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May 24, 2005

Comments

I will second CharleyCarp's comments of 11:34 last night and ask for an explanation of how CB's comment cannot be a violation of the posting rules.

CharleyCarp: I'm wondering if someone can give a coherent argument for the proposition that this statement is not a violation of the posting rules. And an ugly one at that.

Thirded.

Slarti: DQ, I'd be all for reeling our forces in from locations where there's no conflict at present that don't want us. But I believe such bases are in place by agreement with the country in question, for the most part.

Define "country". In Iraq, the US military is there against the expressed will of those who voted for parties whose platform included getting rid of the US occupation - which I believe was a majority. So, if the US genuinely respects the democratic will of the Iraqi people, the occupation would, by now, have a leaving date set. But...

If you agree that freedom is a universal human right, otto, then the pursuit of it by Iranians would be in their best interests, although the world would benefit from it as well, including of course us.

I hope if I'm reading you correctly, your desire is to convince them that it's in their own best interests through positive means, not drag them kicking and screaming --and with unnecessary bloodshed -- towards what we've decided their best interests are.

I will second CharleyCarp's comments of 11:34 last night and ask for an explanation of how CB's comment cannot be a violation of the posting rules.

Given that DQ's animosity toward this country has been frequent and vehement, I can't see which rule applies, or that Charles has done anything worse than what we've let DQ get away with. Still, I think a global request to dial things down a bit is in order. Always. It should be my sig, if we had sigs.

Personally, I find it highly offensive and objectionable when people assign a position to me that I haven't taken, and then heap contempt upon that imaginary position. Still, that's not explicitly forbidden under the rules, and so people will continue to do it. Even though it's logical fallacy embodied.

So, if the US genuinely respects the democratic will of the Iraqi people, the occupation would, by now, have a leaving date set.

Assuming that your claim preceding this is true (I'm going to want to see a cite on this, BTW), we ought to leave on the request of the Iraqi government. Of course they want us out, and of course we should leave. Do they want us out right this second?

If Charles's comment had been directed at someone else, perhaps it would be a violation of posting rules, though it seems a bit mild for that ("don't like very much") and would seem more laughable that offensive in that case. It was directed at DQ, however, and DQ has made his views quite clear in the past. Maybe those objecting don't remember DQ's earlier statements that it is not just understandable but morally justified for most of the world to slaughter Americans (including civilians, children, and DQ himself) because of past actions of the US.

Given that DQ's animosity toward this country has been frequent and vehement, I can't see which rule applies, or that Charles has done anything worse than what we've let DQ get away with.

Just curious who the "we" is. I give you Phil, st, Anarch,
Edward_, Catsy, Jes, and little ole me

I also think it a bit bizarre to claim that a former Marine (assuming that DQ has been honest about this) would hate the US. I also note that when someone from the loosely defined right side of the aisle does something problematic, a general call to turn things down is made, but when the left side is the problematic, heads roll (or at least people are called out iirc). I've always felt (and this is a subjective feeling, so perhaps it is unfair) that Edward and Hilzoy end up doing the policing around here. For example, it took the super Xray vision of hilzoy to sniff out smlook aka 123concrete. I do recall that Slarti said he wanted to ban him, but didn't know how to do it, so he 'contributed' his hopefully unique views for several other threads, before hilzoy diagnosed his fascination with sock puppets.

This is not to say that I don't take KCinDC's point about previous threads of DQ and I wish he would calm down a bit. But I don't particularly care for making this an excuse of the kind of response comments from anyone.

My apologies for going meta on this, and this is not to denigrate the work all the hive mind does here to make this a civil place, because it is greatly appreciated and I know that everyone has a life to lead, so I don't expect y'all to be watching the comments every second and swooping in whenever something happens. However, I think that the asymmetry of response should be considered.

Again, my apologies for bringing this up, but I hope it will give some food for thought.

Charles, upthread somewhere you wrote about the causes of terrorism. You seemed to be saying that the cause of terrorism was their beliefs and their desire to spread their beliefs. I don't think their beliefs are a cause. I think they are a symptom and the cause is deeper, arising from events and politics in the Middle East.
I can't give a site (don't know how anyway) but I frequently read enlightening things on Pratike's site, so that's the best place to look for verifiction of my interpetation of the causes of Islamic terrorism. The main cause is a feeling of violation and victimzation by alien cultures. Specifically this arises from the historical experience of being dominated by the English, the French, and us. We get into it mostly through our support for Isreal, but also through the overthrow of democracy in Iran, and our support for regimes like the one in Egypt. The democracy movements in most Middle Eastern countries are strongly linked to conservative or even fundamentalist interpetations of Islam. If the democracy movements succeed they will almost certanly set up govenments that incorporate some degree of sharia law and have an anti-American outlook. It is possible that the experience having real power will mitigate the anti-Americanism and fundmentalism over time. But back to terrorists--as long as the people who want to promote democracy are both linked to feelings of nationalism and anti-imperialism (to use their interpetation--I hate the term), and as long as the deomcracy movements are blocked, some people will spin off into terrorism support. To address root causes we need to support the formation of a Palestinian homeland, demonstrate respect for the culture of the Middle East by our actions, respect the autonomy and independence of those counties, and try to be supportive of the democratic movements within. Of all of this, the Palestinian homeland is probably the most important.
The invasion of Iraq was counterproductive because, once again, an outside force overpowered an Islamic society. Support for the US amongst the ordinary people of the Middle East is at an all time low. The abuse of prisoners and the Koran also is counterproductive. It doesn't help either that we continue to supprt governments like Egypt's or Saudi Arabia's because it makes the staement that we are promoting democracy look like a lie.
To sum up: promoting democracy is a way of addressing the root causes of terrorism, but that means supporting a homeland for Palestinians, withdrawing support for longtime undemocratic regimes, and giving support to conservative and/or fundamentalist democratic Islamic groups. Otherwise "supporting democracy" will just look like more throwing around of our weight.

Slarti,

"Given that DQ's animosity toward this country has been frequent and vehement, I can't see which rule applies, or that Charles has done anything worse than what we've let DQ get away with."

Are you incapable of seeing the difference between animosity to the country and animosity to the actions and policies of the country? Or do you think impugning the patriotism of a person who strongly dislikes the actions and policies of his country is justified?

As lj said, "This is not to say that I don't take KCinDC's point about previous threads of DQ and I wish he would calm down a bit. But I don't particularly care for making this an excuse of the kind of response comments from anyone."

Dantheman, I'm confident that Slarti is capable of seeing the difference. If he were talking about just "animosity to the actions and policies of this country", his comments would apply to me and half the commenters here. DQ has gone considerably beyond that.

The posting rules don't just protect the person to whom offensive comments are made. They benefit all of us. I don't view them as waivable, even if one could claim that DQ has waived all consideration.

At least, that's how I see it.

Well, [CB] has a history, and it's probably not worthwhile responding to him. I usually don't, and this thread is a perfect example of why I shouldn't: an inevitable threadjack. Sorry everyone.

I've always felt (and this is a subjective feeling, so perhaps it is unfair) that Edward and Hilzoy end up doing the policing around here. For example, it took the super Xray vision of hilzoy to sniff out smlook aka 123concrete.

Actually, I've done a few quick bans on the more egregious, and regularly do spam cleanup. And, for the record, it was I who alerted hilzoy to 123concrete's MPD in the first place, even though I hadn't yet explored the full extent of it.

However, I think that the asymmetry of response should be considered.
but when the left side is the problematic, heads roll

Do you think I ought to peruse the list of the banned to substantiate? I'd say that, on the contrary, I specifically excluded myself from discussion on whether JadeGold ought to be banned (as far as I know, he wasn't), and in the other direction, had considered banning Fitz simply because I consider his views dangerously insane. But it's true that I didn't know how to ban a couple of weeks ago, and it's just as true that I do know how to now. I am not, however, going to ban Charles, and although his views and mine don't overlap all that much, on this occasion they do. hilzoy is of course welcome to chime in on this issue; just noting that in this particular case I don't see the kind of comment uttered by Charles as problematic from a rules perspective. Finally, decisions to ban are normally group decisions, and not entered into lightly.

I'd also say that as a policy, we're as slow to ban as we think is tolerable. 123concrete had been banned because of a combination of things, not least of which was a ban of one of his sockpuppet IDs. DQ, on the other hand, hasn't been rebanned (as far as I'm concerned) because I think Moe initially banned him in anger more than out of any egregious violation of the rules.

Are you incapable of seeing the difference between animosity to the country and animosity to the actions and policies of the country?

I don't know that I'm doing that. When someone says something to the effect that attack on any man, woman or child in this country would be justified, that sort of removes the boundary between the population of a country and "actions and policies" (otherwise known as government).

Or do you think impugning the patriotism of a person who strongly dislikes the actions and policies of his country is justified?

I said nothing about his patriotism, and don't care to speculate.

KCinDC,

"Dantheman, I'm confident that Slarti is capable of seeing the difference. If he were talking about just "animosity to the actions and policies of this country", his comments would apply to me and half the commenters here. DQ has gone considerably beyond that."

I am less sure in light of his comment. I also do not see DQ's comments in this thread as going beyond that. The only one I can recall where his comments were even close to that line was in the Who Defeated the Nazi's thread. Most of the time, he attacks the Bush Administration (or other prior ones) in a silly and inflammatory manner, but he does not go beyond that.

"I said nothing about his patriotism, and don't care to speculate."

I think, by endorsing CB's comment, you already have.

I think, by endorsing CB's comment, you already have.

I'd like to point you the last paragraph of this comment, and have you read it. Underlined. In quotations. If you have "patriotism" wired up to be the opposite of "hating this country", though, I take it all back. I don't think he's necessarily unpatriotic; it is possible his patriotism is directed toward something that we, currently, aren't. But this goes to speculation, and this is exactly why I declined to indulge in it. See what you did?

Slarti,
"If you have "patriotism" wired up to be the opposite of "hating this country", though, I take it all back."

What other meaning do you have? From dictionary.com's site, the only definitions I get are:

"pa·tri·ot·ism ( P ) Pronunciation Key (ptr--tzm)
n.
Love of and devotion to one's country.

[Download Now or Buy the Book]
Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


patriotism

n : love of country and willingness to sacrifice for it [syn: nationalism]


Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University"

Thanks on taking it back.

Well, two can play at this. Since DQ's pretty much held the entire country culpable for...well, for everything and anything we might have done that he disagrees with, and indeed has said outright that we're all deserving of any further attacks by killers from any place we may have done wrong to, he's explicitly made himself unpatriotic by turning off the love. And all without any involvement from either Charles or myself. I might entertain arguments to the effect that DQ loves us all, despite the fact that he thinks we could legitimately be killed, but I'm not sure that it would be all that entertaining.

Unless you'd like to make the point that "love of one's country" means an affection for the real estate and/or infrastructure.

Oh, and my dictionary has:

patriotism: one who loves, supports and defends one's country.

I am not, however, going to ban Charles, and although his views and mine don't overlap all that much, on this occasion they do.

I want to make clear that I wasn't calling for anyone to be banned, least of all Chas, I just wanted to make an observation about something that had bothered me.

Sorry, was your point that the banning policy has been rather more tilted against liberals than conservatives? If so, tell it to the kitten and we can discuss. JFTR, though, there are very few individuals that have been banned. And I'd say roughly half are conservatives. Most of the (very short) list of banned commentators (as opposed to spammers) are people who've left a single vile comment that's way, way over the line.

Anyway, if you've got some concerns about banning policy, or policy on how to address perceived rule infractions, email the kitten and we'll bat it around (playfully, of course. It helps if it's got string dangling from it). One thing I'm nearly 100% certain of, though, is that hilzoy holds the keys to the weblog, and I trust her to be objective more than I trust myself.

"I can't give a site (don't know how anyway)"

Lily, what do you not know that you need to? If you want to cut and paste a URL, that's all that's necessary at a minimum. If you want to embed it so it appears simply to be a clickable word, the format is -- I'm going to substitute an "(" and ")" for the angle brackets actually necessary: (a href="")words(/a)

That's it. Anything else you need to know? (See, once again, here; you can also use "View Source" on your browser to read the HTML at any time to see how it's done.)

Slarti,

"Oh, and my dictionary has:

patriotism: one who loves, supports and defends one's country."

What dictionary is that? And how do you define support and defend is this context? Does providing strongly stated but intended to be constructive criticism count as failure to support and defend?

This discussion reminds me of Spider Robinson's comment on the late '60's/early '70's slogan "America, love it or leave it", that the problem is that to the persons using the slogan, loving it seems to be defined as blind devotion to the person at the head of the government.

The American Heritage Dictionary. Do you think I made it up?

Does providing strongly stated but intended to be constructive criticism count as failure to support and defend?

What we're talking about here is not constructive criticism. I don't advocate blind devotion to whatever government is in place here, but again, to be clear, what DQ was talking about had nothing to do with government.

Again, I feel I ought to say in what low regard I hold strawman arguments. If you've completely missed the context in which Charles' remark was framed, visit some of those links LJ posted upthread.

Oh, and incidentally, how anyone might think that loving something and hating it, whether via ebb and flow, or simultaneously, are incompatible with each other beats me. Having such mixed feelings is simply normal and utterly commonplace.

Slarti,

"The American Heritage Dictionary. Do you think I made it up?"

No, although I suspect you posted the definition of patriot, not patriotism, as your definition refers to a person.

"What we're talking about here is not constructive criticism. I don't advocate blind devotion to whatever government is in place here, but again, to be clear, what DQ was talking about had nothing to do with government.

Again, I feel I ought to say in what low regard I hold strawman arguments. If you've completely missed the context in which Charles' remark was framed, visit some of those links LJ posted upthread."

I've read them. His words are strong and intended to be offensive. I think they are frequently off the mark. Nonetheless, I believe that DQ thinks that if the country changes in the direction he wants it to, it will be all the better for it, and that improving the country is a good thing. Therefore, I believe he does intend it to be constructive criticism.

Sorry, was your point that the banning policy has been rather more tilted against liberals than conservatives?

Forgive me for worrying this bone to death, but I wasn't talking about banning. I may have gave that impression when I talked about the banning of 123, but if so, he was from the right, so it doesn't really make sense as a exemplar. I'm really hesitant to dredge up names and incidents, because sleeping dogs should be left, but when was the last time you (and I'm doing this not because I want to, but because I don't want to generalize the behavior of the right side posters here) called out someone on the right for getting a bit out of hand? I noted you called out 123 (but then he was around for what seemed like an eternity) but I honestly can't think of other times. You have taken issue with questions of fact (I recall you hesitating on CB's opinion of Soros, for example) but in questions of rhetoric, I (and again, I may be biased here) haven't seen it. This is not really a kitty sort of thing, because this is not related to a specific person, and, as I said, this is something that has bothered me and the discussion led to this.

If you've completely missed the context in which Charles' remark was framed, visit some of those links LJ posted upthread.

I really disagree with this. I put those links together to show that there has been a consistent sentiment by the people on the left to call out DQ, not as an attempt to show how rotten DQ's rhetoric was. Perhaps the absence of posters on the right here makes it so you don't have as many opportunities to call out people on the right, but I see within that the seeds of the pattern we have of all the left posters 'ganging up' when someone from the right posts something. Blogs abhor a vacuum.

Again, I apologize for going all meta on you, and this is not a specific call for you to do anything. It's just that the next time things run off the rails (and they will, I'm sure), I'll hope you'll consider my comments.

Anyway, last for me, off to bed. But I would note that I make this criticism only because I like this place so much.

but when was the last time you (and I'm doing this not because I want to, but because I don't want to generalize the behavior of the right side posters here) called out someone on the right for getting a bit out of hand?

Seems like I disagreed violently with Charles within the last couple of days, but for the most part I don't bother posting anything. I did take Fitz to the woodshed (to the best of my ability) on more than one occasion, too. If you'd like a token "I agree with the above 153 disagreements because x", I'd be happy to comply, where time allows. For the most part, though, I pick on some people having a more liberal POV precisely because you guys (with a few exceptions) don't. Whether that signifies tacit agreement or something else, I have no idea.

I really disagree with this. I put those links together to show that there has been a consistent sentiment by the people on the left to call out DQ, not as an attempt to show how rotten DQ's rhetoric was.

That's fine. But they nonetheless served as pointers to some less-than savory rhetoric.

Perhaps the absence of posters on the right here makes it so you don't have as many opportunities to call out people on the right

Yes, of course, there is a balance issue. But I don't post much and that probably isn't going to change anytime soon, so the attraction for conservatives to come and discuss is probably low. I realize I'm weak where it comes to posting original material, but that's been the case with me all along.

Believe me, this is something I've been thinking about (to no avail, alas) myself. But I don't think it isn't fair game for the kitty; you might be pleasantly surprised.

Nonetheless, I believe that DQ thinks that if the country changes in the direction he wants it to

Maybe I've gotten in the habit of ignoring him, but do you have an example of how he wants it to change? Derision does not equate to constructive criticism.

No, although I suspect you posted the definition of patriot, not patriotism, as your definition refers to a person.

Ya caught me; cut-and-paste from paper sources is notoriously tricky.

"Maybe I've gotten in the habit of ignoring him, but do you have an example of how he wants it to change? Derision does not equate to constructive criticism."

My mileage varies considerably. Derision generally shows what is not viewed favorably, and frequently (though only occasionally in DQ's case) gives counterexamples to show what is viewed favorably. DQ's comments in the Nuclear Iran thread (where Jes criticized him) certainly contain this.

In re Charles Bird’s comments:

-“If you agree that freedom is a universal human right, otto, then the pursuit of it by Iranians would be in their best interests, although the world would benefit from it as well, including of course us.”

It doesn’t matter what I think about freedom as a universal human right, what is at issue here is whether Iranians are interested in it and what we mean by democracy if we intend to push a right that we have concluded is valuable on others whether or not they concur or desire it. Phil’s post gets at what I mean. Perhaps the people of another nation reject the universality or our values and institutions and would prefer security, food, money, or any number of other things above what we may define as everyone’s right, goal, and natural pursuit?

-“Freedom is the goal and the democracy is the most proven way to get there.”

Says who, the US or the Afhans, Iranians, or Iraqis? [This is a rhetorical question to stress the point about perspective and political autonomy when we use the word democracy.]

-“Afghanistan and Iraq are in the beginning stages of democratic governance and it'll take some time and effort to move the process forward.”

Especially if the people of those nations do not own or control their own infrastructure, resources, or business.

-“Why did Saddam invade Kuwait?”
-“Because April Glaspie communicated poorly and Saddam interpreted poorly, with him starting a whole series of miscalculations.”

This was indeed the final act, but this answer still does not explain why Saddam wanted to invade.

-“The fault is still his for invading a sovereign nation without provocation, and it remained his fault for continually violating binding UNSC resolutions.”

“Without provocation” is debatable and depends upon one’s position. Put yourself in the position of the Iraqi government: You’ve just spent the last decade fighting Iran and now you are in bit of a tight spot financially (we’re talking about the health of the state, here); it is your contention that Kuwait is flooding the oil market and keeping its price down, which doesn’t help you any; when you approach the international community about upping the price of oil for your benefit, they think you must be joking. What do you do? This does not indicate support on my part nor any concession of legitimacy, but it is possible that another may find provocation where we see none. I am getting the feeling your explanation for Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait is that Saddam was simply a bad man . . . ?

-“Good riddance.”

A sentiment many leaders in the US were not overly concerned with when we helped Saddam become head of the anti-communist Ba’ath Party or when he later went to war with our new-found Iranian enemy. The point here is not to bash the US, who in supporting Saddam was acting in what many saw as our best interests, but to get at the question of responsibility and figure out the cause and effect relationship of an issue that is far more complex and morally ambiguous than you seem to be suggesting.

-“I simply reject that empire business.”

We often have a problem with the word empire because of the many negative connotations with which we associate it. I do not employ the word to denigrate the US, but as a description for the nature of our state. You may want to check out what US business and political leaders were saying about American empire and its benefits when we were making our first international forays around the turn of the last century (see the journal “Foreign Affairs” for starters). One does not need to annex another country to have an empire-colony relationship with it. On this note, our definition of empire may need to be updated from the 19th century meaning we often have in mind when we think of the term. When considering this dynamic, ask yourself, “Who calls the shots, who controls the purse strings?”

Unless you'd like to make the point that "love of one's country" means an affection for the real estate and/or infrastructure.

Actually I have a great love for both the real estate & the infrastructure, the people on the whole as individuals aren't substantially better or worse than any other people on Earth. The goverment on the other hand is basically the best money can buy.


Maybe I've gotten in the habit of ignoring him, but do you have an example of how he wants it to change? Derision does not equate to constructive criticism.

He would like CITIZEN's to perform their duty and to hold the elected officials of this country responsible for the acts that they commit in the name of the country and he assumes that if they are not willing to do so that they approve of the actions the goverment is pursuing.

As a foreign policy, he would like to see DO NO HARM be the corner stone of said policy, and a general view that good fences make for good neighbors.

Well, that's certainly much better than others would be justified in killing us, or the like; thanks for clearing that up. And, it's got to be said, we've now found some overlap between your worldview and mine, although I'm not quite as hard over in the isolationist direction.

Well, that's certainly much better than others would be justified in killing us, or the like; thanks for clearing that up

If an Iraqi car bomb blows up in the middle of Wall Street, well we had it coming.

If a Nicaraguan blows up an airliner going from Boston to LA we have had it coming.

As for being an Isolationist, I don't believe that I am one, I just don't believe that we should involve ourselves in the internal affairs of foreign countries particularly when we don't understand their cultures.

If an Iraqi car bomb blows up in the middle of Wall Street, well we had it coming.

If a Nicaraguan blows up an airliner going from Boston to LA we have had it coming.

If a four-year-old baby girl named "Samantha" is killed by one of those bombs, well, she had it coming.

If some more Iraqis are killed in revenge but Samantha's uncle, well, they had it coming.

If the population of the world ends up eyeless, well, they had it coming.

We are allowed to go to their country to kill them, but they are not allowed to come here to kill us, is that the new rule Gary?

"We are allowed to go to their country to kill them, but they are not allowed to come here to kill us, is that the new rule Gary?"

Yeah, that's exactly what I said. Sure. And meet my good friends, Cowardly Lion and Tin Man.

Our fine work in iraq

They benefit all of us. I don't view them as waivable, even if one could claim that DQ has waived all consideration.
Charley, I'm not saying the rules should be waived, or that DQ has waived all consideration. I'm saying that "You really don't like America much, do you?", addressed to someone who has said the things (elsewhere, not in this thread) that DQ has is not a violation of the rules. It's at least as justifiable as implying that someone supports torture because he's insufficiently willing to believe that it's a policy of the Bush administration, which does happen and also is not, as far as I'm concerned, a violation of the rules.

I guess I spoke too soon about it not being in this thread.

I can't believe it, my co-worker just bought a car for $27073. Isn't that crazy!

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