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June 28, 2004


The Plaid Adder on livejournal points out in I love a parade: "not only does the new government not have the substance of legitimacy, they don't have the semblance of it either".

The UN begs to differ with both Edward and Jes.

.... and Timmy.

Good grief, the UN has an opinion on the Plaid Adder?

No surpise to see the Jes and Edward posting about this. If they had something positive to say I would fall over.

Hmmm, I'd bet Hussien's parades were relatively rock-free. I guess his was the legitimate government afterall. Because, well, you know, ALL Iraqis voted for him, right?

Er, Criona, if you read the Plaid Adder's column, you will find she is pointing out that parades are a sign of the semblance of power. She's not arguing that parades are a sign of legitimate government... ;-)

The point she is making (condensed: I do recommend you actually read her column) is that not only is the new transitional government not legitimate, it doesn't even possess real authority.

No surpise to see the Jes and Edward posting about this. If they had something positive to say I would fall over.

Well, maybe one day there will be something positive to say about Iraq that doesn't derive from wishful thinking. *grin*

(Edward, why do you suppose I'm "the Jes" but you're not "the Edward"?)

(Edward, why do you suppose I'm "the Jes" but you're not "the Edward"?)

Because you're a classic, Jes, and I'm just a romantic.

As for the charge, I actually did say something very positive about this. Two things actually, but both before Bush tried to claim "Mission Accomplished" again (one would think he'd learn):

  1. there's really no point to do anything other than what Moe's suggested here: extend our good wishes and/or prayers towards [a successful new Iraq government dedicated to democracy].

  2. I'm willing to give the Bush team credit for a very clever early transfer of "sovereignty" as a means to deflate any plans the insurgency may have had for June 30

Considering I was against the war from the beginning, I think these are both rather generous.

Jesurgislac, I read it, a number of times in fact, surfed to her user profile (hence I know she at least says she's a woman), read a little bit of the past posts and even hit her site.

Now, while I don't know her personally (heck, she could be pissed at the Pride Marchers for thinking that their marching proves legitimacy while laws like the one in VA get passed and be using her readers' known belief in the illegitimacy of the whole Iraq effort to show her disdain for the Pride marches) I took it more literally and think I know what her point is. I just don't think she made it very well. Let's see if I follow correctly:

1) Recent Pride Marches in cities around the US prove, by their size and lack of attacks upon them, the legitimacy of the marchers.

2) The new government in Iraq can't even think of having a parade of the same type lest they be attacked by evil, subhuman, murderers of their own people*, which would be expected, or possibly even stoned by everyday people for the sheer illegitimacy of it all.

3) Therefore, the new Iraqi government does not equal the level of legitimacy that the Pride marchers have reached in the US.

Is that it? Cause if so, I was just pointing out that there's more than one way to ensure protestless marches.

*I'd use terrorist here, but if she's going to call them "resistance", I'll call them evil and subhuman.

Is that it? Cause if so, I was just pointing out that there's more than one way to ensure protestless marches.

Of course there is. And the Plaid Adder is just pointing out that one way you can measure a legitimate government is that they are able to have major public events in public.

*I'd use terrorist here, but if she's going to call them "resistance", I'll call them evil and subhuman.

Well, I'm glad you didn't say "terrorist", since calling Iraqis attacking foreign military in their own country "terrorists" devalues the word beyond all bearing.

Calling people attacking a foreign military occupation "evil and subhuman" is just... racist, I guess.

"Calling people attacking a foreign military occupation "evil and subhuman" is just... racist, I guess."

Watch it.

Upon reflection, you too, crionna: 'evil' is fine - God knows that the major 'resistance' groups in Iraq qualify for the label* - but 'sub-human' is both provocative and untrue.


*I'm speaking of the Baathist fascist holdouts and radical theocrats, here. Neither group deserves either our sympathies or our understanding, particularly when we're talking about the likelihood that they would deliberately bombing public events because it would guarantee a large civilian casualty rate.

If Crionna takes back "subhuman", I take back "racist". Will that do?

I would object as strongly to any slamming of the US military in Iraq as "evil" on the grounds that some of them have undoubtedly done evil, or of all of the US soldiers in Iraq as criminals, just because some of them undoubtedly are.

You can pick your sides - of course - but the first rule of foreign military occupation is that yes, the natives have a lawful right to resist it. That's the way it goes. And so long as they attack only the military occupation, they can't be described as terrorists.

If you argue that the evil, the terrorists, and the legitimate resistance are so entangled they're impossible to pull apart, I'd agree with you: but then, the US use of "civilian contractors", unlawful imprisonment of innocent civilians, and torture, makes the US case a tangled mess as well.

It's not a simple situation. Condemning all those involved on either side as "evil" does not help.

I think Jes brings up an interesting point about the rights of invaded civilians to resist an occupation, but the insurgents targeted far too many Iraqis for me to see them as resistance fighters. Even if your fellow countrymen are working for the occupation, you don't honorably advance your cause by targeting them.

"If Crionna takes back "subhuman", I take back "racist". Will that do?"

Yes: you were provoked. And if an indigenous Resistance movement arises in Iraq that makes even a good-faith effort to limit their activities against legitimate military targets it would be indeed wrong to automatically describe them as evil.

Ok, Ok, I’ll admit that those who use children as shields and mosques as supply depots, who bomb their own people (at a parade or anywhere else) and behead those working to rebuild the Iraqi infrastructure in an effort to either return a Baathist dictatorship to power or place in power a theocracy that discriminates against Women, Homosexuals and Jews are humans right on par with Jesurgislac, Michael Moore and Edward.

Uuuuuh, sorry, no I won’t. This is not about the race of the be-headers and bombers. I don’t think of them as humanity deficient because they are of a certain ethnicity or adhere to a certain religion, it’s about the methods they use. Those methods are evil and indicate a level of humanity that comes nowhere close to reaching that shown by Mssrs. Jesurgislac, Moore and Underscore (or anyone else I know). Hence, they are.....sub-human.

Is that racist? I don’t think so. But, if deemed so, I guess I’ll regretfully be bidding adieu to OW because I will not ascribe to those who use the methods they have used so far the qualities of humanity I see in the rest of us.

I appreciated the “light” threads Moe. I’ll miss’em.

PS, before posting this I reread the thread (many times) and thought about a recent Wretchard column that discussed the Chechen resistance to the Russians. I tried to think if we equaled the Russians here and if so, would the methods be justified. My verdict is no.

In the end, my comments on this thread were about reactions to Plaid Adder’s column. It seemed to me that her contention was that the government is illegitimate because they couldn’t hold a parade (attended I’d guess by ordinary Iraqis) without it being RPG’ed by the “resistance”. Such an act might indeed be resistance, but that act, resulting civilian deaths that were knowable and unmitigated by any attempt to lessen them brands the perpetrators as evil and subhuman in my book.

I find that my respect for an argument is diminished considerably whenever the term "subhuman" is thrown out to describe a group of people, no matter how reprehensible their acts. The term is based on the predicate that there are ubermenschen and untermenschen, concepts which I reject.

Feel free to use the expression, but I'm going to have a hard time taking much of the post seriously.

The irony of your comments, Crionna, is that, among God's creatures, those behaviors are limited to humans.

There's another reason to step lightly around terms like 'sub-human'. Frankly I don't really care if it hurts the insurgents' feelings. They have bigger problems.

The danger is that in redefining humanity to be the only the qualities you approve of, you forget that in the right times, in the right circumstances, every one of us is in danger of commiting those 'sub-human' acts, eminently justified in our own minds. It is too easy and too comfortable to pretend that suicide bombers and so on are like Uruk-Hai or devils pulled from the bowels of the earth, and that none of us could do these things because we weren't born such. What you call 'humanity' is not maintained through random speciation, it's maintained through compassion and unending vigilance against our darker natures.

Well said, sidereal. Denying humanity to someone prevents comprehension of their thought processes, thereby either perpetuating the problem or worsening it. It also removes the possibility of redemption.

First, if my use of the term subhuman to too quickly convey a connotation of anything other than “living down to the basest of human failings or temporary misplacement of their humanity”, I retract its use and can only blame ignorance of other Nietzschean definitions.

Second, (my thanks to Sidereal for the reminder below) I’ll break down the be-headers as those doing evil and those who are evil. Those who are evil, who shred the true message of Islam (as explained to me by moderate Muslims) to further their own evil beliefs, lead those doing evil astray. Those doing evil can be redeemed* (hopefully by understanding the views of those same moderate Muslims), while those who are evil must be destroyed. Further, in retrospect, did I paint all be-headers with one brush? Perhaps, but I am ignorant of “legitimate resistance groups” and their aims, hence I painted all using these methods as those looking to further the ends of dictatorship, theocracy or some personal self-fulfillment – shudder.

Third, if this view leaves me in Jesurgislac’s racist bucket, then I’ll live with that and will wear a scarlet “R” with “j” cluster. I think the charge was completely uncalled for and resent it deeply. At some point in this thread I’m sure “he doth protest too much” will arise anyway, but I ask you, how strongly can one dispute such a repugnant charge?

Finally, sidereal, thanks for reminding me why I was one who recalled the Stanford study when Abu Grahib came out and used it to defend the people involved if not the actions. I forgot that in the fog of Jesurgislac’s accusation, much to my detriment and shame.

So, who are the “legitimate resistance fighters” and what are they fighting for? Because I’d say that those attempting to put a theocracy or dictatorship in place are evil (are these not evil aims?) and are leading astray those who do evil in their attempts to do so. I’ve not heard of other groups looking to attack coalition or collaborationist (which I’d guess the IP must be seen as) positions.

*Hat-tip ++Ungood, hence my disagreement with the death penalty.

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