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Government folly


Off-Topic Discussions

1,501 to 1,550 of 2,076 << first < prev | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | next > last >>

Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
Bitter Thorn wrote:

More corruption and cover up.

DOJ perjury continues

At least these guys are getting charged and fired. Now if only we did that with congress.

History teaches us that they will get promoted not prosecuted.

If they were going to hold someone accountable Holder would be facing prison.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
Andrew Tuttle wrote:

Hey Kelsey!

Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
An act of war should not be held to constitutional standards.

I strongly disagree with you on this point Kelsey; as a US citizen first and as a human being second.

Regards,

-- Andy

Let's say we did hold acts of war to constitutional standards. How can we strike at the enemy while trying to respect their "right" to life and liberty? That sounds like a recipe for military disaster to me. Instead of trying to make war into something it isn't, don't start wars in the first place unless you absolutely have to. You don't have to worry about the heartbreaking brutality and unfortunately necessary slaughter of both troops and civilians if you don't go to war in the first place.

Why don't you hold to the standards of international agreements that the USA are part of? Such as the Geneva convention ?

They go a lot further that "not shooting kids and prisoners", mind you.

Not upholding them (like you did in Gitmo) made the USA lose A LOT of diplomatic clout, and made them no better than a standard rogue state in the eyes of many. Waging war recklessly on a "Right is might" motto isn't going to make you a lot of friends on the planet. A little bit of care and self-restreint wouldn't hurt : war isn't a contest to elect the most barbaric.


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Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
Nicos wrote:
Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:

America has been accused of violating international law in the Middle East, but we refuse to recognize international law, so we can't violate it. I don't think this is right, but it's the way it is. If we don't recognize something, it can't be violated.

I still do not understand your point entirely but at leat you do not think it is right, wich is good to hear.

My point is that, because the US is not a signatory to most international military law treaties, they don't apply to us any more than, say, Japanese civil law. I don't agree with the fact that we currently have no concrete legal regulations for dealing with insurgents, but for the present that is how it is.

That said, I also don't think we need to sign a whole bunch of complicated stuff. At most, a Geneva Convention-type document that applies to insurgents. That's just enough to regulate the military without getting in the way of viable military strategy and letting congress micromanage conflicts.

Well, that's (probably unintentional) BS. Your own SCOTUS has already TWICE ruled that an enemy prisoner is either a combatant (subject to the Geneva convention) or a civilian prisoner (subject to US laws about detention). There is no grey area between these two propositions (the so called "enemy combatants").

You did sign the Geneva convention. You do have laws about lawful detention. Under Bush, the DOJ went up with a fictitious argument that absolutely nobody took seriously beyond the US borders, that's all.


Bitter Thorn wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Bitter Thorn wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:

That isn't always the case and I would have to say that in order to really push that would require completely ignoring the many good and proper things the government has and continues to do.

If we are going to go with "why give them power when they just abuse it" I would have to point out that corporations and businesses are just as bad if not worse -- after all business has been around much longer, and done much worse things.

Wait a second.

Business has done much worse things than government?

What has business done that's much worse than the genocide of hundreds of millions of people or the systematic rape, torture, and enslavement of countless millions?

intentionally turn a profit as a direct result.
Help me out with some examples if you would.

I think I just got ninjaed. But I would also add Blackwater as an example.


Smarnil le couard wrote:
Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
Andrew Tuttle wrote:

Hey Kelsey!

Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
An act of war should not be held to constitutional standards.

I strongly disagree with you on this point Kelsey; as a US citizen first and as a human being second.

Regards,

-- Andy

Let's say we did hold acts of war to constitutional standards. How can we strike at the enemy while trying to respect their "right" to life and liberty? That sounds like a recipe for military disaster to me. Instead of trying to make war into something it isn't, don't start wars in the first place unless you absolutely have to. You don't have to worry about the heartbreaking brutality and unfortunately necessary slaughter of both troops and civilians if you don't go to war in the first place.

Why don't you hold to the standards of international agreements that the USA are part of? Such as the Geneva convention ?

They go a lot further that "not shooting kids and prisoners", mind you.

Not upholding them (like you did in Gitmo) made the USA lose A LOT of diplomatic clout, and made them no better than a standard rogue state in the eyes of many. Waging war recklessly on a "Right is might" motto isn't going to make you a lot of friends on the planet. A little bit of care and self-restreint wouldn't hurt : war isn't a contest to elect the most barbaric.

To a point, I agree. We shouldn't be fighting these wars we are fighting right now. I have a brutal view of what is acceptable during a fight, but I do agree that it is best to not start one in the first place.


Smarnil le couard wrote:
Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
Nicos wrote:
Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:

America has been accused of violating international law in the Middle East, but we refuse to recognize international law, so we can't violate it. I don't think this is right, but it's the way it is. If we don't recognize something, it can't be violated.

I still do not understand your point entirely but at leat you do not think it is right, wich is good to hear.

My point is that, because the US is not a signatory to most international military law treaties, they don't apply to us any more than, say, Japanese civil law. I don't agree with the fact that we currently have no concrete legal regulations for dealing with insurgents, but for the present that is how it is.

That said, I also don't think we need to sign a whole bunch of complicated stuff. At most, a Geneva Convention-type document that applies to insurgents. That's just enough to regulate the military without getting in the way of viable military strategy and letting congress micromanage conflicts.

Well, that's (probably unintentional) BS. Your own SCOTUS has already TWICE ruled that an enemy prisoner is either a combatant (subject to the Geneva convention) or a civilian prisoner (subject to US laws about detention). There is no grey area between these two propositions (the so called "enemy combatants").

You did sign the Geneva convention. You do have laws about lawful detention. Under Bush, the DOJ went up with a fictitious argument that absolutely nobody took seriously beyond the US borders, that's all.

I'm pretty sure that those SCOTUS rulings were somehow invalidated, but I'm not sure how. It was probably the DOJ, since whatever they say is law regardless of how fictitious the argument is. I agree that we should have something like the Geneva Convention for insurgents, but right now we don't. The US government doesn't recognize any rules as to how it should behave. The problem with that is, without concrete rules, politicians have to micromanage the military to make sure it doesn't go too far, and that micromanaging gets in the way of strategy and costs lives, without ensuring that the military doesn't go too far. I'm not a big fan of a lot of rules in warfare, but it would be nice to have some to put an end to this situation.


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Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
I'm pretty sure that those SCOTUS rulings were somehow invalidated, but I'm not sure how. It was probably the DOJ, since whatever they say is law regardless of how fictitious the argument is. I agree that we should have something like the Geneva Convention for insurgents, but right now we don't. The US government doesn't recognize any rules as to how it should behave. The problem with that is, without concrete rules, politicians have to micromanage the military to make sure it doesn't go too far, and that micromanaging gets in the way of strategy and costs lives, without ensuring that the military doesn't go too far. I'm not a big fan of a lot of rules in warfare, but it would be nice to have some to put an end to this situation.

SCOTUS can't be invalidated, and they didn't (checks and balance, remember?). DOJ tried to enact a new law to circumvent the first ruling, law that got shot down in flames by the second ruling.

So there is NO need for a "Geneva convention for insurgents", as there is no such thing. You have either civil prisoners or prisoners of war (POWs), both falling under existing rules. From a legal point of view, this case is settled : Gitmo violated either US or international law.

To answer your other post : some fights can't be avoided, some could, but that is not the point. I don't agree with your statement that in war, anything goes. You drew the line at "not shooting kids and prisoners".

Were you serious, here ? Does it mean that you would be okay with killing all civilians in an area, for example (it would be an effective way to cut off the ennemy from ressources, after all)? Is germ warfare okay too (given that you inoculate children and POWs)? Torture of randomly arrested people to root out terrorists/freedom fighters (depending on the POV)? Mass execution of civilians as a way of reprisal against guerilla attacks? Massive bombings of whole cities full of civilians AND (probably) a bunch of ennemy combatants?

There is no excuse for gross human rights violation, even in war, and especially from a democracy.

Qadira

Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
Bitter Thorn wrote:

More corruption and cover up.

DOJ perjury continues

At least these guys are getting charged and fired. Now if only we did that with congress.

You mean like all the insider trading that goes on in Congress, but isn't illegal because they're in Congress?


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Massive bombings of civilian areas? I'm okay with that. It won WW2, didn't it? Wrecking the civilian manufacturing plants weakens an army severely. Torture and reprisal executions? I'm against it simply because it doesn't actually do anything useful. It's not a deterrent or effective information gathering method. Same with biological or chemical warfare. It's not so much that it's brutal as that it's too hard to control, limiting it's military utility. I don't stand against it from a moral point of view, I stand against it from a practical point of view.

War is atrocious, because atrocities have military utility. Instead of trying to make war into something civil, which can never work, let's try not to go to war in the first place.


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Bitter Thorn wrote:


The current government controlled system has virtually nothing to do with free markets or competition.

Ok so here's a summation of the problems with this.

Either a)you say that it's okay for hospitals to turn people away and thousands if not tens of thousands of people just DIE every year because they can't afford medical coverage OR the b)"competition" ends up with EVERYONE being screwed out of medical coverage. Right now we have B because the insurance companies and hospitals cut every corner to make sure they get you out of their face ASAP.

The solutions are a)single payer state-run healthcare. You say this can't possibly work, except that it DOES ALMOST EVERYWHERE ELSE! And just fine. b)you go back to mandating that health care providers and health insurance providers CANNOT BE FOR PROFIT. You need a clear division of insurance companies that are for life/car/whatever which can be for profit and a separate company with NO shared funds that is 100% not-for-profit and only deals with health care.

The only options that don't involve government "getting in the way" with their "inefficiency" and "corruption" results in corporations letting tens of thousands of people die on the street to line their pockets.

And f@%# that.


Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:

Massive bombings of civilian areas? I'm okay with that. It won WW2, didn't it? Wrecking the civilian manufacturing plants weakens an army severely. Torture and reprisal executions? I'm against it simply because it doesn't actually do anything useful. It's not a deterrent or effective information gathering method. Same with biological or chemical warfare. It's not so much that it's brutal as that it's too hard to control, limiting it's military utility. I don't stand against it from a moral point of view, I stand against it from a practical point of view.

War is atrocious, because atrocities have military utility. Instead of trying to make war into something civil, which can never work, let's try not to go to war in the first place.

I said nothing about manufacturing plants, which are indeed legitimate traget. I am speaking about bombing/killing civilian PEOPLE, non combatant types. Clear with that?


Like cluster bombs or land mines, Smarnil?

(Not being snarky, I agree with you.)


Smarnil le couard wrote:
Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:

Massive bombings of civilian areas? I'm okay with that. It won WW2, didn't it? Wrecking the civilian manufacturing plants weakens an army severely. Torture and reprisal executions? I'm against it simply because it doesn't actually do anything useful. It's not a deterrent or effective information gathering method. Same with biological or chemical warfare. It's not so much that it's brutal as that it's too hard to control, limiting it's military utility. I don't stand against it from a moral point of view, I stand against it from a practical point of view.

War is atrocious, because atrocities have military utility. Instead of trying to make war into something civil, which can never work, let's try not to go to war in the first place.

I said nothing about manufacturing plants, which are indeed legitimate traget. I am speaking about bombing/killing civilian PEOPLE, non combatant types. Clear with that?

That just sounds pointless and strategically worthless.


We've developed precision munitions for the sole purpose of hitting what we're aiming at once, thereby minimizing collateral damage.

Nobody just bombs civilians for the hell of it anymore. Nowadays that is considered terrorism.

Welcome to the 21st century.


It does sound like something that has no real worth as a military strategy. If anything, bombing civilians will just increase their resolve.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Bitter Thorn wrote:

Because without the government getting in the way the doctor or insurance company works for me. If I don't like the job they are doing I fire them and get another one.

The current government controlled system has virtually nothing to do with free markets or competition.

Wow, I go away from 24 hours to do that work thing, and this topic has exploded! I know I'm late on commenting on this, but BT, I can't afford to fire my insurance company. I can't afford to have individual insurance. If I didn't work for an employer or be destitute, I'd have no coverage at all. I'm uninsurable; I have leukemia.

Now, GA law says the insurance companies are required to offer me coverage -- but it doesn't have to be affordable coverage.

Right now I'm doing well -- and trying to come off the medicine that stops the leukemia to see if that might be a permanent solution -- but there's still the risk that at some point in my life I'd need an expensive bone marrow transplant. And insurance companies really don't handle risk well, especially on an individual level.

So what's your answer for people like me who are uninsurable? Do we revise the entire healthcare system to reduce costs? (which isn't necessarily a bad idea, mind you) But then I worry about the difference between the haves and the have-nots. Right now I can have insurance very similar if not exactly like what Warren Buffett could purchase because I work for an employer that provides group coverage. But without that umbrella -- alone in an individual coverage marketplace -- I'd be lost and wouldn't have anything.

I certainly don't expect you to have all the answers (though that would be massively cool -- think of all the things you could do!! :), but I want to make sure you're seeing all the sides of the coin on this issue....


To add to Aatea, I have Gender Identity Disorder. To fix it requires thousands of dollars of therapy and half a million dollars in medical procedures. Neither is covered by most insurance companies, and that is irrelevant since I can't afford insurance in the first place. My family makes less than 30,000 dollars a year, and once I finish Job Corps there isn't any reason to think I'll be making more than that. How am I supposed to pay for insurance on that salary? Without insurance, how am I supposed to pay for the procedures? Then we have my stepdad, who has lung problems but can't afford to seek medical treatment for whatever it is. For all we know it's something severe, but he cannot afford to go to the hospital to see. It'd bankrupt the family. Medical care is expensive, and a lot of Americans just can't pay for it ourselves, and can't pay for insurance.


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But, according to BT's theories it's entirely the fault of the evil (corrupt & incompetent) government that healthcare is expensive.
If government hadn't given tax breaks to companies for insurance, then there wouldn't be insurance and people would have to shop around for their medical care and since doctors and hospitals would want their business they'd find ways to make it cheap enough for you to buy what you needed.
And there'd be ponies for everyone too, since the magical free market fairies would realize that they could make more by selling cheap ponies to everyone.

But if you die from lack of medical care, at least you die free! That's what's important.

Spoiler:
Snark, if the ponies didn't make it obvious. And I'm sorry, BT, but it really does sound that stupid to me. And that cruel.


Doesn't sound any dumber than ponies crap money in Murica so that's why we can all afford free medical coverage for everyone on teh planet!

We are 15 trillin in debt, and even if we taxed everyone 100% we could not generate that much revenue. Dunno where it's all supposed to come from, or are we gonna go so far into debt that all that remains is to go Star Trek and declare we've transcended the need for money?


Kryzbyn wrote:

We've developed precision munitions for the sole purpose of hitting what we're aiming at once, thereby minimizing collateral damage.

Nobody just bombs civilians for the hell of it anymore. Nowadays that is considered terrorism.

Welcome to the 21st century.

Pray tell then why we (the US) and England will not sign the UN's firebomb ban (Protocol III of the Convention on Certain Convential Weapons [CCW]), then? Its not terrorism when we do it, its called morale bombing. Its what the Allies did to Hamburg and, more famously, Dresden.


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Because it's never wise to take options off of the table?

Or because all that is is feel-good nonsense. It doesn't mean anything. We should not ever give any potential enemies the idea that there is a line we will not cross.


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Kryzbyn wrote:
Doesn't sound any dumber than ponies crap money in Murica so that's why we can all afford free medical coverage for everyone on teh planet!

Good thing no one's proposed that then.

The only comparative evidence we have suggests pretty strongly that a socialistic healthcare system of one kind or another provides better care to more people than our current mishmash. Even within the US, the government run systems do better than private insurance. Yes, some have problems with delays and rationing. Is that worse than the delays in the current system or rationing by ability to pay?

Taxes would have to go up, but your insurance costs would drop. Fundamentally it doesn't matter whether the money makes it's way from your pocket to the hospital through a government tax or a insurance company premium. The government will spend more on healthcare, the private sector less. Every other developed country devotes a smaller percentage of it's economy to healthcare than we do. It's crippling us.

Kryzbyn wrote:


We are 15 trillin in debt, and even if we taxed everyone 100% we could not generate that much revenue. Dunno where it's all supposed to come from, or are we gonna go so far into debt that all that remains is to go Star Trek and declare we've transcended the need for money?

Surprisingly, we've been in worse debt before and got out of it. Luckily we don't have to pay it all off in one year, so talking about "even if we taxed everyone 100% we could not generate that much revenue" doesn't make any sense. The trade deficit is far more important than government debt. That's basic macroeconomic theory.

Taxes are at post-war historic lows. They should go up. Even just reversing the Bush tax cuts would put a huge dent in the deficit going forward.


Kryzbyn wrote:

Doesn't sound any dumber than ponies crap money in Murica so that's why we can all afford free medical coverage for everyone on teh planet!

We are 15 trillin in debt, and even if we taxed everyone 100% we could not generate that much revenue. Dunno where it's all supposed to come from, or are we gonna go so far into debt that all that remains is to go Star Trek and declare we've transcended the need for money?

To echo what thejeff said, it would work like this:

Step 1)Everyone stops paying into private health insurance
Step 2)Everyone takes that SAME MONEY and puts it, via taxation, into a single-payer healthcare fund a la medicare
Step 3)You go about your business, going to the same doctors, except now instead of health insurance skimming 30-60% off the top, every dollor goes to actually treating patients.

No one is suggesting that we pay for this ON TOP of our current system. It's the same money going somewhere else.
It's radical, I know.

As to your stuff about debt-right now I owe about 7500 bucks in student loans (I only took loans out for what I absolutely need, and I can probably pay most of that back right now, but nonetheless). Since I owe money ZOMG I MUSTN'T BUY GROCERIES OR PAY FOR ELECTRICITY.
No. That's absurd. That's what debt and credit is for, at least when used responsibly. It's for paying for things you need but can't immediately afford (healthcare, groceries) rather than something you want (another war for oil, big screen TV).


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Kryzbyn wrote:

Because it's never wise to take options off of the table?

Or because all that is is feel-good nonsense. It doesn't mean anything. We should not ever give any potential enemies the idea that there is a line we will not cross.

Like torture for example. I mean, if our enemies knew for sure we wouldn't torture them, like that we as a people found it morally reprehensible and decided we weren't going to do it, then all those enemies would do is surren....oh...


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Pawns Subscriber
SmarnilLeCouard wrote:

Why don't you hold to the standards of international agreements that the USA are part of? Such as the Geneva convention ?

They go a lot further that "not shooting kids and prisoners", mind you.

Not upholding them (like you did in Gitmo) made the USA lose A LOT of diplomatic clout, and made them no better than a standard rogue state in the eyes of many. Waging war recklessly on a "Right is might" motto isn't going to make you a lot of friends on the planet. A little bit of care and self-restreint wouldn't hurt : war isn't a contest to elect the most barbaric.

Enchanté Smarnil le couard!

One of the things I truly cherish about the Paizo messageboards is their distinct international flavor. I appreciate the fact a company I regard so highly (Paizo) has such a reach, and I really enjoy reading and typing to folks from all over the globe.

I'm still parsing this thread (which I participated a bit in yesterday), but I saw this post and wanted to both agree with you (I "favorited" your post) and give you a polite caution (if that's possible using this medium).

When addressing folks from here in the US, I'd avoid using the personal pronoun "you" when discussing the large-scale activities of both our nation as well as groups in our nation.

I'm an United States citizen by birth and choice. I recognize I live in a republic, but _I_ don't care to be associated with many, many of the activities the United States has participated in the past decade or so on the international stage.

Frankly, I think some of my fellow citizens deserve to be tried as international criminals -- not only did they violate international law, I believe they violated the mandates and requirements of our own "native" laws.

For a long time, the US has been (for better or worse) viewed as the "Good Guys." I certainly no longer feel that way, and I can't blame anyone from a completely different country feeling or thinking the same way.

So I'd type "you folks" or even "US citizens" or some-such rather than "you" in future posts.

Liberté, égalité, fraternité,

-- Andy


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There was a time when our enemies were glad to surrender to the US, because they knew they'd be treated well. Sometimes even better than by their leaders.

Now, they might as well fight to the death and take a few of us with them. If they surrender they'll be tortured. Regardless of the reality, we've let our reputation suffer enough that the perception can take hold.


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Meh; There's rules for civility and citizenship, and theres rules for war. I'm not going to try to infuse morality into the latter.


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Kryzbyn wrote:
Meh; There's rules for civility and citizenship, and theres rules for war. I'm not going to try to infuse morality into the latter.

Kryzbyn,

I don't mean to get up in your face, but it's the "Meh;" that bothered me.

Luckily, neither you (nor anyone else reading this) needs to struggle much. The work of "infuse"-ing morality into war has already been done for us by the Geneva Conventions, which establishes "the standards of international law for the humanitarian treatment of the victims of war."

The United States is a signatory to the Geneva Conventions, so as a citizen thereof I expect my nation-state to at least meet (and when I read the US Declaration of Independence and Constitution exceed) the treaty's requirements.

I know it's a tough road, but I'm hoping here in the 21st Century humans can hold the conflicting ideas "war is horrible and should not ever happen" in their heads long enough to agree "in the event we've got to send men and women off somewhere to kill other men and women, they will try and kill as few folks as possible. While they are killing, just kill the ones trying to kill us back."

Regards Kryzbyn. I'm really passionate about this. I'm ashamed of my country the past decade, and it hurts me deeply.

-- Andy


Andrew Tuttle wrote:
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
Andrew Tuttle wrote:

Comrade, when you (if you) go back and read the too-long-didn't-read you'll see the discussion took place on "CATO Unbound," a web-site hosted by the Cato Institute.

-- Andy

Why are you telling me this? Am I missing something in your link that answers my question?

I thought you might be typing about Sydney Hook, et al of the top of my head.

It seems I was mistaken.

Regards,

-- Andy

Since I see that you were here recently:

I still don't see anything about the "Trotskyist" roots of neoconservatism on that page.

Based only on the wikipedia page, I wonder whethere Sidney Hook qualifies as a progenitor of neocon-dom. He looks more to me like a typical Cold War State Department "socialist".

He did, however, enter Trotskyism with one James Burnham, who is sometimes labelled the "first" neocon. (Again, according to wikipedia.)

I used to read extensively about American Trotskyism in the thirties, and Burnham is definitely a dude I've read about--I'm surprised I didn't know more about Hook.


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As for the whole civilized rules of war question:

Well, it'd be nice, but I don't expect the brutal, rapacious American imperialists to be anything other than brutal and rapacious. I mean, really, what else can you say about a government that is using automated killer robots to blow up innocents attending tribal weddings because said gov't is on a 10-year vengeance kick/wants to build an oil pipeline?


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Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:

It does sound like something that has no real worth as a military strategy. If anything, bombing civilians will just increase their resolve.

That just sounds pointless and strategically worthless.

Indeed. But it has nevertheless made again and again, either :

1) as a deliberate attempt to cow/shock the population into surrender (usually with the opposite effect). Dresden is a perfect example of this; more recently, Fallujah in 2004 could be too.

2) because it was too much of a bother to avoid hitting some town to get at some elusive targets. Fallujah at least qualifies for that, even if it wasn't deliberately punitive (yes, you don't use WP in town if you even remotely care about civilian lives).

Your reasoning is that such acts aren't war crimes, because US law do not define them as such. Sure ! But you just miss the point, as the world doesn't end at the US border.

Just because you (the USA) call a horse a duck, torture an "enhanced interrogation", or a POW an "ennemy combatant" doesn't mean the rest of the world do the same. Granted, the USA stayed outside most of international treaties about rules of war (with good reason) : so, they can't be held acccountable before international courts. But that doesn't mean that in the eyes of the rest of the world, some of the US army actions can't be seen as (unpunished) war crimes, committted by an "outlaw" state (in the literal sense, that is : a state refusing the laws commonly accepted by most of the international community).

Do you see my point ? The price of legal irresponsability in matters of war is a steep loss of diplomatic power, which can get in the way of the peaceful resolution of problems.

@Andrew Tuttle : thanks for the tip. In french, we have got two "you", a singular and a plural.

So, to clarify my point, please assume than by "you" I mean a plural, to designate the US government, and not a singular. I don't think that any poster here personnally perpetrated war crimes (hope so...).

@Kryzbyn : I see your point. Such a policy CAN have a strategic value in terms of deterrence. It's somewhat akin to the MAD doctrine of the Cold War era. Let's call it the "Evil Empire Stance" (EES) for the sake of this discussion ("let's teach those rebels a lesson : zap the nearest planet !").

But on the other hand, the EES has a heavy cost, as your reputation for reckless, wild eyed violence becomes widely known not only to your ennemies (useful as a deterrent), but also to your allies (mostly irrelevant) and to other neutral countries (very bad in terms of diplomatic weight) whose population becomes more and more hostile to US interests.

I think that the EES cost outweighs the benefit, especially when used against terrorists who don't give a damn about such violent reprisals. On the contrary, they give them a perfect recruiting tool. Have you noticed than after ten years of War on Terror, the number of terrorist attacks grows steadily, according to your DOD annual report?


Not your first warning Smarnil: I will start eating "freedom fries" again.


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Hitdice wrote:
Not your first warning Smarnil: I will start eating "freedom fries" again.

Take a cabernet with them. Goes down smoothly.

Seriously, I wish you well guys. I just don't believe that the USA need to play rough to be a credible threat to its ennemies. Not with the largest army in the world, by several orders of magnitude.

Lack of restreint in war just fosters hate, which seems counterproductive.

Rule by terror can indeed be a strategic choice. But I can't recall any historical exemple of this policy which ended well in the long run.


Smarnil le couard wrote:
Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:

It does sound like something that has no real worth as a military strategy. If anything, bombing civilians will just increase their resolve.

That just sounds pointless and strategically worthless.

Indeed. But it has nevertheless made again and again, either :

1) as a deliberate attempt to cow/shock the population into surrender (usually with the opposite effect). Dresden is a perfect example of this; more recently, Fallujah in 2004 could be too.

2) because it was too much of a bother to avoid hitting some town to get at some elusive targets. Fallujah at least qualifies for that, even if it wasn't deliberately punitive (yes, you don't use WP in town if you even remotely care about civilian lives).

Your reasoning is that such acts aren't war crimes, because US law do not define them as such. Sure ! But you just miss the point, as the world doesn't end at the US border.

Just because you (the USA) call a horse a duck, torture an "enhanced interrogation", or a POW an "ennemy combatant" doesn't mean the rest of the world do the same. Granted, the USA stayed outside most of international treaties about rules of war (with good reason) : so, they can't be held acccountable before international courts. But that doesn't mean that in the eyes of the rest of the world, some of the US army actions can't be seen as (unpunished) war crimes, committted by an "outlaw" state (in the literal sense, that is : a state refusing the laws commonly accepted by most of the international community).

Do you see my point ? The price of legal irresponsability in matters of war is a steep loss of diplomatic power, which can get in the way of the peaceful resolution of problems.

You and I can see it like that, but legally that isn't how it's defined in the US. I'm not saying the US should act like this, I'm saying that, at the moment, it does, and that US law supports it. Like it or not, waterboarding is not torture, because the DOJ says it isn't. It's stupid and ineffective, and it would be torture in France, but in America it isn't torture, because that's what our law says. Your laws don't apply here.


The funny things is, my original statement was in response to a targeted assassination of someone seen as a military threat who happened to be a US citizen, not mass killings or torture. The first has strategic value, the second two don't. This discussion has gotten way off the rails.


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Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
You and I can see it like that, but legally that isn't how it's defined in the US. I'm not saying the US should act like this, I'm saying that, at the moment, it does, and that US law supports it. Like it or not, waterboarding is not torture, because the DOJ says it isn't. It's stupid and ineffective, and it would be torture in France, but in America it isn't torture, because that's what our law says. Your laws don't apply here.

War crimes and crimes against humanity specifically rise above national laws. That's the whole point of them. You can't count on the dictator outlawing torture and prosecuting himself for it.

I assume the Japanese who were prosecuted for water boarding (among other tortures) by the US after WWII were following Japanese law. I know they were not prosecuted under Japanese law.

The reason the modern US doesn't worry about this is they don't think anyone can force them to. It's not a matter legality, it's simply about raw power.


Like I said, Jeff, I don't necessarily agree with it. That is, however, how it is. Japan was defeated, and therefore whatever laws we said applied applied. We are not, and therefore if we say international law doesn't apply to us but applies to others, that's how it is. It sucks, but it's how things work when one country has all the power.


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Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
You and I can see it like that, but legally that isn't how it's defined in the US. I'm not saying the US should act like this, I'm saying that, at the moment, it does, and that US law supports it. Like it or not, waterboarding is not torture, because the DOJ says it isn't. It's stupid and ineffective, and it would be torture in France, but in America it isn't torture, because that's what our law says. Your laws don't apply here.

Thanks a lot for the patient explanation, but as a lawyer I am already familiar with the juridiction issue. :)

I will just remind you that I'm talking here about UN sanctioned international law here, not french law. Yes, the USA don't accept it, but as they are alone in this (even most african dictatorships are part of the ICC, nowadays)...

The casual killing of foreign civilians and the deliberate killing of an US citizen without due process aren't so different : both are (avoidable) murders.

What you say boils down to "right is might" and "law applies to all, except to us". It's true, but basing your (the US!) policies on such dogmas is sadly wasteful. The USA could choose to apply their vast power in wiser ways and achieve the same results : in flaunting it by reckless military actions, they just damage their reputation, lose diplomatic power, make more and more enemies each year, wreck their own economy, etc., ad nauseam.

Naked imperialism has its price in terms of goodwill, as nobody likes bullies. A little more restreint would do wonders. Probably in tens of years, as the current damage is extensive.

I mean, you can't BOTH kill iraqis civilians by the thousands without bothering to count them AND be surprised by the hate radiating from the middle east. They hate your freedom? You bet ! Maybe they just hate the way you trample theirs...

It's only because the Al Queda guys are the nutcases they are than they didn't achieve their political goals in the Middle East after the various Iraq war PR disasters (Bagram, Fallujah, Blackwater slaughters, and more generally, the various unpunished killings of civilians covered by the blanket unaccounatability of US troops).

And in Afghanistan, we (USA, UK, France, and a lot of others) arrived in 2001 as liberators, the common afghani being no fonder than you or me of the Taliban zealots rule. It looks like we did a so good job of it that the Talibans will be welcomed back as liberators as soon as we pull back. Crashing too much weddings parties with impunity can do that to popular support.


Smarnil le couard wrote:
Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
You and I can see it like that, but legally that isn't how it's defined in the US. I'm not saying the US should act like this, I'm saying that, at the moment, it does, and that US law supports it. Like it or not, waterboarding is not torture, because the DOJ says it isn't. It's stupid and ineffective, and it would be torture in France, but in America it isn't torture, because that's what our law says. Your laws don't apply here.

Thanks a lot for the patient explanation, but as a lawyer I am already familiar with the juridiction issue. :)

I will just remind you that I'm talking here about UN sanctioned international law here, not french law. Yes, the USA don't accept it, but as they are alone in this (even most african dictatorships are part of the ICC, nowadays)...

The casual killing of foreign civilians and the deliberate killing of an US citizen without due process aren't so different : both are (avoidable) murders.

What you say boils down to "right is might" and "law applies to all, except to us". It's true, but basing your (the US!) policies on such dogmas is sadly wasteful. The USA could choose to apply their vast power in wiser ways and achieve the same results : in flaunting it by reckless military actions, they just damage their reputation, lose diplomatic power, make more and more enemies each year, wreck their own economy, etc., ad nauseam.

Naked imperialism has its price in terms of goodwill, as nobody likes bullies. A little more restreint would do wonders. Probably in tens of years, as the current damage is extensive.

I mean, you can't BOTH kill iraqis civilians by the thousands without bothering to count them AND be surprised by the hate radiating from the middle east. They hate your freedom? You bet ! Maybe they just hate the way you trample theirs...

It's only because the Al Queda guys are the nutcases they are than they didn't achieve their political goals in the Middle East after the various Iraq war PR disasters (Bagram, Fallujah,...

Again, I don't necessarily disagree with most of this. I'm saying how it is, not that it's smart.


I don't have any proof of this story, but it runs in my family. If true, it's pretty stupid. Back before the Korean War, my grandfather wanted to join the Marine Corps. They turned him down over his teeth, however. So he went to the Air Force, who said they'd get him fillings and let him enlist. So he joined the Air Force. Then the Korean War hit. He got drafted by the Marine Corps, despite the fact that he was already serving on active duty in the Air Force. The Marine Corps threatened him with jail time if he didn't show up to be evaluated for conscription, but if he did show up that would have been desertion from the Air Force. So, he basically had to choose between draft dodging and desertion. Eventually it took a letter to a Marine Corps general from an Air Force general to get the marines to back off, because apparently the two branches had nothing better to do during a shooting war than bicker over a single Air Force enlisted man who didn't even have a high value job.


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Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

Since I see that you were here recently:

I still don't see anything about the "Trotskyist" roots of neoconservatism on that page.

Based only on the wikipedia page, I wonder whethere Sidney Hook qualifies as a progenitor of neocon-dom. He looks more to me like a typical Cold War State Department "socialist".

He did, however, enter Trotskyism with one James Burnham, who is sometimes labelled the "first" neocon. (Again, according to wikipedia.)

I used to read extensively about American Trotskyism in the thirties, and Burnham is definitely a dude I've read about--I'm surprised I didn't know more about Hook.

Awe, Comrade; I'm seriously sorry dude. I feel like I've forgotten the face of my father, and cry pardon.

The other evening when I was here on the boards I meant to respond to you, but as I was reading the posts I got ... distracted ... and lost focus. I didn't take your response I missed as rude, and I'm sorry I didn't get back to you man.

Bitter Thorn had linked some content from The Cato Institute. The Cato Institute self-identifies as a libertarian organization, but whenever I look closely at them, they really seem to be "severe conservatives" out to tell me how to think, and then to think it, and then how I should be voting the straight Republican Ticket every chance I have to vote.

Generally, I don't do the "ad hominem" stuff ... even the biggest dope in the world can present me with truth (and that includes the Cato Institute, and whatever websites they choose to host). I just assumed you had a familiarity with the Cato Institute, and when you tossed off "who am I thinking of," my first thought was Hook.

Failed communication. As the sender, I apologize.

My highest regards, you little green Marxist,

-- Andy


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Kelsey, Kelsey, Kelsey.

I can't even read your full post without feeling the need to tell you are StrongBadWrong.

Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
Like it or not, waterboarding is not torture, because the DOJ says it isn't. It's stupid and ineffective, and it would be torture in France, but in America it isn't torture, because that's what our law says. Your laws don't apply here.

(1) Kelsey, water-boarding is torture. John McCain may not know how to pick a vice-presidential candidate when he's desperately seeing the presidency, but as a prisoner-of-war the man knows torture when he hears about.

Water-boarding is double-plus bad.

(2) Kelsey, you are factually incorrect when you type "the DOJ says it isn't."

You're wrong, in other words.

"A Justice Department official who signed two secret legal memos in 2005 authorizing the use of waterboarding now says the department has made no determination that the interrogation method is legal under current law.

Steven Bradbury, acting head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, makes the statement in prepared testimony to be delivered today to the House Judiciary Constitution subcommittee, the Associated Press reports."
cite

That was in 2008. I hope I don't need to tell you the current "DOJ" isn't all down with water-boarding, but if I need to I will.

This also relieves me of the need to type about how a cabinet-level department of the US Government doesn't get to decide whether something is or is not legal here in the US.

Kelsey, I think you are a passionate person (I am too), but I also think you are ignorant (as am I, of oh so many things).

Please check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Regards,

-- Andy


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Andrew, water-boarding is ALL-AMERICAN; It's been a part of our judicial system since the Salem Witch Trials, okay?


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Hitdice,

Hitdice wrote:
Andrew, water-boarding is ALL-AMERICAN; It's been a part of our judicial system since the Salem Witch Trials, okay?

Dude / Dudette, you are factually incorrect.

That stuff went down in 1692, way before we were "the several states."

And you can call me "Andy," I find "Andrew" a bit too formal.

Now let me get back to hi5'in that Franch person.

-- Andy


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Smarnil,

Smarnil le couard wrote:
The casual killing of foreign civilians and the deliberate killing of an US citizen without due process aren't so different : both are (avoidable) murders.

Hey Franch person. :)

I think you have defined "war" for me henceforth, inside my head ...

Smarnil le couard wrote:
(avoidable) murders.

I was also deeply distressed you'd equate "casual killing of foreign civilians" to AN (singular) "deliberate killing of an US citizen without due process."

At the risk of sounding morose, it's not clear to me how any human life matters any more nor less than any other human life.

It's the human condition, I suspect.

A man that owned other humans as chattel wrote "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

I'm def morose now.

-- Andy


Smarnil le couard wrote:

I mean, you can't BOTH kill iraqis civilians by the thousands without bothering to count them AND be surprised by the hate radiating from the middle east. They hate your freedom? You bet ! Maybe they just hate the way you trample theirs...

It's only because the Al Queda guys are the nutcases they are than they didn't achieve their political goals in the Middle East after the various Iraq war PR disasters (Bagram, Fallujah, Blackwater slaughters, and more generally, the various unpunished killings of civilians covered by the blanket unaccounatability of US troops).

And in Afghanistan, we (USA, UK, France, and a lot of others) arrived in 2001 as liberators, the common afghani being no fonder than you or me of the Taliban zealots rule. It looks like we did a so good job of it that the Talibans will be welcomed back as liberators as soon as we pull back. Crashing too much weddings parties with impunity can do that to popular support.

A truth as solid as adamantine.


Andrew Tuttle wrote:

Smarnil,

I was also deeply distressed you'd equate "casual killing of foreign civilians" to AN (singular) "deliberate killing of an US citizen without due process."

At the risk of sounding morose, it's not clear to me how any human life matters any more nor less than any other human life.

It's the human condition, I suspect.

A man that owned other humans as chattel wrote "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

I'm def morose now.

-- Andy

No need for distress, as I was answering Kelsey. She was talking about one US death, not about several foreign ones. Doesn't mean that I, or she, give more weight to the former.


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Smarnil le couard wrote:
No need for distress, as I was answering Kelsey. She was talking about one US death, not about several foreign ones. Doesn't mean that I, or she, give more weight to the former.

Ah I misunderstood. Thank you.

-- Andy


Plus, the death I was talking about was a strike against a perceived military threat, not civilian attacks of questionable military utility.


Trespass Bill

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