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» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » Harping on evil...? (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Harping on evil...?
TomDavidson
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In a separate thread, Baldar was upset by the fact that I didn't bother to criticize Iraq for looting Kuwait's museum when I was bemoaning the loss of the Baghdad National.

Does everyone here believe that, when talking about a tragedy, it is important to first mention any roughly equivalent evil performed by the victim of the most recent tragedy?

"Billie Sue was raped yesterday. I hope her rapist is arrested and hung. But to be fair, we should remember that Billie Sue has already had three abortions."

"Eddie's car was stolen from the lot yesterday. We hope the thief is promptly caught. But to be fair, Eddie himself has stolen gum from a local convenience store on thirty separate occasions."

"William was murdered this morning. It's a terrible tragedy, made bearable only by the fact that he had just finished serving thirty years for murder last week."

It's IRONIC -- but if you're not discussing policy that's directly related to the punishment of the crime itself, is it RELEVANT?

Edit: Is it, for example, necessary to preface every statement about Iraq with "Keep in mind that this country was until recently run by Saddam Hussein, who was of course an EEEEVIL madman?"

[This message has been edited by TomDavidson (edited April 22, 2003).]


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JonathanTheOmnipotent
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No. Baldar is wrong. As usual.
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Dr Claw
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I agree with most of Tom's post, 'cept the end. Most of the events happening in Iraq DO need to be looked at from the perspective that untill resently Iraq was run by Saddam. Otherwise nothing that is currently happening is justified. So it needs to be mentioned.
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Celestial Mechanic
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I'd agree with Tom's post, but I'd take it even further. I'd have to say that it makes it even worse than Saddam did that to Kuwait when he was there, in the sense that since he is gone, it is woefully untasteful for Baldar to project Saddam's past crimes onto the people who were his unwilling subjects. I believe his claiming that "Iraq" was responsible for that incident in Kuwait is a shallow analysis of the real situation.
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pseudoCode
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If one beleives in karma, or "You reap what you sow (sp?)" , it does have some bearing.

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Colin JM0397
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I think many of you argue for arguments sake over points that don't advance any one's knowledge or understanding of a topic.
With Baldar and TomD, while I enjoy reading their ideas and posts, I will scrool right through a thread if it's just you 2 posting back and forth.

I, too, am guilty of this on occasion, but I try to intersperse new ideas, facts, and links into my rants...

quote:
it is woefully untasteful for Baldar to project Saddam's past crimes onto the people who were his unwilling subjects.

PC - if they were all unwilling subjects, Sadam wouldn't have been in power so long and been able to be the beast he was. It takes many, many minions to rule like that.

Kinda like how it's pretty difficult to find any ex-Nazi's or families with a Nazi legacy these days.

With the average person's long-term memory being non-existent - at least in the US - a little memory refresher is better than none. Better to leave no doubt where you're coming from than questions to be answered.

[This message has been edited by jm0397 (edited April 22, 2003).]


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msquared
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Wasn't Saddam elected with 100% and 105% voter turn out. His people loved him.

msquared


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Colin JM0397
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Right, he's much more legitimate than G.W. who, as we all know, wasn't elected, he was appointed by a corrupt supreme court.
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Baldar
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This is going to be pretty quick since Tom has a problem with reasoning, so its fairly easy to do away with his fallacious statement.


quote:
Does everyone here believe that, when talking about a tragedy, it is important to first mention any roughly equivalent evil performed by the victim of the most recent tragedy?

"Billie Sue was raped yesterday. I hope her rapist is arrested and hung. But to be fair, we should remember that Billie Sue has already had three abortions."

"Eddie's car was stolen from the lot yesterday. We hope the thief is promptly caught. But to be fair, Eddie himself has stolen gum from a local convenience store on thirty separate occasions."


Tom loves to use irony, but apparently he prefers it to fiction than real life. Irony is one of those things that juxtaposes a certain justice overlaying a tragedy usually. Tom seems to feel that if it is ironic it must somehow not be relevant. But it is relevant.

In the first example Tom purposely, and I say purposely because he knows how to write but chooses to mislead with that ability to write, uses something that has no equivalence. Rape and abortion. Rape is the question of domination and control, there is no free will in rape. Abortion is an act of free will by a person and while tragic is very much different. He chooses this example becaue it is easier for him to argue his point (rather than do so cleanly), by muddying up the waters with two different actions he supposes that if you disagree with the example you can somehow disagree with Baldar. Of course I reject the example because there is no irony in it, there really is no justice, but Tom wants to try to paint me as the type that would somehow justify a rape due to abortion. As Tom is want of saying. Its a slimy way to do it.

Allow me to clarify the example. Geoffrey Dahlmer is a serial murderer who was sentenced to life in prison. Where consequently he was later killed. We are aghast at Dahlmer's actions, but do feel that somehow justice has been served by his death. An equivalency of sorts that is simultaneously ironic. Is it relevant? It does speak to a certain sense of justice.

Iraqi authorities took part in the looting of Kuwaitis national museum, for which Kuwait is still waiting for pieces to be returned. It is now those same Iraqi's that loot their own museum. The irony is relevant to the sense of justice. You pity the serial killer less, you pity the Iraqi's less for the looting of their own museum.

Tom prefers you do not think on the irony of the justice, so he changes the context (which he does often and knowingly even to the point of changing his original posts after they are responded to). It is deceptive and intellectually dishonest.


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OrneryMod
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Not sure if I should leave this thread open. I am going to, but I am going to keep an eye on it.

OrneryMod


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Aris Katsaris
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I think the problem lies in the collective guilt attitude of saying "the Iraqis"

It's not "the Iraqis" that loot "their own" museum, it's *some* Iraqis. And the museum does not belong to those few specific Iraqis that loot it, it belongs to the entirety of the Iraqi people, and to humanity as a whole.

When you people are using collective guilt, and single individuals as being able to parallel entire nations... Ugh. It just doesn't work that way.


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TomDavidson
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Moreover, you'll notice that I used three separate examples. In each one, there's a slightly different "equivalency:"

1) Rape and abortion are different sins, albeit -- arguably -- of the same severity. (Baldar's argument that the abortionist chooses to have an abortion is inherently flawed, as he misses the point: that a rapist chooses to rape.) That said, there's a clear distinction between the two.

I provided this example as a case where a bad but not necessarily related thing happens to an arguably bad person.

2) The second example -- a serial shoplifter loses his car -- is one in which the CRIME is the same, but the severity is not. If the Library of Alexandria burnt to the ground, is it more or less tragic if the owner of the library had previously burnt down a small local library dedicated to stories about bunnies?

3) The third example -- in which a murderer is murdered -- is a situation in which the crime AND the severity are the same.

---

It's precisely because I expected many people to see distinctions between these situations that I provided three clearly distinct situations. Baldar, for example, obviously believes that #1 is unjust, and (based on his Dahmer comment) #3 is a form of justice; I'm not sure where he stands on #2.


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Baldar
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No Tom, specifically on number 3 where you stated someone who had served their time for murder was killed. That is different from someone who kills and it killed. Stop disseminating Tom, the fact is that you are being dishonest in what you present, you have done this in the past and people have called you one it.

If you want something equivalent to the Iraqi museum lootings you will need to do better and the fact that you can, but refuse to, speaks either of your lack of understanding of irony or your refusal to honestly answer the question you yourself present.

The curators and workes who tried so hard to protect the Iraqi museum also were the ones who catalogued the stolen Kuwaiti museums articles into their own. I see that as ironic and equivalent in severity. The only difference it the Iraqi's themselves are looting their own museum.


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TomDavidson
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The distinction that you're making -- that someone who has been punished for a crime and later has that crime inflicted upon him should in fact be treated differently than someone who has NOT completed the punishment for his crime, but who suffers from an equivalent crime nonetheless -- is certainly one that you can feel free to make.

Is it your position, then, that people who have completed a murder sentence in prison are less deserving of being murdered than those who have not yet finished their sentences?


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Baldar
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Belief has nothing to do with it Tom. The fact is you willfully misled in your original post. I called you one it, get over it.
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TomDavidson
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*points back to the original post*

Where did I "willfully mislead," Baldar? I have addressed your one quibble -- that a man who has served a sentence may be considered less deserving of murder than one who has not -- in the post above. The fact remains that my three examples ARE clearly defined distinctions of the sort I explained earlier, and that your own failure to recognize that before embarrassing yourself with a fruitless accusation is not, frankly, my fault.

Please stop trying to attack me personally whenever your arguments prove insufficient. As this happens fairly often, I grow tired of being attacked so frequently.


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Baldar
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And not one of them remotely close to an analogy regarding the looting of the Baghdad museum and you know that too. Of course its dishonest, the way you phrased it is dishonest. You tried to tie it in and I have shown how it isn't even remotely so.

Its not an attack anymore than redskulls was calling your for your dishonesty earlier. Either pick a better analogy or back off. As to personal attacks, I suggest you reread some of your posts.

[This message has been edited by Baldar (edited April 22, 2003).]


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OrneryMod
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One last chance guys. Take it to e-mail or down it goes.

OrneryMod


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TomDavidson
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So what do you believe is a good analogy?

Obviously, #1 doesn't apply -- which is why you got grumpy about it in the first place.

#2 -- in which the same crime is committed, but the severity and importance of the crime varies -- would seem to apply, but I grant that you might have an emotional connection to Kuwaiti museums that increase the historic value of their artifacts.

#3 -- in which the same crime is committed at the same level of severity -- would seem to be a reasonably close fit. Here, however, you quibble that it's not a valid analogy because the man in question was already punished for the crime.

Extrapolating from your own bias, let me suggest an analogy that you might find acceptable (although it's not one that I believe applies to the situation): a crazed murderer has just killed his wife, and is trying to catch a bus out of town. While waiting for the bus, he is killed by a drifter who likes his shoes.

Does this one work for you? If not, what further nuance is missing?


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Baldar
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You cannot extrapolate for me Tom you have neither the knowledge or experience in short you are out of your depth.

Geoffrey Dahlmer is a good analogy to what happened in Baghdad.

Here we have someone who has committed a crime of murder and has in the end been murdered by another murderer.

In Iraq we have the complicity of the Iraqi museum curators who helped in the looting of the Kuwaiti museums, who themselves end up being looted by Iraqi's.

There you have it Tom. Now you can try to figure out what is so wrong with that analogy.


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Baldar
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Another sign of irony.

quote:
Meanwhile, Iraqi citizens now free of Saddam Hussein's control, are starting to express themselves in all sorts of ways. Over the weekend, the first newspaper of the post-Saddam Iraq was published. Several reports here say the new eight-page newspaper was handed out for free and was "snapped up" eagerly by passers-by hungry for any kind of news since U.S. air strikes took out Saddam's state-run media. One story in the new Iraqi newspaper had the headline, “Collapse of a dictator," and railed against the abuses of what it called Saddam's "bloody, terrorist regime." Thing is, the publisher taking advantage of a new democratic Iraq is none other than the Iraqi Communist Party, which was long banned by Saddam.

The communist party is known for its control of the press in most countries especially the former Soviet Union, yet here they are taking advantage of the relative freedom afforded to them.


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TomDavidson
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"Here we have someone who has committed a crime of murder and has in the end been murdered by another murderer."

So, um, if that's the metaphor you find accurate, why did you feel that my example #3 was not only insufficient but actually dishonest? You do recognize, right, that it's the same situation I set up.

Your specific mention of Dahmer, in fact, is of someone who was serving time for a crime when the same crime was committed on his person; it's even CLOSER to my #3 than the alternate version I wrote for you.

So what was your original problem?

Edit: Moreover, to bring us back to the original topic, is it LESS of a tragedy when someone who has committed a crime suffers from the same crime? Is it merely ironic, or is it in some way just? And should any mention or condemnation of the second crime be expected to mention the first one as an ameliorating factor?

[This message has been edited by TomDavidson (edited April 22, 2003).]


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Baldar
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No Tom you specifically stated that the person had served his time, that to me was an attempt to artificially raise a moral high bar, in the example I set forth neither party had served served a sentence completely for their crimes.
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Celestial Mechanic
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Does it matter that they had to follow Saddam's orders or watch their families be tortured? Like I said, they were unwilling subjects. Simply because they failed EVERY time they tried rebellion doesn't make them loyal subjects.

[This message has been edited by Celestial Mechanic (edited April 22, 2003).]


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TomDavidson
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So, just to clarify, Jeff:

It's justice when someone is killed BEFORE his murder sentence is completed, but wrong to kill him AFTER he's served his time?


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Baldar
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A sense of justice Tom. A sense of irony, both of which you attempted to fog over.
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The Traveler
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I am quite confused by the post on this thread. Would various posters please post their understanding of what defines Good vs. Evil. Also include which is more defining - Motive or Result?

The Traveler


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TomDavidson
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Baldar, I consider irony and justice to be two distinct things -- not part and parcel.

In fact, your use of the word "ironic" actually echoes MY previous use of the word, to describe exactly this situation -- because a murderer being murdered IS certainly ironic.

However, I don't think it's just -- or even relevant, in the context of deciding whether or not to prosecute the second murderer.

Do you disagree? I notice that you didn't answer my earlier question, regarding whether or not you felt the completion of a sentence affected the dispensation of "justice" in this fashion; would you do so, please?


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Baldar
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They are different Tom, you just used a false analogy to put yourself in the catbird seat, I called you one it. People sometimes like the sense of justice that irony sometimes produces. You did not provide an analogous position and I pointed it out to you.
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Zyne
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I interrupt your regularly scheduled love-fest ...

E-villlllll! (Sounds like a cheezy motif to me.)
And ... insert Eye of the Tiger here.

Whilst I have only heard of the integration of artifacts from Kuwait into the Iraqi national museum (lack of knowledge on my part), I find that pretty freaking ironic, and laughable, in a dark way. Tat!

In that same dark way, I do find it funny when someone is made a victim of a crime that they have perpetrated. Ironic, perhaps just, perhaps random (arguably, random is always just).

That's all.


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TomDavidson
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"you just used a false analogy to put yourself in the catbird seat, I called you one it."

Where did you do this, again?
Are you SERIOUSLY arguing that my suggested analogy -- a murderer who has completed his term in prison is murdered -- is a FALSE analogy, whereas the murder of Jeffrey Dahmer, who had NOT completed his term in prison, is a close fit?

Jeff, that's laughable. But just in case you're too egotistical to back off from your ridiculous position, go ahead and back it up. Answer this question: do you believe that a murder which would be "just" while someone is in the PROCESS of serving his time is not "just" immediately after that time has been served.

In other words, do you consider the distinction between a currently-incarcerated murderer and a paroled murderer to be so significant that you consider the latter to represent a "failed" analogy?

Don't be silly.


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Baldar
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Tom stop trying to piss me off OK otherwise.

Now as I was saying, by completing a prison term society has stated the individual has paid for his crime. Some level of justice has been met, most people will agree with that. You specifically placed a "completed prison term" in your analogy to create an artificial moral high ground in essence to put yourself in a less difficult quandry. Had you said a murderer that escaped justice or one that has not served his term, then perhaps the analogy would have been more clear and better. So in the end Tom you try to set yourself up with a positive straw man argument. If you can't see it and if you decide that your bloated ego disallows any hint that the view I present is correct, then go eat something else. But stop trying to piss me off. I will not warn you again.

Edited to disregard an insult.

[This message has been edited by Baldar (edited April 22, 2003).]


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Zyne
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Guys, what's a catbird seat?

Baldar, originally written to Baldar but really to both of y'all on my own personal unnoted edit: I am not sure that most would agree that a criminal's serving of a jail sentence is the end of the crime. I am thinking of: reporting on job applications, sex crime registries, restrictions on voting for criminals in some states, etc. This line would probably be its own thread, tho, and is not at all what y'all are talking about.

But the point remains, I don't see how our society really says that the end of the sentence is the end of the punishment, in that we continue to punish folks convicted of various crimes of widely varying severity (severity, IMO) for indefinite periods, often life.

I do think that, from the policy point of view, we really ought to call the end of the jail/probation sentence the end of the crime, and have done with it.


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Baldar
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The catbird is a species in the southeastern united states also known as the Gray mockingbird or thrasher. It usually seeks the highest available perch.

The phrase means a desire to dominate ones surroundings or be above them.


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Pete at Home
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quote:
In a separate thread, Baldar was upset by the fact that I didn't bother to criticize Iraq for looting Kuwait's museum when I was bemoaning the loss of the Baghdad National.

Well that does seem like a silly argument. for one thing, BOTH the looting of the Kuwait museum and the looting of the Baghdad museum seems to have been carried out by the worst bastards that Iraq has ever produced. Nevertheless, Tom, you have managed to respond with a counterargument that is even SILLIER ... and that misses the point even worse than Baldar's original argument.


quote:
Does everyone here believe that, when talking about a tragedy, it is important to first mention any roughly equivalent evil performed by the victim of the most recent tragedy?

Tom ...[expletives removed] ... do you honestly see SADDAM HUSSEIN as the focking VICTIM here?

How precisely do you know that Saddam wasn't one of the perps in this case?

Tom, we are ALL victims of what happened at the Baghdad museum. IIRC the Baghdad museum was perhaps the most extensive collection of our planet's most ancient founding civilizations. When you paint Saddam Hussein as the "victim" of this atrocity, you are sugar-coating the bitter pill and trivializing the loss. Perhaps this is why Baldar reacts to your complaint -- because you seem less sincerely concerned with the terrible loss to archeology than you are concerned with tarring a US president that you do not like.

To phrase this concern more accurately than Baldar did, here's what I would like to ask you:

TOM, GIVEN THAT IRAQI GROUPS EXIST WHO WERE WILLING TO LOOT THIS PRICELESS COLLECTION, DO YOU THINK THAT THIS LOOTING COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED IF THE US HAD NOT INVADED?

After all, Saddam's regime was bound to end some day. If not today, then in 10, 20, 30 years... you don't think that Saddam was immortal, do you?

Do you honestly think that
1. the totalitarian Baath regime could last forever (and would you want it to?)
or
2. the totalitarian Baath regime could fall from power WITHOUT a period of chaos in which something like this could happen?

If you think it through, the tragedy is PRECISELY that the US invasion allowed this to happen. It would have happened eventually without the US invasion, but the US occupation actually had the power to PREVENT this looting, and failed to do so.

So my question to you now, Tom, is are you capable of mourning the loss of what was probably the most valuable collection to the human race, even though it fails objectively to serve as a propaganda piece against Bush's decision to invade? Or is your feeling of the value of what was lost completely tied up in your political loathing of GWB?

[This message has been edited by Pete at Home (edited April 23, 2003).]


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TomDavidson
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Pete, I do not believe that Hussein is the victim of museum looting. However, I believe the Iraqi people ARE -- and since Baldar was implicitly accusing the Iraqi people as a whole of the looting of Kuwait, and I don't like to quibble with his EVERY assertion (if only because it would make my posts impossibly long), I ran with his assumption.

It is of course the case -- as has been pointed out by others on this thread -- that Baldar was wrongly assigning blame for the pillaging of Kuwait to the entire populace. I didn't find this point as interesting, however, as the thought that prompted me to start this thread: which is that a wrong done to someone who has done wrong himself might not only be a form of justice but MUST -- according to Baldar, at least -- be considered in light of the earlier crime in order to be "honest" when discussing the ramifications of the latter one.

"So my question to you now, Tom, is are you capable of mourning the loss of what was probably the most valuable collection to the human race, even though it fails objectively to serve as a propaganda piece against Bush's decision to invade?"

*points back to his "Just venting" thread, which it STILL appears some people haven't read*

That's the ironic thing, Pete. And it's the thing that Jeff, in misstating and routinely misconstruing my position, has also missed: that I DON'T blame our military, I'm NOT pillorying Bush, and that I'm more upset that this happened at all than I'm determined to "blame someone" for this. In fact, the only reason I got dragged into this conversation in the first place is that I had the temerity to point out -- in response to one of Jeff's comments -- that this looting most definitely COULD have been prevented. I made no value judgement at the time, and no criticism; I have made it clear throughout that my ONLY gripe with the Bush Administration is that they didn't make the museum more of a priority.

Baldar didn't seem to accept this, and seems unwilling to assign even that tiny degree of culpability to the military. Rather than argue that the museum shouldn't've been a priority, or admit that maybe we could have done more, he's done everything from accusing the curator of theft to arguing that the Iraqis DESERVED to have their museum looted.

Edit: You and I seem to share the same opinion of the looting -- and the looters. No argument there.

[This message has been edited by TomDavidson (edited April 23, 2003).]


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Baldar
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quote:
Baldar didn't seem to accept this, and seems unwilling to assign even that tiny degree of culpability to the military. Rather than argue that the museum shouldn't've been a priority, or admit that maybe we could have done more, he's done everything from accusing the curator of theft to arguing that the Iraqis DESERVED to have their museum looted.


quote:
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Lt. Col. Schwartz, whose functions also include feeding the lions in the abandoned Baghdad Zoo next door, said he couldn't move into the museum compound and protect it from looters last week because his soldiers were taking fire from the building -- and were determined not to respond. There is an Iraqi army trench in the museum's front lawn, and Lt. Col. Schwartz said his troops found many Iraqi army uniforms inside. "If there is any dirty trick in the book," he said, "they sure used it."

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You are not even sure of the facts Tom. You never are. And when the evidence points away from what you want, you do indeed do your best to spin.


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TomDavidson
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Jeff, why bother repeating the one good argument I admitted that you eventually quoted? Do you think that it somehow erases the pathetically BAD arguments -- like the "Iraq deserved to be looted" one discussed in this thread -- that you also made? There's a whole separate discussion on whether or not the museum looting could have been prevented; THIS discussion is about whether or not the looting -- and, by extension, a number of other tragedies -- was in fact (as you claimed) a form of justice.

To be honest, I find this a good deal MORE interesting, since it's alien to me. When bad things happen to bad people, I still think of them as bad things -- and I'm interested in opposing opinions on that issue.


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Baldar
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Its not a pathetic argument. You repeated an error (again) and I corrected you (again).

You concentrate on the idea that perhaps I believe that the Iraqi museum deserved to be looted. I just point out the irony you yourself cannot admit to because of your somewhat bloated, we'll call it ego. Hence you use every contrivance of words you know in an attempt to beat a dead horse (somewhat small than, your ego).

This discussion is or was originally about your false analogy to try to build up some kind of rhetoric points. The fact you consider so much alien to you speaks more of your lifestyle on the couch than anything you may or may not know.


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MooseGirl
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Well, if the museum had not been looted, the treasures stolen from Kuwait could've been returned, maybe as an act to re-establish good faith between the two countries and give the new Iraqi government the chance to say "hey, we aren't Saddam, we know right from wrong".

Of course, thanks to the lootings, this chance is now gone. But it's moot to discuss the "ifs" and "buts" once the act has been committed. It would be more interesting to hunt down the thieves.

MooseGirl


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