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Kucinich Introduces Articles of Impeachment of George W. Bush

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Grinch
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100 posted 07-29-2008 09:13 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

quote:
Grinch, I'll get back to you…


I never thought there was a feline in Hades chance that you wouldn’t!

I look forward, as ever, to your reply, but be gentle, remember I’m a sensitive soul.

JenniferMaxwell
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101 posted 07-29-2008 09:29 PM       View Profile for JenniferMaxwell   Email JenniferMaxwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JenniferMaxwell

And I could respond by saying something like “At least you don’t let facts interfere with your opinions and comments, Balladeer”, followed by a big green froggy tooth smile of course, but that might make Ron very unhappy.  

Perhaps, Balladeer, and with all due respect,  it’s best to keep our opinions about other posters to ourselves and stick to the topics being discussed so that no one has to worry about whether, by stating their opinion in this forum, they run the risk of being judged, made fun of or attacked? It’s something I have to watch myself since I simply love a no holds barred, spirited debate. Insert that big green froggy tooth smile here and have a lovely evening.


Balladeer
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102 posted 07-29-2008 10:48 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Of course, Jennifer. Sticking to the topic is always a good idea. I wasn't aware that Bush not being able to spell or find Iraq on the map was part of the topic. For some reason they just sounded like cheap shots to me that really had little to do with the topic discussed. I must have been mistaken and I'll pay more attention in the future. Have a nice evening..
Balladeer
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103 posted 07-30-2008 12:34 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Grinch,  I understand your point about Pakistan being the logical place to run, due to it's close proximity. Pakistan was, though, much more of an ally of the US than Iraq and, even though farther away, I would think that a man able to orchestrate the 9/11 attack could get there. There would be a chance that Pakistan would allow troops in to search, whereas Hussein certainly would not have. Besides that, you still have Hussein's insistence of wmd possession, which he could have supplied to any terrorists able to carry out further attacks. He was a viable threat to be reckoned with,in my opinion.

I checked your link and you are absolutely right. I was referring to figures current at the outbreak of the invasion and did not realize - or was not thorough enough in researching - the fact that things had gotten that much worse. As your link specifies...

Billions of dollars-worth of aid flowed into Iraq from the fall of Saddam Hussein regime's in April 2003. But the regime's collapse and widespread violence destroyed jobs and made aid distribution difficult.
"Most died as a result of the violence, but many others died as a result of the increasingly difficult living conditions, reflected in increasing child mortality levels," he said.


This brings up a point that I have raised before. I agree with Bush's decision to invade Iraq and take Hussein out of power. I strongly disagree with how it was handled after the fall of Baghdad.  There was not enough thought put into how to handle it after the fighting was done. I believe it was this lack of planning that led to the breakdown of the infrastructure and the rise of the insurgency.  

Isn't it interesting, though, that there have been no mass protests against coalition action by the Iraqi population?  In many ways they have been very supportive in the efforts to turn Iraq into a democratic country. Look at what they risked to get out and vote against all warnings from the insurgents. Is it working? It is worthwhile? Will the children have a chance for a better future than they would have had under Hussein rule? Are there signs that, perhaps, things will begin to run the way they should have 6 years ago? This is from yesterday...

Analysis: US now winning Iraq war that seemed lost

By ROBERT BURNS and ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writers Sat Jul 26, 7:08 PM ET

BAGHDAD - The United States is now winning the war that two years ago seemed lost. Limited, sometimes sharp fighting and periodic terrorist bombings in Iraq are likely to continue, possibly for years. But the Iraqi government and the U.S. now are able to shift focus from mainly combat to mainly building the fragile beginnings of peace — a transition that many found almost unthinkable as recently as one year ago.

Despite the occasional bursts of violence, Iraq has reached the point where the insurgents, who once controlled whole cities, no longer have the clout to threaten the viability of the central government.

Scattered battles go on, especially against al-Qaida holdouts north of Baghdad. But organized resistance, with the steady drumbeat of bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and ambushes that once rocked the capital daily, has all but ceased.

Shiite militias, notably the Mahdi Army of radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, have lost their power bases in Baghdad, Basra and other major cities. An important step was the routing of Shiite extremists in the Sadr City slums of eastern Baghdad this spring — now a quiet though not fully secure district.

Al-Sadr and top lieutenants are now in Iran. Still talking of a comeback, they are facing major obstacles, including a loss of support among a Shiite population weary of war and no longer as terrified of Sunni extremists as they were two years ago.

Systematic sectarian killings have all but ended in the capital, in large part because of tight security and a strategy of walling off neighborhoods purged of minorities in 2006.

That has helped establish a sense of normalcy in the streets of the capital. People are expressing a new confidence in their own security forces, which in turn are exhibiting a newfound assertiveness with the insurgency largely in retreat.

Statistics show violence at a four-year low. The monthly American death toll appears to be at its lowest of the war — four killed in action so far this month as of Friday, compared with 66 in July a year ago. From a daily average of 160 insurgent attacks in July 2007, the average has plummeted to about two dozen a day this month. On Wednesday the nationwide total was 13.

Beyond that, there is something in the air in Iraq this summer. In Baghdad, parks are filled every weekend with families playing and picnicking with their children. That was unthinkable only a year ago, when the first, barely visible signs of a turnaround emerged.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080726/ap_on_an/iraq_winning_the_war_4

Wouldn't it be ironic that George Bush, condemned by so many, could become a national hero in Iraq sometime in the future for his decision? Don't think it couldn't happen......
JenniferMaxwell
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104 posted 07-30-2008 04:26 AM       View Profile for JenniferMaxwell   Email JenniferMaxwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JenniferMaxwell

Memory refresher from the Obama or Clinton discussion in the Lounge on quoting from a copyrighted source:
Q - “And approximately what portion/percentage of that copyrighted article or book could I quote on this site?” - Moi
A - “Two lines from an article is probably good, too.” - Ron


International Humanitarian Law - “An occupying force has a duty to ensure the food and medical supplies of the population, as well as maintain hospitals and other medical services”

According to the report, Iraq’s child mortality rate has increased by a staggering 150 percent since 1990. Some 122,000 Iraqi children died in 2005 before reaching their fifth birthday.- Save The Children


From the source info on what’s happening in Iraq
http://washingtonbureau.typepad.com/iraq/

http://warnewstoday.blogspot.com/index.html

http://healingiraq.blogspot.com/
     “The desperate predicament of nearly 4 million people driven from their homes, the abysmal state of public services, and the discord among sectarian factions have shown no real improvement”

Bob K
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105 posted 07-30-2008 07:37 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Balladeer,

          Am I incorrect in believing you are distorting things in your posting # 96?    

quote:
Balladeer:
If Bill Clinton had taken Bin Laden into custody when offered, there would have been no 9-11 but clinton would have been regarded as someone who disregarded the rules.
  

     Here it certainly sounds that you are suggesting that President Clinton had legal grounds for bringing extradition proceedings against Bin Laden when the offer was made to us.  While the Saudis did have grounds to  bring such proceedings, as I have previously pointed out to you, we did not, and the Saudis refused to do so.  Had we rights to actually bring such proceedings, it is a matter of some conjecture as to whether such an offer would have been made, now isn't it, Balladeer?

     I understand that you have every right to your opinions and thoughts, but here you seem to be stating them as if they were uncontested fact.  I contest them.  Should you choose to state them in this fashion again, I will probably need to contest them again.

quote:
Balladeer:

So what were the conditions surrounding the attack on Iraq? Let's examine them. We have 9-11, to begin with. We have a terrorist organization claiming responsibility, supposedly holed up in Afghanistan. We declare a war on terror and attack Afghanistan.


     So far, Balladeer, I am with you.  You have in fact built something of a case against Afghanistan, though you have entirely neglected to mention that the Taliban, of whom I am not fond, acknowledged they thought that Bin Laden had in fact done wrong and quickly offered to turn him over to some sort of neutral third party for trial.

     If, if, if; as you point out, it's impossible to know if they were serious about this, what they meant by a neutral third party, and whether some sort of just solution could have been worked out.  Personally, I'm a bit on the skeptical side, but I must point out that we didn't even give it much of a consideration, and it's a bit wistfully that I look back upon that moment in history and try to imagine what might have happened had we taken the Taliban up on their suggestion.  Frankly, it didn't seem to have a very large downside.  It might have saved a lot of people a lot of lives and a lot of money.

     When you prepare for vengeance, dig two graves.  Doesn't that sound like Steven Seagal at his most penetrating?

quote:
Balladeer:

Next door we have Iraq, controlled by a dictator who has sworn hatred for the United States. This dictator claims to have weapons of mass destruction and, based on the fact that he used them to kill hundreds of thousands of his own countrymen and the fact that for years he has defied every U.N. attempt to inspect, the world believes him. I do not think it is unreasonable to believe that terrorists on the run from Afghanistan could find safe refuge in Iraq, under control of a madman who shared their hatred for the US and democracy. It is also reasonable to believe that, given the opportunity, Hussein would either use, or facilitate the use of, the weapons he swore to have in further attacks on the United States, still reeling from 9-11.



     I notice that here you do not actually state that Saddam Hussein actually had a part in 9/11.  You carefully leave that part out of your statement, and I want you to know how very much I appreciate that.  Your willingness to keep to your thoughts and opinions doesn't include clinging to the lies that have been used to mislead honest patriots such as yourself.  I think you deserve to be proud of this as much as any of your other achievements in life, not being willing to be fooled.

     I know that you believe that the world believed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, because that's what the papers and the other media were full of in this country.  In fact, however, this is what our rift with our traditional allies France and Germany was actually about.  They like the other countries on The Security Council did not believe that there was in fact enough evidence that Saddam Hussein did have weapons of mass destruction.  This is what our anger with our traditional allies in Europe was actually about.  If you recall the news articles at the time, they were very much in favor of the U.N. weapons inspectors continuing to look for the "weapons of Mass destruction" that Our President was so sure were there.  While you're looking, you will no doubt run across articles talking about the extreme frustration of the weapons inspectors as they time and again ran off following tips supplied by american intelligence and came up with nothing.  

     A good part of their skepticism, by the way, came from the fact that the German's had supplied us with the man who was functioning as our star intelligence source, Curveball.  The German's knew that his value was very low, that he was related to Achmet Chalabe, the man we were grooming to be the future President of Iraq, and who had been feeding us with much of the distorted intelligence in the first place.  Neither the French nor the German's were fooled at all.  You need to follow up this material yourself.  If I gave you the references, I'm afraid you wouldn't believe me, the whole thing is like a keystone Kops comedy scripted by Mengele, for maximum body count.

     We knew he had no weapons of mass destruction as well, despite the rhetoric being put out at the time.  This is one of the reasons we were rushing the Security council.  Saddam's major worry at that time wasn't the U.S.
In this he made a massive miscalculation.  He thought his major problem was Iran, and he was very much concerned with keeping the actual state of his weapons readiness from them because he was frightened of the possibility of another war with them, one that he would probably loose.  

     Iraq had no ability to attack U.S. targets, and there were no terrorists in Iraq other than in the Kurdish part of it, and Saddam was not in control of that area.  We were, in fact, flying daily aircraft sorties to deny him any access to that area at all.  Remember?

     My understanding of the poison gas that he used on the Kurdish Village people speak about in 1988 is that it was part of the supply of poison gas that the United States sold him for his war with Iran.  It was not home made.  I have heard reference to there being pictures floating about of Cheney and Saddam or Rumsfeld and Saddam smiling and shaking hands over that particular arms sale, since both Cheney and Rumsfeld were I believe part of the Reagan administration that I believe made that particular sale.  If either of us dug, I bet we could come up with details.

     None of the details make Saddam Hussein a great guy, but at the time the Kurdish massacre was going on, I do believe he was one of our allies in the area.  While we have made much of the matter since, I don't believe much was said of this little American political inconvenience at the time.  I don't believe that people have to be consistent, mind you, in the way that many other people do, but the degree of self-righteousness with which the current administration and indeed the very office holders who then helped broker the sale now condemn it seems to me to show a truly impressive moral flexibility.  I confess to standing in awe.  The yiddish word Chutzpah come to mind, defined here, for the yiddish deprived, as the guy on trial for killing his parents who defends himself by asking the court for special consideration; he has, after all, been recently orphaned.

quote:
Balladeer:

Everyone who is now vilifying the takeover of Iraq, would be screaming at the top of their lungs,"Why didn't Bush DO something???", citing the same reasons I pointed out above.  HE SHOULD HAVE KNOWN!!!
It was not a war on Afghanistan, it was a war on terror. Anyway you look at it, it was a no-win decision.  



     I would have been one of those folks screaming, Balladeer.  You and I are pretty much regular everyday folks, and we can afford the ill conceived luxury of attempting to live a flawless life.  A blameless life.  A righteous life.  Though neither of us will make it, the wake of destruction we will strew in our paths by doing so will be reasonably small.  Hopefully there will be no deaths, hopefully no serious injuries, though that in itself seems to me to be asking a lot, broken relationship, forget it.

     When you're talking about people who run governments and cause troops to be deployed, they very thought should be accompanied by gales of laughter.  It's not a defense against anything.  If a president stood stock still from the moment he entered office and was comatose until he left, the deaths would probably be in the thousands.  I told you so is the least of his problems.  He should have known everything about everyone all the time, but he didn't.  Sorry.  That's the nature of the beast.
Beats me sometimes why people want to run for such an impossible office, but they do.  In such a place, some things you simply can't avoid.  Being wrong is one of them.

     A "war on terror", though, is taking things to a whole new level.  Even I admit that.

     It used to be that in declaring war you had to work between countries.  Then you had to have an objective, so somebody could tell if they'd won.

     Here, we've done away with obsolete notions like win and lose.  That's because there isn't any real enemy.  The enemy is sort of elastic, and it can be whomever you'd like it to be.  It's a state of mind, a feeling, and it's nothing that can ever be defeated, so it's always there, but it's hiding in new places.  It justifies a constant state of war, just like the book, 1984, you can always switch enemies, because the enemy is a state of mind, it's "terror."

     NoNo, I can hear you protest, not "terror, but terrorism" and I ask you, whose "terrorism" would that be?  All those terrorists that we're battling over there in the middle east don't think of themselves as terrorists at all, do they?  As far as they're concerned, they're fighting for freedom of government and freedom for oppression and freedom of religion, and we're the bad guys.

     Can't tell the players without a program, sometimes, Balladeer, and that's the truth.

And thank you, Jennifer, for your fine writing on politics here.

     Balladeer, when we use the figure 100,000, it's not because we like it.  It's actually generally agreed upon to be on the low side.  You might look at the figures of Iraqis killed since the beginning of the American offensive until now.  I'm no fan of Saddam Hussein, but any way you cut it, we're responsible for a great number of Iraqi casualties since 2002 or so.  

    We have created an awful lot of haters of America where few existed before.  We seem to be spending much of our time in this activity.  I suspect, like banging one's head against the door frame, it would feel so much better to stop.

Best, BobK.  

[This message has been edited by Bob K (07-30-2008 09:39 PM).]

Brad
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106 posted 07-31-2008 05:59 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
NoNo, I can hear you protest, not "terror, but terrorism" and I ask you, whose "terrorism" would that be?  All those terrorists that we're battling over there in the middle east don't think of themselves as terrorists at all, do they?  As far as they're concerned, they're fighting for freedom of government and freedom for oppression and freedom of religion, and we're the bad guys.


They certainly see us as the bad guys, but let's be clear: they are not fighting for freedom.

I suppose you can argue self-determination, but that's just not the same thing.

Have we learned anything from the Taliban?
MOCindy
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107 posted 07-31-2008 07:09 PM       View Profile for MOCindy   Email MOCindy   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for MOCindy

quote:
Have we learned anything from the Taliban?


Bullets go multi-dimensions.
Bob K
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108 posted 07-31-2008 08:44 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Brad,

          I think that would depend on who you'd ask.  I suspect that you'd have to parse the distinction pretty finely and that it might not stand up real well in translation.  Jaques Barzun once said that the only exact synonyms in English were "furze" and "gorse."  "Freedom" and "self determination" to me seem good enough for government work.

     Why of all things would you want to take that distinction to the mat anyway, in view of the fairly big statements I was making earlier in the post?  Inquiring Bobs want to know.
Brad
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109 posted 08-01-2008 12:44 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Perhaps they have a murky view of freedom. I don't know. I do know there are no exact synonyms in any language -- and arguably none in the same language.

On the other hand, the distinction is clear for most readers of this thread. I admit I don't understand what you mean by "freedom for oppression."

Were you being facetious, and I missed it?


I picked that particular point because I'm uncomfortable with seeing these extremists as worthy of sympathy. Their cause is not freedom, it is power. When these extremists start to argue for Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist, and Jewish inclusion, then we can talk about freedom of religion.

Perhaps I have a skewed way of thinking, but I tend to see this approach as the flip side to equating all Muslims as terrorists.

As far as your "big statement" goes, I'm not sure I grasp its significance. As far as I know, Clinton never used "legal authority" as an excuse. His excuse was poor intelligence.

It's an excuse I often resort to.   
Bob K
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110 posted 08-01-2008 02:23 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


Dear Brad,

          Among those who are not proofreading deprived, such as myself, that would probably be better translated as "freedom from oppression."  Do I like people who think it's okay to blow up other people because of religious differences?  No.  Apparently I haven't made myself clear about that; so, no, I would rather nobody blew anybody up at all.  If should you care to offer a list of people you think I might make exceptions for, I would be happy to tell you for each one of them, nope, this is one more group of people whose genocide I am absolutely against.

     You're the one who seems to want to draw a distinction between "Freedom" and "self-determination."  If you can't explain the difference between the two and yet insist that everybody on the thread understands it, then why don't you explain it for everybody and save them the trouble.  Or let them talk for themselves.

      The statements I was making were sweeping.  If I'd re-written them, I like to think I would have said so.  I was making no startling disclosure of any sort of information.  I was simply offering a first draft rather than a labored over piece of communication, pretty much as other folks here seem to do.

Let's see :

quote:

  Bob says:
NoNo, I can hear you protest, not "terror, but terrorism" and I ask you, whose "terrorism" would that be?  All those terrorists that we're battling over there in the middle east don't think of themselves as terrorists at all, do they?  As far as they're concerned, they're fighting for freedom of government and freedom for oppression and freedom of religion, and we're the bad guys.



     Is there something here that's particularly shocking or unbelievable?  I have to say, for myself, the answer is still no.  I would have to say "freedom from oppression" oppression at this point to correct the typo, but then did anybody seriously think these folks were risking their lives and the lives of their friends and families because they really thought they were in the wrong?

     Do you think they're taking those risks in fighting us because they think we're the good guys?

     Most of us think we're the good guys; but do you think these other guys think the same thing?

     So far, Brad, I don't think I've said anything so wrong-headed.

quote:
  Brad:

They certainly see us as the bad guys, but let's be clear: they are not fighting for freedom.

I suppose you can argue self-determination, but that's just not the same thing.



     Brad, this simply contains a leap in logic that I don't understand.  They are fighting for their right to determine their own fate, as in the basic principle of No Taxation Without Representation, right?  Freedom is the right to determine one's own fate, and not have that fate crammed down your throat by somebody else who you had no part in electing to represent you.

     It sounds and awful lot like you're trying to say that Freedom means whatever WE say it says.  That's wonderful until you are not part of WE, isn't it?  That's what the American Revolution is supposed to have been fought about, isn't it?  Simply because we don't like the way these people go about their business, doesn't mean that they don't have a legitimate point and that what they're fighting for is what they see as their freedom.  Nobody said they have to see freedom the way we think it supposed to be.  If somebody tried to impose that sort of limitation on you, you'd have some feelings about that now, I'll bet.  I would.


quote:
Bob says:

Jaques Barzun once said that the only exact synonyms in English were "furze" and "gorse."  "Freedom" and "self determination" to me seem good enough for government work.

     Why of all things would you want to take that distinction to the mat anyway, in view of the fairly big statements I was making earlier in the post?  Inquiring Bobs want to know.


Brad replies:
Perhaps they have a murky view of freedom. I don't know. I do know there are no exact synonyms in any language -- and arguably none in the same language.

On the other hand, the distinction is clear for most readers of this thread. I admit I don't understand what you mean by "freedom for oppression."

Were you being facetious, and I missed it?





     Initially we have an exchange about "Freedom" and "self-determination."  I suggest this is a distinction without a difference; that though there are no exact synonyms in English, that these two are close enough that most people would be hard put to make a clear, substantial and meaningful distinction between the two of them.  "Good enough for government work" is the phrase I use, with an eye toward humor, since that is exactly the kind of work we are talking about here, political and, unfortunately, military at this point.

     Given all the sweeping and potentially controversial statements that I'd made in the post that had apparently piqued Brad's interest here, I asked why did he find this one offensive?  The fact that other folks would have different ideas about truth and freedom and justice that they thought would be worth fighting about with us seemed pretty much a given to me.  Why would Brad, I asked, be willing to take this sort of  (to my mind, now; and certainly, clearly, only in my judgement) disagreement
so seriously?

     Inquiring Bobs Want to know.  For this I have no excuses, folks.  I saw a chance to be a smarty pants, and I took it unrepentantly.  I deserve whatever I get for this.

And Brad replies:

     Perhaps they have a murky view of freedom.

     This, people, is what a guy gets when he tries to be a smarty pants.  I can't say I didn't deserve it, but it did sting.  Youch!

     I was suggesting, however, that even people I dislike get the same definition of freedom I get.  The right to determine the course of our own lives; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, with nobody pretending that I'm going to chase that precious blue bird down.  Even Osama Bin Laden, may his face drop off when he washes it this morning, has, I believe, those same rights.  He should drop dead before he has the chance to exercise them.  But he still has them.  And even Osama Bin Laden thinks he's a good guy.  I disagree with him, mind you, but I have no real doubt that he believes it.

     And despite the way some of this may sound, I was not trying to be facetious.  My attempt at did humor fell flat.

quote:

Brad says:
I picked that particular point because I'm uncomfortable with seeing these extremists as worthy of sympathy. Their cause is not freedom, it is power. When these extremists start to argue for Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist, and Jewish inclusion, then we can talk about freedom of religion.



     Sorry Brad, I really am, about disagreeing with you here.  Freedom of religion comes first.  There's always some reason for suggesting that you have the right to deny somebody their right to it, and that after they meet the conditions you demand they meet, then they can have their freedom of religion.  Or, for that matter, whatever kind of freedom happens to be under discussion.  As long as you have the right to grant them the right to "freedom of X," you're not being entirely honest as to how many people are involved in the power struggle, and are not being clear with yourself about all the options for dealing with it.

     I wouldn't accept an agreement without the inclusions you mention, by the way.  But as long as you pretend that they're the only ones abusing power, you will be unable to reach a livable resolution.  Because you will be unable to see your own contributions to the problem and because you will not be able to understand your adversary's point of view.  An agreement reached on that basis is an agreement with its own failure written into it.

Sincerely, BobK
Bob K
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111 posted 08-01-2008 12:40 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Folks,

          Once more, I'll be out of town for about ten days to upstate New York.  I look forward to resuming the discussion with those who are interested, and I want to say how valuable the discussions are to me personally, and how much I enjoy all of you.  I'll be leaving LA this evening, so messages before then I will very possibly get, though I may not be able to offer response to in any rapid fashion.

     Thanks especially to JenniferMaxwell.

     Best to all, BobK
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112 posted 08-01-2008 06:07 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

"NoNo, I can hear you protest, not "terror, but terrorism" and I ask you, whose "terrorism" would that be?  All those terrorists that we're battling over there in the middle east don't think of themselves as terrorists at all, do they?  As far as they're concerned, they're fighting for freedom of government and freedom for oppression and freedom of religion, and we're the bad guys."

     Is there something here that's particularly shocking or unbelievable?  I have to say, for myself, the answer is still no.  I would have to say "freedom from oppression" oppression at this point to correct the typo, but then did anybody seriously think these folks were risking their lives and the lives of their friends and families because they really thought they were in the wrong?

OK, Bob, I'll bite. I find it shocking and unbelieveable coming from anyone other than an Al_Qada press agent. You list three points:

(1) freedom of government
(2) freedom for - or of - oppression
(3) Freedom of religion

Which of these apply to 9/11, the first bombing and the second destruction? What had our government done to violate their freedoms? We had not tried to oppose our government on them. We had not tried to oppress them, nor had we tried to turn them all into our religion. You may say it was our relationship with Israel. Ok. What had Israel done to violate any of these three freedoms? Israel has never initiated war on another country. They certainly hadn't instituted policies to make the Middle East Jewish. If it weren't for other countries invading Israel, there would not have been any war in which they were involved.

Freedom of oppression? Terrorist conduct oppression. The Taliban ruled by oppression. In a tape smuggled out of Afghanistan before our invasion and aired on national tv, it was shown how the Taliban ruled the country, from herding dozens of people every week into the soccer stadium who had crossed the government in some way and cutting off their heads as the spectators watched to beating and from killing women in the streets who had done anything the Taliban deemed innapropriate. Does that sound like exercising their freedom of, or from, oppression to you?

How about the freedom from oppression in Iraq? How is suicide-bombing schools, marketplaces, weddings and the like, killing thousands of women and children to be considered to be fighting for their freedoms? Not even the Iraqis believe that any more, Bob. That's why things are going so much better over there and the deaths are a fraction of what they were - because the Iraqi people are cooperating with the government in the fight against the terrorism. It's a little hard to sell the idea that you're fighting for someone's freedoms while you are murdering them and the Iraqi people have finally come to realize that. You cite figures of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed since 2002. How many have we killed and how many were killed by the terrorists? My guess would be around 95%-5%.

Freedom of religion? The terrorist creed cites that non-believers have two choice - to convert or die. Is that what you mean by freedom of religion then? No one has ever denied them the right to practice their religion so I don't have a clue as to what that freedom you list is supposed to refer to.

Of COURSE they don't think they are wrong. Neither did Hitler. Neither did Capone or Caligula. Does that make them not wrong then? If you are looking at groups of people who are indescriminantly killing unarmed civilians, using their own women and children as suicide bombers, all in the name of their God who will supply them with a good supply of virgins for doing a good job and saying who are we to say they are the bad guys, then allow me to be one who will stand and say YES!, they are the bad guys. One may refer to them as freedom fighters, if they wish, but since  their "freedom" is the murder, enslavement and control of others, they do not deserve even that distinction.
Bob K
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113 posted 08-01-2008 08:17 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


Dear Balladeer,

          The only part of what you've been saying above that I find has any resemblance to what I thought I was saying was the part you quoted from me.

     Let me focus on the part that I think is the core of what I was talking about:

quote:
Bob:

[Does] anybody seriously think these folks were risking their lives and the lives of their friends and families because they really thought they were in the wrong?


     From this statement, you have drawn conclusions that are without support in my views and, near as I can tell, in my text.

     I am not required to like my enemies, people like the folks who brought us the World Trade Center Bombing.  In fact I do not.  Don't ask me to join you in thinking of them as stupid, though.  Don't ask me to join you in thinking of them as inhuman.  Don't ask me to suggest that what they think and do is not understandable by those who take the trouble to educate themselves about the region and the people who live there.  

     I don't pretend to agree with what they do or how they do it.  To say that nobody could understand it and nobody could have predicted it—as did in fact Dr. Rice—is simply wrong.  The actions were predicted.  Not only were they predicted but I do believe I sent you some of the references.  If you believe otherwise, it is not because you have had the facts kept from you.  Instead of belaboring me with personal attacks, I would appreciate it if you would check out the references first, and try to address the facts in the references.  Then try the personal attacks with some new information.

     My approval of the murder, enslavement and control of others, in case you wondered, hovers at about the same level as does your own.  That would be zero.  I believe, however, that we and our allies are not the only people who feel oppressed by such things; and that some of the people who feel oppressed by such things happen to feel that they do so at our hands.

     You can fight with yourself as to whether they do or not.  I have my own ideas, but they don't matter here.  What does matter is that they think its our fault.  From that point, their actions are the same as anybody else in that position.  

     That, by the way, is why counter-insurgency tactics work with folks like this.  That is why the army trains people in how to use them, and that is why they're being used with some success now.

     Why not do some reading about army counterinsurgency tactics, and what they're based on before you pour unthinking and uninformed venom on my head?  I mailed you references about a military/diplomatic blog on the subject in an e-mail as I recall?  It really is worth following up.  I didn't mail it to you to rile you up; I mailed it to you because I thought it would give you another look at how the army was trying to deal with Iraq and actually solve the problem both of us are so upset about.

     I'll be out of town for about 10 days and out of touch.  I hope to continue this when I return.  

Have a good 10 days, Mike.


     You might want to actually check out those figures on the death rates, Mike, before you start tossing them around that way.  I wish they were 90-95% their fault.  I'm American too, and I don't want to feel responsible for all that death and destruction either.  Wishing it were so doesn't make it so, though.  Try some U.N. figures,  I think that The Lancet, which is a British medical journal has some figures, and Amnesty probably has some.  Try to look for neutral places.  While you're at it, you'll notice that Jennifer and I have been significantly low-balling the casualty figures for Iraqis.  Some figures put them as high as 600,000, but see for yourself.  Good luck.
JenniferMaxwell
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114 posted 08-01-2008 11:02 PM       View Profile for JenniferMaxwell   Email JenniferMaxwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JenniferMaxwell

A little light reading for the weekend:
http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/07/29/10670/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sam-sedaei/they-did-not-attack-us-fo_b_62748.html
Balladeer
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115 posted 08-01-2008 11:03 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Personal attacks and pouring venom? I don't see where I did either of those and I'm sorry if you think I did. It's become apparent, I guess, that we don't communicate well together so it's probably better to leave it at that.


Enjoy your trip...
Brad
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116 posted 08-02-2008 08:16 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
Among those who are not proofreading deprived, such as myself, that would probably be better translated as "freedom from oppression."  Do I like people who think it's okay to blow up other people because of religious differences?  No.  Apparently I haven't made myself clear about that; so, no, I would rather nobody blew anybody up at all.  If should you care to offer a list of people you think I might make exceptions for, I would be happy to tell you for each one of them, nope, this is one more group of people whose genocide I am absolutely against.

I never doubted it.

quote:
You're the one who seems to want to draw a distinction between "Freedom" and "self-determination."  If you can't explain the difference between the two and yet insist that everybody on the thread understands it, then why don't you explain it for everybody and save them the trouble.  Or let them talk for themselves.


Self-determination is the right of a group to govern themselves. Freedom is the ability of an individual to do what he or she wants. When someone “fights for freedom,” it can’t mean, “I’m fighting so that I can do what I want.” Everybody fights for that. It has to mean, “I fight so that you can do what you want even when I disagree with what you’re doing.” Do I really need to quote Voltaire?

quote:
The statements I was making were sweeping.  If I'd re-written them, I like to think I would have said so.  I was making no startling disclosure of any sort of information.  I was simply offering a first draft rather than a labored over piece of communication, pretty much as other folks here seem to do.


I don’t mind that they are sweeping. It bothers me that they are abstract.


quote:
Is there something here that's particularly shocking or unbelievable?  I have to say, for myself, the answer is still no.  I would have to say "freedom from oppression" oppression at this point to correct the typo, but then did anybody seriously think these folks were risking their lives and the lives of their friends and families because they really thought they were in the wrong?



Why the switch here? You begin with asking if your description is shocking or unbelievable; you end with a question that asks if they think they are doing something wrong. These are two different questions. The second question is irrelevant to the first. Actually, the second question is pretty much irrelevant all the way down.

quote:
Do you think they're taking those risks in fighting us because they think we're the good guys?


As is this one.

quote:
Most of us think we're the good guys; but do you think these other guys think the same thing?


Still, with the good guy/bad guy thing?

quote:
So far, Brad, I don't think I've said anything so wrong-headed.


So far, you haven’t said much of anything.

I said:

They certainly see us as the bad guys, but let's be clear: they are not fighting for freedom.

I suppose you can argue self-determination, but that's just not the same thing.


quote:
Brad, this simply contains a leap in logic that I don't understand.


I see no leap in logic unless you want to argue that “fighting for freedom” means pretty much anything and everything. I don’t think it does. I don’t think it should.

quote:
They are fighting for their right to determine their own fate, as in the basic principle of No Taxation Without Representation, right?


Well, no. That’s not what “they” say. That’s not what “they’ve” done. They fight for the right to impose Islamic law on other people. They are not fighting for anything resembling classical Liberalism.

quote:
Freedom is the right to determine one's own fate, and not have that fate crammed down your throat by somebody else who you had no part in electing to represent you.


That’s part of it; it ain’t the whole banana.

quote:
It sounds and awful lot like you're trying to say that Freedom means whatever WE say it says.


No, you’re saying that freedom means whatever THEY say it is.

quote:
That's what the American Revolution is supposed to have been fought about, isn't it?  Simply because we don't like the way these people go about their business, doesn't mean that they don't have a legitimate point and that what they're fighting for is what they see as their freedom.


You’re going to have to be more specific, Bob. What exactly are you talking about?

quote:
Nobody said they have to see freedom the way we think it supposed to be.  If somebody tried to impose that sort of limitation on you, you'd have some feelings about that now, I'll bet.  I would.


Uh, yeah, they do. Otherwise, we aren’t talking about freedom. We’re talking about something else. To use a rather innocuous example, layman Japanese still refer to a whale as a fish. It doesn’t matter all that much, but it doesn’t magically turn a mammal into a fish. Godwin’s Law has already been enacted here, but I wonder if there’s a corollary: When can I mention Orwell?

quote:
Initially we have an exchange about "Freedom" and "self-determination."  I suggest this is a distinction without a difference; that though there are no exact synonyms in English, that these two are close enough that most people would be hard put to make a clear, substantial and meaningful distinction between the two of them.


I have made a distinction. I think most people reading this thread intuitively accept that distinction even if they haven’t articulated it in the way I have. There’s something that just doesn’t sound right when you say that Bin Laden is a freedom fighter.


quote:
"Good enough for government work" is the phrase I use, with an eye toward humor, since that is exactly the kind of work we are talking about here, political and, unfortunately, military at this point.


I don’t understand this. I’ll have to make a leap here. My guess is that what you’re kind of, sort of alluding to here is the idea that it’s okay to fight an invading government, a government with imperial ambitions. I agree with that. I just see no reason to conflate one idea with Classical Liberalism. They are two different things.

quote:
Given all the sweeping and potentially controversial statements that I'd made in the post that had apparently piqued Brad's interest here, I asked why did he find this one offensive?


Honestly, there isn’t all that much that I find offensive except that ultimately I think it distracting to the task at hand: Where do we go from here? What do we do now?

quote:
The fact that other folks would have different ideas about truth and freedom and justice that they thought would be worth fighting about with us seemed pretty much a given to me.


You and O’Reilly (see his exchange with Richard Dawkins on YouTube). If somebody, anybody has different ideas about truth, freedom, and justice, then you aren’t talking about truth, freedom, and justice. That’s the given; that has to be the given in order for conversation to work.

quote:
I was suggesting, however, that even people I dislike get the same definition of freedom I get.


That’s not what you said. You said that whatever they do can be called freedom and that’s okay. I don’t think so.

quote:
The right to determine the course of our own lives; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, with nobody pretending that I'm going to chase that precious blue bird down. Even Osama Bin Laden, may his face drop off when he washes it this morning, has, I believe, those same rights.  He should drop dead before he has the chance to exercise them.  But he still has them.  And even Osama Bin Laden thinks he's a good guy.  I disagree with him, mind you, but I have no real doubt that he believes it.


This is a form of cultural imperialism. You are imposing your own value system on Bin Laden and the rest. Think about it.

quote:
I wouldn't accept an agreement without the inclusions you mention, by the way.


We already have accepted an agreement without those inclusions. Look at the Iraqi constitution.  

quote:
But as long as you pretend that they're the only ones abusing power, you will be unable to reach a livable resolution.


I haven’t pretended anything. I have to make another leap here, but I think you’re presenting a false dichotomy: One can be opposed to the invasion of Iraq; one can accept the Chalmers Johnson “Blowback” thesis for 911; and still see terrorist action for what it is.

To go back to your good guys/bad guys argument: you can see both sides as bad guys.

quote:
Because you will be unable to see your own contributions to the problem and because you will not be able to understand your adversary's point of view.  An agreement reached on that basis is an agreement with its own failure written into it.


Back at you. This is precisely what I think you’re doing.

quote:
Sorry Brad, I really am, about disagreeing with you here.  Freedom of religion comes first.  There's always some reason for suggesting that you have the right to deny somebody their right to it, and that after they meet the conditions you demand they meet, then they can have their freedom of religion.  Or, for that matter, whatever kind of freedom happens to be under discussion.  As long as you have the right to grant them the right to "freedom of X," you're not being entirely honest as to how many people are involved in the power struggle, and are not being clear with yourself about all the options for dealing with it.


Recognition is a tricky thing. It’s almost as tricky as trying to figure out what you’re saying here. I guess what you’re saying is that all people should be allowed the same freedom regardless of their belief system. You seem to feel that that is not something I am comfortable with. On the contrary, I am comfortable with that. To be honest, I think you’ve gotten caught up in your abstraction and intermittently forget what you, we, are talking about.

You say freedom of religion comes first. This is simply wrong. What comes first is the rule of law. Without that, there is no freedom of, for, from anything. You say, “you have the right to grant them the right to ‘freedom of x,’ you’re not being entirely honest as to how many people involved in the power struggle, and are not being clear with yourself about all the options for dealing with it.”

I gotta smile at that one. We’re still talking about terrorist cells and terrorist organizations, right? They would deny the freedom of religion to others. They would deny the freedom of speech and the press to others. They would deny and do deny the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to others. That’s what they do. That’s what they say they are going to do.

I would take them at their word and stop straining an already false analogy.    
Bob K
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117 posted 08-13-2008 06:21 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K




Dear Brad,

        Apparently you believe that calling something irrelevant is the same thing as having it be irrelevant.  The thing that in this case you call “pretty much irrelevant all the way down” are causes  that people are willing to risk their own lives for and the lives of their families and their friends.  These causes apparently are even more irrelevant when I point out to you that people are seldom willing to risk their lives to stand for causes that they believe to be wrong.  Even if you aren’t happy with the causes involved—even if I’m not happy—our reasoned and apparently superior powers of understanding and our apparently superior ability to discern relevancy couldn’t concern the people who actually matter less.

     Those people would be those folks who would actually be willing to do the dying, as opposed to those of us who would simply be willing to say that they weren’t relevant.  

     It is not silly to say that people are reluctant to fight for causes they disagree with.  Your saying that it’s silly and irrelevant doesn’t make it so.  I wish we could dispose of other people disagreements with us so easily.  Your wish that people we think of as terrorists — and which even I think of as terrorists fairly frequently—would realize that they were basically evil jerks and would skulk off in shame and die, as any self respecting gangster ought to do, is basically missing the point.  

     These people don’t see themselves that way.  If there are gangsters and jerks to be seen, they believe we are the ones who fit the role, and they, as we, feel justified in acting in accordance with our conclusions.  They, as we, have a perfectly reasonable set of stories and facts and fictions carefully selected from the full range of possibilities that prove their point of view as convincingly for them as ours do for us.  These are not a special sub-species of human being specially created to be instructed in the truths of the world by us superior cultural beings who have gotten enlightenment from western civilization, the sole font of all truth.  They are in fact fully as deluded as we are about cultural myths, simply from a different perspective.

     I’m sure the whales, the japanese and the arabs are collectively suffering under the delusion that Americans and many of the non- muslim westerners are in fact mammals and not fish.  I am not personally in any hurry to disabuse them, despite the fact that we, as westerners with a different point of view, understand things in a more enlightened fashion.  Despite their unfortunate disagreement with us, they still have a right to their way of looking at things, even if they’re wrong.

     Or perhaps I’ve gotten your message about Japanese and whales and fish and their silly misunderstanding of the real way things work all turned around somehow.  I’m not sure when you start going on if I’m supposed to be amused by these Japanese folks and their cultural backwardness, or not trying to impose my own cultural stereotypes on them or whether I’m actually supposed to...what was that phrase you used?  Oh yes!...just think about it...  Apparently, If I meditate long enough your point will clear up.

     My own meditations have led me to the conclusion, apparently not sophisticated enough, that there aren’t very many people who are willing to do things that actually make they think of themselves as being bad and evil people.  I have met a few murderers who’ve been willing to make that jump, I must confess.  But even most of them blamed what they did on other people, and felt themselves pushed into their actions.

     The terrorists that you talk about tend to be fairly abstract folks, I notice.  The Iraqi “terrorists,” near as I can tell, were created by U.S. actions in Iraq.  No Al Qaeda there before we invaded.  No weapons of Mass Destruction.  At least one superbly wretched dictator, yes, but we haven’t used that as a reason to topple any other government we weren’t particularly already looking for a reason to topple.  And I suspect that we’ve killed as many people in Iraq by now as he did, if you have a look at the figures published a few years back by The Lancet and by Amnesty International.  In fact, if I remember correctly, Saddam cleared his initial invasion of Kuwait with George H.W. Bush before going into that country in. when, 1990? 1991?

     If you’ve followed the coverage on the Arab Israeli conflicts in the more neutral news organizations, like The Christian Science Monitor over the past 30 to 35 years, you know that most of the news we get over here is a basic tissue of lies.  You know that there’s more than enough idiocy and guilt for everybody, Palestinian and Israeli, to share with plenty left to justify generations of suffering to come, should anybody be silly enough to want to insist on everybody paying up in full.  You could safely call almost anybody in the area an innocent or a terrorist and build a darn good case either way.  To select one side out to be the bad guy is not only simplistic, it’s a way of making the situation worse, not better.  

     So, when I say, “Do you think they're taking those risks in fighting us because they think we're the good guys?”  I’m not asking for a facile and unthinking answer that suggests that this too is another and irrelevant question stupid.  Irrelevant, I believe you said about that last question, that asked if the “terrorist” cause was so silly, why would people be willing to think of themselves as bad guys to fight and sometimes dies for it.  “Irrelevant” is what you said then, and when I brought it up again, you gave the same flip and, I think,
clueless response.  If the first answer was “irrelevant;” well, “As is this one.”

     I’ve got to say, though Brad, I don’t give up easily once I think I’ve actually got a point worth making.  “Most of us think we're the good guys; but do you think these other guys think the same thing?”
I mean, you’d think that there’d be some reason for humans to have invented diplomacy, to talk instead of trying to kill each other to the last enemy still alive.  Instead of making sure that there was no single stone standing on any other and that all the fields were sewn with salt.  In order to do that, you have to be able have some basis for discussion.  If one side or the other gets too nasty or self-righteous, we end up with a treaty of Versailles situation, right?  Then it’s back to war again.  That’s what happens when you don’t allow yourself to see your enemy as a person with a legitimate intention and point of view.  When you don’t deal with respect.  
     “Still, with the good guy/bad guy thing?”

     Yes, Brad; still with the good guy/bad guy thing.  People have a really tough time dying for causes they thing really aren’t worth dying for.  On the whole, I’ve found people want their lives to have a sense of meaning.  So far, Brad, I don't think I've said anything so wrong-headed.

     “So far, you haven’t said much of anything....  

     “They certainly see us as the bad guys, but let's be clear: they are not fighting for freedom.  I suppose you can argue self-determination, but that's just not the same thing. . . .  I see no leap in logic unless you want to argue that “fighting for freedom” means pretty much anything and everything. I don’t think it does. I don’t think it should.”

     Well, Brad, I don’t agree.  I understand that you don’t think that “fighting for freedom” means pretty much anything and everything.  I understand you don’t think it does.  I understand you don’t think it should.  I think you have just won a resounding victory in a debate with yourself.  

     In fact, even though you don’t have to convince me, and even though you haven’t, that simply doesn’t matter.  There are probably only two people you have to convince.  One of them is the guy who’s fighting for what he or she happens to think IS their Freedom, and the other is the person that the first person is fighting against.  The person being fought against is most likely already on your side, so your job should be ever so much simpler.  All you’ve got to do is convince the person who is so hungry for freedom that he thinks he’s dying that he’s crazy, and that he’s really not starving to death.

     You can do this, Brad.  I’ve actually known anorexics who were convinced they were healthy as horses and were actually simply on Atkins and exercising 16 hours a day because it felt GREAT.  I myself am nervous about gun control, and would feel very nervous indeed about trying to talk somebody into such a thing if they were both starving and armed.  I still think that fighting for freedom needs to mean pretty much whatever freedoms anybody who feels oppressed feels they are lacking.  Otherwise, perhaps instead of you so crossly quoting Voltaire to me, perhaps you should make a point of quoting him to yourself.  To quote your own slightly tart comment, “Think about it.”
Bob Says:

They are fighting for their right to determine their own fate, as in the basic principle of No Taxation Without Representation, right?

Brad Says:

Well, no. That’s not what “they” say. That’s not what “they’ve” done. They fight for the right to impose Islamic law on other people. They are not fighting for anything resembling classical Liberalism.


And Bob Replies:

     I use “they,” here, to refer to the people we have been calling “terrorists” and occasionally “freedom fighters,” as in the phrase, “one person’s terrorist is another person’s Freedom fighter.”  This is a fairly common understanding of the use of the word “terrorist.”  Please pardon me if I’ve used a locution unfamiliar to you, I thought it was in common use, was indeed such a cliche I found it a bit embarrassing.  

     Your use of the quotation marks around the word “they” seems a bit of a puzzle to me.  While I am not fond of Osama Bin Ladin, my understanding of his original quarrel with the United States is that he objected to having American troops stationed on Saudi Land because both Medina and Medina as well as the presence of the Qa’aba (if I’ve spelled it correctly) and other holy sites were felt by many Saudis, and not just Osama Bin Laden, to be insulted by their presence.  Something like a Russian missile base under Saint Peter’s Square might ruffle feathers among Catholics.  They were asserting the right to expect — not sharia, as I understand it — proper deference to Islamic tradition in the birthplace of that tradition, both from their own rulers, and from the allies of their rulers.

     “The right to impose Islamic Law on other people,” was an issue that came up in respect to the Taliban, and at a later date.  You have conflated the two, in some ways understandably.  In neither case did it have anything to do with Iraq.  

     The bombers of The World Trade Center, as you are aware, were Saudi, and this issue of occupation by foreign forces was a major one that could have been addressed well beforehand.  And should have been.  The issues around the Taliban were certainly partly of our own creation.  We used the Pakistani ISA, their secret service, as an instrument of U.S. foreign policy when the Soviets were in Afghanistan.  We funneled money and materiel through Pakistan into Afghanistan, and expanded the very conservative ISA, whose  fundamentalist Islamic roots brought Jihadis from all over the middle east to fight against the Soviets.  We funded Osama Bin Ladin initially, and supplied him with money and weapons, and his connections with the Taliban helped to overturn the Soviet puppet government there.  We, Brad, put the Taliban in place and supported the fundamentalist Islamic revolution.  We supplied them with RPGs.

     We also supported Saddam Hussein as a balance against Iran.  The poison gas that we complain was used to destroy those poor Kurds in 1988 (and which did in fact kill about 5000 of them) was supplied by us.  The U.S., your friendly local supplier of W.M.D.  We knew where that gas was, how much was left after the gulf war I and the post-war inspections (none), and how much of a relationship Saddam and Osama Bin Ladin had.  They had none left, it had been used in combat in Iran and with the Kurds and in the South with the Swamp Arabs; and Osama and Saddam loathed each other and had no relationship at all.

     It is now about 2:30 in the morning, and I must be up early, but I did want to skip over so many things that I would be better off no commenting on, and settle this statement of yours:

“We already have accepted an agreement without those inclusions. Look at the Iraqi constitution.”  

     My initial comment is a somewhat stupefied, I BEG your pardon, closely followed by what are you actually saying here?  

     I think that what you are trying to say here, if I can untangle the thing, is that; 1) there is a such a thing as a constitution, which is an compact among people of a nation about how they shall govern themselves; 2) the Iraqis, being a sovereign people, have a right to establish their own constitution; 3) that the Iraqi people in order to establish a constitution must follow applicable international law and must make sure that they have also taken whatever measures they need to take in order to ensure the practical implementation of their constitution.

     So far so good.

     But then, if I understand you correctly, for otherwise you could not have said “We have already accepted an agreement. . . .  Look at the Iraqi constitution” you seem to have added a completely bizarre; 4) The elements of the constitution must be pleasing to the United States, otherwise you will be indebted to us forever and must give us your oil and anything else of yours we want because you KNOW we got dibs on you and your country.  If we don’t accept your constitution, you KNOW your sovereignty is gonna fall off like the face from an old leper.

     Pardon me, Father Damien.  It wasn’t me that said it, it was that Brad fella.  You should hear what he has to say about those poor Japanese folks, and the fish that walk like mammals.  

     Like we have to accept anything the Iraqis decide about their constitution before it’s legal.  As if it’s our country, and we have a right or an obligation to make their decisions for them.

     Got to stop for today.  I’m in danger of running out of ire.

Best to you, Bob K.
Huan Yi
Member Ascendant
since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


118 posted 08-13-2008 03:00 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi



"The poison gas that we complain was used to destroy those poor Kurds in 1988 (and which did in fact kill about 5000 of them) was supplied by us."

This is the second time you say this;
cite your source.
Grinch
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since 12-31-2005
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Whoville


119 posted 08-13-2008 03:38 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


I found a couple of sources Huan by typing US supplied gas to Iraq into Google, the last link was especially interesting.
http://www.iranchamber.com/history/articles/arming_iraq.php
http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2002-09-30-iraq-ushelp_x.htm
http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2002-09-30-iraq-ushelp-list_x.htm
http://www.counterpunch.org/boles1010.html
http://www.gulfwarvets.com/news11.htm
Grinch
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since 12-31-2005
Posts 2710
Whoville


120 posted 08-13-2008 04:01 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

Mind you it seems the US weren't the only ones:
http://www.rense.com/general32/suppe.htm

Looks like the only country NOT supplying Iraq with WMD was Iraq!

I have a theory.

I think the rest of the world heard rumours about future weapons inspections and in a mad panic decided to stash them all somewhere they thought that they'd never be found - Iraq.


  
Huan Yi
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since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


121 posted 08-13-2008 07:28 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.

So though Roosevelt declined using poison gas
against the Japanese, (prohibited by a convention after WWI,
which the United States did not sign),  in WWII ,we never the less sold
poison gas to the Iraqis only to condemn their use after.  And who thinks someone
wouldn’t have jumped on that hypocrisy like a panther in the media?


.
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


122 posted 08-13-2008 11:08 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Bob,

quote:
Apparently you believe that calling something irrelevant is the same thing as having it be irrelevant.


Yeah, I’m funny that way. When I call something irrelevant, I think it is, well, irrelevant.

quote:
The thing that in this case you call “pretty much irrelevant all the way down” are causes that people are willing to risk their own lives for and the lives of their families and their friends.


Ah, the appeal to emotion. People are willing to die and risk their families for what?

That's not a rhetorical question. What do you think they're fighting for?

By the way, I can think of at least three ways to show me I’m wrong:

1.Show me that Iraqi insurgents, Al Qaeda, or other similar groups have the same definition of freedom that I have and that that is what they do in practice and I will be wrong.

2. Show me that readers on this board, of this thread, do not share my definition of freedom. They share yours (whatever that may be). If this is so, then I am using the wrong word.

3. Start from the beginning (no doubt in e-mails or, better, in another thread). What thought processes led you to the things you think now? No doubt this will be the most difficult choice, but it is possible that I have simply misunderstood what you’ve said.

No doubt there are others, but I tend to stop at three.

quote:
These causes apparently are even more irrelevant when I point out to you that people are seldom willing to risk their lives to stand for causes that they believe to be wrong.  Even if you aren’t happy with the causes involved—even if I’m not happy—our reasoned and apparently superior powers of understanding and our apparently superior ability to discern relevancy couldn’t concern the people who actually matter less.


You’ve placed the word ‘irrelevant’ in a different context now. Nice slide, but it doesn’t work. Don’t confuse the participants and readers of a discussion with the topic. Boy, that sounds awfully academic, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, the consequences of such a confusion rarely are. Academic, that is.

One more time: Everything you’ve stated doesn’t change the fact that Al Queda, Iraqi insurgents, and others aren’t fighting for freedom.

You’re ‘Western superiority’ line is also pretty standard rhetoric. There was a time when I bought it. I don’t anymore. I have spent roughly a third of my life in non-Western countries. At some point, you have to ask yourself what you believe, what you think is right. To pretend otherwise, to hide behind the, “they don’t believe this,” is dodging the distinction.

One more time: Do you think they are fighting for freedom as I’ve defined it?

quote:
Those people would be those folks who would actually be willing to do the dying, as opposed to those of us who would simply be willing to say that they weren’t relevant.


Hmmm, who said they weren’t relevant. Not me. I said that what you were saying was irrelevant to the question at hand:

Do you think they are freedom fighters by my definition?

quote:
These are not a special sub-species of human being specially created to be instructed in the truths of the world by us superior cultural beings who have gotten enlightenment from western civilization, the sole font of all truth.  They are in fact fully as deluded as we are about cultural myths, simply from a different perspective.


I agree. They aren’t a sub-species. They are human beings who, by our lights (I hope you don’t mind if I make this assumption. I really do think we see eye-to-eye here) should be treated as human beings. I agree that they are as fully deluded with cultural myths and whatnot as we are. What I don’t believe is that we should stop believing what we believe because they have a different perspective. I don’t believe we should muddle words and thoughts in ways that create an illusory ‘equality of perspective’. Such a position requires the very superior position you scoff at. Neither you nor I are able to attain that position. I don’t think anybody is able to.

I don’t understand your point about the whales. Could you rewrite that for me? Thanks.

My point was that memes often, and with no conspiracy needed, justify the beliefs of a particular society. Seeing whales as fish even when you know it not to be true, reinforces the Japanese view that hunting whales is ‘excusable.’ They’re a fish after all. From that, many things follow.

It would be silly to say that is the defining difference, that somehow this is the cause of Japanese opposition to international law, but it is there and it is present in Japanese society.

It doesn’t hurt when the Japanese talk among themselves about whaling bans.

quote:
The Iraqi “terrorists,” near as I can tell, were created by U.S. actions in Iraq.  No Al Qaeda there before we invaded.  No weapons of Mass Destruction.  At least one superbly wretched dictator, yes, but we haven’t used that as a reason to topple any other government we weren’t particularly already looking for a reason to topple.  And I suspect that we’ve killed as many people in Iraq by now as he did, if you have a look at the figures published a few years back by The Lancet and by Amnesty International.  In fact, if I remember correctly, Saddam cleared his initial invasion of Kuwait with George H.W. Bush before going into that country in. when, 1990? 1991?


An interesting comparison would be the figures for Iraq, so often disputed, and the figures for the Russian invasion of Georgia. As far as I can tell, the Western media has no problem throwing up numbers when the belligerent isn’t someone they like.

I disagree that Bush Sr. approved or cleared the invasion of Kuwait. Hussein asked for clearance on taking one island and as far as I can tell that was somewhat, kind of approved of by an official. Plausible deniability, you see. It wouldn’t surprise me if Bush Sr. had said okay, but I doubt if there are records of that. At any rate, there was a misunderstanding, a deception, or a change in policy on the Iraqi side.

quote:
If you’ve followed the coverage on the Arab Israeli conflicts in the more neutral news organizations, like The Christian Science Monitor over the past 30 to 35 years, you know that most of the news we get over here is a basic tissue of lies.  You know that there’s more than enough idiocy and guilt for everybody, Palestinian and Israeli, to share with plenty left to justify generations of suffering to come, should anybody be silly enough to want to insist on everybody paying up in full.  You could safely call almost anybody in the area an innocent or a terrorist and build a darn good case either way.  To select one side out to be the bad guy is not only simplistic, it’s a way of making the situation worse, not better.


Agreed.


On ‘irrelevant’ again:

Are you sure you’re talking to me? I’m talking to you, not to a terrorist, I’m saying that whether or not a terrorist thinks they are doing the right thing is irrelevant to whether or not you think they are fighting for freedom. It is irrelevant to whether or not people reading this thread believe they are fighting for freedom.  

quote:
In order to do that, you have to be able have some basis for discussion.


Yes.

quote:
If one side or the other gets too nasty or self-righteous, we end up with a treaty of Versailles situation, right?  Then it’s back to war again.  That’s what happens when you don’t allow yourself to see your enemy as a person with a legitimate intention and point of view.  When you don’t deal with respect.


Before we question the legitimacy of a point of view, we have to understand what that point of view is. This is what I think you keep avoiding.

quote:
Well, Brad, I don’t agree.  I understand that you don’t think that “fighting for freedom” means pretty much anything and everything.  I understand you don’t think it does.  I understand you don’t think it should.  I think you have just won a resounding victory in a debate with yourself.


I just wish I could understand what you don’t agree with.

quote:
There are probably only two people you have to convince.  One of them is the guy who’s fighting for what he or she happens to think IS their Freedom, and the other is the person that the first person is fighting against.  The person being fought against is most likely already on your side, so your job should be ever so much simpler.


Yeah, I agree. And invading someone doesn’t strike me as a particularly persuasive argument.

Sorry, off to work.
Bob K
Member Elite
since 11-03-2007
Posts 3860


123 posted 08-14-2008 04:20 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Brad,

     Once more, with feeling:

Bob Says:
Apparently you believe that calling something irrelevant is the same thing as having it be irrelevant.


Brad says:
Yeah, I’m funny that way. When I call something irrelevant, I think it is, well, irrelevant.

And now Bob comments:

     The reason I believe that you repeating yourself with what seems to be an attempt at a wry twist, as in “Yeah, I’m funny that way,” seems insufficient is this:  One may believe an untruth, such as “The world is created out of spaghetti” or “The world not only appears to be flat, it actually is flat.”  Repetitions of such statements seldom actually affect their actual truthfulness, though repetition with sufficient frequency, certainty or volume may convince some people that there must be truth to them when in fact there is not.

     I don’t suggest that you disbelieve yourself.  I suggest that you confuse your willingness to restate a proposition with the necessity of its truth.  I may be wrong, Brad, though I don’t believe I am, but I don’t think that my calling something or some thought irrelevant actually makes it so.  At best it is a statement of my opinion, and while I’m marginally more confident in my thinking than you are, I wouldn’t want to say that my thinking is more dependable than reality itself.  You may disagree about the quality of your own thinking, of course, but it might be wise to keep in mind that I’m marginally less confident in your thinking than I am in my own, otherwise I wouldn’t presume actually to dare to hold an independent opinion, would I?

     So at the risk of boring you, I would repeat: Simply because you think somebody else’s position and thinking about what they think is worth living for and dying for seems irrelevant to you, doesn’t make it actually true for the whole world.  You may actually believe that they are obligated to get your okay before devoting their lives to some principle that you think is plain absurd and contemptible, but the odds are they simply didn’t get the memo that day and that they never will.  While you may feel they are irrelevant, they will have thoughtlessly returned the favor without having bothered to check with you first.

     The most you can actually get away with in practical terms is that they are irrelevant to you.  You can enforce that much.  Beyond that, I suspect you already know, your powers do not stretch, much as you wish you could enforce them on the unreasonable world.  You may believe that you can enforce a single definition of Freedom and Liberty worth fighting for on the misguided of the world, but they will stubbornly go ahead and fight among themselves because they believe that their own notions of liberty have been traduced.

     You can insist and complain as much as you want.  It amounts to helpless foot stomping because people have the right to make up their own minds about whether they think you—or I, for that matter— are simply full of volcano ventings, hot air and bull pucky.  The best you have is an opinion and a strong preference and the rest of the world doing what it thinks is best.

     Once again, you can and will make whatever pronouncements you wish.  Many people do.  Those pronouncements usually predict best that accurately describe the way reality functions, and not the hopes we have for it.  If your pronouncements insist that people must act in ways that people do not act in real life, they lose all predictive value.  If you say that it’s irrelevant that a person feels a principle is worth fighting for, then you are at a loss when somebody starts to fight for it.  You also tend to lose strategic targets and populations that you need not have lost.  Whose losses may have been somewhat more predictable than otherwise would be thought to be the case.

     It is in many ways more comfortable to pretend these things are less predictable than they are.  Heaven knows, there are so many things that we don’t have the insight to predict at all...

    
Bob Says:
The thing that in this case you call “pretty much irrelevant all the way down” are causes that people are willing to risk their own lives for and the lives of their families and their friends.


Brad replies:
Ah, the appeal to emotion. People are willing to die and risk their families for what?

That's not a rhetorical question. What do you think they're fighting for?

Bob comments:

     I mentioned some answers to this question in a prior posting.  I said that it depended on which people and which situation.  The label “terrorist” is chucked around very lightly.  The Nazis thought the soviet and free french partisans were “terrorists.”  The British thought the Jews were “terrorists.”  The Soviets thought the Afghanis were “terrorists.”  We disagreed at these times and called the “terrorists” “freedom fighters.”

     Of course, when the political situation changed a bit, we were known from time to time to change our tune.  The Free French Partisans, the legendary “maquis,” had always been a basically Communist party sponsored organization in large part, with some clear exceptions.  After W.W.II, these same folks moved to organize France, and especially southern France around Marseilles, for the Communist Party.  The Organization that was transitioning between being the OSS and the CIA felt the Resistance was a “terrorist” organization and began a series of covert operations against them in conjunction with the Unione Course.  The heroic Freedom Fighter Mujahadin in Afghanistan who carried out operations against the soviets, partly funded by Ross Perot and the CIA, quietly became the Taliban with the support of U.S. money funneled through the ISA in Pakistan.  Osama Bin Ladin was one of the brave freedom fighters that answered the call of freedom broadcast indirectly by the CIA against the atheistic Russian communists.  Al Qaeda, the name of his organization, was originally the name of his cover organization for supply of U.S. weapons to the “Freedom Fighters,” soon to become
“Taliban terrorists.” fighting the soviet  invaders.

     So, in brief, these folks were fighting for liberation from foreign oppression.  In the beginning the oppression, in these cases, were Nazi and Soviet.  The United States showed a certain willingness to replace the original oppressors.  Simply because we decided we wanted to take on the roles vacated by Nazis and Soviets doesn’t make what we are doing better.  

     I would venture to say that in many of the cases we have been talking about, though surely not in all of them, a similar process has taken place.  We are dumbfounded because we have always seen ourselves as liberators and good folks, which in many ways I dare say we are.  Simply not in enough ways to convince the people on the receiving end of many of our actions that we are as benign as we feel ourselves to be.  

Brad says:


By the way, I can think of at least three ways to show me I’m wrong:

1.Show me that Iraqi insurgents, Al Qaeda, or other similar groups have the same definition of freedom that I have and that that is what they do in practice and I will be wrong.

2. Show me that readers on this board, of this thread, do not share my definition of freedom. They share yours (whatever that may be). If this is so, then I am using the wrong word.

3. Start from the beginning (no doubt in e-mails or, better, in another thread). What thought processes led you to the things you think now? No doubt this will be the most difficult choice, but it is possible that I have simply misunderstood what you’ve said.

No doubt there are others, but I tend to stop at three.

Bob comments:

     That’s nice.  Perhaps you can tell me what I must do to get my merit badges as well.  

     In the meantime, I think I’ll be my own judge of whether I’ve done a decent job of replying to what you have to say or not, thank you very much.  I haven’t noticed that you’ve actually heard much of what I’ve said anyway.  I suspect that if I tried things your way, I’d get endlessly tangled up in whether I’d done things to your exact specs or not.  And since I don’t believe you’re making  a point that I’m very good at grasping, at least with my admittedly limited ability to pull a clear understanding of what you’re trying to say together at this hour, I think I’ll muddle through with the fairly clean understanding that I’ll never be able to make everybody agree to my idea of what Freedom is; and that attempting to do so is like trying to get a cat to do the tango backwards in high heels blindfolded with a doberman pincher as a dance partner.  On the ice.  Shaved.  In December.  Drunk.

     Perhaps you get the idea.

     High on nitrous oxide, and wearing a stocking mask while passing gas to the tune of Alexander's Rag Time Band.

     I need to get some sleep before I’m actually tempted to continue this.

Sincerely, BobK.

Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


124 posted 08-14-2008 10:20 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Continuing:

quote:
I use “they,” here, to refer to the people we have been calling “terrorists” and occasionally “freedom fighters,” as in the phrase, “one person’s terrorist is another person’s Freedom fighter.”  This is a fairly common understanding of the use of the word “terrorist.”  Please pardon me if I’ve used a locution unfamiliar to you, I thought it was in common use, was indeed such a cliche I found it a bit embarrassing.


I think it is embarrassing. It is or was in common use in my opinion. From my point of view, it’s a propaganda tool.  

quote:
Your use of the quotation marks around the word “they” seems a bit of a puzzle to me.  While I am not fond of Osama Bin Ladin, my understanding of his original quarrel with the United States is that he objected to having American troops stationed on Saudi Land because both Medina and Medina as well as the presence of the Qa’aba (if I’ve spelled it correctly) and other holy sites were felt by many Saudis, and not just Osama Bin Laden, to be insulted by their presence.  Something like a Russian missile base under Saint Peter’s Square might ruffle feathers among Catholics.  They were asserting the right to expect — not sharia, as I understand it — proper deference to Islamic tradition in the birthplace of that tradition, both from their own rulers, and from the allies of their rulers.


That’s, as far as I know, what Bin Laden said.

Those bases are being dismantled or have already been dismantled (I don’t remember the time table) according to something I read.

quote:
“The right to impose Islamic Law on other people,” was an issue that came up in respect to the Taliban, and at a later date.  You have conflated the two, in some ways understandably.  In neither case did it have anything to do with Iraq.


In my opinion, the two should be conflated. Not because it gives us any justification for invading Iraq, but, from my point of view, the very process almost inevitably leads to theocracy.

quote:
The bombers of The World Trade Center, as you are aware, were Saudi, and this issue of occupation by foreign forces was a major one that could have been addressed well beforehand.  And should have been.  The issues around the Taliban were certainly partly of our own creation.  We used the Pakistani ISA, their secret service, as an instrument of U.S. foreign policy when the Soviets were in Afghanistan.  We funneled money and materiel through Pakistan into Afghanistan, and expanded the very conservative ISA, whose  fundamentalist Islamic roots brought Jihadis from all over the middle east to fight against the Soviets.  We funded Osama Bin Ladin initially, and supplied him with money and weapons, and his connections with the Taliban helped to overturn the Soviet puppet government there.  We, Brad, put the Taliban in place and supported the fundamentalist Islamic revolution.  We supplied them with RPGs.


Yes, that’s how I see it as well. At least, I see it partly that way. What bothers me, personally – from my own limited perspective, not from my own private life – is that, as far as I can tell, you, unconsciously or purposely -- I don’t know -- tend to diminish the agency of the actual people on the ground. The more responsibility you give to the American government, the less you give to these people on the ground. From my point of view, that is dehumanizing.  

quote:
We also supported Saddam Hussein as a balance against Iran.  The poison gas that we complain was used to destroy those poor Kurds in 1988 (and which did in fact kill about 5000 of them) was supplied by us.  The U.S., your friendly local supplier of W.M.D.  We knew where that gas was, how much was left after the gulf war I and the post-war inspections (none), and how much of a relationship Saddam and Osama Bin Ladin had.  They had none left, it had been used in combat in Iran and with the Kurds and in the South with the Swamp Arabs; and Osama and Saddam loathed each other and had no relationship at all.


Yes, that’s how I see it -- generally.

quote:
“We already have accepted an agreement without those inclusions. Look at the Iraqi constitution.”  

     My initial comment is a somewhat stupefied, I BEG your pardon, closely followed by what are you actually saying here?  

     I think that what you are trying to say here, if I can untangle the thing, is that; 1) there is a such a thing as a constitution, which is an compact among people of a nation about how they shall govern themselves; 2) the Iraqis, being a sovereign people, have a right to establish their own constitution; 3) that the Iraqi people in order to establish a constitution must follow applicable international law and must make sure that they have also taken whatever measures they need to take in order to ensure the practical implementation of their constitution.

     So far so good.


So far, so good.

quote:
But then, if I understand you correctly, for otherwise you could not have said “We have already accepted an agreement. . . .  Look at the Iraqi constitution” you seem to have added a completely bizarre; 4) The elements of the constitution must be pleasing to the United States, otherwise you will be indebted to us forever and must give us your oil and anything else of yours we want because you KNOW we got dibs on you and your country.  If we don’t accept your constitution, you KNOW your sovereignty is gonna fall off like the face from an old leper.

Pardon me, Father Damien.  It wasn’t me that said it, it was that Brad fella.  You should hear what he has to say about those poor Japanese folks, and the fish that walk like mammals.


You know, -- okay, maybe you don’t -- but I’m pretty sure I never said that. Nope, I can’t find it anywhere I look. Hmmm, but I can see how ‘agreement’ and ‘Iraqi constitution’ might be considered synonymous under the right conditions. My apologies. I meant no such thing. Still, our influence over the drafting of that constitution is interesting in itself. Perhaps another thread?

Um, why do you call the Japanese poor?  
 
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