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November 04, 2004

Comments

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?

They've also killed more U.S. soldiers than died during so-called "major combat operations," so I'm not sure if that's a road you want to go down.

Darn that U.S. Civil War that freed slaves . . .

The U.S. Civil War did no such thing. The U.S. Civil War, because the North won, preserved the Union. Had the Union been split asunder, Southern blacks would have remained enslaved for quite some time. Not even the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves. The postwar Amendments freed the slaves, and had the South not been comprised largely of black-hearted racist scumbags, we could have had them without a war.

K, why not come here when you have stuff that needs trumpeting (on which say 98% of commenters agree and don't care about the 2%); when there's a humorous thread; when a discussion is apolitical; or when a quick data-point is needed; and run a commented blog for us partisans on your side and others willing to be ranted at by us?

honest, non-snarky question:

Does either the Geneva Convention or the UCMJ contain any procedure for determining the actual innocence of a detainee?

hypothetical: US forces in Afghanistan receive custody of an individual. His captors assert he's Taliban / AlQ; the detainee insists he's a cab driver whose family has a long-standing grudge against the captors' family.

Does the US, by law, have the power to lock him up indefinitely/pending resolution of the conflict?
followup:

What are/should be the consequences to being wrong?

hypo: US forces capture a foreign national in a secure area. He is summarily executed as a spy by an over-zealous captain, who later discovers that the individual had clearance to be there. Murder?

explanations sincerely desired.

Francis

Blue:
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.

You said " More freedom for individuals and certainly women exist in both Iraq and Afghanistan than any other time in modern history.". I said that that was not true and gave proof. It is such a ... I don't know what the proper word in English is.. patronizing? statement.

I really really hope the population of both Afghanistan en Iraq will have benefits from the wars waged on them. And I really really do hope that the Afghan women will be able to lead the independent life we take for granted here, and that the Iraqi women will retain the freedoms and liberties she had. But for both that is a long road from where they are now.

Just to point out what's decidedly not going to work, I give you Wretchard's response to Jane Smiley's latest piece in Slate.

If you view Republicans as the enemy, encouraging them to consolidate by giving them a common target for contempt seems to be unwise, tactically. Wretchard handled the logical issues rather better than I could; go read.

This sort of thinking belies a sort of intellectual eccentric religiosity (I really ought to pay Mr. Yglesias royalty for that phrase) that ought to have been scrubbed out of any recipient of a Ph.D. long, long ago.

Francis,

People get completely mixed up trying to apply civil law to warfare. It doesn't. Similarly, the Geneva Conventions are treaties, not laws, and primarily apply to those who follow the rules. Those who don't have historically been treated summarily in many, if not most, cases. It's also worth noting that the case law varies by country. In the US, one of the more pertinent cases is Ex Parte Quirin:

"The spy who secretly and without uniform passes the military lines of a belligerent in time of war, seeking to gather military information and communicate it to the enemy, or an enemy combatant who without uniform comes secretly through the lines for the purpose of waging war by destruction of life or property, are familiar examples of belligerents who are generally deemed not to be entitled to the status of prisoners of war, but to be offenders against the law of war subject to trial and punishment by military tribunals."
"Does either the Geneva Convention or the UCMJ contain any procedure for determining the actual innocence of a detainee?"

Not for a POW--because they're not being "punished"--they're just being detained. For a war criminal, it's a military court (or commission, tribunal, etc.) which must be held prior to punishment.

"Does the US, by law, have the power to lock him up indefinitely/pending resolution of the conflict?"

Yes. What reason is needed is a grey area, but it isn't much.

"hypo: US forces capture a foreign national in a secure area. He is summarily executed as a spy by an over-zealous captain, who later discovers that the individual had clearance to be there. Murder?"

Yes, murder. But only because the captain doesn't have the authority to hold a tribunal. If he did, regardless of facts, it'd be too bad for the [innocent] "spy."

If you view Republicans as the enemy, encouraging them to consolidate by giving them a common target for contempt seems to be unwise, tactically.

Gosh, I guess GOPers viewing Dems as the enemy and objects of contempt--encouraging them to consolidate--didn't work for them.

Somehow, having Wretchard offer Dems political advice is a little like bin Laden's latest videotaped "advice;" one has to wonder if either truly has our best interests at heart.

But unlike Bin Laden, Wretchard has the nation's best interests at heart. The nation's best interests don't involve a Democratic party that is unrealistically dependent on naive foreign policy views.

Gosh, I guess GOPers viewing Dems as the enemy and objects of contempt--encouraging them to consolidate--didn't work for them.

All Democrats, Jade?

As I've said before, we've basically got two parties, both striving valiantly to self-destruct. Right now, you guys are in the lead. We can still catch up, though.

The nation's best interests don't involve a Democratic party that is unrealistically dependent on naive foreign policy views.

Do they involve turning the word "liberal" into a four-letter word? How about "Massachusetts"? Or, for that matter, "gay"?

...encouraging them to consolidate by giving them a common target for contempt seems to be unwise, tactically.

I'm finding it challenging to reconcile this position with any support for the invasion/occupation of Iraq. Presumably you feel that ending the threat posed by Saddam was worth the price of giving jihadis an enormous boost in credibility by behaving exactly like the America they describe in their demagoguery? Because if that's not the case then your standard for good tactical sense changes depending on whether you're talking about Democrats or W's war cabinet.

The nation's best interests don't involve a Democratic party that is unrealistically dependent on naive foreign policy views.

Thanks for providing us with a chance to use "begging the question" in it's original, correct meaning... I hope I'm wrong about which view is naive and which realistic, but I reckon it'll be pretty conclusively settled over the next ten or twenty years.

Mm, sorry for the three trackback pings. I'm having some Internet/MT troubles (posting from Romania plus recent upgrade to MT 3 make things slightly difficult). Didn't mean to flood you.

Thank you for an excellent post that expressed my thoughts much clearer than I ever could have myself. I'm sending it to friends and relatives.

"I'm finding it challenging to reconcile this position with any support for the invasion/occupation of Iraq. Presumably you feel that ending the threat posed by Saddam was worth the price of giving jihadis an enormous boost in credibility by behaving exactly like the America they describe in their demagoguery?"

That presupposes the war in Iraq is not part of the war on terror. Exit polls showed a majority (55%) of Americans disagree . . . and they voted overwhelmingly for GWB (81% to 18%).

Thanks for providing us with a chance to use "begging the question" in it's original, correct meaning... I hope I'm wrong about which view is naive and which realistic, but I reckon it'll be pretty conclusively settled over the next ten or twenty years.

Let me know when you guys begin to start firing at us literally, and we can revisit this conversation. Are you seriously proposing that all tactics should apply in all situations? Or are you suggesting that there were jihadis in Iraq before we invaded?

I hope I'm wrong about which view is naive and which realistic, but I reckon it'll be pretty conclusively settled over the next ten or twenty years.

Now that's naive and unrealistic. ;)

Oh, and thanks, radish, for taking the occasion to point out that I'd used "may be" in its original, correct meaning: "is". I'll try not to do that again. Next time, I'll try to use "may be" in a way that implies possibility rather than certainty.

Slarti: This may be dense of me, but I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about in your latest two posts to radish. He was responding to an assertion made by Sebastian, not by you, that doesn't seem to have anything to do with what has you steamed. Could you please clarify?

All Democrats, Jade?

Better responses, please.

But unlike Bin Laden, Wretchard has the nation's best interests at heart. The nation's best interests don't involve a Democratic party that is unrealistically dependent on naive foreign policy views.

Well. I guess that settles that.

was responding to an assertion made by Sebastian, not by you

Bad assumption, I guess. Usually when people quote me, I assume they're addressing something I said.

Slarti: Usually when people quote me, I assume they're addressing something I said.

In radish's post of 11:54am, the first quote was yours, from 9:03am; the second was Sebastian's, from 11:15am, unless I'm colossally misreading the thread. You only cited the second of the two (i.e. Sebastian's) in your response, which is what prompted my general confusion.

To clarify: it looks to me as if you've taken radish's (second) 11:54am response to Sebastian's 11:15am post as a continuation of his (first) 11:54am response to your 9:03am post when, in fact, I don't see any reason to construe it as such. As a specific example, you lambast him for using the phrase "original, correct" re your use of the phrase "may be", when in fact he's talking about Sebastian's implicit presumption that Democratic foreign policy is naive and unrealistic. [The specific use of the phrase, in case you'd missed this amidst the pre-election dreck, is a reference back to an earlier thread in which hilzoy took Edward to task for misusing the phrase "begging the question".] I'm guessing that this is just a simple miscommunication, but I might be missing something.

*would kill for decent permalinking right about now*

Ah, so it is. I stand corrected. My 12:29 post retracted with apologies to radish. The one prior to it stands, except what I quoted is not what I responded to. I might be able to edit it, but I don't particularly want to.

Alles gut, Anarch?

Bene :)

I'll try to label quotes henceforth, but I'd like to address why the inconsistency has nothing to do with bullets or blades (and I believe Sun Tzu and Miyamoto Musashi will back me up on this).

What I am saying is that the number of jihadis in Iraq was trivial, and that the overall volume, intensity and unity of the jihadi movements worldwide was far lower, prior to the invasion of Iraq. Jihadis and America-haters in general have been revitalized and unified by our actions there. Specifically by our apparent failure to distinguish between Arab states. Or between Sunni and Shia, or Wahhabis and Baathists. Or something; I dunno. Anyway the factions that already hated us used the "Crusader America in League with the Jews" hypothesis to make a prediction, and the observed results of the experiment match the prediction perfectly. If (like most rural Arabs and most rural Americans) you aren't well versed in the philosophy of science this pretty much proves the hypo.

In the same general vein, you implied that any Dems who see themselves in a position of anatagonism wrt Republicans should not, as a purely tactical matter, be encouraging disparate factions of Republicanism; paleo-, neo-, theo-, authortario-, libertario-, etc; to unite, by failing to distinguish between them. By attacking the Party As A Whole, Dems enhance the credibility of the subgroups with whom they are meaningfully antagonistic and drive other subgroups toward them.

It so happens I disagree only with the if clause about being enemies in the first place, but then I think strong parties are bad for the body politic in the first place. Tactically however it seems pretty clear that any Dems who view Reps as hostile should be driving wedges instead of attacking the party in power ding an sich.

For the record though, humble narrator has not failed to notice such eminent personages such as Coulter, Limbaugh et al tarring Democrats, Old Europe, the ACLU, and jihadis with ye olde fame brushe for lo these past handful of yrs, with barely a harsh glare, let alone a decisive condemnation, from anyone on that side of the aisle. Hitlery and Feminazis have reason to be peeved, and you could hardly expect to keep people away from DU with rhetoric like that eh?

So this strikes me as an abstract matter, entirely independent of whether it's about shooting, politics, or commerce. You advise Dems to avoid strengthening the alliances between sullens (e.g. paleocons) and hostiles (e.g. theocons) because you feel that the resulting alliance is more of a threat than the factions with which there is genuine enmity.

But you advise W to drive sullens (secular Iraqi Sunni, moderate Iraqi Shia, Jordanians, French Muslims) towards an alliance with genuine hostiles (Wahabbis) by treating them the same. The only rational explanation for that is that you considered Saddam solo more of a threat than the jihadis & their newly enthused allies...

Anarch: Why naive? There is ample evidence of the blowback from US intervention in Iran, Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, British intervention in Iraq yadda yadda. Those policies have now been deemed naive but at the time they were touted as worldly, sophisticated and way beyond the ken of "naive" cassandras such as the likes of me. Why should this little adventure be any different?

Katherine, maybe it’s my post surgery drugs talking here, but I’d be willing to take a 100-yard mind-reading penalty and assume that everyone reading this blog learned something important from your posts. That in some cases they didn’t change a couple co-bloggers’ votes for President may be a personal defeat for you, but is certainly no reason to run off and hide. You want to “report” and write about what you want to write about? Just turn off comments on your posts. Those that want to discuss can email and you’re free to answer or not.

++ungood at 6:09 yesterday got it right, but I want to add:

VI) to laugh once in a while.

But you advise W to drive sullens (secular Iraqi Sunni, moderate Iraqi Shia, Jordanians, French Muslims) towards an alliance with genuine hostiles (Wahabbis) by treating them the same.

radishI have to applaud you; you have no equal as a medium. Not to mention the interpolation skills. Unless of course you're addressing this to Sebastian, in which case I take it all back. JFTR, I offer no advice to W.

crionna, penalty declined. If I say much more nice about Katherine, I'll be accused of fawning all over her, so I'll let my past words stand.

And, radish, it's hard to tell if you're disagreeing with me that labeling 51% of the country as undifferentiated bunch of idiots might not be an particularly effective tactic. Just give me the high sign.

Slart: it's hard to tell if you're disagreeing with me that labeling 51% of the country as undifferentiated bunch of idiots

I agree with you that labeling 51% of the country as undifferentiated bunch of [idiots|enemies|smelly] is not a particularly effective tactic.

Slart: you have no equal as a medium

Thanks, but I was merely speculating about whether you supported the invasion of Iraq. If you did, then either you favor "encouraging consolidation" as a generally preferred tactic (which conflicts with your advice to Dems) or you must have considered "encouraging consolidation" in this particular case to be worth it for some other reason.

Thus my conclusion that if you were in favor of invading (and continuing the occupation) you must have considered Saddam more of a threat than all the other Arab factions to whom we knowingly provided a "common target for contempt" by invading Iraq.

If you read it all carefully, that's what it says...

In honor of Katherine, I've developed a theory of convincability.

Often people will claim 'You cannot be convinced of X' and will be countered with 'Yes I can, but your evidence is unconvincing'. While true, this is often a flawed argument.

Take X as a possible state of affairs (Bush is incompetent, Kerry is a Communist, I have too much free time, etc). Take x as some evidence which can be used to argue the fact that X is the existing state of affairs (Most of Bush's presidency, something Kerry said one time, my writing this). Assume Py is someone who does not believe X (they believe Y). Py may find x unconvincing and may instead require something along the lines of evidence x2 to be convinced (Bush commanding the invasion of Argentina, Kerry changing his name to Kerrynovych, me continuing to write this). However, one has to consider whether x2 is a reasonable set of evidence to exist, even if x were true. If situation X could not reasonably result in evidence x2, then Py is, in fact, unconvinceable, even if they can conceive of some evidence that would convince them, because even their opponent's worldview could not realistically result in that evidence.

sidereal

Thanks, now I need more Vicoden ;)

sidereal, I find your theory unconvincing.

(Bet you didn't see that coming!)

If you did, then either you favor "encouraging consolidation" as a generally preferred tactic (which conflicts with your advice to Dems) or you must have considered "encouraging consolidation" in this particular case to be worth it for some other reason.

What sidereal said. Plus, you evidently assume that I a) value consistency (had to put that in there), b) follow the labyrinthine set of logical jumps that have "encouraging consolidation" follow from "invading Iraq", and c) hold that consolidating your enemies when you outnumber them by a few orders of magnitude to be a bad thing.

http://dailykos.com/story/2004/11/5/18466/2846

If you think we lost fair and square, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.

moe99: I'm willing to entertain the notion of voting irregularities and possibly even deliberate attempts to mess with the vote. Even as a lefty, though, I can't condone the "If you think we lost fair and square..." schtick without some serious spadework first. I'd definitely recommend waiting until blackboxvoting.org's FOIA request comes through (or for much more careful statistical analysis) before making any claims like that.

sidereal: If you're interested in formalizing that argument, you can tweak in some kind of probabilistic modal argument. If not, well, yeah, I more or less agree with your formalization under the usual "appropriate modelling" hypotheses e.g. consistency (pace Slarti).

I want to second Anarch's 08:55 PM above and point to a lengthier version from a promoted Kos diary.

Yeah, I'd third that. Particularly since the county elections are run by Supervisors of Election who are elected officials. Given that over half of the counties sporting purported irregularities are majority Democrat, and given that that same majority elected the Supervisor, it's difficult to see how blame for problems in those counties can just blindly be assigned to Republicans, sans any sort of evidence.

And, incidentally, since this was undoubtedly the single most overseen election in US history, it's doubly difficult to automatically chalk this up to cheating, when a simple explanation might be just one question away. And then there's the question of: hey, if there's a huge discrepancy, why not challenge the results, instead of speculating to a crowd of other people who also don't know?

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