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November 04, 2004

Comments

Superb post. Thank you.

I made many of these exact points, drunken and incoherently, just a few hours ago with my friends. Kudos.

Probably a little over-reaction there. It is only politics after all, and it's been a long time since anything really good and pro-human came from politics.

Any change you want to make has to be at grass roots level, do it and ask permission afterwards if you need to :-)

To quote someone on my friends-list on livejournal: "They have gotten what they want -- if, that is, what they want is someone who, in the name of revenge, is pursuing not one but two wars against peoples who have not wronged us -- and doing it badly. Someone who, while proclaiming his support for the troops, has attempted to cut medical coverage for war veterans and eliminate programs to aid the children of parents on active duty; who has (illegally) sent our troops overseas and into harm's way without the immunizations or the equipment that Congress has seen fit to mandate; who has given contracts to his cronies to feed our troops rotten food."

They have also endorsed the government's "right" to have suspects tortured, but that just makes me almost too angry to type.

Except, of course, that the majority of Bush's supporters don't have any idea who they've voted into power: they don't understand or don't know what the Bush administration supports and doesn't support. They voted for him because he's good at lying to them.

jes, in general terms you're right because a significant percentage of voters won't take the time to ferret out the details. I know you have polls pretending to show Democrats don't fall into that category, but I don't believe them. Your friend's little rant gets his rocks off and probably rings true to you staunch disbelievers. Actually it's proves as evidence that whatever divisiveness that exists is fed by the many on the left and nurtured by the MSM.

And hilzoy, I'm afraid you are destined for a life of disenchantment if you think this country can be dragged to the left edge of the spectrum. Many issues you despair about don't have to go from one radical ditch to the other. I'm still foolish enough to believe in moderation. This elections reflects that many feel certain issues need to be tugged from the far left, closer to the middle, and that compromise is possible. Not the Ted Kennedy, stick'm up, hand over your wallet, relax, this won't hurt, this will be over in a minute and if you struggle I'll assassinate your character style of compromise. But, real, painful, realize your not going to get everything you want kind of corroboration.

Some of the posters here are just contrarians. But most won't be comfortable on the sidelines. And that's what is good, and unique, about our country. I adhere to the Bush doctrine, let's do what we believe is right, we'll make it work somehow. I know you'll love that.

I know you have polls pretending to show Democrats don't fall into that category, but I don't believe them.

Refusal to believe the facts is your privilege. The facts are that, as a general trend, Bush supporters tend not to know what the Bush administration stands for, whereas Kerry's supporters did tend to know what Kerry's positions were. Obviously, this is a sliding scale. There are uninformed people everywhere: from those who genuinely don't know the facts to those who do and refuse to believe them.

Actually it's proves as evidence that whatever divisiveness that exists is fed by the many on the left and nurtured by the MSM.

Yeah, right. And Bush is pleading for "unity" - after four years of fostering divisiveness.

Your friend's little rant gets his rocks off and probably rings true to you staunch disbelievers.

Oh, really?

1. In the name of revenge, Bush is pursuing not one but two wars against peoples who have not wronged us -- and doing it badly.

Are you arguing that US troops are not fighting in Iraq or in Afghanistan? Are you claiming that Iraq or Afghanistan have ever attacked the US? Are you claiming that the war in Iraq is going well? Are you claiming that the war in Afghanistan is going well?

2. Bush, while proclaiming his support for the troops, has attempted to cut medical coverage for war veterans and eliminate programs to aid the children of parents on active duty

All verifiable facts.

3. who has (illegally) sent our troops overseas and into harm's way without the immunizations or the equipment that Congress has seen fit to mandate;

All verifiable facts.

4. who has given contracts to his cronies to feed our troops rotten food.

You should hear reservists in Iraq on the topic of the food provided by Halliburton versus the food provided by the army. They notice a difference.

....the President whose administration gave us Abu Ghraib, extraordinary rendition, and the argument that the President has the right to set aside laws, treaties, and our civil liberties in time of war.

You know, with the exception of Abu Ghraib (which is obviously place- and time-specific), not one of these things originated with or during the Bush Administration. Just saying.

I agree with Tacitus.
I recently read a book about the 1918 influenza epidemic. I was surprised at how government actions helped spread the disease.

Wilson was extremely pacifistic, but once he made the decision to go to war, it was all-out, suspend the constitution, war. Newspaper editors were jailed for even mentioning the flu for fear of causing a panic amongst the populace. All newspapers that refused to be co-opted by the government propaganda machine were shut down.

Read your history. I did, and I was stunned by what I learned.

And Jes..
A big fan of Chomsky are we? Then there's almost no point in arguing with you because it would be as productive as arguing with any other religous fanatic. And yes, you are a religious fanatic.

I would say that both wars are going well.

Karzai was elected president in Afghanistan in the first free election there in its history. You obviously have forgotten that the Taliban invaded Afghanistan from Pakistan in 1995, shelled Kabul indescriminately killing tens of thousands of civilians, and then harbored al Qaeda after taking power. It executed women in the soccer stadium in Kabul, made homosexuality a crime punishable by death - and even banned music and kite flying.

And you want to protect these guys?

The Taliban refused to handover Bin Laden after 9-11 - and don't forget that in the most recent video Bin Laden admits to planning the attack.

As for Iraq, the war there is going well too - but if we can't agree on Afghanistan, then I won't waste my breath on arguing about Iraq.

In your world America is the root of all evil. What a strange and sick god you worship...

I'd say the alarming thing about invoking "that the President has the right to set aside laws, treaties, and our civil liberties in time of war" is that few people see this as a war with an endpoint. So the "we're in a war, anything goes" thing doesn't comfort me. There needs to be an honest and open discussion rather than anonymous leaks to the press about the extraordinary powers the executive branch has arrogated itself.

Scott, how is the war in Iraq "going well"? I'd really like to know.

I have one thought on Jerugislac's LJ friend. Of all the bits of far left cant, "illegal war" has got to be the stupidest. Would the Kosovo War have suddenly become more or less moral if the U.N. Security Council had approved it? Would the war in Iraq have become more or less moral if it had been approved by the UNSC? And what about the fact that Afghanistan *was* approved by the U.N.?

"Illegal war" seems to be one of those terms that tells you that whoever is talking has decided to shut down his rational faculties.

I'm just going to go out on a limb here, and submit that an arguments that demonize one's opponents might not have the intended persuasive effect. If persuasion was the intention to begin with.

Not naming names, or anything.

Hey: I know that once I start a thread, its further direction is really not up to me. However: to my fellow leftists: it seems to me that this would be a good time to figure out why making the points we've been making for ages hasn't worked, not just to make them again. To those on the right: I never said that all of these things had never been done before. But whenever they have, they have been wrong, and a source of shame to us thereafter.

That wasn't a rebuke to you specifically, hilzoy. Just noting that there's a tendency to use these issues to score political points, even at the expense of the potential for accomplishing change. Not saying either side's got a patent on that, either. Just that if there's heartfelt belief that there are wrongs that need to be righted, divisive rhetoric isn't the path you want to take.

Because even if you win, you'll have annoyed some people to the point of non-cooperation. It's likely happened before in government, and it's almost a shoo-in for happening again.

I recently read a book about the 1918 influenza epidemic. I was surprised at how government actions helped spread the disease.

I would read up about the Hamburg cholera epidemic of 1892. Refusal by officials to enact measures because they felt that those measures would result in a loss of confidence by the populace ensured that the epidemic killed 10,000. This obstinace has a familiar ring to it. Perhaps the Bush administration will, now that it has a fresh 4 years, take measures it was afraid to previously. Will those measures ask for some sacrifice from the American people and a true rebuilding program for both afghanistan and Iraq? I am willing to give Bush his honeymoon period, but it seems to be devoted less to figuring out what to do in Iraq and more to crowing over the mandate they have. If there has been any statement about rolling up sleeves to take on this Iraq problem and make some sacrifices here to make sure that we succeed, I hope that someone would direct me to them.

You know, with the exception of Abu Ghraib (which is obviously place- and time-specific), not one of these things originated with or during the Bush Administration.

Oh. I guess that makes them OK then. And Abu-Ghraib too, since it's "place-and-time-specific," whatever kind of excuse that is.

And Bush got overwhelming support from those who are concerned about "values". Amazing.

Slarti -- I didn't take it that way; actually, when I started writing my comment yours had not yet appeared. I agree with you about tactics, and had meant, in my original post, to mark the need for a period of serious thought on the part of Democrats about why we failed to persuade a majority of our fellow citizens. Oh well ...

I think a period of serious thought is just the thing, hilzoy.

Update: heh. I've really got to stop doing that.

"I find the idea that "moral values" means "being against abortion and gay marriage" bizarre beyond belief. What happened to courage, magnanimity, integrity, decency, fairness, honesty, respect, generosity, kindness, perseverance, and justice? When, exactly, did they drop off our list of moral ideals?"

It seems to be a common idea that when pollsters poll on moral values that it means "abortion and gay marriage". But are you really sure that people aren't answering regarding "courage, magnanimity, integrity, decency, fairness, honesty, respect, generosity, kindness, perseverance, and justice"?

Sebastian,

yeah...letters like this to Andrew Sullivan just reek of respect, generosity, and kindness:

think this sends a very clear message -- true Americans do not like your kind of homosexual deviants in our country, and we will not tolerate your radical pro-gay agenda trying to force our children to adopt your homosexual lifestyle. You should be EXTREMELY GRATEFUL that we even let you write a very public and influential blog, instead of suppressing your treasonous views (as I would prefer).

And so you know that letters to Andrew Sullivan are representative of how people respond to questions about morals on an exit poll? I don't believe I have argued that there are not crazy people in the world.

If you think that typifies the Republican vote, Edward, you and I are going to get into a serious disagreement.

Typical Slarti? No, I don't believe that any quote by anyone in any context is ever actually typical. We're living in an age of pure pluralism.

But the issues that were essentially on the ballot were abortion and gay marriage...and there's nothing about the GOP platform with regard to gay marriage that I believe anyone could interpret as generous or respectful or kind.

PS. I look forward to many serious disagreements, but just for the record, I'm committed to not generalizing or demonizing anyone here. Having said that, though, the letter was offered by a conservative as typical of the ones he's received...it's not like I made it up.

We can take the author as en exemplar of how far we are away, as a group, from respect, generosity and kindness. Probably similar exemplars can be found on the Left, but that'd be boring.

Extraordinary rendition did not begin under Bush but greatly, greatly expanded. Tom DeLay and Dennis Hastert tried to legalize it--it was Democrats and some moderate Republicans that narrowed the expansion and hopefully can stop it. The idea that the Geneva conventions are quaint began under Bush. The approval of the techniques at Guantanamo that included waterboarding and the withholding of medical care as an interrogation tactic began under Bush. The idea of rounding up Arab and Muslims en masse on suspicion of terrorism, holding them in secret, without access to a lawyer, their families, or publishing their names, for months at a time until they were cleared--without making any effort to clear them quickly--began under Bush. This quite predictably led to abuse; the AG's own inspector general documented it. Ashcroft ignored him. Then the IG found videotapes. Ashcroft began a halfhearted investigation that concluded the federal government couldn't press charges because the victims had all been deported. 0 people detained under this program were connected to terrorism. Most were deported on immigration violations--in some cases, very flimsy violations that could as easily been the INS' fault as the detainees. The Ashcroft justice department deported more Muslims than Mitchell Palmer deported Eastern Europeans--in a very large # of cases, those people were targetted because of their race or ethnicity. We don't deport people who are real terrorism suspects as a policy, so you can't claim that they were all or even a significant % were terrorism suspects. The use of unaccountable contractors to conduct interrogations began with Bush. The practice of hiding "ghost detainees" from the Red Cross began with Bush.

I have a lot of confidence that Kerry would do better than Clinton and much better than Bush on this issues, but I can't prove it because he was afraid to talk about them. That's kind of hilzoy's point, though.

"It seems to be a common idea that when pollsters poll on moral values that it means "abortion and gay marriage". But are you really sure that people aren't answering regarding "courage, magnanimity, integrity, decency, fairness, honesty, respect, generosity, kindness, perseverance, and justice"?"

I'd bet 50 bucks on it. We won't know for sure unless they start polling on categories you can actually make sense of. Abortion should be its own category; gay marriage should be its own category.

How do you explain Coburn and DeMint's fine showings?

"But the issues that were essentially on the ballot were abortion and gay marriage"

Where was abortion on the ballot?

"But are you really sure that people aren't answering regarding "courage, magnanimity, integrity, decency, fairness, honesty, respect, generosity, kindness, perseverance, and justice"?"

I'd bet 50 bucks on it. We won't know for sure unless they start polling on categories you can actually make sense of. Abortion should be its own category; gay marriage should be its own category."

Sounds more like demonization to me. My parents are evangelical Christians, and I'm certain that moral values are near the top of their minds, but they have given up entirely on abortion as a useful political issue, and while they aren't pro-gay marriage, it isn't a deciding factor for them.

The idea that the Geneva conventions are quaint began under Bush.

I don't think that's an accurate assessment, Katherine. The Geneva Conventions didn't really anticipate the sort of armed conflict we saw in Iraq and Afghanistan. Given that the Guantanamo prisoners were held in the way they were because of said blind spot, wouldn't it be a good thing to consider that the Conventions might be due for an update?

Hilzoy: However: to my fellow leftists: it seems to me that this would be a good time to figure out why making the points we've been making for ages hasn't worked, not just to make them again.

Eh, Hilzoy, you're right, of course. Believe it or not, I'm still furious that so many people decided to endorse so much evil and so much incompetence. Actually, the evil I can forgive, on the basis that most of the people who voted for Bush honestly didn't know: endorsing incompetence, however, is a little harder to forgive: and every time some right-wing commentator complains about how things are going in Iraq any time in the next four years, I cannot guarantee that I won't want to point out "But this is exactly what you voted for in 2004: a President who proved he didn't know what he was doing. Why complain now? You decided that incompetence ought to be rewarded: why did you expect competence as a result?"

I realise that this is boring: anger is boring. This is why I'm thinking of taking a break from blogging/commenting for a week or two. Or possibly for four years, since "I told you so!" is one of the most irritating things anyone can say... especially when they did.

Where was abortion on the ballot?

Come now...it's hardly a stretch to assert that.

But the stakes for the court and the law are even higher now than they were in 2000. The prospect of a change on the court is greater — eight of the justices are now at least 65 — and the replacement of even one justice could affect the law on issues such as abortion rights, affirmative action and religion's role in government.

And it was mentioned in the election as if it were on the ballot:

BUSH: Take, for example, the ban on partial birth abortion. It's a brutal practice. People from both political parties came together in the halls of Congress and voted overwhelmingly to ban that practice. It made a lot of sense. My opponent, in that he's out of the mainstream, voted against that law.

Yes.

It is frankly not useful to have these discussions in a bipartisan forum, though. The right of center posters want to argue that their base is not really homophobic and the Bush administration is not really immoral. Of course they have every right to do so, they may be right and I may be wrong about that, but going back and forth does derail the thread from discussing HOW to convince people that Abu Ghraib is at least a much a moral value as gay marriage.

As far as making the arguments we are now about Bush's human rights record: hundreds of lefty bloggers have made them before, but Democratc Congressional and Presidential candidates absolutely have not.

"The Geneva Conventions didn't really anticipate the sort of armed conflict we saw in Iraq and Afghanistan. Given that the Guantanamo prisoners were held in the way they were because of said blind spot, wouldn't it be a good thing to consider that the Conventions might be due for an update?"

Some provisions applied, some didn't. Bush disobeyed the ones that clearly applied, and failed to put forth any alternative to the one's that didn't, to safeguard prisoners from being tortured & make sure they were really guilty. There was no attempt to do that. They have tried to evade every law I know of, domestic and international, that would constrain them from having prisoners tortured or from indefinitely detaining innocent people or...the Bush administration position isn't that Geneva should be updated; it's that the president shouldn't be bound by any laws at all protecting detainees, and that it would be unconstitutional for Congress to try to stop him.

Unlike previous wars where the President has asserted sweeping powers, the war in terror is argued to be constrained neither by time nor by space. The battlefield, they argue, is the whole world. The end comes when they say it ends, and they admit it may never come.

but going back and forth does derail the thread from discussing HOW to convince people that Abu Ghraib is at least a much a moral value as gay marriage.

Exactly. Color me the bad guy all day long if you want, but it doesn't get much done other than annoy me. Which may be an objective all by itself, but a less worthy one.

but Democratc Congressional and Presidential candidates absolutely have not.

Fairly said, Katherine.

are you really sure that people aren't answering regarding "courage, magnanimity, integrity, decency, fairness, honesty, respect, generosity, kindness, perseverance, and justice"?

Am I 100% sure? No. Only 95% or so.

I'm now going to plead ignorance. Embarrassing, sure, but it's the truth. My understanding was that those people we captured actually fell outside the Conventions as illegal combatants, and that we (for the most part) housed them, clothed them and fed them as if they were prisoners of war.

The issue of torture, though, I'm crystal clear on: my position is that we should never, ever engage in such activities (even by proxy), even if they were expressly permitted.

Actually, I think that one of the major problems is that the Geneva Conventions pretty much did anticipate the kind of conflicts we had in Afghanistan and are having in Iraq but that many liberals do not like what the Geneva Conventions say about them. The Geneva Conventions were designed to provide armies a strong incentive to conduct themselves in a way that protects civilians. They did not do that by pretending that it is the responsibility of just one side. They did it by encouraging armies to separate themselves from the civilian populations both visually (uniforms) and spatially (location). When armies refuse to do that, the war crime accrues to them and most of the Geneva Conventions are not applied to them.

In many respects, the Geneva Conventions were very pragmatic. They know that war occurs, they know that civilians get killed, and they provide very specific things that are supposed to help keep civilian damage to a minimum. But they are structured around incentives, and most liberals seem to want to universalize them. Which completely destroys the incentive structure.

My understanding was that those people we captured actually fell outside the Conventions as illegal combatants, and that we (for the most part) housed them, clothed them and fed them as if they were prisoners of war.

No, not so. For one thing, an Afghan fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan, could not (according to the Geneva Conventions) ever have been defined as an "illegal combatant". Yet hundreds of Afghans were swept up into the net - the US military paid a bounty on anyone turned in as a "Taliban fighter", with the obvious result that many warlords turned in anyone they didn't like as a "Taliban fighter".

For another, there were documented instances of people being kidnapped from Bosnia, from the Ghana, from Pakistan, and taken to Guantanamo Bay, labelled as "illegal combatants" though there was no evidence that they were combatants, let alone legal or illegal.

For a third, the Geneva Convention directly specifies that while it's possible some captives may not be prisoners of war, and thus not entitled to the full protection of the Convention, "such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal." cite

In short, while it's possible that some of those held in Guantanamo Bay and Bagram Airbase were illegal combatants, it was for the detaining power (the US) to prove that they were illegal combatants, and this had to be done by a "competent tribunal". No such tribunals ever took place, and the captives were therefore entitled to be treated as prisoners of war - which they were not.

At Bagram Airbase, two prisoners were murdered by their captors, sometime in December 2002: the news broke in January 2002. cite

In Guantanamo Bay, reports have been available for months from ex-inmates and lawyers who finally got acces. cite, cite, cite.

None of this should come as a surprise: as Katherine pointed out last month, the Bush administration endorses torture and has actively worked to make it legal. This policy has now been approved by 51% of the US electorate who voted on Tuesday: it will doubtless continue.


and the captives were therefore entitled to be treated as prisoners of war - which they were not.

Rephrase. "and the captives were therefore entitled to be treated as prisoners of war. They were not so treated."

Oh. I guess that makes them OK then.

So often, one is left with two choices in reading Bernard's responses.

1) He doesn't understand what he read.
2) He's a dishonest paraphraser.

Charity demands assuming the first.

i suppose "3) sarcasm" was unavailable?

Slarti, the point is, we're not so much trying to argue that you're the bad guy as that we already believe it (not YOU, obviously, you're a great guy as far as I can see and your endorsement of Bush was maybe the best case I've seen for him. The administration you voted for, however...) and we're trying to figure out how to make that case to the American people. I mean, talking about moral arguments against the administration pretty much starts from the premise that they're immoral. You don't have to agree with us about it of course. In fact I'm pretty sure I can't convince you if I haven't already, because you've read here a while and read the same newspapers I do. But I think alot of people could be convinced.

However, I'm doing as much or more than you to derail the thread from hilzoy's original topic. So I'm not going to argue further on the Gitmo stuff.

Here are some examples of moral appeals from Democratic candidates.

There's Obama, of course:

For alongside our famous individualism, there's another ingredient in the American saga.

A belief that we are connected as one people. If there's a child on the south side of Chicago who can't read, that matters to me, even if it's not my child. If there's a senior citizen somewhere who can't pay for her prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it's not my grandmother. If there's an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties. It's that fundamental belief — I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper — that makes this country work.

Here's a rather nice article by Dean about same sex marriage and civil unions. Dean's position on the issue was not so different from Kerry's, but he talked about it differently. I think this argument would have worked better than, or at least no worse than, Kerry's tepid federalism arguments and constant repitition of the line "I believe marriage is between a man and a woman".

Here are John Edwards remarks on Martin Luther King day, 2003:

"I'd like to begin where Martin Luther King began a lot of his own thinking, with a passage from the Bible. In the Book of Matthew, God says to some of his children, "Come, take your inheritance," you fed me when I was hungry and thirsty, clothed me when I was naked, invited me in when I was a stranger, and looked after me when I was sick. And the righteous responded to God by asking, Lord, when did we do these things for you? And God answers:

I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.
When we work to lift others up, we do God's work. When we struggle for equality, we do God's work. When we strive for justice, we do God's work.

And that is the work of America too. As Dr. King said, when we work for justice, "We live out the true meaning of [our] creed."

Different arguments work better for different candidates. Dean or Kerry would sound awkward making the argument Edwards did, but Johnny "speaks Methodist" as Jeanne D'Orleans has said.

Jes, the Geneva Convention text, which you cite, says: "Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4, such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal."

There is not doubt whatsoever that soldiers with no uniform and no recognized chain of command for surrender are unlawful combatants. The lack of uniform ALONE is enough.

This is from a letter I sent to an evangelical friend who ended up voting for Kerry. Feel free to use the argument with or without attribution.

In the New Testament, you see two types of morality. One type is based on inclusion. This is exemplified by Jesus, when he says, "I was hungry and you fed me. I was naked and you clothed me." Or when he encouraged people to help the poor, care for the sick, visit the prisoner. In this context, "judge not, lest you be judged," makes complete sense. He entreats us to do these things no matter what kind of people the poor, the sick, and the prisoners are. The second type of morality is based on exclusion. This is exemplified when the Pharisees are scandalized by Jesus because he eats with tax collectors and prostitutes. This equates to cutting people off for being impure, to doing the equivalent of saying, in essence, "Appreciate us, respect our good intentions, and follow our example. If you don't, we condemn your behavior and cast you out." About this kind of morality Jesus said, "I came not to bring peace, but to bring a sword." For him, all morality was not the same. He embraced the morality of inclusion, and roundly and uniformly condemned the morality of exclusion. Honestly, which type do you think is almost universally practiced by the Christian Right? At this point, I have a hard time believing its possible to support the current administration's policies, both foreign and domestic, and to be an informed Christian with a clear conscience.

Further, a vote for George Bush is the same as saying "We want Barrabas!" Abstaining from voting is not the same as "rendering unto Ceasar that which is Ceasar's," but of being the Pharisee from the story of the good Samaritan, who sees the robbed and dying victim lying on the side of the road, and keeps walking because he has other more "holy" business to attend to. Actively working to ensure that Bush is not reelected is a matter of defending the sick against a medicare policy that rewards drug companies and punishes seniors, defending the poor against tax policies that favor the wealthy by abolishing taxes on dividends and estates while placing an unfair tax burden on the working class, and defending prisoners from having their civil liberties stripped away by the Patriot Act, the Ashcroft Department of Justice, and the human tragedy of Guantanamo Bay. Based on the kind of morality that Jesus approved of and practiced, actively opposing the current administration is a moral imperative, and supporting it is the height of hypocrisy.

went over the character limit. here's the rest...

Further, a vote for George Bush is the same as saying "We want Barrabas!" Abstaining from voting is not the same as "rendering unto Ceasar that which is Ceasar's," but of being the Pharisee from the story of the good Samaritan, who sees the robbed and dying victim lying on the side of the road, and keeps walking because he has other more "holy" business to attend to. Actively working to ensure that Bush is not reelected is a matter of defending the sick against a medicare policy that rewards drug companies and punishes seniors, defending the poor against tax policies that favor the wealthy by abolishing taxes on dividends and estates while placing an unfair tax burden on the working class, and defending prisoners from having their civil liberties stripped away by the Patriot Act, the Ashcroft Department of Justice, and the human tragedy of Guantanamo Bay. Based on the kind of morality that Jesus approved of and practiced, actively opposing the current administration is a moral imperative, and supporting it is the height of hypocrisy.

"Jes, the Geneva Convention text, which you cite, says: "Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4, such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal."

There is not doubt whatsoever that soldiers with no uniform and no recognized chain of command for surrender are unlawful combatants. The lack of uniform ALONE is enough."

I think you are wrong.

Here is Geneva:

Art 4. A. Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy: (1) Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict, as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces.

(2) Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions:[
(a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
(b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
(c) that of carrying arms openly;
(d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

(3) Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power.

(4) Persons who accompany the armed forces without actually being members thereof, such as civilian members of military aircraft crews, war correspondents, supply contractors, members of labour units or of services responsible for the welfare of the armed forces, provided that they have received authorization, from the armed forces which they accompany, who shall provide them for that purpose with an identity card similar to the annexed model.

(5) Members of crews, including masters, pilots and apprentices, of the merchant marine and the crews of civil aircraft of the Parties to the conflict, who do not benefit by more favourable treatment under any other provisions of international law.

(6) Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.

#1 and #6 would seem clearly entitled to POW status regardless of whether they wear a uniform. Afghanistan and Iraq were parties to the convention, were they not?

There is also often a question as to whether they committed a belligerent act.

Sorry in advance if this post continues to derail the thread.

Why is it that any discussion of the Administration's position towards the Geneva Conventions always focuses on Geneva III (treatment of POWs) and rarely addresses Geneva IV (protection of civilians)? Certainly in the early days of the Iraq occupation, the US as occupying power failed to provide for basic security and protection of the civilian population -- a violation of its obligations under Geneva IV. IIRC, Rumsfeld claimed that it was the responsibility of the Iraqi people to maintain law and order, prevent looting and random acts of violence, etc.

"...good Samaritan, who sees the robbed and dying victim lying on the side of the road, and keeps walking because he has other more "holy" business to attend to."

Ignoring the suffering of both the men and women in Afghanistan and Iraq under despotic regimes is like the Pharisse who keeps walking because the has other more "holy" business to attend to.


"defending the sick against a medicare policy that rewards drug companies and punishes seniors"

Assuring that drug companies are rewarded is the moral course of action because they will be more motivated to provide better drugs to seniors. Hence, not ensuring that drug companies are rewarded is immoral.

"defending the poor against tax policies that favor the wealthy by abolishing taxes on dividends and estates while placing an unfair tax burden on the working class"

Tax dividends are often reinvested which allows companies to grow and hire new employees. Taxing dividends could hurt the working class.

"Guantanamo Bay"
The murders that have been committed by prisoners who were wrongly released is a great tragedy.

Based on the kind of morality that Jesus approved of and practiced, actively supporting the current administration is a moral imperative, and undermining it is the height of hypocrisy"

Ignoring the suffering of both the men and women in Afghanistan and Iraq under despotic regimes is like the Pharisse who keeps walking because the has other more "holy" business to attend to.

If you are imputing this position to the left, I must take serious issue with your argument. The left tried -- for YEARS -- to shift the spotlight onto human rights abuses under the Taliban and Saddam Hussein. It was only in the post-9/11 security environment, when Afghanistan and Iraq were suddenly considered vital to the national security of the United States, that the rhetoric of human rights was used to justify military action in pursuit of regime change. It is pure hypocrisy to turn around and claim otherwise.

I guess your right Katherine as long as you ignore 2)

But, hey if we are just going to throw 2) out then let's get rid of 1) and 6) also.

Katherine, they clearly aren't #1. No foreign soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan could possibly be under #6.

Almost all of them are under #2:

Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions:[
(a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
(b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
(c) that of carrying arms openly;
(d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

In almost every case, they are in violation of a,b,c, AND d. a) exists to facilitate surrender and to establish responsibility. b) exists to protect civilians. c) exists to protect civilians. d) exists in part to protect civilians. Any one of which is enough to exempt you from the Conventions on Combatants.

"If you are imputing this position to the left, I must take serious issue with your argument. The left tried -- for YEARS -- to shift the spotlight onto human rights abuses under the Taliban and Saddam Hussein"

Right, up until Bush decided to overthrow both regimes and try to give them the freedoms that we enjoy. Interesting?

"...the rhetoric of human rights was used to justify military action in pursuit of regime change."

Just one of the many reasons. And today its not just rhetoric is has been converted into reality. More freedom for individuals and certainly women exist in both Iraq and Afghanistan than any other time in modern history.

You don't have to fall into EVERY category from 1-6, just one of them.

There is plenty of reason to believe that many, and probably most, of the Guanatanamo detainees were either Taliban fighters who fell into category 1, and some others were non-belligerents that the Northern Alliance turned in for the reward money. Therefore, they were entitled to an evidentiary hearing to determine their status. Which they didn't get. Which was a violation of the Geneva conventions.

Stop assuming the conclusion.

As for Iraq, many of the detainees seem completely innocent.

I agree that foreign fighters might not be covered. That still leaves the question of whether the administration has taken any steps at all to ensure that prisoners are not tortured or innocent prisoners detained indefinitely, or instead has taken as many steps as possible to ensure there will not be legal consequences for abusing prisoners and detaining them indefinitely.

Blue:

Right, up until Bush decided to overthrow both regimes and try to give them the freedoms that we enjoy. Interesting?

Because, of course, freedom and empathy were the primary reasons for invasion, n'est-ce pas?

And as for your

Based on the kind of morality that Jesus approved of and practiced, actively supporting the current administration is a moral imperative, and undermining it is the height of hypocrisy

If you honestly believe there is, or has ever been, a government on this earth Jesus would vote for, you need to get back to reading your Bible.

"If you are imputing this position to the left, I must take serious issue with your argument. The left tried -- for YEARS -- to shift the spotlight onto human rights abuses under the Taliban and Saddam Hussein"

Right, up until Bush decided to overthrow both regimes and try to give them the freedoms that we enjoy. Interesting?

Ah yes, the oft-repeated meme that all the liberals and leftists opposed the Afghanistan intervention. Um, wrong.

As for Iraq? Well, we all knew that Hussein was a butcher, but I for one heeded Bush the elder's reasons for not outright deposing him, namely that it would create chaos in the region, that America would lose allies, and end up handling a terrible military occupation by itself. That just seemed to be the wrong route to take, which doesn't mean that there was any less of a commitment to human rights (although I can understand how assuming that viewpoint makes for an easier debate from your position, but less of an intellectually honest one, IMO).

James,

If you read the entire thread thoroughly you would have understood my refernce.

"Based on the kind of morality that Jesus approved of and practiced, actively opposing the current administration is a moral imperative, and supporting it is the height of hypocrisy."

"Based on the kind of morality that Jesus approved of and practiced, actively supporting the current administration is a moral imperative, and undermining it is the height of hypocrisy"

i·ro·ny
A literary style employing such contrasts for humorous or rhetorical effect


"Because, of course, freedom and empathy were the primary reasons for invasion, n'est-ce pas?"

But it seems you also missed:

"Just one of the many reasons."


Blue - I said primary. Not sole.

Most Demcrats supported the war in Afghanistan. Most Senate Democrats voted to authorize force in Iraq, and the rank-and-file was split on the issue until the WMDs and terrorist connections turned out not to exist, as more soldiers died and the situation on the ground only got worse. Abu Ghraib probably sealed it.

On a slightly related note: we no longer have to wait for candidates and campaigns to raise these issues. We can, through 527s that run issue ads.

I think MoveOn goes about its ad strategy all wrong. Ads' main value these days is as drivers of free media: if you want a story addressed that isn't, make a 30- or 60-second ad that gives specific factual allegations, spend a few tens of thousands of dollars, and try to get the story into the press. Like the SwiftVets, only without being sleazy or lying.

"If you are imputing this position to the left, I must take serious issue with your argument. The left tried -- for YEARS -- to shift the spotlight onto human rights abuses under the Taliban and Saddam Hussein"

Which highlights the ever-interesting conflict between words and deeds in human events doesn't it?

"There is plenty of reason to believe that many, and probably most, of the Guanatanamo detainees were either Taliban fighters who fell into category 1, and some others were non-belligerents that the Northern Alliance turned in for the reward money."

BTW, actions of #1 can exempt them from the conventions. Specifically, not wearing uniforms and thus endangering civilians. 'Spies' have never in the history of the Conventions been subject to their protections. Non-belligerents were turned over? Says who?

And in Iraq, we are treating everyone captured under the conventions--thus undermining the whole purpose of the Geneva Conventions.

The Geneva Conventions were not designed for the protection of soldiers. They were designed to use the protection of soldiers as an incentive for specific types of behaviour which would make civilians safer. Insisting that the Conventions apply to everyone undermines the Conventions and makes civilians less safe.

But what if it's more fun to be sleazy and lie? Not to mention more effective.

Katherien??? You mean you don't have a cookie?

Which highlights the ever-interesting conflict between words and deeds in human events doesn't it?

Sebastian, you know the argument comes down to disagreement over the method of getting rid of Saddam, over the timing and approach to action, over whether the action taken would only make things worse. Why are you taking this line?

And in Iraq, we are treating everyone captured under the conventions--thus undermining the whole purpose of the Geneva Conventions.

Are you sure? What about those hidden from the Red Cross?

...and yes, invoking Farber's Law, Sebastian can claim a ten-yard penalty against me. But I don't play American Football anyway, so he's got me whipped for sure. Plus surely...

Don't worry, we're not REALLY applying Geneva in Iraq.

Sebastian--given the shifts in your argument and the fact that it doesn't check out every time I look at the documents, I will not be convinced until you cite to the relevant case law, documents, or commentary from neutral sources. And maybe sometime in the next four years someone will admit that whatever Geneva says, the administration has done nothing to prevent and many things to enable the torture of prisoners, and that violates the CAT and simple morality, and has harmed a lot of innocent people, and that yes, there is a pattern. But I'm not holding my breath.

" Detainees who've been released from Guantanamo -- including farmers, kidnapped taxi drivers, a man in his 90s, and a deaf man who couldn't understand his interrogators -- have consistently told reporters that they are innocent and that they were handed over by local Afghan commanders keen to appease the Americans or to settle personal scores."

from a lefty source but that was just the first google hit; I am 99% sure I have read similar things in the big dailies.

Before you guys post would please read the thread!

wruscle says:
"...good Samaritan, who sees the robbed and dying victim lying on the side of the road, and keeps walking because he has other more "holy" business to attend to."

Blue says:
Ignoring the suffering of both the men and women in Afghanistan and Iraq under despotic regimes is like the Pharisse who keeps walking because the has other more "holy" business to attend to.

Vanessa says:
"If you are imputing this position to the left, I must take serious issue with your argument."

I never said anything about the left. I just commented that many were agaisnt Hussein were also willing to continue to let the Iraqis suffer under Hussein.

double,

"but I for one heeded Bush the elder's reasons for not outright deposing him, namely that it would create chaos in the region, that America would lose allies, and end up handling a terrible military occupation by itself."

Good for you.

"That just seemed to be the wrong route to take, which doesn't mean that there was any less of a commitment to human rights"

Unless of course you were at the suffering end of the human rights abuses.

James, I believe I recall seeing Sebastian agree with the idea that anyone who opposed the Iraq invasion was objectively pro-Saddam (in Calpundit comments, quite a while ago), so your mind-reading may be off in this case.

And don't call him Shirley.

My understanding was that those people we captured actually fell outside the Conventions as illegal combatants

Speaking of pleas, that's an interesting example of hearsay. "Those people" may indeed fall outside the conventions, but the only way you could believe that is if you believe that "what the government says about the Gitmo detainees is true." Unless you have sources with a separate provenance? But then that interferes with your plea bargaining. Quite the dilemma. Perhaps you should hire a new lawyer ;-)

In almost every case, they are in violation of a,b,c, AND d.

See above. That's the Dirty Harry school of jurisprudence. No need for procedural verification that they were in violation of a,b,c, and d, because they are clearly the bad guys. See, it says so right there in the script: "Bad Guys."

Unless of course you can provide the "separate provenance" cites that Slart doesn't have?

dangnabit

"That just seemed to be the wrong route to take, which doesn't mean that there was any less of a commitment to human rights"

Unless of course you were at the suffering end of the human rights abuses.

Ah, I see. I suspect that those Iraqis who are scraping the remains of their children off the nursery walls in Fallujah may disagree with you.

Human rights are an important cause, as is the spread of democracy, but simply saying that those who are concerned with the approach taken to further those ends are unconcerned with the plight of the oppressed is, well, I'm not sure how to express it without violating ObWi posting rules.

ust one of the many reasons. And today its not just rhetoric is has been converted into reality. More freedom for individuals and certainly women exist in both Iraq and Afghanistan than any other time in modern history.

Afghanistan now:
Women and girls bear some of the worst effects of Afghanistan's insecurity. Conditions are generally are better than under the Taliban, but women and girls continue to face severe governmental and social discrimination. Through intimidation and armed attacks, local warlord factions, the Taliban, and other insurgent forces have forced the closure of projects that provided desperately needed education, health, rights awareness, and job training to women and girls. Female journalists, activists, and government officials have reported death threats, harassment, and attacks for speaking out about sensitive women’s rights issues.

Afghanistan then: (pdf)
By mid-century, with massive foreign aid and technical assistance from the Soviet Union,
Afghanistan embarked on a modernizing journey. By the late 1950's, a need was perceived for women to
be economically active to help Afghanistan achieve its targeted development goals. Women's issues
were once again given some consideration. The then Prime Minister Mohammad Daoud did not want to
repeat the haste and mistake of his predecessor Amanullah and declared veiling a —voluntary option.“ By
now women were expected once again to abandon the veil, marriage expenses were curtailed, and
women were encouraged to contribute to the economy. The 1940s and 1950s saw women becoming
nurses, doctors and teachers.
In 1964 the third Constitution allowed women to enter elected politics and gave them the right to
vote. The first woman Minister was in the health department, elected to the Parliament along with three
other women. In 1965 People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), a Soviet-backed socialist
organization was formed. The same year also saw the formation of the first women's group, the
Democratic Organization of Afghan Women (DOAW). The main objectives of this women's group was
to eliminate illiteracy among women, ban forced marriages, and do away with bride price.
The Second Era of Change
The second era of intense women‘s reform occurred in the late 1970s. The 1970s saw a rise in
women's education, faculty in the universities, and representatives in the Parliament. (Dupree, 1986) The
year 1978 saw the rise to power of the controversial PDPA. It is during the PDPA rule that rapid social
and economic change, echoing some of the 1920s themes, was implemented and mass literacy for
women and men of all ages was introduced. (Moghadam, 1997) Massive land reform programs, along
with abolition of bride price and raising of marriage age were also part of the PDPA agenda. In October
1978 a decree was issued with the explicit intention of ensuring equal rights for women.

I have to go, so I don't have the time to come with appropriate links for Iraq. But I assure you that a bit of googling will quickly show you ... ah well, here is the first one I found:
"The 1970s and early 1980s witnessed rapid economic growth in Iraq. The Iraqi government enforced further policies aimed at the improvement of education and employment opportunities for women. The Iraqi Constitution was changed to ensure equal rights for both men and women. Unlike in many neighbouring Arab countries, Iraqi women enjoyed many more rights such as equal pay, six months of fully paid maternity leave and an additional six months of half pay and up to five years of unpaid maternity leave, while retaining their work place for them if they desired to return. Many workplaces had subsidized day care for their children. Women in Iraq became among the most educated and professional in the entire region, and working outside the home became the norm for them. Women could find and retain jobs, obtain higher education, and receive extensive medical coverage. In 1980 women could vote and run for election. Iraqi women could also serve in the Army if they so wished."

"Sebastian, you know the argument comes down to disagreement over the method of getting rid of Saddam, over the timing and approach to action, over whether the action taken would only make things worse. Why are you taking this line?"

No, I know no such thing. Saddam was never going to be removed except by force. Europe wasn't going to go along with that, they didn't in 1991 and they weren't doing it any time later. So if by 'method' you question 'invasion' you have a problem.

"Sebastian--given the shifts in your argument and the fact that it doesn't check out every time I look at the documents, I will not be convinced until you cite to the relevant case law, documents, or commentary from neutral sources."

What 'shift' are you questioning me on, you get amazingly non-specific when defensive. What allegedly doesn't check out? Are you contesting my "the earth is round" level of assertion that spies are not covered by the Geneva Conventions? Seriously, is that what you are questioning? I'm not going to do entry-level research on something unless you are a bit more specific. What have you checked out that suggests otherwise? Or are you complaining about something totally different?

dutch,

You are right! I stand corrected. Due to your presentation I am sure that women would prefer to be living under Hussein and the Taliban... rathean than trying to build a democracy.

Now you just need to convince them...

"James, I believe I recall seeing Sebastian agree with the idea that anyone who opposed the Iraq invasion was objectively pro-Saddam (in Calpundit comments, quite a while ago), so your mind-reading may be off in this case."

Nope, I don't think so.

You said that anyone non-uniformed was automatically not covered by the Geneva convention, by the Convention's terms. I looked it up, and that wasn't true. #1 clearly does not mention uniforms, and the point about spies doesn't cut it because not everyone non-uniformed was a spy. You said they were mainly under #2, and gave no evidence to support it. I gave evidence against it. Then you said it didn't matter if they were #1 because not wearing uniforms still might mean we don't have to obey the question. I have no idea what authority you're going on for your information on Geneva--I assumed it was the text, but whenever I look at the text, it seems not to support what you say. Nor I do have any idea where you're getting your factual information about Afghanistan and Guantanamo. "By believing the Bush administration" would be one possible explanation, but I assume you have some other sources. What are they?

" I am sure that women would prefer to be living under Hussein and the Taliban."

Have you asked them? Or, much more importantly, did we ask them before we invaded? It's all well and good to say that democracy is better than Hussein (and it is), and that any difficult endeavour like that requires the sacrifice of lives (and it does), but don't you think it's a very significant point that we never did actually ask the Iraqi people whether they wanted to make that sacrifice? That we simply told them they were going to make that sacrifice?

What can be more absurdly obvious than the difference between a people rising up against tyranny and another state coming and killing them to save them from tyranny?

"What can be more absurdly obvious than the difference between a people rising up against tyranny and another state coming and killing them to save them from tyranny?"

Ughh... but again, if you read the posts above there are many different reasons we invaded Iraq...

It seems more accurate to me to say that since major combat operations have ended the insurgents are killing far more Iraqi non-combatants than the coalition... is this a point of disagreement?

It seems more accurate to me to say that since major combat operations have ended the insurgents are killing far more Iraqi non-combatants than the coalition... is this a point of disagreement?

Only if by arguing that the insurgents are responsible for killing them you intend to suggest that we are not somehow still responsible for protecting them.

"Ughh... but again, if you read the posts above there are many different reasons we invaded Iraq..."

Okay, then stop talking about this one, because it's garbage. You can't make one good justification out of a bunch of bad ones, no matter how hard you try. Quantity isn't quality.

"the insurgents are killing far more Iraqi non-combatants ..."

Also garbage for a number of reasons. 1) It's a horrible standard. Are you trying to say that we're pure and ethical in this because we're better than terrorists? Do you feel alright killing a few of your neighbors because other people would have killed all of them? 2) The insurgents wouldn't be killing those people if we didn't invade, so we are indirectly responsible for all of it except the people Hussein would have killed (and we are furthermore indirectly responsible for everyone that died under sanctions). You don't break a few eggs to make an omelette if the eggs were never given a choice. That's not how free countries operate.

People talk about these deaths in such abstract ways as to make me literally heartsick. Let me make it personal. What would you do if another nation brought its army and decided your leader needed ousting and in the process your wife and child (or, if more appropriate, your siblings and parents) were killed? I'd tell you what I'd do. If I came home and had to dig the body of my son out of the rubble of my house, Buddhist as I am, I would begin killing them. And I would continue to kill them until I was dead.

How do you impose peace in a world like that? Only with more brutality. They'd have to kill me and everyone like me, and in the end impose peace on pain of slaughter.

Maybe now you see why the idea of democracy by invasion isn't something I despise because I'm weak-kneed or hate America.

No, I wouldn't argue that at all Edward. As a matter of fact, I support that statement 110%.

On a different note, in a couple of months Bush is going to be lambasted in the MSM for not reaching out to those on the left... for not appointing a Democrat to his Cabinet... for trying to appoint a right wing extremist to the Supreme Court... for not compromising and such.

I suggest that ObWi go ahead and nix that discussion at this blog.

Why should we hold any politician to a higher standard than ourselves?

I mean its two days after the election and there ain't no love at this blog from either side. Maybe there was a little lovin' for about 5 or 10 minutes...

"You said they were mainly under #2, and gave no evidence to support it. I gave evidence against it. Then you said it didn't matter if they were #1 because not wearing uniforms still might mean we don't have to obey the question."

You think that guerrillas are part of the regular armed forces? Your summary of the argument doesn't make sense at all. You think that spies cannot be summarily executed?

The idea that those in #1 have to have uniforms is strongly supported by Geneva Protocol III Article 46 see for link to actual text and voluminous commentary.

And just to show that I can point out ambiguous evidence, feel free to look at the incredibly lengthy commentary on Article 44 which discusses at length the wrangling over guerrilla warfare and the Geneva Conventions. The tricky area according to the Rapporteur is:

With one exception, the sanction for a guerrilla fighter failing to comply with the obligation to distinguish himself from the civilian population in accordance with this provision, when required to do so, will be "merely trial and punishment for violation of the laws of war, not loss of combatant or prisoner of war status". [p.529] The exception leading to loss of status relates to "the guerrilla fighter who relies on his civilian attire and lack of distinction to take advantage of his adversary in preparing and launching an attack". (39) It will be examined in detail in the context of the second sentence of this paragraph and of paragraph 4. Suffice it to say here that the combatant can lose his status just as easily when he fails to carry his arms openly in the exceptional situations referred to in the second sentence, as when he abusively assumes the existence of an exceptional situation and fails to wear a distinctive sign in combat.

You repeatedly decry the lack of agreement on facts. In the interests of talking about the same reality, you should share whether or not you believe the Iraqi guerrilla fighters are such "who relies on his civilian attire and lack of distinction to take advantage of his adversary in preparing and launching an attack."

I think the answer is absolutely clear, but I suppose for the purposes of this discussion you should provide your answer.

side,

Again, that statement was in just part of a response to a post...

"How do you impose peace in a world like that?"

Darn that U.S. Civil War that freed slaves, darn WW2 that defeated Nazism. Darn the Korean War and those South Koreans that wish they could live up North.

Blue, I don't think your flippant arguments are in good faith, so I'm bowing out.

I don't understand why it is bad faith to use counterexamples to the idea that the 'cycle of violence' cannot be broken by the use of violence.

I admit the argument is not in good faith, because if you read the postings you will also find that the criticism is not in good faith... hence the flippant response was intended as a reflection back to the person who was being critical in bad faith to begin with. Saying I said things when I didn't...

I admit the argument is not in good faith, because if you read the postings you will also find that the criticism is not in good faith... hence the flippant response was intended as a reflection back to the person who was being critical in bad faith to begin with. Saying I said things when I didn't...

<snark> Yeah Sidereal, it's your fault he's being snarky. </snark>

Doesn't do much in the way of discourse, does it?

Sebastian, no one offered that idea. In fact, I explicitly pointed out that violence is likely the only way to stop it. Which is why I think going into it in the first place deserves a little more thought and realistic estimate.

Blue, if I misquoted you anywhere I apologize, but you'll have to point it out.

I mean its two days after the election and there ain't no love at this blog from either side.

You secure me access to Airforce One and the power the president wields, not to mention his responsibilities, and I'll shower you with all kinds of love Blue.

but the only way you could believe that is if you believe

Believe being the key word. I never said I believed anything at all, just that was my understanding. The level of accuracy in my understanding has been disputed but not, I think, conclusively resolved. If it turns out to be a clear-cut, black-and-white distinction, then I might sign up to "belief". If not, I'm just going to have to go with the argument that appears to be stronger.

Not splitting hairs here, just pointing out that there's things that I understand less than fully. Realizing that I understand them less than fully, I don't get all fired up as to the implications. If I'd believed what I advanced as an understanding, I'd have told Katherine that she was absolutely wrong. If Katherine had advanced the opinion that the Earth attracted objects through suction, for instance, that would be my response.

Quirky, maybe. But that's me.

You secure me access to Airforce One and the power the president wields, not to mention his responsibilities, and I'll shower you with all kinds of love Blue.

Blue, shower and airplane all in one sentence. Subliminal, or a divine accident? Regardless, it's my request that you don't shower me with any love.

Those Hunter Thompson essays surface at the oddest times, I swear.

Regardless, it's my request that you don't shower me with any love.

Granted. I'll only shower you with opposition. ;p

Well, at least don't shower me with anything blue from an airplane. On that, I remain firm.

I'm not up on my Hunter S. T., Slarti...sorry to admit it, but that's flying right over my head..

As long as it's not showering you with anything blue, Edward.

I seem to remember a story written by him that involved a drug stash that fell into the airplane toilet, to be quickly retrieved and washed off. The title was something like "The Blue Hand", but it's nowhere on any of the Internets.

Hopefully my aversion to blue stuff falling from an airplane is getting a bit easier to understand.

Slarti has just confirmed himself to be exactly what this blog needs right now.

;)

I, on the other hand, feel like I was kidding myself to believe that any amount of argument and evidence and reporting and writing could ever convince Bush supporters of anything at all. And I believe that you all have just given power as unchecked as our system of government allows to an administration that won by attacking my friends' rights in the name of defending my marriage, shows no regard for either legal or moral constraints in the war on terror, has gotten innocent people tortured and will do so again, and is so incompetent that I will be at increased risk of losing someone I know in a terrorist attack, and is going to create a fiscal crisis that may play absolute hell with the interest rates on my student loans, and is going to dismantle the safety net and leave me having to support at least one specific family member I can't afford to support.

So I can no longer even pretend to be even a fifth of any site that calls itself the "voice of moderation". I feel a little guilty about my tone. But then I think how f*cking ridiculous to feel even a small amount guilt about contributing to a immoderation and lack of balance between left and right on a small-circulation weblog, and be lectured about it by people who have just ensured there will be no balance at all in any branch of the federal government. In short, I need to get the fuck out of here. To the extent I blog or comment in the coming months, I should go somewhere else where my presence will not be disruptive, and focus on reporting instead of arguments that go nowhere, and write about the things I want to write about, and accept that only people left of center will ever link or read or care or be convinced, and try to be fair without worrying about being balanced.

Because if Slarti is exactly what this blog needs, I am exactly what it does not need right now. No hard feelings--assuming you guys are better men, and woman, than I. But like Moe said, this is no fun anymore. Whether I actually do this is an open question but there's no question it's what I should do.

Hopefully my aversion to blue stuff falling from an airplane is getting a bit easier to understand.

But everyone knows that the era of Icy BMs has past...

I sense a whole slew of truly offal puns coming.

Fortunately for me (being of lazy disposition) I've got to feed and bathe the...offspring? Can I used that word with adopted children? Anyway, the helm is yours, Mr. Sulu. Don't disappoint.

Katherine: I hear you. I don't fully understand yet, but I hear you. Come back when you're ready, and don't ever give up. You've got a gift. Please don't waste it.

Katherine: I, on the other hand, feel like I was kidding myself to believe that any amount of argument and evidence and reporting and writing could ever convince Bush supporters of anything at all.

I need the diversity of views here as a reminder (a) that there are intelligent people around who have an opposing viewpoint, which may coexist comfortably with my own views (ii) that there are intelligent and eridite people who share my views, (3) that discussion involving multiple viewpoints can be had that include respect and civility, even on a blog, (four) that I may occasionally be wrong, or more importantly, right.

And (E) to read your stuff, Katherine.

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