoring to twist honest mistakes into accusations of willful deceit seems the order of the day, I’ll add that it is almost always where evidence to such conclusions can only be reached with high prejudice. They endeavor to paint the motives of those responsible for our national security and arguable error of judgments not as mere errors, but even as deceit and ill-motived. The questioning and out of context arguments that follow do more to reveal the cynicism of cynical people willing to make hay while they can, but often after losing their wits and becoming at best blind to the consequences and at worst subordinating such concern to desires of personal gain. This is of course justified because they assume this is what Bush has done, there is no evidence of such, but this is why people like Howard Dean and Dick Durbin have much to answer for. I see nothing in our Presidents behavior to justify such cynicism. There have been many mistakes but the fact is this War has been screwed up no more and I would argue less then any other we have fought.

It is indeed silly to cast extreme arguments in terms that assume or paint moral equivalency as distorted or irrelevant, somehow justifying fighting on the level of the Palestinians or Terrorists. Of course it is often the same people who will use moral expectations of superior behavior on our part when convenient to their arguments. The expectations placed upon us must be taken in account in all arguments and strategic calculations, but to hear the very same people on one day talk in terms as if to condone an eye for eye and/or tit for tat were justifiable, but the next day complain about highly speculative prisoner abuse and feign shame… in what is clearly a country club prison by comparison to what our foes would offer is just par for the course and representative of what I am talking about. Of course these people also have said that if Bush would just admit to his lies and mistakes then they would be more supportive and it would all get better for him... yeah right!

Soory about the grammar I am in a rush!

Joseph Samuel Friedman

Posted by: JSF at June 30, 2005 12:07 PM

I just look at it like this; As long as we ship our military en masse all over this earth to engage our enemies in the manner in which we always have then we provide more of a target for your critics and enemies.

I much more prefer the "Golda Meir" method of doing things. I would like our presence to be felt and not seen, our enemies never sleeping soundly, never enjoying a moment of peace, never smiling without anxiety. I would like Bashar Assad to never start a car, never take a bite of food, never open a door without fear of the unknown. Terror camps, Madrassas and safehouses randomly eradicated.

Once upon a time we won our freedom by hiding in the trees and shrubs and sniping at soldiers moving in neat blocks all dressed in bright red. They said we didn't fight fairly, that we had no honor. But in the end we won, and we are free. If we wish to remain so, then we must be willing to do what is necessary to win, and never repeat the same mistakes of our former master. How does the saying go..."Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it".

Like I said, this has it's boundaries, we cannot wantonly strike at innocents. However, we are allowed to use fear. We are allowed to untie both our hands, and we are allowed to win soundly and completely.

Posted by: Mike T. at June 30, 2005 12:22 PM

spiral,

1. unfriendly opponent: somebody who hates or seeks to harm somebody or something

It is my opinion that sombunall of the insurgents believe that sombunall citizens of Iraq (particularly Shia) are trying to harm them through secularism (and more key, through reducing their influence/power)

4. something harmful or obstructive: something that harms or opposes something else

("if ya ain't for us, yer again' us") People who are participating in the Iraqi government, or supporting the new Iraqi system, oppose the political views of the extremists. Therefore, to the extremist, they are the enemy.

Mary,

My ideas?

1. Fish or cut bait.

Either we are in a war to save civilization or we are not. Either we are desperately trying to drain the swamp, or we are just whistling while we piss.

If we are truly and honestly fighting real terrorists, who really plan to come here and kill, then we must kill them first. No prisoners, you catch someone shooting at troops... you kill them. Catch someone planting a bomb, you kill them. You surround a house and some people fire at you... you bomb the house, enter the remains and kill anyone still alive.

If we are not willing to do that, then the danger must not be as great as some say.

Imagine that someone was trying to kill your family. You find yourself in a position where you can kill them. Unfortunately, you will also kill a 10 year old innocent bystander. If you don't kill your enemy right then, though, you know he will kill you and your family. You must make a choice. What is more valuable, your lives, or the life of an innocent bystander?

Either the insurgents are terrorists who are truly trying to destroy America (and we must respond with as much deadly force as possible) or the insurgents are trying to fight the new Iraqi government (in which case it's a civil war and none of our business.. and we should pack it in).

This moral waffling is pathetic. Either we kill or we don't there is no such thing as merciful war. There is no such thing as a moral war. Death is death is death. Be it from having one's head seperated from one's body, or be it from shrapnel, or a bullet.

Spiral,

Yes, the insurgents could say that I'm their enemy. They could try to kill me, shoot me, blow me up or chop my head off. However, if I know about this ahead of time, then I would consider them my enemy and would do my best to kill, shoot, blow up or lop their head off.

Sombunall of the insurgents/terrorists/jihadists/etc. think that the American millitary and the pro-democracy Iraqis are the enemy, therefore, I am stating that the American millitary and the pro-democracy Iraqis need to have a take no prisoners, kill them all attitude, or they need to quit pissing in the wind.

Either we kill them until they give up, or we pussyfoot around and let them gain strength.

If this is a real War for survival, then survival is what matters. If this is an ideological war that's concerned with morals and justness and all the other lies that people make up to to mask the fact that they are killing other people... then we shouldn't be there.

S (whomever you are), I work and sometimes I must go to meetings and actually do what I get paid for. Your sad little comment is just pathetic.

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at June 30, 2005 12:27 PM

I think Mike T. has seen Batman Begins maybe one time too many.

That's a joke, son.

Anyway, I can't say I fault the sentiment (except about the Madrasses; don't they teach kids in those?) but war-by-assassination does not, I think, send the right message. Even if we'd taken out the whole Hussein clan, I doubt the next set of Ba'athists would have been much better. The system was actively tuned to eliminate reformers.

Or, in other words, if we're going to do this correctly, we better be damned sure the new boss isn't the same as the old boss, and Mike T.'s tactics don't seem to address that issue.

Posted by: Mark Poling at June 30, 2005 12:28 PM

exhelodrvr,

No one advocated unadulterated torture (not in this thread anyway). Torture and terrorism are wrong. Targeting innocent civilians is wrong. A few remote-detonated claymores in the drop ceiling of a "Euro's for the Resistance" meeting house? I'd think about it.

The reason I brought it up is b/c I'm willing to admit I'm not always right and sometimes my views are out of step with most of civil society. Therefore I want to see how many people here object and who they are. If certain people I respect think I'm way out of line (and I guess if certain other people think I'm perfectly in line), then I guess I need to re-evaluate my beliefs regarding the issue.

Posted by: Mike T. at June 30, 2005 12:31 PM

MarkC,

Then the Iraqis need to kill the forign jihadists. Not take prisoners and honor white flags... if it's truly kill or be killed, then they must kill.

I was not saying that the insurgents/mad bombers or anyone else was moral. I think killing is never 'moral' (though I think it's sometimes necesaary). My point was not "they're cool guys", my point was that if they want to play hide the RDX... then we should too. If they're gonna caputre people and lop their heads off on National TV, then we should too. We capture an Al-Q bigwig, we kill them. We capture some forign jihadist, we kill them.

Otherwise we'll continue to play at war, while they take it seriously.

MJT,

"What the hell? Absolutely not. Think long and hard about the consequences of what you just suggested."

When one is up to their ass in aligators, sometimes TNT is a decent way to drain the swamp.

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at June 30, 2005 12:34 PM

My point was not "they're cool guys", my point was that if they want to play hide the RDX... then we should too.

Rata, you make me laugh.

Posted by: Mike T. at June 30, 2005 12:41 PM

Tosk,

You might want to read this by Bill Whittle.

--------------------------

What is the obvious difference between an enemy Prisoner of War, and an Unlawful Combatant? Suppose two of them were standing in a line-up. What one glaringly obvious thing sets them apart?

That’s right! One is wearing a uniform, and the other isn’t.

And why do soldiers wear uniforms?

It certainly is not to protect the soldier. As a matter of fact, a soldier’s uniform is actually a big flashing neon arrow pointing to some kid that says to the enemy, SHOOT ME!

And that’s exactly what a uniform is for. It makes the soldier into a target to be killed.

Now if that’s all there was to it, you might say that the whole uniform thing is not such a groovy idea. BUT! What a uniform also does -- the corollary to the whole idea of a uniformed person – is to say that if the individual wearing a uniform is a legitimate target, then the person standing next to him in civilian clothes is not.

By wearing uniforms, soldiers differentiate themselves to the enemy. They assume additional risk in order to protect the civilian population. In other words, by identifying themselves as targets with their uniforms, the fighters provide a Sanctuary to the unarmed civilian population.

And this Sanctuary is as old as human history. The first civilized people on Earth, these very same Iraqis, who had cities and agriculture and arts and letters when my ancestors were living in caves, wore uniforms as soldiers of Babylon. This is an ancient covenant, and willfully breaking it is unspeakably dishonorable.

Now, imagine you are involved in street-to-street fighting…

We should actually stop right here. No one can imagine street-to-street fighting. It is a refined horror that you have lived through or you have not, and all I can do with the full power of my imagination does not get to the shadow of it. Nevertheless, there are men who have peered around corners in Fallujah, and Hue, and Carentan and a hundred unknown places; places where the enemy’s rifle may be leveled inches away from your nose, awaiting the last split-second of your young life.

Most of the time, you do not have time to think. A person jumps up from below a window three feet away. If he is wearing a grey tunic and a coal-scuttle helmet, it’s a Kraut and you let him have it before he kills you and your buddies. But what if he is wearing street clothes? What if he is smiling at you?

For brutal soldiers – like the Nazi’s those of the far left accuse us of being precisely equal to – this is a moot point. The SS killed everything that moved. They executed prisoners in uniforms, partisans, hostages and children. They were animals.

Our soldiers are civilized, compassionate and decent citizens doing a tough, horrible job. That means when they see someone who might be a civilian, they hesitate. That hesitation can and has killed them. And some people wonder why enemy soldiers without the honor and courage to wear a uniform are treated less than honorably after being captured by men full of courage and restraint.

Worse – worse by far – than the artificial safety given to enemies not wearing a uniform is the additional horror such behavior will inevitably inflict upon their own civilian population.

And it doesn’t hurt to point out – repeatedly – that the people they are putting at infinitely greater risk are supposedly the very people these so-called Muslim Warriors claim be trying to protect: their own women and children. Michael Moore has called these ruthless cowards the moral equivalent of our revolutionary Minutemen. I would point out to Mr. Moore that when confronted by an overwhelming enemy force, our Minutemen grabbed their guns, put their elderly, their women and their children behind them, and went out to face their adversary as far away from the weak and vulnerable as possible. These people do precisely the opposite. Our Minutemen fought for Freedom and Liberty; these fight for repression, state torture, and the right to force everyone to behave as they see fit. Am I surprised that Michael Moore cannot see this difference? I am not. The man has not seen his own toes for two decades, and they are a good deal closer to him than the streets of Fallujah.

Do those protesters ever wonder why prisoners of war in World War II movies – soldiers -- trying to escape in civilian clothes would be shot as spies? A soldier out of uniform, a soldier trying to hide in the civilian population is gaining a one-time personal advantage, but that not the real sin. The real sin is that he is endangering the non-combatants. He is using civilians as cover. He is breaking down the barrier between the armed and the unarmed, the threat and the non-threat. He is trying to have it both ways.

Whenever there is war and invasion, there will be terrified civilians trying to get from one place to another. In the very early hours of Operation Iraqi Freedom, when we expected to be fighting the same Army that in the Gulf War fully honored the idea of uniformed troops, our soldiers discovered large numbers of unarmed, military-aged men in civilian clothes making for the rear. Many of these men were let through, and promptly took up arms and caused immeasurable damage before blending back into the population.

But they did much worse. Because after a few suicide bombers in civilian vehicles drove up to checkpoints and blew themselves and honor-abiding Coalition soldiers to bits, we have found ourselves having to treat all speeding civilian vehicles as hostile. We simply have no choice anymore. We did not simply decide to open fire on civilians; rather the enemy, in a cold and calculated decision repeated many, many times over, decided to violate the Sanctuary given to civilians to wage war on an American and British Army playing by the rules. They have made the line between civilian and soldier nonexistent. They did this, not us. They did it. They gained the benefits from it, and it has cost us dear. And so perhaps, in a world with less ignorance and more honesty, Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena – who sped at a US roadblock, weaving, at more than 60 mph and in violation of warning shots -- would be pointing her finger at the people who violated this Covenant of Civilization, and not those being forced to make terrible decisions in order to preserve it.

War is hell, and soldiers have to live there. It is an unbearable burden; unbearable in the sense that not a single man and woman who has been fully exposed to war has ever come back home. Someone else comes back home. Sometimes, it is a better person. Sometimes a worse one. But they are different, all changed in the horror and crucible of war.

And so from the beginning of war, there exists between soldiers a bond that cannot be described. There is the obvious connection of a soldier to his comrades, but there is too a strong sense of respect and kinship with the soldier on the other side of No Man’s Land, shivering in cold wet places just the same, under orders and doing his job, too – just wanting to get the thing over with and go home.

Surrender is a mercy in such a place. The idea that certain death may be avoided, that one might be willing to simply give up fighting and still survive, is mercy of the deepest blue. Surrendering enemy soldiers are often greeted with a warmth and understanding that friendly civilians do not receive, for they have shared in the misery and hardship of war in ways that we comfortable and safe civilians can never know.

Surrender, in war, is perhaps the ultimate of Sanctuaries. It is a way out when hope and rescue have fled the field. Honorable surrender has never been treated with shame by any American unit I have ever heard of.

And so, when groups of un-uniformed enemy soldiers waving white flags suddenly drop and open fire on unsuspecting, generous and honorable Americans, then the masters of these men have made a terrible bargain. They have destroyed the Sanctuary of Surrender, and eliminated for their own men a deep and abiding refuge in the nightmare of the battlefield.

They have done this to their own men. Not us. We have known of the brutality of the Iraqi army regarding prisoners from at least as far back as those taken and beaten during the first Gulf War, and as far as improvements over the intervening years, we might perhaps call Jessica Lynch to tell us of any newfound magnanimity on the part of the Ba’athists.

False surrender as a weapon of ambush is an abomination. When it is repeated, it is obvious that is not an aberration; it is policy. It is, like the abandonment of the uniform, a tactic to gain a short-term advantage that leads to long-term hardship and misery for their own troops. It is a Devil’s bargain, and they have had the Devil to pay for it – as have we.

They violate the Sanctuary of the Uniform. They violate the Sanctuary of Surrender. And the most reprehensible of all is the violation of the Sanctuary of Mercy.

Throughout the insurgency, and especially in places like Fallujah, enemy fighters with real or feigned wounds have called for aid. Not often does a soldier who has been in combat look down upon the wounded of either side without horror and sympathy. In places like Fallujah and Iwo Jima and Antietam it is an easy thing to see one’s own reflection in that grimace and that agony.

So when a soldier out of uniform, who may have faked surrender to kill unsuspecting Americans, calls for aid and then willfully kills medics with a concealed grenade… where does that leave us? What unplumbed depths remain? When mercy is used as a weapon against the merciful, what horrors and abominations remain unplayed?

THAT, dear left-wing Citadels of Conscience, is what we are up against.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 30, 2005 12:42 PM

Do you support this war? Do you think that the US should be in Iraq?
If so ... enlist, otherwise, do the rest of us a favor and shut up and stop being a chickenhawk.

Posted by: UnnamedPatriot at June 30, 2005 12:50 PM

The reason why terrorists and insurgents are using non-conventional means to attack the US is because the US has such an overwhelming conventional military force. We spend approximately 3 times as much as the nation that spends the second most amount of its budget on the military ... that second place is taken by China.
Iraq didn't even compare. It was like a trained soldier taking out a 15 year-old kid who was armed with a baseball bat.
Be real. If anybody wants to attack the US, they are not going to attack us using conventional methods. Nobody is that stupid.

Posted by: UnnamedPatriot at June 30, 2005 12:53 PM

If we are truly and honestly fighting real terrorists, who really plan to come here and kill, then we must kill them first. No prisoners, you catch someone shooting at troops... you kill them. Catch someone planting a bomb, you kill them. You surround a house and some people fire at you... you bomb the house, enter the remains and kill anyone still alive.

You’re talking about resistance and self-defense, not terrorism.

Terrorism is basically the idea that you can kill noncombatants anywhere, anytime. Resistance/self-defense targets combatants.

Everyday, we come across situations where we could kill large numbers of innocent people. We drive a car, we buy Drano, we stand on a crowded subway platform. But we don’t kill them despite the fact that we ‘can’ because, well, it’s wrong.

If we all decided that we had the right to kill anyone, at anytime, just because we ‘can’, or because it’s ‘justified’ in some way, then the trust that our society depends upon will be destroyed, and we’ll all be living like Palestinians.

On the other hand, most societies agree that resistance to attack and the targeting of combatants is not a good thing but it's occasionally necessary.

You weren’t suggesting terrorism, but it did sound as if you were. Thanks for answering.

Posted by: mary at June 30, 2005 12:54 PM

MJT,

I call bullshit.

Sure the Babylonians wore uniforms, but they're weren't at all concerned about civilians. When on razes a city, it's not just the uniformed guys you kill. In fact, the idea of not harming civilians seems to come from much later in history. It certianly wasn't the case in the Middle Ages. Civilians were serfs, either conscripted for one side, or the other, or killed to reduce the enemy's resources.

There's nice and there's war, they don't go together. As someone earlier mentioned, Dresden, Hiroshima, Nagisaki... I doubt our boys were looking for uniforms then.

These arguments are functionally identical to the arguments against Americans during the Revolution.

Were we wrong and evil then?

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at June 30, 2005 12:55 PM

Who was watching out for non-combatants when we were bombing the shit out of Baghdad? Destroying the infrastructure of a predominantly civilian city suddenly becomes OK as long as we say, "Well, we weren't targetting the civilians. They're just collateral damage?"

Posted by: UnnamedPatriot at June 30, 2005 01:01 PM

Rat:
Catch someone planting a bomb, you kill them. You surround a house and some people fire at you... you bomb the house, enter the remains and kill anyone still alive.

Remember that Marine who was courtmartialed because he shot an insurgent who was on the ground?

It's not that I don't agree with you, I do. But the knew-jerk grab-any-excuse anti-military lynch mob of useful idiots can't seem to get it in their heads that our soldiers may be both (a) trying to make Iraq a better place and (b) trying to get their asses out of the sandbox alive and in good working order.

But our guys, in case you've not noticed, never seem to get the benefit of a doubt. So saying we should get serious or get out implies a control of the masses (or at least the Mass Media) that I would think a Squirrel of Discord would realise is unrealistic.

The nutjob President of Iran (who was once one of the Embassy hostage takers; hope he gets to meet Jimmy Carter face-to-face someday) is resolute about Iran's nuclear ambition, but somehow that's less important than pre-planned infomercials about Koran abuse.

Today we should feel truly blessed that we are NOT in a war with Islam; we are NOT living in a society that demands the destruction of Islamic culture; and we DO as a society feel a moral and ethical obligation to differentiate between those who are our true enemies and the the crowds of innocents in which they hide. And the Karl Jr.s and the NeoDudes and all the other well-disguised patriots should realise that this is because, to date, Islamofascists and their sponsors haven't been able to follow through on stated ambitions. Should they score the Big One, I'm afraid the U.S. will become the Great Satan, and the Middle East will become Hell on Earth.

My imagination isn't quite as good as Mika's or NeoDude's (I don't see Jihadis and Nazis around every corner, for instance) but it's good enough to worry that we're walking a knife's edge here, and time is not on our side. Precision, ruthlessness, and (oddly enough) patience are virtues. I'm pretty sure we're okay on the first two accounts. The third worries me.

Posted by: Mark Poling at June 30, 2005 01:04 PM

Who was watching out for non-combatants when we were bombing the shit out of Baghdad? Destroying the infrastructure of a predominantly civilian city suddenly becomes OK as long as we say, "Well, we weren't targetting the civilians. They're just collateral damage?"

Posted by: UnnamedPatriot at June 30, 2005 01:19 PM

Ratatosk;

Your subsequent point, while eminently reasonable, is not the same one you made in your "slight of mind" comment. (If you were backpedaling, that's OK, I've often posted things I later regreted). The point you seemed to be making in the earlier post was not that the suicide bombers were moral, but rather that nobody was, and therefore everybody was equal. America's use of superior firepower was no more moralistic than beheadings and mass killings of innocents. My point was that not even the Iraqi insurgents were buying that one.

One could make the argument, as Lee Harris does in "Civilization and its Enemies", that the West's attainment of superior firepower is not a random accident (like the possession of oil), but rather the long term achievement of an ethical society, based on the ideals (if not always the practice) of fairness, freedom, and equality, and upon the pursuit of scientific knowledge (rather than dogma, lies, and propoganda). Fortunately, one doesn't even need to make that argument, because, thank God, the Iraqis themselves seem to reject the bottomless pit of moral equivalency.

Posted by: MarkC at June 30, 2005 01:21 PM

Mark,

I think you misunderstand me. I'm not recommending that the soliders act... I'm recommending that the Administration acts. If the administration publicly announces that we are leaving the GC, we are authorizing deadly force against any insurgent/terrorist/deathmonky and soliders are to kill any fnord that tries to kill them... then there's no threat of court marshall.

We must be willing to be as hard as they are. I have yet to find a historical war which the restrained, soft touch of a kind warrior beat simply killing the enemy, as much and as often as possible.

If we're not willing to face a real, harsh, bloody war... then we must not be in as much danger as we hear preached at us.

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at June 30, 2005 01:22 PM

Mark C,

Taking the life of another human being (no matter the method)seems immoral to me. What's the difference between a person dead from having important bit of their body removed from other important bits, and someone dying from an explosion from a missle or smart bomb? Either way the person is dead.

To assume that any warfare is moral, seems, to me, a mask that people can hide behind.

No one wants to think of the unuttered War Prayer:

" "O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it -- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen." - Mark Twain

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at June 30, 2005 01:29 PM

Ratatosk;

If that is what you were saying, than you are right, I misunderstood you.

Now for a practical suggestion. Has anyone ever thought of forming an American Foreign Legion? Why wouldn't this be a good idea? Sure, it has uncomfortable connotations of colonialism, but as Ratatosk says, we've got to be tough. You offer U.S. citizenship after the tour of duty. I bet you'd get so many Poles, Ukrainians, Russians, etc. joining up you'd solve the manpower problem forever. Why wait for foreign governments to rally to our side. Go straight for their citizens.

If somebody pays me, I'll be happy to do a feasibility study.

Posted by: MarkC at June 30, 2005 01:36 PM

Was misunderstanding you, Mr. Squirrel. I tend to concur; at least with regards to the WoT, the Geneva Conventions seems pretty outdated. What we replaced them with would be a useful topic of discussion.

And unnamed patriot, I don't think you really have a understanding of the kind of devastation that could have been unleashed on Baghdad. If we had wanted to bomb Iraq back to the Stone Age, I'm pretty sure that would have been cheaper than the approach we took.

I'm not saying civilians weren't killed; I am saying we've been rather less proficient at it than, say, Sada'am. And as to the predominantly civilian nature of Baghdad, I'm sure you're correct; I seem to remember Hussein parked his planes in subdivisions when he figured out we wouldn't target them there.

As for infrastructure destruction, that seems to be more the "insurgent's" goal than ours.

And why unnamed? Afraid calling yourself a patriot would be a bad move in your social circles?

Posted by: Mark Poling at June 30, 2005 01:37 PM

You know what, I hate all of this. I hate the hate. I hate the war, I hate the misery, I hate the death. I hate crying during the silent tribute at the end of News Hour. And one thing I hate the most is that as long as man walks this earth, it will never end.

All we can hope for are periods of relative tranquility; and when in periods of chaos, the path to tranquility is forward, through the muck, the blood and flames. I don't want the war, I want the peace, and I am one who supports doing anything to get, it short of total moral disintegration.

Posted by: Mike T. at June 30, 2005 01:43 PM

Ratatosk;

I posted my reply before I saw your second posting, and it must have seemed a bit glib after the somber irony of Mark Twain. With all due respect to Mark Twain, the wars he knew were nothing like the wars of the twentieth century, and after Hitler and Stalin (and Pol Pot and a host of others) I'm not sure he would agree that there's no such thing as a just war.

Posted by: MarkC at June 30, 2005 01:44 PM

During the Clinton years far right racist groups such as the Freeman in Montana, Bo Gritz and other kooks in Sand Point,Idaho attempted to hitch their political wagons to Mainstream conservatism via a thin facade of anti tax rhetoric, personal property rights and opposition to increasing federal power.

Real conservatives like myself spoke out against those jackass racist bastards, but the MSM went ahead and linked the white power groups to mainstream Republicans. The tactic worked and the Clinton administration went one step further and created a false impression that the OKC bombing was part of the mainstrean conservative movement.

Now it's the democrats turn to realise that it's moderate voter base is being hurt badly via linkage to malignant marxist groups in America and Europe. The idealogues at the NYT-Guardian are flaking for the fanatics on the left so there is no self reflection or internal debate left for the majority moderate base. You democrats that are still sane and haven't slid into the Howard Dean- Micheal Moore kook camp need to step up and be counted.

Micheal Moore is your Bo Gritz, but Gritz never sat next to a former president, was not invited to the GOP convention and he certainly wasn't at RNC steering committe meetings.

Your side is slipping and slipping badly.

Posted by: Craig, California at June 30, 2005 01:48 PM

In fact, I just recieved some brainless chain letter which actually had great content.

Basically, it was written as a hypothetical Presidential address, it hit the following points:

1. Congress and the citizens don't want to pay for more war. Therefore we are leaving Iraq effective immediately.

2. Here are two lists. One has countries that allied with us, the other has everyone else. Effective immediately, all forign aid to anyone on list two ceases. The money saved in the first year will pay for the war. The American people are no longer going to pour money into 3rd world hell-holes If you need help with famine or an epidemic... call France.

3. A word to terrorists, screw with us and we will hunt you down eliminate you and all your friends from the face of the earth.

4. I am ordering the immediate severing of all diplomatic relations with France, Germany and Russia. We are also retiring from NATO.

5. I have instructed the Mayor of New York to begin towing diplomatic UN vehicles (with more than 2 parking tickets) to chop shops. If you don't want your Benz in bits, pay your fines.

6. Canada and Mexico, you're on list number 2... you should be very nice to us. Think about it. PS -Mr. Fox, pay no mind to our new Boder Patrol just back from Iraq, please do pay mind to the large tanks. PS NAFTA is out.

7. Nearly a century of trying to help folks live a decent life around the world has only earned us the undying enmity of just about everyone on the planet. It is time to eliminate hunger in America. It is time to eliminate homelessness in America. It is time to eliminate World Cup Soccer from America. To the nations on List 1, a final thought. Thanks guys. We owe you and we won't forget.

8. To the nations on List 2, a final thought: You might want to learn to speak Arabic.

The whole thing is a fun read, but its really long.

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at June 30, 2005 01:52 PM

I've recommended it to you before, Michael, and I will do so again-- Erik Von Keunneldt-Leddhin's "Leftism Revisited."

Every time you see the far left and what is commonly referred to as the far right playing together, it just gives more evidence to his thesis that fascism and nazism are leftist movements in philosophy, temperment, and behavior.

(He is not 100% correct in all of his treatments, however. His affinity for the unbridled liberty he believes anarchism strives for, at least in the writings of Proudhon, had him trying to claim it as a rightist movement.)

Posted by: Gerry at June 30, 2005 01:52 PM

MArk C.,

I think that there may be just wars. I think that there may be unavoidable wars.

I don't think that there are moral wars. And thats what I always percieved Twain's story as pointing out. When you pray for your troops and cheer your troops, your cheering for and praying for everything Twain wrote.

Posted by: at June 30, 2005 02:00 PM

Mark Polling:
You don't know what you're talking about. The US intentionally destroyed the infrastructure of Baghdad during the bombing of it. OTHERWISE, THE INFRASTRUCTURE WOULD NOT HAVE HAD TO BEEN REBUILT.
Please, pull your head out of your ass.
Oh, yes, and if you're so for the war, why haven't you enlisted?

Posted by: UnnamedPatriot at June 30, 2005 02:02 PM

Oh, no, in my social circles, we're real patriots, not lip-service chickenhawks who send other people off to do the fighting we think is justified.

Posted by: UnnamedPatriot at June 30, 2005 02:04 PM

Ratatosk,

Can you email me that to miketauss@verizon.net?

Thanks!

Posted by: Mike T. at June 30, 2005 02:05 PM

Mike T.,

Done.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Now if only Mr. Bush would read it ;-)

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at June 30, 2005 02:07 PM

Marc C,

American foreign legion. Terrific idea. I wonder how many Middle Easterners would sign up. Maybe a lot. Maybe almost none. (They may have to turn around to fight their own countrymen in the future.) It would be interesting to find out. I think a lot of people in the old Soviet sphere.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 30, 2005 02:10 PM

Unnamed Patiot,

One more chickenhawk slur and you're banned. You've made your point, it is duly noted, now it's time to move on.

You're welcome to keep posting here, no matter how much you don't agree with my opinions, if have something worthwhile to contribute to the discussion. Adolescent name-calling isn't going to endear you to me or anyone else when that's how you introduce yourself.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 30, 2005 02:15 PM

So what are the implications of the points Tosk makes? Reminds me of the Powell doctrine - if you are going to go in, unite the country behind you first, then go in heavy, and use overwhelming force.

It is an argument for the seriousness of war - and the implication is that we dont engage in war unless the conditions are such that we are prepared, morally and emotionally, to do whatever is necessary to win.

Despite the Rovian lies, the country was prepared for that - vs. al-Q and the Taliban - unanimously amongst our elected representatives. But Iraq was and is a different story. Although marketed as part of the existential struggle against terrorism, it was always just a regime change war. One cannot justify serious war against a nation that one claims to be liberating from its leadership.

I think that many liberals opposed the war because of this sense (whether it was well articulated or not). Bringing war to that nation was not something many of us felt was morally proper. The protestations of the war-supporters, as to how we are acting with restraint have a valid core, although exagerrated. We are killing many thousands of innocents, and as the war goes on, the logic of loosening restraints, articulated by many here, grows.

The Bush administration will not take the gloves off in Iraq, because that undermines the entire rationale for the war in the first place. And so we are once again mired in a situation where we attempt to achieve with the military tool, a goal that that war is not well suited to achieve.

insert something here about learning the lessons of history....

Posted by: Karl Jr. at June 30, 2005 02:19 PM

Tosk----

Might I inquire, just to satisfy my morbid curiousity, what set of conditions inspired you to post these particular thoughts today?

As you knew early in this conversation, I agreed with your basic premise, but why did you come to that conclusion ?

Get serious or get out. And if the circumstances don't warrant getting 'serious', then there is a very good chance that you are doing the wrong thing, at the wrong time, in the wrong place.

Posted by: dougf at June 30, 2005 02:30 PM

I'm overage, overweight, and underqualified. Otherwise, I'm sure the Army would love to have me.

I am traveling to Kuwait soon; there's a move in the Middle East to open up International Banking, which will hopefully mean the region becomes more integrated into the world economy, instead of just a sink for capital. My company will be helping in the transformation process. So in a way, I will be going to the Mideast with an eye toward bridging the gap between Feudal Islam and the New World.

And I never said no infrastructure was destroyed. (And of course, that sly inuendo that Baghdad-as-purely-civilian was stupid went right over your pretty little head, didn't it?) I just said that as damage goes, we tried to walk gently. Or haven't you seen pictures of Dresden, after the firebombing?

Michael, I don't particularly mind being called a chickenhawk by some anonymous punk. He does more harm to his "cause" with that stuff than I do with my arguments. If you want to ban him for being tiresome, go right ahead; if it's for aesthetic purposes, please don't; there's real value, I think, in hearing exactly what the new wave of activist looks like.

Posted by: Mark Poling at June 30, 2005 02:33 PM

Unnamed Patriot,
You are apparently confusing Desert Storm and OIF. Desert Storm took place in 1991, OIF in 2003.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at June 30, 2005 02:36 PM

"I think, in hearing exactly what the new wave of activist looks like."

sounds like.

never post in anger. always use preview.

sigh.

Posted by: Mark Poling at June 30, 2005 02:38 PM

Thanks you squirrelly bastare! ;o)~

Posted by: Mike T. at June 30, 2005 02:44 PM

So Tosk, correct me if I'm misinterpreting you (grasping the nuance of 88 posts is difficult when trying to follow a thread on and off at work!) but you said:

"There's nice and there's war, they don't go together" and also, "We must be willing to be as hard as they are. I have yet to find a historical war which the restrained, soft touch of a kind warrior beat simply killing the enemy, as much and as often as possible. If we're not willing to face a real, harsh, bloody war... then we must not be in as much danger as we hear preached at us."

Then you also posted (at 1:52) the contents of that email you received.

Re your main point, about the restrained, soft touch, it is true that this war is perhaps without precedent where we try to win "hearts and minds" while overthrowing a regime. Just because we're trying something new and unprecendented doesn't necessarily lead to the conclusion that we're not in danger though does it? It might merely be indicative of a novel strategy aimed at defeating something, well, novel. Your post about the email (which you appeared to find refreshing), however, suggests an entirely different tactic which is entirely and seriously aimed at defending just the homeland. It strikes me that you have alot in common with what I guess one would call the Paleo-cons (Buchanan? - apologies for my ignorance of this isolationist right as their arguments don't really seem to get a whole lot of mainstream press these days as far as I can tell).

Okay - so let's assume you're serious about the direction your argument seems to be heading (the Iraq war is fruitless, let's get the hell out and just defend the homeland seriously). Would you then support closing down the mosques, deporting Muslims, sealing the borders, tougher Patriot Act provisions and so on (hey - why not shoot radical imams on sight)? How about take out Iran's nuclear facilities - in fact take out any Islamic state's nuclear facilities without getting any permission from the UN? If they nuke us, we nuke Mecca and so on? Would that convey the kind of seriousness and "take no prisoners" approach to winning the war that you would advocate, instead of this mushy, "win hearts and minds and try to transform the ME while opening the west to unlimited Muslim immigration trajectory" that we seem to be following?

Posted by: Caroline at June 30, 2005 05:05 PM

Since many of these posts have apparently addressed what is and is not acceptably brutal in fighting and winning wars, especially as this applies to Iraq, I have to say I found this 3 part series by Hugh Fitzjerald at jihadwatch on what to do in Iraq one of the more interesting things I've seen recently (and quite brutal it is, although not in the way one would expect), (permalink viewing recommended)...

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Posted by: Caroline at June 30, 2005 06:09 PM

Oh yeah - one more thought (on a seemingly dead thread) - has anyone noticed that westerners by and large fit the description of "co-dependent"? What I mean by that is that folks on the "right" - meaning the "neo-cons" - want to "rescue" a whole bunch of folks in the ME but so do the western folks on the "left" want to "rescue" a whole bunch of folks in the ME. But aren't all we westerners pretty much just trying to "rescue" folks in the ME? (Of course Bush and the neo-cons are actually liberals as most people who post here would recognize). So, well, what would happen if all westerners simply stopped being co-dependent? Stopped trying to rescue folks in the ME? I think the alternative is called "tough love". Which means leaving folks to deal with the consequences of their own actions. (And now that they have the internet and satellite TV and so on, that isn't quite as cruel as it might have once seemed). Hey...just wondering...

Posted by: Caroline at June 30, 2005 07:26 PM

Caroline, TV is cool, but getting your arms torn off is not. (I am Yoda of comment section on T-bones website.)

Posted by: Mike#3or4 at June 30, 2005 10:38 PM

Michael,

Sorry for such a tardy response but got home late and I actually agree with the essence of your post and the following comment actually touches upon some key differences in the state of affairs between Europe and the United States...

Just showing the far-leftists who they resemble these days... Besides, right-wing anti-Americanism is huge in Europe. Jacques Chirac, for starters, not to mention Jorge Haider and Jean Marie Le Pen.

Indeed words of truth, but it must be pointed out that Anti-Americanism in Europe is also huge on the left. This is the key difference between the political right here and in Europe. The political left in both America and Europe share much more in common then their respective counterparts on the right and their is no true neo-conservative movement in Europe. Some true liberals may be sympathetic (certainly not leftists or reactionaries) and Peter Hitchens an anti -War (Conservative) and his brother Christopher Hitchens a pro-WOT (Liberal), display how unique the political right is in America by comparison to the rest of the world. The point is my past is a proud liberal one and these days people can call me whatever they want right/left but the fact is I marched with my parents here in Washington in the 1960’s along side many devoted religious people clamoring for civil rights and social justice, of course all of this was called liberal in those days. Today many people like myself have arrived to find ourselves among liberals where arguing for abortion rights seems more important then the rights of worse off victims, where bumper stickers declaring “Free Tibet” are nothing but empty slogans because many of these very same people are content for Saddam remaining in power. Time is spent rejecting school choice, vouchers and other potential progressive means of education because more focus is placed on protecting the systems and sacred cows of the “Ghosts of Liberal Past” rather then the goals. Progress is too often measured by potential political power gain or loss for old leftist orthodoxy. Now I know that one can site mirrored examples on the right of similar breaches, but the point is the degree of such breaching is so much lower that such breaches are in the same context as the rest of the behavior we are talking about. As Craig of California said…

Real conservatives like myself spoke out against those jackass racist bastards, but the MSM went ahead and linked the white power groups to mainstream Republicans. The tactic worked and the Clinton administration went one step further and created a false impression that the OKC bombing was part of the mainstream conservative movement.
Now it's the democrats turn to realize that it's moderate voter base is being hurt badly via linkage to malignant marxist groups in America and Europe. The ideologues at the NYT-Guardian are flaking for the fanatics on the left so there is no self reflection or internal debate left for the majority moderate base. You democrats that are still sane and haven't slid into the Howard Dean- Michael Moore kook camp need to step up and be counted.
Micheal Moore is your Bo Gritz, but Gritz never sat next to a former president, was not invited to the GOP convention and he certainly wasn't at RNC steering committe meetings.
Your side is slipping and slipping badly.

Yes liberals are slipping much more then conservatives are gaining, but what is worse for liberals is that conservatism is being re-defined as more progressive while liberalism is being tagged as reactionary and backward looking. The bottom line is conservatism is as unique in America as she is religious by comparison to Europe.

All the reasoning and justification Bush gave for finishing the unfinished Iraqi war, calling Saddam to account for the breached terms of the original ceasefire was indeed originally furnished by Democrats. Today many of these very same Democrats hold these very words as lies. It is as if they somehow have different meaning when brought forth by the unwashed and unworthy. This is a void of principle that gives Republicans way more cover then they deserve, it also is a great disservice to the American people. This causes too much debate being carried by one side of the political spectrum. I have tried to talk sense to friends and family yet they seem to fail grasping the concept that offering credible and convincing solutions must precede the nay saying, as a liberal from way back I understand the hollow ring coming from the left seems to many as simple empty bitterness.

Posted by: JSF at June 30, 2005 11:41 PM

I'll add to the above what my definition of a Neo-con is (at least my rationalization for accepting the title) I'm sure Michael this also applies to you and many here as it is the softest of definitions:

Neo-conservative - a liberal willing to use conservative means to achieve liberal ends.

It thus follows… If a liberal places Socialism as the more important component in endeavoring to achieve worthy social goals, then truly his leftist ideology trumps his liberalism. On the other hand if a liberal’s main desire is focused more on the accomplishments and progress of the individual then they will eventually yield to some conservative means in achieving such. Welfare Reform and Free Trade are examples of where I was skeptical and then became convinced that economically conservatives had some good points. I also have reconsidered John Kennedy’s mantra of “A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats”. Most importantly the goals I have always held as important have not changed, my stubbornness as to narrow leftist means did. I view a neo-con as simply a person who continues in his idealistic ways, but has simply accounted for new means of achievement. This is why so-called liberals that place sole interest on leftist means I find not very helpful in the current climate we find ourselves.

The WOT is very liberal if one gets past the partisanship. The fact is many people like myself voted for Bush because the end goals became most important and in the case of the WOT the Liberal ends just so happen to involve a Republican President and Congress. Unfortunately for Democrats like most Americans I view their means with all their flaws as superior to what Democrats have offered.

Joseph Samuel Friedman

Posted by: JSF at July 1, 2005 03:11 AM

Karl Jr.,

Ah, now thats something interesting. Mr. Bush paints the War in Iraqw as a War for our Own Freedom. If it's truly a War for our Freedom, then we must say "Fuck hearts and minds, instill morbid fear."

When the Great Kahn was faced with a threat from the Hashishem (the first group deadly assasins who lived in what is now Iran and terrorized most of Europe) , he had two choices. One, He could live in mortal fear, knowing that any day, any moment, some crazy arab bastard may use a long ceremonial dagger to kill him, thinking it a sure ticket to the Virgins. Two, he could rally his army, go find their stronghold and take it out completely.

Guess what he did?

The Castle Alamut (hidden in the very mountains which Osama hides in now) was decimated. The Kahn was never one who had to worry about fishing or cutting bait ;-)

dougf,

"Might I inquire, just to satisfy my morbid curiousity, what set of conditions inspired you to post these particular thoughts today?"

Well, I rolled some dice yesterday morning and it said I had to be a republican for the next seven days. So this was my first paradigm shift in a more hawkish direction. I think, as a Republican, that if we engage ourselves in any foreign affairs, it needs to be absolutely necessary, completely justified, swift, deadly and terrible for our foes. However, in any other circumstance, I think we should be friendly with countries friendly with us, and tell those who have America Envy to go stick a Peninsula up their Fjords.

Caroline,

Every man woman and child on the earth should have a chance to become an American citizen. Every American citizen has full freedom of Religion and Speech, as well as freedom of Assembly. People who are not American citizens do not have these protections under our Constitution.

If the radical Imam is a citizen, then he can do what he wants. That is, until he commits an act that harms another person (really harms them, not just insulting slurs or stuff like that). Then we kick them out of the country so fast, their turbans unravel. If Muslims want to immigrate and become citizens, great. If Muslims want to come as immigrints and rant against us, plot against us or otherwise cause a mess... we deport them. Only under a democracy that respects freedom of religion, and requires that all be free to question religion, will Islam ever hope to mature into a more tolerant Belief System (BS). I think thats one of the important facets of the great American experiment.

As for responding to attacks... well one can rule through love or fear. We've donated supplies, we've helped many nations, we've gone in to give relief to people facing famine, tsunamis and all sorts of damned things. Mosbunall of the countries we've helped (and are helping) didn't stand with us in the war. So why the helll are we giving them money?

American Taxpayer money, going to prop up old systems, instead of investing in the new system, the new experiment, seems a waste to me. If I had a large budget for researching a cure for cancer, and instead spent 40% of it on investing in innoculations against the Black Plague, people would likely think me a fool. Yet, we're giving money to tin-horn, thrid world hells that won't get any better. The Lord said that you do not put new wine into old wineskins, nor do you patch old cloth with new.

Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at July 1, 2005 07:05 AM

Well, I rolled some dice yesterday morning and it said I had to be a republican for the next seven days. So this was my first paradigm shift in a more hawkish direction.--Tosk

You should keep rollin' dem bones. Can't say that I really disagree with a great deal of what you have said.

With great power comes great responsibility, but great powers can never really be loved. They can be respected, tolerated, understood, and even liked, but love will never come their way. They absolutely don't have to go around annoying others just to amuse themselves or bully for short term gains, but when push comes to shove they had best remember that for nations or rulers, 'it is better to be feared than loved'.

Much better. Memories are short and that was then, this is now is the way the world really works.

Always enjoy your posts as they are invariably well reasoned and carefully presented. Probably won't enjoy them as much when the dice transform you back from Ghengis Tosk, but life is full of adversities---- :-)

Regards,

Posted by: dougf at July 1, 2005 07:54 AM

MJT,

Thanks for that long post on the nature of combat. That sent chills down my spine. As a former combat marine, I never thought I would find a civilian who really gets it.

Please post that to the front page. People need to understand that the military needs both moral authority and understanding.

Posted by: JBP at July 1, 2005 08:06 AM

Unnamed,

I am a Marine. I was a combat Marine.

I wonder if you really believe what you argue? Do you have the courage of your convictions? If you really believe that only people who have served in the military have any right to opine on war, then are you willing to allow only combat veterans to vote for president?

If not, don't be an ass. You can do better. Don't make a fool of yourself. You are merely upset because MJT has shown that he is many times more thoughtful than you are. Throwing a childish temper tantrum in public is not going to convince anybody of anything.

Posted by: JBP at July 1, 2005 08:14 AM

dougf,

Well, I just finished dicing religions and belief systems (BS) a couple weeks ago. I found that every time I shifted I discarded the previous viewpoint... but now that I'm not actively shifting paradigms, several ideas from several of the religions seem to stick around and play with each other. Perhaps it will be the same with politics.

;-)

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at July 1, 2005 08:20 AM

JBP,

I didn't write those comments about the military. Bill Whittle did. See the top of that post for the link to the whole essay.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 1, 2005 10:11 AM

Mark C

The idea of an american foreign legion is a good one, I've never understood the reasons why we haven't gone that route.

Back in the '50's when the british government proposed disbanding the Ghurka Corps, some in the american government proposed taking the corps over and expanding it. The brits obviously kept the ghurkas, but think how effective they would have been in vietnam or afghanistan.

Posted by: Raymond at July 1, 2005 03:30 PM

Thus concludes another episode of Sick Sad World.

Posted by: Bryan at July 1, 2005 05:21 PM

I read just far enough into this thread to get through a few of Ratatosk's apologies for the terrorists who blow up crowds at festivals, schools and the like.

I never figured you for a monster, but Ratatosk you ARE a monster. Obviously incapable of making any moral distinctions at all.

You are beneath contempt.

An idiot punk.

Goodbye.

Posted by: at July 1, 2005 06:27 PM

By the way, my cookies must have been deleted.

I did not mean to leave my name off my indictment of Ratatosk, that unforgivable brat.

Joshua Scholar

Posted by: Joshua Scholar at July 1, 2005 06:33 PM

Since I haven't read through all of these posts, I was wondering if someone could explain to me why Tosk is a monster beneath contempt?

I mean, beneath contempt? Sure. But a monster?

I assume this is because he said something about the terrorists' behavior making strategic sense from their perspective, and that they perceive themselves to be doing good (that is, by killing innocent people, they further the cause of establishing a caliphate, which is such a net good that it justifies killing children).

Remember, empathy is not sympathy, and understanding or explaining something is not to justify that thing.

Saying "your arm hurts because it is broken" is not the same thing as saying "your arm ought to hurt".

You can either shun evil out of fear of being contaminated by it, or you can understand it in an attempt to beat it.

Posted by: The Commenter at July 1, 2005 07:26 PM

"You can either shun evil out of fear of being contaminated by it, or you can understand it in an attempt to beat it."

Oh I'm sure I can understand the enemy as well as Rat. It's not the enemy I'm shunning, it's that fool Rat who lacks the empathy that's the root of morality.

Rat thinks he proves that he's clever and superior by claiming that all wars and all participants are morally equal. I think he just proves that he's an immature snot.

He's not so much more deeply understanding - rather he's just completely failing to see important distiction.

Posted by: Joshua Scholar at July 1, 2005 10:23 PM

er distictions

Posted by: Joshua Scholar at July 1, 2005 10:25 PM

Michael, interesting essay by Whittle.

Years ago I was fooled by Ursula Le Guin missing the point. She wrote that soldiers wear uniforms so that no one is responsible [for the crimes they commit].

Posted by: Joshua Scholar at July 2, 2005 12:22 AM

Interesting. Reading further I see underneath Rat's refusal to make distinctions he's finally showing us his poorly thought out black and white distinctions.

For someone who's shtick is pretending to understand all points of view better than the rest of humanity, he's actually written "should" a whole bunch of times and set out a bunch of simplistic moralistic definitions.

He's also refusing to consider the actual strategic reasons for this war.

The dude should read his own statements turn and turn his contrarian skeptism on his own assumptions.

Posted by: Joshua Scholar at July 2, 2005 12:31 AM

Remember, empathy is not sympathy, and understanding or explaining something is not to justify that thing.

Out of bridges to lurch under?

Posted by: mika. at July 2, 2005 04:51 AM

Mika, honestly, fuck off.

Posted by: The Commenter at July 2, 2005 09:14 AM

Honest?

Posted by: mika. at July 2, 2005 11:28 AM

You have mental problems.

Posted by: The Commenter at July 2, 2005 11:39 AM

You can either shun evil out of fear of being contaminated by it, or you can understand it in an attempt to beat it.

So how do you intend to proceed here, Commenter? Understand, not all of us can be filthy jihadis. I hope America loving capitalists will do.

Posted by: mika. at July 2, 2005 03:36 PM

Reading further I see underneath Rat's refusal to make distinctions he's finally showing us his poorly thought out black and white distinctions.

Moral relativists typified by the likes of Tosk believe that the refusal to make any moral distinctions is somehow more sophisticated and (dare I say it) nuanced. It's the opposite.

It reminds me of my professors in college who out of one side of their mouth told us that morality is "relative", and out the other side of their mouth would denounce U.S. foreign policy as "immoral".

This is what the Left passes off as "intellectual".

Posted by: spaniard at July 3, 2005 08:52 AM

" It reminds me of my professors in college who out of one side of their mouth told us that morality is "relative", and out the other side of their mouth would denounce U.S. foreign policy as "immoral".
This is what the Left passes off as "intellectual". "

You could perhaps benefit a bit from some more intellecuality then.
There is nothing whatsoever contradictory between those statements.

Of course moral codes are relative. They are relative to the perspectives and experiences of those who propagate them. How could it possibly be otherwise? Even if you believe that there is some "objective" moral code that has been gifted to us all by some great rulemaker in the sky, those codes still need to be interpreted and applied to real world situations - and that can only be done by human beings, with their full complement of experiences, perspectives and limitations.

To understand the inherint subjectivity and relativity of moral codes does not imply however that those codes do not exist. Such insight does not prevent, in any way, an individual from making moral judgements. They simply do not attempt to imbue those moral judgements with claims to absolute objectivity.

The implication of your argument seems to be that moral codes can only exist if they are not "relative". This locks you into a defense of the notion that some humans (you and those who agree with you) are uniquely capable of interpreting some objective moral code. Needless to say, you are not going to be very successful convincing anyone of that. By your logic, if someone disagrees with you, they are incapable of morality at all.

Thats basically what your argument comes down to. I am moral. Anyone who disagrees with me is not, by definition. Since morality is "objective", and I am moral, then I cannot be wrong.

Posted by: Karl Jr. at July 3, 2005 09:24 AM

" It reminds me of my professors in college who out of one side of their mouth told us that morality is "relative", and out the other side of their mouth would denounce U.S. foreign policy as "immoral".
This is what the Left passes off as "intellectual". "

You could perhaps benefit a bit from some more intellecuality then.
There is nothing whatsoever contradictory between those statements.

Of course moral codes are relative. They are relative to the perspectives and experiences of those who propagate them. How could it possibly be otherwise? Even if you believe that there is some "objective" moral code that has been gifted to us all by some great rulemaker in the sky, those codes still need to be interpreted and applied to real world situations - and that can only be done by human beings, with their full complement of experiences, perspectives and limitations.

To understand the inherint subjectivity and relativity of moral codes does not imply however that those codes do not exist. Such insight does not prevent, in any way, an individual from making moral judgements. They simply do not attempt to imbue those moral judgements with claims to absolute objectivity.

The implication of your argument seems to be that moral codes can only exist if they are not "relative". This locks you into a defense of the notion that some humans (you and those who agree with you) are uniquely capable of interpreting some objective moral code. Needless to say, you are not going to be very successful convincing anyone of that. By your logic, if someone disagrees with you, they are incapable of morality at all.

Thats basically what your argument comes down to. I am moral. Anyone who disagrees with me is not, by definition. Since morality is "objective", and I am moral, then I cannot be wrong.

Posted by: Karl Jr. at July 3, 2005 09:25 AM

You could perhaps benefit a bit from some more intellecuality then.

Karl,

I'll take logic and common sense any day of the week over what passes for intellectualism these days.

When somebody claims that morals are relative, he has no rational leg to stand on when claiming something is "immoral". The best he can do is say HE doesn't LIKE it. In other words-- his personal preference is what's moral now.

Morality, however, is something other than just personal preference. Something is not "immoral" simply because I don't like it. In fact, often the things that I personally prefer I also would consider to be immoral. But I suppose that when God/religion are taken out of the equation (as with the typical moral relativist), then "morality" HAS to become nothing more than somebody's personal preference. And that's fine, but it's not morality-- it's preference. And personal preferences are like assholes, we all got one.

Posted by: spaniard at July 3, 2005 10:38 AM

"When somebody claims that morals are relative, he has no rational leg to stand on when claiming something is "immoral". The best he can do is say HE doesn't LIKE it. In other words-- his personal preference is what's moral now. "

I disagree completely with that. Understanding that moral codes are relative does not relegate them to the level of mere personal preference. Moral codes are rules that block people from following their personal preferences, even if those rules are merely the construct of a particular society, in a particular time and place - ie. are "relative".

The Muslim and Jewish peoples developed dietary taboos, raised to the level of moral codes, against eating pork. Hindu peoples have moral codes against the killing of cattle. Some Buddhists have moral codes against eating any animals. These are fully functional moral codes - preventing their adherents from acting on their personal preferences. But they are also clearly relative to the particular circumstances of those cultures.

There were many millions of Americans, for many generations who considered interracial marriage to be profoundly immoral, or slavery to be moral - the natural order of things. How can you make the claim that they were wrong about that, without accepting that moral codes are relative to particular cultures in particular places and times?

"when God/religion are taken out of the equation (as with the typical moral relativist), then "morality" HAS to become nothing more than somebody's personal preference"

This is also simply not true. Buddhists, for example, have a highly developed moral code. They do not believe in a god. The notion of god, whether multiple gods, or a single god, is not essential to religion. Nor is religion essential to having moral codes. Obviously all religions construct moral codes, including god-based religions. But that doesnt mean that only religions can do so.

Just for example, almost all professional societes - doctors, lawyers, etc. develop ethical codes of conduct. These fuction absolutely as moral codes - they lay our the rules for proper behavior, most pointedly focussed on things that one should not do even though they may be in ones personal interest to do so. These codes are not necessarily dependent on any religion, or notions of god, and they are certainly constructs of particular sub-cultures operating in particular places, times and conditions.

Posted by: Karl Jr. at July 3, 2005 11:10 AM

Joshua Scholar,

Better a monster who can admit that immoral wars may sometimes be necessary, than an ostrich that hides their heads in a false sense of morality.

Spaniard,

If you're taking your morals from your God and religion (Christian, I believe)... then I challenge you to show me from your Bible any moral justification for any war not directly ordained by God himeslf. Show me where Jesus ok's the use of force against both the guilty and innocent. If Morals come from God, then you should be able to justyify this war with morals taken from scripture.

Ratatosk

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at July 3, 2005 11:17 AM

Ahh, you meant to type "ho can admit that immoral terrorism may sometimes be necessary" and you forgot to say necessary for what?

Posted by: Joshua Scholar at July 3, 2005 12:54 PM

"If you're taking your morals from your God and religion (Christian, I believe)... then I challenge you to show me from your Bible any moral justification for any war not directly ordained by God himeslf. Show me where Jesus ok's the use of force against both the guilty and innocent. If Morals come from God, then you should be able to justyify this war with morals taken from scripture."

Amen.

I was for the war, but it would be a serious exercise in intellectual gymnastics & apologetics for me to a make a New Testament biblical case for a war such as this.

Posted by: Dustin Ridgeway at July 3, 2005 05:10 PM

Morals are transcendent. If they are not, then they are just your personal preference.

Posted by: spaniard at July 3, 2005 07:19 PM

"Morals are transcendent. If they are not, then they are just your personal preference."

Sorry Spaniard, but repeating that as if it were some mantra don't make it true. Every society has developed its own moral codes, and they all are different, reflecting the difference in the circumstances of the culture. I have given you several examples already, the list is endless. There are many possible sets of moral rules that can be and are set forth, and adhered to, that partake of no "transcendance" whatsoever.

I realize that there are many ideologues in our society who try to make the case that you express. Like you, they try to make the case by pure assertion. If you repeat the assertion, you are given entry into the club. But it is all a bunch of self-justifying hokum, as a moments thought and reflection will make evident. Claims to transcendent morals are a fantasy by which a group tries to shield itself from any questioning of their program or motivations.

God is on my side. End of conversation.

Sorry, but not in this world....

Posted by: Karl Jr. at July 3, 2005 07:33 PM

Karl Jr., why not this world? Have you discovered a better world where Biblical morality and ethics don't matter?

Posted by: mika. at July 4, 2005 05:36 AM

mika,

Show me that your bible matters now.

Show me wherein your scripture where you are allowed to kill thousands in the name of liberty, freedom and democracy.

Show me where advancing theories for better government is used to justify violating the Ten Commandments.

I have a theory…I say most of you right-winging sheep just echo others talking points. Show me that I am wrong.

Where are wars of leisure justified in scripture? Show me wherein your scripture where you are allowed to kill thousands in the name of liberty, freedom and democracy. Show me where advancing theories for better government is used to justify violating the Ten Commandments.

Posted by: PostDude(Neo) at July 4, 2005 08:26 AM

Neo:

I have a theory…I say most of you right-winging sheep just echo others talking points. Show me that I am wrong.

Boy, talk about pots and kettles.

Posted by: Mark Poling at July 4, 2005 11:00 AM

Neo,

It's very simple. Those that are kind to the cruel, are cruel to the kind.

Posted by: mika. at July 4, 2005 12:46 PM

Just what I thought, you right-winging sheep know as much scripture as a crack-whore on Friday night.

Just enough to lie?

Not even that.

Posted by: PostDude(Neo) at July 4, 2005 06:46 PM

Joshua Scholar,

"Ahh, you meant to type "ho can admit that immoral terrorism may sometimes be necessary" and you forgot to say necessary for what?"

Honestly Joshua, that is probably one of the more childish responses I've had... its sad even for a blog comment.

However, since you asked:
immoral terrorism may sometimes be necessary:

1. When Marshal Henri-Philippe Petain takes over your country, strikes a deal with Hitler and allows Germany to take control of three-fifths of your country. (See French Resistance)

2. When your President has been assassinated and a pro-soviet communist government gets established. Especially once 30,000 Soviet troops run through your borders. (See Mujhadeen)

Never moral, sometimes necessary.

spaniard,

Sorry, I said prove from the Bible... quote scriputre, not some pathetic mantra aimed at diverting the point. If your morals are Christian, then give me proof from the Bible that this war is moral. Show me that Jesus promised it would be ok if we killed 1 (let alone thousands) of innocets in order to stop the guilty. Show us where God, who is love, thought that we could lightly torture people if they would give us information that could save lives.

Go ahead. Show us that your beloved Bible has morals to support this war. At least try. You can twist and twist them all you like. I don't mind, I'll take each lie to task. Just show us some evidence that your even trying to live your lie.

Unless of course you have the same notion of Proof that Mr. Bush had for WMD's in Iraq.

Ratatosk

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at July 4, 2005 10:22 PM

A representative from Code Pink (Susan Medea Benjamin's group) supports the Iraqi resistance. And, someone else who's considering supporting them in some way appeared on Janeane Garofalo's Air America Radio show. Whether JG herself supports the resistance is not known as I don't listen to AAR.

Posted by: The Lonewacko Blog at July 5, 2005 01:00 AM

Tosk,

I make no claims about the "morality" of this war. That I leave to the amoral secular Liberals.

My support for current U.S. foreign policy is purely my personal preference.

Posted by: spaniard at July 5, 2005 06:41 AM

There are two distinct strains of thought being presented here by Tosk who appears to have initiated the intellectual equivalent of 'total war'.
To recap if I may:

A. There is really no such thing as a kinder, gentler, war, and the attempt to limit oneself to such an endeavor is a fool's errand. Therefore if you are not willing to adhere to the dictum that " needs must when the devil drives", DON'T use WAR as a tool. EVER.

B. There is no moral difference between 'total war' and deliberate use of terror tactics. Therefore US Marines are in theory equal to depraved Jihadi Scum.

I have already indicated my support for proposition "A", but culturally-centric as I am, I absolutely reject proposition "B". The greatest of the 'modern' iniquities is the pernicious belief that ALL cultures are essentially value equal and that we cannot 'impose' our values upon 'other' cultural patterns.

Suttee and stoning women for imagined 'sexual' crimes are twisted, decayed,and unacceptable cultural values. They just are. So are many others too numerous to mention. If it is cultually imperialistic to believe that 'our' values are 'better' in many but not all respects then just call me Rudyard.

Posted by: dougf at July 5, 2005 06:58 AM

"There is really no such thing as a kinder, gentler, war, and the attempt to limit oneself to such an endeavor is a fool's errand. Therefore if you are not willing to adhere to the dictum that " needs must when the devil drives", DON'T use WAR as a tool. EVER."

Actually, I think there's a lot to be said for attempting to limit oneself during wartime.

For example, when the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union, in many places they were greated as liberators from the Soviets. Around a million Soviet citizens ended up serving in German uniform.

However, the Nazis proceeded to massacre and enslave the population according to their insane racial theories. As such, the people who originally wanted to help the Nazis then engaged in a massive partisan campaign, and the people of the Soviet Union rallied to Stalin's Great Patriotic War to defeat the Germans.

If Hitler hadn't been totally insane, and had actually come as a liberator of sorts, he probably could have defeated Stalin. Instead, it's his skull that's on display in a Russian museum.

Lesson: sometimes it pays not to engage in total war. Sometimes, strategically, the best option is to win over the population, rather than smashing it. See, also: Iraq.

Posted by: The Commenter at July 5, 2005 08:18 AM

However, the Nazis proceeded to massacre and enslave the population according to their insane racial theories.--Commenter

Sorry, but this example does not mean what you appear to think it means. It was the "insane racial theories",that were the fly in the Nazi ointment, NOT the adherence to 'total war'that caused the Ukranians to begin to oppose their tyranny.

As for Iraq 'moderation' is a good strategy if it works . If it fails to be effective in the face of Jihadist/Baathist terror, then a rethink is in order. If for example it were required to obliterate Ar-Ramadi in order to crush the 'insurgency',and ONLY so doing would accomplish the desired goals,then clearly Ramadi would have to go. The choice to do so or not to do so is purely a matter of effective tactics/strategy. It is NOT a choice that is precluded because we don't think it is 'humane'.

If we are attempting to fight a 'correct' War, then perhaps we need to to reconsider our position. There is no such thing as a 'nice' war. Just WINNING and LOSING Wars. That's it.

Much better in almost every case to 'jaw-jaw', but when 'war-war' is required, winning(as carefully defined as that term can be made) is the only goal.

Posted by: dougf at July 5, 2005 09:19 AM

B. There is no moral difference between 'total war' and deliberate use of terror tactics. Therefore US Marines are in theory equal to depraved Jihadi Scum.

tsk, tsk, get your head out of the areistotlean is/is not world... things are not always either/or.

There is no such thing as a moral war. However, (and this is the key difference) sometimes there are necessary wars. For example, terrorist activity my the mujahadeen in Afganistan (post Soviet Invasion) seemed necessary for the independance of the people in that country. Therefore, Bin Laden and co involved themselves in the same tactics now being used against US forces in Iraq. The Mujahadeen actions in Afganistan doesn't seem moral to me (any more than the same acts in Iraq seem moral), but it does seem necessary.

World War II, I cannot think was 'moral', yet it certianly seems to mosbunall students of history that it was very necessary.

If we are now engaged with a clash of civilizations. If our battle in Iraq is a battle against the Hoardes of Muslims who want to rule the world and destroy our socitey, democracy, freedom and etc., then I would say that this war is necessary, not moral, but necessary. If this is the case, then US Marines aren't doing what is moral, but what is necessary and that is not a bad thing.

If, however, this is not truly a war for our society, our ideals of freedom and our lives (as Mr. Bush often paints it)... if instead this is a War based on revenge, politics, oil or some other trite reason, then our Marines are killing people without moral justification, or necessity... and I don't think I need to point out to anyone that this is not a good thing.

Which one is true? I don't know.

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at July 5, 2005 09:46 AM

tsk, tsk, get your head out of the areistotlean is/is not world... things are not always either/or.--Tosk

Well at least my head is not usually located in an altogether less attractive location so I guess I can live in a binary universe quite happily. If that is the worst of which I am guilty, praise be !!

Speaking of either/or as we were -----

If we are now engaged with a clash of civilizations. If our battle in Iraq is a battle against the Hoardes of Muslims who want to rule the world and destroy our socitey, democracy, freedom and etc.

If, however, this is not truly a war for our society, our ideals of freedom and our lives (as Mr. Bush often paints it)... if instead this is a War based on revenge, politics, oil or some other trite reason

Hmmm ---- ONLY two choices presented here. Either it's A or it's B. How un-nuanced. Perhaps it's more like multiple choice in this situation. A little from colume 1 and a little from colume 2. Not quite a full scale 'clash of civilizations', but more than WAR FOR OIL.

Whatever the truth,given a choice between Jihadi Lunacy,and US interests,I guess I have to go with US interests.Ooops -- just can't get away from that binary choice,it seems. I put it down to being intellectually challenged. I deserve sympathy rather than censure.

Shame on you--------:-)

Posted by: dougf at July 5, 2005 10:30 AM

AGAIN,

I notice those right-wingers who thump the bible the most, know very little about which they claim their morals come from.

Like any Klansman or fascist flunkie, you know enough to justify hate but not enough to save.

Posted by: NeoDude at July 5, 2005 10:31 AM

Why Leftists have more in common with the enemy than they think.

RELIGIOUS PRACTICE

Al Qaida/Taliban: We tolerate you as long as you practice in private
Leftist Taliban: We tolerate you as long as you practice in private
The Right: Religion can be practiced anywhere, including public spaces

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

Al Qaida/Taliban: Forbidden in Koran
Leftist Taliban: Forbidden in Constitution
The Right: Inherent part of Christianity

CHURCH STATE RELATIONS

Al Qaida/Taliban: The religion of the State is Islam
Leftist Taliban: The religion of the State is Atheism
The Right: no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

EQUAL RIGHTS

Al Qaida/Taliban: Different punishments depending on sex
Leftist Taliban: Different punishments depending on race
The Right: Equality before the law

FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Al Qaida/Taliban: None
Leftist Taliban: Ok, as long as you, you know, don't offend anybody.
The Right: Ok, as long as you don't incite to violence or criminal acts

TERRORIST STATES

Al Qaida/Taliban: Good
Leftist Taliban: Not any worse than U.S.
The Right: The enemy

TERRORISTS

Al Qaida/Taliban: Freedom fighters for Allah and against Imperialism
Leftist Taliban: Freedom fighters against U.S. Imperialism
The Right: The enemy

RELIGIOUS LAW

Al Qaida/Taliban: Koran and Sharia only source of law
Leftist Taliban: Religious law is ok in other countries because it's their culture
The Right: Secular governments for all countries

HUMAN RIGHTS

Al Qaida/Taliban: Human rights are a Western construct
Leftist Taliban: Human rights are a Western construct and only applicable to Western countries
The Right: Human rights are universal

BLAME AMERICA

Al Qaida/Taliban: Blame America first
Leftist Taliban: Blame America first, ask questions later
The Right: Give America benefit of doubt

VERSIONS OF EVENTS

Al Qaida/Taliban: When facts are in dispute, believe terrorist version
Leftist Taliban: When facts are in dispute, believe terrorist version
The Right: When facts are in dispute, believe U.S. soldier's version

TORTURE

Al Qaida/Taliban: Good if we do it, bad if you do it
Leftist Taliban: Bad if we do it--because we're the only ones that do it--oh, and every time you feel uncomfortable that's torture.
The Right: Bad, but most of what passes as torture is not actual torture.

ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT

Al Qaida/Taliban: Support a one world government (caliphate)
Leftist Taliban: Support one world government (UN)
The Right: Supports present nation-state system of sovereignty

CHILD MOLESTATION

Al Qaida/Taliban: Ok, just marry her first (Aisha)
Leftist Taliban: Hey, kids are sexual beings too
The Right: Immoral and disgusting

http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/

Posted by: spaniard at July 5, 2005 11:10 AM

Is there a casting call for a new production of The Wizard of Oz? Suddenly this place is full of strawmen.

Posted by: The Commenter at July 5, 2005 11:18 AM

RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS

Al Qaida/Taliban: non-Islamic religious symbols must be destroyed and defaced (i.e. those Buddist statues in Afghanistan)
Leftist Taliban: non-Islamic religious symbols must be destroyed and defaced.
The Right: All religious symbols are OK, even if displayed on public property like a park or courthouse.

Posted by: spaniard at July 5, 2005 11:56 AM

Spaniard, you sound like a fundementalist.

Posted by: NeoDude at July 5, 2005 01:05 PM

In that sense too, fascism is more plausibly linked to a set of "mobilizing passions" that shape fascist action than to a consistent and fully articulated philosophy. At bottom is a passionate nationalism. Allied to it is a conspiratorial and Manichean view of history as a battle between good and evil camps, between the pure and the corrupt, in which one's own community or nation has been the victim.

...

These "mobilizing passions," mostly taken for granted and not always overtly argued as intellectual propositions, form the emotional lava that set fascism's foundations:

-a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond the reach of any traditional solutions;

-the primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether individual or universal, and the subordination of the individual to it;

-the belief that one's group is a victim, a sentiment that justifies any action, without legal or moral limits, against its enemies, both internal and external;

-dread of the group's decline under the corrosive effects of individualistic liberalism, class conflict, and alien influences;

-the need for closer integration of a purer community, by consent if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary;

-the need for authority by natural leaders (always male), culminating in a national chief who alone is capable of incarnating the group's destiny;

-the superiority of the leader's instincts over abstract and universal reason;

-the beauty of violence and the efficacy of will, when they are devoted to the groups' success;

-the right of the chosen people to dominate others without restraint from any kind of human or divine law, right being decided by the sole criterion of the group's prowess within a Darwinian struggle.

Page 41
The Anatomy of Fascism
Robert O. Paxton

Posted by: NeoDude at July 5, 2005 01:11 PM

Spaniard, you sound like a fundementalist.

Only to a Leftist. And whatever you think of the fundies, they aren't traitorous scum such as found amongst the Left.

Posted by: spaniard at July 5, 2005 03:21 PM

spaniard,

Goebbles...is that you?

"it would be the worst condemnation of Social Democracy, for it was they who wanted to lose the war. They were the traitors in 1918. They used outward collapse to take power at home, they were willing to sell the entire nation into slavery to bring down a system they hated."

From:
Joseph Goebbels, "Gebt Raum dem jungen Deutschland," Revolution der Deutschen. 14 Jahre Nationalsozialismus (Oldenburg: Gerhard Stalling, 1933), pp. 91-106.

Goebbels doesn't say much about what the Nazis will do with power. In fact, his basic claim is that they will do something, while other parties will do nothing.

Posted by: NeoDude at July 5, 2005 04:42 PM

dougf,

Ah, my friend, it is truly refreshing to debate someone who actually thinks!

Hmmm ---- ONLY two choices presented here. Either it's A or it's B. How un-nuanced. Perhaps it's more like multiple choice in this situation. A little from colume 1 and a little from colume 2. Not quite a full scale 'clash of civilizations', but more than WAR FOR OIL.

BINGO! I'd hoped you would catch this. In fact, I specifically placed the first and second half of my post in contradiction in hopes that you would make this very statement.

Let us assume a scale:

<OIL----------------Survival>

On the far left, we have justification based on non-necessary reasons for war. On the far right, we have a necessary reason for war.

All the dots in-between appear as possible positions that are not-quite completely foolish or completely justified. We appear, as you put it, in a multiple choice of sorts. Neither is this war fully about life and death, a clash of civilization that we must win or be damned forever, nor is it simply a mad grab for power/oil/money or revenge for Daddy.

It seems reasonable to think that somewhere on the right side of the above chart, there is a demarcation. To the right of that demarcation, we might say that we're close enough to a 'necessary' war that we are somewhat justified in fighting. Unfortunately, the location of that demarcation and the judgement as to where the current war fits appears as determined by to our "personal preference", as Spaniard so succiently put it.

Are sombunall of those on the left truly 'traitors', or are their demarcations simply further to the right than sombunall others?

Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at July 6, 2005 08:15 AM

Are sombunall of those on the left truly 'traitors', or are their demarcations simply further to the right than sombunall others?--Tosk

Whoa---- Let's not let all that 'nuance' run amok.

I don't use the 'T' word at all. It's tempting.It really is tempting,and it's literally on the tip of my tongue, when some 'leftist' moron makes a particularly asinine statement, but it is a word to be avoided UNLESS you also are advocating doing something about it.

That said, even if we don't put asses such as Ted Kennedy and M.Moore (not to mention the true loons)down as deliberate t--------,then I am still not comfortable with simply saying that their 'perceptions' are merely different than mine. Their 'perceptions' are different from mine, but that does not automatically make their perceptions EQUAL to mine(or indeed to yours). A certified moron has different perceptions than you or I, but we don't EVER try to make the argument that he or she has any possibility of likely having an equally useful opinion.

The 'left' is not so much treasonous(which after all implies some degree of deliberate WILL),as they are poisonously insular and CLUELESS. Regettably the effects of their actions converge at the same point, so the practical distinction is somewhat moot. If I run over your best friend because I just don't give a s***,and think nothing of driving like like a madman whilr drunk as a lord despite all warnings to the contrary,the diffence to both you and 'objective' reality
between that action and a truly malicious act is marginal at best. Legalism is not REALITY.

I agree with your sliding scale anology, but will never buy into the 'relativist' prism as a means of evaluating positions on that scale. Sorry,just not going to happen.

The 'lefts' actions in a time of WAR are ,IMHO, contemptable, short-sighted, destructive, and without real guiding principles. As I said earlier, between the Jihadi Nutbars on one side and the US on the other, does a truly rational person really have to make a choice ? Let's go one step further down the road ----- between the Jihadi Nutbars and a true 4th Reich, the choice would be extremely difficult, but I guess I would have to get out the jackboots. Binary choices and all that.

Jihadi Nutbars ----- absolutely the WORST. Can't really conceive of anything worse once they got really rolling. That's why I just don't care about WHY the WAR started at this point. It's HERE and LOSING is not an option. Candidly now---- Do YOU want to lose to these guys? Can you see one good thing that would arise from these animals actually succeeding and forcing a US withdrawl? It's just time to suck it up and sing from the same songbook. It REALLY is.

Be honest now.

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