Effect Measure

Afghanistan: back where it started

Most Americans think the Afghanistan mistake was the Right Thing to Do. While we are on record (here and here) as of another opinion, the conventional view is that getting rid of the Taliban was Good (they were Bad, which is true) and anyway it was payback for 9/11 (even though the Afghans didn’t actually commit 9/11, only were the geographic location of the planner — thanks to US aid when bin Laden was fighting the Soviets. Now Pakistan is where the 9/11 leaders live (not to mention that the actual perpetrators, who mostly came from Saudi). You fill in the rest. Still, few agree with us. Maybe we didn’t get bin Laden but at least we got rid of the religious extremists, the ones who oppressed women and ran the place under religious law.

And replaced them with . . .

A 23-year-old student journalist in Afghanistan has been sentenced to death for downloading and distributing a report that is critical of the oppressive treatment of women in some Islamic societies.

Sayed Pervez Kambaksh, who is a journalism student at Balkh University and a writer for Jahan-e Naw, was sentenced last October after downloading a report from a Farsi website that criticized Islamic fundamentalists who misrepresent statements in the Koran to justify the oppression of women. Kambaksh was arrested after someone filed a complaint against him. He is accused of blasphemy for distributing the report to other students and teachers at his school.

He was tried by a sharia court (which oversees Islamic religious law) and was not allowed legal representation, according to news reports. The Afghan Senate passed a motion this week supporting the sentence, according to the British newspaper The Independent.
Other journalists have been warned that they would be arrested if they protested in support of Kambaksh. (Wired)

Maybe this doesn’t bother you,because while the Afghanis may be acting like the Taliban, but they are our Taliban. But if it does bother you, you can sign a petition online being organized by the UK newspaper, The Independent.

I did.


  1. #1 Serjis Werking
    February 4, 2008

    Ah, Ronald Reagan’s beloved Freedom Fighters.

  2. #2 Gilmore
    February 4, 2008

    I did too. It only took 20 seconds. . .

    Uncle Revere wants YOU to sign this petition ! ! !

  3. #3 pauls lane
    February 4, 2008

    hey isn’t there a liberal biased movie called Charlie Wilson’s war, where Ronald Reagan is hardly mentioned, claiming that Charlie Wilson (D-Tex) was the giant among men who, single-handedly and wanting to impress a really smoking hot babe, responsible for ending the Soviet occupation of
    Afghanistan by convincing American statesmen that sending arms to the freedom fighters in Afghanistan was the right thing to do, and actually saw too it that it was done? Anyway, Charlie Wilson says about Al Qaeda using our leftover weapons and I quote, “No way”.
    Revere I need to get this straight – Soviets invade Afghanistan; Afgan freedom fighters fight the Soviets and the Soviet puppet Afgan regime; bin Laden and other non-Afgans go to Afganistan to help fight the Soviets; the US gives aid to these people who are fighting the Soviets; because of this US aid bin Laden decides to stay in Afganistan? bin Laden couldn’t have stayed, say because after the Soviet pullout the US walked away from Afganistan and allowed the Taliban to take the country over, could it? Wasn’t it the Taliban who gave bin Laden sancturary? There was a US failure I’ll grant you. It was the walking away.
    Also we killed lots of bad guys in Afganistan, saves your children and/or grandchildren from having to kill them and their children tomorrow.

  4. #4 revere
    February 4, 2008

    pauls: You and Randy are birds of a feather (not a slam; I like Randy). But remember that Afghanistan was on the Soviet border. Should we go into (and stay) in Chechnya? Afghanistan has been the graveyard of foreign powers forever. Ask the British. We “walked away” again to mess up Iraq. It’s all worked out so wonderfully, don’t you think?

  5. #5 carl
    February 4, 2008

    Sorry, evil is a relative thing. The current Afghan govt is/will be a tyranny, as is Egypt, Jordan, and other “allies”. However, they are not as represive as Iran and some other bad actors. The Taliban were savages in precisely the imperial colonialist sense of the word. They blew up statues of the Budda, on the UN list of common herritage of mankind, would not allow women to be educated at all, and generally turned life back to the ninth century. The current Afghan tyranny is a hell of a lot better than the savages they replaced.

  6. #6 revere
    February 4, 2008

    carl: You must also be arguing that the average Afghani is better off with unstable an insecure life than they were before. Maybe. But I’m not the one who should be deciding for them. Should we go into Chechnya? Iran? N. Korea? Why not? if your reasoning is sound, why do we go only where there is oil or geopolitical interests but actively prop up repressive and terrible regimes? Afghanistan was a mistake, not because the Taliban were OK or the current situation a mess but because it was a mistake on its own terms.

  7. #7 Caledonian
    February 4, 2008

    I’m not sure Afghanistan was necessarily a mistake. We have a knack for turning gold into lead, though, and the situation was never golden.

    Whatever might have been, it’s an unholy mess now.

  8. #8 M. Randolph Kruger
    February 4, 2008

    And I dig Revere too because he is like I said before what we ascribe ourselves to what we should be. But reality sucks and so does Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan.

    Do you recall anyone that one of my original posts was that we might just have to kill them all? That means the good with the bad, or we get the Crusades again. Israel gets it and if faced with certain death and annihilation I am sure they prefer that it not be them.

    Syria is back at work on their missiles again. Their previously unknown nuke plant that resembles exactly the one in North Korea has a heat plume again.That escapes no one at the NRO. They are for sure using it for the production of electricity, right? If thats the case why no lights? I guess I am just one of those guys who went to the war college for nothing. Lets sit down and negotiate with them. Bhutto tried that and look what happened.

    I am glad someone brought up Chechnya. Its right next door to the worlds largest depository of nuclear weapons. Quite a few are still on their drivable mobile launchers, most are able to hit Europe. But we are supposed to ignore that.

    So it gets down to Iraq and Afghanistan, to go conventional or launch a tactical nuke or strategic one. They are some of the best fighters in the world but as I said before also, dead people dont get up and throw rocks at you. Nor do they shoot, fly planes, or generally piss you off. Terrorists? Low threshold for that in the world nowadays and that I think will slip a bit. So again, we are at the crossroads. If the Dems go into office they had better be making some serious payoffs else we will likely lose a city next time out. If we dont kill them, they will be back, in greater numbers and likely cause even more damage the next time.

    We would also cede the region to Iran. How does 200 or 300 a barrel sound?

    Screw nation building. We have weapons to do what we need, it just hasnt thresholded yet. For once, just do them and leave them in the mud to die.

    Mean? Most wars are. You play politics with them as they have for Iraq and Afghanistan and well you see what happens. I would have carpet bombed Pakistan for a month by now and shot their air force into pieces. That also would mean we lose an ally. Well allies dont generally harbor fugitives like Bin Ladin.

    We just arent quite to the level that the American people will demand a decisive victory yet. That equates to one hell of a lot of dead Muslims if it ever comes to it.

    The clock continues to tick though….

  9. #9 revere
    February 4, 2008

    Randy: Kill them all, the good with the bad. I’m glad you have finally boiled down your politics to its essence. We’re either with that or against it. I am against it. As far as I am concerned you are no different than they are. Indistinguishable. I don’t want to be like that.

  10. #10 M. Randolph Kruger
    February 4, 2008

    Not that I want to Revere. It took 20 years of a willing Japan to turn their clocks forward. They were educated, smart and really wanted to join the world. None of these nations aforementioned want to. They want to get even for injustices done or conceived as having been done. You cut the military if the Dems go into office and it will result in soft target destruction. I for one at least understand that if the conventional forces are dwindled down as you would like to focus on domestic programs it puts us under the only other defensive (offensive) capability and that is the nukes.

    You made reference in the previous posts about lets get rid of NATO. Under a Democrat White House NATO sans the US is going to have to start defending itself. We are a superpower and its only because of our military and our ability to project power and implied threat. Those countries all have UHC. If they have to start defending themselves UHC is going to be the first thing that goes. Cant afford both. Cant have one without the other either. So we sit back and ponder our navels having pulled out of Iraq and Iran sweeps into the region along with their genetic brothers the Syrians. Israel isnt going to sit back and watch them build bombs. I dont blame them either. You have seen the pictures of their missile farm in S. Syria and those are for what?

    Kill them all? God help us but when you get a group that is just pissed off because we are in their country on an invite of their leadership, think about what would happen if they really got angry. Thats the big rub with Al Qaeda, we were, are in Saudi Arabia home of the two mosques.

    So Revere, its pretty simple we pull out they push in, they charge whatever they want for oil and there aint enough ANWARS after that. There certainly isnt enough hydrogen, prices rupture the economies of the world and the sabers begin to start doing more than rattle. And the French keep right on selling them nuke technology and weapons systems that are really good. Then, one day they commit the intolerable act. Dont know what that act will be but it will be a doozer. Our response will be terrible and it will kill on a huge scale. It will kill more than what they kill of ours. Maybe for once they’ll get the picture if they see that only weapon available because the conventional military was pulled down by the Democrats mushroom cloud rising. Maybe.

    But for me and long before that it might run through as a genocide but its a relative term. Its not genocide if you are the one left standing. You get to make the rules.

    America has a big decision to make in 08. Right or wrong they’ll make it and the enemy will shift gears accordingly. But, the day that the Iranians and the Syrians take effective control of Iraq I want you to remember this little snippet. I do hope that it doesnt get down to it, but if it does I do recommend that they all be sent on their way else the cycle begins again. Its not insane to destroy your enemies in a war. People think this is just a handful of extremists, its not. There are 15,000 in the Phillipines, maybe as many as 40,000 in China. All of Chechnya is fired up and they have 1.5 million souls that would love to get their hands on those nukes. And for what? Peace negotiations.

    Oh and I am different Revere. Much. I didnt bomb them while they laid on a beach, I havent machine gunned their school buses, I havent assasinated their leadership….yet. But I am sharpening my knives for the inevitable confrontation.

  11. #11 pauls lane
    February 4, 2008

    revere – so what should we have done if Afghanistan was a mistake? Leave Saudia Arabia?

  12. #12 Matt Platte
    February 5, 2008

    Most of the preceding comments are largely speculative: if we do this, they’ll probably do that, etc.

    Why, when playing these scenarios out in public, do we never consider evacuating the civilized people (and the nukes) from Israel and then turning our (USA) back on it?

  13. #13 mary in hawaii
    February 5, 2008

    Bottom line, we have no right to enforce our idea of “goodness” on the rest of the world, because we are far far too black in our own depths and motives, and grow blacker by the second with each new such move. Second, we cannot afford the cost regardless of how “right” some might say the cause: we are going bankrupt, hurtling into a recession that will hurt our own families on our own soil as deeply as any terrorist attack would. What good to “save” the world for democracy if in so doing we collapse the center of it into economic and social chaos at home. The only people benefitting are the filthy rich who started this all to get even richer.

  14. #14 M. Randolph Kruger
    February 5, 2008

    Wars are good for economies if you only take it as such. I dont think that right has ever come into any war. WWII started over oil. We cut them off. As for hurting from a recession, you generally cant get dead from a recession.

    There simply arent that many filthy rich people in the US. Class warfare or is it warfear again. Ascendency in social status is what would be cut off if they start taxing again. I doubt they will do it anyway. It will send the soft bump I think we are going to have into an abyss. Unemployment. Watch the unemployment rates.

    Hi Mary, how you been?

  15. #15 Charles Roten
    February 5, 2008

    WWII started over oil.


    WW II started because ..

    (1) The Nazi government in Germany believed it could reverse the verdict of WW I. They maintained the old postwar lie that the German defeat has been the result of a “dolchstab”, a “stab in the back” by their own. Rather than what really happened: the German army got beaten down to its stumps in the early fall of 1918. The three offensives of that spring were their last gasp, and when they failed, Germany was doomed.

    (2) Hitler had rather specific and very drastic plans for empire involving everything from the eastern border of Germany, reaching as far towards the Pacific coast as he could push. Read “Mein Kampf” or a good review of same.

    Like most would-be empire builders (like today’s neocons, for instance), he was as good as his word about those intentions.

    (3) The United States objected strenuously to the Japanese war of conquest against China. Not really for humanitarian reasons as many would prefer to believe these days, but because the US government saw China as part of its sphere of interest. That was what lead to the US embargo on shipments to Japan not merely of oil, but also scrap steel. We were the principal suppliers of both to Japan at the time.

    The US intervention against Japan wasn’t limited to economic means. The AVG (a.k.a. “Flying Tigers”) was, it turns out, an American government covert op, and one of the most successful in our entire history. While Claire Chennault was run out of the service (because he was too successful), his operational “book” became Holy Writ for both Army Air Force and Navy pilots.

    Mussolini hardly counts. If he hadn’t had Hitler’s backing, his jerry-built “empire” in North Africa and southern Europe wouldn’t have lasted more than a couple of years.

  16. #16 SteveF
    February 5, 2008

    I do believe there is a place for principled liberal interventionism. Moreover, having read a fair bit about life under the Taliban, I supported the war in the first place. I guess I still do, but incidents like this do make me start to question that belief. Part of the frustration comes from seeing the problems in the NATO coalition; if you’re going to do something, then do it to the best of your abilities. The current “support” from some NATO countries is rather shameful.

  17. #17 anon
    February 5, 2008

    > Afghanistan was a mistake, not because the Taliban
    > were OK or the current situation a mess
    > but because it was a mistake on its own terms.

    ahh, that sort of arguing !
    (what terms ?)
    (how big a mistake ?)

  18. #18 Charles Roten
    February 5, 2008

    Afghanistan was a mistake, not because the Taliban were OK or the current situation a mess but because it was a mistake on its own terms.

    I think most of the comments about the war in Afghanistan miss something vital. What fueled that war, initially, wasn’t US policy or the notion of overthrowing the Taliban because they were (and are) a bunch of theocratic nutbars.

    What drove the United States into that war was the fact that the Taliban sheltered OBL after the 9/11 attacks. Nearly everyone in this country was in an absolute white-hot rage over those attacks, and would cheerfully have stormed the gates of hell if the devil himself had been unwise enough to shelter OBL and AQ.

    If Katherine Harris and the Supremes hadn’t handed the presidency to W, with the supine acquiescence of the Dumbocrats, it is my considered opinion that we would have gone to war with Afghanistan under President Gore. Whether that choice was right or wrong, it was pretty much inevitable that we would have decided that way, given the circumstances.

    Hindsight is nearly always 20/20, and from this remove, it’s pretty clear to me that a war against Pashtun irregulars, who understood information operations better than we did from the git-go, was going to be troublesome and lengthy at best. Our army was designed to smash up other nation-state armies in great murthering tank battles in places like the Fulda Gap. The Taliban use a different playbook. A force structured and trained like ours was going to have some serious problems with something like that. Especially using a bunch of thugs like the Northern Alliance, who were nearly as nuts as the Taliban and much more crooked, as “boots on the ground”.

    But there weren’t too many people who saw that in October of 2001. Including people like Steve Gilliard, whose knowledge of colonial wars was pretty encyclopedic. I was reading his columns at the now-defunct Netslaves site in late 2001. And he was frothing at the mouth just like the rest of us.

    You think conservatives make scary warmongers? Wait until you see a bunch of efficiently pissed-off liberals.

  19. #19 Strathcarnage
    February 5, 2008

    Loads to pick on in Randy’s posts but this one truly tickled me:

    “Those countries all have UHC. If they have to start defending themselves UHC is going to be the first thing that goes. Cant afford both. Cant have one without the other either.”

    You think the citizenry of any European would vote in a government on the promise of scrapping health care in favour of increased defence budgets? You’re nuts – we simply don’t have the same level of paranoia over here as you seem to. Over here we value people’s welfare over the bombing of people we don’t like (or who have something we want). The outcry in the UK alone oevrt the Iraq war and the ongoing protests against our continued but reducing onvolvement should show you that.

    The old days of fear are over. The Cold War is gone. There is no big boogeyman waiting to invade our shares. There is no need for massive military budgets at the expense of our own citizens’ welfare. There are some terrorsists out there, I grant you that. There always have been, it’s been a fact of life for Europe since time immemorial. And there are crazy men in charge of powerful nations – in the West as well as the East. It’s something we live with and try to influence without dropping bombs on kids.

    Your zealotry, conviction and sheer misguidedness are of a kind I thought only existed in training camps for suicide bombers.

  20. #20 pauls lane
    February 5, 2008

    Sheesh ! This coming from a Brit whose asses the US saved twice in the 20th century. You’d think they would have learned from their great statesmen Chamberlain. What you Brits need, hell what we all need is another Churchill.
    Oh and thank you for granting that there are indeed terrorists out there. Mighty good of you to concede that. And not to put too fine a point on it, we didn’t much care as long as the terrorists kept their noses in Europe, killing Europeans, but once they crossed the Atlantic it became a whole new ballgame BECAUSE the pansy-assed Europeans didn’t take care of the problem since time immemorial.

  21. #21 albatross
    February 5, 2008

    Just an aside: when your view of the world and morality leads you to the conclusion that the morally just and reasonable next step is a war of extermination, killing a hundred million or so people to prevent another 9/11 scale attack, it may be time to step back and re-examine your premises.

  22. #22 M. Randolph Kruger
    February 5, 2008

    Strangeone—I dont think I would go as far as to say that pauls lane is right about the ass saving. The Brits are a sturdy lot. But I also know that two days ago a paper from the CIA posited that the Chinese, Russians and Iranians might exploit the oil problem for their advantage. The paper fully outlined pretty much what I said and there are a lot of what ifs. IF even a third of the unclassified stuff is right, you had better start cleaning your rifle. Thats if you are allowed to have them.

    Albatross-How many people would it take to get you to change your mind? Would NYC or LA going up in a puff do it? Because there werent enough human intellgence sources to contradict the demand that something be done, we got into a war. Iraq was probably a knee jerk.

    Ah Charles… How are you? Cite, cite, cite. And I can also add in FoxNews but it makes Revere ill when I do.

    Note the date on this one….. Time from October 1940.

    July 26th, 1941….WE embargoed the Japanese oil. With only a six month supply of grease they had to do something. WE just forced their hands. Our military was strong but got to know what the enemy is doing. If its all sitting in garrison or in port its pretty much a paper tiger. We lined all of our planes up (just like the Egyptians in 68) and made them the best targets in the world for strafing. Did we know? Convenient that all of the carriers were out at sea at that time.

    Chenault-Both hero and crackpot. He retired in 1937 due to medical reasons. Some ideas were sound and he was bucking for direct relationships with the President. Couldnt be in the USA Air Corps and be running a covert operation back then.

    And Charles Katherine Harris didnt hand W the election. Nor did the Supremes and you really ought to look up your election law. Katherine Harris had only two options by LAW and that was to certify the election or not. Irregularities happen all the time in elections and since I am a Republican poll watcher for the last 12 years and teach the ins and outs let me give you a little primer. The States set up their elections under federal guidelines but the states run them. If you have a corrupt process, you get a corrupt result. E.g. Palm Beach County

    Palm Beach County…. How did they have a 125% turnout in a predominantly Democrat county? Get back to me on that. The margin of error was within the states mandated laws (Democrats wrote it) so she had to certify it. The Dems sued and the State Supreme Court tried to skew it by interpretation of the law to Gore. There was an immediate appeal. The US Supreme Court did a “reach down” to take the country out of the turmoil and then ruled that the election was certified. Thats not handing anyone anything. GWB won it by a squeak even with the huge number of ballots that were over the total number of registered voters. That was even certified by the news services after they paid for a recount four or five months later. Ever heard of a 100% turnout Charles? Now about that 125%.

    Now I am very well respected by both parties here in Tennessee and I get pretty rankled when anyone tries to screw the process. Up to and including having a Republican arrested for interference two years ago and voter intimidation. This is my own party now and repeated warnings were not enough. So off to jail he went.
    Since then the Democrats also list me on their poll watchers list for their candidates too.

    Its about the law Charles and thats what I base everything in. If they want to change it to ensure that everyone has a picture voter ID then I am all for it. Then you know how many times they voted…. Sixty three dead people voted in the last election here and lived in houses on vacant lots. Votes tossed. That too has a process. The simply reduce the number by that amount as this is always done as a provisional ballot. A name on the front, the vote is recorded for the person and who it was for. Then they know how you vote too. Bad process as far as I am concerned. You either show up physically to vote (cept service guys) or you dont vote Simple.

    Pauls….It wold be nice if you respected Strangeone a little more and didnt call him a nutbar. It sets the blog off on really irrascible rants and sometimes I get in on that too. Keep it to the opinions, facts and whatever you think is fact. The facts are that the entire resources of nearly all of Europe were brought to bear against a nation that only had a population of 45 million at the time and I think they held their own pretty well. Saved them? Shit, if I were Hitler I would have just said to Hell with invasion. Just bomb them into submission as the Huns would have been met on the beach by old ladies with 12 gauges. Nasty lot when pissed off those Brits and their bravery under fire goes all the way back to the sixth century. I served in two theaters with the Royal Marines and there are 32 ways to gut your enemy according to them.

    Keep it nice.

  23. #23 pauls lane
    February 5, 2008

    The more I read Strathcarnage’s sanctimonious comment, and let me tell you I’ve read it numerous times because my brain refuses to believe what my eyes see, the more bothered I become and I can’t figure out if it is the utter stupidity or the sheer blindness that bothers me more. Strathcarnage says, “There is no big boogeyman waiting to invade our shares (sic)”. Of course not, because THEY ARE ALREADY THERE! Strathcarnage also says, “Over here we value people’s welfare over the bombing of people we don’t like…” A pity the folks who bombed the underground in London or the nightclub in Bali don’t hold the same holier-than-thou attitude. And Randy is correct, he says “IF they have to start defending themselves..” That is a damn huge IF because I am not sure they will defend themselves after reading Strathcarnage.

  24. #24 revere
    February 5, 2008

    pauls: No one has a corner on sanctimony here. I happen to agree with Strathcarnage. On the other hand, if you were an Iraqi or an Iranian you might well wonder about being bombed by someone’s airforce (guess whose?). We terrorize people elsewhere on a daily basis but choose to call it a military operation. Your problem, pauls, is a total inability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

  25. #25 pauls lane
    February 5, 2008

    Mary it is you and your ilk that have forced your version of “goodness” on the citizens of your own country. So it comes as quite a shock to me that our “goodness” shouldn’t be shared with the rest of the world, and since when does “right” have a price tag? You reckon the Civil War was cheap? How about WWI or WWII? Then you whine about the economy tanking and how deeply hurt we will all be hurt by the recession, but those rich just keep getting richer don’t they?

  26. #26 pauls lane
    February 5, 2008

    revere my feet are firmly planted in the shoes of the people who were murdered on 9/11 and if it takes destroying the entire Middle East to insure that another 9/11 or worse is avoided then it is worth it. I firmly believe that there are those who would like to do much, much worse to us and they wanted to do it before Afghanistan and Iraq. Your problem revere is that you believe all people are just like you. They aren’t. They will kill you as happily and gleefully as they would kill me.

  27. #27 Melanie
    February 5, 2008

    Pauls, even libs believe in the rule of law, the US Constitution and the Geneva Conventions. You seem to be of the “shoot ’em all and let God sort it out” school. So much for moral superiority.

  28. #28 pauls lane
    February 5, 2008

    So do I Melanie, but what does that have to do with total war? The odd thing is my moral superiority extends to protecting you as well me. Strange huh?

  29. #29 Melanie
    February 5, 2008

    Pauls, I suggest that you and Randy both should take a little time to read John Boyd. Things have changed a little bit since von Clausewitz and neither of you seem to understand the difference between fourth generation war and totalkrieg.

    You might also want to review the history of Britain in Afghanistan and Iraq and France in Algeria.

  30. #30 M. Randolph Kruger
    February 6, 2008

    Actually I have read them and more Melanie. Several papers were put out by the best military types in the last 20 years about the political correctness of war. Things like use of smart bullets, sticky gravel (chem weapon that burns you to death), chemical weapons, use of nukes and its all governed by the politically correct Geneva Conventions. The WMD name came from those papers.

    Pauls-Mary is not an ilk, she is a liberal and has stated her position often. The ladies here havent ever been in combat and I would use whatever I had at hand if it got down to it. What do you do when you have to shoot a 14 year old thats aiming an AK-47 at you? Drive farther down Sepulveda in LA is what.. Just kidding. No I have had to do them and they haunt me to this day. Its not something I am proud of. But I am less pround of my government when it allows us to get into these conflicts (they are never called wars) without the proper definition of war making powers.

    Congress needs to clean up their act and START declaring wars. Once the ball is in play then the whole country knows we are in it until the Chief Executive decides its over. None of this backstabbing bullshit like what Hillary pulls, “I voted for the war but if I knew then what I do now.” It also puts Obombme off the fence and he is either yay or nay. I dont think there were more than 3 or 4 Republicans who voted against it in the Congress. But it does push them off there perches.

    It also lets the military run the show. None of this you cant use that weapon, you cant napalm that place, you cant drop bombs on the entire town of Dresden. Well, we clearly borke the back of the Germans when we did. Inhumane? Its a goddamn war, kill or be killed. Does anyone think that Al Qaeda observes the Geneva’s when they are beheading people? Its that old rise above it, we are better and more civilized than they are. Huh? We are getting our asses kicked and we are supposed to play by a set of rules invented by non-combatants? That also applies to armies in uniform… Not here. Not with an army running around in civilian clothing. So it will get down to one thing, are they combatants or civilians?

    Do you kill a whole village if one guy runs into it? Not quite there yet. Next town that drops in the US will result in the destruction of a major town in someplace, Middle East.

  31. #31 paiwan
    February 6, 2008

    Just an aside: when your view of the world and morality leads you to the conclusion that the morally just and reasonable next step is a war of extermination, killing a hundred million or so people to prevent another 9/11 scale attack, it may be time to step back and re-examine your premises.

    Posted by: albatross | February 5, 2008 12:01 PM



    We need the reflection like this; the vocie of creative minority, leading to sustaining greatness. It is not aside , nevertheless the center of gravity.

  32. #32 paiwan
    February 6, 2008


    Melanie’s post reminded us the best way to protect the United States is to protect the value of the United States.

    Please don’t lead us into jungle wars( nuke level), but deliver us the glory to be an American.

  33. #33 AnneLaurie
    February 6, 2008

    I firmly believe that there are those who would like to do much, much worse to us and they wanted to do it before Afghanistan and Iraq.

    True enough. Ann Coulter, for instance, publicly regretted that the Oklahoma City bombers hadn’t attacked the New York Times Building instead. And was it Bill O’Reilly or Rush Limbaugh who suggested that “we” should “just give San Francisco to the terrorists”?

  34. #34 mary in hawaii
    February 6, 2008

    your tendency to personalize attacks and denigrate others’ for their stated values demonstrates a mindset that is totally impervious to any viewpoints other than your own, to which you hold with a sort of tenacious desperation.

    Usually when someone holds that hard to one view, it is because to open the door to other possibilities is perceived as being dangerous to one’s self image. Why? Often because something one has done in the past to support this view must be justified at all costs or one’s own sense of rightness and goodness will be destroyed.

    I’m sure you will argue this as well, and levy some new attack on my mind, person or values. But so doing will just further expose yourself (see above) so….check and mate.

  35. #35 pauls lane
    February 6, 2008

    Pot black, kettle black Mary.

  36. #36 pauls lane
    February 6, 2008

    hey Melanie you forgot to add the French and the US in Vietnam.

  37. #37 US Stu
    February 6, 2008

    To me, the question is whether or not the US is going to be proactive or reactive in foreign policy, specifically regarding military action. You are damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If you ignore clear and obvious dangers to national security, then you risk being attacked as in WW2 and 9/11.

    If you act on the perceived risks and take preemptive action, you are labeled as warmongering imperialist swine. I have no idea which is the best path, since you can’t know the outcome of alternate actions. Would WW2 have resolved itself if we had pulled back to North America and let the rest of the world pound sand? Would terrorists have slacked off after 9/11 if we had stayed out of the mideast? I am very curious to hear opinions on this.

  38. #38 pauls lane
    February 6, 2008

    Excellent questions Stu – about 9/11 supposedly the reason for the attack was our troops being based in Saudia Arabia and perhaps our support of Israel. OBL doesn’t like infidels on sacred soil. So in order for the US to insure no more 9/11 attacks the US would have had to pull completely out of the region and drop its support for Israel (although Spain raises some troubling qestions). Neither of these things were going to happen.

    Hindsight is 20/20 as you know and I believe if we had not entered WW2 or simply stayed and defended the Americas, then we probably would have had to contend with either a Nazi or a Soviet dominated Europe. Or perhaps a stalemate between the Nazi/Soviet domination. Of course the US defending just the Americas then raises the issue of Canada. Canada was going to enter WWII come hell or high water anyway. So now you have a country in the Americas that is an active belligerent in Europe, so if the Canadian homeland is attacked, what do we do? I don’t think the US could have stayed out of WWII if it wanted to.

  39. #39 revere
    February 6, 2008

    “If you ignore clear and obvious dangers to national security, then you risk being attacked as in WW2”

    So we should have bombed the shit out of Tokyo in 1941? Or — where — for 9/11? Saudi?

  40. #40 pauls lane
    February 6, 2008

    Why not revere? If we had received some intelligence that the Japanese fleet was on its way to Hawaii, do we fortify Pearl Harbor and perhaps give the game away, or do we bait and trap them somehow and destroy them on the high seas? Why do we need to sit back and wait for the enemy land the first punch?

  41. #41 revere
    February 6, 2008

    pauls: I notice you didn’t answer my question. If we thought they might attack us (we did have intelligence to that effect) should we have bombed Tokyo long before they left port? Since they thought we were attacking them (by cutting off their oil) they just adopted the “pauls lane” strategy and launched a pre-emptive strike. That’s the world you are advocating? That we be like the Japanese at Pearl Harbor? Same with 9/11. They struck at our Command and Control centers. Pre-emptive strike. As far as I am concerned you are no better than a 9/11 hijacker in terms of your principles. Maybe worse. “Kill everyone in the Middle East” is a recommendation for committing a war crime. I’d be there cheering on the judges in The Hague when they nabbed you.

  42. #42 Gindy
    February 6, 2008

    “If you ignore clear and obvious dangers to national security, then you risk being attacked as in WW2”

    Isn’t that exactly what Bush and his ilk did before 9/11?

  43. #43 pauls lane
    February 6, 2008

    Gindy – don’t use the word ilk; folks here think its derogatory. Actually, it was Clinton and his ilk that did nothing before 9/11.

    Revere – the reasons for Japan attacking the US wasn’t because we stopped shipping them oil; it was because Japan wanted to take everyone else’s oil and ores and whatnot without paying for them and the only country that stood in their way and the only country they feared at the time was the US. Now to answer your question ( I notice, by the way, no one here ever answers my questions – be that as it may) no I would not have advocated bombing Tokyo proper; however, I would have advocated bombing their naval shipyards, ports, and military bases. I would have targeted their industries used to make war, I would have targeted their control and command centers, but not Tokyo proper. I would not target civilians but because civilians probably worked in their defense industries, some would have been killed. I cannot help that.
    Now you answer my question, Why in your opinion does the US have to sit back and take the first punch?

  44. #44 revere
    February 6, 2008

    pauls: we cut off their oil supply, not shipped it to them. That may have been proper but it was a motive. You wouldn’t bomb Tokyo but you’d destroy the entire Middle East and everyone in it. The kind of compassionate conservative we have come to expect.

    Your question: because we don’t do what the 9/11 hijackers and the Imperial Japanese military does. At least most Americans don’t. Your mileage may vary. We have our Tojos and OBLs, too.

  45. #45 pauls lane
    February 6, 2008

    right we did blockade them, prior to that we quit selling them oil..

    as for the Middle East only if I had to revere, only if I had to, so as long as they don’t make me, their safe..

    The question was “Why, in your opinion, does the US HAVE to sit back and take the first punch?”

    You answered, “Why, in your opinion, does the US take the first punch?”

  46. #46 revere
    February 6, 2008

    pauls: I thought I answered that but I’ll try again. There is no logical necessity but there is a practical and a moral necessity. The practical necessity is that the US can no longer (if it ever could) do whatever it wants to do. It lives in a world with others and must take their reaction into account. After the Iraq mistake, where we have been pinned down and bankrupted by a minoirty in a country of 30 million, we are a paper tiger in the eyes of the world. Before Iraq we were feared as omnipotent. The Iraq mistake unmasked us.

    The moral answer is that we can’t do whatever someone may wish to do for any reason because it violates important values. We only give a shit about the country because it represents important values and not killing innocent people on suspicion is one of them (or it used to be). Yes, there is danger there. Just as there is danger in giving people constitutional rights. We do it and if we violate those rights we lose something irreplaceable. Obviously it doesn’t bother you. Your absolute physical security is more important than certain values. We differ.

  47. #47 pauls lane
    February 6, 2008

    revere – you make me laugh…this country is showing a HUGE amount of restraint in the war against terrorism in Iraq. We do exactly what you want us to do. We fight with a hand tied behind our back so we don’t kill innocents. In fact, I’d go so far as to say our restraint has probably allowed bad guys, in order not to kill innocents, to escape. Do you honestly think the war against terrorists in Iraq would have lasted more than 3 months if the full fury of the US had been unleashed in Iraq? The US a paper tiger? Libya didn’t think so.
    So basically your answer to the question is the US has to take the first punch because of what other countries might think of us (do you lie awake at night worrying about what the French think of us? I don’t, in fact I hardly think of France at all) and morally it is justifiable for Americans to be killed first before citizens of any other country because we might kill innocent foriegners. Good answer as long as you are not an American.
    And I don’t understand this at all, you say “Just as there is danger in giving people constitutional rights.” Will you people get it through your heads that NO ONE or NO THING GIVES you constitutional rights. If you are a US citizen you HAVE constitutional rights, the government doesn’t give them to you therefore the government can’t take them away from you.
    There is hope for us revere, because I do whole-heartily agree with your “We differ”, we certainly do.

  48. #48 mary in hawaii
    February 7, 2008

    Pauls you have an amazingly selective memory. “Shock and Awe” was supposed to do exactly what you are now claiming we “restrained ourselves” from doing. Tens of thousands of civilians, the majority women and children, were slaughtered in the multiple vain attempts by our bombers and missiles to take out targets where our “intelligence” had declared Saddam and his sons and top aides to be hiding. Most were market places and residential apartment buildings. And the slaughter of innocents at our hands in the years hence is well documented.

    As for “taking the first punch” it was always that precept which put us in the moral right, that which makes the essential difference between being a bully and a hero. It is the basis of law in this country for the individual as well: you have the right to defend yourself if you are in imminent danger of attack: You can NOT go out and shoot your enemy on the supposition that at some nebulous time in the future you fear he may attack you. The former is adjudicated self defense, the latter is called premeditated murder.
    When Bush initiated the decree that we had the right to preemptive action against a perceived enemy that “might” at some future point endanger us, he created the doctrine of state based premeditated murder, and set a precedent which any nation on earth can now follow at their own discretion. In essence, we have made possible and sanctioned the inevitable run up to WWIII.

  49. #49 paiwan
    February 7, 2008


    Your viewpoints have balanced the realism and idealism to build more civilized international community, especially in Middle East region.

    Any corrective measures that you see as priority to advise next American president? We understand that mistakes have been done there, but we need to move on, any comments?

  50. #50 pauls lane
    February 7, 2008

    revere – you mistake a doctrine, Shock and Awe with the full fury and might of the US military. For your edification “Shock and awe, technically known as rapid dominance, is a military doctrine based on the use of overwhelming decisive force, dominant battlefield awareness, dominant maneuvers, and spectacular displays of power to paralyze an adversary’s perception of the battlefield and destroy its will to fight.” (Wikpedia)
    Now you might believe the US spent its full fury and might during the first few weeks of combat. I do not. By the way Shock and Awe worked in Iraq. Within a few weeks Iraq’s military was in shambles, US forces were in Baghdad, and Sadamm was hiding in a hole. As for your other ramblings, you take the best intelligence you have, and you act on it. Tens of thousands of women and children were not killed by our bombings looking for Sadamm and his sons. Get a grip won’t you?
    Let me see if I have this right. It is better to be a dead hero then a live percieved bully, in your opinion? Well you live by that golden nugget revere, I won’t.

  51. #51 mary in hawaii
    February 7, 2008

    Paiwan. Thank you. The only advice I would give the next president is the same I give my own children and students, which most simply put is the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It works at all levels.

    What it comes down to is have and show respect for others. And, in my mind, to respect means to value. It means that you actually believe the other person has worth and importance, that their ideas and thoughts and words have worth and importance. It means that you actually believe we all have equal value and worth and importance, no one man or tenet or religion or political doctrine more so than another. It means putting aside the ego – individual and collective – that separates us.

    If we speak with this kind of respect, and listen with this kind of respect, and act with this kind of respect we can achieve peace and cooperation in the world. But those who hate will tell you that the ones they hate would never listen, they will tell you they are evil fanatics who are intolerant of all other ideas, and thus never will give it a chance. The truth is they are looking in the mirror.

  52. #52 mary in hawaii
    February 7, 2008

    don’t blame revere for my rants. Although I am flattered you mistook my writing for his.

  53. #53 anon
    February 7, 2008

    no WMDs in Iraq. US lost credibility.
    How can nuclear deterrence doctrines work
    without credibility ?
    The next Cuba-like-crisis — what will happen ?

    We need a world government.
    And sophisticated treaties.
    And trust.Not lies.

  54. #54 pauls lane
    February 7, 2008

    Sorry revere, sorry Mary. Just change revere to Mary then in the above comment.

  55. #55 paiwan
    February 7, 2008

    Mary: Nice to feel that we can still be inspired. We can still hope.

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