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Author Topic: Soldiering for Citizenship
RickyB
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FIJC - When someone makes such resolute statements such as "I'm an amoralist", and that one IS, what can ya do, very young, I give them the benefit of the doubt and figure that they're not evil, nor stupid, but just young. Also, people who openly aspire be policy makers of the highest order should
A) develop a thick hide
B) do some growing up - there's a reason there are age limits for the top jobs in the land
C) Be taken seriously when they are also evidently very intelligent in conjunction with their ambition. If WP were of average intelligence or less in my estimate, I'd be merely amused/disgusted by his "amoralism". As it is, I'm worried.

As for your declaration that morality is what puts you so firmly in the neo-con camp - Does that morality include the oh-so-moral practice of "extraordinary rendition"? The right (espoused by Leo Strauss) of the ruling elite to lie to the people? The concept (espoused by same) that a state of perpetual war is often necessary to maintain internal unity? The idea that the ruling elite should use religion to maintain discipline, but not actually believe in it themselves? If that's morality, then just call me Lucifer.

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Slander Monkey
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quote:
Warrsaw said:
YRSTYFEAMN is where I draw the line.

You seem hold to this standard within the confines of the United States, no doubt. But you aren't applying it to our relationship with other countries. Pre-emptive war seems to fall well short of a YRTSYFEAMN (particularly if there's no *imminent* threat). It's more of a YRTSYFEWISID (Your right to swing your fist ends when I say it does). Who's doing the swinging and whose nose is getting hit?

When Everard said "They can threaten critical resources, but as long as they don't actively attack those resources, they aren't swinging their fist. And, I would go so far as to say that, attacking our economy doesn't justify an invasion. It may be swinging their fists... but not to the degree necessary to justify an invasion." I think he missed the mark a little -- they may be swinging their fists, but swinging fists isn't wrong in the YRTSYFEAMN equation... in fact it's a RIGHT! I could imagine perhaps a dictator sucka punch to the noses of the dictated masses, but that would be muddying the waters in the reasoning -- no help there.

quote:
Originally posted by The Drake:

And the "why don't you volunteer yourself" argument is specious. One could use that argument for everything from feeding the homeless to prosecuting big business. We all advocate things that we aren't willing, or suited, to do.

Wondering about your last sentence, I pondered whether I got caught red handed... unexpectedly, you gave me words to describe one aspect of my personal code of conduct -- I do try my best to only advocate things that I am also willing to do (not that I'm perfect at it or anything).

But even ignoring that for a moment, military service has always seemed to be an exception to a variety of rules. It's probably the only type of job in which you can be effectively ordered to sacrifice your life. We are all (guy folk at least) brought up knowing that one day, we may be compelled to serve if the need is dire (or the war is popular enough among the old folks). Considering that an of-age male can be drafted if necessary, shouldn't their support of a war and willingness to enlist be nearly one in the same. With all due respect, we're not talking about feeding the homeless, or prosecuting big business, we're talking about defending the country from "serious threats," while lacking only "boots on the ground."

Warrsaw said:
quote:
quote:
This whole discussion made me think of this catchy little slogan: "The United States: driving down the cost of freedom since 1776." Yesterday, I felt that it would be my duty to serve the country in a time of need... but now I'm not so sure. From what you are saying Warrsaw, I should be able to have my cake and eat it too (which is a pretty sweet deal). But I suppose if I really felt that way, your foreign policy arguments might now seem, well... less foreign. No luck there, yet.
Another perspective:
"You don't want to live in a burning city; in fact you even want people to build homes that are less likely to burn down in case of an accident or electrical fire. You consider it important to live in a society where the city's not burning down all the time. You want other people to build these homes; you want other people to fight the fires; and all you want to do is send a CHECK. You don't risk your life or directly support the firefighting cause. You want to have your cake and eat it too, I suppose? Aren't you old enough to train and join the firefighters? What a hypocrite!"
Or, for those who want to use a certain c-word:
"What a coward!"
"We won't be listening to your policy arguments at the next city council meeting. Your words are hollow. You're letting OTHER people risk their lives to protect YOU and your precious non-burning city vision."

I do, in fact, sound like a hypocrite (me being "you" in this case), but only if my check doesn't cover all the costs. Shoot, if you want to finance the war, raise an alien army, and call yourself a general (Ohhh God, I can just imagine it now -- generalisimo Pact), I'd almost say, "go ahead and have fun." I don't have any illusions or particular desires for other people to protect me above and beyond the current state. And what of this CHECK? Where does that come into the real world equation -- do people send charity-type checks to the military? That would be weird. I think if you change the hypothetical to remove the CHECK and make me foam at the mouth a little bit, it might be truer to life. Would it be that big of a step to then call me a hypocrite? And wouldn't I be a hypocrite if I *expected* firefighters to risk their lives -- we come to take it as a matter of course that risking their lives is what firefighters do -- but life-risking in firefighting is a matter of personal bravery and not a matter of following orders (or so I hear).

I'll stand by my belief that military service is the one exception to any particular example you come up with. Neither of us can be drafted into the fire or police departments, after all.

Just as a reminder, I brought this service business up in order to address perception of threat. Threats are how we see them. I probably wouldn't wait for hippies to enlist in droves (or the rest of the members of Korn to be baptized) before I would personally acknowledge a threat, but for me to acknowledge the dire threat you claim to see you'll either have to prove your case much more thoroughly (both threat and potential detriment), or join up (strange as it might seem, that one step would almost convince me entirely with no more arguing necessary).

quote:
If you know of a more expedient way to accomplish a "just" end, I'm really truly all ears.
That's what I asked you to find out... I'm goofing off on this forum; you're honing your skills.
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Tezcatlipoca
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quote:
You seem hold to this standard within the confines of the United States, no doubt. But you aren't applying it to our relationship with other countries. Pre-emptive war seems to fall well short of a YRTSYFEAMN (particularly if there's no *imminent* threat). It's more of a YRTSYFEWISID (Your right to swing your fist ends when I say it does). Who's doing the swinging and whose nose is getting hit?
I just want to poke my head in here and say that a possible reason that YRTSYFEAMN doesn't apply to the countries that we are pre-emptively attacking is because they do not respect that right inside their own countries as you suggested we Americans do. So no, the rule does not apply to countries that already break the rule on a regular basis, they do not get a clean slate in my book. I wouldn't trust another country that represses it citizens not to repress me if they had the chance.

Anyway, just wanted to pitch in a bit, I like the thread so far (except for some quaint ad-hominem attacks), keep it up.

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FIJC
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quote:
"When someone makes such resolute statements such as "I'm an amoralist", and that one IS, what can ya do, very young, I give them the benefit of the doubt and figure that they're not evil, nor stupid, but just young. Also, people who openly aspire be policy makers of the highest order should
A) develop a thick hide
B) do some growing up - there's a reason there are age limits for the top jobs in the land
C) Be taken seriously when they are also evidently very intelligent in conjunction with their ambition. If WP were of average intelligence or less in my estimate, I'd be merely amused/disgusted by his "amoralism". As it is, I'm worried."

True, I agree with everything you say above. At the same time, I think that you could address WP with a little bit more patience, which would probably be much more effective in getting your point across to him.

Personally, I am anxious to see what WP would do and accomplish were he to move out to DC. DC is a tough town to live and work (finding a job is hard) and pretty much everyone that works here is highly intelligent and ambitious. Oh, and everyone in DC and Arlington is liberal, unless of course you work for the White House or Heritage. [Wink]

quote:
"As for your declaration that morality is what puts you so firmly in the neo-con camp - Does that morality include the oh-so-moral practice of "extraordinary rendition"? The right (espoused by Leo Strauss) of the ruling elite to lie to the people? The concept (espoused by same) that a state of perpetual war is often necessary to maintain internal unity? The idea that the ruling elite should use religion to maintain discipline, but not actually believe in it themselves? If that's morality, then just call me Lucifer."
I do not think that Strauss ever supported the notion that intellectual elites should necessarily rule the world--just that they were a vital part of society, which I believe they are. The modern-day intellectual elites are really the equivalent to the philosophers of ancient Greece--they are the ones who really transform society with their ideas, not the politicians. I have not read any of Strauss’s works in their entirety, so I am certainly no expert on Strauss, but I do get the impression that where Strauss was coming from with regard to the “noble lie” theory, was that such a method was justifiable in situations when a society at large becomes so morally corrupt, that an entire culture is unable or refuses to understand and/or accept fundamental concepts such as universal, objective right and wrong, and therefore would be unable to accept certain imperative decisions made by leadership for the good of the people. In such a situation, I think that it is within the realm of reason to believe that such a usage of the “noble lie” is justifiable.

My attraction to neoconservatism revolves around the concepts that it is both a moral imperative and responsibility for the United States to actively promote the growth of democracy in the world, especially in those nations with despotic regimes, and that objective morality and human right ought to be vigorously involved when making foreign policy decisions. My attraction to neoconservatism originally began with my rejection of the amoralism of realism.

[ March 10, 2005, 12:18 PM: Message edited by: FIJC ]

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David Ricardo
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quote:
"The way to hell is paved with the best of intentions."

-- James Boswell

This is precisely what scares me the most about the neoliberals who seek to revamp American foreign policy into a crusade for American hegemony and democracy throughout the world (I hate to call them neoconservatives when there is nothing conservative about them).

On the surface, imposing freedom and liberty abroad by American force of arms seem noble and even courageous. The notion that we, as Americans, are willing to pay a price in blood, toil, tears, and sweat to save the oppressed peoples from tyranny has a nice ring to it.

Nevertheless, this is the same kind of idealism that sparked the Communist Revolution in both Russia and China and has led to untold atrocities in the name of the freedom and liberation of the oppressed from tyranny.

We might wish to forget it, but the Maos and Castros of the world started off as liberators of the people against oppression before they became the dictatorial monsters that we know them to be today.

The main failure of communism is that it necessarily required the imposition of the state's monopoly of power against the individual in order to build its ideal Marxian socialist state. But when the Communists were required to foster and nurture power of the state to impose the state's will against the individual to make society better off, that power increasingly became more and more corrupting. And as those abuses of power increased in scope, the Communists in power would always justify those abuses in the rhetoric of the "greater good."

When the Chinese Communists massacred and persecuted siblings, parents, friends, and neighbors during the Cultural Revolution, they did so while preaching the moral rhetoric of Communist ideology over contrary individualist ideology.

Such is the same danger here. The kind of American power and hegemony that the neoliberals want us to foster throughout the world is supposed to render a new era of democracy and freedom throughout the world, but it necessarily requires that we commmit the United States to becoming a strident imperial power in lands far beyond our own shores.

And sooner or later, such an accumulation of American imperial power will prove corrupting to our own fragile democracy itself. We can already see how we have justified many horrible abuses of power in the name of the greater good already. We are becoming a hegemonic power that condones the torture of innocents in faraway lands. We have also become an occupying power in regions which have little to do with core American national security. We have already expanded the scope of the American police state powers to trample American civil rights in the name of defending America's increasingly expansionistic foreign policy.

While neoliberalism and its supporters might profess themselves to the self-anointed defenders of freedom and liberty throughout the world, the skeptic in me cringes to hear such ideological fervor in such a dangerous arena as foreign policy.

Such moralistic rhetoric of greatness and empire has gone before many a tragedy in societies past.

[ March 10, 2005, 12:56 PM: Message edited by: David Ricardo ]

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Everard
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Actually, I tend to think of Germany and Japan in the late 20's and the 30's as good models for what the neo-cons are trying to do. While thier efforts are couched in terms of freedom and liberty, look at what Warsaw is writing... his reasoning for invasion is very similar to the reasoning that Japan used to launch its empire. The analogy isn't perfect, but its a pretty good one, as far as historical analogies go.
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RickyB
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It's the same every damn time. People start empires thinking "oh, no, WE know better. WE'll do it RIGHT".

What I feel is that WE, as Americans, have a unique opportunity to be a force - to continue being a force - the likes of which has never really been. Be a superpower, yet resist the siren call for full blown empirialism. That's the kind of national endeavor I'd feel very patriotic about.

Instead, some want to tread the tried and tired old path of empire . The really annoying thing is that despite this lack of vision, of appreciation for America's uniqueness, these people are usually treated as terribly deep thinkers.

FIJC - I'm not here to amend WP's morality. That's not my place. ( yo, WP, sorry for talking about you like you ain't here...feel free to butt in if you want ) If I had thought WP was of little account, I wouldn't have bothered. I know it's condescending to tell someone "oh well, you're young", but there's a respectful honesty in it. I happen to know WP is around 21 cause he wrote it in an introduction thread or some such, but I would never, ever have guessed it from his posts. Now, if he were 30-something, and already in policymaking, and if I were convinced he really eschews any kind of morality, I'd see him as a danger to the country.

As for Straussianism - it's not about the noble lie. It's about lying as a modus operandi. That you may lie not just because telling the truth would create a clear and present danger, but merely because it's convenient, and because Strauss had a very, very dim view of what a recently published book (mentioned by our host in a recent column) called "the wisdon of crowds".

Besides, who died and appointed anyone arbiter of morality? How come the "culture" is morally corrupt, but the people who happen to be so tuned in to the culture that they become leaders are somehow bestowed with such great moral clarity? Please. That is such authoritarian rudeness. No disrespect to your religion, but the rest of us emphatically reject the notion of an elect elite.

Also, "actively promote the growth of liberty" sounds great, but what you folks refuse to factor in your calculations is Newton's little observation about every force generating an equal and opposing one.

It doesn't matter that you're the strongest force anywhere around. The force you exert will balance you out unless you use your force very judiciously. The way your NAC geniuses have conducted things, they sound rather like the stupid robot that Marvin the Paranoid Android manages to talk into killing himself in "Life, the Universe and Everything" (are you familiar with the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" series?). This robot is equipped with the most awesome weapons of mass demolition, and is goaded into blowing up the building he is occupying in a temper tantrum and thus destroying himself.

Anyway, the point is that an unbroken line of American presidents since Carter (and before) have worked to promote democracy. That's another rudeness - pretending that hitherto no-one was even trying to promote democracy. It's all a measure of degrees, of aggressiveness, of brute force. Now, as Sun Tzu has observed, brute force is always the bluntest, least controllable, most victory-hollowing kind of action.

I could also talk about the peculiar procliivty of such moral idealists to renounce treaties that deal with things like torture, and their never-ending attempts to legitimize same, but this is a long post as it is...

ed. sp.

[ March 10, 2005, 03:10 PM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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Everard
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"Anyway, the point is that an unbroken line of American presidents since Carter have worked to promote democracy"

I'd actually extend that back further then Carter. Ford and Nixon both worked to spread democracy, as well as Johnson and Kennedy. In fact, the last president who wasn't engaged in trying to spread democracy was probably Hoover.

But thats just a quibble. Nice post, Ricky.

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kenmeer livermaile
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"It's probably the only type of job in which you can be effectively ordered to sacrifice your life."

Until modern medicine, the same held true pof parturition.

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kenmeer livermaile
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Question: given that war inherently reduces morality to the art of staying alive, to "making the other bastard die for his country", what's all this talk about bravery and cowqrdice and morality and right and wrong?

War's like abortion: plain out and out murder but sometimes you'd rather not keep the other poor bastard around, whether it's a NAZI German or your own fetus.

Them's the raw facts of it. It's formalized mass murder.

[ March 10, 2005, 03:28 PM: Message edited by: kenmeer livermaile ]

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kenmeer livermaile
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"the “noble lie” theory'

Virtually all of what we call our cultural moral values are lis, noble or otherwise.

" In fact, the last president who wasn't engaged in trying to spread democracy was probably Hoover. "

No less than Walter Winchell called Hoover the wisest man he'd ever met. Anyway, I certainly liked Winchell's isolationist leanings.

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kenmeer livermaile
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"On the surface, imposing freedom and liberty abroad by American force of arms seem noble and even courageous. The notion that we, as Americans, are willing to pay a price in blood, toil, tears, and sweat to save the oppressed peoples from tyranny has a nice ring to it.

Nevertheless, this is the same kind of idealism that sparked the Communist Revolution in both Russia and China and has led to untold atrocities in the name of the freedom and liberation of the oppressed from tyranny."

"There is nothing wrong with Americans except their ideals. The real American is all right; it is the ideal American who is all wrong."
G.K.CHesterton, New York TImes, February 1, 1931

[ March 10, 2005, 03:36 PM: Message edited by: kenmeer livermaile ]

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RickyB
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Ah, Chesterton...All hail Father Brown! [Big Grin]
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kenmeer livermaile
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"No less than Walter Winchell called Hoover the wisest man he'd ever met. Anyway, I certainly liked Winchell's isolationist leanings."

I meant HOOVER's isolationist leanings...

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TomDavidson
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quote:

On the surface, imposing freedom and liberty abroad by American force of arms seem noble and even courageous. The notion that we, as Americans, are willing to pay a price in blood, toil, tears, and sweat to save the oppressed peoples from tyranny has a nice ring to it.

Allow me to explain why I am a pacifist. [Smile]
Or, rather, let me explain why the above paragraph, quoted verbatim, explains why I am a pacifist. *grin*

Because when we send people abroad to fight wars to "liberate" countries, we are not sending them abroad to shed their own blood. If we were, I wouldn't have a problem with it; if we could turn Iraq into a peaceful democracy by lining up 15,000 willing Americans in New York and asking them to shoot themselves, I'd be fine with it. A voluntary sacrifice to bring peace and prosperity to someone else is nifty-keen.

But war doesn't work like that. We don't send our boys out to shed their own blood. We send them out to draw blood, and in fact want them to shed as little of their own blood as possible. Our soldiers are not martyrs; they do not intend to sacrifice themselves. If they die, it is because they failed to kill -- because killing the other guy is the intention of a war.

And who is the other guy, precisely? We speak of collateral damage. We speak of tens of thousands of conscripted Iraqi soldiers dead. We speak of houses destroyed, towns abandoned, hospitals shelled.

This may be a cost worth paying. But we do not give Iraq the choice to pay it. We invade, taking upon ourselves the decision not just to let our boys die but the decision to kill thousands of Iraqis and blow up thousands of buildings. To bring them freedom.

We present this as a burden we bear, as a cost we are willing to pay. But we don't pay it. They pay it.

We take unto ourselves the supreme right of God: the right to renounce someone else's right to life. We say "this is a cost we are willing to pay" and what we mean is "your life is worth this goal."

I do not believe that anyone -- anyone -- has the right to tell me that my life is not worth living. That is a decision I may someday make for myself, but I will not contract that decision to a third party. And yet we as a country, by invading a country to bring it "freedom," don the mantle of God.

[ March 10, 2005, 09:59 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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kenmeer livermaile
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"I do not believe that anyone -- anyone -- has the right to tell me that my life is not worth living. That is a decision I may someday make for myself, but I will not contract that decision to a third party. And yet we as a country, by invading a country to bring it "freedom," don the mantle of God."

I don't call myself a pacifist; heck I don't call myself anything but the passing whim. But yes, your argument is correct in my eyes. War is fought for selfish purposes. That selfishness may be more or less enlightened, but it is selfish. I say this based on my personal conviction that selfishness is the primal motive from which all others -- including altruism -- derive.

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WarrsawPact
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I have a nice big chunk of time now!

[Wierd side note: I consider personality tests to be at best supicious and at worst fraudulent, but I've seen some frighteningly accurate descriptions of myself. After taking a few different tests of the same type to ensure consistency, I found that the Myers-Briggs personality type that has quite regularly described me is the iNTj, or Mastermind. Descriptions of the Mastermind tend to be eerily familiar... moreso than, say, some Zodiac thing. The best ones include the personality weaknesses as well as the strengths. It might save y'all some time and misunderstanding. Seriously.]

Starting where I left off, about a million posts ago:

Kenmeer:
quote:
To this end, I see the Citizenship for Soldiering' (CFS) model as a way of inserting yeast at home WITHOUT resorting to tyranny like conscription drafts or the kind of evasion, obfuscation, and downright lying used to get us into Iraq.
Two things:
Let's stick with *my* name for it, Soldiering for Citizenship (SFC) [Smile] .
Second: I do think it makes sense to ask this question as it relates to the proposal: given that more troops were NECESSARY, would those of you who currently oppose SFC prefer to have a draft over SFC?

quote:
Sometimes the hostility created in other states might prove deadlier than the friendship created within a [relatively young democratic state].

Pakistan and NK are potential examples here, methinks. If cracking down on Middle East regimes is perceived down the road as having triggered a nuclear incident by which NK demolished the democracy SK took decades to attain, the result could be competing 'poster states': Yeah Iraq! Nay SK! Our interventions would be viewed as amateurish.

Not exactly something you can plan for. It's not terribly easy to draw a straight line from elections in Iraq to NoKo nuking SoKo.

quote:
While war IS an excellently expeditious way of fomenting certain changes, a major drawback is that its very drasticness creates, shall we say, counter-ripples? As one series of dominoes falls as one wishes, another series may precipitate oppositely.
Yep, always something to keep in mind and try to manage... and be prepared for. Keep too much of your force tied up in one place and others may sieze the opportunity to do things they wouldn't do otherwise -- thinking American citizens and commanders are too busy focusing on other things, and thiking we can't respond to a new crisis so long as we're tied down.

This is a big part of the reason that many foreign policy wonks and military officials have afavored having a military capable of handling two regional conflicts (while recognizing that *affording* such a force would be a serious pain).

quote:
So breaking up cabals and conspiracies determined to attack us, even though it may create recruiting opportunities for them ("help stop the war of aggression of the Great Satan!"), would not likely net them the same financing, harboring, and organizing that they've enjoyed with supportive states like the Taliban, Iran, and Syria (among others).

"would not likely" is a wise caveat in the statement above, for evil evolves just as does good. Creating chaotic interruption of older orders might actually provide GREATER opportunities for otherwise disenfranchised organized-crime-with-ethnic/religious/political identity to forge new alliances even more difficult to eradicate.

When spraying for bugs, one needs to kill enough of the population several generations in a row so that superbugs do not rapidly come to the fore and become the dominant new form of an old species...

I think you're stretching this a little bit. If their support structures are destroyed, that's like destroying all the trees the animals there are using as habitat, as protection, for food and breeding, and introducing a whole new set of species that are better adapted to the new environment. If any of them DO survive, they'll be much weaker than they were when they could count on that nice lush forest.

Launching an international terrorist campaign requires lots of funding, lots of people, and organization and safe harbor.
A 9/11 style attack, for example, would be extraordinarily difficult to pull off with five disgruntled guys who met in college and don't have anyone supplying the ideology, intelligence, protection and money.
Just like if you destroyed the US military command structure, the individual surviving soldiers would pose next to nil threat to the mullahs in the coming decades compared to the previous threat. They'd be disorganized, far less capable of travel, have next to no knowledge of what their enemy was like, and much less capable of supplying the necessary hardware.

quote:
I suppose that depends on whether the first round is successful, whether changes would be made to the recruiting process or training, and what kinds of wars we'll find ourselves in. Manpower is a powerful thing even in a time of incredible technological superiority. If we extended that to ground troops (via networking, powerful infantry weapons, active camouflage, and other enhancements we're not fully familar with yet), an extra few tens of thousands of troops might be a liability or it might be a tremendous hammer.

I'm not sure why I feel this is so profound. Part of why I'm hounding this thread is to find out why? But I feel the profundity is not martial so much as the effect on the American plebiscite and our democracy at home.

Kenmeer - Knowing how intelligent you apparently are, I'm positive you would find The Shield of Achilles to be an absolute delight. Read it. Bobbitt goes into great detail on this very subject.
This country is undergoing a fundamental change. The crazy thing is how it's undergoing so many different kinds of changes at once... it already isn't the same country.

quote:
The corrolary to SFC would be offering citizenship to folks willing to spend a term of service in a beefed-up Peace Corps, one treated with equal seriousness as the War Department, with critically interlinked roles in 'installing democracy': runnning elections, running village seminars on the various forms of democracy, installing sewer mains (**** Halliburton, thank them very NOT), et cetera...
If you can find the funding to support both them and Defense/HomeSec, go for it. Maybe we could take that money we're spending on the corrupt, largely ineffective UN and spend it on a League of Democracies instead. The UN can retain the funding for the WHO and infrastructure development.

I like the idea of a real, serious, peaceful force for democracy to augment our other efforts. THAT would also be a worthy place for people to do their civic duty, the people who don't want anything to do with the ugly business of war. Between my four uncles, they've had positive experiences in the Peace Corps, flying F-14 Tomcats and working in military intelligence as well as Minuteman missile silos. Lots of ways to serve.

Though I sincerely doubt we could afford to make war planning and peace planning equals in funding or stature. Are we including Homeland Security in here? Where are we going to get the money?
And are you sure you want the Pentagon running peace planning?

quote:
(By the way, War, do you recognize the concept I present here? Your previous ability to stomp over certain statements with statements that in effect asserted I wasn't hearing your message was precisely the point where I reached, rightly or wrongly, for my mackerel. I was so much more with you in so many of your assertions than, I felt, you were able/willing to acknowledge, that it felt like I was arguing with someone who would only argue with themself on the topic. It felt as if everything I said to you had to be reBUTTed rather than synergized. I'd rathr merge heads than BUTT them. For what it's worth and with no interest in salting old wounds but only in pursuit of clarity in all communcations, including that form of communication called violence.)
When I get deep in fisking a post, I generally go for the throat in any piece of text.
I will occasionally argue with myself on a topic. That's just the way things are: I come to realizations that make me question what I had been saying; I realize I didn't say something correctly or completely enough before; and I'm always reading critiques of things I believe.
I've been trying to soften things up on certain topics but stay hard on others. The barbarians tend to pound at the gates in my head whenever I don't recognize what someone else is insisting was my argument.
-=-=-=-=-=-
RickyB -
quote:
Actually, FIJC, I'd expect such a devout Christian like yourself to be as opposed as I am to this banner of amoralism. But I guess that since WP aligns more often than not with your partisan camp, then it's ok. Doesn't your faith have something to say about that? [Smile]
A professed amoralist (though I'm still a church-going Catholic, call it a crisis of faith) can behave more Christian than many Christians, and an amoralist may end up doing things that are effectively Good in a moralist's eyes.

Would you object to an amoralist doing a Good thing with no moral intention in his heart?

quote:
Now, as a person who tries to learn from Sun Tzu, I also reserve the right to flout any convention in order to solve a conflict and achieve a desired result. But what IS the desired result? I'm afraid we need SOME kind of morality to make that kind of call.
Well, tell me what you would prefer. Remember, a city set on a hill cannot hide.
-=-=-=-=-=-
Ev -
quote:
[With regards to YRTSYFEAMN,] Yes, I agree with you. I completely disagree that nations like Iran are swinging their fists at us.
It has been reported that Iran has ~40,000 GITs in Iraq on its payroll... actually being paid to fight us and the Iraqi government.
If true, that's a serious fist. How many ITs were actually recruited in Iran by the government is also of concern. It's also confirmed that Iran has provided groups like the Army of Muhammad with money and arms, in nice big lots.
The way I see it, those alone give us and the Iraqis all the justification we need to, at very least, disrupt the flow of money and arms, which -- thanks to the nature of smuggling networks -- would likely require something on the other side of the border.

quote:
You characterize [Syria] and [Iran] as threats to critical resources. They can threaten critical resources, but as long as they don't actively attack those resources, they aren't swinging their fist.
Firstly... threatening critical resources for the global economy does paint a target on your back. Even if you don't follow through, you're still doing damage.
If they mobilize this threat and sit on the edge of the Strait of Hormuz with a variety of missiles and artillery and planes and such, what do we do? Trust in Providence?
Plus, they (the government) ARE swinging their fist at their own people. Should their own people resist their government, would it be prudent for us to assist them in overthrowing their illegitimate government?

quote:
And, I would go so far as to say that, attacking our economy doesn't justify an invasion. It may be swinging their fists... but not to the degree necessary to justify an invasion.
That sets a terrible precedent.
Sure, you can harass us and strike at our lifeblood, but unless you *really* act up we won't consider attacking you with the full intention of military victory. We might use harsh language, send a letter, deplore your action... but hey, if you want to shut down the flow of oil and every other commodity from every country that uses the Strait of Hormuz, go right ahead. We are a peace-loving people. We don't mind oil at $70/barrel.

The kind of damage they could do if they DID swing their fist is hard to estimate. They'd be directly attacking the economies of Iraq, Kuwait, the UAE and Saudi Arabia if they targeted the Strait of Hormuz.

Here's a situation I have to ask about:
If Syria swings its fist too hard, and we and the new Iraqi government intervene... and in turn Iran follows through on its alliance with Syria and attacks the Strait of Hormuz to disrupt the Coalition... would we be justified in action against Iran?
This would be a high-shock strike on the entire global economy. Everyone would suffer.

Now an attack on the Strait of Hormuz would initially require very few casualties. Is that the international equivalent of multiple rapes/murders in your estimation?
-=-=-=-=-=-
David Ricardo -
quote:
There is something to be said about a citizen's army of patriots serving their country out of honor and duty, instead of a mercenary army with high-powered weapons.
Right now, what you can say for it is it isn't necessarily supplying enough manpower to get the job done.
Even our citizens don't serve for free; they aren't simply paid with honor and fed duty.
We attract an awful lot of these kids by promising to pay for college, offering signing bonuses just like sports teams do, offering job training... but it so happens that these people are patriots too.

Again, if we open up citizenship to a screened pool of people who are willing to fight and possibly die with little more than the promise of being a certified American citizen at the end, we'll have patriots all right.

quote:
At its heart, our military is strong because it is made up of patriots, patriots with souls full of honor and striving to their duty for their country.
Absolutely. Outside of the heart, there's also the arms, legs and brains keeping it strong. Sometimes they don't have all the arms and legs they need.

quote:
People should join the military out of patriotism for their country. If we have gaps in our military now, hiring out mercenaries to fill those gaps will only exacerbate the cracks in the morale and pride among our military ranks.
What's so unpatriotic about joining the military so you can become a certified American?
Those who don't love this country, who are here for little more than a job or a welfare check, these people will NOT be the ones signing up in numbers to join the fight. This kind of immigrant will not sign up for four or six years to fight and possibly die so they can keep a wage.
I think you underestimate the number of people who come to this country and want to be truly American but cannot. It's true: there are many people who come here for the job opportunities and do not consider themselves American. Our soldiers in the field will not have to worry about those people signing up to fight alongside them.

quote:
Methinks WarsawPact makes his mistake in measuring our military in mere facts and figures. He is advocating for a short-term stopgap measure that might close some gaps in the ranks of our military, but he will simultaneously be eroding the "Espirit de Corps."
Au contraire! First of all, the short term is the first phase, to see how it works out. It can be scaled up and lengthened.
"Stopgap" measure? Is this any worse than forcing people to stay on active duty for an extra two years or offering large re-signing bonuses to buy the continued services of our troops?
Our military men don't call the bonus-returns "mercenaries."
They may be paid, but we all know they're doing it for more than that.

Would you really suspect that people who agreed to give away four-plus years of their life with the possibility of death in order to gain citizenship would really be a blow to morale? I think fears of that would evaporate the first few times such a unit went into battle for our country.

javelin has you pegged when he asks, "And what the heck do you call the people who dream of living in the US so much that they'd be willing to die for the privilege?"
Is that a stopgap measure, David?

quote:
"The often repeated statement that the country owes the soldier for his services is based on a misconception of duty and patriotism. The soldier, being a citizen, owes the country service and whatever he gets in return is a gift; pure and simple."
--Patton

Well then; why not take all these people living in and working for our country, our countrymen, and our businesses... and giving them a chance to serve as citizens, so that they can fulfill their first duty, as citizens, fighting for us? If a soldier recruited in this fashion decides he doesn't love his citizenship and his country all that much after all, he's more than welcome to go back to being a non-citizen.
Seems only right to me.

quote:
If we really cannot maintain recruiting levels at the levels that we need them, it would be far better for us to institute universal service, so we can continue to have a citizen's army of patriots, not a hodgepodge of mercenaries.
People drafted into compulsory service are not an army of patriots. Citizens, yes; patriots, not necessarily. The only thing they've proven is that they can't or won't run to the border at the first sign of trouble.
By comparison, everyone who signs up voluntarily to serve a country they were not even a citizen of before is there fighting FOR America, to BE an American.

quote:
"We will have no real Army until we have universal service." -- Patton
I wonder what Patton meant by a "real Army."

quote:
In the end, as well, I find it remarkably cowardly that, we as Americans, think so little of ourselves and the defense of our country -- that we would willingly outsource the defense of our homeland and our loved ones to others who did not have the blessing of being born here in America.
That you would use the word "outsourcing" only indicates that you are becoming as painfully aware as others are that we are no longer in a nation-state like the one we were only a couple of decades back. We're a market-state.
In a market-state, people increasingly do not care where you were born. If you fight for us, for our way of life, you're one of us.

So what if they weren't born here? We were awfully lucky to have these blessings from the moment we took our first breath, but we're not the only ones who love America. America is a blessing to people outside our borders.

quote:
It is a sad day when Americans, born in this most blessed country on Earth, are not willing to fight themselves for the freedom and liberties that they have enjoyed since birth.
Since that sad day has come, let's make sure we're prepared. We can -- and do -- extend those liberties to millions of people who were not born here and come here seeking opportunity. We even export our liberties, vigorously.

quote:
WarsawPact, do not the words taste bitter in your mouth when you say that you do not plan on serving your own country in our military, yet you expect foreign mercenaries do the fighting to defend this country which you choose to eschew yourself?
They're coming out just fine, but thanks for your concern.

quote:
"The greatest privilege of citizenship is to be able to freely bear arms under one's country's flag." -- Patton
We're the adopted country of millions of people. Let's extend the privilege.

quote:
In truth, WarsawPact, you betray yourself with your own words. You view the soldiers in our military as mere tools in your grand scheme of extending neoliberal Pax Americana/Project for a New American Century hegemony around the world.
Neoliberal? Interesting word. Considering the unfortunate alteration of the historical word "liberal," please stick with calling me Neolibertarian.
I think it's foolish to lump in the revolution in global affairs being brought about by the US with that of the Romans or British by labelling my idea of empire Pax Americana.
The PNAC is perhaps the acme of New Leadership institutions. They have a few things going for them, frankly.
My own style is much more mixed between all the popular paradigms: New Leadership, New Evangelism, New Realism and New Internationalism. We need a flexible, pragmatic vision for dealing with different problems.

As Bush said, "This is not primarily the task of arms, though we will defend ourselves and our friends by force of arms when necessary."

quote:
You view yourself as the puppeteer who will oneday make those puppet soldiers dance to your whims. You do not realize that the military is a team of men, of individuals -- bonded together with "Espirit de Corps" borne out of a sense of duty and honor to country.
Speculation on motives is rarely productive. This is no exception.

quote:
So, when you, who screams and shouts daily about the great looming dangers to our national security, that we must fight preventive wars of imperialism to consolidate and maintain our hegemony throughout the world -- when you pass up the great "privilege to freely bear arms under one's country's flag" during this dangerous time in our country's history -- when you wish to auction off citizenship to a country to which you will not yourself bear arms to defend against the great enemies of our time -- you reveal that you know nothing what it means to be a true citizen and patriot of this great country.
Say, David, you're the one who called me an idealist, right?

We auction off citizenship to people who have job skills. You don't bat an eye.
But you won't allow our country to make an offer of citizenship to a limited pool of men who will help us win a war in "this dangerous time in our country's history" in an all-volunteer force so that, for the time being at least, the rest of us can choose to serve our countries in a different way?

quote:
In short, this crazed idea of hiring foreign mercenaries to serve as the chosen defenders of our own United States of America because WarsawPact and his ilk are unwilling to do so themselves is precisely that -- a thinly disguised and cowardly attempt by armchair neoliberal scholars to maintain their fantastic Project for a New American Century wars of hegemony without putting themselves or their own loved ones on the firing line.
Let me translate that into Sane.
quote:
In short, you want to offer citizenship to people who will fight and die defending this country so that you and the neocons don't have to risk death accomplishing what you believe to be a worthy objective.
Next.
quote:
If these wars for the democratic liberation of the world are so great and so honorable and so benevolent, then why aren't you on the firing line? Why don't you want to be personally bearing arms under that banner of democracy, freedom, and liberty? Why not accept the privilege of fighting that honorable fight on behalf of your mother country?
I think I've answered this fully enough by now that I'm just quoting you for an exposition of your argument.
Thankfully, you answer that question below.

quote:
The truth is that you do not want to make such sacrifices yourself. You do not have true patriotism because you refuse to serve your country despite your "conviction" that we are in danger of living in burnt out husks of cities if we do not take our fight to the enemy.
People of Ornery: I'll leave everything to David. He knows the truth and knows what I am thinking.
David:
Do I want to die? Nope.
Do I have true patriotism? Not the way you think of it, but yeah, I do.
Do I refuse to serve my country? On the contrary, I'm just looking for the best way. The great thing about a country with an all-volunteer army is that not only is it more effective, it also allows people with talents other than holding a rifle or stopping bleeding in a flesh wound to live out their lives freely and contribute in other ways to their society.
Is your use of scare quotes around "conviction" surprisingly entertaining? Yes.

quote:
Instead, you would rather have the uneducated and unskilled illegal immigrants take your privileged spot in our righteous and glorious campaign to bring freedom and democracy to the world?
It's not exactly "my spot," is it David?

quote:
How can you expect such unfortunate noncitizens like them to fight bravely for the United States when you yourself (who has enjoyed all the blessing America has to offer) will not choose to fight bravely for the United States that raised you?
Well, for starters, they will be citizens, and secondly, it looks suspiciously like lots of soldiers are already fighting for our shared cause without needing my direct participation to affirm their own sense of duty and patriotism.

quote:
Spare me.
I'll keep that in mind next time you condescend so far as to think you can read my mind.

quote:
WarsawPact is commoditizing American citizenship and patriotism as something that can be bought and sold because that is precisely how he views American citizenship and patriotism -- a mere commodity.
American citizenship became a commodity long before I was born, David. It's one of the most highly prized commodities in the world among people who have lived in conditions bad enough to know what it's like to actually be the people William Fisher talked about when he wrote, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."
How many times have we accepted a people as truly American only after they fought in a war defending America and its interests and its allies? You know enough history to know what I'm talking about, certainly.
A lot of these people came to this country out of desperation, David, but also because they thought America was a way out of it, was actually a good place with principles and values they could believe in.

quote:
WarsawPact, because he cannot find enough of the first category to fight the wars that he wants the United States to fight, is commoditizing American citizenship and patriotism to entice the second category of "desperates" to bear arms to fight for something that WarsawPact himself refuses to bear arms.
Of the horse: "Stop beating him, he's already DEAD!"

The Drake also pegs you, as javelin did:
quote:
And the "why don't you volunteer yourself" argument is specious. One could use that argument for everything from feeding the homeless to prosecuting big business. We all advocate things that we aren't willing, or suited, to do.
Onward, to other posters...
-=-=-=-=-=-
Firedrake:
quote:
Regarding citizenship for service - There is a real issue with this. Those who are illegals and are willing to die for citizenship are probably poorly educated and have few other options.
Poor education may indeed become an issue; we do need a thinking army, and one familiar -- if not indoctrinated with -- our values.
The screening process could, in a fairly straightforward fashion, favor those who fit the profile best.
As for having few other options: well... this particular option is a fairly dangerous one to undertake for an individual. You may yet be correct; a number of people join the Army to get away from troubles at home or in the neighborhood.

quote:
Currently the United States has enough problems ensuring that most portions of society are represented in the armed forces. If we allow illegals, felons, and/or those who cannot pass the ASVAB (which is a pretty rudimentary test) into the army, we will be discouraging our best and brightest from joining up.
I haven't mentioned felons, people who have waived their rights by violating someone else's. Nor have I mentioned the ASVAB.
I'm wondering what image everyone gets when these terms pass around... "illegals," "immigrants," "desperates," etc.
-=-=-=-=-=-
A. Alzabo -
quote:
And the "why don't you volunteer yourself" argument is specious. One could use that argument for everything from feeding the homeless to prosecuting big business. We all advocate things that we aren't willing, or suited, to do.

I tend to agree that this is often a facile argument used to stonewall, but I also think it can serve to gauge the actual seriousness of someone's convictions about something, as opposed to their perceived seriousness. Sorta like actual vote tallies vs. exit poll numbers.

Well, I'll see if I can convince you one way or the other; stay tuned.
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
kenmeer -

quote:
Also, War's something of a Pattonist: "Make the other bastard die for HIS country."

Combining the two by making his country your country... oops, imperialist interperative slip , by making YOUR country his country... oops, defeatist interpretive slip... by letting him join your country if he'll fight for it, is efficient logic in that context. I agree that it's efficient insofar as it goes, and since no one's FORCING anyone to fight, and the number of innocents bombed to slivers is probably not directly affected either way, I think the concept warrants adoptive scrutiny

Aha, one of those convoluted paragraphs that I understand perfectly... what a gem.
Sometimes I think I'm all about efficiency...
-=-=-=-=-
Locus -
quote:
5th Column Light Infantrymen ... do they taste like chicken?
"Some might say this operation makes the charge of a light brigade look like a sensible military exercise."
-=-=-=-=-
KE -
quote:
Congratulations WP, you're one step closer to hitting bottom.
Like I said, KE, awesome. Brilliant.
-=-=-=-=-=-
foliated -
quote:
have you considered ROTC? Guy I knew in college did it. He told me once that when he walked in to investigate it, the recruiter said that they knew how to make someone stronger - but they didn't know how to make someone smarter. It sounded like they were willing to help him work to get stronger, too. Plus they give money for college for it. So he joined up and seemed quite happy with his decision. Seems to me you might be in the same boat as him, ie smart, perhaps underfunded, and definitely undersized. Then after you graduate, you'd be stronger, educated, and almost ready to lead people carrying rifles for a few years.
Doesn't really sound like my kind of environment.
-=-=-=-=-=-=-
kenmeer -
quote:
Abortion is a really expeditious way to make positive changes in one's life: like not saddling oneself with a child one doesn't want or believes one can't properly raise. Sometimes we have to break a few eggs to make better lives...
Clever. My argument against abortion is not really a moral one so much as a call against what I view to be phenomenal hypocrisy -- others often take it as a moral argument though.
quote:
...I think that, as I've said before, fetuses have no state rights until they enter said state.
So where exactly is their absolute position?
quote:
Conversely, who wants the state invading their internal organs?
Who wants to die? The right to privacy does not extend to the commission of a crime.
quote:
A woman has the right to declare war on her inner minion just as the state has then right to capital punsihment and the right to kill others to protect itself.
You'll have to explain that one to me -- are you just talking about women whose unborn children are threatening their lives? If so, I agree. The thing about a kid is, you can transfer custody and never see it again once you're capable of safely doing so. No such luck with states being handed off to faraway planets.
But again, if we're going to go any further we'd need a new thread. Seriously.
-=-=-=-=-=-
Sancself:
quote:
You WOULD be turning these people into a resource, pure and simple.
I'm sorry, Mr. Taxpaying Citizen, you were saying?

quote:
Sure they want to get here, but all non-criminal-types deserve to come to America equally.
Prove it.

quote:
Exchaning freedom, to which God gives to all equally, for services is almost like selling absolution. If there are masses yearning to breathe free then don't compromise our stance on human rights and life by instanting bio-fascist policies.
Bio-fascist?
Okay, there were a lot of things wrong with that.
First, you can't prove and I can't disprove the existence of a God, but clearly whatever bestows freedom is NOT handing it out equally.
Secondly, you exchange services for freedom every day of your working life.
And our stance on human rights and life can be whatever we want it to be. It'd be best if we weren't hypocrites at long last.

quote:
If WarsawPact ever does become a policy maker - God forbid it
Oooooh, burned.
quote:
next thing you know America will be too crowded and he will have us all jogging around in circles gauging which of us is healthy enough to serve America and therefore gets to stay.
Darn it, I almost had everyone fooled. Sanc has exposed me. Start jogging, people. No room for scrawny pale kids.

quote:
That's only one step away from this absurd proposal.
This is commonly called the slippery slope fallacy.
One one hand, you have a voluntary system wherein people who WANT to risk their lives fighting for our country, but only some people are qualified... and on the other hand you have people running in circles to determine fitness level to see if they can stay in the country.

quote:
I hope you never get any influence in government WP, you lack too much humanity to ever make good policy.
Uh huh. So, what's "humanity" in your view?
-=-=-=-=-=-=-
kenmeer (again):
quote:
I've accused War of lacking at times the ability to hear others for his own zeal to make his own point, and I once questioned him on how he weighs body counts in the scheme of martial things, But I've seen nothing to convince me that War lacks humanity. I suspect his friends find him a fair and good comrade (even if he DOES believe he's a robot [Wink])
Seriously, read that iNTj thing.
-=-=-=-=-=-=-
A. Alzabo -
quote:
AA: But if one steadastly refuses join the fight while loudly shouting to the rafters baout the dire, civilization-threatening nature of the threat to our nation...they'll have to pardon me for not thinking they are as serious as they claim.

WP: You ever see Schindler's List?
I pardon you.
Heheheh...


AA: You can't be serious!

Of course not! Hahaha!
-=-=-=-=-=-
Firedrake (again):
quote:
[Illegal immigrants] probably are not as wise or capable as we are! Those who illegally cross the border are looking for work; they cannot find it in another country.
I personally worked with someone who came from Central America to escape violence; I talked to him often about it. He told me that where he came from, blondes like me were shot on sight.
Many people seek political asylum and/or are refugees from violence in their own countries. The US is just a natural place to go, especially for most of the Western Hemisphere.
He appreciates America so much... it's absurd when I see other people take it for granted.

quote:
We can take the best and the brightest of immigrants, and use them as soldiers. We can teach a smart individual – Mexican, American, or Purple, any wisdom and knowledge they lack.
Now, I don't wanna sound racist or anything, but **looks around** Purples? Can't teach em a darn thing! [Wink]

We'll need more than just the best and brightest, though. Out of a population of millions, gathering the aforementioned figure of about 100,000 troops would require "B-" standards.

quote:
We can probably even impart a sense of patriotism. However, before we embark on a plan that will change our military and social structure, we should ask this: is the result worth the final cost? Should we be devoting resources to improving the lot of illegal immigrants instead of current citizens?
One of the big challenges of the state today. Do we want to win this war? Do we need to? I think so.
A lack of citizenship is not keeping a lot of people from taking advantage of social services, driving, and working here. We're raising them up whether we like it or not.
As you implied, though, look at what kinds of people we'd be imparting citizenship on. Generally, the smarter ones, the ones who were msot familiar wih the language, the physically capable and spirited and more principled people, to name the qualities that immediately come to mind.
You know, the kinds of people we're already giving citizenship to by the tens of thousands.

quote:
We need to consider the social change. What will war mean to the United States if only the immigrants fight? Probably not as much.
The thing is, it wouldn't be just them fighting. They'd be fighting in the same campaigns, battles, even units as natural born citizens.

quote:
I would also add this: someone above mentioned that the willingness of United States citizens to volunteer for military service limited militaristic ambitions. While Iraq may require more troops, altering the social structure and removing a very real limitation on government power might be a bad way to solve a temporary problem.
It's certainly something to keep in mind when addressing any problem and potential solution. Giving citizenship to troops who have fought for us is not a power the government doesn't already possess. In July 2003, Bush waived the normal three-year waiting period for all active-duty green card holders to apply for citizenship. The DoD has awarded posthumous citizenship to a number of noncitizens who fought and died in the Iraq War -- making their families eligible for citizenship.
-=-=-=-=-=-
A. Alzabo -
quote:
Short answer for now: 1) There are places where I wouldn't want to field units of people from those places. Particularly in the Middle East, Africa and other tribal/factional places. I think the infiltration risk would be high and/or we could easily be signing up death squads if we tried to get the numbers up fast. The people with the skills we want (language/local knowledge) are exactly the people I worry about turning on us or tarnishing our record as our proxies.
Ah, a very valid concern. I'll have to think on that one for a bit.

quote:
2) Boot's numbers are too large for if we pursued a (what I consider to be) more prudent course.
To get to Civil War-level elistment of foreign-born troops as a percentage of the fighting force, we'd need to recruit a little more than 100,000 foreigners.
To undo the Clinton downsizing, if we were to undo all of it, we'd need a bit more.
quote:
3) I don't know that I like the idea of fielding a sort of temporary Janissary Corps., I think it sends a bad signal if we do it wrong.
Well, how wrong would it need to go to send a bad signal, and how would we avoid that potential problem?
-=-=-=-=-=-
RickyB -
quote:
When someone makes such resolute statements such as "I'm an amoralist", and that one IS, what can ya do, very young, I give them the benefit of the doubt and figure that they're not evil, nor stupid, but just young.
Did you know...
Adults can be amoralists too!
The more you know...

quote:
Also, people who openly aspire be policy makers of the highest order should
A) develop a thick hide

I argue against so many people, often single-handedly, and stick through it... you doubt I have a thick hide?
quote:
B) do some growing up - there's a reason there are age limits for the top jobs in the land
Don't go here again, Ricky... it's totally not worth anyone's time. I'm always learning more. But it sounds supiciously like someone's being condescending toward me.
quote:
C) Be taken seriously when they are also evidently very intelligent in conjunction with their ambition. If WP were of average intelligence or less in my estimate, I'd be merely amused/disgusted by his "amoralism". As it is, I'm worried.
I keep trying out different responses and deleting them. Nothing seems to fit. Maybe I'll think of something.
-=-=-=-=-=-
Slander Monkey -
quote:
YRSTYFEAMN is where I draw the line.

You seem hold to this standard within the confines of the United States, no doubt. But you aren't applying it to our relationship with other countries. Pre-emptive war seems to fall well short of a YRTSYFEAMN (particularly if there's no *imminent* threat). It's more of a YRTSYFEWISID (Your right to swing your fist ends when I say it does). Who's doing the swinging and whose nose is getting hit?

Mobilizing means you've started to swing. You're drawing first, but that doesn't mean we have to let you draw first blood if we're reasonably sure that fist is going to connect.
Realistically, there are no rights. Ample evidence: they're not self-enforcing (at least not in this universe).
But I would prefer that between parties, YRTSYFWEAMN rules the day to provide maximum liberty and security to all. When one can provide an enforcing mechanism, it seems to me that would work out well.
The society of states, however, is roughly anarchic. We compete, we network, we ally, and nothing but apparent limitations govern our behavior.
Nevertheless, to apply YRTSYFEAMN like I'd want to... you look for people who overstep their bounds of consent. Maybe they're invading someone else, holding them hostage, attacking their economy and trade, or even beating up on their own people.

Then you ask yourself if playing policeman a certain way is a realistic solution to swinging back.

quote:
I think he missed the mark a little -- they may be swinging their fists, but swinging fists isn't wrong in the YRTSYFEAMN equation... in fact it's a RIGHT!
Exactly. Swinging your fist as far as possible without hitting someone's nose. Of course, if your fist is obviously on a collision course with my nose I can start swinging back... and it's justified if it's justifiable.

quote:
And what of this CHECK? Where does that come into the real world equation -- do people send charity-type checks to the military? That would be weird.
Actually, they do. This has become especially popular in this war, sending care packages to troops and the Iraqis they're helping out. There are also things like Adopt-A-Sniper where you can send things they really need to underequipped troops, like scopes and certain kinds of rifles, camo gear, etc.
They love it.

But what I was really referring to is tax money. I'll support my local firefighters and police, but I'm not about to join their ranks.

quote:
Just as a reminder, I brought this service business up in order to address perception of threat. Threats are how we see them. I probably wouldn't wait for hippies to enlist in droves (or the rest of the members of Korn to be baptized) before I would personally acknowledge a threat, but for me to acknowledge the dire threat you claim to see you'll either have to prove your case much more thoroughly (both threat and potential detriment), or join up (strange as it might seem, that one step would almost convince me entirely with no more arguing necessary).
Proving my case to you and to all others whom it may concern would undoubtedly take me less than the time it would take for me to join up.
-=-=-=-=-
FIJC -
quote:
Personally, I am anxious to see what WP would do and accomplish were he to move out to DC. DC is a tough town to live and work (finding a job is hard) and pretty much everyone that works here is highly intelligent and ambitious. Oh, and everyone in DC and Arlington is liberal, unless of course you work for the White House or Heritage.
I'd probably be a policy wonk rather than a politician; I've been told I'm too honest, too terrible a liar... among other things... to be a politician. I'm not exactly about image.
-=-=-=-=-=-
David Ricardo -
quote:
"The way to hell is paved with the best of intentions."

-- James Boswell

I hear the road to heaven was paved with even better ones.

I'm going to post this and then start another post, I don't know if I'm over a word limit here...

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RickyB
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OK, let's try taking this amoralism stuff seriously: What does it actually mean? That you don't give a damn about anyone else? If you're an amoralist, what's to stop you from abusing any power or influence you achieve? What's to stop you from advocating what the rest of us tend to see as atrocities and crimes? Why should anyone trust you with anything, let alone high policy?
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Tezcatlipoca
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Most of those questions can be answered by the fact WP is a pragmatist. I will let him defend himself (because I can't read his mind [Wink] ), but it just seemed that you missed that very big part of the equation that is WP.
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RickyB
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So you're saying I should count on the fact that he will always reasonably conclude that he won't be caught? That he won't be tempted? I'm not comfortable with that. Pragmatism is great, I'm just not sure what this amoralism means. If it means what it says in the dictionary, then I wouldn't trust anyone who really is amoral.
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WarrsawPact
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Part II

David:
quote:
This is precisely what scares me the most about the neoliberals who seek to revamp American foreign policy into a crusade for American hegemony and democracy throughout the world (I hate to call them neoconservatives when there is nothing conservative about them).

On the surface, imposing freedom and liberty abroad by American force of arms seem noble and even courageous. The notion that we, as Americans, are willing to pay a price in blood, toil, tears, and sweat to save the oppressed peoples from tyranny has a nice ring to it.

This post went off track the second you used the phrase "by American force of arms." That's only part of the equation here. I think far more transformation is taking place -- and will continue to take place -- as a result of the spread of our culture. I simply think there are some threatening dark corners that need to be taken care of, where the circumstances conspire in our favor: the people want to live their own way, their government is unpopular, and their states use B-style armies of massed conventional forces that we are uniquely suited to defeating.
What we have had to adapt to on that last point is the 4th-generation warfare that has ensued after one state falls while other GIT supporting states yet border it. We're seeing the difficulties with Iran and Syria now: they're certainly supplying GITs, they's certainly organizing and recruiting them, and they're certainly harboring them.
Now, we can choose how we respond to an act of war such as FHORing the GITs.

quote:
On the surface, imposing freedom and liberty abroad by American force of arms seem noble and even courageous. The notion that we, as Americans, are willing to pay a price in blood, toil, tears, and sweat to save the oppressed peoples from tyranny has a nice ring to it.
If it makes us more secure, the other niceties can come for the ride.

quote:
Such is the same danger here. The kind of American power and hegemony that the neoliberals want us to foster throughout the world is supposed to render a new era of democracy and freedom throughout the world, but it necessarily requires that we commmit the United States to becoming a strident imperial power in lands far beyond our own shores.
Most of that imperial power isn't even in the hands of our state. It's in the hands of corporations, free trade regimes, consumers. And there's an important difference between the cost of the old imperialism and the new one: the cost.
After a limited time of building up your infrastructure, we basically let you govern yourself... so lnog as no tyrant tries to make it into a runaway democracy.
That means, we don't do your business anymore. You're a market, a trading partner, an ally... but not a territory. Territories are expensive and tend to smart under the yoke. They're especially bad when they outnmber the homeland... it just screams for coordinated resistance.
Our empire is one that spreads faster than our military could hope to keep up with, though our military makes it possible. The overhwelming military -- and the known capacity and will to use it -- lowers almost all walls and drawbridges. We creep in, we profit, they profit, and more and more they want to do what we want them to want to do.

quote:
And sooner or later, such an accumulation of American imperial power will prove corrupting to our own fragile democracy itself. We can already see how we have justified many horrible abuses of power in the name of the greater good already.
Yep. See "every war ever fought."
quote:
We are becoming a hegemonic power that condones the torture of innocents in faraway lands.
Debatable.
quote:
We have also become an occupying power in regions which have little to do with core American national security.
Ah, that tricky word "core." Is "core" whatever keeps enemy boots off our beaches?
Name these regions.
quote:
We have already expanded the scope of the American police state powers to trample American civil rights in the name of defending America's increasingly expansionistic foreign policy.
Let's get more specific. Maybe another thread.
quote:
While neoliberalism and its supporters might profess themselves to the self-anointed defenders of freedom and liberty throughout the world, the skeptic in me cringes to hear such ideological fervor in such a dangerous arena as foreign policy.
You're not the only one.
quote:
Such moralistic rhetoric of greatness and empire has gone before many a tragedy in societies past.
Yep.
-=-=-=-=-=-
Ev -
quote:
look at what Warsaw is writing... his reasoning for invasion is very similar to the reasoning that Japan used to launch its empire. The analogy isn't perfect, but its a pretty good one, as far as historical analogies go.
Explain. We're not annexing anything.
-=-=-=-=-=-
RickyB -
quote:
What I feel is that WE, as Americans, have a unique opportunity to be a force - to continue being a force - the likes of which has never really been. Be a superpower, yet resist the siren call for full blown empirialism. That's the kind of national endeavor I'd feel very patriotic about.
The world has changed. And so has imperialism.

quote:
Instead, some want to tread the tried and tired old path of empire . The really annoying thing is that despite this lack of vision, of appreciation for America's uniqueness, these people are usually treated as terribly deep thinkers.
Hehe, a lot of imperialists go by the name of American exceptionalists.

quote:
If I had thought WP was of little account, I wouldn't have bothered. I know it's condescending to tell someone "oh well, you're young", but there's a respectful honesty in it. I happen to know WP is around 21 cause he wrote it in an introduction thread or some such, but I would never, ever have guessed it from his posts. Now, if he were 30-something, and already in policymaking, and if I were convinced he really eschews any kind of morality, I'd see him as a danger to the country.
Is there something practical about morality, besides having people feel more comfortable if they think you're moral?

quote:
As for Straussianism - it's not about the noble lie. It's about lying as a modus operandi. That you may lie not just because telling the truth would create a clear and present danger, but merely because it's convenient, and because Strauss had a very, very dim view of what a recently published book (mentioned by our host in a recent column) called "the wisdon of crowds".
You're gonna love to see how it all comes together. Lying as a matter of immediate convenience is not the pragmatic thing to do; this is especially true because legitimacy is important to power, and (I think I heard this in the movie JFK) people are basically suckers for the truth.
quote:
Besides, who died and appointed anyone arbiter of morality?
Hahaha, I'm wondering the same thing myself!

quote:
Also, "actively promote the growth of liberty" sounds great, but what you folks refuse to factor in your calculations is Newton's little observation about every force generating an equal and opposing one.
As if applying laws of thermodynamics to politics makes a lick of sense.
Obviously in the political world not every force generates an equal and opposite force or they wold cancel each other out and nothing would ever get done; nothing would ever progress.
Maybe I misunderstand you. Explain, por favor.
-=-=-=-=-=-
TomDavidson -
quote:
We take unto ourselves the supreme right of God: the right to renounce someone else's right to life. We say "this is a cost we are willing to pay" and what we mean is "your life is worth this goal."
What we mean is "get off the tracks or get run over."
And if only God has the right to renounce someone else's right to life, then what happens to me if I do it?
Historically speaking, the longer I keep it up against threats the longer my state seems to thrive.

quote:
I do not believe that anyone -- anyone -- has the right to tell me that my life is not worth living.
They'll tell you, all right... and then you can resist or run.
quote:
That is a decision I may someday make for myself, but I will not contract that decision to a third party. And yet we as a country, by invading a country to bring it "freedom," don the mantle of God.
We're just trying to stay alive here.
-=-=-=-=-
RickyB -
quote:
OK, let's try taking this amoralism stuff seriously: What does it actually mean?
Consequences determine the practicality of an action.
We can tell what's correct and incorrect about our assumptions based on the only real laws in effect: the self-enforcing ones.
quote:
That you don't give a damn about anyone else?
No, no. Everyone else is very important to me.
quote:
If you're an amoralist, what's to stop you from abusing any power or influence you achieve? What's to stop you from advocating what the rest of us tend to see as atrocities and crimes? Why should anyone trust you with anything, let alone high policy?
What you trust me with, I'll wield with the clearest eyes I possibly can to do my job as well as I possibly can. The idea is that if you loan me power, I'll use it in a way that will be so pragmatic you'll agree with me.
I never break a promise, largely because I never make a promise I don't know I can keep, and I think that those who do need to be held accountable. One promise every elected official and broker of force (police, soldiers) makes is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.
If you think I need to believe in a transcendant source of morality to accomplish that task, I currently think you're wrong, but it's up to you. Who you loan power to depends on you being represented.
And being a Neolibertarian, I'd do my best to provide security, and work on restoring as much sovereignty to you and your peers as possible.

quote:
So you're saying I should count on the fact that he will always reasonably conclude that he won't be caught? That he won't be tempted? I'm not comfortable with that. Pragmatism is great, I'm just not sure what this amoralism means. If it means what it says in the dictionary, then I wouldn't trust anyone who really is amoral.
If you knew me, you'd know I don't give into that kind of temptation. There are many times when I've known I could get away with something, *easily*, and I haven't. It's not in my character.
I used to lie a lot. A *lot*. I was a fairly smart kid wo gained a lot of practice telling stories, even about things that didn't matter. I learned how stupid that is, how much it damages relationships, how much it complicates things. I could remember lies very well, and stay out of those traps. But I began to question WHY I lied at all. I gained no real advantage in the long run. Too many smart people think they can get away with something big, and they don't, and it kills something important to them. I'm not aboutto get sucked into the same trap.
And this is all assuming I'm elected instead of behind the scenes.

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Locus
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Warsaw,

You claim being amoral then go on to defend yourself by describing your code of ethics. It doesn't matter if the source of your values come from empirical study or the bible. The ethics are still there.

[ March 11, 2005, 08:12 AM: Message edited by: Locus ]

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FIJC
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quote:
"I'd probably be a policy wonk rather than a politician; I've been told I'm too honest, too terrible a liar... among other things... to be a politician. I'm not exactly about image."
Where are you looking to get into? While not an expert, I am somewhat familar with the policy wonk world in DC, and the people in them. [Smile]
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kenmeer livermaile
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quote:
What we have had to adapt to on that last point is the 4th-generation warfare that has ensued after one state falls while other GIT supporting states yet border it. We're seeing the difficulties with Iran and Syria now: they're certainly supplying GITs, they's certainly organizing and recruiting them, and they're certainly harboring them.
I think this problem might turn into an asset, if certain trends prevail (posted on another thread):

[/B]If one believes that a significant number, even a majority, of Middle Eastern Muslims would have rather seen the USA humbled in its attempt to subjugate Iraq and put it through democracy school, and if one believes (as I do) that such a result was almost automatically assured via sustained guerilla resistence, and if one further believes that the insane carnage inflicted upon Iraqis by al-qaeda and their ilk effectively destroyed the local support for guerilla operations needed to sustain an effective guerilla resistence that would have 'humbled the imperial US'... then it makes sense that NO one but al-qaeda is al-qaeda's friend anymore.

Per this reasoning, al-qaeda has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory: it has almost single-handedly lost the war for the hearts and minds of Islam that is being fought between the West and radical Islam.[/B]

quote:
FHORing the GITs.
Acronym alert: what do dat mean?

quote:
"We are becoming a hegemonic power that condones the torture of innocents in faraway lands."

Debatable.

That America is a functioning democracy is debatable.

quote:
Explain. We're not annexing anything.
Debatable. [Wink]

quote:
Is there something practical about morality, besides having people feel more comfortable if they think you're moral?
Excellent question. I anticipate someone distinguishing ethics from morals soon?

quote:
You're gonna love to see how it all comes together. Lying as a matter of immediate convenience is not the pragmatic thing to do; this is especially true because legitimacy is important to power, and (I think I heard this in the movie JFK) people are basically suckers for the truth.
I think lying is the same for massive bureaucracy as for an individual: very convenient at first but increasingly difficult to maintain with any semblance f integrity. The people aren't suckers for the truth but for the APPEARANCE of truth. The truth by itself is often less credible than convenient lies, but as the tale stretches the truth generally holds together while the lies disintegrate.

quote:
Besides, who died and appointed anyone arbiter of morality?
Ever notice how religions lean toward charismatic martyrs? [Wink]

quote:
As if applying laws of thermodynamics to politics makes a lick of sense.
Obviously in the political world not every force generates an equal and opposite force or they wold cancel each other out and nothing would ever get done; nothing would ever progress.
Maybe I misunderstand you. Explain, por favor.

The released opposing forces don't necessarily heed the symmetry of the originating force. THings diffuse in the world of human affairs, whgere every phenomenon is subject to intense noumenization. What this translates into is a great potebntial for significant unexpected consequences. Using the old definition of sin as a Greek archery term for 'missing the target', I'll coin this neologism: sinergy. Unexpected side effects.

quote:
That is a decision I may someday make for myself, but I will not contract that decision to a third party. And yet we as a country, by invading a country to bring it "freedom," don the mantle of God.

We're just trying to stay alive here.

Mthinks you doth protest too little here. We're doing far more than trying to stay alive here. There are MANY motivators on this martial track.

quote:
"That you don't give a damn about anyone else?"

No, no. Everyone else is very important to me.

Amorality is a specific way of thinking for oneself; one that eschews the dogma that are morals. It in no way refutes wise ethice like the Golden Rule/Karma which is less a moral and more a formula for wise interaction with peers.

quote:
If you're an amoralist, what's to stop you from abusing any power or influence you achieve? What's to stop you from advocating what the rest of us tend to see as atrocities and crimes? Why should anyone trust you with anything, let alone high policy?
being the acknowledged/self-provlaimed voice of morality has rarely stopped institutions from violating those morals they espouse. Practical considerations generally weigh in more effectively.

quote:
You claim being amoral then go on to defend yourself by describing your code of ethics. It doesn't matter if the source of your values come from empirical study or the bible. The ethics are still there.
A-HA! First volley in the prewdicted morals/ethics debate!
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A. Alzabo
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quote:
If one believes that a significant number, even a majority, of Middle Eastern Muslims would have rather seen the USA humbled in its attempt to subjugate Iraq and put it through democracy school, and if one believes (as I do) that such a result was almost automatically assured via sustained guerilla resistence, and if one further believes that the insane carnage inflicted upon Iraqis by al-qaeda and their ilk effectively destroyed the local support for guerilla operations needed to sustain an effective guerilla resistence that would have 'humbled the imperial US'... then it makes sense that NO one but al-qaeda is al-qaeda's friend anymore.

Per this reasoning, al-qaeda has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory: it has almost single-handedly lost the war for the hearts and minds of Islam that is being fought between the West and radical Islam.

Al Qaeda does seem to have fallen into the trap of strident fundamentalists everywhere: running over their natural allies to the point of alienation.

See also: PETA, Ward Churchill, and many others.

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RickyB
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Let me clarify my position here: I don't require anyone to subscribe to a set moral code. I'm an iconoclast and an anti-cleric myself. I make my own morals and require no transcendental source, but I don't pretend not to have them. And no, morals aren't always pragmatic. That's precisely the point. Sometimes you do things, or refrain from doing them, even though a cold calculation tells you to act in the opposite manner. Not always. You don't bind yourself to them at all cost, but sometimes.

Like Locus pointed out above, you do seem to have some sort of code. I don't care much about the morals/ethics distinction. As long as you got something, that's fine. If you believe in Karma and the golden rule, that's even better. But when you say stuff like "might makes right" - I ain't buying that, and I'll fight to stop you from making policy based on that. Might does not make right.

Why, for instance, will you never break a promise? Sometimes it's the most pragmatic thing to do. Hell, sometimes it's the most moral thing to do. I think you view things in a manner that's too rigid, hence such sweeping pronouncements such as "amoralism". Also, statements like "If you knew me, you'd know I don't give into that kind of temptation" are also not very confidence inspiring. First, I'll bet the farm you've never been confronted with anything close the kind of temptation a high-flying DC power broker can face. Second, people change. People become disillusioned. People become anxious for themselves and their families rather than their ideals. People become cynical. People become so damn frustrated with the complexity of running a country that they give in to all sortsa things. Impressive as you evidently are, it's happened to better men and women than you. Your character doesn't guarantee jack. Neither do professed morals, mind you, but at least they give me something to work with as far as predicting ones reactions.

As for your assertion that imperialism is changing - that's exactly what I was talking about when I said "WE are gonna do it right". No. Empire always has and always will mean exploiting the energy/resources of people and territory A for the benefit of the people and territory B. It always results in either loss of freedoms for the populace of the exploiters or relinquishing of empire, followed by a whole host of social problems attendant to the absorbtion of the conquered people into the formerly imperialist society. Ain't nothing new about it. The British actually came close to refuting this argument, since they increased their liberties corresponding to the enlarging of their empire, but eventually had to give up the empire and deal with the mess I mentioned. And they only got away with it through a now defunct world view that allowed them to sub-humanize their victims.

Finally, as for the laws of thermodynamics - sure it does. The greatest mistake is to think it doesn't. Pressure leads to explosion, that's another one you can take to the bank about people and gasses alike.

Usually forces are applied at some sort of angle, so that the resulting reaction doesn't cancel them out. But when people get so drunk on their own power that they think they can just blast their way through anything, they sometimes forget to slant the vector and set up a containing field for the explosion that their pressure causes.

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TomDavidson
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Yeah, Warsaw. You're not amoral. You're just selfish. There's a huge difference.
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WarrsawPact
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Locus -
quote:
You claim being amoral then go on to defend yourself by describing your code of ethics. It doesn't matter if the source of your values come from empirical study or the bible. The ethics are still there.
Is it really a system of morality to avoid things that I've learned will harm me more than they help?

If that's a system of morality, then the entire natural world is pious.
-=-=-=-=-
FIJC -
quote:
Where are you looking to get into? While not an expert, I am somewhat familar with the policy wonk world in DC, and the people in them.
Truth be told, I have no idea. I'm interested in so many aspects of statecraft that it's kinda hard to call. This is what attracted me to the idea of being a politician -- you can have your hand in all the pots.
Know any policy making institutions that allow people that much freedom? I don't.
So perhaps I'll just find an impressionable "image person" and work behind the scenes.
-=-=-=-=-
Kenmeer:
quote:
FHORing the GITs.

Acronym alert: what do dat mean?

Hehe, two acronyms I made up myself, maybe I shouldn't be so ambitious in their use as to put them in the same phrase.
FHORing is Funing, Harboring, Organizing and Recruiting for...
GITs are Guerrillas, Inurgents, and Terrorists, which I believe covers the different groups we're fighting in Iraq. Some guerrillas are terrorists and some insurgets are terrorists, mind you, but not all are. It doesn't seem like the GITs really have a plan to get out of this thing/win it... acts of terror, for example, are generally designed to promote a violent response and, in so doing, force the target to appear like the bad guy.
That stage *should* be over, now that they're already in a guerrilla war, and yet they continue to use patently terrorist tactics. In time they may figure out how stupid this is and switch to just being guerrillas and insurgents.

Your quote is right on the money.

AQ may yet pull off another attack, this one probably designed to get us to attack Iran. If Iraq can't bleed us dry, they'll seek other avenues to bring more of the pain that's stretching our force capabilities.

This is what makes me think that under certain circumstances, we may be justified in attacking Iran but should not.... not yet... if we can solve most of the Iraqi problem first.
If Iran continues to FHOR the insurgency into Iraq, though, we may have a serious crisis.
And if we have to take on both Syria AND Iran at the same time, that will be a much more serious crisis.

quote:
That America is a functioning democracy is debatable.
It's functioning, just not at 100%. When the American people believe that the transfer of power via elections is legitimate, the system is working. Two close elections in a row made this a concern, but we're still functioning.

quote:
We're doing far more than trying to stay alive here. There are MANY motivators on this martial track.
All of the benefits as I see it play toward a single end: survival.
-=-=-=-=-=-
RickyB -
quote:
Let me clarify my position here: I don't require anyone to subscribe to a set moral code. I'm an iconoclast and an anti-cleric myself. I make my own morals and require no transcendental source, but I don't pretend not to have them. And no, morals aren't always pragmatic. That's precisely the point. Sometimes you do things, or refrain from doing them, even though a cold calculation tells you to act in the opposite manner. Not always. You don't bind yourself to them at all cost, but sometimes.
What's the point of this crutch?
You acknowledge that there's no ultimate consequence to rules of morality like that. Why follow them? That's not even a *crutch.* That's a
*straightjacket.*
And a self-imposed one at that!

Is there a point to such morality?

quote:
Like Locus pointed out above, you do seem to have some sort of code. I don't care much about the morals/ethics distinction. As long as you got something, that's fine. If you believe in Karma and the golden rule, that's even better. But when you say stuff like "might makes right" - I ain't buying that, and I'll fight to stop you from making policy based on that. Might does not make right.
There's where we part ways. Look at all of history and see what's happened to the values of people who didn't seek out might.
At very least you can look at it as a naturally self-enforcing principle. Evolution. Now that culture is the primary survival tool of the human species, look at what's happened to people with outmoded ways of doing things. Others passed them by, came into conflict with them, and removed their ideas from history, little by little.

quote:
Why, for instance, will you never break a promise? Sometimes it's the most pragmatic thing to do.
One of the benefits of not having compromised myself, for anyone or anything, is that the immense trust people have in me is probably my greatest asset. The people I do network with are extremely valuable to me.
It won't be said that anyone who has ever said anything in confidence to me has ever been betrayed by that confidence. I won't tell a secret, either. For the person who hears me tell the secret will know just as surely as the secret-teller that I am not a trustworthy person.
It's a terrible black mark.
But you know what? I've learned an awful lot from people who perceived that I was trustworthy and told me, without really getting to know me, all kinds of terribly personal things.
Some people can't stand that I'm so stringent on this. They try to get me to do things like tell secrets. The fact that I don't may irk them, but they respect me for it.

See my position?

quote:
I think you view things in a manner that's too rigid, hence such sweeping pronouncements such as "amoralism".
...

quote:
Also, statements like "If you knew me, you'd know I don't give into that kind of temptation" are also not very confidence inspiring. First, I'll bet the farm you've never been confronted with anything close the kind of temptation a high-flying DC power broker can face.
You're right on that point. How am I supposed to respond to that, though?

quote:
Second, people change. People become disillusioned. People become anxious for themselves and their families rather than their ideals. People become cynical. People become so damn frustrated with the complexity of running a country that they give in to all sortsa things. Impressive as you evidently are, it's happened to better men and women than you. Your character doesn't guarantee jack. Neither do professed morals, mind you, but at least they give me something to work with as far as predicting ones reactions.
Being disillusioned is nothing new for me. Being anxious for myself is not a personality trait that has led me to do anything even remotely compromising. And I thrive in complexity; I love dealing with it, organizing it, explaining it to other people, drawing order out of it.
My character guarantees that you can always trust me to be me. It's pretty hard to become disillusioned with pragmatism.

quote:
As for your assertion that imperialism is changing - that's exactly what I was talking about when I said "WE are gonna do it right". No. Empire always has and always will mean exploiting the energy/resources of people and territory A for the benefit of the people and territory B.
Except that this time territory A gets a lot of leeway in how it behaves, gets to pick its own rules so long as the political process is agreeable to our own.
And then we just trade with them, like so many of our other allies. The trade is beneficial to both parties. And the partnership we've developed with places like Japan and Germany has been quite agreeable with their security situation as well, without forcing too much down their throats.

It's a whole new empire, and most of it doesn't even require military attacks. When countries are assimilated via culture beamed around the world, products, and wanting to produce things for our market... when we take the initiative in international aid... it's a whole new ballgame compared to previous empires.
The US government has to directly manage very little compared to what Britain and Rome did.

quote:
It always results in either loss of freedoms for the populace of the exploiters or relinquishing of empire, followed by a whole host of social problems attendant to the absorbtion of the conquered people into the formerly imperialist society. Ain't nothing new about it. The British actually came close to refuting this argument, since they increased their liberties corresponding to the enlarging of their empire, but eventually had to give up the empire and deal with the mess I mentioned. And they only got away with it through a now defunct world view that allowed them to sub-humanize their victims.
The Europeans stupidly believed they were intrinsically superior, not just in method.
The way we're going about things, we're not likely to absorb a whole lot of Iraqis into our society. In fact, we've sent a number of refugees from Saddam home to govern and rebuild their country.

quote:
Finally, as for the laws of thermodynamics - sure it does. The greatest mistake is to think it doesn't. Pressure leads to explosion, that's another one you can take to the bank about people and gasses alike.

Usually forces are applied at some sort of angle, so that the resulting reaction doesn't cancel them out. But when people get so drunk on their own power that they think they can just blast their way through anything, they sometimes forget to slant the vector and set up a containing field for the explosion that their pressure causes.

Okay, WAY too abstract to be useful for the discussion at hand.
-=-=-=-=-
Anyone read the iNTj stuff I posted? It gets many points exactly on the dot... and misses creepily little considering the volume of description.

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WarrsawPact
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TomDavidson -
quote:
Yeah, Warsaw. You're not amoral. You're just selfish. There's a huge difference.
Why don't you describe amoralism for a second and we'll get back to that.

Actually, we need to take amoralism and such to another thread, so we can get the Soldiering for Citizenship thread back on track. I'd appreciate it if someone would set that up.

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javelin
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WP - on the INTJ/Meyers-Briggs - yep - I'm up on all that. If you want to start another thread on the subject, I'd be glad to contribute some data (if it's still out there - it's been a few years since I delved heavily into that).
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RickyB
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What's the point? Because ultimately, it's about something greater than yourself and all your work on this planet. Doesn't matter if you call it god, or historical dialectic, or a sense of balance with mother nature and alla dat. You have to have a limit, a sense of what you WON'T do to achieve your aims. Otherwise you're a monster. Yes, many such monsters are remembered millenia post mortum, and have their names drilled into schoolkids' heads. Doesn't change the fact that they were monsters.

People trust me as well, yet they know, even if I promise "never to tell", that I may decide under extreme circumstances that I need to tell after all. Victory can not be transmuted in advance. Having a word of honor is awesome, but nothing is absolute. That's why we have the wonderful Greek word "dillema".

When I say empire, I don't mean the empire of pop culture and coca-cola. I'm mostly fine with that one, though I hate some aspects of it. I mean deciding we may invade countries and impose a regime on them not because they are mortally threatening us or our allies, but because we can. Even when you have blunt force superiority, it's still better to do things subtly.

"the superior military cuts down strategy
Its inferior cuts down alliances
Its inferior cuts down the military
The worst attacks walled cities". (Sun Tzu)

What we have with germany and Japan is not empire, nor is the idea of loosely binding empires new. It's been done before. People always get tired of it, no matter how lenient you make the rules.

While not every instance of changing another nation's governemnt is full blown imperialism, initiating wars in order to dictate to other people how to run their business - that's imperialism. It's a thin line. We were behaving imperialistically in the pacific ourselves, and went to war with Japan because they were in the way. But we did not go with the idea of conquering them and changing their regime. That's what I mean by equal and opposing forces. People don't like to be dictated to, even if it's really best for them. Doing so in a blunt and rude way (say, by strutting around, brushing off criticism, displaying little to no care for what actually happens to people and lying through your teeth about the whole thing) creates resistance. I am not insspired to confidence by the general handling of the war to feel that this backlash is being accounted for or dealt with competently. It doesn't matter if you go to war in the name of your "intrinsic" (racial) superiority, that of your god or that of your political system. It's still a war of aggression.

quote:
"My character guarantees that you can always trust me to be me".
(emphasis mine)

No, it doesn't. So sorry. Like I said, it's happened to better people than you. You are not unprecedented. You're not a Bean [Smile] You're human, fallible and corruptible. You're a piece of shyt just like me and every other person here, and your unwillingness to understand this makes you more susceptible to fall, not less so. Until you accept that, and display even a bit of the humility and doubt that comes with that realization, I for one will not trust you with any sort of authority.

As for absorbing Iraqis - not the way things are now. I look at history and see possibilities two moves or so down.

As for the abstractness - if you don't feel it, you don't feel it. Like I said, time for that to change. Or not. The world will survive either way [Smile]

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kenmeer livermaile
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quote:
Let's stick with *my* name for it, Soldiering for Citizenship (SFC) [Smile] .
Agreed. Not so much because you said it first, but because SFC has a more upbeat prunciative swing to it, while CFS sounds like yet another man-made chemical causing still-births in familes drinking from tainted water-wells.

quote:
Second: I do think it makes sense to ask this question as it relates to the proposal: given that more troops were NECESSARY, would those of you who currently oppose SFC prefer to have a draft over SFC?
I'd want both. If I were wealthy, I'd want to be able to buy my way out of a schrapnel brain wound by subsidizing some foreign person to come here, fight awhile, then receive an education and advantages that allowed said person to move up the ladder to somewhere closer than not to my wealth standing.

Logic: risking on's life may be the ULTIMATE sacrifice but not necessarily yhe most productive.
If I'm willing to pay for x amount of college tuition/seed capital for an immigrant to do what immigrants do best: make America work, and if an immigrant is willing to risk schrapnel brain injury for this offer, everyone's happy. Oh, and I, Mr/Ms Fortunate Offspring, have to match Mr/Ms Unfortunate Immigrant's term of duty with fulltime volunteer work in orphanages/rehabs dedicated to saving/rehabilitating war orphans/child soldiers.

At the end of our respective terms of service, some Fortunate Ones may have done more to advance freedom and global security, and experienced more trauma in dealing with damaged kids, than some Unfortunate Ones.

The only time in which I can find rational justification for a draft is when martial law was declared to preserve the safety of the nation. For example, during WWII when Japanese were interned in camps, when marterial resources were severely rationed, when the government slept with industry 24/7 to produce war material (and made heavy prenuptial promises to give the factories to private indutry when war was over).

quote:
It's not terribly easy to draw a straight line from elections in Iraq to NoKo nuking SoKo. Not exactly something you can plan for.
Not as a precise contingency, no. But, as Old Man Heinlein counseled one of his teenage heroes through a fictional professor: "Watch out for stobor." 'Stobor' is 'robots' reversed, and so Heinlein appears in the story to be referring to lemming-like biological phenomenon like plagfues of locusts et cetera that can only be dealt with by defensive planning for an unpredictable but nonetheless foreseeable phenomenon. In the case of Heinlein's "Tunnel In The Sky", the stobor prove to a normally benign species of quasi-jackrabbit called Doper Joes. But once a year, Dopey Joes go mad en masse and become VERY dangerous.

Planning for the VERY likely probability that some portion of your plans WILL go wrong, per Murphy's Law and Robert Bruns'/Eddy Izzard's confusedly ambitious mice, and that the part that goes wrong may have very significant or even HUGELY challenging synergistic consequences, is wise.

During the first two years of the WarT, it really seemed obvious to many of us that Rumsfeld, in particular, didn't believe in stobor or chaotic entanglements resulting from one's tightly focused plans unexpectedly unraveling other tightly embedded systems.

quote:
Yep, always something to keep in mind and try to manage... and be prepared for. Keep too much of your force tied up in one place and others may sieze the opportunity to do things they wouldn't do otherwise -- thinking American citizens and commanders are too busy focusing on other things, and thiking we can't respond to a new crisis so long as we're tied down.
I urge you to pnder this outside the martial sphere. It's potentially far more than needing extra troops in reserve, although this should ALWAYS be part of any military adventure whenEVER possible. As you and I have both said but in different ways with differing emphases, war is not the dominant force for change in the world. Systems like capitalism, agriculture, slavery, banking, scince, et cetera, are the Big Players.

But was is a very powerful catalyst. Nothing says change like a blown-up capital building, n'est ce pas?

Or, to use a handy analogy from detonative physics: any explosion worth its salt, produces both a powrful shock wave exploding outwards but also a wave imploding inwards. With two vectors of power moving in opposite directions simultaneously, the potential for unexpected lateral change, particularly at nodes where these two waves impinge, becomes tremendous.

The big effect of USA winning WWII was certainly not the eradication of tyrannical empires: these continue today. It was the spread of the system that allowed that victory possible: bureactically administered manufacturing with integrated scientific R&D as driven by the financial rocket fuel of government-regulated capitalism (what Chomsky calls socialist capitalism, a description with which I agree).

quote:
I think you're stretching this a little bit. If their support structures are destroyed, that's like destroying all the trees the animals there are using as habitat, as protection, for food and breeding, and introducing a whole new set of species that are better adapted to the new environment. If any of them DO survive, they'll be much weaker than they were when they could count on that nice lush forest.
Not stretching it a bit, not by short or by far. But I merely quibble here with your choice of words. What I described is a very real principle affecting any interaction between competing symbionts. Calling our relationship with al-qaeda symbiotic may at first trigger one's Absurdity Alarm, but al-qaeda is the unintended spawn of our symbiosis (sp?) with the oil-rich states of Islam.

I'm not STRETCHING the possible effects scenario, but you are correct to qualify it. The pohenomenon I describe is not guarantted to happen, at least not in significant numbers, but the possibility is decidedly there. Observe some ramifications of two ifs:

"If their support structures are destroyed, that's like destroying all the trees the animals there are using as habitat, as protection, for food and breeding, and introducing a whole new set of species that are better adapted to the new environment."

The first if speaks for itself. IF their suport structures are destroyed. Obviously, denuding Syria and Iran and Afghanistan et cetera at least greatly reduce their current habitat. But ELIMINATE is a much more stringent term.

"If any of them DO survive, they'll be much weaker than they were when they could count on that nice lush forest."

Nay. They'll more likely be STRONGER. These are th SURVIVORS. They may be few in numbers, and they may be so thusly reduced that they fail to sustain a 'critical poipulation level'... but they also might reform in their newer, sadder but wiser and stronger form, and proceed to exploit previously unsuspected niche against which we find ourselves relatively powerless in the short run.

Evolutionary logic demands that we either fully integrate productively with competing species or continue to engage in war with them. The very principle that drives this is the principle whereby seemingly eradicated pests return stronger than before, even largely immune to the previous pesticide.

quote:
A 9/11 style attack, for example, would be extraordinarily difficult to pull off with five disgruntled guys who met in college and don't have anyone supplying the ideology, intelligence, protection and money.
Just like if you destroyed the US military command structure, the individual surviving soldiers would pose next to nil threat to the mullahs in the coming decades compared to the previous threat. They'd be disorganized, far less capable of travel, have next to no knowledge of what their enemy was like, and much less capable of supplying the necessary hardware.

Yet extraordinrily difficult does not mean impssobile nor even improbable. As we seek to eradicate a certain breed of vermin, we inadvertantly 'teach' it how to survive and propser in previouwly lethal environements. The question is how effective is the mutual, interacting 'teaching/learning' between terrorists and ourselves.

We have emarked upon a campaign of extermination. If not followed to its completion, woe betide us. This logic is partly why I no lonfer wear my T-shirt with Bush's face above a skull'n'bones symbol.

This is why I no longer rail against the WarT. We've started something very big. We're chained, in effect, to our own ambition. We are in the same situation Ender was in. I pray hope we resolve it with a different solution than his, for we has met d'enemy, and he be US. Humanity. Nothing else short of asteroids the size of New Zealand or buggers or demiurges in a dismantling mood, threaten our survival but ourselves.

Functionally, we ARE God. But we're larnin'

"Kenmeer - Knowing how intelligent you apparently are, I'm positive you would find The Shield of Achilles to be an absolute delight. Read it. Bobbitt goes into great detail on this very subject. This country is undergoing a fundamental change. The crazy thing is how it's undergoing so many different kinds of changes at once... it already isn't the same country."

I intend to dredge up a used copy down the road, ro something. 'In exchange', so to speak, I urge you to read Robert Wright's "Non-Zero: The Logic of Human Destiny". It hammers a very simple but profound point regarding the (seemingly inevitable) consequences of ever increasing/expanding human interaction.

quote:
If you can find the funding to support both them and Defense/HomeSec, go for it. Maybe we could take that money we're spending on the corrupt, largely ineffective UN and spend it on a League of Democracies instead. The UN can retain the funding for the WHO and infrastructure development.
I'm all for what the UN stands for, but I note that the USA has been pissing in its face for decades. Who needs a Union when you're The Boss?
However, I'm leery of creating competing world order agencies, unless they're joined at the hip, so to speak. Bicameral, left-right brain consciousness is extraordinarily powerful, but two heads are NOT better than one.

If the UN and a League of Democracies can't form a merger as two entities seeking to create interstate harmony, then they are DOA by default.

quote:
Though I sincerely doubt we could afford to make war planning and peace planning equals in funding or stature. Are we including Homeland Security in here? Where are we going to get the money? And are you sure you want the Pentagon running peace planning?
Who bears greater responsibility for planning poeace than those whose job is to deliver massively disruptive force in violent disturbances of whatever peace there be? With responsibility comes authority.

The Pentagon is already Siamesed with American industry, its economy, its EVERYTHING in intractably embedded ways. If we can't get the Pentagon working for global peace, we'll NEVER get global peace.

quote:
The barbarians tend to pound at the gates in my head whenever I don't recognize what someone else is insisting was my argument.
A most excellent and poetic explanation.

quote:
"And what the heck do you call the people who dream of living in the US so much that they'd be willing to die for the privilege?"
By the standard definition, I;d call them patriots.

quote:
"The often repeated statement that the country owes the soldier for his services is based on a misconception of duty and patriotism. The soldier, being a citizen, owes the country service and whatever he gets in return is a gift; pure and simple."
Eat me, Patton. He was SUCH a romantic. Returning soldiers NEED an awful lot. They need huge recognition to help them heal from what they went through. (MAssive ego strokes provide much-needed raw fuel for the long road of healing that a blooded veteran requires.) They deserve and our society rquires better than this:

Bonus Marchers

Patton can take that idealistic tripe and ram it up his spectral rectum. (Do I hear a corpse rolling in its grave?) Any superpowr, super-wealthy nation wqorth dying for can pay its veterans VERY VERY VERY well, thank you. Money is not an evil in this country, nor are ritual adorations.

The guy that most needs our love is, perversely, the guy who may have killed babies in one of our wars. Eveyon agres war is hell. What people do in hell is often... diabolical. Very few soldiers sign up for the chance to commit atrocities (although a few do). A fair number of soldiers return from war believing they have committed atrocity. Putting a stranger in your sights, squeezing the trigger, and seeing his head explode is an atrocious experience.

Pay the poor bastards, love the poor bastards, honor the poor bastards. They're ours. Leave 'patriotism' to the politicans and bloggers.

quote:
It is a sad day when Americans, born in this most blessed country on Earth, are not willing to fight themselves for the freedom and liberties that they have enjoyed since birth.
Sentiments like this sound/look fine on the surface... but it's an equally sad day when your hudband or wife or son or daughter come home in a body bag.

Whether or not Americans are unwilling to fight for their freedom and liberties is unbknown. Hasn't beenm tested in a long time. What testing has occurred has, in my opinion, happened less in battlefields abroad and more in demonstrations here in the States where the prevailing constabulary tactic was to whack/incarcerate first and ask questions later, if at all. These demonstrators receive no verteran benefits and generally little if any honor, yet they are fighting for their freedom and liberties here in the USA in realtime.

quote:
"The greatest privilege of citizenship is to be able to freely bear arms under one's country's flag." -- Patton
Maybe so. I'd say the greatest privielge is to do so under the protection of habeas corpus, the Bill of Right in toto, and amid relative abundance. But then, Patton had a thing for guns...

quote:
...I think that, as I've said before, fetuses have no state rights until they enter said state.

So where exactly is their absolute position?

They belong to their womb, and their womb belongs to their mommy. Until artifical wombs for tst tube babies are devised, this will be as far as it goes. Once the State or Industry can make babies of their own, then they can decide whether to bring them to parturtion or not or turn them into cyborg missile defense systems or lord knows what. But for now, unborn babies is they mammy's bisness, period. Ye wanna take 'em from their mammies after they're born, that's another matter. CPS is the agency for this job, along with father/attorney type entities. But until they're born, they ain't no one but their mammy's lil babe. The State don't get mammy's lil baby 'lessen mammy wants to bring that baby into the State. That a woman is a Member of the State does NOT place the State on equal par with a woman's Member.

quote:
Conversely, who wants the state invading their internal organs?

Who wants to die? The right to privacy does not extend to the commission of a crime.

A crime is, by definition, something against the law of the State. So the question is, does the State extend into my body? It is NOT whether a fetus is 'alive' or a 'being' or not. It is whether the State is actually a function of one's internal biology or a function of external, consensually agreed upon rules.

The State has the Power to invade anyone's body. We call it war. Does the State have the right to declare war on a female member because she declines to bring into the State a particular potential citizen?

Methinks 99% of the debate on abortion is either sentimental jive or logical analysis unwilling to delve to the deep dark heart of the logical conclusions.

In short; abortion is a crime if we so legislate. That Roe versus Wade succeeded was NOT because of some mass miasma of liberal amorality in the 70s; it was because a woman's right to conduct her physical internal affairs is an issue that cuts to the core of just about everything on which our Consitution stands.

The day a fetus canj pay taxes, bear arms, speak freely, work a job, protest this or gon strike aga8nst that, is the day a fetus is a demonstrable citizen of the State.

The Constitution says nothing, to th best of my knowledge, about 'potential citizens', except to whatever extent it addresses immigration. Is a fetus an immigrant on its way to Ellis Island? Nay, it is a being on its way to gratis American citizenship via ita Mammy. Mammy is the ellis Island in this case. It is SHE who has most reponsibility, and this most authority, to grant or deny the wee one citizenship in our fair land.

Or does the State own our offspring to be? Does the state own my liver? brain? All these questions directly bear on granting the State the right to require a fetus stay in its mommy's womb until the State can declare that child a citizen.

Perhaps we'll start registering pregancy test results with SSI #s?

Selah.

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kenmeer livermaile
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Ahem, the previous post SHOULD have begun with a reference to a pROnunciative swing, not prunciative swing.

I like the following chiefly for its final frame, which is like a Rumsfeldism on a helium/nitrous oxide mix:

http://www.troubletown.com/cartoons/01.html

Also, frame # 4 (the Condi frame) is a Cheneyism on oxygen with a whiff of ganja..

“This post went off track the second you used the phrase "by American force of arms." That's only part of the equation here. I think far more transformation is taking place -- and will continue to take place -- as a result of the spread of our culture.”

Had I made the post cited, I’d take umbrage at this ‘went off track’ riff. I’d instead remind folks that this train runs on martial rails but carries good cargo. After all, the principle invoked here is most commonly formulated as ‘trade follows the flag’. In these instances where martial aggression is used to plow soil for new democracies, trade/culture most surely FOLLOWS the flag, even though the soil may already be softened in some ways by the non-military memes of liberal capitalism.

So when David says "by American force of arms" he doesn’t go off track; he simply places the locomotive in front. He in no way denied the cargo of “freedom and liberty” that we believe our way of life delivers more effectively in today’s world than any other system.

“If it makes us more secure, the other niceties can come for the ride.”

There. See? You said it yourself. First the Marines, THEN the lawyers...

“Most of that imperial power isn't even in the hands of our state. It's in the hands of corporations, free trade regimes, consumers. And there's an important difference between the cost of the old imperialism and the new one: the cost.
After a limited time of building up your infrastructure, we basically let you govern yourself... so lnog as no tyrant tries to make it into a runaway democracy.
That means, we don't do your business anymore. You're a market, a trading partner, an ally... but not a territory. Territories are expensive and tend to smart under the yoke. They're especially bad when they outnmber the homeland... it just screams for coordinated resistance.
Our empire is one that spreads faster than our military could hope to keep up with, though our military makes it possible. The overhwelming military -- and the known capacity and will to use it -- lowers almost all walls and drawbridges. We creep in, we profit, they profit, and more and more they want to do what we want them to want to do.”

This is all true, but I’ll note here that those corporations and free trade regimes themselves are capable of forming tyrannies of runaway democracies. Perhaps China is providing a most excellent real-time/real-life study case of how free trade corporations differ from/conjoin with/oppose/refine tyrannical runaway democracies (which is, to my mind, what a People’s Republic of China most resembles).

“a) And sooner or later, such an accumulation of American imperial power will prove corrupting to our own fragile democracy itself. We can already see how we have justified many horrible abuses of power in the name of the greater good already.”

b) Yep. See "every war ever fought."

The interesting thing about such martially-induced abuses of civil rights, such as the Alien & Sedition Acts of 1798, Lincoln’s Civil War tyranny, Woodrow Wilson’s Espionage & Sedition Acts of 1917 & 1918 and their precipitant Red Scare/Palmer raids (which happened alongside gross abuse and torture of suffragettes along with the yearly crop of de facto sanctioned Negro lynchings of the time, and McCarthyism, is that they often toughened the laws regarding civil liberties, particularly Wilson’s trespasses, which watered and fertilized the ACLU which, love it or hate it, IS a force for liberty and freedom of choice.

By the time a few more years have passed, I’m optimistic that the current Patriot Act will have been overhauled to where it actually PROTECTS us from evildoers (look ma, no quotes!) rather than threaten our civil liberties. All it takes is one sufficiently sensational outrage… and one of these is very likely to occur.

“See also: PETA, Ward Churchill, and many others.”

Excellent analogies. I say excellent not so much for their aptness but for their domesticity. One can use as example local things like those you cite with greater objectivity than things involving collapsing towering infernos and American troops fighting overseas. Strategy is easier to analyze when one is detached from the players.

“But when you say stuff like "might makes right" - I ain't buying that, and I'll fight to stop you from making policy based on that. Might does not make right.”

By itself, “might makes right” lies roughly half the time. Indeed, half of our rationale/justification for invading Afghanistan and Iraq was our assertion that we have right on our side. The other half was the might we brought to bear to invoke our… rights… that we created by using force. It’s Ourobosian, this dialectic of might and right.

In the long run, which is more powerful: might or right? More specifically, which holds up better in the long run: overwhelming physical force or insidiously invasive ‘moral’ forces like egalitarian beliefs, righteous dogma, and so forth?

Personally (back to the start of this particular sub-debate) I think the term ‘amoral’ is a distracting term. Great if one’s aim is to foment inquiry of moral/ethical/pragmatic themes; lousy if one wants to define oneself in a certain regard and then get on with the discussion. We the people rarely think rationally about anything involving the word ‘moral’. Say the word moral and the sound of soapboxes slapping down on the pavement is only slightly less deafening than the sound of the thumping of Bibles, Constitutions, Declarations of Independence, tomes by Marx/Engels, Adam Smith, John Locke, Edmund Burke, Thomas Hobbes, Maimonides, Reinhold Niebuhr… and on and on…

On the other hand, on a good day the thumping kinda lines up nodally and a pretty good groove commences…

(“BomBomBombuBOMPBOMP I feel free…
I can walk down the street, there’s no one there
Though the pavements are one huge crowd.
I can drive down the road; my eyes don’t see,
Though my mind wants to cry out loud,
Though my mind wants to cry out loud.”)

Is ‘nodally’ a recognized word, I wonder?

“Finally, as for the laws of thermodynamics - sure it does. The greatest mistake is to think it doesn't. Pressure leads to explosion, that's another one you can take to the bank about people and gasses alike.

Usually forces are applied at some sort of angle, so that the resulting reaction doesn't cancel them out. But when people get so drunk on their own power that they think they can just blast their way through anything, they sometimes forget to slant the vector and set up a containing field for the explosion that their pressure causes.”

Amen.

“Is it really a system of morality to avoid things that I've learned will harm me more than they help?

If that's a system of morality, then the entire natural world is pious.”

Rather than say ‘amoral’ I’d say Warsaw believes in self-brewed morality and requires said morals to always submit to feasibility requirements?

“FHORing is Funding, Harboring, Organizing and Recruiting for...
GITs are Guerrillas, Inurgents, and Terrorists,”

GITS I knew but FHORing is a new one to me.

“This is what makes me think that under certain circumstances, we may be justified in attacking Iran but should not.... not yet... if we can solve most of the Iraqi problem first.
If Iran continues to FHOR the insurgency into Iraq, though, we may have a serious crisis.
And if we have to take on both Syria AND Iran at the same time, that will be a much more serious crisis.”

Not too long ago we sided with Iraq against Iran. Now we’ve… et cetera et cetera. When another year or two rolls around, we may find ourselves subsidizing another Iraqi war against Iran. Both nations have been SO traumatized and had their national identities so thrashed (including Iraq’s borders being drawn for it by Europe) that I suspect that along with the Sunni/Shiite/Kurd rivalries/definitions, they are increasingly thinking in terms of old Babylon versus old Persia.

As for insurgency, I think that at this point the blue-ink fingerprints win. If too many mosques get blown up, the people will stop granting cover to troublemakers of ANY ideological stripe. The troublemakers will be forced either to a) experience violent death, or semi-violent incarceration [let’s get serious about prisons, y’all; prison abuse is a constant of penal institutions] b) give it up, period or c) become ‘honest’ self-supporting criminal organizations, which any polity has as a matter of course. Summary: a) dead, b) give up, c) go privately illegit and abandon politics except for bribery of local police officials.

“It's functioning, just not at 100%. When the American people believe that the transfer of power via elections is legitimate, the system is working. Two close elections in a row made this a concern, but we're still functioning.”

Bingo. We’re annexing, condoning torture abroad, and functioning democratically, but far less than could be regarding annexation and torture, and far less than we claim we’d LIKE to be regarding democratic function. Debatable. Branch lines along a main thread of discourse. Ten years ago only guys like Chomsky accused America of condoning torture abroad. Nowadays the same concerns are raised in the Wall Street Journal. Likewise allegations of incipient imperialism via neoconnery (‘Get thee to a neoconnery, wench!’ [Wink] One might say that these topics are becoming MORE debatable than 10 years ago. That they are more currently in debate says something in its own right. 10 years ago we were all about Contracts With America and Congressional overhaul. Torture was something we accused other nations of and held over their head if they wanted the best loans and markets. Imperialism was the business of Transnational Corporations, fer chrissake, NOT the USA government. The floor of debate has altered significantly, oui?

“Okay, WAY too abstract to be useful for the discussion at hand.”

I disagree. One could say exactly the same thing about Straussian dicta. We regularly discuss Constitutional principles here which are more vague than the most elementary laws of physics (which thermodynamics are, since they define the polarity of every event known to man.

It simple lacks an illustrative example of its very precise analogy:

“But when people get so drunk on their own power that they think they can just blast their way through anything, they sometimes forget to slant the vector and set up a containing field for the explosion that their pressure causes.”

This can EASILY be draped over a great number of current actions to see how it fits. For example, the Its in GITs seem to have failed to create a containing field for the (‘scuse the Spoonerism) political pressure that their explosions cause. And so these explosions increasingly backfire into their purpose, deflecting or canceling its motive power.

An axiom: whenever one says that fundamental principles of physics don’t apply, and one is speaking of ANYthing other than personal metaphysics (what we sometimes call figments of our imagination), one is probably stepping into rhetorical quicksand. Physics ALWAYS applies.

“Anyone read the iNTj stuff I posted? It gets many points exactly on the dot... and misses creepily little considering the volume of description.”

No. Which page is it on? Never mind; found it.

“While not every instance of changing another nation's governemnt is full blown imperialism, initiating wars in order to dictate to other people how to run their business - that's imperialism. It's a thin line.”

That thin line today is maintained by GATT / NAFTA / WTO lawyers and, more importantly and powerfully, bankers. For example, Clinton’s regime also seriously discussed invading Iraq. I find it intriguing that the war drums for Iraq’s invasion suddenly commencing thundering shortly after Iraq switched its oil sales to the Euro while other nations threatened to follow its example. I perceive a thin line being decisively crossed there…

Increasingly we let our culture do the domination of empire, but when we feel we’re being crossed too hard, we invade, directly or indirectly. One might add FHOR to the acronyms of GATT / NAFTA / WTO. As Bucky Fuller said of another acronym: “CIA stands for Corporate Invasion Army.”

Only now have we become so openly bold as to openly lead our trade with the flag. For some time, we led with false flag operations via the CIA and associates. (This reminds me of my fave business description: “This is Firesign Theater, a plausibly deniable division of USPlus: we own the idea, of the IDEA, of America…”)

In open flag operations, w strive for plausible assertability: we’re liberating, et cetera. In false flags operations, we strive for plausible deniability. I confess that in some way it is a relief to revert to the older, more overt mode of imperialism: invading with the flag held on high. It’s more honest, at least.

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WarrsawPact
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RickyB -

I responded to the amoralism question on the Amoralism thread.

As for trust -- that too is off-topic, but I'll say this: I wouldn't trust you with a secret.

Now, on to the thread at hand:
quote:
When I say empire, I don't mean the empire of pop culture and coca-cola. I'm mostly fine with that one, though I hate some aspects of it. I mean deciding we may invade countries and impose a regime on them not because they are mortally threatening us or our allies, but because we can. Even when you have blunt force superiority, it's still better to do things subtly.
It's true that the subtle, profitable way of breaking down such barriers is an easier way to create an empire.
Not all barriers can fall this way.
It's good that we've cleared up the difference between your empire and mine.

I connect the empire we've built on our language and culture and trade of goods and services with the one we're building with international organizations and NGO's and networks, and I connect both of those with the countries we've made into allies, countries in which we have military bases and which we sell weapons to, countries we've brought closer and closer to our style of governance.

Why? Both empires have the same function: promote future survival. Survival later requires neutralizing or redirecting competing paradigms now. Survival later means profiting now... which is easiest when the other party profits too.
It just so happens that after the ugly wars, our new version of conquest is ultimately very beneficial to the people. We rebuild infrastructure, we open trade, we force civil rights and equality of women, we create long-lasting networks of mutual benefit. And when our military breaks down the walls, some of our culture inevitably creeps in.

We don't enslave, we don't force tribute, we open up political systems and free speech... even before the security situation is completed. Compare this to empires of old.
We're also turning into, by far, the most tolerant empire in history as regards race.

quote:
What we have with germany and Japan is not empire, nor is the idea of loosely binding empires new. It's been done before. People always get tired of it, no matter how lenient you make the rules.
Not if they're constantly profiting from it.

quote:
While not every instance of changing another nation's governemnt is full blown imperialism, initiating wars in order to dictate to other people how to run their business - that's imperialism.
Yes it is.
I must remind you again that we're dictating that the people themselves run their business. Our oversight lessens more and more as time goes on.

quote:
People don't like to be dictated to, even if it's really best for them. Doing so in a blunt and rude way (say, by strutting around, brushing off criticism, displaying little to no care for what actually happens to people and lying through your teeth about the whole thing) creates resistance. I am not insspired to confidence by the general handling of the war to feel that this backlash is being accounted for or dealt with competently.
"Displaying little to no care for what actually happens to people"?
WHAT?
Are we watching the same reconstruction?

The "backlash" is people who got kicked out of power or, alternatively, are in Iraq to fight the Great Satan -- even if we were being perfectly cordial, they'd still be there. From what I hear, some of the insurgents come to fight us and realize we're not so terrible as we're cracked up to be by the murderers who recruited them and filled them with lies and hate ideology.

quote:
It doesn't matter if you go to war in the name of your "intrinsic" (racial) superiority, that of your god or that of your political system. It's still a war of aggression.
What I've learned in the last few years is, yes it does matter. It matters if you're right and the others are wrong, and it matters that people WANT your political system.
If people wanted to worship another god, they could -- no one's keeping them from doing so. If people wanted to be a different race, they couldn't -- science hasn't progressed that far.
If people want a different political system, the only thing keeping them down in their current government.
And apparently, that was the case in Afghanistan and Iraq.

quote:
"My character guarantees that you can always trust me to be me"

No, it doesn't. So sorry. Like I said, it's happened to better people than you. You are not unprecedented. You're not a Bean [Smile] You're human, fallible and corruptible. You're a piece of shyt just like me and every other person here, and your unwillingness to understand this makes you more susceptible to fall, not less so. Until you accept that, and display even a bit of the humility and doubt that comes with that realization, I for one will not trust you with any sort of authority.

What about me indicates to you that I am corruptible? You believe all humans are corruptible?

What makes you think I'm a "piece of shyt"? What makes you assume everyone else here is too? Maybe you're projecting your own flaws onto other people.
I am human, but as recently as this week I've been accused of not being human enough.

Humility and doubt?
When it's justified. You'd prefer someone who told you, "Well, I generally consider myself an upstanding guy, but if the right temptation came along, I'd throw my own grandmother down the stairs for a big enough check"?
or, more realistically, "I'd marry the widow of my opponent to get a few hundred million behind me."

That's the kind of leader you want?

quote:
As for absorbing Iraqis - not the way things are now. I look at history and see possibilities two moves or so down.
Okay, describe them.

quote:
As for the abstractness - if you don't feel it, you don't feel it. Like I said, time for that to change. Or not. The world will survive either way
Okay, fine. You say something along the lines of equal and opposite forces, as if it all means something. Then you can't describe it.
Sounds like faith to me.
-=-=-=-=-=-
Kenmeer -
quote:
"If their support structures are destroyed, that's like destroying all the trees the animals there are using as habitat, as protection, for food and breeding, and introducing a whole new set of species that are better adapted to the new environment."

The first if speaks for itself. IF their suport structures are destroyed. Obviously, denuding Syria and Iran and Afghanistan et cetera at least greatly reduce their current habitat. But ELIMINATE is a much more stringent term.

The Taliban was a support structure. It's all but eliminated.
The Ba'athists and especially Saddam Hussein were a support structure. Certainly blown out of power, not yet destroyed, but starting to split and weaken.
Both were able to collect lots of money from captive populations and control over resources. They needed this money to finance operations of FHORing international terrorism abroad -- in Saddam's case, mostly in Israel but also in other places. Now they are reduced to what has historically been a style of locally effective but internationally impotent guerrilla war. Now even the local effectiveness is waning: their attacks are growing more desperate, they're risking more, more of them are being captured, our intelligence capabilities are increasing, and fewer attacks are successful. They're switching targets all the time to softer and softer targets.

quote:
"If any of them DO survive, they'll be much weaker than they were when they could count on that nice lush forest."

Nay. They'll more likely be STRONGER. These are th SURVIVORS. They may be few in numbers, and they may be so thusly reduced that they fail to sustain a 'critical poipulation level'... but they also might reform in their newer, sadder but wiser and stronger form, and proceed to exploit previously unsuspected niche against which we find ourselves relatively powerless in the short run.

Evolutionary logic demands that we either fully integrate productively with competing species or continue to engage in war with them. The very principle that drives this is the principle whereby seemingly eradicated pests return stronger than before, even largely immune to the previous pesticide.

Gee, what happened to all those Japanese imperialists who survived World War II?
All the old Nazi Party members after the same?
You can break the back of the system by destroying so much of the habitat that the survivors aren't even the same species anymore.

quote:
Yet extraordinrily difficult does not mean [impossible] nor even improbable. As we seek to eradicate a certain breed of vermin, we inadvertantly 'teach' it how to survive and propser in [previously] lethal [environments]. The question is how effective is the mutual, interacting 'teaching/learning' between terrorists and ourselves.
Okay, in principle I must agree.
However, if you're an omnivore used to attacking your animal prey by jumping at it from the branches of a tree, and there are no trees left, you have to act completely different. You might not even be a predator anymore.
Or perhaps enough of your omnivore friends have died out that you alone, while more dangerous individually now, are less of a threat than the old swarm was.

quote:
"Kenmeer - Knowing how intelligent you apparently are, I'm positive you would find The Shield of Achilles to be an absolute delight. Read it. Bobbitt goes into great detail on this very subject. This country is undergoing a fundamental change. The crazy thing is how it's undergoing so many different kinds of changes at once... it already isn't the same country."

I intend to dredge up a used copy down the road, ro something. 'In exchange', so to speak, I urge you to read Robert Wright's "Non-Zero: The Logic of Human Destiny". It hammers a very simple but profound point regarding the (seemingly inevitable) consequences of ever increasing/expanding human interaction.

I'll check it out when I finish Shield. Seriously, though... don't delay. It's very pertinent now, even though it was almost all written before 9/11. You can get a used copy from Amazon for about $8.

erm... taking too long... will answer rest later...

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RickyB
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quote:
Both empires have the same function: promote future survival.
No. Empires are about DOMINATION, not survival. You seem to think that you must dominate others in order to survive. I hold that this is not necessarily true. I also hold that never in history has a nation been more free to to test this proposition than ours. Finally, I hold that trying to be such a nation is a far worthier pursuit than the tried and tired path of empire.

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What we have with germany and Japan is not empire, nor is the idea of loosely binding empires new. It's been done before. People always get tired of it, no matter how lenient you make the rules.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Not if they're constantly profiting from it.

Really? Plenty of national rebellions have taken place contrary to economic logic. Take the American Revolution. At a certain point the British were willing to settle for a tax so low, all it meant was lip service. Just pay the tax and we won't call you a rebel and you can keep on enjoying all the benefits of the British Empire. Staying within the British Empire was by far the sounder course of action from any kind of economic standpoint. By that point, enough of the colonists, especially their leaders, were enamored with the more abstract ideas and aspects of liberty.

quote:
"Displaying little to no care for what actually happens to people"?
WHAT?
Are we watching the same reconstruction?

Yeah, the one in which the looting of Baghdad was allowed to continue for WEEKS because we couldn't have been bothered to even HAVE a "plan B" for the "rice and flowers on our soldiers in the streets" scenario, in which there still is no regular power in most cities, in which there is till no safety on the streets, in which the vast majority of reconstruction dollars are not going to Iraqi pockets, in which the majority of Iraqis do not see most of their resources changing their lives for the better... that one.

quote:
"The "backlash" is people who got kicked out of power or, alternatively, are in Iraq to fight the Great Satan -- even if we were being perfectly cordial, they'd still be there.
You cannot write off 20% damn percent of the country merely as "people who got kicked out of power". As for the people who are there to fight the great satan - funny, same thing happened to the Soviets in Afghanistan. They even had a better claim to having been invited. and third, it's not about being cordial. It's about being efficient. It's about not insisting dogmatically on making a rich cream sauce with sour, low fat cheese. Like Rumsfeld and others have conceded, we're probablyu creating new recruits for the enemy faster than we're killing them.

Right now we're doing democracy the worst kind of service - we're making it look inefficient. That's why the Germans were easy to convince away from it.

quote:
From what I hear, some of the insurgents come to fight us and realize we're not so terrible as we're cracked up to be by the murderers who recruited them and filled them with lies and hate ideology.
Yeah, I can tell this phenomenon is widespread enough to make so much as a dent in the bodycount. Again: With every passing day, you are proving to Iraqis that maybe democracy is highly desirable in some ways, but that it just doesn't work very well. That bode well for your ambitions?

quote:
What I've learned in the last few years is, yes it does matter. It matters if you're right and the others are wrong, and it matters that people WANT your political system.
Ah, right and wrong. Are those very rigid things, in your ken? The most correct and worthy idea of today is a dead bunch of letters tomorrow.

As for the people wanting your political system...So far, in the case at hand, what you have is the majority of the country willing to play your game long enough to consolidate power and push the theocratic legislation they openly aim for. Then what do you do? Invade again?

quote:
What about me indicates to you that I am corruptible?
You're human.

quote:
You believe all humans are corruptible?
Pretty much. I believe there are a statistically insignificant number of people in any society (some societies more, some less) who are not corruptible. These are commonly referred to (by people, not by institutions) as "saints", "holy men", or "enlightened beings". All others are fallible.

quote:
What makes you think I'm a "piece of shyt"? What makes you assume everyone else here is too? Maybe you're projecting your own flaws onto other people.
Of course I am. That's the point. You think you can't EVER be bought, broken, or bamboozled just because you're thrilled with some notions? Bah.

Listen, I don't know what kind of test your prinicipals have ever faced. I, for what it's worth, looked two years in prison straight in the eye, and flatly refused to betray my own principles, even for some people who I already knew were undeserving of my sacrifice, and some I was yet to learn were undeserving of it. I did it and I'm proud of it. I just don't know if, knowing what I know now, I'd do it again. Some people I know didn't do so well, and some of them talked even bigger games than you before being tested. So with all my flaws, I came through pretty damn well when I was tested. Still doesn't make me think I'm infallible. If you think you are, you're probably not, and you probably don't know much about the complexity of human nature.

quote:
I am human, but as recently as this week I've been accused of not being human enough
And this has to do with me...how, pray?

quote:
Humility and doubt?
When it's justified. You'd prefer someone who told you, "Well, I generally consider myself an upstanding guy, but if the right temptation came along, I'd throw my own grandmother down the stairs for a big enough check"?
or, more realistically, "I'd marry the widow of my opponent to get a few hundred million behind me."

That's the kind of leader you want?

No. Are you asking this seriously? What I do need is to have some sense that your determination not to throw your grandmother down the stairs is grounded in something a little more change-resistant than intellectual vanity. If you only operate by self interest (amoralism, pragmatism), the situation can arise for you to justify anything.

Better men than you started out with the best of intentions and ended up committing horrible crimes. Just because you're the latest model of human doesn't mean Sophocles and his ilk don't apply to you anymore. Tragedy isn't when a villain commits horrible acts. It's when god and wise and just regular people do. And they do. Every focking day.

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
As for absorbing Iraqis - not the way things are now. I look at history and see possibilities two moves or so down.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay, describe them.

OK, just for kicks...the Iraqi government turns out to be very unappealing for us (say they sign a pact with Iran against us) and we decide to remove that governement as well. Any trust in democracy is destroyed, and we end up having to stay in the country in large numbers just to prevent the vacuum from being filled by someone else (Iran). Once you fully occupy a country, it becomes pretty tough to prevent its inhabitants from entering your own territory rather freely. Witness every former colonial power. That's the main scenario. It has several variations.

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
As for the abstractness - if you don't feel it, you don't feel it. Like I said, time for that to change. Or not. The world will survive either way
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay, fine. You say something along the lines of equal and opposite forces, as if it all means something. Then you can't describe it.
Sounds like faith to me.

More like intuition, a sense of patterns. Take this, for instance: Every time we bomb a place where there are civilians, whether or not you can come up with a justification like "the terrorists were hiding behind the civilians" - every time we do that, we create a new bunch of enemies, at precisely the same instant we kill some enemies. Just an example. Every day, with the best of intentions, we get sucked deeper into this web of effects and counter effects. I read a story on an Iraqi blog about a guy who got shot to death by our guys by mistake. We gave his dad $2,500 - like you said, most gentle, benevolent imperialists ever. The dad goes and turns the money over to the insurgents. Not because he was threatened and forced, but because despite your best intentions, that man is now willing to pay dearly to kill you. WE shot an innocent man, then ended up paying for the gun and bullets that will kill one of our boys. Equal, opposite, and so unnecessary. You know what? Not even equal. In this example, we're paying for both sides of the "game".

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kenmeer livermaile
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"I'll check it out when I finish Shield. Seriously, though... don't delay. It's very pertinent now, even though it was almost all written before 9/11. You can get a used copy from Amazon for about $8.'

ONline used book market. Of course. It's so obvious. I;m anything but a Luddite but I'm too busy wondering where tech will take us to hop on board what's happening now.

$8 I can do, just not $25 hardbound...

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kenmeer livermaile
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"The Taliban was a support structure. It's all but eliminated.

The Ba'athists and especially Saddam Hussein were a support structure. Certainly blown out of power, not yet destroyed, but starting to split and weaken.

Both were able to collect lots of money from captive populations and control over resources. They needed this money to finance operations of FHORing international terrorism abroad -- in Saddam's case, mostly in Israel but also in other places. Now they are reduced to what has historically been a style of locally effective but internationally impotent guerrilla war. Now even the local effectiveness is waning: their attacks are growing more desperate, they're risking more, more of them are being captured, our intelligence capabilities are increasing, and fewer attacks are successful. They're switching targets all the time to softer and softer targets."

I know. Likewise, when Monsanto's latest pesticide is sprayed, the field is littered with twitching corpses... but a few survive. One must be VERY wary of those few because if they breed in sufficient numbers, you've got one NASTY pathogen on your hands.

One thing we haven't throughly destroyed is the (I presume) intense sense of satisfaction, vindication, empowerment, aggrandizement, justification, sanctification... that 911 produced in these pathogens.

The dream is often stronger than reality. Gandhi proved this, although he used questionable methods: non-violence. Still, he bred superbugs in insrstices the British Empire could scarcely conceive of, much less oppose. As an avowed amoralist, you are comforatable, I'm sure, with the notion that evil evolves just like good. Both have transcendental power.

Osama's violent jihad can, properly administered, be as effective as Gandhi's non-violence. Their survivors have learnt MUCH in the past few years (as have we). We learned a LOT on 9-11-01; they learned a LOT when we started using Daisy Cutters to destroy the Taliban's karez networks. (I cry for those karez. Beautiful things. Karez in AFghanistan go back at least as far as Alexander the Great's invasion...) They see openings for opportunites we don't. If the right one comes along, and they've managed to maintain equipage to exploit such an opportunity... for the game is now fully afoot.

Isn't the irony of Gandhi's powerful nonviolence versus Osama's rule of sword delicious in this context wherein you extoll the utility of martial violence as pesticide (to place words in your mouth, for sure) while I preach the value of peaceful invasion?

"Now they are reduced to what has historically been a style of locally effective but internationally impotent guerrilla war. Now even the local effectiveness is waning"

Had they prevailed, that is, not been total IDIOTS, I wonder if THIS guerilla campaign wouldn't have broken the historical role of geographic confinement and instead spread abroad? For the ferment was at large, and seeds of all stripe grew in the popular soil in the past three years. It's a very good thing gIT's are stupid.

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kenmeer livermaile
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"Gee, what happened to all those Japanese imperialists who survived World War II?
All the old Nazi Party members after the same?
You can break the back of the system by destroying so much of the habitat that the survivors aren't even the same species anymore."

You can, but that doesn't mean you always DO. Besides, Japanese imperialists and German NAZIs had a national basis from beginning to end. We TOTALLY kicked their nation's arses. I mean, after Hiroshima/Nagasaki... we were not just a superpower, we were a force of nature and perhaps even divine improvidence. We were GOD... except when it came to Stalin, who was just too weird for us to figure out but equally weird fellas like Patton, god rest his mystical soul.

I've spoken before about the need for TOTAL conquering of one's enemies if one is going to openly engage them. WWII was a perfect case. We stomped 'em. FLAT. Total surrender. Then we occupied them in large force for a long time.

But... al-qaeda is an IDEA, not a nationality. It's potentially as robust as Judaism; it is, after all, a spawn of Judaism's grandchild, Islam.

To achieve the same effect as WWII, we have to totally conquer all of the Arabian peninsula, all of Persia, Pakistan, and South Pacific Islam. To do this, we need justification or else absolute intractable national resolve that this is necessary sufficient to provide the will to sacrifice a decent body count and spend 20 years reforming these lands.

Not likely, although some stupid IT's may yet give us the excuse? What, after all, would WWII have been without Pearl Harbor to galvanize the nation?

Currently we are breeding stronger vermin even as we exterminate the bulk of them and removing much of their former habitat.

I've lived in seriously roach-infested hovels.

Only one way to rid them completely of roaches: brun the place down to the ground. AT the beginning of a vociously cold winter snap that freezes deep into the ground. Then, to be safe, burn a bonfire over the entire satructure again. Try to time the second burn with the most likely bell curve peak of roach gestation.

Otherwise, those roaches that survived will continue to spread, and some of them will be tougher than the last.

Homo sapiens learns much faster than roaches (or so I like to think;) You'll notice that when it comers to waging war, War, I rarely advocate sending them gentle into that good night. I advocating burning them screaming into the fire.

That's WAR.

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Tezcatlipoca
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http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20050725/pl_afp/iraqusmilitary_050725172410;_ylt=AlJeS9nxI0H.5PAyLjOvPYUKO7gF;_ylu=X3oDMTA5bGVna3NhBHNlYwNzc3JlbA%E2%80%94

Looks like this is a reality now. Congratulations to our new citizens!

quote:
There are 45,000 non-US citizens currently serving in the US military, said Linda Dougherty, one of the US government civilian officials at the event.
I thought this was interesting too.

[ July 25, 2005, 06:00 PM: Message edited by: Tezcatlipoca ]

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Funean
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Excellent.
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