Monday, June 26, 2006

The Truth Is Not Always Easy To Understand

For all of my European readers and the others too, I implore you to read this essay, reposted by Mustang over at Social Sense.

Some of you that read it, will certainly not agree with it. But that does not make it any less true. You can parse it, dissect however you want, and even call it an outright lie. But, that will not make any less true, either.

But if you already know and understand the events and principles put forth in this piece, you will find it an excellent review and very poignant commentary.

And if you are not sure or sit on the fence, you might learn something you didn't know before and have a deeper understanding of things that have not made sense,up to this point in your lives.

38 comments:

Always On Watch said...

Mustang's posting certainly helps to clear up some nebulous matters. The warning is clear. Of course, history never exactly repeats itself, but I see so many similarities today to the 1930s.

L'Amerloque said...

Hi !

/*/Some of you that read it, will certainly not agree with it. But that does not make it any less true. You can parse it, dissect however you want, and even call it an outright lie. But, that will not make any less true, either. /*/

For any of this to be relevant (and "true"), the writer's extrapolations would have to be built on solid historical fact. For example, when the writer says:

/*/All of Europe, from Norway to Italy, except Russia in the east, was already under the Nazi heel./*/

he is simply wrong. Amerloque speaks of the simple facts, for the moment).

Spain was not "under the Nazi heel." It was nominally neutral.
Portugal was not "under the Nazi heel." It was nominally neutral.
Sweden was not "under the Nazi heel." It was nominally neutral.
Switzerland was not "under the Nazi heel." It was nominally neutral.

/*/America's allies then were England, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, Australia, and Russia, and that was about it./*/

What is this man babbling on about ?

Ireland was not an "ally" of the USA. It was nominally neutral.

"Scotland" and "England" are part of what is called "Great Britain", which also includes "Wales" and "Northern Ireland".

Has this writer ever heard of "the British Empire" ? (India ? the African colonies ?)
Has this writer ever heard of "the French overseas Empire" ?
Has this writer ever heard of "China"?

Amerloque really doesn't think that "The Big Picture" can be an accurate reflection of reality when the author apparently cannot master simple and accepted historical fact: a succession, if you will, of "small pictures".

His reference to "Nazis" ("Jihadis, the militant Muslims, are basically Nazis in Kaffiyahs") and his apparent ignorance of the American Lend-Lease program to both the United Kingdom and Russia leaves no doubt in Amerloque's mind that the writer is living in a reality free zone and knows very little of Naziism or American history, notwithstanding his alleged credentials. His whole idea of Iraq as the "schwerpunkt" for "defeating terrorism" is laughable: by its very definition, terrorism avoids schwerpunkts, preferring to strike unexpectedly at weak points.

Sorry, LA. The essay is good for a late-afternoon dispirited laugh, but not much more. It's just another garrulous attempt (by the way, not one mention of the American regional ally, Israel ! How can this be ?! Is Israel not benefiting from American sacrifices in Iraq ? ) to justify the spending of American lives and treasure to further obscure political agendas.

Best,
L'Amerloque

superfrenchie said...

On this one, I certainly agree completely with Amerloque: this guy's facts are dicey, at best.

I would add, about this paragraph...

//Then along came Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941, and, in outrage, Congress unanimously declared war on Japan, and the following day on Germany, which had not attacked us.//

... that Congress declared war to Germany on the 11th, not the 8th, and that the author leaves the impression that the US had a choice, when in fact, Germany had first declared war on the United States.

LASunsett said...

L'Amerloque,

Hello and welcome back.

For any of this to be relevant (and "true"), the writer's extrapolations would have to be built on solid historical fact.

So, then what you are saying is you would throw the baby out with the bath water?

I say this beacuse I really do not think that a couple of misstatements completely nullifies the overall message and theme of the piece.

You see, I see the same laid back attitude of a lot of people in this conflict, as there was in the days leading up to WWII.

LASunsett said...

SF,

Welcome back, sir.

... that Congress declared war to Germany on the 11th, not the 8th, and that the author leaves the impression that the US had a choice, when in fact, Germany had first declared war on the United States.

See the above reply I left for L'Amerloque and then add this:

The accuracy of the dates is not something that I would necessarily use to invalidate the whole of the post. I forget dates and things like that, but concepts I retain for a lifetime. And I sse a lot of things that are very similar to the days leading up to WWII.

Anyway, thanks to both of you for your comments, I am very busy and I will peruse your comments more carefully on the French election post, tomorrow night.

superfrenchie said...

LA: The date is not that important. The fact that he made it look like the US declared war on Germany is more relevant. The US did not have a choice. He made it appear like it was a war of choice. I suppose the intent was to make a parallel with the other war of choice going on right now.

Ain't gonna work when you get your facts wrong!

LASunsett said...

SF,

The date is not that important. The fact that he made it look like the US declared war on Germany is more relevant.

I still do not see it as that relevant to the overall message. I am sure that you and l'Amerloque read over that long article and dissected it up and found some misstatements and errors. But with the length of that article, there is surely some things that you agree with and things that are certainly true. Who among us, that writes a lot, can say we have never been wrong about anything. in anything we have ever written?

But that didn't necessarily make the what we wrote BS, did it? It didn't make the whole thing, null and void, did it?

Look, the title was "The Big Picture, right? Sometimes when you look at the pieces there are some that fit and some that don't. You still have to look at the entire thing, while ignoring the flaws, to understand the whole entity.

I read things everyday that I find things wrong with, but also things that are right. I take what I know or believe to be true and utilize it for my own edification and improvement, and disregard the stuff that I think is wrong, or disagree with. I have done it with just about every blog I read, including yours, SF.

Sometimes, I comment on it and other times, I do not. But what I always do, is look at the entire piece and grasp the central message and judge it. first and foremost. That determines whether I believe something to be worthy of mention and/or compliment.

I even had some disagreement with his piece. I do not see a lot of evidence of a Muslim reformation. I left a comment on Mustang's blog and said so.

But that doesn't mean that the underlying message was all that distorted. Breaking up and attacking little things is okay, correcting is fine. But, don't let the little things distract, from the overall picture.

superfrenchie said...

Well, here is another one:

//It has also cost about 2,200 American lives, which is roughly 1/2 of the 3,000 lives that the Jihad snuffed out on 9/11.//

The guy needs a math class badly!

Anyway, the reason I have trouble with the piece is that it is pretty clear to me that the author reasoned backwards, starting from his pre-determinded conclusion and finishing with the facts: the war in Iraq is good, now let's try to prove it. That's why I think there are so many mistakes. It's not always easy to fit facts to a predetermined conclusion.

L'Amerloque said...

Hello LASunsett !

/*/Hello and welcome back./*/

Amerloque has stopped by quite a bit, actually (the site has been linked from Amerloque's for some time now …) but generally posts no meessages, because of time constraints … (smile)

/*/So, then what you are saying is you would throw the baby out with the bath water?/*/

Amerloque is wondering what the baby is doing in this particular bathtub in the first place.

/*/You see, I see the same laid back attitude of a lot of people in this conflict, as there was in the days leading up to WWII./*/

Amerloque sees very, very few historical and moral parallels.

…/…

/*/But that didn't necessarily make the what we wrote BS, did it? It didn't make the whole thing, null and void, did it?

Look, the title was "The Big Picture, right? Sometimes when you look at the pieces there are some that fit and some that don't. You still have to look at the entire thing, while ignoring the flaws, to understand the whole entity./*/

In Amerloque's view a conclusion which is reached via false premises is in itself invalid. Hence "The Big Picture", while appearing intellectually seductive, is misrepresentative of the situation.

/*/Sometimes, I comment on it and other times, I do not. But what I always do, is look at the entire piece and grasp the central message and judge it. first and foremost. /*/

Does this mean that if one judges that the central message is "incorrect" or "wrong" one should igore the message entirely and sweep it into the dustbin ? One shouldn't look to see where the reasoner went off base, fudged, squeezed the facts, or displayed ignorance ? The conclusion is only as good as the facts and reasoning which went into it, no ?

Amerloque hastens to add that he condemns true terrorism perpretrated by fanatics, of course.

Superfrenchie says:

///Anyway, the reason I have trouble with the piece is that it is pretty clear to me that the author reasoned backwards, starting from his pre-determinded conclusion and finishing with the facts: the war in Iraq is good, now let's try to prove it. That's why I think there are so many mistakes. It's not always easy to fit facts to a predetermined conclusion.///

Amerloque agrees with Superfrenchie here. In his view, too, the writer said "The war in Iraq is just and good. Now, lessee … what can I write to support that conclusion." He worked backward, cherrypicking the facts and sentiments So what else is new ? (smile)

Best,
L'Amerloque

ms. miami said...

lasunsett- i won't try to pretend that i'm not rather disappointed with my last discussion here. this is nothing personal, but rather reflects a difference in our values.

you mentioned to me that the questions discussed on this blog shouldn't be approached as if they were a thesis.

i utterly disagree. i believe that critical thinking should be employed in everyday situations and not just reserved for academic exercise.

i wrote on this recently on sf's site and would appreciate you reading my post just to better understand how i feel (if you're interested, of course) :

http://tinyurl.com/pnvdl

(you have to scroll up a bit)

on this particular question, i agree with amerloque and sf- not solely on the content, mind you, but on the bigger problem with arriving at a "truth" based on something other than logical reasoning.

you may disagree, but i think that why we think what we do is vastly more important than what we think.

LASunsett said...

SF,

the reason I have trouble with the piece is that it is pretty clear to me that the author reasoned backwards, starting from his pre-determinded conclusion and finishing with the facts: the war in Iraq is good, now let's try to prove it. That's why I think there are so many mistakes. It's not always easy to fit facts to a predetermined conclusion.

You know I think there is a great many people that do that. They are on both sides of the political spectrum too.

Don't get mad at me now, but let's take a look at your blog, for just a moment. You know I think the world of you, I come to your blog as often as I can, I treat all of you there with the utmost respect.

But, you take the attitude that there are a lot of Americans that are French bashers, and that it consumes them to no end. And you are right, there are some. A good deal of your posts are geared towards fighting back towards what you see as prejudice. So you work backwards too. You have a bias, too.

But not only that, I would be willing to bet that a great deal of academia does the same thing. How much is anybody's guess. In my opinion, Al Gore does it in his movie, An Inconvenient Truth. I haven't seen it and probably won't. But that's how he does it too.

Much of journalism is done that way, today. Which I find sad, but that's just the way it is.

I do not think you know just how much I read on both sides of the spectrum. Gleaning from all things helps me see more than just what some research study shows (I read those a lot too for my job, but put little value in a lot of them because many studies are skewed).

Some old guy that may not remember every last little thing (like dates) but has a lifetime of experience can still teach you something. You just have to open your mind a little, listen attentively, and not discount every last little thing, because a few things aren't perfectly accurate. If you have done that and you still think it's BS, then fine. If that's the case just say it is all BS. Don't just nitpick at a few things and claim it invalidates EVERYTHING in the entire post.

LASunsett said...

Ms Miami,

i won't try to pretend that i'm not rather disappointed with my last discussion here.

Why are you disappointed? Because I do not agree with you?

There's a lot you do not know about me and a lot I don't know about you, as well. But you are right when you say we have different values (at least in some areas). We come from different backgrounds and have led very different lives. These are reasons we have differences of opinion in a lot of areas.

I see the world very differently than you and many others. I disagree with a lot of people that come here at some time or another. It just so happens that I do disagree with you a lot more than others, because of those fundamental differences (and now you can add M-E to that list too).

But so what? I didn't invite you here to participate to hurt your feelings or have those that agree with me jump all over you as a person. So if you think that I have said or done anything like that, I apologize.

But the purpose of this blog is to discuss any and everything that is pertinent in the world. I do not care who agrees with me and I do not care if I persuade you to believe the way I do, or not. I like you being around because you provide some balance to the equation. You do it eloquently and you do it most respectfully. And I appreciate it.

I did read your piece on critical thinking. I know and understand critical thinking, I do it everyday in my profession. In fact, if I didn't, I'd be out of a job and it could be disastrous.

But, this blog is not just for proving right or wrong, it's about the free exchange of ideas. Take what you want and leave the rest. Should you choose to engage, you must know that I or someone may engage back.

So feel free to question whatever you want, if that is what you want. I just want you to understand that I or others may not agree with you, we may say so and why. But know that I do not really expect to convert you to my way of thinking, that is entirely up to you. I only hope that you accept what I say is from purely from my perspective and that I have a right to my own beliefs. And maybe, if I have met my only objective with this blog, I will make you think about an angle, you may not have previously considered before.

kev said...

LA--I hope this is somewhat refreshing for you. I agree with you and with the premise of the essay. Aside from nitpicking, the premise is correct. And we did declare war on Germany. The fact that Germany, or anybody, attacks us isn't necessarily a declaration of war on our part. I offer the attack on the USS Cole as only one example. We could have chosen to ignore Pearl Harbor, or the sinking of our ships, as former administrations chose to do when our people or property were attacked. But now I'm nitpicking. You must have seen all this coming, as you used the word "dissect" in your post.

superfrenchie said...

LA: //A good deal of your posts are geared towards fighting back towards what you see as prejudice. So you work backwards too. You have a bias, too.//

I disagree. I don't go out looking for French bashing to prove my point. French-bashing jumps on my face all the time. Me and my family would be much better off, and more interested to stay in this country, if we'd go back to the pre-2003 days, when French bashing was light and reserved for some lunatic fringe. Now, I consider it mainstream. Not because everybody, and perhaps not even a majority, practices it, but because nobody, absolutely nobody, reacts to it. Saying the French are cowards or dirty does not get anyone fired or even reprimanded. Substitute French for Mexican or Italian or Chinese or black or whatever, and people would lose their jobs the next minute. Somehow, with the French, it's alright.

Anyway, I digress. My point is that I would love to have to work backwards to prove French-bashing.

Any further thoughts on l'Amerloque and I comments on the French elections thread?

superfrenchie said...

Kev: Germany did not attack the US. However, it did declare war on you before you in turn declared war on them.

LASunsett said...

SF,

Substitute French for Mexican or Italian or Chinese or black or whatever, and people would lose their jobs the next minute.\

I do agree with you there. But honestly, I do not see a lot of French-bashing, where I live and work. There are some isolated cases around, here and there, but I don't see it nearly as prevalent, as I do against Mexicans. Even a lot of black people are very prejudiced against them.

Any further thoughts on l'Amerloque and I comments on the French elections thread?

I glanced over it the other day, but didn't digest a lot of it because of time constraints. It serves more comsideration that i have been able to give it up to this point. But I promise, I am going to look at it further, later today. You know me, I probably will have some comment, but right now I am still clearly the cobwebs out of my head. from two very stressful and gruelling days at work, as well as trying to get the sleepiness out of my eyes.

LASunsett said...

Kev,

You must have seen all this coming, as you used the word "dissect" in your post.

You saw right through me, didn't you?

Yes, I suspected that the microscopes would come out. I saw there were some inaccuracies, but didn't think they were enough to invalidate the crux of the message.

I test people sometimes here. Not to make people to look foolish or anything like that. I just want to see how they process things and how they react to certain things. Sometimes, I am accurate in my predictions (most of which I keep private), other times I am not.

But the objective here is simple, express opinions and do it nicely. There is a way to do that and not insult the person.

If I met John Kerry, Jack Murtha, or some others like them, I would show the utmost respect in person, as is protocol for their positions, despite the fact that I do not agree with 90 % of their politics. I am not so sure about Ted Kennedy, because of the Chappaquiddick thing, I wouldn't be disresepectful to him, but would not be overly warm to him. Whereas the others, I might try to get into their heads a little, nicely of course.

Thanks for reading, sir. And do come back. Overall, this is a good place to come and argue the issues of the day. spdudyr

L'Amerloque said...

Hi LASunsett !

Amerloque has been watching this thread with growing fascination indeed. (smile)

/*/Some old guy that may not remember every last little thing (like dates) but has a lifetime of experience can still teach you something. You just have to open your mind a little, listen attentively, and not discount every last little thing, because a few things aren't perfectly accurate. If you have done that and you still think it's BS, then fine. If that's the case just say it is all BS. Don't just nitpick at a few things and claim it invalidates EVERYTHING in the entire post./*/

OK, Amerloque will say it. It's propaganda. It's BS. (sigh)

/*/Yes, I suspected that the microscopes would come out. I saw there were some inaccuracies, but didn't think they were enough to invalidate the crux of the message./*:

"… a few things … " / … "some inaccuracies" …

That's a great part of it, of course (more on that further down).

Rereading it, Amerloque was struck by several things, which had caught his attention immediately but which he didn't feel obligated to mention in his posts. Given the turn the thread has taken, though, Amerloque will speak out a bit more.

1) What bothered Amerloque first is the whole tone of the message: one of "rah-rah" peptalk strikingly similar to the speechs and opinion pieces appearing during the 1960s and 1970s, during the Vietnam conflict. As a matter of fact, replace Iraq with "Vietnam" and one of the sentences will now read:

"And we cannot do it everywhere at once. We have created a focal point for the battle now at the time and place of our choosing, in Vietnam".

Amerloque remembers reading/hearing sentences like that (if not those exact words !) forty or so years ago.. Vietnam was a different conflict, of course, for different reasons …but the rah-rah peptalk is similar.

In this "Big Picture" piece the brush strokes are so vast that they obscure the very details of the picture. It is deliberate since what the author wants, above all, is for the reader NOT to look at the details – for by looking at the details the reader can see the paucity of the thinking and the disconnect between the references and what the writer wants the reader/listener to believe.

2) Amerloque was also struck by the fact that the "historical" message is, unfortunately, filled with aggrandizement for the sacrifices made by the USA … at the expense of other, no less real sacrifices made by others. Take, for example, the writer's sentences:

"Russia saved America's butt by putting up a desperate fight for two years until the U.S. got geared up to begin hammering away at Germany."

The writer wants the reader/listener to believe that Russia was just holding out until the US got there.The cavalry to the rescue, and so on. Come off it. Open a history book. The mighty Wehrmacht was broken in the "Kessel", not on the Western Front or in Italy. It is a historical fact. This is not to say that US soldiers did not fight with courage, daring and skill. They did, and they won. Amerloque thanks them for it (members of his family were involved). However, exaggerating their feats of arms and minimizing the feats of arms of others does everyone involved a disservice … but it sure helps the propaganda effort when attempting to justify the war in Vietnam – sorry, in Iraq !

"Russia lost something like 24,000,000 people in the sieges of Stalingrad and Moscow, 90% of them from cold and starvation, mostly civilians, but also more than 1,000,000 soldiers. More than a million.""

Like most propagandists in Amerloque's experience, the writer of this "Big Picture" needs some serious educational assistance. He is off by a decimal point insofar as the number of Russian military war dead is concerned. A simple look at a reliable source will suffice (Wiki http://tinyurl.com/c8br3):

Russian military war dead were 10,700,000.

A more telling statistic might be "Total Deaths per 1000 population".

USA = 3.2
USSR = 137.7

3) Amerloque was struck by the gibberish, such as:

"German and Japanese Nazis". "German and Japanese Nazism" What the heck is "Japanese Nazism" ? What is the writer blathering on about ?

"Reformation . Inquisition" ? Does the man know any history at all ? Apples and oranges are both round, but they are not the same. Does he know this ?

"If the U.S. can create a reasonably democratic and stable Iraq, then we have an "England" in the Middle East, a platform, from which we can work to help modernize and moderate the Middle East." England ? Why England ? Does he want to establish a Constitutional Monarchy in Iraq ? Does he know anything at all about England ? About Europe ? About history ?

4) Amerloque loves it (smile): "The history of the world is the clash between the forces of relative civility and civilization, and the barbarians clamoring at the gates." Does the writer think that the examples he gives support such a statement ? Or does he think that the reader will make the connection in his own mind ? (smile)

5) Amerloque laughed out loud when he read: "We can be defeatist peace-activists as anti-war types seem to be, and concede, surrender, to the Jihad, or we can do whatever it takes to win this war against them." "If the Jihad wins, it is the death of Liberalism. Everywhere the Jihad wins, it is the death of Liberalism. And American Liberals just don't get it." Ah.

Sorry, LASunsett, dissectng "The Big Picture" is not "nitpicking".

In Amerloque's view, the purpose of the text "The Big Picture" is to instill and maintain fear in the mind of the reader/listener. It is also to prevent the reader from thinking on his/her own by presenting alleged "facts" to back up the thesis. It is to encourage the reader to line up on the side of the war in Iraq.

To those ends, anything, but anything goes, since the writer doesn't really know who's reading at a given moment: gotta sweep wide: Nazis, Russians, (save) Israel, "surrender to the Jihadis" …"liberals" …

Amerloque was born, raised and educated thru HS in John Birch Society country (smile)

He has encountered texts like this before (even in the local schools in the 1950s). It was propaganda when he was a kid, it's propaganda now, and it'll be propaganda tomorrow.

Amerloque really doesn't see why anyone would bother with it, but it takes all kinds of people to make a world, right ? (smile)

Believing one's own propaganda is just as bad as believing the enemy's. It might even be worse, depending on circumstances.

Best,
L'Amerloque

LASunsett said...

l'Amerloque,

I appreciate your opinion, you have made some worthwhile points, certainly worthy of further consideration and will not challenge them at this time, save one of them.

Amerloque was also struck by the fact that the "historical" message is, unfortunately, filled with aggrandizement for the sacrifices made by the USA

I think you would be hard-pressed to find one country that does not do this, at least to some degree.

But as I said I will ponder some of the points you have made heretofore, and say that I do at very least understand where you are coming from, with your view.

kev said...

frenchie--Germany DID attack us, in that it began to sink our ships, which is why we went to war with them. I suppose the attacks on our ships might have been their way of declaring war on us, or legitimizing that declaration, just like terrorists declared war on us with incidents such as the first time they attacked our twin towers, or their attack on the USS Cole, as I previously mentioned. Other than nitpicking, what's your point regarding whether Germany declared war on us before we declared war on them, and why, in the context of this time in history, or even this thread, is that even important? I am not arguing who did what first. We chose, at that time, to enter the war. Again, we could have chosen to ignore any attacks, hoping they'd go away, or try to negotiate with them, hoping to find a peaceful solution, or perhaps offer them some military secrets as appeasements, but we instead CHOSE to go to war with them.

superfrenchie said...

kev: //Germany DID attack us, in that it began to sink our ships, which is why we went to war with them.//

What ships? There had been one incident in October near Iceland, on a ship that was escorting other boats. That wasn't the reason why the US went to war.

//I suppose the attacks on our ships might have been their way of declaring war on us, or legitimizing that declaration//

No, the Germans formally declared war on the US because the US declared war on Japan on December 8, and Hitler was hoping (big mistake!) that Japan would support Germany by attacking the Soviet Union, which it did not.

Even the request from Roosevelt to the Congress acknowledges that:

"On the morning of Dec. 11 the Government of Germany, pursuing its course of world conquest, declared war against the United States."

//Other than nitpicking, what's your point regarding whether Germany declared war on us before we declared war on them, and why, in the context of this time in history, or even this thread, is that even important?//

My point is that the author is trying to justify a war of choice (Irak) by making it sound like going to war against Germany was a war of choice as well. It wasn't!

LASunsett said...

Kev,

You may be thinking of WWI on the ships issue. I wasn't aware of any other ships besides the one Frenchie cites near Iceland. And Frenchie is right on this:

No, the Germans formally declared war on the US because the US declared war on Japan on December 8, and Hitler was hoping (big mistake!) that Japan would support Germany by attacking the Soviet Union, which it did not.

ms. miami said...

Why are you disappointed? Because I do not agree with you?

lasunsett- not at all. i was only trying to make a point about approach and methodology- nothing about your views or my views of the world.

also, i wasn't trying to insinuate that my feelings were hurt- no worries.

i just value the 'dissection' process and appreciate debates in which the argumentation within posts and commentary can be discussed as well as the content and ideas.

LASunsett said...

Ms Miami,

i just value the 'dissection' process and appreciate debates in which the argumentation within posts and commentary can be discussed as well as the content and ideas.

I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I have to do it a lot in my profession. Sometimes I do think we make things too difficult, when we take the simplest of things and add more value, add more weight than is necessary to explore a topic.

The question I asked that started this whole line of thought, I felt was far simpler than you thought t was. That's just a diffrence of opinion. But, like I said, you are free to bring up whatever question you want, whenever you want. That is what this blog is for.

:)

kev said...

frenchie--of course I disagree with you, in principle (I'm sure you're surprised). Technically, every war is a choice to a degree. But I think, concerning Iraq, we had no choice. Terrorist attacks on our country and our people were escalating, and it was time to make a stand. I know, you're jumping up and down and saying, "But Iraq had nothing to do with it." Again, I disagree. There is no United States of Terrorists, and the terrorists originate from many countries. It appears their bond, their reason for unification was their hatred of the US, and the radical islam mandate (and I'm not trying to say all islamic people are evil). And Iraq was a country that supported and trained terrorists, and, frankly, I do believe they either already had wmd's or were on their way. And not simply because President Bush said they did. So why not Iraq? This is my opinion and I no doubt feel as strongly about mine as I'm sure you do about yours.

superfrenchie said...

Kev: //Technically, every war is a choice to a degree.//

Yeah, right.

Go tell that to the people of the countries Hitler invaded, such as Czechoslovakia, Poland, France, Denmark, Norway, Luxembourg or Belgium.

Go tell that to my grandfather, that he had a choice! Make sure you use the word "technically".

//Terrorist attacks on our country and our people were escalating, and it was time to make a stand.//

How's that working out for you?

M-E said...

I've been reading this thread with much amusement. L'Amerloque could not have been more correct in pointing out the propaganda that was spewed in that article. And of course, he and SuperFrenchie have pointed out the insane lack of facts, outright lack of historical correctness, and the poor way of presenting a conclusion by cherry picking the "facts"..I mean propaganda to come to that conclusion. I think if someone is going to take the time to write a post for a blog, they would have taken the time to actually be sure that their information would be accurate. But I guess if you know your main audience doesn't know history themselves, or prefer revisionist history to reality, you could get away with that kind of thing.

Unfortunately, to say that it isn't important that all the information is correct as long as you get the "gyst" of the story. After all, who needs facts when you have propaganda and lies?

I thought it rather funny that Kev would bring up the USS Cole as an example of some of the terrorist attacks on us. I agree, it was a terrorist attack. The problem is, the right wing group that hated Clinton so much had a FIT when he called it a terrorist attack. As a matter of fact, the National Journal wrote a big article about how HORRIBLE it was that the NYT's would call it a terrorist attack on their front pages! The right wing crowd called the attack on the Cole a "legitimate military target". Warblogger.com said (ok, this is funny) that the attack on the USS Cole was just "assymetric warfare" NOT terrorism! Terrorists, according to them were the "Al Qaida type who attack innocent civilians and according to them, this was not the case with the USS Cole! Hmmm...I guess they just didn't want to wait to find out what the investigation would conclude first. Sounds like they haven't changed much, criticize before you have the facts, that way in their own minds, they aren't wrong. When Clinton mentioned OBL as suspect for this attack, they laughed!
Funny how history changes in the minds of the right wing.

I had a discussion about the difference between fact and propaganda on this blog with AICS. There still seems to be some confusion. I mean really, why let those pesky, nit pickey little facts get in your way when you can bolster your story conclusion with made up information?

superfrenchie said...

I would also add this: if all wars are "technically" wars of "choice," how can it be a choice for both sides?

Like: I'm going to invade your country, but you have a choice to tell me I shouldn't, and of course I will comply with your wishes.

Did the Iraqi had much of a choice when you decided to invade them? And don't tell me that they could have declared their WMDs since 1. they didn't have any and 2. you said it yourself, that wasn't the only reason anyway.

LASunsett said...

SF,

And don't tell me that they could have declared their WMDs since 1. they didn't have any

Then can you explain why they did not cooperate with inspections?

If the police came up to your house and said they believed there was a criminal in your house and you knew there wasn't, wouldn't you let them look around so they could see that there wasn't? The sooner they were able to see that they were mistaken, the sooner they would leave and you could get back to whatever it was you were doing.

But if you were resisitant, it would certainly make them more suspicious, wouldn't it?

superfrenchie said...

LA: //Then can you explain why they did not cooperate with inspections? //

They did! Certainly as much as could be expected from a dictatorship.

Until the inspectors were asked to leave... by the US!

M-E said...

Yup, SF, you're right! A quote from the USA Today on 3/17/2003...

"ElBaradei, who has been monitoring the situation day to day, also confirmed that he and Blix had received an invitation from Baghdad "to visit Iraq with a view toward accelerating the implementation of our respective mandates." He did not say whether he or Blix had accepted.

"I should note that in recent weeks, possibly as a result of increasing pressure by the international community, Iraq has been more forthcoming in its cooperation with the IAEA," he said, adding that inspectors still have found no evidence that Saddam Hussein has revived his nuclear program.

But with the United States, Britain and Spain making clear that Monday would be the final day for diplomatic efforts to avert a conflict, it appeared that the inspectors were running out of time and could begin withdrawing at any moment. "

LASunsett said...

SF,

The way Iraq was acting, did not constitute cooperating. Maybe in your book, but not mine. Inspectors were kicked out years earlier, then when this all flared back up they grudgingly let them back in. Afterward, they played a game of cat and mouse, so as to give the imptression there was something to hide, while saying there was nothing to hide.

I do not buy that inspections were necessarily working.

But, let me ask you something else that I have noticed. Why is it that no matter what topic we focus on, you always seem to want to keep debating the reasons we went to war? Regardless of whether it was right or wrong, that debate is over. People that are against the war continuously try to rehash that debate as if it's still going on.

We are there. We have to get these Iraqis to the point that they can make a run of this, by themselves. Saddam is gone, they must learn how to govern and deal with threats form terrorists, so that we can ease out of the picture.

I know you were against the war, you have said so, on many occasions. My question to you is this, short of pulling out now, what would you be doing to help the Iraqis accomplish this, something that currently isn't being done?

superfrenchie said...

LA: //Why is it that no matter what topic we focus on, you always seem to want to keep debating the reasons we went to war?//

Huh? Me bringing it up? I thought that was the topic of the piece: justifying the war in Iraq by looking back at historical "facts" in Europe.

Wasn't it?

//My question to you is this, short of pulling out now, what would you be doing to help the Iraqis accomplish this, something that currently isn't being done?//

To be honest, I don't think there is such a thing as a good solution. You pull out, it's gonna be more of a mess. You stay, it's gonna be more of a mess.

But OK, let's see if there is one little thing that could at least have a chance of improving the situation, even if it is not much:

I would try to act more like the Brits: patrol on foot as much as possible, take off the helmet whenever it seems reasonable to do so, play soccer with the kids whenever they don't seem to be carrying bombs. There are places where it's probably impossible to do so. Yet there are many where I think it would be possible.

Too dangerous? Well, it works for the Brits (fewer casualties per soldier).

Then again, it may not be possible, and it may not work. Like I said, it's a mess, and it's unlikely to change any time soon.

Another idea, more ambitious: the Biden plan: divide the whole mess in 3 parts, and to each its own. After all, Iraq as it is now was a League of Nations idea that, let's face it, hasn't worked out too well. Balkanization on the other hand is not working too badly in the Balkans.

L'Amerloque said...

Hi LASunsett !

You wrote to SF:

/*/The way Iraq was acting, did not constitute cooperating. Maybe in your book, but not mine. Inspectors were kicked out years earlier, then when this all flared back up they grudgingly let them back in. Afterward, they played a game of cat and mouse, so as to give the imptression there was something to hide, while saying there was nothing to hide. /*/

This disagreement, though reflected between individuals here, can simply be extrapolated upward to the US and French positions. The US did not believe the inspections were working, while the French did. The "book" was not the same "book". QED. (smile)


/*/I do not buy that inspections were necessarily working./*/

Amerloque has a problem with this. It's either yes or no, in his view. Looking at it logically:

YES – The inspections were working.

There were no WMD to be found in Iraq after the US invasion. (TRUE)

There were no WMDs discovered. (TRUE)

NO – The inspections were not working.

There were WMD discovered in Iraq after the US invasion. (FALSE)

There were WMDs discovered. (FALSE)

OK, to be intellectually honest on this …

MAYBE – The inspections were not necessarily working.

There ???

There ???

Of course, one could assert that the statements about "inspections" and the "discovery"or "non-discovery" of WMDs are totally disconnected; in that case, it's back to the drawing board. (sigh)

What would be the proof – or lack of proof - of the existence – or non-existence – of WMDs ?

Best,
L'Amerloque

LASunsett said...

SF,

Huh? Me bringing it up? I thought that was the topic of the piece: justifying the war in Iraq by looking back at historical "facts" in Europe.

Wasn't it?


Sort of, but the War against Islamofascism is not confined to the war in Iraq. And depite what criticisms have been leveled against the piece, the last half of the essay deals with that very thing. The long haul will certainly include more than just Iraq.

divide the whole mess in 3 parts, and to each its own.

I said this from day one.

LASunsett said...

Hello l'Amerloque,

The US did not believe the inspections were working, while the French did. The "book" was not the same "book". QED. (smile)

Personally, I would have waited longer and kept the pressure up with inspections. I do not think they would have done any good, mind you. Saddam still would have played his little games.

But by waiting, I feel that there would have been more time to study and plan for the period after Saddam was removed, something I think they could have certainly handled better.

But no matter what, the book would probably have never been the same book. But at the end of the day, I feel the world is better off without Saddam in power.

As chaotic as it gets in Iraq, post Saddam, I feel that it is always better than having a tyrant in power, doing whatever he wanted to whoever he wanted, just because he could. And I doubt that l'Amerloque (or even SF, for that matter)would disagree that he was a tyrant. ;)

L'Amerloque said...

Hi SF !

/*/Another idea, more ambitious: the Biden plan: divide the whole mess in 3 parts, and to each its own. /*/

Perhaps this is what the writer of the original piece was referring to when he cited "England" ? "England" would be, say, the Sunni area, while "Scotland" would be the Kurdish area in the north, and so on … it's a bit of a stretch, all the same: no Magna Carta for starters. (smile) What would be the Iraqi equivalent of the Highland clearances ? (smile)

This whole partition of Iraq was debated loudly and constantly in the British press and on TV right after the US invasion (especially in the Daily Telegraph newspaper). Old colonial soldiers were pulled out of their resting homes and interviewed about Iraq and "the Sunni mentality": it was quite "old school", "y'know, my lad" stuff). Amerloque was expecting them to roll out the WW2 equivalents of Laurence of Arabia …

Biden hasn't come up with anything new. The British felt that the major stumbling block would be Turkey: the Turks would not take kindly to an independent Kurdish state on their frontier. It was then suggested (apparently by supporters of Israel, which would have everything to gain with a permanently fragmented Iraq) that this Kurdish state could be somehow "linked" to Turkey's entry into the European Union. Then the French rejected the Constitutional Treay … and the Turks apparently woke up to the fact that, although the European politicians are perhaps pro-Turkish, the European peoples aren't necessarily …

Another British observation was that the Shiite portion of Iraq would join some kind of "Greater Persian Sphere", i.e., become part of Iran. This takes on added, er, interest with all the recent brouhaha over an alleged Iranian nulear capability.

Best,
L'Amerloque

L'Amerloque said...

Hi LASunsett !

/*/And I doubt that l'Amerloque (or even SF, for that matter)would disagree that he was a tyrant. ;)/*/

Of course he was a tyrant. (sigh) However, that is not enough, in Amerloque's humble view, to justify the US invasion of Iraq.

/*/Sort of, but the War against Islamofascism is not confined to the war in Iraq./*/

"Islamofacism" (i.e., USS Cole, 9/11) had very little to do with Iraq until the US brought it there and created a "focal point", in Amerloque's view. The threat represented by Saddam was contained.

When the roof is leaking, one doesn't care if one puts a bucket, or a bowl, or a large glass, or a basin under the leak to catch the water. So in Iraq, it was a glass, and not a basin. Now that the US has invaded, there is no roof at all.

What about, say, Algeria ? How many of thousands of people died there, from cut throats, in the last fifteen years thanks to fundamental Islam ? Where was the US ? Why did it not invade Algeria to stop the killing ? http://tinyurl.com/z5alj

The list could go on, alas.

Best,
L'Amerloque