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May 03, 2006

Comments

As others have pointed out several times now, I think the point was no one knows what Jeff was actually "thinking", Slarti.

And as I've pointed out several times now, it's dishonest to simply make up what Jeff was thinking. I mean, you haven't told me everything you're thinking in this regard, so how about I construct some absurd position for you and then hurl invective at you for holding that position? And then, on top of that, claim your lack of serious response to said invective of evidence that you actually DO hold that position?

No, that would be...how did Francis put it...around the bend.

And if Jeff's as seriously, completely wrong as he's held to be by various and sundry, then there ought to be a plethora of perfectly legitimate areas of criticism without having to resort to thrashing strawmen. I think hilzoy did a creditable job addressing the Jeff's real (as opposed to imagined) points in her post; maybe holding others to anything like that standard is unreasonable. I've never been a reasonable kind of guy, though.

it's dishonest to simply make up what Jeff was thinking.

No, it isn't. Ambiguity is not the fault of the reader, especially where the lack of clarity or specificity is intentional. Oops, there I go making up what Jeff was thinking again.

Now despite Jeff's 'clarification' that heaven's to betsy no he wasn't talking about nukes, WHAT IS he talking about? And does it really matter from the standpoint of saying, as Morat put it "Are you CRAZY? Nuts? WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? My god, you are INSANE!"

Amongst the set of possible options for What Jeff Really Meant - which clearly contains the through lethality of even the most tactical of nuclear weapons - which of these options are ok? Honestly, does it matter if we're talking about nukes, firebombing or neighborhood executions searching for 'collaborators'?

Mona, you're conflation of Jeff's more "thorough lethality" with use of certain classes of existing more lethal weaponry is obviously worse then the call for the use of "more thorough lethality," so Slarti finds it more important to call you on the former while not offering much of an opinion on the second.

No, I just think actual debate is preferable to headless-chicken emoting. I'm funny that way. I disagree with Steele, but I think there is something worth discussing in Goldstein's piece. I don't think Goldstein's piece is really well-connected with Steele's, though, even though it was obviously in response to it.

Is it a good idea, or the best idea?

Again, one thing Goldstein's emphatically not saying (unless you really want him to be saying it, in which case you're likely to read it right in) is that blowing things up in general is going to solve all problems in the waging of war.

No, it isn't.

How dare you advocate selling our children to space aliens!

How dare you advocate selling our children to space aliens!

Do I really need to explain the difference between drawing a rather natural inference (one of many competing inferences, to be sure, but especially given Hersh's recent piece is) and confusing my post for the script of "Chubby Rain"?

To blatantly steal someone's snark, The War on Straw is an unwinnable quagmire...

I am so puzzled. Jeff G. advocates blowing up entire neighborhoods where insurgents are found, Mona calls him on it, and Slarti wastes how much time trying to take Mona to task? Because Jeff G. didn't say the magic words "turning their cities to molten glass" or whatever?

WHY is carpet bombing evil? Because it involves the indiscriminate murder of civilians.

Jeff G. advocates the indiscriminate murder of civilians: Razing the whole neighborhood rather than trying to drop a JDAM in through a chimney sends a message to others who think it perfectly safe to allow insurgents to operate in their neighborhood. Right. The 85-year-old guy in the one-room apartment two blocks away is "allowing insurgents to operate" and should be blown up for his insolence. As are his great-grandchildren downstairs. Kill them all, says Jeff G.

So whether or not he actually said "let's carpet-bomb Iraqi cities" or not is beside the point. He's advocating war crimes. He's a terrible person. Arguing about irrelevant fine points sounds a lot like defending him, and I do not want to believe that Slarti would do so.

What Anderson and Pooh said. And, like Gozer, Jeff G. is allowing us our subconscious to choose the form of the destroyer.

...allowing us our...

Yes, I suck.

Too many people apologise for hastily written blog comments. I hereby rebel and embrace my poor writing skills like one would a lover...on a dark and stormy night.

To Slarti, re Mona and Jeff:

And Brutus was an honorable man.

"Please research the concept of "martyr". (For extra credit, apply the concept in recent settings. Suggested areas of consideration include Palestine and South Africa.)"

Actually I think you will find that compared to the number of leaders killed over the last 2000 years very few martyrs have actually been created in the Jesus mode. As a probabilistic question I strongly suspect that Sadr was not likely to be an important martyr if killed. And you have to compare that to the lesson taught to potential insurgents when they learned that you could try to start a civil war TWICE and have no apparent long-term problems.

I feel smarter after reading this blog. Which, since I came here from a link on Goldstein's site, puts me right back where I started.

"And Brutus was ..."

Shouldn't there be some corollary to Godwin about threads with Shakespeare quotes?

Which, since I came here from a link on Goldstein's site, puts me right back where I started.

Just be sure you spend at least 15 minutes offline before switching to ObWi, or else the neural whiplash could cause permanent damage.

Am I the only one who's curious about the phrase "unquestioned authority" ?

Bizarre, isn't it? I guess if the South had not only won the war but conquered the North, we'd be *really* kicking some Iraqi butt ... and sending the prisoners home to work the fields?

In Vino Veritas,

Nice to have you. As a regular lurker and occassional commenter here, let me recommend you read some archives as well. This is actually on the vitriolic and inane end of the political discourse here. I've been watching this thread grow all day and from what I can tell, there is general disagreement with the suggestion that we blow up things more indiscriminantly, but an open, though increasingly one-sided, debate about whether hyperbole is acceptable in debate, even when qualified with " or whatever versions of "thorough lethality" Jeff has in mind?". A rather silly sidebar, but there you have it.

For what it is worth, I tend to eschew hyperbole myself, which makes me want to support slart. On the other hand, given that he still hasn't acknowledged a rather blatant misquote (by removing the very important last half of a sentence which contained the above qualifier) or addressed how that affects his argument, I have stayed out of it until now.

Amusingly enough, he gives the perfect example of why I dislike hyperbole in debate. Instead of discussing how ridiculous Goldstein's argument is, the conversation has gotten sidetracked into how he never said anything about "glassifying" cities, with slart refusing any and all calls to move back to the more interesting topic of how or why we should interpret Goldstein's comments in a way that doesn't still leave him suggesting something that isn't a)absurdly ignorant of the facts on the ground or b)morally atrocious.

"I gave as an example a neighborhood that allows insurgents to hide out because they don’t fear retaliation from the US military. Razing the whole neighborhood rather than trying to drop a JDAM in through a chimney sends a message to others who think it perfectly safe to allow insurgents to operate in their neighborhood."

What a great idea. Maybe we could also blow up the headquarters of the police & interior ministry to send the message to those who think it's perfectly safe to allow death squads to operate in their midst!

Oh wait....

Maybe we could also blow up the headquarters of the police & interior ministry to send the message to those who think it's perfectly safe to allow death squads to operate in their midst!

And after we bomb the White House, I bet *everyone* will think twice before outing any CIA operatives! Whee!

OT: Moussaoui gets life, not death.

OT: Moussaoui gets life, not death.

And the predictable howls go up against the American courts, civil rights, etc.

On the other hand, given that he still hasn't acknowledged a rather blatant misquote (by removing the very important last half of a sentence which contained the above qualifier) or addressed how that affects his argument, I have stayed out of it until now.

It doesn't affect my argument at all, which is why I left it out. I suppose I should have quoted her in full and bolded the part that was, well, either a deliberate lie or intellectual slovenliness (which, coming from me...you don't want to be there) but, well, anyone whose PgUp key is busted, I'll be happy to go the extra mile.

Funny how the same thing that gets people absolutely frothy at Charles is perfectly acceptable when leveled at Goldstein.

But I agree with socratic_me that this is just a distraction from the real discussion, because it's been repeatedly declared to NOT be part of the real discussion. Why there's counterargument is a question that only the counterarguers can answer, because as I said upthread, my mind-reading skills are not up to it.

Not sure how predictable this is, but I'm relieved. His lawyers and prospective future lawyers, though, are probably unhappy.

Ok, so I'll break the seal, the jurors were clearly suffering from White Guilt as well.

Aid and comfort, etc...

As a probabilistic question I strongly suspect that Sadr was not likely to be an important martyr if killed.

and the evidence for this suspicion is...? from what i remember of the days after the invasion, Sadr was from the beginning a powerful political figure, in part because he assumed the mantle of his father who was killed by Saddam.

having the son killed by the US would be such perfect irony as to be funny, if it weren't so tragic.

slart: defense WON. they were willing to plead to LWOP (life without parole) but the US insisted on trying to kill the guy.

It's a win/lose thing, though. They got their client off, but lost out on decades of stringing out the appeals on the death sentence.

Me, I don't care all that much. I'd rather spend a few hundred k keeping someone in prison for life than spend a few million trying to kill him. I don't know what the exact figures are, but ISTR awhile back that it turned out to be a lot more expensive to kill someone (or even try to kill someone) than it was to keep them in prison for the rest a their natcheral born lives.

Slarti,

...ISTR awhile back that it turned out to be a lot more expensive to kill someone (or even try to kill someone) than it was to keep them in prison for the rest a their natcheral born lives.

you sound rather disappointed.

Anyone interested in talking about how many civilians we are actually killing in Iraq, and whether it is in fact possible to have a reasonable estimate of what that number might be? It seems like a rather basic fact that as citizens of the US we are morally obligated to want to know and if we don't know and don't demand to know as much as possible, then something is very, very wrong.

I tried to hijack this thread along these lines before, without much success.

There are some cases that make me wish I supported the DP; Massouai's ain't one of 'em.

He might have wanted to be one of the hijackers; he might have thought he should've been one of the hijackers; he might even have deluded himself into thinking he was going to be one of the hijackers - but the fact remains that he wasn't one of the hijackers, and the strong inference is that AQ considered him too mentally unstable for the job.

Even prosecution claims that he held back information that might have prevented the attack is suspect, in light of all the other dropped stitches, missed opportunities, and indifference from the top on following other leads that might've prevented the attacks. Not to mention suspect in light of the fact that he's a raving loon, and raving loons aren't generally considered the best sources of verifiable intel.

So the only reason to go for the DP was the same impulse that had people supporting the war in Iraq: we couldn't get the real perps, so let's go after an easier, more available, target. As a rationale for killing someone, "Because they're there" is egregious. To say the least.

The jury did a fine job, considering all the inflammatory testimony (from both sides) and implicit pressure on them to vote for the DP.

And let me also say that the idea of using the DP to give victims and families of victims "a sense of closure" is outrageous. Since when is killing someone supposed to be good mental therapy?

"Funny how the same thing that gets people absolutely frothy at Charles is perfectly acceptable when leveled at Goldstein."

I know the former to some extent and find him smart and trustworthy. And he's posting here.

Neither is true in the latter case.

Yeesh, more pre-baby stuff drags me away before I can check if I wrote what I think, how am I ever going to deal with the actual thing?

slart: defense WON. they were willing to plead to LWOP (life without parole) but the US insisted on trying to kill the guy.

Moussauoui Shouts: "America, You Lost!"

Yep, he confessed, he taunted us and he rubbed our noses in it.

Second attempt looks unsuccessful too. Just as well--I've run out of time I can spend online tonight.

Donald, your effort's appreciated, but conditions don't seem especially ripe here for facing up to facts...

Predictably, I agree with Stephen Green.

We are sending all sorts of bad messages to the terrorists, Islamofascists, or whatever you want to call 'em.

No matter what you say about Jeff, there is a narrative out there that is taught to our kids, and essentially signals to our enemies that we do not really believe in defending ourselves.

on a related note, i decided (for some strange reason probably indicating that I need my meds adjusted) to look at Winds of Change this evening.

We have a moral duty to use terrible non-genocidal force to shatter the Arab world's fantasies about their own power and ours, because we really do have the power to destroy them utterly, and will do so if necessary.

was written in a comment by Tom Holsinger, one of the hosts there.

this comment so perfectly articulates to me what's so terribly wrong with the conservative / pro-war faction in this country. According to the writer, hundreds of millions of people need to be taught a lesson.

the lesson apparently being that no one dare challenge americans' notions of supremacy.

We are sending all sorts of bad messages to the terrorists, Islamofascists, or whatever you want to call 'em.

let's not waste energy trying to mold our domestic policies to better please "the terrorists".

Talk about white guilt!

These rightest reptiles were just waiting for a black man to legitimize their murderous fantasies. Steele has offered his Black blessing. Hip hip hooray! Let's stick it to the hajiis.

hundreds of millions of people need to be taught a lesson

heaven save us from overcompensating conservatives everywhere.

Am I the only one who's curious about the phrase "unquestioned authority"?
Yeah, I noticed that too. Curious stuff. I think Francis found the answer on Winds Of Change: "We have a moral duty to use terrible non-genocidal force to shatter the Arab world's fantasies about their own power and ours"...

let's not waste energy trying to mold our domestic policies to better please "the terrorists".

Precisely. If they think adherence to the rule of law is a weakness, that is why we are better than they are. That is why we must defeat them. If we descend to their level of revanchism and bloodlust, who really cares who wins?

To be explicit about my final point just above, if to defeat the terrorists we become as the terrorists, I don't see much that is normatively good about our rather pyhrric (sp, rilke?) 'victory'.

there is a narrative out there that is taught to our kids, and essentially signals to our enemies that we do not really believe in defending ourselves

You think this 'narrative' is more meaningful that, say, the failure to bring sufficient force to bear to take the caves at Tora Bora? Or to even try to impose order in the chaos of the first days after the fall of Baghdad? Or the failure to bring enough soldiers to hold Ramadi, Falluja, Tal Afar, and Samarra all at the same time?

Sometimes it's not the fault of the school board, or the US Supreme Court's ruling on organized prayer in schools.

Yes, Pooh. A fine line from a while back is that if they hate us for our freedom, then Bush is an appeaser of the first order.

You think this 'narrative' is more meaningful that, say, the failure to bring sufficient force to bear to take the caves at Tora Bora?

Yes, I think that the narrative, that we were carpet bombing Afghanistan indisciminately, deterred us from doing that very thing when it would have been useful.

Nothing speaks to freedom and democracy quite like cluster bombs going off in the front yard.

But the Afghanis, Iraqis and Iranians would have or will surely know that it is for their own good, and will be in there bombshelters growing flowers and baking candy to greet us with.

you sound rather disappointed

I'm not. Project much?

Not entirely topical: Bananaphone.

Also not topical: if you put on polarizing sunglasses and look at a flat-panel display, you can rotate your head to an angle where it all turns black.

At times, this might come in handy. Ennyway, try it and see.

Yes, I think that the narrative, that we were carpet bombing Afghanistan indisciminately, deterred us from doing that very thing when it would have been useful.

You seem to think even less of Bush and Rumsfeld than I do.

Seriously, though, I'm mystified and a little intrigued by this. You really think the military eased up on Tora Bora because of some uninformed crapola from fringe characters? I know plenty of ordnance was dropped on the caves and all; you think more would have been the answer?

Note that there's no analog for the ears. Unfortunately. I'll have that bananaphone song going through my head for weeks, at least.

BTW, Slarti, I may have missed the recent updates, how are the eyes?

DaveC.:

I got some pretty bad messages from that Stephen Green thread, too. So did my kid, son of said f------ liberal weenie.

Let me follow this: liberal whining weenie lawyers get M a life sentence rather than the death penalty; said thread-dwellers find this to be a good thing because M can now be, among other things, made to tend the pigs, eat the pigs, eaten by pigs, defiled sexually by pigs, defiled sexually by fellow inmates, etc, and said proceedings broadcast over RadioFreeMecca. Thank you liberal weenie whining lawyers, but there are pigs in your future, too.

Muslim Islamofascists, too, find this to be good, because they can now confirm via RadioFreeMecca in the madrashis for the youngster jihadists that M has close contact with pigs in the heart of the Great Satan. Not exactly martydom of the many virgin kind, but a little more Abu Graib behavior can be useful for recruitment, too.

A winning convergence for the terminally and righteously pissed-off on both sides. And the pigs are in hogheaven.

All because weenie mofo liberals didn't want the death penalty (which is a good thing) and around we go again. Lots more war, if we can just get over our white guilt about past pigf--k--g incidents. Bodies stacked like cordwood, including, if weenie mofo liberals get their just desserts, my son, who up to now doesn't know the difference between his gun and his weapon, but kind of likes barbecued pork chops, straight up.

If that happens, I and the pigs are going to make common cause. I nuke everyone.

Regards,

Chuckles

P.S. I'm agnostic on the death penalty in this case, though now that I've seen the case made over at Green's place for the alternative (now that weenie liberal lawyers have provided the opportunity), I'm thinking now M should be executed. Just for the sake of my porcine friends, who want to be left alone.

Ok, I did the link to the comments instead of what Will said. (Bad link, wrong author, I'm an idiot). Here it is:

The First Mistake Posted by Will Collier · 3 May 2006 · I wish I could say I was surprised by today's verdict, but after all these years of rampant buffoonery in American criminal courts, I really wasn't. If it would have been possible, I wouldn't have been all that surprised if Moussaoui's defense had assembled a jury of cretins blinkered enough to acquit him.

The one and only good thing to come out of this fiasco is that it reveals once again the pointlessness of treating terrorism as a law enforcement issue. It's not about crime. It's about war. This waste of oxygen never should have set foot in a civilian court. He is an agent of a hostile foreign power, (albeit not a nation-state, but that's hardly exculpatory) caught red-handed in the act of planning violent attacks on American civilian, military, and government targets. There is no doubt of his guilt; he himself proclaims it with a pathetic sneer.

Like the Nazi sabateours captured during World War II, Moussaoui should have been turned over to the military, tried by a tribunal, and executed. Look at it this way: if we had captured Japanese forward observers just before Pearl Harbor, would they have deserved full constitutional protections and access to the civilian courts?

Of course not. They, like Moussaoui, would have been the very definition of enemy combatants. As a non-uniformed agent, acting without even the orders of a nation-state, Moussaoui didn't even qualify for Geneva Convention protections, much less the full constitutional rights of an American citizen.

All that said, I have no doubt the next floor-flushing scumbag we catch in this country will get the same exact treatment. And he'll probably get off lightly, too.

UPDATE: Several commentors have opined that a life imprisonment sentence is not "getting off lightly," and/or that since Moussaoui stated he wanted to become a martyr, executing him wouldn't have been appropriate in any case.

Two points. One, for a guy who wants to become a martyr, Moussaoui fought awfully hard to avoid a death sentence; at one of his early court appearances, he stated explicitly that he would fight against receiving the death penalty with (if I recall correctly), 'all his strength.'

Second, and far more important, is the message this verdict sends to Moussaoui's fellow Islamofascists. It tells them that America is weak. It tells them Americans don't have the stomach to do what must be done to achieve victory. It tells them our civilian culture doesn't have the fibre to deal seriously with terrorism (and they will, by now, ignore the contradictory lesson of United flight 93). It tells them they can be captured on our soil in the act of committing barbarism, and they will receive not just mercy, but actual succor from a considerable swath of our legal establishment.

It is a bad verdict, and those are very, very bad messages.

I have remarked elsewhere that this is why I'm not so opposed to the "secret prisons".

I have remarked elsewhere that this is why I'm not so opposed to the "secret prisons".

As long as we put one Moussaoui in there, who cares how many Uighurs we also have, right?

DaveC, I didn't follow the trial closely, but from what I saw (and from what I've read in the past about him) Moussaoui was likely not considered trustworthy enough to be given any real responsibilities by al Q. - because he's a barely competent borderline nutcase. He and Richard Reid were going to hijack an airplane? Maybe one of these. I might have made an exception to my opposition to the death penalty for an actual participant in 9/11, but I rather doubt Moussaoui deserves even life in prison instead of a long stint in a psychiatric ward.

Look, I have no problem ending him, but we have to do it right. We can't simply "look into his soul" and see that, unlike Putin, his heart is impure.

The eye is just fine, thanks. I'm almost to the point where I can have that be my "good" eye while the other one is recovering from its surgery. I'm thinking first weekend in June, maybe.

Overall, the only complaint I have is that they didn't really explain to me what the recovery was going to be like, or what the medicines were for. Turns out that one of the medicines (which I, fortunately, had been taking religiously) is to prevent scarring, which is highly desirable when you're wanting good vision.

I had a long talk with one of their docs last week, and asked him what he thought my prognosis was, and he said there's nothing that ought to prevent me from getting to 20/20 or even 20/15. Either of those would make me a very happy guy. Reassuring, too, was that my current level of haziness/unevenness is an expected part of the recovery, which he said would continue for a few months.

Pilots get this done, he said (which I'd heard before). When they do, they get both eyes done at the same time, and they're grounded for three months. So it's slow.

My near vision, it turns out, is just fine at ten inches away and further, so I don't need reading glasses for much at all. Which makes me a very happy guy.

Thanks for asking :)

"The eye is just fine, thanks."

That's really cool.

Btw, re your other complaint, I recommend getting snakes to lick the wax from your ears. Then you can hear what's actually going on in that Bananaphone song.

Blackstone: "the law holds that it is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer."

Proposed revision in reaction to Mouassoui verdict: "Better to let ten innocents rot in secret prisons than to let one guilty(ish)* person be sentenced to life without parole in a supermax prison instead of executed."

You know, I really prefer the old version.

Good for the jury, and the defense.

*as far as 9/11; I'm sure there are crimes he is straight-up guilty of.

You're not an idiot. At least you tried to link, which would please Gary Farber.

The update paragraph beginning with "Second, and far more important' is utter crap, of course.

Our "civilian culture", as Will so lovingly puts it, is down approxiamtely $320 billion thus far in Iraq alone (let's leave aside Iraq's connection to 9/11 for pity's sake), some 2400 dead Americans in Iraq alone, and as someone upthread mentioned, Iraq's civilian culture is down some uncounted but big big number of dead humans. And, "succor," he calls it?.....

And I'm not sure what he means when he says we're going to ignore the lessons of Flight 93. Look, I'm willing to blow up every oil tanker in the world heading for the U.S., if that what it takes to defund Al Qaeda. Wait, that's not what he wants. But he wants the nose put down and the plane to buy deep farm, right? As with Mona's question of Goldstein, what specifically?" And does Will's ass figure prominently in this decisive action?

It's late. I'm tired. Good night. I'm going to sleep one hour later tomorrow, and give the world one extra hour to get its act together, or else.

Look, I wandered into ObWi pointing out that Ramzi Yousef and Abu Hamza al Masri basically got a pass from both our legal system and Britains, and in fact were protected by it. This was long after Yousef's 1992 WTC bombing, but before the London subway bombings. So they got away with it and ZM thinks he got away with it. Before, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, State sponsers of terrorism thought that they could get away with it as well. Some still do. I thought that this has a lot to do with what Jeff was talking about, and that he made this pretty clear, but apparently he didn't.

Pooh, you wrote "...Precisely. If they think adherence to the rule of law is a weakness, that is why we are better than they are..." Ummm, no. Bush mocks the rule of law, has violated over 750 actual statutes, has invaded two countries illegally, releases depleted uranium into the atmosphere and is basically a fuckin' murderer. If one wishes to travel on the high horse surely one must follow the rule of law? Oh, that's right, the Geneva Convention is "quaint" & The American Constitution is just "a goddam piece of paper".

On the great restraint the US has shown since WWII, it might be appropriate to remember that the three most heavily bombed countries in history are Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. All by us. (IIRC, we dropped more bomb tonnage on Cambodia in the first half of 1973 alone than was dropped on Japan in the entire war.)

Meanwhile, WRT to the threadjacking debate, if the polls have not yet closed, count me among those who regards Mona as right in calling out JG, and Slartibartfast thus as a de facto apologist for Killing More People. I realize that he's just quibbling for the sake of quibbling, as he tends to do, but on this particular issue it bespeaks either callousness or obtuseness, IMHO.

Slarti: My near vision, it turns out, is just fine at ten inches away and further, so I don't need reading glasses for much at all. Which makes me a very happy guy.

That's good to hear.

dr ngo: I realize that he's just quibbling for the sake of quibbling, as he tends to do, but on this particular issue it bespeaks either callousness or obtuseness, IMHO.

Unfortunately true, though I hope this is temporary and he will recover more sense or more sensibility with clearer vision.

DaveC: The British have tried that approach to terrorism. See the Guildford Four, and then the Birmingham Six. There isn't much to argue about; it doesn't work.

Now, I'm going to help substantiate Godwin's Law here, but, whenever I read:

I said—simply, repeatedly, that there are times when it is in our best interests that the enemy not be able to count on our use of smart munitions. I gave as an example a neighborhood that allows insurgents to hide out because they don’t fear retaliation from the US military. Razing the whole neighborhood rather than trying to drop a JDAM in through a chimney sends a message to others who think it perfectly safe to allow insurgents to operate in their neighborhood.

I can't help but think of Oradour-sur-Glane. If anyone can point out one particle of difference between that logic, and that of the Nazis in that instance, save that America is right, and the Nazis were wrong, I'd be grateful to hear it. (And the `we're right, we can commit war crimes' defense is rubbish.)

I probably have better things to do with my time and passion than this, but...

My father is in hospice, dying of multiple brain tumors. He's 80, and we don't expect him to reach his 81st birthday, which would be early in June. As a young man, he was part of the 15th Photoreconnaissance Squadron, Fifth Photographic Group, and flew a photo-recon P-38 out of Bari, Italy, in 1944-45. Some of his pictures and records are online now, after years of my meaning to do it and not getting around to it. It's to my great relief that I was able to show him the early results while he could still appreciate them; I don't know if he'll be able to register any more now.

I tend to do a lot of looking at current events and thinking, "Are we as a country honoring the legacy of Lt. Hal Baugh, and all those millions like him? Is this the sort of world for which they fought?" And I do a lot of thinking, "No, it isn't." When I read allegedly adult, allegedly responsible people like Shelby Steele and Jeff Goldstein, I feel a special anger - that their hatemongering yearning for death and destruction would be part of the state of my country as my father leaves this life is appalling. They don't know the first damn thing, apparently, about what "we the people" are supposed to be doing or why. Somehow they've managed to get to this stage of life either never learning the most basic features of American morality or willfully setting them aside.

I simply can't respect them. I take them seriously, but only as I take the threat of mugging or electrocution seriously, because it's a threat. They're dangerous to the world I want to live in, the world that people like my parents hoped to leave for us all. I can't readily imagine what sort of twisted, rotted soul it takes to be able to say, "Why yes, Mr. Baugh, we think that the best use of our freedom and opportunity is to wish even more misery and terror on others, so that they will fear us. You might have thought that you were there to help free Italians, Germans, Slavs, and the rest from tyranny and then help them up to live more like you, but these are browner people and modern times, and we now want them only to fear and serve us."

Dad has always been a peaceful man. I don't think he'd punch someone who tried to tell him that. But right now I probably would on his behalf. At a minimum I'd try to throw the bastard out of his room.

I am ashamed of the state of my country, ashamed of this vocal bunch of moral imbeciles and howler monkeys who got the chance to try to piss away completely a hard-won drive toward moral betterment. America never was the pure stronghold of virtue that Dad's training manuals and "why we're fighting" lectures portryaed...but a lot of people wanted it to be, and tried to make it less a vision and more a reality. Lots of people still do. But - and I mean this with whatever remnants of faith I have in me - God damn the vile schemers and the combination of bad luck and evil ambition that let them get on top. It's going to be hard to throw them over, and if and when they finally go, so very long to repair the damage. I would like to think that when I'm, say, 72, my country will again have something like the moral standing it did when my father was that age, but I'm not at all sure it's possible.

And in the face of this vigorous, deliberate, enthusiastic betrayal of what I was raised to hold dear, I find some of the quibbling as off-putting as Dr. Ngo does.

(To give context to my penultimate paragraph above, I'm 40 this year. So 72 is three decades and a bit away. Yes, I do mean that I anticipate my country still being a wounded mess that far off, even if we throw the bastards out as soon as we can.)

count me among those who regards Mona as right in calling out JG, and Slartibartfast thus as a de facto apologist for Killing More People

In other words, by pointing out Mona as being serially wrong in characterizing Jeff's post(s) on this topic, I secretly am advocating turning Iraq into a glowing, radioactive wasteland.

Secret confession:
I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I
wanna kill. Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and
guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean kill, Kill,
KILL, KILL.

Just saving you some time, is all.

Slarti: In other words, by pointing out Mona as being serially wrong in characterizing Jeff's post(s) on this topic

As has been repeatedly pointed out to you, you are seriously mischaracterizing Mona's comments on Jeff's post: this makes you sound obtuse, to me, rather than callous. Try re-reading what Mona actually wrote, and responding to that, rather than picking out half a sentence and trying to pick a fight over it.

Ok, let's quote the whole bit here:

thought that after removing Saddam, we were then fighting for the people of Iraq, to build them a functioning democracy. By all that is freakin' holy, how do you do that by turning vast parts of their nation into glass parking lots or whatever versions of "thorough lethality" Jeff has in mind?

Opening up Mona's skull to find out what she really meant, or whatever else you had in mind, is frankly repugnant.

You really can't even see "or whatever versions of 'thorough lethality' Jeff has in mind?" even when you cut-and-pasted it yourself?

"You really can't even see "

I posted it and only then realized that might be taken as an overly-personal comment: which was not intended, and apologies for any offense given.

No, I can see it just fine. And I resent the hell out of you suggesting that we crack Mona's skull for further information. I mean, that kind of thing is completely out of bounds. Hitler could have come up with something like that.

No, I can see it just fine.

So, your continued quibbling about what Mona meant really is because you can't comprehend an "or" statement? That's just bizarre.

I see the "or" just fine, and comprehend just fine. I even used it myself.

I'm still stunned that you haven't yet denied that you want to open up Mona's head. What other foul deeds do you have in mind? I mean, the mind simply staggers.

I see the "or" just fine, and comprehend just fine.

Oh, I see. Your continued pretense all the way down this thread that you don't comprehend it was purely for self-entertainment. Well, I think you're entitled to amuse yourself a little under the circumstances, but I hope you're not going to make a habit of it: starting arguments by pretending not to understand a simple statement (and keeping up the pretense of non-comprehension) is boring/annoying.

That's odd; I was having almost those exact thoughts about...oh, what's the use?

I never, ever pretended that I didn't comprehend it. Any notion you might have to that effect is due to your usual reading disability, or maybe something else.

I never, ever pretended that I didn't comprehend it.

Here, here, and here, you pretend not to understand what Mona is saying. (Actually, I assumed at first that you genuinely didn't understand what Mona was saying, but if you wish to claim that you comprehended what she was saying just fine, then clearly, in those comments, you are only pretending not to.)

Why are you pretending not to understand what I've been talking about all along, Jesurgislac?

Slarti,

I don't think it's pretense. I also think there's lots of us who don't understand how you can repeatedly read her statements that wrong.

I think all of me don't understand how you don't read it that way. It's as if you've all been lobotomized or something.

I did say "or", just to be clear, so that couldn't possibly offend.

Also, I have to bravely speak out and declare you all apologists for dishonest argumentation. Someone's got to do it. If I were to follow Dr. Ngo's lead, I'd also accuse you of being apologists for something entirely unrelated to anything else you've said on this thread, but I cannot bring myself to engage in something that silly.

In other words, I think I'm getting in touch with my inner Moe.

Slarti,

I was not here during Moe's period, but if that is a taste of Moe, I have no idea why anyone views that era with anything approaching respect, much less fondness.

I say Irahqi, you say Irack-i
I say let's talk-y, you say attack-y
Irahqi, Irack-i, Let's talky, attack-y
Let's call the whole thing off!

Let's call the whole thing off!

better get new post up, then.

I bet if some people looked hard enough they would even take issue with Jeff's advice on how to caulk windows. Weep hole, indeed. Probably a project for slart.

Slarti, from my point of view, this is what the exchange looks like:

Person 1 says, "Person A is apparently in favor of indiscriminate killing, on any scale that might satisfy his lust for death and destruction. How far is this going to go, to option 01 or what?"

Person 2, which is you, says, "Person A never actually endorsed option 01."

At this point the whole exchange becomes about the literal presence or absence of option 01.

At no point do you seem to show any serious interest in the overall truth of Person 1's observation, which appears to many of us to be a true and valid reading of Person A's comments - that A really does seem in favor of large quantities of death and destruction for profoundly stupid and immoral reasons. Asked to comment on that, you toss off a casual line or so and basically dodge everything else, in favor of obsessing over whether option 01 is in A's utterances.

It's as if Person A were to say "I'd really like to see bodies stacked like cordwood and don't care if they're individually guilty or not, because I hate the whole damn area and death would make me feel better", and Person 1 were to say, "A is endorsing serial killing for therapeutive reasons", and you were to spend a dozen plus posts explaining why this wouldn't be serial killing as defined by the FBI's profiling unit and certain precedents, and studiously dodged every effort to acknowledge that A is talking about a lot of indiscriminate killing for very bad reasons and that moral people should condemn this.

That's the essence of my frustration, at least. From time to time you like to play like there's no subtext or context, but the fact is that language as used by living souls has both.

I totally agree with what Bruce Baugh said so eloquently upthread. Yes, they are shameful people, most of all because they have degraded the high ideals of our nation.

It is so ironic that there is this debate about whether or not someone somewhere wants to make a parking lot out of Iraq while right now the Bush administratin is tip toeing away from Afganistan ( declaring victory all the while).

This was a war Repbulicans wanted and they cooked the intel to get support. They ran both wars. . The results will be theirs, no matter how they spin it. The most likely senario in my opinion is that incrementally we will withdraw all, the while declaring victory, in the hope that no one will notice if Iraq and Afganistan collapse into total chaos, and blame-the-Democrats is the back up plan.. In other words I don't think this administratin is committed to victory anywhere except here and all of their actions regarding Iraq and Afganistan are done with our elections in mind, not based on any actual policy there.
So the failure of will is theirs, too.

I totally agree with what Bruce Baugh said so eloquently upthread. Yes, they are shameful people, most of all because they have degraded the high ideals of our nation.

It is so ironic that there is this debate about whether or not someone somewhere wants to make a parking lot out of Iraq while right now the Bush administratin is tip toeing away from Afganistan ( declaring victory all the while).

This was a war Repbulicans wanted and they cooked the intel to get support. They ran both wars. . The results will be theirs, no matter how they spin it. The most likely senario in my opinion is that incrementally we will withdraw all, the while declaring victory, in the hope that no one will notice if Iraq and Afganistan collapse into total chaos, and blame-the-Democrats is the back up plan.. In other words I don't think this administratin is committed to victory anywhere except here and all of their actions regarding Iraq and Afganistan are done with our elections in mind, not based on any actual policy there.
So the failure of will is theirs, too.

Person 2, which is you, says, "Person A never actually endorsed option 01."

Person 2 also pointed out that Person A has personally apprised Person 1 that option 01 is absolutely NOT what he was talking about, and that continued references to option 01 in association with the statements of Person A are therefore a steaming heap of dishonesty. Ditto for references to carpet-bombing. Which has been my ONLY point all along.

And, granted, my doing so makes me an apologist for all bloodthirsty bastards out there, in addition to having had memes evolving from white supremacist thought transmitted to me. If this sort of argumentation is what's considered acceptable and valid, I'm not having any.

Bruce: from my point of view, this is what the exchange looks like:
.....
At this point the whole exchange becomes about the literal presence or absence of option 01.

I've seen JimakaPPJ do very similiar derailing of threads on TalkLeft, too, and should have caught on earlier to what Slarti was doing here. Bad Jes. No biscuit.

New thread?

There are times when threads degenerate into almost childlike squabbling. This is close to, but not quite there.

From my point of view, there are actually two things being discussed here.

One is what both Steele's and Jeff's comments say about where a certain part of our population is in regard to how we deal with the world. That is, after all, why, IMO, hilzoy made this post to begin with.

Too some degree, that requires some degree of generlization, but not necessarily too much.

The second is Mona's reaction to Jeff's column, and slarti's onjection to the hyperbole used by Mona.

First of all, I think the hyperbole used by Mona would be totally appropriate at PW. It appeasr, both from her comments here, and reading the link, that the only way she was going to be able to get any kind of definition of what Jeff meant was to reach that level. And with no response of that sort coming prior to that level of commentary, it was approrpiate.

Slarti objected to her stating on this site that that was what Jeff was proposing, among other options. Particularly since Jeff, to slarti's satisfaction, disavowed that extreme a tactic.

The problem became when everybody else started accusing slarti of not responding to the question of what he considered appropriate. However, that is not the issue. Also when others started supporting Mona's "extreme" interpretation of what Jeff meant.

FWIW, I personally think Jeff would not at all object to what Mona was alluding to. However, he is not about to come right out and say so. He lets his readers make the connections.

However, slarti is correct that to directly state that his what he meant, when he has not said so is somewhat presumptuous.

Yes, slarti could have defused the situation somewhat by acknowledging early on the "or" clause and conceding that Jeff was calling for extremely drastic, and possibly (as pointed out by several posters) illegal methods.

And yes, Mona could have defused the situation somewhat by admitting that Jeff did not call for turning Iraq into a glass parking lot. And yet still saying that he was not really saying what he did consider a suitable, more aggressive , non-white guilt hampered strategy.

And yes, slarti, hyperbole may be detrimental to a reasoned debate, but at times it is necessary to release the frustration that people feel on both sides.

Good grief, Slart. I've seen you reduce threads to irrelevancy before with Farber-caliber pedantry, but this absolutely takes the cake. Add me to the list of people who are just dumbfounded at your unwillingness to make a simple concession that you misquoted and misread Mona and wasted everyone's time arguing the point. Mona's plain meaning did not require mindreading, divination, or guesswork. She was clearly not saying what you claimed. Yet through over nearly the entire thread you still persisted on blatantly misquoting her, omitting a key phrase that changed the entire meaning of what she said in a way that favored your misrepresentations.

You were wrong--completely. You were corrected--exhaustively. You have ignored those corrections in your responses--repeatedly.

You are not a stupid man, Slart. No one with your intelligence who does the job you do could possibly fail to grasp what we have been explaining to you. Don't force the rest of us to conclude by process of elimination that you are operating dishonestly and in bad faith.

I feel exactly the same about most of the rest of you, Catsy.

So you can see how your sort of argument might not find traction over here, right?

That you and others believe that I misquoted Mona, quoted her out of context, or whatever: absolutely baffling. How is quoting in entirety misquoting?

Don't force the rest of us to conclude by process of elimination that you are operating dishonestly and in bad faith.

Some of you are already there. And I'm finding myself increasingly apathetic about those opinions, given the process by which they were reached.

"How is quoting in entirety misquoting?"

The problem isn't that you are misquoting. It is that, once you have quoted, in applying the quotation you seem to repeatedly elide over a very significant phrase, which changes the meaning of the quote.

Slarti, your desire may be mutually harmonious with that of others to refrain from straining at gnats while swallowing camels. For me, the fact that others - including people of real influence, unlike thee or me - are endorsing obtusely vague desires for more violence and less judgment and restraint seems a lot more important than whether one specific hypothetical is a precisely accurate matter. Particularly when the person that Mona was speculating about went through such a dance to avoid staking out any specific turf, and then did by staking out turf of collective guilt and the utter abolition of moral distinctions, and furthermore a kind of turf proven by half a century and more of history to not work.

But that's me.

Wow, this thread has turned harsh (by ObWi standards, at least). Since I don't read Protein Wisdom I have no opinion on Jeff Goldstein's toolery or lack thereof. But I do have a few thoughts on collective punishment.

It occurs to me that there might be a teeny tiny kernel of truth to Steele's argument, but only under very specific circumstances. To take the example of World War Two, we had been attacked by Japan, and Hitler did declare war on us first. During the war, our rhetoric and propaganda did not talk about liberating the Japanese and German people from their dictatorial leaders. Instead, we tarred them as "aggressor nations," who were by their very nature a threat to the "peace-loving nations." (Stalin's Soviet Union was of course included in this latter category - cognitive dissonance is not just a feature of modern-day politics).

Because we held the German and Japanese people responsible for the actions of their governments, there was little effort made to spare civilians the consequences of our bombing campaigns. And as the war lengthened, civilians were eventually targeted deliberately (Dresden, Hiroshima, etc.). But the main focus of our bombing efforts were on military, industrial, and transportation targets.

Without getting into a debate about the effectiveness of bombing campaigns on civilian morale, I will note that atritting our enemies' economic capabilities certain contributed to their eventual surrender, if only because they lacked the means to build the necessary weapons to keep fighting.

Now here's a hypothetical modern situation where I believe something similar might be warranted. Let us suppose that a nuclear bomb goes off in an American port, and we trace it back to a hostile government. In that case, I would certainly support a bombing campaign that deliberately targeted not just military installations and communications, but economic targets as well - factories, bridges, dams, oil wells, etc. And I wouldn't be too concerned about collateral damage. I (and I believe the American people) would demand not a war of liberation, but the conquest of an enemy nation, and only that nation's unconditional surrender would be cause to stop.

But I would only support such an action under the same circumstances that started WWII - a deliberate attack by a hostile power that caused mass casualties. Iraq doesn't qualify.

Folks, at some point, affection has to replace reason. If Uncle Slarti thinks that Mona significantly misrepresented Goldstein, and doesn't respond to what seems like lucid refutation, we must shrug and move on.

Why are we allowing Jeff Goldstein to suck and ruin this site?

We already have people for that.

ThirdGorchBro, the pilot training manuals I'm looking at from 1943-4 do talk about liberating the German people from the Nazi tyranny. The instructions for downed pilots are pretty clear on the importance of not alienating random locals, who are not the enemy. Naturally this could and did coexist with propaganda that set other priorities. For that matter, the manuals for the Pacific theatre gloss over that a lot more, partly because, well, blending in would be harder for most downed pilots, but also as part of a higher overall level of really racist caricature. (I'm looking forward to getting this stuff scanned and online. It's fascinating.)

*shrug*

*tries to move on*

Oh, wait.

Slarti, start a new thread on something entirely different from anything we've been discussing on this thread. Then we can all move on to that. ;-)

Jackmormon is my hero of the day.

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