Walk-Outs, Protests Today

Cecil writes: Several student groups at UVA are coordinating to plan a walk-out from classes at 2:00 today, to protest the U.S. attacks on Iraq. See the Cav Daily story for more.

In addition, a rally on the Downtown Mall is planned for noon, and a protest on the corner of Ridge/McIntire and West Main at 4pm. Lousy day for protesting. If anybody wants to write about their experiences with these protests, this’d be the place to do it.

135 Responses to “Walk-Outs, Protests Today”


  • I hate putting up stories about stuff that hasn’t happened yet as news — it’ll be news after it happens, I tell them — but I’m getting so many freakin’ submissions about anti-war stuff that I figured I’d post this, so that people could have a forum to say what they want about the local effects of war, about protests or rallies, etc. Apologies to those that don’t care.

  • Eh, I don’t know anything about the protests.

    But I’d just like to post a link to Tony Blair’s speech to parliament. It’s worth reading.

    I could wish that President Bush had his speaking ability.

  • The BBC has its reporters maintaining unedited news blogs — you can see the feeds all together, which is how I’ve been reading them. I gather that the editor is taking these posts, as they come in, and editing them down to turn them into the “proper” news stories. It’s great to be able to get real-time, unedited (by the government or otherwise), true-to-life-yet-well-written pieces about what’s going on.

  • How could someone possibly not care?

    Anyway, I think the U.S. is making an historic mistake in allowing the use of the most awesome military power ever, pursuing a non-UN sanctioned war.

    The great majority of Americans will pay for this, while those that are responsible will not (or very little).

    What really gets me most angry, however, is that U.S. could have actually been an international “hero” by showing its willingness to cooperate with international prerogatives, all while keeping the pressure on the Iraqis to disarm. What many readers here probably don’t know, is that all the while the French were opposing war, they were crediting the U.S. with Saddam Hussein’s last minute cooperation. So, had we agreed to a reasonable timeline to disarm, as the international community wanted, with the U.S. holding Damocles’ Sword over Saddam’s head, then we would have not only achieved our stated goal, but we would have been recognized as a world-class hero.

    But now… we’re the villains, the schoolyard bully that just couldn’t resist showing how big and strong we are. Because of this, terrorism will expand, U.S. stature will decline while anti-Americanism will grow. In 10 years, when we can fully contemplate the consequences of this foolish behavior, we’ll all know who to thank.

  • Enough said.

  • When did someone decide that only the UN could "sanction" a war? I don’t even think that is part of the UN charter. Did the UN sanction the Russions actions in Chechnya? I sure don’t think so.

  • <i>When did someone decide that only the UN could "sanction" a war?</i>

    You must be right. All it takes is George W. Bush.

  • When did someone decide that only the UN could “sanction” a war?

    You must be right. All it takes is George W. Bush.

  • You must be right it takes the Commander in Chief to issue this order. Heck, if he wanted to invade Canada he could issue the order. But that doesn’t make sense to….. maybe

  • Good Job!!! why didn’t we think of this earlier?

  • well there’s an entirely appropriate and oh-so-American response to an expression of free speech–punishment.

  • How could someone possibly not care?

    Ehh, pretty easily, I imagine. Last night, I flipped on some non-news channel in hopes of escaping from Iraq-ness via my television drug — HGTV or something — to find that it had war coverage. In fact, probably half of the non-news-bearing channels did, in fact, have news about the war. The solution, of course, was to turn off the TV and pick up a book. (“All the King’s Men,” to be specific.) Anyhow, I could easily see somebody going to cvillenews.com in hopes of addressing issues that they have some hope of affecting — local issues — and thinking “aw, jeez, more Iraq stuff.” At least, that’s the logic. :)

  • "Don’t Support our Troops"

    Every time I see a CVille, it’s going in the trash. Period. Consider that MY civil disobidence in support of MY cause.

    If you don’t support the war, fine, be that way, but, as a veteran (which most readers of the forum are probably not) it disgusts me that "holier than thou" "Activists" think it’s OK to hope that our forces lose.

    It’s not.

  • Why? Then nobody could make fun of him.

  • Wow, now that’s a string argument. Thanks for clearing it up for me.

  • You’ve just proven my point. This so-called "war" is nothing more than a real-life training exercise for American military. If you did look at the news on TV, you’d see that most of the coverage is focusing on how technologically sophisticated our weaponry is. There are graphs, 3-dimensions models and stats aplenty on all our stuff. It’s portrayed like a videogame and I guess you’re not into videogames. I bet the Iraqis could use HGTV to rebuild Baghdad, right?

  • Whatever. You want to exercise free speech? Do it on your time and not on the time of other students who may be there to learn.

    After class, you can do whatever the hell you want.

  • I guess if you don’t get it, you don’t get it. How’s that for a "string"?

  • how is it that if Student X walks out of his class, he’s infringing on the time of Student Y?

  • Actually, I think that is part of the plan. They could add "curb appeal" to their homes. Perhaps we could have an Iraqui "Trading Spaces" or something like that.

    Regardless, these are things Iraqis cannot have, now. And, if all the "activists" had their way, they never would.

  • Oh yeah, we’re doing this for their own good, so that they can get HGTV on the TVs? You know, you are so right.

  • i haven’t read the article you’re referring to, but from the looks of the headline, i’d be right behind you trashing those papers. say what you will about the president or the goverment, but to even suggest that we shouldn’t support the men and women who are over in the middle east defending OUR freedom is enough to warrant a boot up your ass! i hope mr. rall has some KY and a shoehorn should i ever run into him.

  • they’re not being punished for exercising free speech. they’re being punished for not attending class. their protests are going to accoplish nothing, so they might as well stay in class and get an education. then maybe they can get jobs as capital hill lobbyists and actually make a difference. who gives a shit what a bunch of pot-smoking hippie students think anyway?

  • haha! hey, maybe if i organize a walk-out in my office, i’ll get a raise.

  • you’re an idiot! give them "more time" to comply with the UN resolutions? what, 11 years wasn’t enough? the reason we’re at war is because saddam was thumbing his nose in our face, and has been for the past decade. it’s just that somebody (i.e. W) finally had the balls to call him out. say what you will…war for oil, war for retributionl…this has been a long time coming. i just hope W can finally finish what his daddy started.

  • "they’re not being punished for exercising free speech. they’re being punished for not attending class."

    flunking is not a standard punishment for missing a class. some classes don’t even take attendance. for the ones that do, missing a day is punishable by a variety of means, but flunking someone over one missed class doesn’t happen. therefore, to say "flunk ‘em" for skipping class to go to the protest seems to me to be a vindictive suggestion based on ideological leaning–that is, "anti-war protesters make me mad, here’s an opportunity to slam them."

    if mmike had said "count the absence as an unexcused absence" he’d have some credibility. but he let slip his extremely vindictive attitude towards these college kids.

    "their protests are going to accoplish nothing, so they might as well stay in class and get an education."

    well, it’s all in how you define "accomplish." no one thinks that a walk-out will cause Bush to call of the war. but if you define "accomplish" as "show the local community that anti-war people care enough to risk the things that accompany protesting–that is, being yelled at from passing cars, ridiculed, punished by your professors, etc.," then walking out will accomplish something.

    by your logic, no one would ever come together publicly to demonstrate opposition or support for anything, since it wouldn’t "accomplish" anything.

  • What does this phrase mean, "support our troops"? What action would I take to support them? What action would I take (or not take?) to fail to "support our troops"? I don’t understand.

  • It’s not.

    I completely agree with your sentiment. In my opinion, it’s a far worse statement than flag-burning; with which I also vehemently disagree.

    But (and you knew there’d be a but, right?), I also consider this to be one of America’s greatest strengths. You, and your comrades in arms, have made it possible for all those who spout such drivel to do so. Because of the willingness of our people to fight for these freedoms which we have granted to ourselves, idiots can say the stupidest things and get away with it. And we’re perfectly free to disagree with them.

    As the old saying goes, “I disagree with what you say, but I will die fighting to defend your right to say it.”

    That being said, I personally wouldn’t mind seeing anyone who said such a stupid thing sent out to live under a tyrant like Saddam Hussein for a while. Idiots.

  • “but if you define “accomplish” as “show the local community that anti-war people care enough to risk the things that accompany protesting–that is, being yelled at from passing cars, ridiculed, punished by your professors, etc.,” then walking out will accomplish something.”

    ok. but what use is showing me how much you “care” about something. because since i’m not there with you, i obviously don’t “care” what you think (or at the very least, i don’t “care” about the same thing). but go ahead and stand out in the rain, getting mocked by passersby if you’d like. i’m just glad it’s a shitty day out. hope they all catch a cold.

    “by your logic, no one would ever come together publicly to demonstrate opposition or support for anything, since it wouldn’t “accomplish” anything.”

    that would be great! i hate protesters. they’re annoying, they cause traffic jams, and worst of all, they try to shove their agendas down the throats of people who don’t care what they have to say in the first place. like i said, if we cared, we’d be out there with you. instead, i’ll be at home, watching our men and women in the military doling out some good ole’ fashioned american justice on CNN!

  • Next thing we can give them CNN

    I can see it now: "the polls are still open and it appears that Saddem won %100 of the vote O wait a minute I think the FL has a different timezone"

  • Nah, they’d still make fun of him because of his big ears. Or for being from Texas. Or for some other fool thing. Just like when the conservatives made fun of Clinton pre-Lewinsky (you gotta admit, post-Lewinsky there was just too much to make fun of). Just being the President sets you up for at least some of that.

    However, having a better speaking presence counts for something in negotiations, and I’d assume in foreign relations too. I agree with a lot of things (not all things) that Bush has done, but he hasn’t been very good at elucidating his reasons for doing so, or convincing "the people" that he knows what he’s doing. He lacks that kind of charisma. I guess you can’t have everything.

  • Just so we don’t hurt the feelings of the people who support Bush, they should stay in class today and walk out tomorrow so we don’t add to the confusion.

  • Yeah, I always had a problem with that. The avg Joe can’t ever run for public office without facing the fire squad. Does anyone remember Admiral Stockdale.

  • honestly, i don’t think the protestors care about showing you, lyle_lanley, anything, because you’re pretty much written off. but to the extent that the media covers such protests, it paints a clear picture that not everyone is happily cheering that the bombs that are dropping on Baghdad.

    and why is that picture important? because (a) it’s reality–there is not universal US support for these actions. and there’s (b), whichis that media coverage and local recognition of the fact that, ultimately, thousands of US citizens wish the US military would STOP dropping bombs human beings living in a foreign city keeps the administration at least somewhat honest–they can’t pretend this is another WWII in which the moral imperative is clear and inarguable.

    In other words, the visibility of dissent is important.

    but thanks for speaking on behalf of all who don’t care. not caring is a venerable American institution, after all, and you should be proud not to care.

  • Thank you for asking this. When I hear "support the troops," what I often suspect I’m being told is get a pom-pom and cheer for every bomb dropped. After all, if you’re not with us, you’re against us, right?

    I mean, I don’t think they mean send canned goods to the troops.

  • hmm–maybe he lacks the charisma of a Blair, or maybe the lacks the intelligence of a Blair. You don’t write a speech like Blair’s (if he wrote it) on the basis of charisma alone–there’s intelligence behind that. if Bush can’t speak with depth and breadth, maybe it’s because he’s a man of shallow intelligence.

    just a possibility.

  • I believe that what mmike87 was talking about (and correct me if I’m wrong) is rooting for the other side. Or hoping that our soldiers will lose or fail.

    I think that’s probably about as un-American a sentiment as is possible, regardless of your feelings about our commander-in-chief or his cohorts.

  • I believe that what mmike87 was talking about (and correct me if I’m wrong) is rooting for the other side. Or hoping that our soldiers will lose or fail.

    Gosh, I hope that’s not un-American. If we invaded Canada, I wonder if it would be un-American to protest that invasion or desire that the U.S. would not succeed? Was it un-German to be opposed to Hitler in 1939?

    I’m not asking you, Lafe (or mmike87), just thinking out loud.

  • Sure, I’ll support a person’s right to say whatever they want – but there should be social consequences for crossing the line. Perhaps your neighbors should shun you or something.

    I think it’s bad style to utilitze the freedoms that have been provided to you, and then not support the providers. It’s just crappy.

    I’m not asking people to agree – but to wish defeat upon our troops is beyond excuse.

  • just a possibility.

    Sure, it’s a possibility. But I don’t think it’s likely. I would guess that it’s mainly charisma that he lacks, not intelligence.

    But for full disclosure, I also believed that Clinton wasn’t very smart, but was extremely charismatic. Case-in-point, screwing around with an intern in the oval office, and getting caught (stupid!), and getting off pretty much scot-free in the eyes of the American public (charisma!).

  • but that doesn’t answer the question, "what does ‘support’ consist of"? you tell us what we SHOULDN’T do, that is, root for the other side (which, honestly, i don’t know who besides Ted Rall is really calling for).

    but you don’t tell us what we SHOULD do in order to support our troops–root for them to kill a lot of Iraqis? how can one support our troops if one absolutely believes that killing iraqi civilians and soldiers is morally wrong?

  • guess what–there are social consequences for "crossing the line" (although how do we know that your definition of where that line is is the one true definition?). if i went out and burned a flag on the Mall, I’d probably get my ass kicked by an irate vet.

    and i’m pretty sure that if someone went down on the Mall chanting "go Iraq" and cheered every time a US soldier was killed, he’d get the shit kicked out of him.

    so it’s not like you live in this nightmare world in which "the liberals" rule and good patriotic vets like yourself are oppressed. far from it.

  • Well put. Sometimes I think people forget that, despite our many warts, we really are the good guys. We haven’t gassed our own people, or had death squads round up dissenters, or even really shot our guns into the air (well, most of us, anyway).

    Richard Cohen wrote an outstanding article in a recent Washington Post making a pretty reasonable case for using force against Saddam. Walter Russell Mead composed an equally outstanding op-ed piece detailing the failure of containment. These two writings solidified my resolve that we’re doing the right thing. The regret is that our president hasn’t done an aceptable job of articulating the reasons, but the reasons exist and are compelling nonetheless.

    Saddam is a remarkably evil person, and for the sake of all of us he needs to be taken out by whatever means necessary. Sanctions haven’t worked. Inspections haven’t worked. Diplomacy clearly hasn’t worked. If we don’t take him down, who on earth will? France?

    The American troops in Iraq are there on our behalf. “Our” is a collective word. A person may not want to think they’re fighting on THEIR individual behalf, and that’s fine. But our freedom was won with blood, and it sometimes needs to be re-affirmed with blood. That totally sucks. So does allowing over 5,000 children to die each month.

  • IMHO, wishing defeat upon our troops is borderline treason.

  • how about trying to ensure that when our troops come home, they aren’t spit on and called baby killers like so many servicemen and women were in vietnam. personally, i think it’s hypocritical as hell for someone to say they’re opposed to our troops going into iraq and killing iraqis, then in the same breath saying they hope our troops lose (i.e. get killed themselves). and whoever compared our troops to nazis should have their teeth kicked in.

  • maybe it’s how we’re defining intelligence. Clinton was clearly a well-read man who cared enough about how other nations work and about history that he studied up on things, read things, and remembered what he read. he was capable of intelligent and informed discussions on a variety of topics relating to foreign and domestic affairs. he continued to stay up to date on issues throughout his stay in the white house.

    everything i’ve read about bush suggests that he didn’t retain much of anything he may have learned at Yale, that he doesn’t know much history, that he doesn’t know much about other nations and cultures. to me, that’s an important component of intelligence, particularly in a world leader, for freak’s sake.

  • Sorry – all indications are that Saddam was never, ever going to disarm. Leaving that judgement to the UN inspectors, which is precisely what France wanted, was absurd.

    If you remember correctly, France voted in favor of resolution 1441. Everybody did. France was all for disarming Saddam. Their support was lost, however, when the phrase "regime change" entered the debate. No Saddam, no lucrative post-sanctions contracts with France’s Elf Fina oil company (a matter of record – not a right-wing fantasy). That changed everything.

    Were we supposed to hold the sword over Saddam’s head forever? If that was such a great idea, where were the French troops? Where were the Germans? The Russians?

    France is doing a remarkable display of backstroking now, but it’s going to be too late.

  • Was it un-German to be opposed to Hitler in 1939?

    I would say “No,” it wasn’t un-German to be opposed to Hitler. However, there’s a difference in being opposed to Hitler, and hoping that Germany’s soldiers lose a war. Maybe it’s a fine line, though it doesn’t seem so to me. After all, those soldiers are your brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and friends.

    Similarly, I’m not offended at all when someone doesn’t like Bush… however, I do get offended when someone wants our soldiers to lose. If you don’t see the difference there, then there’s probably nothing I can do to clarify it any further.

  • Certainly, we can draw a distinction btween Iraq, a country controlled by a cruel, and brutal dictator and a nation such as Canada.

    Even if you don’t believe the Weapons Of Mass Destruction stuff, or the terrorist ties, at LEAST people should be able to see that we’re getting rid of a really bad dude, and the Iraqis will be able to democratically elect their own governemnt in the future.

    So, yes, I think in this case rooting for the other side IS un-American. You don’t have to like the fact that we’ve had a war, but our men and women in uniform are counting on a swift victory so they can come home safely to their familes. To imply that it’s somehow OK to root for the other side is saying "I hope more of our folks die than theirs" or something to that effect.

    I hope we kick the bad guys asses, stabilize the country, give them food and medical supplies, and let them build their own democratically elected govenment. Why is this such a bad cause that people actually wish ill will upon our troops?

  • Oh yeah, this is an excellent resource. Thanks for the tip!

  • The why isn’t important, only the outcome.

    Are you actually trying to tell me that Iraq is better off NOW under Saddam than they would be with their own elected govenment?

    I am stating MY reasons for supporting the war, not Bush’s. No, I didn’t literally mean HGTV.

    Why are some of you people so quick to just leave those people to rot over there? Forget what Bush says – isn’t spreading Democracy to a brutal dictatorship a good result? But then again, you’d have to find something else to protest.

    Some time ago some political analyst said (I don’t recall who) that the best way to fight terrorism and despotism was to spread wealth and democracy thoughout the world. I believe that. "Containing" countries like Iraq does nothing for anyone.

  • I’d value what they said more if they stayed in class and got the education that my tax dollars are subsidizing.

  • Just out of curiosity, what have you read about Bush? Which publications/authors?

    And I’m really curious, not baiting you. :)

  • "we really are the good guys"

    your definition of us being good guys seems to boil down to the fact that the US government has not persecuted its own people (although African and Native Americans might disagree, as well as Japanese-American citizens during WWII).

    but the US has provided training on US soil and weapons for members of death squads in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. the US has helped to knock off democratically elected leaders in other countries (Chile, for example). the list of disservices we have provided around the world could go on and on, with the end result that calling the US the good guys gets a little improbable.

  • well, for starters, there’s a piece in the most recent _Atlantic Monthly_ that looks at how Bush’s mind works. The author, Richard Brookhiser, is actually fairly laudatory about Bush’s strengths, but he can’t conceal his intellectual shortcomings: to quote from the AM site,

    Bush’s worldview is extremely rigid, circumscribed by the good-versus-evil religious convictions to which he has adhered since his recovery from alcoholism seventeen years ago. “Practically,” Brookhiser writes, “Bush’s faith means that he does not tolerate, or even recognize, ambiguity: there is an all-knowing God who decrees certain behaviors, and leaders must obey.” While this clear-cut belief structure enables him to make split-second decisions and take action with principled confidence, it also means that he is limited by “strictly defined mental horizons.”

    Now, it’s true that this particular article does not address Bush’s readily apparent lack of knowledge about other nations and history, but it does address something I consider to be a glaring failure of intelligence–a sympathetic and flexible imagination.

  • This is just silly, Cecil.

    I’ll concede your argument, if you’ll agree that there are NO good guys in the world, that will fit your apparent criteria.

    The US is not perfect, and I doubt they ever will be. But I’d appreciate it if, when you make this argument, you provide an example of a country that IS a "good guy" according to these same standards.

  • it’s not incumbent on me to provide an example of a "good guy" country when my purpose is to counter Big Al’s contention that we are a good guy country.

    in other words, it was Big Al who wrote "we’re the good guy," and my posting was an attempt to point out that we’re in fact not the good guy.

    i, like you, believe that there are no good guys–it’s simplistic to think that there are. which is why i felt compelled to respond to big al.

  • You must have misunderstood me a little bit. Upon re-reading, I can see how you could.

    I do believe that we are the “good guys.”

    I don’t believe, however, that we’re flawless. Your argument is that we’re not good guys because we’ve done bad things before. My argument is that no one is wholly good or bad, and that we’re no less “good guys” because we’ve done something bad before (and will again, undoubtedly).

    If you want to say “we’re not good guys,” and you concede that there are no good guys, then I can understand your position, and agree with it to the extent that you’re correct… there are no good guys by your definition.

    And using that position doesn’t answer Big_Al’s argument at all, in that as far as we can see, we’re one of the best “good guys” in the world right now.

  • If it’s perfection you seek, I recommend…well…a good book, perhaps? Either accidentally or deliberately, you overlooked the phrase preceding my "good guy" pronouncement: "despite our many warts."

    If you’re going to bring our dirty laundry (which NOBODY is denying the existence of) into this, then you could at least pretend to be even-handed and include our too-many-to-count contributions to the world’s social, cultural, and political health. You can deny those things if you wish, but reasonable people usually don’t.

    If you truly think Saddam is the good guy here (and I don’t think you do, I think you just like to argue), I truly feel sorry for you because you’re a rebel without a clue.

  • By the way, did you even bother reading the articles I cited?

  • Yeah, and while we’re at it, Hitler was a good guy too, despite his many warts. I mean, he brought the German economy back from out-of-control inflation, he kept crime down on his own soil, and sent Germany to industrial world-power in a matter of a few years.

    I mean, sure, he killed millions of jews and gypsies, but hey, if you want perfection, go read a book.

    My point is not that i believe America is as bad as Nazi Germany, ’cause that would be absurdly wrong. My point is that your logic is about as water-tight as a screen-door. I love America, but the American government has, in the past, done things which i consider to be much more than just "warts."

    And by the way, someone might be arguing that Saddam is a good guy, but i can promise you that 99% of peace protesters don’t like Saddamn a damn bit. We’re not pro-Saddam, we’re just against a war that’ll lead to huge causualties.

    b.c

  • Certainly, we can draw a distinction btween Iraq, a country controlled by a cruel, and brutal dictator and a nation such as Canada.

    So, what you’re basically saying is that it’s not right to oppose invading Iraq because you believe invading Iraq to be a good thing, but it would be OK to oppose invading Canada because you think that would be a bad thing. :)

  • I don’t think the Iraqi people should be left to rot, but I also think it is morally repugnant to kill a few thousand of them in order to take out their leader, especially when there are other options available.

    I also think that it is foolish to focus only on those suffering under the Iraqi regime when there are many people suffering under similar regimes throughout the world.

    Of course those regimes don’t usually have oil, so who cares?

  • If we’ve waited eleven years, then what’s another thirty days, so that we can gain the support of France and presumable the rest of the UN?

  • Clinton is regarded by historians as possibly the most intelligent President we’ve ever had.

    As for his getting caught screwing around, it is often the case that intelligence breeds hubris.

    He certainly did have a bizarre taste in women, however.

  • because 30 days would turn into 60 days, into 90 days, into 6 months…etc. etc.

    saddam never intended to comply with the UN resolutions. if he did, he would have done it by now. war was inevitable. it’s a shame, but it was coming regardless of what happened.

    and the day france does anything but surrender will be a cold day in hell.

  • bew hew hew

  • I have a better suggestion, lyle. Instead of watching TV at home, wallowing in your own self-righteousness, you could make your own signs, find some like-minded friends and shove your agenda down my throat. In fact, across the country, including Charlottesville, there have been counter-protests staged in favor of the war. I happen to disagree, but the same rights that allow me to publicly support peace allow you to support Bush. At least, this would be preferable to your watching CNN and bitching about peace protestors on cvillenews….

  • I don’t see you complaining when students skip class because they’re hung over…

  • how are we better "good guys" than nations, like, oh, say, switzerland, sweden, norway, etc., that has, unlike the US, never funded and armed terrorist groups in other nations, never conspired to knock off democratically elected leaders in other countries, never generally meddled with the political structures of other nations, etc.? how are we better than countries that have pretty much minded their own business, paid their UN dues, and pulled their weight in various humanitarian endeavors?

  • I think "warts" is a grimly humorous way of brushing aside a long history of systematic incursions on other nation’s sovereignities. Oh, that Allende thing? Just a little wart, nothing more! Oh, our disastrous meddling in Iran? A blemish! You suggest that I’m some kind of extreme perfectionist because I insist on considering things like our record in Central America (going back to the Spanish-American war, really), the Middle East, South America, etc–as if it’s nitpicky? I’m nitpicking? That’s breathtaking.

    I’m not seeking perfection–I’m seeking actual evidence that adds up to significanly more US good than bad. I don’t see it. We’ve been awfully good to ourselves, it’s true, but when it comes to the world, I don’t see how we’ve been any better than many of the European nations; we weren’t the only ones fighting in WW1 and 2, we don’t get the whole credit for all those great things–European nations contributed just as much. I need to hear about the great things we’ve done for other nations, things that distinguish us from other nations who’ve done similar things, things that outweigh the evil we’ve helped to perpetrate.

    To me, "good guys" don’t do the things we’ve done in and to other nations.

  • no, i didn’t, because from what I could tell from your posting, those two articles don’t pertain to the particular claim that I was interested in pursuing–your claim that the US are the good guys. the articles, it seems, focus on something else entirely, which is the rationale for the attacks on Iraq. they may be great, thoughtful articles–I’m sure they are, in fact. but that wasn’t what I was interested in responding to from your posting, and that’s why I didn’t read them. i think you’re trying to imply that i’m not interested in reading or hearing viewpoints in opposition to mine, but i’m sorry to disappoint you–in this case i was simply not interested in reading articles that didn’t appear to be relevant to the claim that the US is some kind of good guy in general.

  • I got home and found my copy of Cville Weekly and read the Rall piece. The title is "Don’t Support Our Troops." The last line, however, reads as follows:

    "I want our troops to return home safely. I want them to live."

    He also writes "Members of our armed forces don’t deserve insults, but their role in this war doesn’t merit support."

    There’s lots more, and it’s all more complex and thoughful than the simplistic reduction to "he hopes our forces lose" that mmike presented us with. He’s talking about the ambiguity felt by anyone who believes US attacks on Iraq are immoral (include the Pope in that group) but who simultaneously feels protective towards American brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, in arms.

    Is that so freakin’ awful?

  • I’m working on a Critical Mass article on why it’s necessary to invade Iraq now, and thought I’d use this space to flesh out some of my ideas.

    1. Argument. It’s necessary to understand why Iraq is really being attacked in order to succesfully stop the war. Bush isn’t insane, but he is using the wrong tactics to achieve otherwise important goals.

    2. Why war? The backbone of the American economy is its military industrial complex. America spends as much on its military as the rest of the world combined. America is militarily strong and diplomatically weak. War feeds the military industrial complex, puts our military advantage to use, and allows us to achieve political and economic goals with military force.

    3. Why Iraq? Because it is weak, militarily and politically. North Korea has some military capability, and should therefore be placated. Iraq can be crushed easily. Also, Iraq offers a rich oil supply, though North Korea has similar advantages.

    4. Why without the UN? The Bush administration has repeatedly argued that they don’t need UN approval to attack. The UN was originally set up to protect peace and preserve the positions of the major powers after World War II. However, when the small nations became members, the UN became too democratic, threatening US power. Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton dealt with this by creating international economic organization like the World Trade Organization. These organizations, controlled by the US and its allies, could replace the UN, preserving US power and world peace. However, Bush II has taken a different approach. Believing perhaps that this is taking too long, he is seeking to outright disempower the UN, replacing it with a less subtle US dominance over the world.

    5. The goals. Improve the economy. Preserve US global power. These are logical goals, but war doesn’t serve them. War has thrown our economy into uncertainty, along with our future as the world leader.

    6. Alternative tactics. Liberals would argue for more jobs, a stronger social safety net, more aid, and more diplomacy. Radicals would argue that the goals of a better economy and maintaining power are selfish and need to be re-examined. What do you think?

  • I think you’re on track. Keep going…

  • The one point I do agree with you is that there seems to be some backpeddling from French diplomacy. I think they have no cause to.

    I find it amazing you could dig up Elf-Fina, yet you don’t seem to flinch about U.S. oil interests, even Bush’s own family and friends interests in Iraq.

  • I certainly don’t want to stop you in your tracks of putting up a good fight against obvious self-congratulatory bigotry. However, I do note:

    We’ve been awfully good to ourselves, it’s true

    The way I see things, the U.S. is becoming a toilet full of ghettos, identical strip-malls, trashed highways and a parsimonious sprinkling of country-clubs. But again, let me not interrupt you: we can certainly discuss this another time.

  • I’d say that we’re better good guys than the other nations you mention because we’re more active in giving foreign aid, and give much, much more of it than any other nation. We’re more active in promoting humanitarian conditions in other countries. We’re more active in promoting a better form of government.

    I think you’re intentionally overlooking an awful lot of good. If you choose to see the evils and mistakes that have been performed by this country as outweighing the good that has been done, well, that’s your prerogative. But I shan’t agree with you.

    One of the prices of being as active in the world abroad as we are is that we have a great deal of influence in a large number of places, some good and some bad. One of the problems with our leaders in those places is that they’re human, and sometimes make bad choices. Sometimes it might even be intentional. But I do not view those cases as outweighing the good we’re doing. Not even close.

    And indeed, in most of the countries where we are "meddling," it is at the request of those countries that we are there in the first place.

    I wonder, though, if you feel as badly about the US as you’re indicating here, then why are you in this country at all? Do you really believe that we’re the bad guys in the world? If we’re that bad, would you really choose to live here? Or are you exaggerating for effect?

  • Let’s face it: Fascism is alive and well…

    …because if an American disagrees with Bush et al, then someone thinks it’s ok his teeth be kicked in. I mean, our President of the United States of America himself states that hundreds of thousands of American citizens protesting his desire for war only represent a focus group with which he has no accountability.

    Beware to all dissenters on this forum and elsewhere: the time of Fascism has returned. We may be investigated, drawn out of our homes, kicked and stoned. Let’s not be overconfident as we may be lynched in the name of God.

  • 1. Why is Iraq really being attacked? Which goals do you believe Bush is trying to achieve, the ones under 5? If so, then I’ll answer them in that point. If not, then please tell me what goals you think Bush is trying to achieve, and why Bush’s tactics are the wrong ones.

    2. Why war? Because Saddam Hussein will not listen to any other coercement than force, or imminent threat of force. France removed the imminent threat of force by saying that they would veto any measure that has war as a consequence, no matter what. This removed any imperative that Saddam had to listen to the UN, and left us with only one option.

    3. Why Iraq? Because Saddam is a flaming madman that will gladly sow destruction upon us. Maybe through terrorists. Maybe directly. He’s used both tactics before, and we have every reason to believe he’d use ‘em again. It would be idiotic of us to stick our heads in the sand and hope he went away. Better to remove the threat now, while it’s not fully realized, than wait until he’s got stronger teeth.

    4. Why without the UN? I answered that in 2. Because France effectively killed the UN Security Council’s effectiveness with its promise to excersize veto "no matter what."

    5. The goals: Remove Saddam Hussein as a threat. Liberate the Iraqi people. Provide an avenue for safely removing sanctions on Iraq and providing its people with much needed aid.

    6. Alternative tactics. Find some way to force Saddam to disarm without resorting to war. Good luck! No one else was able to figure this one out.

    What do I think?

    It is not shameful for the US to pursue its interests in this conflict, because our interests also stand to benefit the rest of that region, and the world. You seem to believe that the US is somehow trying to "put one over" on the rest of the world, and excersize dominance over everyone else (for the fun of it?), or to improve our economy, or any number of other totally selfish reasons that don’t benefit anyone else. I believe that that is a fallacy.

    It seems to me that your arguments depend upon a belief that our country’s actions stem only from the evil and/or selfish purposes of our current leaders. This is not a bias that I share with you, though it would be a great foundation for conspiracy theories.

  • I noticed that passage from the article. Were you able to find any supporting evidence for that statement from the article? I wasn’t able to…

    I found the article over all to be interesting, and I think his insights about Sam Houston may be fairly accurate. However, it seems to me that the author did indeed have some bias against Bush, and really had to reach to produce the criticism (one of the few) that you reproduced above. Further, that one criticism seems to have little evidence to support it. I’m willing to bet that the author (or the one that he’s quoting, actually) probably shares that opinion of anyone who holds religious convictions.

    All told, it looks like this historian expected Bush to fall flat on his face during his presidency, and was shocked and surprised when Bush not only didn’t, but actually did well through some pretty impressive crises. He seems sort of petulant about that, actually, but has enough intellectual honesty to grudgingly admit it.

    The criticisms that I agree most with are about Bush’s (lack of) speaking ability, and his apparent lack of "finesse" in foreign relations. The two are probably related. But neither, I believe, shows any indication that Bush may not be intelligent.

  • We’re not pro-Saddam, we’re just against a war that’ll lead to huge causualties.

    Even if not going to war may mean even larger casualties later?

    Do you know how many people die on a daily basis under Saddam’s current leadership?

    I understand not wanting a war, but I believe that there are times when not going to war may be even worse. Though it may be hard to see it.

  • To me, “good guys” don’t do the things we’ve done in and to other nations.

    And also to you, there are no “good guys.” You don’t believe our good outweighs our bad, but you are unable (or unwilling) to show that any other country has a track record even comparable to ours. This argument leads nowhere.

  • Is that so freakin’ awful?

    My response to the above question is wholly emotional opinion, as it’s not one (or so it seems to me) that’s really answerable by logic.

    If Rall allows the ambiguity he feels to lead him to make a statement like “Don’t support our troops,” then I would have to say yes… it’s that freakin’ awful.

    Without those troops, and their predecessors, you would not have the luxury of the freedom to post your pacific views on this forum. You would not have the freedom to own your own property. You would not have the freedom to worship a God, or not, without fear of persecution for choosing whatever disagrees with whomever is in power.

    I say disagree with Bush all you want. I say rail against the federal government. And I say that withdrawing your goodwill from the men and women who are willing to, and do give their lives to protect your and my sorry backsides from war’s desolation and make it possible for us to continue to enjoy this life as we do, is inexcusable.

    That’s my opinion.

  • Well shit, we better invade France right away, then. Don’t want the inevitable to drag on any further! Might as well take down Russia while we’re at it, too. Never did get along smoothly with them.

    All this anti-French sentiment that’s cropped up over the past few weeks is nothing short of pathetic. It’s the most crystal-clear example of American egocentrism one could ask for, demonstrating our willingness to turn on anyone, and I mean ANYONE who so much as says maybe we’re not spot on about something. I mean, Jesus! It’s FRANCE! It’s not like they’re Libya or China or even Russia, someone who we’re already on sometimes sketchy terms with. They’ve been our ally longer than our country has existed, and they’re at least partly responsible for us existing at all!

    I’m not saying we should do whatever they want, that would be stupid. But using their disagreement with us over whether we should topple a middle-eastern government as an excuse to shit all over them is just really weak. We’ve finally become the spoiled rich kid in the kindergarten class who isn’t really friends with anyone, just those who are convenient. If young John and Timothy want to go beat up Amal because he keeps making faces at them from across the classroom, but Pierre thinks they should try asking him to stop one more time, sure, they’re going to laugh at him and call him a *****. But they’re still annoying, immature little shits.

    And criticizing France for surrendering in WWII is just dumb. So did Poland, Norway, Greece, and many others, but France put up more of a fight than they did, not to mention the fact that the French Resistence played an invaluable role in the allies successful recapturing of Europe. If it weren’t for the information they provided Britain with, D-Day could have been the Allies final failure rather than the turning point of the European arena.

  • [no one ever coming together publicly to demonstrate opposition to anything] would be great!

    Um, wow. Sounds like you’d feel right at home under Hussein’s rule.

    i hate protesters. …they try to shove their agendas down the throats of people who don’t care what they have to say in the first place.

    Holy God, not that! God forbid you witness a viewpoint you – *gasp* – don’t agree with! Best to just silence everyone who thinks different than you with legislation that prohibits free speech, press and religion. I’ll tell Stalin you called.

  • I’d say that we’re better good guys than the other nations you mention because we’re more active in giving foreign aid, and give much, much more of it than any other nation.

    That actually isn’t really true. If you compare how much we give to how much we have, we actually rate extremely poorly on the list of generous givers. Generosity is measured by how much you give of what you have, not by how much you give in relation to everyone else. So actually, there are many, many nations more generous than us with foreign aid.

  • Do you know how many people die on a daily basis under Saddam’s current leadership?

    More people die in Iraq on a daily basis as a result of our precious sanctions than die as a result of Saddam.

  • Would you please sepcify those Bush interests in Iraq? All I’ve heard reagarding that is rumor and innuendo, while the Elf/Fina contract is well-known.

    Got any facts?

  • That’s interesting. Sadam agreed to the sanctions AFTER HE INVADED KUWAIT AND SUBSEQUENTLY THE GULF WAR. The sanctions, put forth unanimously by the UN Security Council, allow Iraq to sell as much of their oil as they need to for humanitarian reasons, yet amazingly none of the revenues seem to get to the starving children.

    How, I ask, is that our fault? Are the Bush Minions intercepting the revenues and diverting them to Enron executives? Or is Saddam using the revenues to build newer better stronger palaces and underground facilities?

  • Simon and Garfunkel said it best "A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest."

  • Since you choose to cite one of hte few responsbile passages in the article in question, try these on for size:

    "Senator John Kerry, the Democratic presidential frontrunner [well, <I>that's</I> news], opposes war with Iraq. Despite this stance, he suggests that Americans should set aside their political differences once the Mother of All Bombs starts blowing up munitions dumps <I>and babies</I> in Baghdad [emphasis added]."

    Ah, the notion of American troops being baby killers lives!

    "Pakistan, another nuclear power run by a dangerous anti-American dictator…" Interesting – Pakistan has probably been our strongest ally in the war against terrorism, with Musharaff(sp?) constantly under fire from the locals for same. I would say he’s helping American interests at great political risk.

    "George W. Bush is leading us to commit an ignominious crime, an internationally un sanctioned invasion of a nation <I>that has done us no harm and presents no imminent threat</I> [emphasis added]."

    He follows that suspect passage with this one: "Losing to Third Worlders in PJs led Americans to decades of relative humility, self-examination and takikng the moral high ground in conflicts such as Haiti and Kosovo."

    Okay, I know Ted’s a lot smarter than I am, since he has his own weekly column and all, but what "harm and imminent threat" did either Haiti or Kosovo present to the United States? Unless you consider boat people a threat, Haiti could do us no harm, and Kosovo is on the other side of the planet – shouldn’t Kosovo have been Europe’s problem, as he claims Iraq should be its neighbors’ problem?. One can’t help but extrapolate that if a Republican were running the show then, those military actions would have been just as evil to Ted.

    Finally, this one: "That leaves freeing Iraqis from Saddam’s repressive rule as the sole rationale for war. Is the United States in the liberation business?"

    Not sure – ask France (twice), Belgium (twice), Holland, Norway, Germany (twice), the Phillipines, Haiti, Kosovo, Kuwait, Italy, Sicily, and many others what they think about our liberating past.

    I repeat: Ted Rall, like Rush Limbaugh, is a Big Fat Idiot. They just play to different ignorant and misinformed audiences.

  • Since you choose to cite one of the few responsbile passages in the article in question, try these on for size:

    “Senator John Kerry, the Democratic presidential frontrunner [well, that's news], opposes war with Iraq. Despite this stance, he suggests that Americans should set aside their political differences once the Mother of All Bombs starts blowing up munitions dumps and babies in Baghdad [emphasis added].”

    Ah, the notion of American troops being baby killers lives!

    “Pakistan, another nuclear power run by a dangerous anti-American dictator…” Interesting – Pakistan has probably been our strongest ally in the war against terrorism, with Musharaff(sp?) constantly under fire from the locals for same. I would say he’s helping American interests at great political risk.

    “George W. Bush is leading us to commit an ignominious crime, an internationally un sanctioned invasion of a nation that has done us no harm and presents no imminent threat [emphasis added].”

    He follows that suspect passage with this one: “Losing to Third Worlders in PJs led Americans to decades of relative humility, self-examination and takikng the moral high ground in conflicts such as Haiti and Kosovo.”

    Okay, I know Ted’s a lot smarter than I am, since he has his own weekly column and all, but what “harm and imminent threat” did either Haiti or Kosovo present to the United States? Unless you consider boat people a threat, Haiti could do us no harm, and Kosovo is on the other side of the planet – shouldn’t Kosovo have been Europe’s problem, as he claims Iraq should be its neighbors’ problem?. One can’t help but extrapolate that if a Republican were running the show then, those military actions would have been just as evil to Ted.

    Finally, this one: “That leaves freeing Iraqis from Saddam’s repressive rule as the sole rationale for war. Is the United States in the liberation business?”

    Not sure – ask France (twice), Belgium (twice), Holland, Norway, Germany (twice), the Phillipines, Haiti, Kosovo, Kuwait, Italy, Sicily, and many others what they think about our liberating past.

    I repeat: Ted Rall, like Rush Limbaugh, is a Big Fat Idiot. They just play to different ignorant and misinformed audiences.

  • why would we want to invade france? they don’t have any oil. they just have bad cheese and smelly frenchmen. and russia? too damn cold.

    as for the US not being "friends" with anyone, unless it’s convenient? are you nuts??? how many countries have we bailed out of shit, only to have them thumb their noses at us years later? other countries want to be our friend when it’s convenient for them (like when we’re kicking the nazis out of paris), then turn around and shove a pole up our asses when we’re looking for them to get our back. ***** france. that is all.

  • you suck at teh sarcasm

  • i witness viewpoints i disagree with every single day of my life. if i could go one day without hearing somebody bitching about something, i could die a happy man. but as long as people choose to whine about crap i don’t wanna hear, i’m gonna whine about having to hear it.

  • And criticizing France for surrendering in WWII is just dumb. So did Poland, Norway, Greece, and many others, but France put up more of a fight than they did

    Check your history. In 1936, Germany parked over 30,000 troops in the Rhineland, just across from the Maginot line, in serious violation of the Versailles agreement that ended WWI. I don’t know whether they saw this as a threat or were blind to it, but France’s response was to, basically, capitulate to the threat by appeasement.

    France didn’t fight the subsequent German invasion with much gusto at all – in fact, the British forces who were pushed to the sea at Dunkirk fought with much more vigor. And while the Resistance did continue to fight, the vast majority of French gave in to their new masters without so much as overcharging them for lunch.

    As for your claim that without the Resistance’s help we wouldn’t have been able to invade Fortress Europe, that’s just plain wrong. We used their very minor help because it was available, not because it was essential.

  • Your information is not all wrong; however, like many chroniclers with the pre-determined goal of propaganda or policy justification, you fail on the essentials.

    The Ligne-Maginot was first created for WWI. Very much as the rest of the world is quasi-defenseless against the American military might of today, so too was France compared to Nazi Germany. Their unidirectional big cannon lines across Alsace-Lorraine were woefully inadequate against the modern equipment and tactics of the creators of Blitz Krieg. So, the Nazis easily overcame these lines of defense in a disputed territory that passed hands 3 times over the last prior 100 years, circumventing them by simply passing through Belgium. After the recapture of the Rhinelands of France, Hitler was very adept at double-speak. In fact, many throughout the world, including America, were dumbfounded when Hitler’s immense military started progressively taking on Europe in 1939.

    I will remind you the U.S. only entered the war, itself, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, in 1941! Over two full years had passed before the U.S. reluctantly entered the war!

    Anyway, the German might was overwhelming. Many French are not particularly proud of the Vichy collaboration government, but it was either that or total destruction. France, at the time, was simply not equipped to deal with the Wehr Macht.

    Your minimizing the role played by the Résistance Française is telling. There are many American WWII veterans that will tell you how comforting it was to be able to have safe haven at some points in their progression from Normandie to Paris. You appear to be unaware that at the time, the true heroes that were the U.S. soldiers could not count on “precision” missiles to take out the thick armored-concrete bunkers on the beaches. They were massacred in order just to take land. Although I wish no harm to American military in Iraq today — after all, they are not responsible for their Commander in Chief’s blood-thirsty designs — their present fight is in no way comparable to the heroic courage displayed by their forefathers on the bloody beaches of Normandie, France.

    Lastly, Will’s point that our commitment to our friendship with Europe is very thin indeed, when they are not even permitted to disagree with Bush’s every personal desire without insults and threats.

  • When the old ragged woman gave her only penny, the wealthy were befuddled as to why Jesus was so thankful. After all, weren’t THEY giving a hundred times more than her?

  • Excellent question — especially considering that every anti-war activist prefaces his or her remarks with "I support the troops, BUT…" What do you mean? If you support them, do you want them to be victorious? Or do you simply want them to not die? If you want them to be victorious, do you support the goals of this war?

  • I’ve got plenty of facts, Big_Al. I could drown you in links, reports, and other factoids. Many of these, however, are written in French, German, Dutch, Italian. You won’t find these sources on Google News Beta, though, I assure you. Virtually all sources of U.S. media are thoroughly sanitized for general consumption. So much so, I have been heard to say that “Watergate” could no longer surface today. Not against a Republican president, that is.

    But like your online friend Lafe here, you love to ask candidly for information; you’re not really interested in informing yourself, of course, but simply exhausting your ideological opponent until, at the right moment, you strike it all down with an ideological dogma or two.

    Lastly, as long as I stay general, I think the risk is little. But if I should get too specific, I fear I’ll be getting a knock on my door from the Gestapo, err, I mean the Federal Authorities.

  • "I wonder, though, if you feel as badly about the US as you’re indicating here, then why are you in this country at all? Do you really believe that we’re the bad guys in the world? If we’re that bad, would you really choose to live here? Or are you exaggerating for effect?"

    Man, I get so tired of hearing this. "Love it or leave it" is what that boils down to. Why should an intensely critical view of one’s country logically lead to leaving the country? Is that what people do to their families when they discover that their family has problems? Generally, no. So why do you ask dissenters from the America-the-Beautiful crowd why they don’t just leave?

  • Wow, sounds like you had too much coffee this morning.

  • I’m not sure what you would deem to be adequate "supporting evidence"–quotes from Bush himself saying "yes, I see the world in simplistic black and white terms" or maybe the results of a special test that he took? My point here is that this kind of argument (Brookhiser’s) depends on granting that the writer him or herself is a careful thinker who reads up on his or her subject (Bush), reads what the subject has done, said, written, etc, and draws conclusions based on this study. Beyond that, I’m not sure what constitutes "evidence."

    Based on my own observations of Bush in action, I find it completely plausible that he has a simplistic approach to problems of every scale–good, evil, black, white. And I think that this simplistic approach is the hallmark of a weak intellect.

  • Yeah, you’re right. I haven’t been sleeping well this week.

  • Two things: one is that we still have not gotten a positive definition of what it means to support our troops. We’ve gotten negative definitions (i.e., don’t spit on them when they return, don’t cheer when/if American soliders die). But no positive decisions–do _what_ to support our troops? If the answer is "cheer when we drop a lot of bombs on Baghdad" or "stop protesting and go watch war coverage on CNN," I think that’s asking too much of someone who believes deeply that attacking Iraq is both immoral and ill-advised. If you would tell me how it is that I should support our troops, then I could tell you whether or not I think I can do that. I’m sure I can refrain from spitting on them, and I promise that I didn’t cheer when I heard that an American marine was killed. What else would you like?

    Second: we fundamentally disagree about the purposes to which our military has been put in many (not all) of our past conflicts. Vietnam, Korea, Grenada, the first Gulf War, and the list of nations in which we’ve covertly aided combatants in internal conflicts: in these conflicts, my freedom was not at stake. Grenada posed no threat to my freedom of speech–neither did Vietnam, Korea, etc. I’ll grant that the military COULD be used to protect my freedoms and HAS been used, selectively, when it happened to coincide with the interests of the oligarchy, to protect my freedom. But I don’t buy this flag-waving notion that a deployment of US forces BY ITS VERY NATURE equals the protection of my freedoms. That seems like reasoning backwards: "what, troops have been deployed? then my freedoms must be at stake!"

    And let’s say that this assault on Iraq goes quickly and successfully topples Hussein and blows up all the chemical weapons that we sold them under Reagan’s administration–do I then feel safer? Actually, I don’t. I feel even less safe because the US has taken out someone whom I don’t feel posed a credible threat to me or my freedoms AND in the process has pissed off even MORE people who will now be even more likely to take a weapon of non-mass destruction into the middle of a crowded American shopping place and blow it up.

  • You wrote, "’Senator John Kerry, the Democratic presidential frontrunner opposes war with Iraq. Despite this stance, he suggests that Americans should set aside their political differences once the Mother of All Bombs starts blowing up munitions dumps and babies in Baghdad [emphasis added].’

    Ah, the notion of American troops being baby killers lives!"

    And so I ask, how is it a "notion" to point out that American troops have in the past killed babies (along with toddlers, children, teenagers, young adults, adults, and senior citizens) and to suggest that it’s likely to happen again whenever we attack a city full of civilians?

    I mean, it’s factually true that, for example, the pilot of a U.S. stealth fighter pushed whatever button it was that dropped the bomb that incinerated the Amiriya bomb shelter in Baghdad on February 13, 1991, killing 600-1,000 civilians. There were babies among that group. The pilot killed those babies, no?

  • Oh no – not the vast right-wing consipiracy again!

  • Man, that’s a serious stretching of facts. To most people, the term "baby killers" is an incendiary incantation that causes visions of soldiers killing children. Saddam’s soldiers have done a tremendous amount of that, quite deliberately, yet I challenge you to cite a single instance where American troops deliberately killed a single child who wasn’t wearing explosives (as happened in Vietnam).

    Yes, children inevetably die in most armed conflicts, usually from being inthe wrong place at the wrong time. That doesn’t make all soldiers and all armies baby killers. At least, not to reasonable people.

    As for the bomb shelter, you conveniently leave out the fact that until several weeks before the bombing, it was in fact one of the many bunkers used by the Iraqi leadership. Saddam is the one who uses people (including babies) as human shields. The American government expressed extreme sorrow for that occurence. The world is waiting for Saddam to apologize for the countless children his policies, actions, and neglect have murdered.

  • And as Germany re-armed itself in violation of Versailles, France did, well, what DID France do about that?

    As for your semi-defense of the Vichy capitulation, that was a pathetic event and I’d like to think that wouldn’t happen here. I know I’d give my life in defense of my country before I’d accept living under facism. No doubt there would be plenty of Americans more than willing to follow the Vichy example. Enough, I imagine, to prevent the unthinkable.

  • Yes, and many French did join the Résistance.

    Yes, and Iraq is in no way comparable to Nazi Germany. In fact, who is all powerful right now and who is fighting underground? Crushing the resistance of US-led Globalization today through military might is downright ignorant. Like the Commander in Chief is, some say…

  • The war will be over the way it is going. And everyone must go back to their sublime life without hope or anything to be mad at. In 2004, these protesters will raise again to protest the country on its reelection of George W. Bush. However, unknown to them, everyone outside NY, New England and California voted in the presidential election.

  • look, I’m sorry if I’m pushing extremely sensitive buttons. to me, this is all about intellectual honesty and calling things what they are. i’ve always thought it was intellectually dishonest to disavow full responsibility for one’s actions. all the talk about how it was really hussein’s fault that everyone in that bunker died, or that we were really really sorry that it happened, or that it’s war and that’s just how war is, to me that all adds up to "we’re not _really_ responsible for those deaths."

    if you want to say that someone who kills an Iraqi baby in this war isn’t going to be considered by our legal system as guilty of murder, that’s one thing. but don’t try to say that that individual did not in fact kill a baby.

    it seems a problem of honesty if pro-war people cannot say the sentence "US soldiers killed civilians, including babies, today" (using a grammatical structure that accurately depicts the actors and the acted upon–not something like "children die" which totally removes the agent from the sentence).

  • as long as people choose to whine about crap i don’t wanna hear, i’m gonna whine about having to hear it

    Because that makes sense. Sure.

  • How, I ask, is that our fault?

    Because they’re our sanctions. We imposed them and Saddam agreed to them because, well, he had no choice. They were going to happen whether he wanted them to or not. Iraqi children, while not especially healthy before our invasion, were not dying at anywhere near the rate that they’ve been ever since. Sure, the money not making it to where it needs to is certainly at least partly Saddam’s fault, but that wouldn’t be an issue had we not backed him into the corner where he’s made that unfortunate decision. Really, the sanctions haven’t succeeded in much other than starving the Iraqi population. All the money has been redirected into keeping the programs afloat that we were trying to kill off with those sanctions.

  • it does.

  • Nahh, I’m not really saying "love it or leave it."

    I’m saying, "Why are you here if you really believe that the US is evil?"

    Do you really believe that the US is evil? Or no?

  • Heh, I see that at least one of my points touched a nerve.

    So, since we, as a nation, don’t hurt enough from the amount of aid that we’re giving, that makes us less of a "good guy" in a national sense?

    Whether you believe that or not, it doesn’t really change my point that more money runs from us than others, and we often have more involvement in more locations than other nations. And that it is this greater involvement that will lead to a greater overall risk of doing bad things occasionally, either by accident or design.

  • but that wouldn’t be an issue had we not backed him into the corner where he’s made that unfortunate decision.

    It also wouldn’t be an issue if we’d have finished what we started with Saddam the first time around. But that’s another rant.

    I agree with your point that we share at least a little bit of responsibility for the condition of the Iraqi populace. I think that even after all that we’d gone through with Saddam up to the point that the sanctions were imposed, no one really believed that Saddam would rather see his people starve en masse before funding his palace construction projects (and the hidden weapons programs as well, of course). We even tried to make it as hard as possible for him to use the money in any other way.

    We underestimated his ability and motivation to screw over his own people. That’s one of the things that should be corrected this time around. I hope.

  • Hey now… I’m a member of that conspiracy?

    Or maybe I got a mention just because I exhaust my ideological opponents and then strike them down with a dogma. I can’t tell if that’s good or bad.

  • Second: we fundamentally disagree about the purposes to which our military has been put in many (not all) of our past conflicts.

    For this point, I would say that you fail to recognize our military force’s current as well as past usefulness. Right now (and over the last hundred and some-odd years), we’re the biggest kids on the block. If we weren’t, if we didn’t have the people that we currently have in the armed forces, then we would not have any military deterrence, and another country (or countries) would have gladly conquered us. This is true whether you’re talking about WWII or the cold war.

    Despite what some people say, we don’t keep our military in top form because they look perty in uniform. They help to protect our freedoms by their very existence and willingness to die for you.

  • It doesn’t sound like you are willing to accept the realities of war. It also doesn’t sound like you typically bother reading, or perhaps comprehending, anybody else’s postings.

    Placing civillians inside a known military target is a deliberate attempt to get them killed by your enemy in order to grab headlines. It’s not a strategic or tactical move, and it sure isn’t done to protect your citizens. It is also an extremely unusual decision, one not made by any other political entity I can think of off the top of my head. It’s not something America hs ever done, nor anything we’re likely to do.

    Today, American and allied forces bombed hundreds of targets in Iraq. I’m willing to say that to the best of our knowledge, 100% of the intended targets were military or political in nature. I hope we killed LOTS of Iraqi military and political personnel, or at least injured them so that they are no longer of any consequence. I hope we didn’t kill ANY civilians, but we probably did. No other country inthe history of the world has invested the resrources America has in developing precision munitions. We can drop a bomb from 20,000 feet and be confident that it will land within 1-meter of its intended target. I do believe in my heart that we didn’t TARGET any civilians, and that’s totally good enough for me.

    Since the Iraqis haven’t claimed that we killed any children, it’s probable that we didn’t. Nevertheless, I’m willing to concede that our actions killed some innocent people, including children (are you willing to concede that if this occured, the bombings weren’t designed with children as targets?). If that was the case, I don’t imagine there’s a person in this or any other country who doesn’t feel the sting of that, but I also imagine most reasonable people understand that killing unintended innocent people is inevitible in any war. War totally sucks, and that’s one of the reasons.

    Now, my friend, it’s time for a little reality check.

    Our enemy (whom I hope and pray is today being treated severely by Allah’s flesh-eating demons for his despicable life), on the other hand, has a history of deliberately targeting innocent civilians, both en masse and individually. He has invaded his neighbors, where troops were encouraged to rape and pillage, and upon his forced departure his forces ignited Kuwaits oil fields, causing an environmental disaster still being felt today. Upon rising to power, he immediately and publicly executed many properly elected members of hte Iraqi parliament, in order to make a statement and secure his power base.

    Saddam has executed opponents and suspected potential rivals, including scores of high-level government officials and thousands of political prisoners. he has made routine the systematic torture and execution of political prisoners.

    He ordered the use of chemical weapons against Iranian forces in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, and against Iraq’s Kurdish population in 1988. The 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war left 150,000 to 340,000 Iraqis and 450,000 to 730,000 Iranians dead.

    One of his sons maintains a private jail and torture facilities in the Iraqi Olympic Committee headquarters. Recently, when the Iraqi soccer team didn’t advance to the World Cup, he forced the team to crawl on their hands and knees across hot asphalt. Other athletes have been strung up by their arms for weeeks at a time, deprived of food, sleep, and any semblance of human dignity.

    Another son ordered during 1988-99 mass prison executions of several thousand inmates (“prison cleansing”).

    At the end of the first Gulf War, the UN gave Iraq the ability to sell as much oil as they needed to for the express purpose of providing food, medicine, and other humanitarian needs to the Iraqi people. Instead, Saddam has used those revenues to build a few new lavish palaces, re-arm, and pay and feed his troops. Several months ago, his Republican Guard received some spiffy new uniforms. As a result of his denial of basic needs to his people, about 5,000 Iraqi children under the age of five die every month.

    One of the primary questions that is asked before launching any military action is “is this going to be better than doing nothing?” In this case, clearly the answer is an unqualified “Yes.” Saddam has proven that he can’t be reasoned with on any level. Even given the opportunity to leave town and spare his life, his family’s lives, and the lives of who knows how many of his countrymen, he chose to stay and watch the bombs fall. Saddam is a madman, right up there with history’s most heinous madmen. Is he as bad as Hitler? Of course he is. If he had the means and resources Hitler had, do you really think he wouldn’t be a global menace? Of course, had he even approached Hitler’s means, Israel would have nuked him years ago, but that’s another story.

    So I say take him down, along with his family, all of his leadership team, and the horse he rode in on. Incapacitate 100% of the Iraqi military. Find and destroy the chemical and biological weapons he has stockpiled, and hope we’ve disrupted the chain of command sufficiently to prevent their use on us. Minimize the loss of civilian lives, but accept the fact that we’ll kill some who are either in the wrong place at the wrong time, have been used as human shields, or who might be the unintended victims of errant munitions. The only way to prevent that from happening is not to fight, and that decision has already been made. And it was the right decision. This war is regrettable and unfortunate, but it is also just, and entirely legal.

  • Or maybe I got a mention just because I exhaust my ideological opponents and then strike them down with a dogma. I can’t tell if that’s good or bad.

    I’ve always said you’re confused.

  • Why don’t you tell us your thoughts on the subject? And how about a full dissertation on good versus evil, its etymology, ramifications, divergent presentations while putting an emphasis on integration with other strains of thought?

  • No other country inthe history of the world has invested the resrources America has in developing precision munitions. We can drop a bomb from 20,000 feet and be confident that it will land within 1-meter of its intended target.

    Good Lord! Captain America himself is online, right here, on cvillenews.com. Come ye all and gather around our most cherished heroic symbol!

  • Nevertheless, I’m willing to concede that our actions killed some innocent people, including children (are you willing to concede that if this occured, the bombings weren’t designed with children as targets?). If that was the case, I don’t imagine there’s a person in this or any other country who doesn’t feel the sting of that, but I also imagine most reasonable people understand that killing unintended innocent people is inevitible in any war. War totally sucks, and that’s one of the reasons.

    And all the above is precisely WHY it is not appropriate a single man, a moron IMO at that, has the power to decide what he wants to do with that awesome power. I know the President was never granted the powers of Commander in Chief for the reasons Bush is using them today. It was designed so that rapid, conclusive action could be taken to DEFEND the country in the case of emergency.

    Are you capable of keeping a straight face and saying this so-called “war” is am emergency? The fact that a Republican House gave him omni-potence last Fall to do what the hell he wants, without consultation, and certainly without having to justify anything to the millions of Americans taking to the streets (what he calls a focus group) is proof positive the system is broken.

    Saddam has proven that he can’t be reasoned with on any level

    You sound like Bush, being so completely crazed on focusing on a single man, Saddam Hussein. I’d say YOU have proven you can’t be reasoned with, using your own criteria. If reasoning is kissing Bush’s feet, then yeah, I’d say he wasn’t able to do it. And that makes me unreasonable too, ‘cuz I ain’t kissing yours and anybody’s feet either. Right now, you look grand, being all Patriotic and all. But History will show another face. Of this, I am certain of.

  • Every one of your arguments can be turned around and said of the U.S. Here’s but just one:

    At the end of the first Gulf War, the UN gave Iraq the ability to sell as much oil as they needed to for the express purpose of providing food, medicine, and other humanitarian needs to the Iraqi people. Instead, Saddam has used those revenues to build a few new lavish palaces, re-arm, and pay and feed his troops. Several months ago, his Republican Guard received some spiffy new uniforms. As a result of his denial of basic needs to his people, about 5,000 Iraqi children under the age of five die every month.

    President Bush uses the vast resources of the United States to fund his gargantuan personal war machine. A single Stealth Bomber could shelter and feed all American poor for months. He is Commander in Chief and he can do whatever he wants. In fact, it’s entirely legal, as you say. But there are thousands, no tens of thousands of people on our streets, suffering from famine, cold/heat and illnesses. They are disenfranchised and have little to no rights. The U.S. legally puts to death hundreds of inmates every year by tortuous means, such as electrocution. There are only 2 advanced nations in the world that do so still today: the U.S. and Japan.

    After the UN inspectors officially denounced the forgeries provided by U.S. and British secret services pertaining to certain stockpiles of illegal weapons, I do not believe *anything* coming from this government. Saddam Hussein is no doubt a tyrant in a country dominated by notions of past eras. But Bush’s personal war against him, however “legal” by U.S. law, has not convinced me or the majority of the rest of the world. So you go on with your Flag brandishing, myopic patriotic talk. I think time and history will expose out the nebulous nature of what has transpired since the Florida chads coup.

  • I don’t know why I am even replying to you, lyle, as you are obviously short-sighted, self-centered and closed-minded. There’s absolutely nothing worthwhile about about France or Russia or anywhere else that’s not the US, is there? Nothing good has ever come out of France. French exports like cheese, wine and the Statue of Liberty are obviously all crap just because they come from France, aren’t they?

    Nevermind that we probably would have been English subjects much longer if not for the French. Never mind that American political thought is heavily influenced by the French Revolution.

    Yes, the United States makes friends when it’s convenient. Sure we help out other countries… if they might be trading partners with us in the future or if it serves some other purpose. Don’t make the mistake that we ever gave military aid to Iraq or Afghanistan because we wanted to help them… we just wanted to hurt Iran and the Soviet Union even more.

    And God forbid some country should have the balls to actually disagree with us.

    The anti-French sentiment in this country is absurd. When I saw video of a Canadian hockey crowd booing the United States national anthem, I was not the least bit offended. After all, we deserve it. Destroying a man’s business simply because it’s called "French Cleaners" (and he’s not even French) is beyond pathetic. It’s amazing how fast we forget this man is providing services, tax revenue and jobs to the local community.

  • Now, now, I’m pretty critical of John Ashcroft and this government’s efforts to erode some personal freedoms, I’m not willing to go as far as to claim they’re fascists.

    Just an interesting stat, though. They’re not all in the streets, mind you, but according to the latest polls, approximately 84 million Americans are against the war.

  • Yep, that’s 70% FOR demonstrating to the rest of the world just how powerful and superior we are. There a very very bright minds and souls in America. Unfortunately, it is my belief they are now in the minority!

  • How did I know? How on earth did I know it was only a matter of time until you went nuclear on me and dropped the Florida bomb?

    Look, I by no means supported Boy George for president. Think he’s a lousy one now. No question about it – he has no inkling of what to do with the ecomomy, he totally misunderstands international relations, and I’m tired of my tax dollars lining the pockets of his campaign financiers. Not likely to support him in ’04, even if he manages to get an NFL expansion team to play in Baghdad.

    That said, it’s over. He won. No after-election recount that I’m aware of has given Gore enough votes to win Florida. Time for the bitter losers to get over it and stop hanging your chads on what happened in Florida.

  • Boy, does it seem I wasted my time. You chose to respond to the most minor aspect of my postings, why? Because it has the potential to make me look like a sore loser in the eyes of just about half the population (or more, since even Democrats want to forget about it).

    Anyway, what strikes me with your posts is that:

    1. You support unequivocally U.S. unilateral war on a sovereign nation that is neither aggressing at this time its neighbors nor the U.S;

    2. You support the centralization of all military powers — and these are immense — in the hands of a single person, George W Bush;

    3. Yet, you think this omni-potent person is a “lousy” president, “has no inkling”, “totally misunderstands international relations” and whom you believe aids in “lining the pockets of his campaign financiers”;

    Have you ever considered questioning yourself, your thinking processes and your motives?

  • Point #1 is debatable. First, it’s not unilateral. Second, they’re in violation of international laws and agreements they signed. With us and others.

    If the French, who voted for 1441, the Germans, who voted for 1441, and the Russians, who voted for 1441, weren’t all worried that we’d find out they’ve been violating various prohibitions and/or if they didn’t have a lot of $$$ to lose if Iraq loses the sanctions AND the existing regime, there would be zero international debate.

    Point #2 is covered in the US Constitution and related laws passed by Congress (such as the War Powers Act). Bush is our military’s Commander-In-chief. Period. Nobody has to like that, but that’s the way it works.

    Point #3 is unrelated to points #1 or 2. Additionally, no president is “omnipotent.” There are numerous checks and balances in place – in this case, it just so happens that the (growing) majority of the country is in agreement, unless of course you consider the conspiracy between the Republican-controlled media, the polling companies, and Anne Coulter. Congress isn’t about to make waves with over 75% of the voters are okay with what’s going down.

    Your statement regarding the election was indeed minor and trivial, but it always seems to be brought up to challenge the “legitimacy” of the presidency. It’s the old “you’re wrong about this, you’re wrong about that, you’re wrong about the other thing too, and besides Bush’s brother stole the election for him and he’s not really president anyway which means he’s NOT the commander-in-chief.” I’ll agree on one point: Bush didn’t win the presidency. Gore lost it.

    Please. I’m not the one who went off topic here.

  • I have the feeling you’re telling yourself all is okay, laws are abided and therefore things are as they should be. You do realize Saddam Hussein was elected by the laws of the land too, right? Adolph Hitler was popularly elected and lawfully put executive-branch laws at his disposition to use, okay? Napoléon is a much more complex historical lesson, but there are parallels, some yet still to come.

    The point isn’t that Bush is the next Consule-Bonaparte to become Emperor (although that’s not that far-fetched), but that laws don’t always work and political systems aren’t always perfect. In fact, thousands of years of history in hundreds of dissimilar nations prove this very thing: power corrupts. My opinion is that Bush is not the man that should be at the controls. Paradoxically from your stated stance, you seem to agree.

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