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December 04, 2005


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WELCOME TO THE WAR ON ERROR TERROR How many more terrors errors have been made in our fight for right before we get it all wrong right? Oops. Our bad. Kafka called to say this is what happens when [Read More]

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If I had infinite hours in the day: http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/4222/1475/1600/Hurricane%20Chart.jpg Hurricanes and Atlantic water temperature. http://economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=5213951 The Economist writes about Rich Lyons's studie... [Read More]


Hil, you've got to keep this in perspective. If he taught the Al Qaeda member something useful like English or engineering, he

....He was technically an enemy combatant.


"-- and it was fun."

That says it all.

Please note that his name is not Khaled Masri; it's Khalid el Masri. Dropping the 'el' is like dropping the 'O' in the name of a Sean O'Brien.

Just because the Post is too sloppy to get his name right doesn't mean that we should be.

Well this looks like some bad press for the US, but by comparison to organizing Shia death squads (The gift that keeps on giving!) it seems relatively minor.

To the Iraqis someone who is disappeared forever by the U.S. probably looks a lot like the victims of the Shiite death squads.

"To the Iraqis someone who is disappeared forever by the U.S. probably looks a lot like the victims of the Shiite death squads."

Meet the new boss.

Same as the old boss.

Hey John,

I hear ducks quacking!

To the Iraqis someone who is disappeared forever by the U.S. probably looks a lot like the victims of the Shiite death squads.

Meet the new boss.

Same as the old boss.

So these people hate Bush. They hate what has happened to America under Bush. Bush=Hussein.

The Voice of Moderation? I think not. In my world equating the President of the U.S. to Hussein is not only un-American it is anti-American.

Even though Clinton had Serbia bombed to hell and killed innocent civilians without approval from the U.N. I don't remember anyone comparing his acts Milosevic.

Even though Clinton destroyed the government of Serbia and allowed many Serbs to be murdered by Albanian's and Kosovar's, I haven't heard anyone comparing him to Milosevic.

I don't see why anyone would disagree with this assessment by our president.

We act to prevent a wider war, to defuse a powder keg at the heart of the Middle East, that has exploded twice before in this century with catastrophic results. . . . By acting now, we are upholding our values, protecting our interests and advancing the cause of peace. . . . Ending this tragedy is a moral imperative. It is also important to America's national interests. . . . Do our interests in Iraq justify the dangers to our armed forces? . . . I am convinced that the dangers of acting are far outweighed by the dangers of not acting -- dangerous to defenseless people and to our national interests. . . . I have a responsibility as president to deal with problems such as this before they do permanent harm to our national interests. America has a responsibility to stand with our allies when they are trying to save innocent lives and preserve peace, freedom and stability in Middle East. That is what we are doing in Iraq."

Creek: In my world equating the President of the U.S. to Hussein is not only un-American it is anti-American.

Under the current President of the US, Iraqis are being unjustly imprisoned, tortured, and killed. Under Saddam Hussein,. Iraqis were unjustly impriosned, tortured, and killed.

Is it really anti-American (or un-American) to point this out?

I don't see why anyone would disagree with this assessment by our president.

Because, as an assessment of what the US occupation is doing in Iraq, it's blatantly false.

As an assessment of what Bush wishes the US occupation was doing in Iraq, it may or may not be false; we don't know what Bush wishes for.

As a description of what the Bush administration hopes the US public will believe the US occupation is accomplishing in Iraq, it's probably quite accurate.

Hey Creek,

I think Tim was pointing out that there might be Iraqis and others in the Mideast who hear ducks quacking too.

But I thank you for abandoning your previous coy demeanor and naming names -- I had underestimated you and thought perhaps you were, as Daffy Duck might splutter, merely "duthspicable" and lacked the courage of your convictions.

I'll let Tim take it from there on whether hating what America has become under Bush equals hating America.

As for Clinton, the great thing is that some on your side (me coy, you coy) hated him for his sexual escapades with the same fury as they could have hated him for murdering millions. But they took the easy way out. After all, a good chunk of the electorate can abide a little aerial bombing of civilians, but mussing up Monica's lip gloss is beyond the pale.

It could be that you didn't hear comparisons to Milosovich because you fell asleep in the duck blind and forgot for whom those particular ducks quack.

As to -- "Bush=Hussein" -- I've never encountered that particular formulation at OBWI until you wrote it.

In closing before we meet again, may I ask, as Chico Marx wondered: "Whyaduck?"

".. I think Tim .." add CaseyL to that first sentence. Casey was just agreeing with Tim that folks we are trying to bring over to our side might think all mallards are alike.

So many ducks, so little time, in your world.

Simple question, do you believe that US organizes and supports Shiite death squads?
I'll start it out.

DaveC: No.

OK. The original claim was:

"To the Iraqis someone who is disappeared forever by the U.S. probably looks a lot like the victims of the Shiite death squads."

This does not say that the US sponsored the Shi'ite death squads. It says that to those who know someone who vanishes without a trace, that vanishing looks a lot like what happens to other people who vanish without a trace.

Still less does it say that Bush = Hussein. Hussein did not organize the Shi'ite death squads, for starters. That formulation comes from creek and creek alone.

I hate Bush's policy of extraordinary rendition, his policy of rewarding people on whose watch our government condoned torture and kidnapping and the shredding of our tradition of human rights. That does not equal "hating what America has become", in general, still less "hating America".

Personally, I think it reflects a love of my country and what I take to be its values: values that this administration seems to regard as "quaint" (to use Alberto Gonzales' expression.)

ymmv, of course.

DaveC: Probably not now. Am I 100% certain of that? No. Did we ever? I wish I knew.

This article is what many people are remembering:

Now, NEWSWEEK has learned, the Pentagon is intensively debating an option that dates back to a still-secret strategy in the Reagan administration’s battle against the leftist guerrilla insurgency in El Salvador in the early 1980s. Then, faced with a losing war against Salvadoran rebels, the U.S. government funded or supported "nationalist" forces that allegedly included so-called death squads directed to hunt down and kill rebel leaders and sympathizers. Eventually the insurgency was quelled, and many U.S. conservatives consider the policy to have been a success—despite the deaths of innocent civilians and the subsequent Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal....

Following that model, one Pentagon proposal would send Special Forces teams to advise, support and possibly train Iraqi squads, most likely hand-picked Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shiite militiamen, to target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers, even across the border into Syria, according to military insiders familiar with the discussions. It remains unclear, however, whether this would be a policy of assassination or so-called "snatch" operations, in which the targets are sent to secret facilities for interrogation. The current thinking is that while U.S. Special Forces would lead operations in, say, Syria, activities inside Iraq itself would be carried out by Iraqi paramilitaries, officials tell NEWSWEEK....

Shahwani also said that the U.S. occupation has failed to crack the problem of broad support for the insurgency. The insurgents, he said, "are mostly in the Sunni areas where the population there, almost 200,000, is sympathetic to them." He said most Iraqi people do not actively support the insurgents or provide them with material or logistical help, but at the same time they won’t turn them in. One military source involved in the Pentagon debate agrees that this is the crux of the problem, and he suggests that new offensive operations are needed that would create a fear of aiding the insurgency. "The Sunni population is paying no price for the support it is giving to the terrorists," he said. "From their point of view, it is cost-free. We have to change that equation."

That's more than a little vague, it's anonymously sourced, and it says the decision has not yet been made. Further, even if it was made, they might have realized at some point that it was not only immoral but so, so, so stupid. I don't think it would've sat well with many people in the uniformed military. I remember the recent exchange between Pace and Rumsfeld.

I don't really think these are simply U.S. operations. I really don't--U.S. soldiers intervening to stop them would make no sense, in that case. But I also don't rule out the possibility that something like the "Salvador Option" was policy at some point, and that we continue to see its effects even if it has been abandoned. And I really, really, really don't think that Rumsfeld actively and forcefully opposed this sort of thing. Read this article for further examples of why:

"The message has not gone out from the government that torture will not be tolerated," Mufti said. And foreign advisers hired to assist the Iraqi police have failed to object, she said.

The report relates "the only known case in which U.S. forces intervened to stop detainee abuse." It said scouts from an Oregon Army National Guard unit saw Iraqi guards at an Interior Ministry compound abusing detainees on June 29. A soldier took pictures through his rifle scope of detainees who were blindfolded and bound.

According to an account related in the report by Capt. Jarrell Southal of the National Guard, his soldiers entered the compound and found bound prisoners "writhing in pain" and complaining of lack of water. They gave water to the men, moved them out of the sun and then disarmed the Iraqi police. But when the Oregon soldiers radioed up their chain of command for instructions, they were ordered to "return the prisoners to the Iraqi authorities and leave the detention yard."

When it comes to rendition, the evidence is much clearer. I know what's happening is done by the U.S. with full knowledge and authorization from the top of the executive branch. That's why, though many fewer people are affected and many of them aren't killed, I do not consider it "relatively minor." If you do this knowingly and deliberately, God knows what else you'll allow to happen on your watch.


I wish I could agree with your simple answer, "no."

I like to think (hope) that we don't have a policy of actively creating and supporting death squads. Maybe we didn't even have such a policy in Central America back in the days when Ronald Reagan likened what turned out later to be death squads to our founding fathers.

But think about what really happens when the pressure is us to achieve results, fast. Such pressure has led to "erroneous renditions" by the CIA and the abuses at Abu Ghraib. Now, the pressure is on to show progress handing responsibility over to Iraqi forces. What do you think will happen?

Whether it is due to ignorance, carelessness, neglect, incompetence, or error I think we bear some responsibility here. Given the record, whatever the cause, I expect it to be difficult to learn the truth.

The Newsweek article Katherine cited is one thing people remember. Another was the Peter Maas article in the NYT Sunday Magazine, which I saved and filed away someplace where I'll never find it. Some of us also wondered why Negroponte was sent to Iraq, given his history of covering up death squad activity in Honduras when he was the American empire's proconsul there during the contra war. We paranoid lefty moonbats have long memories.

Is this the Peter Maass article?

"Do you believe that US organizes and supports Shiite death squads?"

Well, I hope not. But who cares what I believe? This is barking up the wrong duck. (O.K. enough with the ducks).

The question is: What number of Iraqis believe it? If enough believe it, then the truth of the matter is largely irrelevant.

And even if they don't believe that particular notion, it might be that some Iraqis believe the situation in their country is as intolerable as it was before the invasion. They might be wrong, but once they put on the hood and hide the explosives in the car, that's just one more guy we have to kill, regardless of what anyone in the U.S. believes.

By the way, Iraqis are not required to agree with George W. Bush, to love America, and to believe every claim and/or denial of the U.S. Government.

Only we live under that particular soft parade of tyranny.

Funny though, we're not required to believe anything the EPA, the HHS, the IRS, or the FDA puts in a press release. In fact, we're encouraged to not believe anything the U.S. Government asserts except with respect to Iraq.

"that's just one more guy we have to kill."

Well, not actually "we". I don't have to do that. Which is why it's so easy for me to talk about it.

Following up Katherine's points about why rendtion to torture is not a 'relatively minor' issue, another reason its its impact on the EU and our relationships with every government and country who we've implicated in this practice. The Secretary of State is behaving like a mafia chieftain in response to the EU requests for answers: "Shaddup; you're in this up to your neck."

And, yes, Katherine, that's the Maass article Donald J. was remembering. Trust me, anything "Col." Jim Steele is involved with is U.S. funded, planned, and organized.

I would say that the original claim wa :

Well this looks like some bad press for the US, but by comparison to organizing Shia death squads (The gift that keeps on giving!) it seems relatively minor.

and will also note that British troops, not US have been stationed in Basra, where the worst of the trouble has been.

Dave C.: The Shia death squads have operated in Baghdad, Mosul, Nasiriyah, and elsewhere, not only Basra.

It would be fair to say that throughout 2004 and 2005 the British military turned a blind eye to the Badr brigade and other Shi'a militias' takeover of the police force in Basra and throughout southern Iraq. In the absence of Stephen Vincent's reporting and his subsequent murder, I doubt you'd there would be much U.S. awareness of the phenomenon.

The U.S. made an effort during 2004 to train similar forces, only Sunni. These efforts were set back, or more accurately, neutralized, by the failure of the Iraqi government elected in January to take on significant Allawi & Co. holdovers. Since then the U.S. forces have turned a more-or-less blind eye to the buildup of Shia death squads inside and outside the Iraqi forces throughout the country.

DaveC, I also don't think we organized the Shiite death squads. Not that I've got any evidence of any kind for that faith.

"Support" is a pretty nebulous term. It seems to me that people willing to find a causal link between the toppling of Hussein and the Syrian withdrawal have to see also a causal link between our strategy and the excesses of the Badr and Mahdi militia.

Whoever is behind these acts is on "our" side. That is, they are not among the targets of our daily military action, and are not among the enemies we are prepared to fight for as long as it takes. I wouldn't be surprised if it turns out that you and I bought the bullets used by those folks. Is that "support"?

Just one of the many problems with not doing nuance, or 'you're either for us, or you're for the terrorists.'

The Shia death squads have operated in Baghdad, Mosul, Nasiriyah, and elsewhere, not only Basra.

Yes, noted. There many different miltias, death squads, etc, including Kurdish terrorists, for instance. I'll gratuitously throw in a David Warren quote:

I don't believe in sides of history. It's just one gigantic palpitating mess beyond the possibility of human comprehension, but we try to make the best of it as we go along. Principles there are, and none are relative, but there is the frequent embarrassment of competing principles, and sorting through their hierarchy of the moment requires something like prudence or tact.

Forgive the one liner, DaveC, but I cannot resist

prudence or tact

Two qualities notably absent in the current administration.

Based on history, the statements of our officials and officers who gave interviews etc. I would say that the most plausible scenario is that "we" regret the existence of Shia death squads because they are insufficiently aligned with us politically, unlike those in El Salvador or, more recently, in Haiti.

The way our current officials assses the experiences in El Salvador and Guatemala proves that "little genocide", say, no more than 200,000 campesinos, is nothing to be ashamed of if done for the good cause. If along the way some nuns are killed, and an archibishop or two, and a few American journalists -- this is something that cannot be assessed without looking at the big picture.

Nominating Negroponte as the Iraqi pro-consul was a clear signal that we want to capitalize on our rich experience in Central American, including death squads that Negroponte had such hard time noticing when he was our Ambassador in Honduras (supervising terrorists activities of the Contras, using Honduran territory to attack Nicaragua).

Busheviks' problem is that while there are plenty of tough guys in Iraq, relatively few like us. Are Badr Brigades pro-Iranian? Can we trust them?

If I recall, given the ubiquity of pro-Iranian death squads, Kurdish exiles from Iran fled to no-man's land between Iraq and Jordan where they linger in refugee camps.

We really lost the war already and we stay there to keep appearance. If you check the events of the first year of occupation, we did not start with the idea of promoting Shia radicals. However, we cannot afford to alienate both Sunni and Shia radicals, so we have to tolerate the latter, however pro-Iranian they may be. Iran, 2, USA, 0.

Simple question, do you believe that US organizes and supports Shiite death squads?

DaveC, what makes me hate these bastards running our country is that I can't automatically rule out something like that. I mean, would it COMPLETELY SHOCK you to find out that we were supporting Shiite death squads? Honestly, now?


Simple question, do you believe that US organizes and supports Shiite death squads?

"Organizes" -- unlikely, since they seem very motivated and very capable of doing it themselves.

"Supports" -- very likely, since it seems to be consistent with past policy of the current actors in the administration regarding Central America, and also consistent with so much of the torture thinking of the current administration.

But your question and answer is not to the point. How about these questions?

Does the US know about the activities of Shiite death squads, and what are the rules of engagement should an American force learn of such an operation? Remember that interesting recent exchange between Rumsfeld and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff regarding what Americans should do if they happen upon abuse (Rumsfeod -- "report" it; Pace -- take action to prevent it)?

Does the US do anything at all to try and curtail the activities of Shiite death squads, or does it just do nothing? After all, "support" can take a tacit form of non-action by the biggest armed force in the region. And since our leadership is now ostensilbly so worried about "victory" -- surely they have some opinion on the utility (one way or the other) to the US cause of the existence of death squads. Someone has to make a policy decision about how to respond. If they are bad, then try to deter them also, or if they are "good" for the US, then let them operate.

What do you think has been the reponse to date? Per Rumsfeld, just report it to the Iraqis (i.e., those who run the death squads)? And wash your hands of it?

After all, there is not a whole lot of difference, objectively, between the activities of Shiite death squads and those of the Sunni insurgents -- they are both engaged in wanton murder of civilians. Do US soldiers first check the religious affiliation of these torture murderers before deciding whether to take action?

Not to digress too far afield, but I have also wondered what the rules of engagement are in Afghanistan when US forces on patrol bump into the opium smuggling bands of the local warlord "ally" (most of whom are also members of the duly elected Afhgan Parliament)? Interdict or do nothing and let the opium trade thrive?

I guarantee you that most of the time, its the latter.

Such dilemmas for the Bushies.

"Simple question, do you believe that [Bush administration] organizes and supports Shiite death squads?" ...DaveC


Yes also. I don't quite understand why anyone would doubt it. Could someone holding a different opinion explain?

I think we support or have supported death squads in Iraq, but perhaps much of it has been passive support, along the lines outlined by dmbeaster. It reminds me a little of what I've read about the French and Indian War, where the French used the Iroquois, but professed to be horrified by their incredibly brutal treatment of prisoners and their massacres. But this brutality served their purpose, so I think it's fair to say the French did approve all the atrocities committed by their allies.

Quite apart from the fact, of course, that the Europeans were every bit as brutal in their warfare against Native Americans.

Coming back to Iraq, if the US government thought that pro-government death squads were a useful tool in crushing the insurgency, I think they'd pretend not to notice the brutality, much as they've been doing for all these past months. As for the current denunciations of death squads, it is either just a PR move without substance, or at best, it's a realization that mass murder against Sunnis may only fuel the insurgency.

I don't, BTW, think the electric drill technique comes from the Americans. My understanding is that

A) this sort of thing was done by Saddam and so the former victims are employing the same methods


B) when the US taught torture techniques to its clients in the past they were usually more refined.

My understanding is that US troops raided a clandestine prison and found a lot of prisoners that had been rounded up by Shiites in the police force. I think Allawi has been complaining about this sort of thing. The renegade police may also be members of the Badr brigad. The Mahdi army is a different thing as are the Iranian backed thugs in Basra. No, the US is not going after these bad guys, we are leaving this as a political power struggle for the Iraqis to work out for the most part. Jabari may not get reelected because he has given his support to some of these bad guys. The US is primarily fighting the Baathists and the AQ types,with the WoT in mind, but the other thugs must be stopped as well.

So, dmbeaster's definition:
After all, "support" can take a tacit form of non-action by the biggest armed force in the region.
is what I would consider the best argument of US complicity.

I don't buy into the theory that the US approves of these organizations.

Quite apart from the fact, of course, that the Europeans were every bit as brutal in their warfare against Native Americans.

The Indian wars and disputes were not always carried out with the intent of killing lots of people. For instance, even though the forced displacement of the southern tribes, and The Trail of Tears was unjust and yes, brutal, my understanding is that the Choctaw, Creek, and Chicasaw fared better than the Cherokee because they moved in the summer. The Cherokee thought that they would be admitted into the Union as a state, and when this failed, it was winter.

I don't buy into the theory that the US approves of these organizations.

You'll need to define "the US" and "approves" in this sentence, since I don't think either is entirely clear here.

"Yes also. I don't quite understand why anyone would doubt it. Could someone holding a different opinion explain?"

I don't actually hold this view but I believe I can explain it.

First comes some background. The belief is that we are in a war with islam that will take 50 to 100 years to win. If we win, the arabs can become cosumers and share our wonderful standard of living. If they win the world will have a new Dark Ages and 90% of the world population will die when technology can no longer feed them. Given the stakes, failure is not an option. Anything we do up to and including nuking a billion muslims is justified because the only possible alternative is worse.

With that background, given that we are at war and will be at war for the rest of our lives, and given that there are no rules to this war except that we must win, where do you stand?

If you are ready to say bad things about the USA then you are on the wrong side. You are showing that you are an enemy of civilization, that you are on the side of killing more than 5 billion people and reducing the rest to a new dark age.

When you say such things without even having absolute proof, it shows that you want it to be true. That you want us to lose the war. That no good person should listen to anything you say.

When you admit such things you are digging your own grave with your mouth.

Given the current political climate, you usually won't see the argument expressed this clearly, this year. But on blogs where people were mostly agreed I have seen it laid out almost this clearly.

For myself, the story sounds plausible. US government officials discussed whether to create death squads in iraq. Negroponte, who'd done it before, got sent to iraq to handle the civilian end of it. Death squads appeared and among others targetted journalists who followed up stories that looked bad for the USA. It does sound plausible. But it isn't actually proven. And if it does get proven, say for example Negroponte is implicated, probably we'll get evidence that he did it entirely under his own authority and nobody approved it, and he'll have to retire and make a lot of money. Funny how that works.

Come to think of it, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it turns out we hired Saddam's old death squads to go after shias, and we hired shia death squads to go after sunnis. But it hasn't been proven.

J.Thomas- Thanks. I don't buy the idea that if they won the islamists could force the world to abandon technology and get 90% of the worlds population to essentially commit suicide, but I had somehow forgotten that there are people who think it is necissary to lie about these things here.

J. Thomas:

"If you are ready to say bad things about the USA then you are on the wrong side. You are showing that you are an enemy of civilization, that you are on the side of killing more than 5 billion people and reducing the rest to a new dark age."

Personally, I think that whether I should be ready to say bad things about the US depends on whether those things are true. At least in the case of extraordinary rendition, I think it's quite clear that they are. In the case of Shi'a death squads, I think the jury is still out, though it strikes me as implausible that they did not get at least some acquiescence/turning a blind eye/etc.

Now: there are true things we should not say. If I knew today's troop movements, for instance, I should not disclose them, and the fact that my beliefs about the troop movements are true just makes it all the more important that I not disclose them.

But you said that being willing to say any bad things about the US shows that we are "an enemy of civilization, that you are on the side of killing more than 5 billion people and reducing the rest to a new dark age."

I think this is absurd.

In his wildest fantasies, bin Laden could not fill billions and reduce the rest to a new dark age. Taking over planes with box cutters, yes; taking over (say) the US, never.

The only way in which he can change the country we are is if we decide to give up our basic values in response to him. One of those basic values is freedom of speech and the right to democratic dissent. Bin Laden could never take that from us by force. But you would have us give it up anyways.

As far as I am concerned, that would mean: handing him a victory he could never have won on his own.

Hilzoy, J. Thomas was not presenting his personal views, but those that he believes are present on the other side. And, although it may not be a majority viewpoint, that view does exist.

This administration has given bin Laden more "victories" than he ever hoped for.

creek writes "In my world equating the President of the U.S. to Hussein is not only un-American it is anti-American"

I guess in creek's world, George Bush is a princess.

Hilzoy: "But you would have us give it up anyways"

I think J. Thomas short-circuited that argument by prefacing his remarks with "I don't actually hold this view but I think I can explain it."

Unless you (the real you) didn't mean "you" -- the real J Thomas who possesses depressing thoughts which are not his own, which makes them less depressing.

I'm always a little disappointed by this argument, however: "If we win, the Arabs can become consumers and share our wonderful standard of living."

True, it is better than we lose and we get a new Dark Ages and the death of 90% of the human population.

But, let's say you are playing Monopoly. And let's say the choice is losing and blowing up the house, or winning and letting the other guy build a hotel on Baltic Avenue. Maybe you win and the other guy still wants to blow up the house. Because you still have the rest of the board.

In what sense do the Arabs become consumers? And how does this affect me (other than preventing a new Dark Ages)? Does this mean they are going to cut in front of me on the waiting list to get reservations at one of Mario Batali's restaurants in New York? Or will they be satisfied with the usual consumer choice and fare between McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's?

Maybe they need to settle for a Whopper and think a new Dark Ages would be preferable because then everyone gets to share a Whopper.

And will they consume healthcare, as we are being asked to consume healthcare? In other words, does Baltic Avenue have a free clinic? Think of the lines at the emergency rooms, not to mention where are you going to park as you schlep your bleeding carcass eight city blocks to consume medical attention, because of the crowds of holiday medical shoppers.

Another question. Do the populations of the former Soviet Union still consume Solzhenitsyn, or have they merely settled for consuming Big Macs? Or is it just a matter of which one comes with the fries?

These ideas were popularised by Thomas PM Barnett, and there are blogs where his ideas are considered scripture, where to get an idea accepted it's enough to show that it follows from Barnett. When people drop the codewords Core and Gap in their posts usually they believe in Barnett.

There's room for a lot of variation, here's one version. We're going to run out of oil and our lesser fossil fuels won't really replace that. Either we find something better or our technology sinks. If we could get a really great energy source (say, cheap and easy cold fusion....) then everybody would be rich. We'd have problems with heat pollution and we'd have problems with warfare, but our current problems would get all changed around. But if we don't find something adequate, our food production and particularly transportation systmes will degrade and we could lose a lot of people. I tend to agree with these.

Then they figure that arabists could stop us using terrorist sabotage, plus vast armies financed by oil wealth, plus control of the oil. Hard to defend against suicide attacks, especially when you don't have enough oil. And if our innovation gets stopped then when we run out of oil we lose. So we have to prevent that by whatever means necessary. I personally think that arab terrorists are not going to destroy our technology, and further that if they were, pre-emptive military action against muslim nations would not make it less likely. But if you buy into the emotional argument then everything follows.

Give us enough breathing space to get better energy sources and better technology and everybody can be rich (compared to now). If everybody fails at that then everybody has serious problems. So it's easy to go from there to suppose that the USA is the main hope for the new technology, and that anything that hurts the USA hurts the world. And then anything that -- for example -- hurts the ability of the USA to get the lion's share of the oil hurts the world in the long run. So we have to fight the whole muslim world and win, and convert them to secular humanism or something. There are a few logical steps missing there but they're easy to fill in. A few horrendous assumptions....

I found it annoying to argue with these people. They're sure they're the only good guys, and anybody who disagrees with any piece of the plan is unwittingly working toward getting billions of people killed. So for example if you aren't sure we need to conquer iraq and also syria and iran and isolate pakistan, then your doubts can cause us to fail. And if we fail to win that conventional war we'll have no choice but to nuke all those countries. We can't just let them have a muslim empire and control their oil, they might hurt us too much. If we can't control them we have to kill them all, no choice, and that would be terrible. So anybody who criticises the war effort is working toward that horrible result.

And it really bothered me that they sounded sincere. They weren't just corrupt republicans. It gave me the impression that somebody might need to track them all down and kill them before they get billions of people killed.

J Thomas: sorry to have missed the part that made it clear that that wasn't your own view. Oops: my bad, this time.

And it really bothered me that they sounded sincere. They weren't just corrupt republicans. It gave me the impression that somebody might need to track them all down and kill them before they get billions of people killed.

Exhibit A in defense of being psuedonymous / anonymous and entering a fake email address.

The treatment of the detained here is telling. Thus, it was (as usual) hard to take Rice defending the practice without mentioned the lack of safeguards, mistakes, overuse, failure to adequately deal with errors, and so forth.

She just assumed the alternative is not using it at all, which clearly would be taking away a necessary tool against terrorism. Oh, we don't torture, nor do we knowingly send people to places that do.

Honestly, I cannot deal with their b.s. any more. At least, actually listening to them spew it ... it's just too damn hard.

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