Should we start committing atrocities in Iraq?

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by superdave, Nov 5, 2003.

  1. superdave

    superdave Member+

    Jul 14, 1999
    VB, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/04/o...rials and Op-Ed/Op-Ed/Columnists/David Brooks

    The writer seems to think that atrocities are inevitable, and the challenge for Bush is to convince Americans to accept that as the cost of winning this war.

    I think the writer is a dangerous lunatic.

    Discuss.

    PS...it's a really cute jujitsu move he tries to pull off by talking about how we naive Americans have to be reminded that it's a fallen world, and we don't like looking into a cave of horrors, and the solution is to accept the inevitable atrocities our soldiers will commit (his characterization, not mine.) This is beyond "destroy the village in order to save it" territory.
     
  2. verybdog

    verybdog New Member

    Jun 29, 2001
    Houyhnhnms
    Agree.

    Let's kill ten Iraqis a day, see what will happen.
     
  3. Attacking Minded

    Attacking Minded New Member

    Jun 22, 2002
    Re: Re: Should we start committing atrocities in Iraq?

    That's an interesting idea. We could have Dave also post those numbers in the HTOG thread. Dave could keep a tally like +3 or -15. If it's +3 Dave could make the argument that we are a fascist state. If it's -15 Dave could make the argument that we are wasting American lives. Has potential, no?
     
  4. BenReilly

    BenReilly New Member

    Apr 8, 2002
    Re: Re: Re: Should we start committing atrocities in Iraq?

    :D
     
  5. GringoTex

    GringoTex Member

    Aug 22, 2001
    1301 miles de Texas
    Club:
    Tottenham Hotspur FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Bolivia
    Re: Re: Re: Should we start committing atrocities in Iraq?

    That would be impossible as the government keeps secret their tallies on the number of Iraqi dead.
     
  6. joseph pakovits

    joseph pakovits New Member

    Apr 29, 1999
    fly-over country
    Nothin' to see here. Move along.

    OK, I read the article and the writer is full of guano.

    Americans are no different from any other people. We're not so much "innocent" as we are "in denial", cynically unwilling to face the fact that we're just as capable as anyone else of committing atrocities. We all know our privileged position at the center of our world empire is propped up by all kinds of horrors but we generally don't give a crap mas ong as it's someone else getting killed so we can drive our Sport Futility Vehicles. The only time we have a problem is when someone gets all up in our grille with proof of our atrocities. Then we get self-righteous and start killing all the messengers we can find rather than face facts. The right wingers usually kick that self-pity party off with their pathetic "You just blame America first" bleating. Whatever. Nobody's fooling anyone about the emperor's fabulous attire, not even themselves, really.

    As far as atrocities, if it happens, nothing will be done. The usual excuses and self-justifications will be trotted out and nobody, certainly not the media, will ask any questions or look too deeply into it. Maybe some private will be sacrificed or a lieutenant will get sent to some country club prison for a few months.
     
  7. superdave

    superdave Member+

    Jul 14, 1999
    VB, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Re: Re: Should we start committing atrocities in Iraq?

    No, it'll just be another instance in which this war was always a "heads they win, tails we lose" proposition. Either Saddam had WMDs, in which case he would use them, or our justification for the war was nuts. Either the Iraqi army would remain a cohesive fighting force and we'd get enmeshed in urban combat, or they'd melt away and harass us for months or even years. Either the whole thing would go badly, or it would go well, which would encourage the PNAC crowd to create a costly empire.

    According to this writer, either we descend to their level and beat them, or take the high moral ground and lose a soldier a day.
     
  8. verybdog

    verybdog New Member

    Jun 29, 2001
    Houyhnhnms
    The war in Iraq today has descended into a human-based war, such that the powerful military hardwares become next to uselessness.

    It surely provides an important lesson to all other defense-minded countries - don't waste money on building WMDs, just mass produce old fashion RPGs, mortars, explosives, land-mines, and put AK-47s into hands of every citizen before a major foreign invasion.
     
  9. John Galt

    John Galt Member

    Aug 30, 2001
    Atlanta
    Re: Nothin' to see here. Move along.

    It seems self-obvious to point out that U.S. citizens are subject to both positive and negative human instincts.

    Do you not concede there is a difference between a regime that rewards and encourages retributive beheadings and one that has a mess of procedures in place to define the rules of engagement, whether strictly enforced or not? Surely the EFFORT to appeal to our higher instincts is worth the same recognition that you want to place on the fact that Americans may fail to live up to standards.
     
  10. Michael Russ

    Michael Russ Member

    Jun 11, 2002
    Buffalo, NY
    Re: Nothin' to see here. Move along.

    If I had to choose between the writers point of view and Joseph's, I would say the writer is much closer to the mark.

    To say that "Americans are no different from any other people." is complete guano.

    A major difference will be what we consider "atrocities" Many americans would consider it an "atrocity" to arrest someone without informing them of their rights, and providing them with an attorney.

    Some would consider the killing of innocent civilians an "atrocity" and we have already done that.

    What "atrocities" do you have in mind Dave?
     
  11. joseph pakovits

    joseph pakovits New Member

    Apr 29, 1999
    fly-over country
    Re: Re: Nothin' to see here. Move along.

    And yet, there are people here who believe that "America" can do no wrong and that "we" are only motivated by selfless, saintly ideals. Go figure.

    Let ask you this then...

    Does the fact that we employ butchers to do the beheading and to gas their own people on our behalf make us better than if we justmgot our hands dirty and did it ourselves?

    Because that's exactly how we've run our empire. We don't necessarily do the killing ourselves because we have the Suhartos, Pinochets and "paramilitary groups" to do it for us. We only get directly involved when the natives get so uppity that our creatures can no longer be counted on to control them (or when our creatures get uppity themselves and stop taking orders - see "Saddam". Also, "Noriega".). So does having a bunch of procedures in place to give us a moral smoke screen mean we're not ultimately at fault?
     
  12. joseph pakovits

    joseph pakovits New Member

    Apr 29, 1999
    fly-over country
    Re: Re: Nothin' to see here. Move along.

    See, Mr. Galt? Some people believe that we are somehow inherently more moral than the rest of the human race.
     
  13. verybdog

    verybdog New Member

    Jun 29, 2001
    Houyhnhnms
    Re: Re: Re: Nothin' to see here. Move along.

    And also believe that American soldiers' body is bullet-proof.
     
  14. GringoTex

    GringoTex Member

    Aug 22, 2001
    1301 miles de Texas
    Club:
    Tottenham Hotspur FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Bolivia
    Re: Re: Re: Nothin' to see here. Move along.

    Our system is inherently more moral than most others. And the system informs the people. So yes, I would agree that, generally, Americans and citizens of other entrenched democracies are more moral than the rest of the human race.
     
  15. John Galt

    John Galt Member

    Aug 30, 2001
    Atlanta
    Re: Re: Re: Nothin' to see here. Move along.

    I'll have to object to the question on the basis of facts not in evidence. You seem to suggest that having international relations with someone who is a thug makes you a thug. You're not claiming that the U.S. actually runs Indonesia, Chile, Panama, et al? By analogy, if I am friends with someone I know is a drug dealer, does that make me guilty of trafficking narcotics?

    Or to use the example in the op-ed, you're contention is that because the U.S. at one time supported Hussein's regime when it opposed Iran, the U.S. therefore is morally complicit in the act of beheading the wife of a political prisoner, to the same degree as if the FBI had done this itself.

    This is a different argument from the point I'm making. My point assesses the moral value of procedurally attempting to prevent the act by the individuals, not the macro question of international relations, so we're on two different planes.

    Perhaps this explains the inability to reconcile the point of view. If I say America is a better country because it does not encourage its people to behead political opponents, and you respond America is morally equal because it failed to stop people from other countries from beheading political opponents, we're comparing two completely different issues.

    Edited to add that Gringo Tex did a much better job of concisely making my point for me.
     
  16. michaec

    michaec Member

    Arsenal
    England
    May 24, 2001
    Essex
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    England
    Is this bit a joke? Two words: Guantanamo Bay.
     
  17. verybdog

    verybdog New Member

    Jun 29, 2001
    Houyhnhnms
    In your opinion, can Guantanamo Bay be equated to the repeat of Japanese internment?
     
  18. superdave

    superdave Member+

    Jul 14, 1999
    VB, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    joseph, your point would be stronger if you could find more contemporary examples. I mean, Pinochet and Suharto?
     
  19. joseph pakovits

    joseph pakovits New Member

    Apr 29, 1999
    fly-over country
    Who were both in power until quite recently, for those who have ADD.

    I mean, really, isn't Saddam current enough?

    There's always our Venezuelan coup adventure and the growing problem in Colombia.

    I will grant you that the U.S. elites are slowly delegating operational control from outright dictatorships and the U.S. government to international economic bodies like the IMF and WTO. After all, even the formidable U.S. PR machine has had a tough time diffusing growing criticism over thugs like Saddam or our other bully boys (score one for Chomsky and his pals). But the muscle that enforces the edicts of the IMF or WTO will still be local and then, only if absolutely necessary, American.

    Edited to point out that my point is not "Americans are evil", although the "blame America first" whiners will habitually build that strawman because they can't help themselves. The point is that we, as a people, are no more or less "moral" than anyone else. If anything, we're just better at deceiving ourselves about the brutal, immoral realities of running a global empire. Mostly, though, we just don't care if other people are abused, tortured, slaughtered, etc., as long as we continue to benefit and as long as we have the luxury of ignoring such activity if we can. We're not the first people to be in this position and we won't be the last.
     
  20. michaec

    michaec Member

    Arsenal
    England
    May 24, 2001
    Essex
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    England
    Great tangent there. I doubt if it can be be equated, but as I know bugger all about Japanese internment and that's not what is being discussed on this thread, so what? But it doesn't seem to me that the people held there have any rights, let alone be informed of them and how many exactly have had access to attorneys?

    If I quote, I address my comments to exactly what I've quoted, not go off on a totally irrelevant argument.
     
  21. joseph pakovits

    joseph pakovits New Member

    Apr 29, 1999
    fly-over country
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Nothin' to see here. Move along.

    This is wrong on so many levels I don't know where to begin. How is "our system" more moral than any other empire? So we get local thugs to do our dirty work for us. Whoop de flipping doo. And "the system informs the people"? Do you mean the 40% who think Saddam was behind the 9/11 attacks? And when you begin to believe your own press releases on how you are inherently more moral than another ethnic or national group, you can justify anything. That's how My Lais and Holocausts happen.
     
  22. GringoTex

    GringoTex Member

    Aug 22, 2001
    1301 miles de Texas
    Club:
    Tottenham Hotspur FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Bolivia
    This can only be believed by someone who has not lived in another country.
     
  23. GringoTex

    GringoTex Member

    Aug 22, 2001
    1301 miles de Texas
    Club:
    Tottenham Hotspur FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Bolivia
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Nothin' to see here. Move along.

    Congratulations - it only took you one post to equate my way of thinking with Holocaust causality. I didn't bring up ethnicity- you're the one making the intellectually-corrupt link between ethnicity and nationality.

    Like I said before, only a naive waif who has never lived in foreign countries could make the ridiculously ignorant claim that all peoples of all nations are morally equivalent. It's such an anti-historical assertion.
     
  24. joseph pakovits

    joseph pakovits New Member

    Apr 29, 1999
    fly-over country
    All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing

    "I did not have relations with that country."

    Nice sophistic use of the word "relations", Mr. Clinton.

    When you create or maintain a thug who acts in your best interests before that of his own people, then yes, you are a thug.

    Pretty much. The local thugs we created or maintained had some discretion, of course, as long as their actions did not run completely counter to our interests. But the line was pretty well drawn - don't screw with Amercian company's profits in your land if you know what's good for you.

    If you give him his job or maintani him with "aid" so that he can continue delaing, then yes, you're just as guilty. If you give a gun to a known murderer who vows to kill again, you are at least partly responsible for the murders he then commits.

    Our elites did a lot more than support Hussein during his war with Iran. Our elites knew exactly what he was and we actively supported and encouraged him for a long time because it was in our elites' interests to do so. We didn't care if he beheaded the occasional political prisoner as long as he generally acted in our elites' interests.

    Well, my point was that those who claim Americans are somehow inherently more moral are wrong. We, as a people, are just as capable of committing, encouraging or conveniently overlooking evil if it suits our desires of the moment. If we do not follow our procedures or try to get around them by having our intentions carried out by others to whom the procedures technically do not apply, we're engaging in mere cynical legal formalism. The moral responsibility, however, is still ours regardless of our cynical procedural game-playing.

    The problem, is that our elites DID actively encourage evil actions in many regimes all over the world for decades. Labor leaders were tortured and killed, peasant organizers slaughtered and villagers terrorized, coups and terrorism against democratically elected governments committed, etc. Take the contras, for example. Every terrorist action they committed can be laid at the Reagan administration's door as they contras would not have existed if Reagan hadn't committed treason to fund them. Limited information (almost none of it critical of those actions and very little probing the President's starring role in the situation) was made available to the U.S. public, but largely we knew and we didn't care what was being done supposedly in our name.
     
  25. DJPoopypants

    DJPoopypants New Member

    Such as what? I'm guessing that our system is a bit better defined and run than say Paraguay, but when compared to other "western" democracies, our systems etc are relatively equivalent.

    England, France, Germany, Italy, spain etc have seen the effects of war up close fairly recently. Maybe that's why they are more reluctant to dive right in, and also may be why, when compared to americans, they have a bit more sympathy for all the innocents caught up in the whole thing.
     

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