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Behold, the enemy is once again revealed

That people who hate Anglosphere capitalist civilization should make common cause with a mass murdering tyrant is interesting but to anyone who has spent years observing the incoherence of ‘progressive socialism’ it is hardly a surprise.

What is a surprise is that Vladimir Putin has shown that not only is the Russian state still the enemy, its leaders are not nearly as smart as I had given them credit for, given they have been caught having given active support to the Ba’athists even to the extent of acting as an employment agency for assassins on their behalf.

To have squandered such a large pool of political capital and good will by continuously passing intelligence and weapons to the Iraqis right up to the start of the war is utter madness. Did the Russians think any outcome was possible in the long run other than an Allied victory over the Ba’athist regime? And surely once that fact is grasped, how could they think that news of their treachery would not eventually come to light?

What possible benefit could the Russian state gain from this move? Is this going to make honouring Russian contracts with the fallen Ba’athist regime more likely or less likely in US dominated post-war Iraq? Were they hoping Putin’s good buddy Tony Blair would pressure the Americans into a softer line regarding Russian economic interests in Iraq? If so, I wonder how Blair feels about his private diplomatic conversations being relayed to the Iraqis by the Russian intelligence services.

It is a terrible thing to live in a world filled with enemies, but if Vladimir Putin, Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussain are the measure of our foes then at least we can comfort ourselves that we are facing opponents who are not just weak, they are self-deluded and quite frankly stupid.

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31 comments to Behold, the enemy is once again revealed

  • Clio

    This morning’s Washington Post carries a formula from Condi Rice re. post-Iraq War diplomacy: punish France, ignore Germany, forgive Russia. It is unclear whether such “forgiveness” factored in the most recent revelations. If Rice knew about these treacherous dealings days ago (and I have a hard time believing she did not) then her judgment needs to be questioned. If she did not know, we must await an updated formula and press for one if it is not quickly forthcoming. Anyone have any further thoughts on this?

  • Andrew X

    I’m a Bush cheerleader, but if you asked me to enumerate any Bush misteps that have contributed to the state of the world today, I could name a few.

    But, this is what kills me…. Is it me, or is there just a LOT of bad diplomacy and statecraft out there?? I mean A LOT? Seems I can’t spit without it landing on yet another big player in the world shooting himself in the foot. Actually, I’d say Blair has avoided same (unless a domestic critic cares to differ), but Chirac, Shreoder, Putin, whoever in Belgium, Chretien, in some manner Vincente Fox, and South Korea to an extent, and even Kim Jong Il!! Not to mention Saddam blowing it big time.

    I dunno. Bush gets accused of it by the sanctimonious brigades, but it seems like clumsy statecraft is the order of the day out there.
    Odd, and disconcerting.

  • Don’t underestimate Putin! Sure he might have made a mistake here, but even I made a mistake once….

  • Ronnie

    I’m afraid I’m beginning to think that the Cold War isn’t over after all. Or maybe sombody just forgot to tell the Russians.

  • Richard A Garner

    Just a note: Why do you assume that if you oppose the war you must be an anti-capitalist. I oppose intervention by the state in people’s lives. For that reason I support laissez faire and oppose interventionist foreign policies. I also think that there is no logical stopping point between anarchy and empire, and so oppose socialists because they are imperialists by virtue of being statists. Socialist also, in the end, favour a far more aggressive and threatening government – a government that has seized control of most of people’s lives. I oppose government aggression, so I support laissez faire and oppose interventionistic wars.

    And now the article in the Daily Telegraph that was linked to:

    [quote]The anti-war protesters have placed great emphasis on the tragedy of civilian deaths in Iraq. The poster for tomorrow’s march shows an Iraqi child and the death of children during the war has indeed been its most horrible aspect. Some 600 civilians are estimated to have been killed.

    But Bob Cotgrove from the University of Tasmania has pointed out that the poverty Saddam enforced on his nation created a massive death toll, in which the peace protesters appear completely uninterested.[/quote]

    Nonsense, ending the poverty in Iraq is not something that anti-war protesters have ignored – that is why they have called for the lifting of sanctions against Iraq. If imposing poverty on the people of a nation is a good reason for being targetted by the worlds warmongers, then surely UN countries should be invaded for imposing the sanctions that have lead to the starving of thousands of people in Iraq.

    It is one of the strangest things to me that many left-wingers and socialists oppose the sanctions, claiming that they have been responsible for so many deaths and so much unnecessary suffering… when a sanction is nothing more than a restriction on free trade. So why do socialists oppose sanctions but also oppose free trade?!

    So the sanctions are responsible, to a great degree, for the poverty in Iraq. Twelve years of bombing by British and American planes – with chemical weapons of mass destruction in the form of depleted uranium shells I might add – can hardly have helped Iraq’s economy either. So if it is OK to go to war with a country because its rulers impose poverty on a nation’s people, then lets back the invasion of Britain and America!

    [quote]Mr Cotgrove estimates that, in the late 1990s, 66,900 more people died a year in Iraq than would have been the case had the death rate been the same as in neighbouring nations. Of this number, 41,300 were children.[/quote]

    In other words, violations of people’s rights are ok if they lead to a net reduction in rights violations? Is this a view of rights that is in accord with the notion that it is wrong to treat people as mere means to ends? Can we say “people should be treated as ends in themselves, and not simply as means to others ends – therefore it is OK to kill some innocent people against their will if doing so prevents other innocent people from being killed against their will”?

    If we can violate the right to life in order to save net lives, what other rights can we violate in order to save net lives or bring about a net reduction in rights violations? If imposing a totalitarian state, with 80%taxation, intensive regulation, conscription, and all sorts of things libertarians have complained about, would lead to a net reduction in rights violations, should we support such a state? No, because people are not things that you can morally sacrifice to other people. Rights are not ends that we can kill people to satisfy; they are the parameters within which we can pursue which ever end we want.

  • Elizabeth

    If the US “forgives” Russia for anything it is because there is a greater exchange which most of us will not know about.
    Personally, I have not forgotten who our enemies are and I would use every means available to defeat them. This includes means which may be a gamble, but one which we can beat them at their own games.
    This was has been going on for generations and it will take generations to resolve.
    We have collectivists as well as religious extremists, and “ourselves” on the other hand.
    I’m wondering how we can defeat attempts to bring us down by the Pan Arab Nationalists as well as followers of Qutb or other extremists – while not allowing our defenses to be dummied down by other nihilists world over.
    Let’s see what happens.

  • God's Girlfriend

    >Richard A Garner “Why do you assume that if you oppose the war you must be an anti-capitalist.”

    For the same reason that when one hears hoofbeats one assumes horse and not zebra: one is usually right.

    >RAG “So if it is OK to go to war with a country because its rulers impose poverty on a nation’s people, then lets back the invasion of Britain and America!”

    Another demonstration of the root cause for libertarianism being (and remaining) a boutique ideology for a few % of the population…

    Sigh. Libertarians: Out of power today, Out of power tomorrow.

  • Richard A Garner: “Why do you assume that if you oppose the war you must be an anti-capitalist.”

    I assume no such thing for everyone who opposed the armed liberation of Iraq (see this article for my views on the subject)… however it should be clear that a very large contingent of the people against the war do indeed also oppose capitalism.

  • Jussi Hämäläinen

    To Richard Garner:
    Re depleted uranium munitions,there’s a very informative article in the Reason Magazine by Ronald Bailey on the alleged dangers from these weapons.In short,the European Union,WHO and the US government have all studied the matter and found no basis for the claims that depleted uranium munitions are responsible for cancer,Gulf War Syndrome or anything else Harold Pinter claims they do.

    Then you ask whether we anyone can have a right to “kill some innocent people against their will if doing so prevents other innocent people from being killed against their will?”

    I would like to answer by saying:yes.
    However,I think I need to explain myself a bit more.Totalitarian states kill people and trample on their rights as a given.Among totalitarian states,Saddam’s was particularly gruesome,with hundreds of thousands of innocents murdered in 20 years,many more tortured or wrongly imprisoned,plus over a million dead from two futile wars of conquest.
    I bring these facts forward,again,for a reason.The recent war on Iraq caused,we don’t know how many civilian deaths,but it seems a guess of a thousand won’t be too far off the mark (unless future reveals something terrible that we don’t yet know about).

    It seems to me ,at this moment,that the Coalition has managed to destroy Saddam’s regime with much less innocent victims than would have occurred if this regime had been left at peace.That the war has indeed saved net lives is to me a given.

    Is this act,however,morally justified?You can argue that all people should have an inaliable right to life,and therefore no amount of innocent deaths can be justified by the end result.However,the decision to do nothing is also a moral act,and its end results ought to evaluated accordingly.By waging war on Saddam Hussein,the Coalition has been partial to innocent deaths;if it had chosen peace,it would have been partial to future crimes of the Iraqi regime,because it had a chance to intervene,and refused to do so.

    Unfortunately,we live in a world where the ‘first best’ chance of suppressing no one’s rights and regarding all lives as inherently inviolate is not always possible.I agree that it would have been better if Saddam Hussein had been deposed at no cost in innocent lives.That having been made practically impossible due to his elaborate security measures (CIA and the Iraqi opposition tried to kill him many times over the years),it was up to the Coalition leaders to find the second-best course of action,which is the one where we end up with the least number of victims,considering all future scenarios.In my opinion this has been achieved.

    Final note:You say that “rights are not ends that we can kill people to satisfy;they are the parameters within wich we can pursue which ever end we want.”
    But what happens when some people,despite your moral code,continue to pursue their ends by killing and torturing others?High principles are void unless they are somehow enforced;any attempt to enforce those will soon bring us face to face with the real-world tradeoffs I just described.The other alternative is the kind favored by the anti-war demonstrators:we’ll just march around with placards and act indignant because the world refuses to be as righteous as we are.How moral is that?

  • Byron

    This morning’s Washington Post carries a formula from Condi Rice re. post-Iraq War diplomacy:

    Here’s the link, in case anyone wants to read it:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A10978-2003Apr11.html

    I have a hard time believing she did not

    Likewise. She’s tough as nails, I doubt she would so easily let Putin off if she had known this.

    Anyone have any further thoughts on this?

    How about, “Punish France, punish Russia, ignore Germany?” Or: “Frogmen bad! Russkies bad! Yanks & Limeys good!”

    Bush gets accused of it by the sanctimonious brigades, but it seems like clumsy statecraft is the order of the day out there. Odd, and disconcerting.

    What it says to me is that Bush has upset the statists’ herd mentality-based political games and got their panties all in a bunch. They can’t figure out what to do or say b/c Bush isn’t playing by their rules, so they’re making a lot of stupid diplomatic mistakes.

    I’m afraid I’m beginning to think that the Cold War isn’t over after all. Or maybe sombody just forgot to tell the Russians.

    And the worldwide socialists, statists, communists and all their ilk. No, it was never over. America won a big battle in defeating the center of all world statism, USSR. But global news and the Internet have given them the power to regroup. They simply no longer have to be in the same geographic area to reinforce each others’ moral. Let’s just hope that there are enough decent, tough-minded, clear-thinking people in the world that see through the deceptive statist bs and are able to preserve and extend the ideals of individual freedom.

  • Perry, you raise a good question about how Putin could have been so stupid. I blogged some comments here (permalinks don’t work, so scroll down to the first April 13 post).

  • Byron

    Rights are not ends that we can kill people to satisfy; they are the parameters within which we can pursue which ever end we want.

    You make some good points, Richard, and I agree with your assessment that violating some peoples’ rights for the express purpose of reducing net rights violations is immoral. In addition to the rational you provided, another is that using future moral claims (net future reduction in rights violations) to justify present rights violations is a tactic that any dictator could use (and probably has used) to put his populace under the boot. Something to be vigilantly guarded against.

    However, the fact is, our war on Iraq had nothing to do with liberating the Iraqi people. It was only a pleasant fringe benefit. If Saddam hadn’t been developing WMD for 30 years, and wasn’t such a diplomatically easy target (due to GW1), then there is more chance we would have ignored him as we do with all the other dictators out there. Refugees are welcome to come to America if they can to live in freedom, but we don’t just send American soldiers overseas to fight dictators and die to free oppressed people. There has to be some reason more directly related to the security of America.

    You neglect to mention the WMD angle. I assume you disagree with Bush’s claims that Iraq poses a WMD threat to the US, either directly or via terrorist groups? My own opinion is that regardless whether UNSCOM and UNMOVIC completely or partially disarmed Hussein of WMD, he was nevertheless committed to building such an arsenal, even after the UN withdrew if necessary. Enough anecdotal evidence abounds to support that belief. Witness:

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101030421-443114,00.html

    In a 1990 letter, Uday reveals that his father plans to create a greater Iraq that includes Kuwait, Palestine and Arabstan, a region of Iran historically controlled by Baghdad. The note says Saddam is beginning with the easiest?Kuwait.

    http://www.thebulletin.org/issues/1998/mj98/mj98albright.htm1

    Even as Iraq was agreeing, [at the end of GW1] under the terms of Resolution 687, to disclose its nuclear program and bring it to an end, it was developing a broad strategy for hiding evidence of the program and misleading U.N. inspectors about it.

    In 1998, many believe that Iraq?s nuclear program has been dismantled and most if not all of the materials and equipment that were used in that program have been found and destroyed. But in a seven-year-plus effort, U.N. inspectors from the U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Action Team have had to work through so many layers of deception, and have received so many different ?full, final, and complete declarations? from the Iraqis, that they have no doubt Iraq is still hiding important information.

    Inspectors believe that Iraq could reconstitute its nuclear weapons program quickly, once sanctions are lifted. Although Iraq might need several years to recreate its enriched-uranium or plutonium programs, it might be able to acquire fissile material on the black market. In that case, it has already learned enough to be able to build a nuclear weapon in less than a year.

    I can post plenty more, but won’t unless asked for the sake of bandwidth. It is clear to me that Bush had two options – End the UN sanctions, allow Iraq off the hook, allow non-proliferation to fail which would encourage other sadistic regimes to pursue WMD. Do you really want to see Iraq and Iran follow India and Pakistan’s path? I think not. Or, Bush’s other option was to force the UN to militarily enforce non-proliferation, give it some teeth, and if the UN refused then the US would go it alone. What other feasible options were there? The sanctions had to end, b/c they were hurting the Iraqi people, not Saddam. And like gun control, “smart sanctions” would not have prevented the criminal regime from acquiring WMD materials on the black market, in time. Given those choices, I think Bush made the right one. His only mistake is in not trying to sell it to the American public for what it is, and focusing too much on the bogus yet emotionally-appealling “liberating the Iraqis” tack.

  • rosignol

    Anyone have any further thoughts on this?

    How about, “Punish France, punish Russia, ignore Germany?” Or: “Frogmen bad! Russkies bad! Yanks & Limeys good!”

    Punish France, punish Russia, ignore Germany, reward Britain, Australia, and Poland (i.e., the countries that sent troops). Sounds good to me.

  • roy

    Punish France, punish Russia, ignore Germany, reward Britain, Australia, and Poland (i.e., the countries that sent troops). Sounds good to me.

    Also ignore Turkey (neither obstruct nor assist them in the future).

  • Jeremy

    Russia will be forgiven mostly because they are far more important than France or Germany.

    And because there is at least some faint hope they will be friendly in the future. France has basically been anti-American since WW2 ended, and Germany isn’t much better. They’ll never be friendly.

  • Roy Lofquist

    It is quite possible that Putin does not have complete control of his government. The security arrangements between Russia and Iraq go back 30- years. Many of the players may just be doing business as usual.

  • Sandy P.

    –So the sanctions are responsible, to a great degree, for the poverty in Iraq.–

    With what you have seen, heard and read the last 3 weeks, how can you believe that?

  • Andrew Duffin

    Don’t underestimate Putin!

    Deluded he might be, stupid he is not. Remember, he was a Stalinist secret police operator under the earlier regime; such people did not survive if they were stupid, and they have had an unrivalled education in realpolitik and the management of pure untrammelled power.

    Regardless of the fact that it is currently and economic and political basket-case, Russia needs to be respected because of its enormous size and its proven ability to cause mischief on a global scale.

    France can be ignored, Russia can’t.

  • Sandy, if you support free trade because it creates wealth even for poverty-striken nations, then you have to admit that sanctions (i.e. limitations on trade) would make poverty worse. You cannot say that some limitations on trade are harmful and others not based solely on the stated goals of the politicians pressing for the limitations.

  • mad dog barker

    There is one thing I admire about Putin and the Russian state. It really does not give a damn what Bush does. And it needs no excuse to have that attitude.

    Remember Afghanistan in 1980 -America boycotting the Olympics and all that over Soviet attempts to suppress Islamic terrorists on their southern boarders.

    The good old Reagan administration (arms to Iran anyone?) joined the international war on terrorism by, err, supplying “stinger” portable AA missiles to the Mudjehadeen. The Soviets were a questionable lot, but they had set up a reasonable system compared to local alternatives at the time. They were forced out, Vietnam style, leaving a local power vacuum that eventually lead to 9-11.

    Now the American administration says it is upset that the Russians were supplying Koronet AT missiles to the Iraqis. Why, a country being invaded (sorry liberated) has the right to defend itself and if Iraq bought the weapons via the free market, so what! I am sure no libertarian is going to say that free trade should be constrained in some artificial way that suits the current political fashion. Or am I wrong.

    Maybe there is one rule for them and another for us….

  • Richard A Garner

    Jussi writes: “Then you ask whether we anyone can have a right to “kill some innocent people against their will if doing so prevents other innocent people from being killed against their will?”

    I would like to answer by saying:yes.”

    In that case my final question applies, how far would you take this principle? Would you impose a totalitarian state? Turn people into slaves? If you are prepared to violate some people’s rights in order to promote those of others, I can’t see any logical stopping point.

    This argument indeed takes us into the heart of libertarian philosophy and nature of rights: Is the right to life a positive one or a negative one. Libertarians have traditionally said that it is a negative one. Hence, for instance, in arguments against those defending the National Health Service and its taxes on the grounds that they may save lives, libertarians say that your right to life doesn’t come at my expense – it is a right not to have your life taken away, not a right to have your life provided or maintained for you, because the latter, the positive view of rights, means that others are obliged to provide for your life whether they like it or not, and so sacrifice their liberty and become means to your ends against their will. This is all fairly formulaic libertarian reasoning when we are debating welfare statists.

    However, now you are saying that it is OK to sacrifice the lives of some people in order to provide for or maintain the lives of others. So why doesn’t defence of the welfare state also go through, at least in principle? All defence of liberty and property on libertarian, as opposed to utilitarian or other, grounds crumbles when you admit this.

    Jussi goes on: “You can argue that all people should have an inaliable right to life, and therefore no amount of innocent deaths can be justified by the end result. However, the decision to do nothing is also a moral act,and its end results ought to evaluated accordingly.”

    I agree, the decision not to go to war is a moral one, too. However, you are wrong to assume that it thereby follows that the end results are of any relevance. I very barely buy into a consequentialist morality, as has been made plain by my views so far: The nature of the act is of more relavence to its moral standing than its consequences. In fact, we differ little from terrorists if we agree with them that “the ends justify the means.”

    Jussi follows this argument up: “By waging war on Saddam Hussein, the Coalition has been partial to innocent deaths; if it had chosen peace, it would have been partial to future crimes of the Iraqi regime,because it had a chance to intervene,and refused to do so.”

    I’m afraid this is false logic – you fail to factor in moral autonomy and free will: It does not necessarily follow from our not going to war that innocent Iraqi’s would necessarily die at the hands of the regime. They may well have done. In fact, they probably would have done. But there would be no causal relationship between this result and our not going to war, for the simple reason that Saddam didn’t HAVE to kill them. He could have chosen not to. Hence his decision not to is completely independent, and he, not us, would be responsible for the deaths of innocent people. Therefore, even if he went on killing innocent people because we didn’t stop him, we would not be responsible for their deaths, he would be.

    Jussi makes a “Final note:You say that ‘rights are not ends that we can kill people to satisfy;they are the parameters within wich we can pursue which ever end we want.’ But what happens when some people, despite your moral code, continue to pursue their ends by killing and torturing others?High principles are void unless they are somehow enforced;any attempt to enforce those will soon bring us face to face with the real-world tradeoffs I just described.The other alternative is the kind favored by the anti-war demonstrators:we’ll just march around with placards and act indignant because the world refuses to be as righteous as we are. How moral is that?”

    I did not say that it was wrong to kill in order to safeguard our rights, or those of others. I said that it was wrong to kill innocent people in order to do this. Hence the argument above is a strawman. How would I have dealt with Saddam? Capitalism: The great benefits of free trade is that it brings peace, because countries that rely on each other for trade have little incentive to go to war, and because it brings prosperity without the need for conquest. Historically, also, the spread of trade has gone hand in hand with democratisation and the establishment of a rule of law. Saddam may have been around for longer, possibly a decade or more, but this is one way of liberalising Iraq that does not also make us, or the British government and forces at least, responsible for the deaths of innocent people.

  • Jacob

    mad dog …,
    Look, selling guns to proven murderers isn’t what free trade, that libertarians advocate, is about.
    Murderers are entiteled to nothing, no trade, no free speech, no self defense – just a bullet in the head.
    Seems you are unable (along with many others) to tell the difference between a mass murderer and the usual inept politician.

  • Richard A Garner

    Byron comes up with a more libertarian argument that Jussi, because he says that his defense of the war isn’t a humaitarian one, but defensive: “However, the fact is, our war on Iraq had nothing to do with liberating the Iraqi people. It was only a pleasant fringe benefit. If Saddam hadn’t been developing WMD for 30 years, and wasn’t such a diplomatically easy target (due to GW1), then there is more chance we would have ignored him as we do with all the other dictators out there. Refugees are welcome to come to America if they can to live in freedom, but we don’t just send American soldiers overseas to fight dictators and die to free oppressed people. There has to be some reason more directly related to the security of America.

    You neglect to mention the WMD angle. I assume you disagree with Bush’s claims that Iraq poses a WMD threat to the US, either directly or via terrorist groups? My own opinion is that regardless whether UNSCOM and UNMOVIC completely or partially disarmed Hussein of WMD, he was nevertheless committed to building such an arsenal, even after the UN withdrew if necessary. Enough anecdotal evidence abounds to support that belief.”

    It may well be that Saddam has or was planning to acquire WMDs. This, in of itself, though, is not enough to justify the war – unless we were to go to war with everybody on the simple grounds that they have weapons of mass destruction.

    In fact, this again relates to another area of libertarian argumentation: We support the private ownership of guns, the right to bear arms. People tell us that guns should be banned because they MAY be used criminally. Our answer is that simply owning a gun isn’t a threat to anybody, does not constitute a violation of person or property, and is a key to self-defense. Yet now you are saying that Iraq’s simply having weapons of mass destruction is grounds for action against Iraq?!

  • Richard A Garner

    At least Jussi’s and Byron’s arguments arose out of good intentions. Those of “God’s Girlfriend,” on ther other hand, were quite sick:

    “Another demonstration of the root cause for libertarianism being (and remaining) a boutique ideology for a few % of the population…

    Sigh. Libertarians: Out of power today, Out of power tomorrow.”

    Jussi said we should support the war in order to save lives and liberties of those oppressed in Iraq. I disagree, but like the sentiments. Byron says that we should go to war out of self-defense. I don’t think his case is strong enough, but I can relate. The argument above, though, is besically that we should go to war… for reasons of political opportunism! What other policies should libertarians adopt in order to become more popular? Hey, I know: We could just become the Labour Party – people voted for them. The welfare state is popular, lets defend the welfare state! Banning drugs is popular, lets ban drugs. Com on…!

    It should also be noted that modern libertarianism’s heyday was the end of the sixties and the beginning of the seventies, when it grabbed popular attention because of libertarian opposition to the Viet Nam war and the corporate state. Being anti-war didn’t harm us then.

    But if political opportunism is your thing and Perry is correct that the overwhelming mass of opponents to this war are left-wingers, note this: Liberty is under threat, especially because of left wing critiques of global capitalism that politicians are actually listening to and are capturing the political mind. One way that defenders of the free market can win back ground is to join with this populist position, linking with the left in opposition to the war, so that libertarian views are amongst those that people are listening to.

  • Jacob

    Richard,
    You too, like “mad dog” ignore the facts of our case.
    You say:
    “Yet now you are saying that Iraq’s simply having weapons of mass destruction is grounds for action against Iraq?!”

    It is not the same – if a normal peaceful person aquires arms for self protection or sport – or a proven psychopathic mass murderer aquires arms.

    Can’t you see the difference ?

  • Richard A Garner

    Jacob writes “It is not the same – if a normal peaceful person aquires arms for self protection or sport – or a proven psychopathic mass murderer aquires arms.

    Can’t you see the difference?”

    H’m. Someone at Samizdata recently wrote something about people acquiring weapons:

    “Will this mean some weapons get into the hands of the wacko bad guys? Sure, but those guys are already armed. However the upside is that for every one of them, there will be many dozens of normal armed Iraqi people who just want to live a normal life and who then will be able to say “never will be suffer this nightmare again”… and say it with a Kalashnikov in their hands. Ba’athist or Islamist thugs swaggering around your neighbourhood? Now that the Iraqis have had a taste of freedom, let them cap those bastards.”

    Nothing about stopping people getting weapons here. Which proven psychopath do you advocate going to war over next?

  • Jacob

    “Which proven psychopath do you advocate going to war over next”
    The one who declares he wishes to kill you and posseses the means to do so.

    Perry proposed arming the Iraqi people just for them to be able to kill the psychopaths (fedayeen) in their middle. The fedayeen need to be killed not because they possess arms, but because they are fedayeen.

    Seems you are arguing that killing fedayeen and baathists is wrong, because they are just poor wretched souls, that happen to have guns.

    Seems you are arguing that killing fedayeen and Saddamites is immoral or, in some other way, undesirable. Seems you are arguing that liberty will be served by ignoring these scum, and letting them go about their murderous business undisturbed. Seems you advocate laissez faire for murderers.

  • Yank-in-UK

    I wish I could’ve been a fly on the wall during Condi’s meetings in Moscow.

    Her trip to Moscow wasn’t planned in advance, but came about suddenly, and was needed in order to cool Russian tempers which had flared up. Why had they? Because the Russians were ticked because the US was ‘spying’ on them (something which ‘trustworthy’ Russia of course would NEVER do, on the US or anyone else.) It was reported that during the week previous to Condi’s meetings in Moscow, the US was flying spy planes over the province of Georgia. Now Georgia is VERY close to Turkey distance-wise (located just right above Armenia which sit on the northern border of Turkey). Although is never was reported in the press and therefore is speculative on my part, I do suspect that Russia was in the process of moving and/or had already consolidated alot of troops down into southern Georgia, and thus it would seem to suggest that the US was suspicious that Russia might send a force to join with Turkey’s massed force on that northern border of Iraq, and with the intent of securing the northern ‘oil-field’ territory of Iraq for themselves. Hey, don’t think it paranoid! Anyone remember Russia’s sudden appearance on the scene in Bosnia/Kosovo?

    Added to this is the TIMING of the agreement to, and sending of, 100,000 more US troops to the Gulf, which happened at relatively the same time that those spy planes were spying over Georgia.

    Indeed, while I’m not a conspiracy theorist, I can’t help but wonder if the Press was UTTERLY duped–in part by its own desire to downtrod the Bush Admin. and puff up the UN in all/any ways possible–into buying into and reporting the supposedly deep disagreements between military brass within the Pentagon over the Rummy-Light Plan, which again, I can’t help but wonder was misinformation and/or a little play acting which Rummy/Centcom sort of went along with by not vociferously defending himself too much, not to mention the suggestions by chosen voices in the Pentagon that the War, specifically the battle for Baghdad, would likely take some ‘more weeks” (only to end less than 10 days later).

    It is not so crazy to think that this was part of the whole “misinformation” aspect of the operation which the US was waging, putting it out there for the ravenously liberal, antiwar BBC/NYT and all the rest of the liberal mainstream press/global media to eat up hook, line, and sinker…which as we know they did, with plenty of EGG now on their faces. (Forgive my violent streak, but the one guy among the many of them whose ass I most wanted to kick all throughout this war was that grossly snide military commentator Dan Plesch on BBC1. What a butthead!)

    If anything, we should be praising the BBC/NYT for being such an effective instrument (and such USEFUL IDIOTS!) for the US in carrying out their misinformation aspect of the operation, wielded not merely against Iraq, but equally if not more so against Russia, whom I suspect were buying into the BBC/NYT quagmire/”Rummy-Too-Light” propaganda, making them take the supposedly ‘vulnerable’ bait, along with a large part of the US democrat-leaning populace and Democrat politicians in the US congress, which made it that much easier to get Congress to more quickly agree to and authorize the White House request for an increase of 100,000 personel to the Gulf (now on their way), since the last thing they want to do is to appear to the public to be standing in the way of adding to what had been REPORTED TO BE a force which was too light/inadequate to successfully carry out its task of sacking Baghdad, not to mention defending its own supply lines, and therefore both endangering the troops and contributing to failure in the operation….Daschle and the rest were cornered, and couldn’t play their usual politics with the operation SUPPOSEDLY being in jeapardy and in need of a large increase in troops.

    …SO…I think Condi went to Moscow with a lot of backing (100,000 more troops) behind her words to the Russians, carrying an even BIGGER stick while thus more effectively warning them to not get involved with Turkey in moving into/trying to take over Northern Iraq, or else they will have a big fight on their hands from the American forces. Now lets see if Syria takes the word of Bush/Rummy serious or not. If not, well, with those 100,000 extra troops, Syria better build some underground bunkers fast!

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    Uh, Yank-in-UK, Georgia isn’t a “province” of Russia any more than Canada is a province of the United States. It’s an independent country.

    Now, if you want to argue that the UK is becoming a province of Brussels…. 🙂

  • Yank-in-UK

    Ted

    Good for you Ted! How brilliant you have demonstrate yourself to be for picking at the nomenclature while making no contributory reflection on the meaningful content of the post. Thanks for setting me back on the straight and narrow (or narrow-minded?)…What profound insight you possess! Until recieving your illuminating didactivity, I had no idea that TECHNICALLY speaking, the proper meaning of “province” was distinct from “an independent country”!

    However, since I was PRACTICALLY speaking in a more loose sense (as one who pails in intellectual brilliance to Your Worship), to suggest that the technically INDEPENDENT COUNTRY of Georgia, which formerly was a PROVINCE of the former Soviet Union, is now totally ‘independent’ PRACTICALLY speaking…of any influence from Russia, and thus one should assume that it is wholly cut-off from any relations/coordinated activities not only from its neighbouring “independent country” Russia to the north, but also from its neighbouring “independent country” Turkey to the south, was something which in my ignorance I had thought wholly unrealisitic to assume. Considering this new enlightenment you’ve so graciously given me as to the technical difference between “a province” and “an independent country”, I am now now befuddled as to how Russia could’ve so quickly shown up in Bosnia/Kosovo with such large forces, considering that much of them could only have gotten there by travelling through and across other “independent countries”, and considering their number, I would’ve thought they had already been gathered together in one of these “independent countries” located next to Bosnia/Kosovo. But having received your enlightenment as to this distinction of a “province” vs. “an independent country”, I now know that such an actuality would’ve been impossible for Russia to achieve. They must have airlifted all those tanks and troops in Bosnia/Kosovo–although, even then, how could they have, considering the “air space” by way of which to fly them there was over “independent countries.” Perhaps it never happenned, and thus perhaps it never could have happenned that Russia had massed troops/equipment to their border with Georgia (since, in following your technical definitions which supposedly tell the whole reality of the case, one would have to conclude they wouldn’t have been able to even move those forces through that which was ‘an independent country” rather than a “province”, let alone have already moved and massed those forces inside Georgia close to the border with Turkey. Impossible!)

    So Ted, your helpful enlightenment over the proper nomenclature and the precise, TECHNICAL definition of terms and proper use of distinctions has only caused me more confusion when attempting to consider the practical situation of the actual case of things regarding, as you say, THE INDEPENDENT COUNTRY of Georgia in relation Russia and Turkey. But then again, I guess I should give you the benefit of the big DOUBTS I currentlyhave that with that insightful mind of yours you have fully comprehended the actual case concerning Georgia in relation to Russia/Turkey than such a simpleton as myself would. I had no idea that it was as simple an intellectual procedure as knowing the technical meaning for a particular word in your Oxford Dictionary! No longer will I make such a stupid distinction between the technical meaning of a word and the practical reality of the actual case which that word stands for and is used to express. How silly of me to view the reality of things according to their sensible/practical appearances. From now on I pour all contempt on my Occamist nominalism/conceptualism! Like Georgia, for now on I will only look at the TECHNICAL DEFINITION of Canada intrinsically ‘per se’, in bearing the qualified term “independent country”, and will cease from simultaneously also looking at the PRACTICAL REALITY of Canada relatively extrinsic to any other country, for which in many ways the actual case and for all practical points and purposes, the reality of Canada sure did seem to me to be more of a “province” relative to the “independent country” of the US. Not only that, but in my faulty practical way of viewing the actual reality of things, from the time I physically spent in the terrority of Alberta (as distinct from your time spent in a dictionary learning of the word), which practically speaking according to the ACTUAL SITUATION OF THE CASE, and similar to Quebec, ACTS more like an independent country than the technical definition for it as a “province” would suggest, I would still have employed the nomenclature of “province”, but would have implied a very different actual meaning from the technical one for that term in the Holy Oxford Dictionary (published in the New Euro-Translation for the Post-Modern Man).

    Maybe with such new-found enlightenment you’ve graciously supplied me via your insightful criticism of my faulty nomenclature, there’s still hope for me to become a correspondent for one of the brilliant networks like the BBC or CNN. As long as I let the Oxford Dictionary do my thinking for me, I’ve got a chance…

  • Richard A Garner

    Jacob writes “Perry proposed arming the Iraqi people just for them to be able to kill the psychopaths (fedayeen) in their middle. The fedayeen need to be killed not because they possess arms, but because they are fedayeen.”

    But Perry said that it doesn’t matter if bad guys get guns so long as good guys can get them too. But you said that bad guys should not be allowed to possess weapons. That is the difference.

    He continues “Seems you are arguing that killing fedayeen and baathists is wrong, because they are just poor wretched souls, that happen to have guns.

    Seems you are arguing that killing fedayeen and Saddamites is immoral or, in some other way, undesirable. Seems you are arguing that liberty will be served by ignoring these scum, and letting them go about their murderous business undisturbed. Seems you advocate laissez faire for murderers.”

    Where did I say that? My whole argument has been that killing innocent people is wrong, not that killing non-inocent people is wrong. Stop knocking down your strawmen. Here is an analogy: A man may rape a woman; the only way for you to get rid of the man is by killing an innocent person. Should you do it?