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Post 40

Friday, October 28, 2005 - 8:17pmSanction this postReply
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Sarah, the people in those clips are not just "ranting". They are not joking around. They are seriously saying "Death to America", which I take as them saying "Most Ameriacans should be killed, and we should see to it that it happens." Can you interpret repeating the phrase "Death to America" in any other way?



Post 41

Friday, October 28, 2005 - 8:48pmSanction this postReply
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Have we forgotten 9/11?



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Post 42

Friday, October 28, 2005 - 9:38pmSanction this postReply
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Sarah you seem to think that the Iranian leaders are all piss and vinegar.
Maybe a trip down memory lane might help establish the proper context:

Item 1:
1979-81: Tehran Hostage Crisis.
The Shah of Iran enters the USA for cancer treatment - against the wishes Khomeini's government. Nov 4, the US Embassy in Tehran is stormed and hostages are taken. 52 US citizens are held hostage for 444 days.

Item 2:
1982-86: Lebanon
With the Iran-Iraq war raging, Khomeini finds time to send troops to oppose Israel's invasion of the Bekaa Valley - itself a response to the terrorist activities in this Syrian-occupied territory by Islamic-terror groups that include Iranian-backed Hezbollah.

July 3 '83. The USS Vincennes shoots down an Iranian airliner by mistake.

The US Marine Barracks at Beirut International airport is attacked by a Hezbollah suicide truck-bomber and 241 Marines die. In Sept '84 the US Embassy in Beirut is bombed by Hezbollah and 24 die.

The Reagan government bribes Iran with anti-tank missiles (purchased with funds allocated for support of  Nicaragua's Contra rebels fighting to overthrow the Sandinista regime) so that Iran will order Hezbollah to release the western-born hostages it holds in Lebanon. 

Item 3:
1986-88: Persian Gulf
Sept '87, after the USS Stark is holed by Iraqi-launched Exocet missiles, the US boosts its military presence in the Gulf.
Later that year, US Navy SEALs raid an Iranian vessel in the process of laying mines in international waters. That same week a British-flagged oil-tanker is attacked by Iranian gunboats. Iran then sends 60 gunboats on an abortive raid towards the Saudi/Kuwaiti oil facility at Khafji. This was an attempt to continue Iran's policy of attacking Kuwaiti oil tankers and facilities as part of its war on Iraq...
 
Oct '87, Iranian gunboats attack a US helicopter - they miss - and for their trouble, attract two Cobra gunships which sink one and damage two of the maruaders. Later, Iran retaliates with land-based Silkworm anti-ship missiles that damage two (one US-owned and one Kuwaiti-flagged) supertankers. Two-weeks later Navy SEALs backed by USN Destroyers obliterate some Iranian oil-loading platforms in the Gulf. Again the Iranians retaliate: Silkworm missiles damage a Kuwaiti deep-water oil-loading facility.
 
April '88, the USN frigate Samuel B. Roberts is mined in international waters by an Iranian-laid mine. Pres. Reagan orders the destruction of two Iranian oil-platforms/intelligence-gathering facilities in the Gulf. The platforms are siezed and demolished by US Marines, while USN frigates - escorting the strike-group - sink an Iranian gunboat that fired a missile (in vain) at the USS Wainwright (guided missile cruiser.) Simultaneously, a day-long running battle develops in the Strait of Hormuz. Two Iranian frigates and several gunboats were sunk by the USN for the loss of a single Cobra gunship.
 
Item 4:
1989: Death to Rushdie.
Because Khomeini found Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses blasphemous to Islam, he issued a fatwa ordering Rushdie's assassination.

Item 5:
June 25, a suicide truck-bomber levels the Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. 19 US soldiers are killed and 500 other people are wounded. Saudi Hezbollah - linked to Lebanon's Hezbollah and bank rolled by Iran - are implicated in the attack.

Item 6:
August 1996 - US Attempt a Diplomatic solution.
Congress passes the Iran-Libya Sanctions act - sanctioning companies that invest in Iran or Libya. In 2001, despite warming US-Iranian relations (thanks to the election of "moderate" President Khatami) the act is extended by two more years. (Fat lot of good it did.)

Item 7:
Jan 2002 - Supplying Arms to Terrorists.
Israeli commandos intercept a ship - the Karine A - carrying 50 tons of Iranian supplied arms (including Katayusha free flight artillery rockets, anti-tank missiles & plastic explosives) destined for the Palestinian Authority. Had the weapons reached the Palestinian terrorists they could have catapaulted the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to a new level.

In March '02, Pres. Bush declares that Iran is part of an Axis of Evil - and many with short-term memory loss wonder why. Then, Sec. Rumsfeld publically announces that Iran is financing suicide-bombers operating in the West Bank.

_______

So you see. Iran has been engaging the US and Israel in a low-level covert war for many years. The Iranians use terrorists as an extension of their government's foreign policy. A foreign policy that explicitly calls for the destruction of the USA and Israel - a foreign policy they have been actively pursuing since 1979.

Bottom line?

The current Iranian government cannot, under any circumstances, be allowed to obtain a nuclear bomb.

[Edit to add Item 3 and fix a few - but probably not all - typos]

(Edited by Robert Winefield on 10/28, 10:34pm)




Post 43

Friday, October 28, 2005 - 10:05pmSanction this postReply
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Joe:
     You ask...
Have we forgotten 9/11?
     Oh, come on! Who can have forgotten THAT ? (It's some emergency or information telephone number, right?)

      Facetiousness aside, the problem with some isn't re what's forgotten, so much as what more is desired to be...'tolerated'...beyond officially sloganized hate innuending threats hopefully-expected to have no overt culmination.

     Any smart cookie running a govt (and theocratic leaders aren't dumb) isn't going to purposefully commit to a suicidal MAD (unless they just are having a bad day; hey: over there, who knows?)
     
      No; should such think they have the power to 'extort' decisions from other countries, they'll secretly, not publicly, make the extortion threats to the country-leaders ("you do 'A', otherwise we do 'B'), without the 'public' ever knowing (least, that's the way *I*'d do it.)

     I have absolutely no idea if Washington/Bush/etc is/has-been calculating enough to be prepared to a) deal with this scenario or b) know how to forestall it. --- But,  I'm quite sure that Israel, given its established history, has already thought past "c)" and will do 'whatever it deems necessary'...and,  it will pick it's own timing.

     More-the-fuck-power-to-them.

LLAP
J:D




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Post 44

Friday, October 28, 2005 - 10:07pmSanction this postReply
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Sarah:
Yeah, just little kids threatening to throw rocks at us. Nothing big. Except the rocks are a nuclear bomb that will incinerate thousands or millions. Maybe you should get your head out of your Cold War Easter basket and start looking at the chicken intent on laying a nuclear egg on your head. This is no joke. These fucks are dead serious.




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Post 45

Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 8:49amSanction this postReply
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Jason, Dean, Joe, Robert, John, Jamie,

Why are you hung up on this idea that I'm advocating doing nothing at all in response to this? What good does responding to "Death to America!" with "Death to Iran!" do?

I'd take the time to compile a list of the wrong done by the US to counter your list, Robert, but I doubt that would do more than give you reason to say "Look, she hates America as much as Iranians!"
All advanced thinkers ... desire and intend the solidarity of humanity; and the patriot in the narrow and infuriated sense of that word is a traitor to the true interest of man. It may be necessary, now and then, to defend one's own section of mankind from aggression; but even this should always be done with the mental reservation: "May this war be the nurse of a more solid peace; may this argument lead to a better understanding; may this division lead to a higher union." ... The deliberate antagonizing of nations is the foulest of crimes. It is the Press of the warring nations that, by inflaming the passions of the ignorant, has set Europe by the ears. Had all men been educated and travelled, they would not have listened to those harpy-shrieks. Now the mischief is done, and it is for us to repair it as best we may. This must be our motto: "Humanity First."
~Aleister Crowley

There are no conflicts of interest between rational men, and man is a rational creature. Man, however, is not an omniscient creature. Would you destroy the lives of countless many because of their ignorance? Because of yours?

Not tolerance. Education. Not appeasement. Understanding. This call to arms does nothing but bring the false dichotomy of war or death to a not so false reality.

Sarah



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Post 46

Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 9:04amSanction this postReply
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Sarah,

It's to your credit that you do not, in a knee-jerk fashion, regard individuals in other nations as "the enemy". But I don't believe those who are engaging you with excessively hostile language are themselves thoughtless, ignorant jingoists.  They are individuals who have demonstrated a concern for gathering facts and have concluded that the defense of innocent lives is very much at stake.  They are advocating that the government do what it was (among other things) properly constituted to do.

There are, whether we like it or not, cases where it is necessary to kill other men, because they are so far beyond the reach of reason and so bent on the destruction of innocents.  The Iranian leaders have made clear over your lifetime that they are such men.  If you do not agree that Iran is an imminent threat, make your case, and don't worry overmuch what your debaters think of you personally or that some will twist your words.

That successive U.S. administrations have  not been 'pure' is part of your argument, but it carries little weight.  Even were the U.S. leaders truly evil men who have done bad, should we defer from encouraging them to do good and to carry out actions they are (in part) employed to? We must deal with the ones we have, in the name of our own individual self-interest, while we continue to work toward getting better ones and to popularize better principles.




Post 47

Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 9:24amSanction this postReply
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Jeff,

I don't have extensive experience in world affairs, but Thomas Barnett does. As "a strategic planner who has worked in national security affairs since the end of the Cold War and has operated his own consulting practice (Barnett Consulting) since 1998," he undoubtedly has more resources to form an informed opinion on the topic. And here it is. Now, I'm well aware that this would carry little weight in a policy decision, but since this thread was sparked by an article from ARI - Elan Journo, to be exact, who "is a junior fellow/research associate at the Ayn Rand Institute. His op-eds have appeared in such publications as the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Philadelphia Inquirer, Houston Chronicle, and the Globe and Mail of Canada." - I'm going to have to put my voice behind the person who made a living in national security.

Sarah

(Edited by Sarah House
on 10/29, 9:31am)




Post 48

Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 10:05amSanction this postReply
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"May this war be the nurse of a more solid peace; may this argument lead to a better understanding; may this division lead to a higher union."

I'm sure the Iranian government reads this drippy, saccharine swill and gets all misty-eyed with love for humanity while they're importing the devices necessary to make a nuclear bomb. Albert Schweitzer's skin melts at 10 million degrees, same as yours.




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Post 49

Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 10:13amSanction this postReply
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Sarah,
I read it.  I'm willing to consider Barnett's views, given his credentials, but I found little here to latch on to.  If all we were talking about was one speech by one Iranian leader pumping out the propaganda for his own people, fine.  To react too much to that would indeed be a rush to war.  But the history is much longer, with many incidents and many philosophical underpinnings. (Frankly, I may be in the minority here, I don't care much one way or the other what happens to Israel. It was a damned stupid thing to put the country there in the first place.)

None of that has much to do with the long train of events and their meaning that has occurred over the last 25 years. Certainly, I hope that rattling the saber is all that's necessary. I'm inclined to think that the time has come for more serious actions. The bare least of that should be removing, by force if necessary, any possibility for the Iranians to develop atomic weapons and whatever else is necessary to prevent them from continuing to foment difficulties in Iraq.

At the same time, every right thinking person should be announcing from the rooftops all the correct principles of government and all the philosophical underpinnings to move the world in a direction that helps make such actions unnecessary.  While we're doing that, keep an eye out for the bad guys with the long knives who want to stop everyone from exercising their right to free speech in the first place.

You still haven't addressed my earlier questions about when and under what circumstances you believe action should be taken.  You needn't wait until becoming more expert in world affairs to say.  If all we're arguing about is very general principles we'll either come to agreement fairly quickly or reach an impasse where neither will move the other any further. At some point, those principles have to make contact with the existing situation. Otherwise, the discussion remains so abstract it does no one any good.

Jeff




Post 50

Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 10:47amSanction this postReply
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Albert Schweitzer's skin melts at 10 million degrees, same as yours.
 
Hahahahah! Jamie, this line is a classic, you simply must use it in one of your columns!






Post 51

Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 10:55amSanction this postReply
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Jeff,
While we're doing that, keep an eye out for the bad guys with the long knives who want to stop everyone from exercising their right to free speech in the first place.
I completely agree.

As to when and under what circumstances action should be taken, immediately once an imminent threat of physical harm is being genuinely put forth by someone with the power to go through with said threat. The action taken, however, should involve the least death possible.

A bit like Batman and Two-face: Two-face tries to do harm, Batman stops him and places him in Arkham Asylum so he can be helped to the best of human ability. Deposing the current madman of a leader is only an immediate solution. A former tyrant, helped to see the error of his ways, turned peace-maker would have orders of magnitude more influence in creating stability than threat of a superpower's boot up the ass.
The bare least of that should be removing, by force if necessary, any possibility for the Iranians to develop atomic weapons...
I agree here as well (and point out that force != death), although I would go further and say that nuclear disarmament should apply to all nations. The power of current weaponry has already surpassed the point of planet-wide destruction, why do we need that kind of power? MAD is where eye-for-an-eye mentality shows its true colors.
But the history is much longer, with many incidents and many philosophical underpinnings.
If you'll allow me to go Jedi for a moment, it's never too late to turn from the Dark Side.

Sarah
Edited: Changed last quote.

(Edited by Sarah House
on 10/29, 11:03am)




Post 52

Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 11:30amSanction this postReply
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Sarah,
I agree that deposing one madman is like getting rid of the Pope, you just get another one just like him right away. (Though, even among dictators there are degrees. Stalin was pretty different from Putin.)

But I keep harping on the same points. It ain't one guy -- it's a whole bunch of them with many more continually being created by the madness of their culture, philosophy, etc. But culture and philosophy are not isolated abstractions .... they're carried by people.  We need both proper principles and practical action.

As to those:
It's wrong to focus on 'helping the madman be the best person he can be' when the madman is a Stalin or Khomeni. If you can't neutralize them, kill them and be done with it. We can hardly put the mullahs in the insane asylum where they belong.

To 'turn from the Dark Side' requires a willingness on the part of those who are there to change. The likelihood of that happening with the mullahs is close enough to nil to require action this day. ['Humanity' is not some kind of beneficial fluid that a person gets filled with through the kind efforts of others -- it's a choice.]

"A former tyrant, helped to see the error of his ways"
Borderline impossible and not worth the effort or risk.

"turned peace-maker"
Totally unrealistic expectation or even vain hope.

"would have orders of magnitude more influence in creating stability"
Doubtful. There's no historical precendent I can think of. Make a case.

"than threat of a superpower's boot up the ass."
The boot up the ass is often practical and just. At the very least, the credible threat of a boot up the ass would be orders of magnitude ahead of where we are now.

"force != death"
Sometimes, in the real world we inhabit, it has to.  And morally, in this case, it's just.

.....................
We are rapidly approaching an impasse. We are operating on different basic principles in some cases, in others we simply disagree on the correct  interpretation of facts and/or have different predictions. Unless we engage on a more concrete level, we're unlikely to make progress.

Jeff
Bracketed material added in editing.

(Edited by Jeff Perren on 10/29, 11:37am)




Post 53

Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 11:36amSanction this postReply
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Sarah wrote: "A former tyrant, helped to see the error of his ways, turned peace-maker would have orders of magnitude more influence in creating stability than threat of a superpower's boot up the ass."

Why should that be anyone's responsibility? Why should someone take the time and energy to do so? When a tyrant violates the rights of others, he forfeits his own rights.



Post 54

Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 11:40amSanction this postReply
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Jeff,

In this case, I don't know how to talk about the concretes without studying the issue in a great deal more detail, something I don't have time for now. If it brings us to an impasse, then it's an impasse. I'll stick with my na´ve hope.

Sarah



Post 55

Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 11:43amSanction this postReply
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Joe,
Why should that be anyone's responsibility? Why should someone take the time and energy to do so? When a tyrant violates the rights of others, he forfeits his own rights.
Only when someone wants to take on the responsibility. In my case, I see it as a path toward a world in which peace and liberty are not mutually exclusive.

Sarah



Post 56

Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 11:45amSanction this postReply
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Sarah, regarding your Batman/Two-Face analogy:
"A bit like Batman and Two-face: Two-face tries to do harm, Batman stops him and places him in Arkham Asylum so he can be helped to the best of human ability. Deposing the current madman of a leader is only an immediate solution. A former tyrant, helped to see the error of his ways, turned peace-maker would have orders of magnitude more influence in creating stability than threat of a superpower's boot up the ass."

You're dropping context. Two-Face is a split-personality, Two Face the criminal and Harvey Dent the D.A. Batman and Dent were comrades before the accident that drove Dent insane, and the former friendship is what motivates Batman's "mercy," trying to reach the good in him. That is a personal context. The average American has no friendship or ties to a Bin Laden or Hussein. When someone like the Shah of Iran declares Death to America, to people he's never met, don't be surprised if little sympathy is showed towards him.

(That's the problem with superhero analogies in general; superhero ethics are based on a Judeo/Christian ethic, which is why the original Batman and Superman, originally depicted as a murderer and a criminal, respectively, were altered by external pressures to never "kill" and attempt to find rehab for the criminals. And that is why Steve Ditko couldn't continue Spiderman and had to leave Marvel to do THE QUESTION and MR. A, while Marvel depicts anyone who kills in the name of justice, like The Punisher, as "psychotic".)



Post 57

Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 12:00pmSanction this postReply
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And that is why Steve Ditko couldn't continue Spiderman and had to leave Marvel to do THE QUESTION and MR. A, while Marvel depicts anyone who kills in the name of justice, like The Punisher, as "psychotic".
Joe, Ditko has stated that the only one who knows why he left Marvel is him and that he hasn't ever told anyone.

Respectfully,

The "Ditko Facts" Watchdog Society :-)




Post 58

Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 12:02pmSanction this postReply
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Sarah's response : "Only when someone wants to take on the responsibility. In my case, I see it as a path toward a world in which peace and liberty are not mutually exclusive."

Fair enough, Sarah. And I know your position, I am not adverse to the idea of making opponents into allies (provided that principles are not violated).

Just remember, though, that you can't reason with the unreasonable...I used to hear in Sunday school the stories about hostage situations where the "Christian hostage" was able to talk to the captor and change his life with "unconditional love", and such. (Such tales still continue; the success of the religious self-help book THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE is the story that a women being robbed was able to change her attacker by sharing the book with him.) It would be a great world if I could convince every crook and terrorist that ATLAS SHRUGGED will change their life for the better. But not every one will hear it...so in the case of the extreme Jihadists and their ilk, be ever ready. The olive branch can only be extended so far, that's why the eagle carries a spear.



Post 59

Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 12:07pmSanction this postReply
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Joe,

Those ethics aren't exclusive to Judeo-Christianity, and neither are they necessarily based in mysticism as you imply. Frankly, I like a Batman who never kills more than a Batman who does.

As to the analogy, I'm aware of the context, but I don't see any reason why the lack of a personal connection negates the possibility of Batman-Two-face type "mercy."

Sarah



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