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"We create our own reality..."

#21 User is online   cherdano 

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Posted 2006-December-20, 04:37

mike777, on Dec 20 2006, 12:19 PM, said:

ok, if you do not think there is a war..a real war with radical islam....what the usa does must seem insane......

I can't speak for Helene but as far as I am concerned, I am with you on this conclusion.
Obviously we have a recall bias in favour of the assholes. -helene_t
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#22 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2006-December-20, 04:45

mike777, on Dec 20 2006, 12:19 PM, said:

btw as a side note do you think the cold war was a real war where millions died and tens of millions..no 100M were in slavery?

To me, the question "Do you consider X to be a war?" is muddy since I honestly don't know if I'm being asked about my prefered definition of the term "war" (assuming some commonly accepting idea about what X is really like) or if I'm being asked what X is really like (assuming some commonly accepted definition of the term "war").

If "X is a war" means "I think X justifies increased airport security", then it would make things more clear if you stated your question "Do you think X justifies increased airport security?". It's my impression (but I might be wrong) that whether something is a "war" has important real implications to you, but I dn't know what those implications are.

Anyway, this whole idea that there is some conflict (or whatever it should be called) between "us" (whoever that is) and "radical islam" (whatever that is) is kinda surealistic to me. George Bush has allies among certain radical islamists with respect to some important issues:
- Not too much emphasis on civil rights
- No gay marriage
- Keep Saudi Arabia stable
- Got rid of Sadam, Syria is next
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#23 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2006-December-20, 04:52

I do not mean to use the term war...full blown war as some tricky semantic fashion
If you do not feel you and your loved ones or family are at threat.....then I will never win you over to the term ....war........

Many to this day think the cold war was some usa invention for power......
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#24 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2006-December-20, 06:55

Mike, it suddenly occurs to me that you take the statement "this is not a war" as meaning "this is just some children playing and the media making a big deal of it".

Nobody disputes that the sequrity situation in Iraq and Afganistan is very serious and most of those who don't speak about "war on terror" probably also consider terrorism in other regions, nuclear profilation and the tensions between Middle-East immigrants vs. other ethnic/religious groups in the West very serious issues.

But no matter how serious this all is, some (including me) would say that the term "war" may be misleading because
1) the problems mentioned are only loosely related to each other. There is no such thing as "THE problem" or "THE conflict".
2) for the most part, large-scale military operations are probably not called for. Not because they are unnecesary but because they are ineffective or even contra-productive.
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#25 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2006-December-20, 08:51

mike777, on Dec 20 2006, 01:19 PM, said:

btw as a side note do you think the cold war was a real war where millions died and tens of millions..no 100M were in slavery?

I think that the metaphor of the "Cold War" was much more accurate than the "War on Terror".

The Soviet Union was an aggressively expansive highly militarized state with a rather sordid track record of using conventional miltary power to force neighboring states into its orbit. The Baltic Republics, Poland, East Germany, portions of the Balkans, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia were all seized by force. Popular revolutions in Hungary and Czechoslovakia were both supressed with military force. I believe that the US was right to follow a policy of containment in Western Europe and Turkey, including the formation of NATO, a sustained troop presence in West Germany, and extending the US nuclear umbrella over Western Europe.

However, I think that the United States made a grave mistake when it extended this metaphore to encompass a series of wars of national liberation that sweep the world starting in the late fourties. Conflicts like the civil war in China, the Vietnam War, and the revolutionary struggles in Africa and South America weren't a fight between communism and capitalism as political ideologies. These were simple power struggles. The US and the Soviet Union both projected their own ideologies onto a series of civil wars. Various political leaders quickly learned that they could attract aid from one sponsor or another by aping the right set of words or chosing the right color scheme on their flag, maybe even incorporating a few stars if they were really desperate. I'm not disputing that the internal conflicts weren't real. I'm not disputing that lots of people died. However, these fights would have taken place in much the same form with or without the "Cold War".

Last but not least, the Cold War wasn't won through pitched battles. Simply put, Communism doesn't appear to be a particularly practical ideology. Marxist ideology is full of discussions about the "internal contradictions of the polticial system" and the "State withering away". Looks like they had things half right... Given enough time, Communists states seem to collapse in on themselves.

The amount of time required seems to vary dramatically. North Korea and Cuba are still kicking arround.

There is no guaruntee that what emerges in the aftermath is going to be much better than what came before. Many of the Eastern European states seem well on their way to establishing functioning democracies. China seems to be moving towards a quite ugly form of state run capitalism while Russia is collapsing into outright kleptocracy.

However, by and large things are getting better. Its been 30 years since the US "lost" the Vietnam war. Today, Vietnam is politically and economically unifed and developing at a fairly rapid pace. I suspect that this has relatively little to do with whether the North or the South won the civil war and a whole lot to do with the fact that the US and the Soviets have stopped fighting a proxy war on Vietnamese soil.
Alderaan delenda est
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#26 User is offline   Al_U_Card 

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Posted 2006-December-20, 09:05

H.G. Wells wrote "The War of the Worlds".

Big Dick and Little Dick are writing "The war on the world" in the blood of innocents.

For shame.

Canadians fought bravely and died for freedom in past world wars. Our record as a "Peace-Keeper" was spotless until Afghanistan. The bandwagon mentality that is the US has run off the road. We need the US to counteract the inhumanity and senselessness of RADICAL Islam. (Islam, like most religions, is pretty favorable to humanity until humans get hold of it.) Western culture may be hedonistic and self-indulgent but it is nurturing and not annihilating. Pray for us all.
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#27 User is offline   pbleighton 

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Posted 2006-December-20, 09:13

"The amount of time required seems to vary dramatically. North Korea and Cuba are still kicking arround."

Is it an accident that these are the two regimes which the U.S. has tried the hardest to isolate? Cuba, in particular, might well have been reformed by now if it weren't for the crazy U.S. policies.

North Korea may be different, it looks like there is mental illness at work.

Peter
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#28 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2006-December-20, 10:42

I agree they did tend to fall into themselves but not before millions and millions died and a billion or more were enslaved......
Let us not forget in the their name Stalin and Mao killed millions if not tens of millions...... so much for the cold war after 1945.....
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#29 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2006-December-20, 10:45

Al_U_Card, on Dec 20 2006, 10:05 AM, said:

H.G. Wells wrote "The War of the Worlds".

Big Dick and Little Dick are writing "The war on the world" in the blood of innocents.

For shame.

Canadians fought bravely and died for freedom in past world wars.  Our record as a "Peace-Keeper" was spotless until Afghanistan.  The bandwagon mentality that is the US has run off the road.  We need the US to counteract the inhumanity and senselessness of RADICAL Islam. (Islam, like most religions, is pretty favorable to humanity until humans get hold of it.)  Western culture may be hedonistic and self-indulgent but it is nurturing and not annihilating.  Pray for us all.

Let us not forget that Canada commited just as many atrocities per soldier in WW11 as all of our allied grandfathers did......in that terrible terrible war.

D day in France was not a peace keeping mission...it was killing.....


100,000 or more German women in Berlin alone were raped.....
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#30 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2006-December-20, 11:21

mike777, on Dec 20 2006, 07:42 PM, said:

I agree they did tend to fall into themselves but not before millions and millions died and  a billion or more were enslaved......
Let us not forget in the their name Stalin and Mao killed millions if not tens of millions...... so much for the cold war after 1945.....

Hate to break this to you mike, but ***** happens. The world is far from perfect and any society that you look at has plenty of skeletons in its closet. The US comes across with relatively clean hands because most of the native Americans were killed by diseases before the settlers and the army had the chance to massacre them. Even so, the US record for ethnic cleansing is pretty damn impressive. We managed to slaughter our way across the better part of a continent.

BTW, you really might want to spend a bit of time actually studying Soviet History.

Stalin was certainly responsible for the deaths of millions of people. The forced collectivization of the agricultural system and the purges that Stalin lead were every bit as horrific as anything that the National Socialists unleashed during the Holocaust. Really dreadful stuff. The Soviet expansion into Eastern Europe during the Second World was equally horrific.

Here's the thing... These events didn't take place during the Cold War. Most of Stalin's body count occured before or during the Second World War. Stalin died in 1953 and missed out on the bulk of the Cold War.
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#31 User is offline   Al_U_Card 

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Posted 2006-December-20, 11:23

mike777, on Dec 20 2006, 11:45 AM, said:

Al_U_Card, on Dec 20 2006, 10:05 AM, said:

H.G. Wells wrote "The War of the Worlds".

Big Dick and Little Dick are writing "The war on the world" in the blood of innocents.

For shame.

Canadians fought bravely and died for freedom in past world wars.  Our record as a "Peace-Keeper" was spotless until Afghanistan.  The bandwagon mentality that is the US has run off the road.  We need the US to counteract the inhumanity and senselessness of RADICAL Islam. (Islam, like most religions, is pretty favorable to humanity until humans get hold of it.)  Western culture may be hedonistic and self-indulgent but it is nurturing and not annihilating.  Pray for us all.

Let us not forget that Canada commited just as many atrocities per soldier in WW11 as all of our allied grandfathers did......in that terrible terrible war.

D day in France was not a peace keeping mission...it was killing.....


100,000 or more German women in Berlin alone were raped.....

Oh boy, comparing WWI and WWII with Iraq etc. is not even conceivable.

I DID indicate that there was no comparing then and now. Genocide (in North America or elsewhere) is only a human activity. Atrocities are part of human nature (a bad part but a part nonetheless).

Let's get real and look at what is happening like it was 100 years in the past. Think Andersonville or the trail of tears....perspective gives us the ability to understand not only motivation but also direction. We know why they are doing these things, now we must figure out where they are going with them before it is too late....
The Grand Design, reflected in the face of Chaos...it's a fluke!
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#32 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2006-December-20, 16:02

Let's not forget that the cold war basically started in 1945 so that did give Stalin and Mao time to kill millions.....

Heck after wwII Stalin killed or imprisoned at least a million German soldiers and hundreds of millions in eastern europe.

Card, I am a bit at a lose how the 1980's Cold War where hundreds of millions were trapped is somehow ancient history and does not relate to what is happening now but.....

If comparing the aftermath of WWII has nothing to do with Iraq and then I guess lessons are lost.....

If comparing the Indian wars in the USA or the Marines fighting in the early 1900's in the Philipinnes (sp) have no lessons to be learned in the 21st Century so be it.....
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#33 User is offline   Al_U_Card 

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Posted 2006-December-20, 16:34

Stalin killed 10 million and Mao about 30 million. Man's footprint in history is always filled with blood. The lesson that we must learn is that fighting for peace is like ****ing for virginity......it makes no sense. Self-defense is a broadly abused concept. Saving the innocent is not. Has the Iraqi incursion benefitted the Iraqi people? I would say not. Will it eventually? Perhaps like Vietnam or Germany they may be lucky, perhaps not, as only time will tell.

As Aesop described in his fable. The wind can blow all it wants but the man will just clutch his coat more tightly. The sun has only to come out and show its warmth and the man will remove his coat. There are many ways to float a boat but blowing it to smithereens only means that there will just be little bits left to float off uselessly. Since "IRAQ" was created by the west out of the vestiges of the Ottoman empire, surely the west could have allowed for the shepherding of the region by supervising free elections in the various "ethnic" regions so that majority rule (remember that concept of democracy?) would have a chance. Iraq is pretty much defined by its regions. Why not help them define their leadership as they saw fit. Only the oil in the ground and the avarice in the hearts led to the current situation. Indeed a sad story.
The Grand Design, reflected in the face of Chaos...it's a fluke!
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#34 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2006-December-20, 19:13

Mike, your arguments fail to convince those who post in response in part, no doubt, to the sad reality that most of us see opinions contrary to our world view as reasons to restate our convictions, rather than as reasons to rethink our convictions. But your arguments also fail to convince because you seem to fall into that trap yourself. You repeatedly refer to the 'war' in which you say that the US (and the rest of the western world, whether it knows it or not) is engaged in with 'radical islam', whatever that is. You appear to have the existence of this 'war' as a foundation for all your opinions, to the point that you concede that discussion, on your part, is bound to be fruitless if your audience will not accept this reality.

'War' can be defined in many ways, and the US government is fond of making up new ones, from the well-intentioned but poorly implemented 'war on poverty' to the ludicrous, counter-productive 'war on drugs'. Now there is the 'war on terror' and, for you at least, the 'war with radical islam'.

What the US is engaged in is not a war in any sense of the historical meaning of the term. The word 'war' has been co-opted by leaders of the US, including members of the media who should know better than to become unthinking conduits of government propaganda. Bush used his self-portrayal as a 'war president' to win a second term: he was doing very poorly in the polls prior to 9/11 and thereafter used a version of an odious but very american slogan: my country, right or wrong... in essence: my president, right or wrong. It worked: the use of the term Patriot Act to describe the greatest single assault on individual liberties the US has ever seen.... think of your revolutionary hero who is alleged to have said: Give me liberty or give me death! He was a patriot (only because his side won: had the British won, it is Benedict Arnold who would be remembered as the patriot)... so it is truly orwellian to use that term to describe the circumscription of liberty encompassed within the Patriot Act.

The US is engaged in a contest: in fact in a multitude of contests, involving armed conflict and rhetorical struggle with many disparate groups. Various Islamic factions hate the US... while hating each other. Look at Iraq: more violence occurs between radical islamists than between either islamic faction and the US. 'Radical Islam' is hardly a monlithic organization: indeed it is not even remotely a single entity.

Accepting catch-phrases such as the war on terror or the war on radical islam alows and in fact requires that one stop looking behind the label: that one not think critically about what is going on. Doing this, abdicating our innate ability to make our own assessments, is precisely what all religions require, whether they be islam, christianity, judasism or what have you. For religions, the catch-word is God. For acceptance of the need to have one's country slaughter inhabitants of other countries, it is 'war'. It is almost certainly no coincidence that those areas of the US that most strongly support your 'wars', on terror or on radical islam, are those areas in which religious belief is the strongest. Both attitudes require acceptance of paternalistic governance: surrender of critical thinking to 'superiors', whether they be your president or your pastor.
'one of the great markers of the advance of human kindness is the howls you will hear from the Men of God' Johann Hari
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#35 User is offline   pbleighton 

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Posted 2006-December-20, 21:09

Mikeh: Good post.

Mike777: To reiterate my question, do you think the invasion of Iraq was a mistake? If not, why?

Peter
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#36 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2006-December-21, 17:20

Peter I have answered that question quite a bit here...

As for MikeH...yes I use the word war...and yes many believe we(the west) are not at war..that is the point......to discuss whether we are or not.

To use some euphemistic term for war is to just avoid the question and a critical discussion.

Of course even if you agree we are at war, you need to decide if it is worth fighting or winning. Ya I think you either win or lose a war....there ain't much of a middle ground despite people wishing to debate the definition and semantics of it.

As I have said many times..if you think we are not at war what the USA is doing must seem insane.
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#37 User is offline   pbleighton 

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Posted 2006-December-21, 17:22

"Peter I have answered that question quite a bit here..."

Where, I missed it?

Peter
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#38 User is offline   the hog 

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Posted 2006-December-21, 17:27

Mike,
I really feel that you need some lessons in History. WW1 was fought by colonial powers attempting to retain a hold over their empires. There was no "right or wrong side" as you seem to suggest. The USA entered the war due to intense pressure and lobbying from the Brits and finall only ue to economic circumstances.
WW11 was a slightly different scenario, however let us not forget that the rise of Hitler and National Socialism in Germany was a direct result of the unfair peace treaty of Versailles forced upon Germany. No one can say for sure what would or wouldn't have happened, but there is a strong argument to suggest that Hitler would nee have been able to sieze power had a fairer peace treaty been written.

The Cold War, which you repeatedly mention, was a by product of the distrust between Western nations and the Russians. No one argues that Stalin was a "nice guy", but the intrigues fostered by the US and Great Britain exacerbated the situation dramatically. The Soviet Union and later the Warsaw pact were the direct antithesis of Nato.

If you are discussing US policy in the Asia, the Containment policy of John Foster Dulles was an absolute disaster. After the fall of the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, the US supported a series of petty dictators who did not have the support of the populace. Diem was a Catholic in a predominently Bhuddist country and was corrupt. Further the US made no distiction between the Communist Nationalism of Asia and the Communism of Stalinist and post Stalinist USSR. The US could have aided and supported Asian Nationalists and gained support and kudos. Instead it followed a hysterical policy designed to alienate.

The policy of the US in SEA was a total failure. Are you aware that Laos, a country of 6 million people, had more bombs dropped on it than the WHOLE of Europe in WW11? To what end, I may ask?
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#39 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2006-December-21, 17:36

As usual you seem to wish to repeat the obvious but that is ok...perhaps many do not know many of your stated facts. Some actually took some classes in history and read it voraciously and some even piddle around with getting/working on a PHD in the subject in their spare time...anyway

As for your one opinion of containment, I strongly disagree and every usa pres. did too but that is another discussion for another time.

I do see parralles (sp) in the lessons of the cold war 40+ years and now..heck I see lessons as I mentioned in the Philippino(sp) insurgency and the Usa Indian Wars....

After reading such books as Fiasco. Looming Tower, Denial and many others I remain as befuddled as many others what the heck we are doing in Iraq and what are best options are.


As for Afghanistan..many thought we should not do that outside of the USA but the thirst for revenge and bombing something, even mud huts was overwhelming in the USA at that time and noone gave a damn about the post war reconstuction in that country to be blunt.
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#40 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2006-December-21, 18:53

Mike, let me ask one of you, OK? What is most important do you think, protecting us from the threat of radical Islam or maintaining the integrity of our constitutional freedoms?

The war that I see most clearly is one that is occuring right here in the U.S. - a war of ideology. I think this is the most important war to win.

Item: Newt Gingrich arguing for a containment of free speech due to the threat of terrorism.

Item: The Military Commissions Act stripping habeus corpus rights from "enemy combattants", with language so loosely written that U.S. citizens are not excluded from being classified as such.

Item: President Bush authorizing the NSE to eavesdrop without judicial oversight.

Item: President Bush ignoring the Genova Convention and allowing toture of terror suspects.

Item: Fox commentators stating that those who publicly oppose the Iraq war and the president should be thrown into concentration camps.

Item: Seton Hall study using DOD data shows that only 5% of those held at Guantenemo have al-queda connections. All the prisoners are subject to military tribunals with no writ of habeus corpus available.

The decision, it seems, is whether there will be a United States of America or a United States of Secrecy, Torture, and Paranoia.

At let me state lastly, I do not blame Bush/Cheney for any of this - the fault lies with ourselves, for allowing this to happen.
If something cannot go on forever, it will stop. - Herb Stein
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