Bomber Worship

I have been wrestling and wrestling with the bizarre transition that I have been witnessing in friends and relations that are becoming rabidly pro-B-52. It seems that more and more of the people that I encounter every day think that every threat to our safety can be nullified from 30,000 feet with a liberal application of high explosives. It has made me sad and frightened and made me think about moving to another country.

So many people are saying we should “Bomb [insert Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, The Gaza Strip, Palestine, Syria, or Paris here] the shit out of [insert Arabic/Islamic/Farsi or French group of persons here] and teach those [wogs, frogs, sand niggers, camel jockeys, pallies] a lesson.” Or they want to punish the French for having reservations about going and kicking the shit out of this little dusty country with hundreds of tons of black goo under the sand. (Over 3,000 innocent people died! Right or wrong, that’s a LOT of people, esp in two weeks. Maybe reservations weren’t so unreasonable!) I sometimes feel like I don’t know these people that have replaced the nice folks that I have known for years. (And I don’t want to know them. I don’t LIKE hateful people.)

I had the sudden realization today that the normally reasonable people that I have been watching slide into anti-muslim racist hysteria and hatefulness are just really, really frightened. They got their ideas about the invincibility of Fortress America shattered a couple of years ago on the 11th of September, now there’s no going back. I would imagine that back in the late 70s and early 80s in the UK it was possible to find people that supported the idea of rounding up all of the Irish and shooting them once in the back of the head. It’s a natural reaction to a feeling of vulnerability. I would imagine that black people inspired the same sort of fear in certain white folks in the early part of the last century. So they hung a few from trees to make themselves feel better. For that matter, you could also add to that list Japanese-Americans, the last time Fortress America got breached at Pearl Harbor. I feel like our government is contributing to this hysteria with this whole “It could happen anywhere, any time! The terror alert level today is Burnt Sienna! Buy duct tape!” thing.

I think that some of these people that are growling and gnashing their teeth at the world, cheering the deaths of the people that they see on TV and vilifying the French, are talking smack. I think that B-52 worship might be a way to assuage the gnawing, terrible fear that a dirty bomb is going to go off near your kids’ school. What is the point of terrorism after all? To scare the life out of people, or more precisely, to scare people out of their lives.

Everyone is so afraid that we are going to lose the life that we have become accustomed to that we are willing to sacrifice our humanity. I think it’s a dangerous and slippery slope to start hating the entirety of a people (the French, muslims, democrats) and admiring the arbitrary use of deadly force. (It didn’t work in Cambodia against the Khmer Rouge, a politically motivated enemy. How do you suppose it’s going to work against a religiously motivated population? Meditate on that and get back to me.)

I think that there are European countries that know this and when they urge caution, perhaps it’s not wise to push past them like a drunk with a bloody nose and an axe to grind.

Fear can change people and it can ruin your life. If we let fear and anger rule our lives and drive wedges between us, then who wins?

  1. Exactly. So it could be said that terrorism is working. Just get us started, and we’ll finish ourselves off on our own.

    Fear is a dangerous thing.

    Sometimes I want to move to Europe.

    I grow more and more disillusioned with the growing “pro-B-52” mentality that I see in some, too. It’s like everyone’s been brainwashed. It makes me restless, irritable, pissed off, and scared — scared of what the scared people are going to do. It’s a shame that the inferior or at best adequate run this country.

    But I’m rambling.

    I have been accused of being unpatriotic. I’ve stopped explaining myself, explaining that this country was founded on dissent, etc. If people can’t understand that, then they can eat my ass. I’m just afraid of what they might do when a whole mess of ’em are scared shitless.

  2. hope

    I think you make a good point. I would just add, though, that the people you are talking about by and large are not consciously hate-driven. Human nature is a powerful thing. When we are scared or believe our lives and those of our children are in danger, it is natural for our “love thy neighbor” tendencies to shrivel up. Continuing to grant others their humanity in the face of fear of them takes tremendous insight into our own psyches and exceptional will to adhere to an ethical code rather than let emotions lead us.

  3. patrick

    someone who would know once told me that there’s nothing more dangerous to a regular ol’ person than a scared cop. In the last part of the last century, America became global cop, and then someone got a lucky shot in and the global cop got his ass handed to him. And here we are, scared cop and the rest of the world…

    You have the right to remain silent…

  4. Patrick – I don’t know about your other friends and the reasons behind the rhetoric you hear from them. For me, personally, I’d like to offer you an explanation of what I feel, and why I feel that way – WITHOUT attacking your point of view.

    Yes, Sept. 11th was frightening for a lot of people. I think that the people that it did not frighten are either asleep at the switch or semi-moronic. I was frightened at first, too.

    Then I got angry.

    I am sick, sick, sick of all the world’s ills being laid squarely at America’s door. I am sick, sick, sick of the leeches who will suck at the wealth that this country has sweated to build, then piss on us and laugh when we request help. Did you see the dancing in the streets in the middle east, the day the towers fell? I did; I saw the Egyptian street erupt into jubilation at the thought of 3,000 American lives snuffed out, the SAME EGYPTIANS who recieve over 2 billion in US Aid every year.

    Yeah, I’m pissed at France – not for urging caution, not for refusing to join the fight. As a matter of fact, if you read my blog to the beginning, you’ll see that I was a fence-sitter on war with Iraq for a long time. I’m pissed at France because I see its society degenerating into Anti-semitism and America bashing. Jews are fleeing the urban areas of France in record numbers because of rampant violence – such as the bombing of hebrew schools – which the police won’t even investigate.

    I don’t worship the bomb. I don’t want the US to invade Paris, or Canada, or any of the other gross oversimplifications that you present as “our” (rightwingers) point of view. I just want nations who suck at our teat to behave with a MODICUM of respect and friendship towards our nation. Is that so much to ask?

    A few items:

    You say:(Over 3,000 innocent people died! Right or wrong, that’s a LOT of people, esp in two weeks. Maybe reservations weren’t so unreasonable!) >Yeah, loss of life sucks. I agree. How many thousands lost their lives under Saddam? What about the hundreds of TODDLERS that were in PRISON under his regime, because Daddy shared a joke with a foreigner?

    I sometimes feel like I don’t know these people that have replaced the nice folks that I have known for years. (And I don’t want to know them. I don’t LIKE hateful people.) >>My political views have not changed in years. Ask your brother. If being pro US is hateful, well then…you’d better move to Europe.

    I had the sudden realization today that the normally reasonable people that I have been watching slide into anti-muslim racist hysteria and hatefulness are just really, really frightened. >>Not all of us. I, for one, am pissed. And I’ve been pissed. THEY HATE US, TIGGER! Yet they’ll take our money, won’t they?

    I think it’s a dangerous and slippery slope to start hating the entirety of a people (the French, muslims, democrats) and admiring the arbitrary use of deadly force. >> Gee – tell it to the Palestinians, the Iraqis, the Saudis, etc. They all hate the Jews in an ecumenically sanctioned unity.

    While I respect your views as an intelligent individual, I am afraid that we’ll have to agree to differ. It really bothers me, though, that you have such a knee-jerk response to rhetoric you disagree with. On my site, your behavior as a poster was juvenile and you assumed an “attack” posture as soon as you saw that I disagreed with you. Why? Is anyone who disagrees to be ridiculed loudly till they shut up? Gee – that’s not what I thought discourse was all about.

    Please don’t do that. Argue with me until we are both blue in the face – but recognize that I am a patriot and an informed member of society, and don’t treat me with condescension. You and I both want what’s best for the nation, we just have different ways to get there.

    I’ll check back here in a few days, to see what response, if any, you and your readers offer. If I’m laughed at, called names, etc., I just won’t return, because I’ll know I’m not welcome here.

  5. Kelley,
    I am not interested in getting into a point by point rebuttal of your post. You criticized my post on your blog as juvenile, but I should point out that you used the term “cheese eating surrender monkeys” first. Perhaps I over-reacted, but my annoyance springs from the popular trend of people taking the measure of another country’s culture as being that nation’s desire and willingness to make war on a smaller, less well-armed country.

    “They hate our people because we are decent, brave, hardworking and intelligent. They hate our views, our social policies, and our accomplishments. They hate us as a nation and as a community. They have forced us into a struggle for life and death. We will defend ourselves accordingly. All is clear between us and our enemies…
    This war is a defensive war. It was forced upon us by our enemies, who wish to destroy the possibility of life and growth for our nation.” -1

    “We are the ones fighting for order, for a solution to the crisis and the avoidance of anarchy.”-2

    1.- Joseph Goebbels
    2.- Adolph Hitler

    When I hear people beating the war drums and loudly praising the large piles of dead people on TV, and I sarcastically shout “Sieg Heil,” that’s why.

    You want to call all Muslims a savage people and a threat to our way of life, please, be my guest. However, if I call it racism, don’t be shocked. If the sheet fits, wear it. All Christians are not Eric Rudolph, and all Muslims are not Osama bin Ladin.

  6. Patrick –

    I feel free to lambast public figures on my blog, not individuals. I call that normal. The French government, the UN, Michael Jackson – all are open season. Individuals expressing an opinion are not.

    Your comparison of Hitler and Goebbels to our current government is immature and revisionist. We’re not committing mass genocide, dude! We’re not invading neighbors for territory and interning the citizens. Oh, I forgot…it’s all about the oiiiiiil in Iraq, right? Not the hundreds of thousands in mass graves? Not about non-compliance with UN resolutions that the UN refused to back up? Not about mass torture?

    I honestly think that you’d rather believe ANYONE than any person associated with this country.

    Yeah, I’ll call the majority of the muslim world (which is a geographical area, not a RACE) savage. Almost all armed conflict in the world involves 2 or more islamic factions. They mutilate and savagely treat their women. They think it is a golden key to heaven to take Jews out on the way. You can argue all you want that this doesn’t represent the mainstream, but you’re obviously not reading Saudi news, are you?

    I’m not the one wearing the sheet, my friend, YOU are, right over your eyes.

  7. Well, folks, there you have it.

    A little blast from the past- from the Alien and Sedition Acts of the Adams Presidency through the “Love it or Leave it” 1960s- When “patriots” get their backs up, it comes down to a simple equation: dissent=treason.

    I realize that there are a very small minority of us that are opposed to pre-emptive wars on shaky pretexts, but I feel that history will judge us kindly. I have always felt that the WMD issue had a very Gulf of Tonkin smell to it. I am not going to get into the specious argument that Saddam was or was not worthy of a commitment of billions of dollars men of materiel to depose him. We have covered that, ad infinitum, in other places.

    I am not anti-American. I am not surprised to find myself having to defend myself from the charge, however. Those who advocate peace and question the motives of those who would make war are always called “coward” and “traitor.” If I am to be branded as such because I (along with most of the population of Canada, the UK, and the rest of the civilized world) advocate for clear-headed and fair policies where cruise missles and massive civilian casualties are involved, then I wear the title proudly.

    I feel like we are currently a country in peril of losing its moral mandate in the world. We have squandered the good will of our allies in favor of inspiring terror in those we oppose. My fear is that, in the end, it will avail us nothing.

    Our fight, as the wealthiest nation on earth, should be against poverty, disease, racism, injustice and illiteracy around the world and right here within our own borders. We should be exporting peace and prosperity and leading the world in the measured use of force, since we are one of the handful of nations well-armed enough to have that luxury.

    Instead, the face that we are showing the world is that of a hair-trigger oligarchy. You think that anti-American rhetoric is at a high water mark now? If we continue to squander our name on unilateral (B)bush wars, the shouting is going to rise in tenor until it is deafening.

  8. Did I accuse you of treason? Of not being a patriot?

    No – I disagreed, and politely, when you chose to brand me as a Nazi and a Klanster. Evidently, for YOU, dissent = evil people.

    We give more to fight poverty and disease than the rest of the world put together. America has been working on civil rights for 30 years and is constantly getting better. We have more open immigration than *every other nation on earth combined*. That is reason to KEEP working on the process of betterment – not to shout down what is in process as useless, racist, etc.

    I just don’t get it, Patrick. I really don’t. Why the “hair-trigger” accusations of the most evil of grievances simply because I disagree with you?

    You can dis America all you want – that is your right as a citizen, nobody is disputing that. Funny how quick you are to claim you are being silenced and repressed and branded, when all I’ve done is disagree with you. THAT’s killing freedom, Patrick, not my conservative ideals.

    I just pray you won’t be a history teacher. The next generation needs better than this.

  9. Patrick, your point in the original post might be more well-received if it, and especially your follow-up comments, didn’t fall victim to the irrational hysteria that you attempt to describe. Cases in point: your Nazi quotes, which anyone with any grip on reality realize are closer to the ideology of bin Laden, Nasrallah, et al. than they are to the views of any American pundit/official. Such hyperbole diminishes the experience of Jews, gays, and non-whites who were the victims of butchery. Another example: your cries of dissent=treason when nobody made any such accusation. Your original point is lost with your credibility upon using such rhetoric.

    Your fear of the US losing our moral mandate in the world is well-founded, but not because of any change in Americans’ attitudes. It is because what is “moral” is left to the propaganda of pomo intellectuals in Europe, who coincidentally are irritated that US capitalism has thrust the mantle of sole-superpower on it. You show symptoms yourself, complaining of over 3,000 civilian casualties in Iraq, a number easily exceeded by the starvation and execution visited on the populace in one week under Saddam. Would it have been “moral” to cave in to French oil interests and let Saddam off the hook?

    Looking at your laundry list, I can tell you that the United States is the #1 donor of monetary, food, and medicinal aid to the third world. American investment dollars bring people out of poverty and allow their children opportunity. I challenge your to name one country that is more benevolent than this one.

    One final item on your charge of racism, which is a misnomer because Islam is not a race. Of course not all Muslims are terrorists, surely you understand that nobody is saying that. In your pomo world, I suppose we shouldn’t condemn such practices as genital mutilation, honor-killing, state-sanctioned religious intolerance and incitement to genocide. It’s just “a different culture”. And if my saying “that culture sucks” makes me a bigot, if the sheet fits…

  10. “I’m not a racist, I just hate muslims.”

    Que rico! You guys are cracking me up.

    Seriously, though, you have your own blogs to do this kind of pro-expansionist boosterism. I am closing this thread.

  11. Hey, if you want to spend your day posting right wing propaganda to my weblog, please be my guest.

    I’ll turn it right back on for you… hang on….

    ok, there you go. You should understand that there’s going to be a small fee from now on. I’ll bill you.

    Ron C- I was delighted to discover that this thing you have been calling me (“pomo”) actually means something. I had no idea that it’s short for Post Modern. I suppose you mean the art movement that you probably have the usual armchair/undergraduate objections to. (ie, “How can it be art if I can’t call it bad?”) (“That Norman Rockwell, now that’s an artist!”)

    I don’t consider myself to be a Post Modernist at all, because I wouldn’t know what to do with a tube of paint if you put instructions on it. However, if you are criticizing my politics as modern and lacking historical precedent, allow me to enlighten you: I consider myself to be a patriot in the vein of Thomas Jefferson, Eugene Debs, Pete Segar, August Spies, Sojourner Truth and Abbie Hoffman. If you and Bill O’Reilly would like to come over and give me art lessons, however, please phone ahead.

  12. Ron, you seem surprisingly impervious to sarcasm. Read this nice and slow so you don’t miss anything:

    THAT WAS A JOKE.

    Got it?

    as for you and Bill O’Reilly, hey, all you white people look alike to me, especially with those hoods on.

    -p

  13. hope

    Jesus H., you people gotta bring it down a notch. ­čśë

    Here’s what I think (like anyone cares, I know, but I need something to do before I go to bed) – First, I’m all for passionate debate, and it gets damned hard sometimes to do it in a completely respectful manner. There were several personal comments above that didn’t bring anything useful to the exchange.

    Second, and perhaps more importantly, staking out our positions is fine, but the real challenge is to acknowledge that there are points on either side that deserve careful exploration, and develop a game plan for what comes next that everyone can live with. Anti-war folks can continue to talk about how Bush misled the public re WMD and that the US is an international bully, but let’s also see some acknowledgement that there are outcomes (whether they were the truly intended ones or not) of the war that might be positive. The pro-war folks can continue to maintain that the US was justified in attacking a perceived threat and that anti-US sentiment abroad should not constrain our foreign policy, but let’s also see some acknowledgement that there are outcomes of the war that might be negative. This war is likely to have reverberations for years to come, and if “we the people” and our elected officials can’t get together on our foreign policy vis-a-vis terrorism and the Middle East, our response is likely to be fragmented and inconsistent – and ultimately inadequate.

    Nothin but love -hope

  14. I hardly think Patrick has lost any argument. I frankly am not sure where to even begin with someone who says police in France refuse to investigate bombings of hebrew schools without a lick of evidence to back it up, or who thinks calling an entire people savage is somehow acceptable, or who honestly does not know that Egypt is one of the most repressive governments on earth, and the US aid goes to support that repression. How am I spupposed to take seriously anyone who has so little knowledge, so little fellow feeling, so little apparent desire to understand anything?

  15. Dave Domizi

    I would like to make a few comments. Sorry, this is a really long entry, but IÃm here to share facts, not sling mud.

    First, I would like to say that there have been a number of excellent points made on all fronts. It’s great that we can all still talk like this so easily. We need to protect and use this freedom. You├âre all doing the country a great service and helping to keep it strong.

    There have, however, been a number of insults hurled and a good bit of bad information passed during this debate. It is the unfortunate nature of political wrestling between passionate people that makes it hard to have a political discussion, instead of simply a political argument. An argument can be well made in the format of a discussion, but a discussion can’t really be had in the midst of an argument, or so my opinion goes. I would beg you all to examine your comments (yes, on all sides) and do your best to remove the personal attacking that’s being sewn into this debate. It’s only pushing the sides apart, and bitterly. True, you may not ever agree fully on all subjects (that would make our country dangerous and weak) but you can elect to do more to prove your points and see more of the common ground you share, and less to shout down those who don├ât agree with you wholeheartedly. It├âs easier to convince an opponent when you├âre not spitting on him. While these types of insults have been commonly used by our president, they display neither intelligence, nor good will, and his rudeness has done little to endear him to the world at large.

    Americans are more afraid now than they’ve been in a long, long time, and fear generally leads to the making of bad decisions, through a tendency to overlook details and follow emotions rather than the fact-backed truth. Fear is perhaps the greatest human motivator, a tremendous weapon in its own right, and it can ensnare the “blind faith” of even the best of us. It is imperative that people in our country learn to acknowledge that along with the best funded, most technologically advanced military force in the history of mankind, comes the best funded, most technologically advanced propaganda machine ever developed. I am highly distrustful of this administration (and most politicians of both parties) because it has shown a willingness to distort and/or manufacture ┬Ževidence┬▓ in order to exploit a great American tragedy in an attempt to justify a war that will probably be considered one of the lowest points in our nation├âs history.

    The idea that the US is in the business of ridding the world of evil, murderous dictatorships, for the common good and safety of the human race, is ludicrous. America has a long history of supporting and even creating oppressive, violent regimes, and then frequently attacking and dismantling them when it├âs in our own political and financial best interest to do so, rest of the world be-damned. Our government supported Saddam├âs rise to power and knew fully of his use of chemical and biological weapons against Iran in the early 1980├âs Iran/Iraq war. While the US government publicly scorned this in the media, it continued its business relations with Iraq behind closed doors because it was in our own best interests. I invite anyone who├âs interested in reading about this (or doubts that this is true) to do so from actual government documents. You can do just that on-line at the National Security Archives at Washington University, a tremendous resource of facts. http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/ Likewise, the US helped the Taliban to power in Afghanistan and gave them millions of dollars of aid less than a year before the World Trade Center attacks. Yes, we gave $43 million in humanitarian aid to our nemesis the Taliban, a fundamentalist government that we knew committed horrible atrocities against its people, especially its women. http://www.csmonitor.com/2001/1001/p2s1-usmi.html . Doesn├ât exactly make America look like the ethics-motivated, cleanly defined ┬Žman in the white hat┬▓, does it? These are just a few of the many, many examples of the US has fostering governments that murder and oppress their people.

    Our countryÃs credibility and reputation have both been severely tarnished by its recent tendency to throw itself headlong into reactionary military conflicts. We have squandered the goodwill and sympathy that the world felt for us after 9-11 in exchange for a show of might and an empty wallet. Was it worth it, considering the damage that itÃs doing to our national standard of living, education, health care, and social systems? Is our country really being run properly, or are we seeing a national version of the Enron heist, where the people on top make everything look and sound great until the bottom falls out and the truth is revealed? Are we really safer, or in more danger from terrorism? Does anyone care to evaluate how much good the use of overwhelming military force has done IsraelÃs government in its battle against terrorism?

    Some facts about our countryÃs Middle East military engagements of the last 25 years or so:

    Iraq I, Operation Desert Storm:
    Without even getting into a discussion of why this war took place, I would like to point out one aspect of its fallout. Due to the massive damage to IraqÃs infrastructure caused during the war and the US backed UN sanctions against Iraq, UNICEF and the United Nations have found that over 500,000 IraqiÃs (mostly children, due to their more delicate nature) have died since the Gulf War. This, by the way, was readily acknowledged by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in the years following the Gulf War during an interview on 60 Minutes. She actually commented on the fact that the administration felt that the results (whatever they were) were worth this terrible loss of life. Admittedly, this death toll has been debated, but virtually no one questions that it is well over 200,000. So, the argument one person made that the 3,000 + innocent civilians who lost their lives in the recent Iraq war hardly compares to the genocide that the Nazis realized in WWII doesnÃt hold water. YouÃre not looking at the bigger, long-term picture of the consequences of your countryÃs actions. IÃm sorry, but all Americans need to live with the fact that the military actions our country took, and the economic sanctions we took a very active roll in, have likely killed in excess of a quarter to a half a million people.

    Afghanistan:
    It was natural that the US would go after Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan after 9-11.
    However, all Americans should know a few things to keep them balanced:
    1) Osama Bin Laden was trained to be the menace he is by the CIA and funded by the US in order to mount a winning opposition to the Soviet Union in the USSR/Afghanistan war.
    2) The Bush and Bin Laden families have been in business for many years. Osama Inherited $300+ million from his father, a construction magnate who was greatly aided and enriched by numerous business dealings with Bush Sr. The Bin Ladens own a percentage of The Carlisle Group, one of the worldÃs most powerful military industrial groups, and Bush Sr. sits on the board of this group. Also, one of OsamaÃs older brothers bought out George W. BushÃs failing Texas oil company Arbusto.
    3) If our countryÃs president and his family hadnÃt helped to make the Bin Laden family rich, Osama wouldnÃt have had nearly so much money to put his CIA training into action sponsoring terrorism. Brings it all home a little, doesnÃt it?

    Iraq II, Operation Iraqi Freedom:

    1) This administration managed to push the American people into believing that an attack on Iraq could be justifiably linked to the World Trade Center attack, and that it was necessary to deter an imminent threat, when absolutely no such evidence exists. I ask any of you to prove differently, and I do mean prove it, not tell me why your emotions tell you it was so. Our leaders used blatantly false ┬Ževidence┬▓ to make a power play in the Middle East for a number of reasons, oil being probably not the biggest at all. The US needs to reinforce its military power and controlling ability in the Middle East to give it a stronghold on determining the long-term global power structure. This has been discussed and planned for years by conservatives like neo-conservative Richard Perle, a man with great power in advising the Pentagon and White House.
    2) No, again NO weapons have been found to back up any of the administrationÃs claims about the deadly capabilities that Iraq possessed. No weapons of this type were used by Iraq, even as we destroyed their capital and overthrew their government. Seems to me this would have been a great time for them to use such weapons.
    3) Using IraqÃs defiance of UN sanctions as a justification of war was not a legitimate reason to invade. The Israeli government that we support has defied nearly twice as many UN resolutions as Iraq, yet we havenÃt even stopped sending them our money.

    It would be ignorant to think that the US can aggressively pursue, control and consume an overwhelming majority of the world├âs resources without stepping on some toes and creating some very legitimate resentment from abroad. Yes, we created it ourselves. ┬ŽThey hate our freedom┬▓, what a stupid, baseless, childish thing to say. It would be na├ąve to think that our political leaders, generally members of the financial elite, would make policy decisions based solely on what’s best for the daily welfare of the American people and the rest of the world. Let’s face it – while capitalism has its great points, it encourages the worship of money, and it eventually pits the importance of money against that of human beings. Accordingly, our country’s government and populace have all too often come to the conclusion that the world’s good will can be purchased and that money can patch up the ill will that is borne to us from countries that we have exploited and meddled with. The US has been living high on the spoils of the rest of the world for many, many years. Sure, we work hard and we give plenty of money to some great causes around the globe, but we also sanction (and sometimes subsidize) some hideously aggressive pillaging of the world in the name of getting Americans the cushy seat in the world theater. This frequently involves the US government supporting and financing murderous dictatorships and regimes. At the very least, it involves the American people turning a blind eye as giant US corporations do their dirty work overseas in order to get us cheaper consumer goods, oil, etc. Do any of you still gas up at Shell, the company that nurtured a relationship with Nigeria├âs murderous dictatorship in order to set up its own corporate military force and ruthlessly destroy the country├âs environment, just so they could sell us cheaper gas for our own irresponsibly inefficient vehicles? This is just one example. Sure, other country├âs impoverished governments will take our country├âs money, you might too if you were starving. But wouldn├ât you still feel resentment towards that country if they used that aid as leverage to take your resources via any means necessary?

    Look, IÃm not anti-US. I think we have an amazing country, but I also think we have some responsibilities that weÃre avoiding and denying. I think itÃs extremely American to objectively scrutinize our shortcomings, and pursue fixing them as aggressively as we pursue making ourselves richer, fatter, and more powerful than the rest of the world. Our citizenry, by and large, display a tremendous ignorance of their nationÃs history, the English language, and their lifestyleÃs impact on the rest of the world. We should be asking more from ourselves as people, and from our countryÃs government.

    Peace,

    Dave Domizi

  16. Dave,

    That’s quite a propaganda machine you yourself have going there. I am all for scrutinizing our own shortcomings, but what I think you really mean is scrutiny of ideology that you don’t subscribe to. To use your example of our supporting and financing murderous dictatorships and regimes, I agree that we should be much tougher on countries like Eqypt and Saudi Arabia, but I doubt that is what you had in mind.

    I’ll skip to an analysis of your middle-east “facts”:

    1) “Infrastructure damage in Gulf War I resulted in 500,000 Iraqi deaths.” – The overwhelming blame for nearly all of the post-conflict civilian death lies with Saddam Hussein. He had the ability to restore civilian infrastructure but chose to fund his military infrastructure and a lifestyle of luxury for those close to him while using the plight of civilians as a propaganda tool (which practice you continue to propagate). See, for example, http://heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,6600315%255E25717,00.html

    2) “Osama is the product of the CIA.” – Do you really think that the CIA instilled in bin Laden his radical fundamentalist take on Islam? I don’t think so. If you think that we should not offer any military training to any foreign fighting force, you’d be wrong, but at least your opinion would have credibility. To say that, without the CIA, bin Laden wouldn’t be what he is today, is stretching things quite a bit.

    3) “bin Laden/Bush family ties” – What this has to do with the topic, I have no idea. bin Laden is an outcast of his family and was kicked out of his own country for his militant activities. That’s not to say that the Saudis have clean hands, but assuming that the Bush family, or anyone doing legitimate business with the bin Ladens, should have foreseen that they would have an offspring that would evolve into a terror mastermind, is reeeaally stretching it.

    4) “No WMD” – our team of 1,400 experts just arrived two weeks ago. I suggest we give them at least as much time as we gave UNSCOM to document the existence of WMD programs. After all, it took UNSCOM 3.5 years just to verify that ANY bio-weapons programs existed. That they did exist prior to the inspectors being kicked out in 1998 is not a matter in dispute as far as I know. We didn’t need whatever crappy intelligence we had to see that there was a threat. Read more here: http://www.un.org/Depts/unscom/unscmdoc.htm

    5) “It’s all about OOOOIIIIILLLL!” – Don’t you think it would have been easier and cheaper for us to press for Iraq’s clearance under UNSCR 687 and imported the oil from Saddam than to attack? It would have been. Please read: http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/1016/p01s01-uspo.html

    6) “The Israeli government that we support has defied nearly twice as many UN resolutions as Iraq” – the biggest canard of all. Familiarize yourself with two items a) the difference between Security council resolutions under Article 6 of the UN charter, under Article 7 of the UN Charter, and General Assembly resolutions. There is a nice exposition here: http://www.naomiragen.com/Articles/IsraelAndTheUN.PDF Clearly some settlements violate several general assembly resolutions, but I don’t equate building houses with cooking up anthrax and botulinum, do you?

    I hope to have given you some fodder for your scrutiny.

  17. Dave Domizi

    Ron,

    Thanks for your great response.

    I believe in the scrutiny of all ideologies (including my own), especially any that involve the attacking of humans and nations.

    Saudi Arabia is a good example of what I was talking about (and a country I was thinking of, by the way), regarding doing business with oppressive regimes that support terrorism. If we were not so petro-gluttonous, we would have much to examine in the consequences of our dealings with the Saudis.

    1) I don’t believe that the deaths of 200,000-500,000 Iraqis following a war that the US spearheaded, and then left behind (along with Saddam) are simply a propaganda tool. I know that Saddam would use his own people for kindling, but the US has known the kind of man that Hussein is for over 20 years. By the time of the Gulf War, we had known of his total lack of respect for human life and of his vicious, murderous treatment of his own people for a full decade. Leaving him in power after destroying the infrastructure was clearly known, even then, to be a terribly bad decision. Then, to fund Hussein through an oil-for-food bargain, without strict US/UN enforcement was a dumb, doomed plan that simply underscored our country’s total lack of concern for the Iraqi people. Furthermore, the death toll had reached its bulk within 5 years after the war, but we continued to do nothing to help except to bomb Iraqi targets (admittedly mostly military) continuously for the next 7 years until the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, therefore sucking off more and more “food money” to Saddam’s military building/re-building efforts.

    2) I never even inferred that Osama got his radical views from the CIA. However, I think that it is impossible to deny the benefits of CIA training on an individual’s ability to organize and execute covert, underground operations and attacks. The exact stuff terrorism is made of. The CIA has written a rather large part of the book on those subjects. I never said that the CIA made him everything that he is, but they did help to make him “the menace that he is” in the world of terrorism by training him. Did we think that a militant Islamic rebel was a docile person that subscribed to the US viewpoint? Probably not. He already fit a great deal of the potential terrorist profile available at that time, and we helped to make him more dangerous to the world.

    Anytime that we offer military training to non-US fighting forces, we take a calculated risk that frequently leads to murderous behavior, the type of behavior that the School of the Americas tends to produce in Central America. Sometimes that behavior will come back to haunt us. We often train forces to fight on the side of a conflict that helps the US (like in Afghanistan vs. USSR), but it doesn’t mean that those people we train actually like us, or that they aren’t a clearly volatile element that could turn on us later. Sometimes it works out for us, but it’s always a serious risk. I think it’s almost always a bad idea, and while this is only my opinion and you may not agree, I have lots of basis for it.

    3) Very true, his family couldn’t have known what he would become. The point I meant to make, while being perhaps quite general, and not on the subject of B-52’s, is that the global reach of unbridled capitalism is vast, and that not all US generated capital gets used for good, at home or abroad. While we use some of our money for good, we also enrich dictators and terrorist supporters. To make billions of dollars for business parties in the Middle East, the most volatile region in the world and the primary exporter of anti-US terrorists, carries tremendous possible consequences. That enrichment and risk elevation is just what our oil dependence has done/is doing in Saudi Arabia, and that is just what 2 generations of our president’s family have done for the Bin Ladens, Osama’s well spring of finance (even if we couldn’t foresee it). I just wanted to look at all the potential end points of US money, I think it’s our responsibility to consider the possibilities and not be overly proud of our benevolent acts.

    4) I couldn’t agree more fully with you, inspections always need lots of time in order to be productive. I hope I’m wrong and they find tons of weapons, but I’m not holding my breath. It’s a shame that we didn’t give the inspections time to work before we invaded. That attitude of patience didn’t exist before the war, too bad it only emerges now. There’s a reason that we have waiting periods and checks for the purchase of guns here in the US. It gives people a chance to cool off if they’re just angrily, impatiently looking to unload a few slugs into someone. It seems our leaders were desperate to seek revenge (even on an unrelated country) for the 3,000+ deaths on 9-11. Otherwise, why wouldn’t they have waited for the inspections to run their course and give our country the backing of truth that we didn’t have and so desperately needed? We could have left a virtually permanent UN/US-backed peace keeping/inspection force in Iraq, indefinitely. We could have kept Saddam in check with a stifling, world approved presence, it wouldn’t have cost us $80 billion dollars and a terrible loss of life on both sides, and it wouldn’t have done the tremendous diplomatic damage to our country that we’ve now suffered. What was the specific threat to the US that we haven’t yet proven? Are we going to invade every country we perceive as a possible threat? There are so many. We DID need the additional intelligence for our own safety and credibility. Instead we used intelligence that was greatly out of date, frequently cooked, and sometimes flat out manufactured. This was not the American way for me. It was childish, dishonest, short-sighted, and did more long-term damage to our foreign relations and safety from terrorism than Iraq probably ever had in store for us.

    5) I’m confused by your response on this point, so I will attempt to answer to what you wrote but will certainly allow you the chance to clarify things for me if I’ve gotten it wrong. Based on your seemingly mocking response, it appears that you think I said that the war was all about oil. Possibly, in your anger you misread me? I said “Our leaders used blatantly false ┬Ĺevidence├â to make a power play in the Middle East for a number of reasons, oil being probably not the biggest at all.” After reading the CS Monitor article you mentioned, it seems only to back my point that, while their are most certainly oil prizes to be snatched after the war and that this is possibly a real motive of the conflict’s aggressors, that “There’s little but circumstantial evidence to support this Big-Oil-based conspiracy theory, however.” and “Cheap oil may not be the prime US motive in confronting Hussein, but it could be the outcome.” Again, please clarify for me if I’ve missed the point.

    6) Thanks for the heads up on the very informative article on the Israel/UN sanctions subject; there is an important legal difference that I wasn’t aware of. I do think it’s still a great example of the US taking sides and giving money to a party in one of the world’s worst, most complicated conflicts, one that has serious territorial and religious facets. Despite the fact that it’s virtually impossible to say clearly that either side is right, and the fact that both sides are considered to be victims by the world at large, the US continues to give its money to the more powerful country, which also happens to be an undeclared nuclear power! No wonder there were Palestinians celebrating in the streets after 9-11. I don’t think it was right or friendly of them to do, but one can certainly see how our meddling (of which, this is but one example) has been stirring up ill will for the US in the Arab World. Is this safe or responsible to do? What is really in our best national interest?

    Thanks for the lively conversation. Hope you’re well.

    Peace,

    Dave Domizi

  18. Wow, I’m glad I checked back in on this thread and I appreciate your response, Dave.

    I sense a contradiction in your points 1 and 4. On the one hand, we should have ignored the UN in 91 and taken out Saddam to prevent further human rights abuses, on the other, we should have gone along with the UN in 2003 and held him in check during the search. I don’t think the UN was equipped to hold him in check against human rights abuses in 2003, even if the French proposal were adopted. Secondly, I don’t think it was possible to truly root out the WMD programs with Hussein in power. For example, the nuclear program materials found buried in a scientists back yard probably would have stayed there until sanctions were lifted, which was Saddam’s plan.

    2) Point taken

    3) Point taken

    5) I did indeed misread your post (there was a little “not” in there I missed. I probably saw the work “oil” and said “here we go again”, my bad.

    6) Remember we fund Egypt to the tune of $2 billion a year as well with a good chunk to Jordan to boot. Even if the Palestinians (I call them Jordyptians) think that their leaders are not corrupt, we know better and funding the PA would be immoral. Funding Egypt is a bad idea as well, but I suppose we are being patient with them and need their help in the WoT.

    Nice chatting with you Dave, I’ll check back to see if you posted anything further.

  19. Rob

    i know all muslims are not terrorists but all the terrorists that have attacked western countries such as britain,american,italy,spain and others,well like i said,all muslims are not terrorists but i have noticed that all the terrorists are muslims!!!! theyve been pissed since the 11th century,since richard the lionheart broke them 1oo0 yrs ago,they hate us because there weaker than us,and they always have been,no messing its just jealousy,deal with it

  20. Rob, you’re an idiot.

    Some examples of non-muslim terrorists: Timothy McVeigh, the Ku Klux Klan, ETA, the IRA, etc, etc.

    Your selective reading of history is much like the way a drunk uses a lamppost, for support rather than illumination.

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