How many Barrels of Oil is a Human Life Worth?

Stephen Wellington Mormon 45 Comments



Barrels of Oil At the end of this video, Dick Cheney in 1994 says:

For the 146 Americans who died [in the 1991 Gulf War] it wasn’t a cheap war…but the question for the President is how many additional Americans is Saddam worth and our judgement was not very many.

Well…14 years later it seems that Cheney has changed his judgement and Saddam is now worth 4,106 American soldiers lives and about 30,000 wounded American soldiers. (We do have to mention the 600,000 to 1.23 million Iraqi deaths according to the non-partisan estimates and 5 million Iraqi Refugees) Is this how much Saddam was worth?

In my opinion, and I think obvious to anyone who really researches it, the Iraq War was not about removing a dictator established by the CIA, weapons of mass destruction or democracy promotion. (I would even argue that the UK and USA give fantastic examples in the present and over the last 50 years showing that they do not primarily care about democracy or removing dictators).

When asked why the US didn’t attack North Korea in 2003 instead of Iraq because North Korea was more of a threat, Paul Wolfowitz’s reasoning for the Iraq War is demonstrated when in 2003 he said:

“Let’s look at it simply. The most important difference between North Korea and Iraq is that economically, we just had no choice in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil.”

Using the reasoning of Cheney and Wolfowitz of trying to quantify the value of human life, I was wondering how many barrels of oil is a human life worth to myself.

Here are some topical guide references for the worth of souls to God:
Isaiah 13:12– I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the bgolden wedge of Ophir.
Psalms 49:8-(For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)
D&C 109:43-O Lord, we delight not in the destruction of our fellow men; their souls are precious before thee.
D&C 18:10– Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God

My question to you is…

A barrel of oil is about $140. How many barrels of oil is a human life worth?

Comments

comments

Comments 45

  1. WOW! So he actually perfectly understood that taking Sadam down would endanger this part of the world? I have been hoping all this time that they were just plain stupid and that their motivations was making them blind to what they were doing. I hope that they have secret files that we will know only in a century that will make all this worth it.

    My heart aches when I think of all this mess. There is strictly nothing that I can consider good today out of it and I can only pray that someday I will be proven wrong.
    I am not going to go on about the political, moral issues because some will aggree and some won’t. But there is one subject on wich I can express myself that won’t be too much of a controversy I think and that will make me feel better.

    My mother grew up in Africa and Lebanon and she always pictured France as a land where she could be free and live the life she had wanted to live. The thing is that because of the places she grew up in she was not french (although full blooded french) in her way to think or in her values and she raised me with this “treasure”.
    Growing up in France I always felt like I was suffocating and I knew I was but I could not tell why. When I went to the US for my mission I felt relieved. I am short (5’2″) but I felt like I was 6’2″! I could breath! When I went back in 2001 I had the same feeling which makes it horrible to have to go back to my tiny and narrow minded country.
    I learned to love the US and to love you for who you were really and not for the sitcomes and movies we get from you.
    When you were attacked I felt worse than if France had been attacked. Oh wait…we have known this forever anyway. LOL
    I love your thanksgiving tradition and I love how you love accent (mine is rather thick, you’d loooooove me). I have understood by watching you how treasuring freedom leads to deep and genuin respect for people. I have come accross something that I had never encountered before in my wonderful country (you are all welcome if you want to spend some vacations): HOPE! And if you ask someone who knows France and whose opinion is not going to be biaised by some prejudice they will probably tell you the same thing: there is no hope here.
    I love you.
    France is where I was born when I was a baby. The Us are the place where I was born as an adult.
    When all this happened I felt betrayed. Not that I thought the US were a perfect country, I think I know more about your flaws than the adverage american (and I am talking about the adverage american!!!). But as I often say: I love your flaws better than I love french ones.
    But I have felt betrayed because a man who obviously did not love your country as much as I do led “his” people into a nightmare in which the US have a lost a little of their shiny armor and much more than that.
    But as I have said before, I hope that someday we will be told something that will make all this look less like what it is today.

    And this was just my point of view and how I feel. I hope I did not make anyone mad.

  2. We don’t attack North Korea because they can defend themselves. I was a Korean linguist in the Army years ago, and did a tour on the North Korean border (2nd Infantry Division). Sure, the US could beat them if we really wanted to. I doubt we would have the stomach for it as a people. When I was there, they had 1 million active duty troops, 5 million active (trained) reserves, the largest special operations force in the world (80,000+), and over 10,000 tubes of artillery. We could bomb them non-stop for a year and they would still be laughing at us from their bunkers under the mountains. Seoul (25% of the population lives there) would be a smoking ruin. It’s in range of rockets and large artillery right now from the border. Special ops would sabatoge anything else in the South that was valuable in the first week. It’s possible they also have nuclear weapons… So I guess we aren’t going to beat them up and steal their lunch money any time soon 🙂

    We setup and fund dictators that do what *we* want. We only free people from evil dictators that aren’t *our* evil dictators anymore. We sacrifice lives to protect somebody’s “strategic interests” in the world, but they aren’t the commoners’ interests. Oil was cheaper and more “strategically interesting” to me when it was 1/3 the price it is now.

    I couldn’t stomach the whole mess anymore, so I got out when my contract was up.

    To come back to religion, I agree with scriptures listed. There’s no resource in the world worth killing my brother and sister to get. Nothing. No price in silly green pieces of paper. Their life is precious. Their souls are good.

    It’s easy to talk about clinical concepts like “defending interests,” “spreading democracy,” and “fighting terrorism.” That removes the real grit of what has to be done. It’s ok as long as someone else has to go take care of the dirty work. It’s a lot harder to actually be on the ground and shoot someone and watch them cry and vomit blood as they die, or to burn them to death with explosives.

    The Gospel view is about how you play the game.

  3. Er Stephen, I *really* hate to do this, but:

    semantically, life and soul have different meanings. As near as I can tell, all of the scriptures above, with the possible exception of Isaiah, are referring not to the value of a man’s life, but to the value of a soul, or the immortal being. A nontrivial point in this discussion I think, for God did not hesitate in the Old Testament to have those who opposed him slain. Why? Because their mortal life is of little true value. Life is precious to those of us who have not the power to restore it or to judge the state of a person’s spiritual progression or future potential for progression, but to God, life is a very different proposition.

    Instead of being something that must be protected, life is something that can be taken at a moment’s notice because God understands where each person is. So is the worth of the soul the same as the worth of a life to God? No.

    Now with all that said I essentially agree with your thesis that human life is precious to us. Because we mortals do not have the power to discern so many things, and because we are not the final arbiters of a person’s position in the eternities, we do not have the right to decide when they leave this mortal state except in a few instances [the Mosaic law allowed for some–it is uncertain whether or not the original law that Moses brought down from Sinai would have allowed for state-sanctioned executions]. War is a messy business. The Church does not censure soldiers for carrying out lawful orders, but neither does it censure them for objecting to orders that they find morally repugnant (from what I know).

    Is the current war wrong? I have no idea. Really. If it is solely about garnering power, gaining access to oil, then it is not justified. That said, I don’t ANY war can be simply boiled down to ‘oil’ or ‘removing a dictator’ or ‘WMD’ or anything that simple. The very simple truth of it all is this–there are too many things too many people don’t know to be sure of why Bush really made the decisions he did. I’m not defending him, but I am saying I don’t know. From a purely empirical behavioral psychology standpoint, there are only a few possible conclusions I can reach:

    1) Bush is simply acting irrationally. While this is true in a very scientific and narrow definition of the word that puts EVERYONE acting irrationally (sorry), in the broad sense that most people would use it, I don’t think it applies. He is not a neurotic.

    2) Bush is acting on information that the media does not have access to and is not reporting. I suspect that this is the case for a large number of reasons, but there are other possibilities.

    3) Bush is involved in a complex power-grab. This is actually a very difficult one for me to process because the only end-game scenario that makes sense requires him to have a successor in the White House that is friendly to his interests as near as I can tell, and he isn’t playing the game right for that to happen. He doesn’t seem to care about popularity, which makes a power-grab almost impossible unless he is also planning a permanent coup of the US political system and remaining in power indefinitely–not something I seriously think anyone could accomplish. Even his most staunch supporters at the base-level would object to that.

    I am sure I have missed some scenarios, but my analysis points me to the idea that he is acting on information that most people don’t have. What that information might possibly be that would drive him to act so far out of step with the rest of the country completely baffles me. As a note, remember that Iraq has oil, but that we are dealing with Iran (another oil country) in a somewhat different fashion so far. Perhaps because we don’t currently have the resources to deal with both countries at once, or because there is something that Bush knows. I’m not sure.

  4. Stephen, that’s great footage. I hadn’t seen that before. Have you read where George H. W. Bush said something similar just after Gulf War 1 was over?

    Benjamin, I honestly don’t think that Bush’s popularity has anything to do with this “power-grab”. One can be quite powerful without being popular.

    I really think all this boils down to money, and not necessarily exclusively from Oil (http://www.trade.gov/media/PressReleases/0204/iraq_021104.html). Money, not popularity is what is on this President’s agenda. Iraq was supposed to be a quick engagement. There are multiple quotes saying that the war would most likely be short. About the war Donald Rumsfeld said “It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months,” (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2738089.stm) They figured this would be a cake walk.

    After this quick defeat, they planned on setting up an Iraqi government that would be partial to the U.S. American businesses (including Oil http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/4354269.stm) would move in and set up offshore headquarters and enjoy tax free status. This was the plan from the beginning. It just didn’t work for them.

    Now the war is arguably the biggest mistake since Vietnam, a pockmark on The United States and especially on Bush himself. Money, yes money is what this was all about.

  5. The argument is fundementally flawed that the entire war effort was for oil, which seems to be the ongoing liberal perspective, a willing blindness about the war effort as a whole.

    The war actually is a “war against terror”, an effort to take on the war at its source instead of sitting passively by and waiting for a second or third 9/11 event to occur. You remember 9/11, don’t you? The event that got this entire thing started? The deaths of almost 3000 people?

    How much were those 3000 souls worth?

  6. Stephen,

    In my opinion, and I think obvious to anyone who really researches it, the Iraq War was not about removing a dictator established by the CIA, weapons of mass destruction or democracy promotion. (I would even argue that the UK and USA give fantastic examples in the present and over the last 50 years showing that they do not primarily care about democracy or removing dictators).

    Indeed. Oil is at the heart of all our actions in the Middle East. Why do we give the Saudis so much preference? Why do we coddle them so much when they are such a repressive regime? Because they successfully challenged the West in nationalizing their oil, and now we defer to them. Last November, Dick Cheney was summoned—yes, SUMMONED—by the Saudi king. And he sheepishly, quietly went.

    In the case of Iraq, we had been involved enough in their internal affairs with our utterly awful CIA that the Iraqis didn’t have enough power to stand up against us. The CIA placed the Ba’ath Party in charge of Iraq in the 1960s, and we supported Saddam throughout most of his reign. Poor Iraqis.

    Most certainly, the worth of an Iraqi soul is far less in the sight of Americans than their oil. We don’t mind that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis die for our cause. They ain’t American. They don’t have any power to affect what America does, so it’s okay that they die.

    Does God see the soul of an Iraqi the same as the soul of an American? If the answer is yes, why don’t followers of God place that same level of value on the soul of that Iraqi that God does?

    To your final question:

    A barrel of oil is about $140. How many barrels of oil is a human life worth?

    The answer to this question needs a complex formula. You have to take into account the use of that oil, how many people will benefit from its use, what kind of benefit we are talking about (needs vs wants), what risk there is in acquiring that oil, and what cost there is in getting it, both in terms financial and in terms of life. In my view, our use of oil is extremely excessive and any deaths that occur in our drive to get more oil raises the price of that oil above that which it is actually worth.

  7. Vito,

    #5,

    The war actually is a “war against terror”, an effort to take on the war at its source instead of sitting passively by and waiting for a second or third 9/11 event to occur. You remember 9/11, don’t you? The event that got this entire thing started? The deaths of almost 3000 people?

    How much were those 3000 souls worth?

    A few quibbles.

    1. If the war in Iraq was truly a “war against terror,” then the war in Iraq was false. Saddam Hussein was never terror’s “source”. Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, nor had any plans, nor capability to create another 9/11.

    2. The source of terror was Al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda pre-March 2003, did not exist in Iraq. It existed in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    3. How much were those three thousand souls worth? Were they worth the deaths of hundreds of thousands more innocents? Seeing that Iraqis had nothing to do with 9/11, if you bring a war to them for something they did not do, you are adding death to where death was not needed. You are taking their lives as recompense, but alas, you are not in the right. You are in fact in the wrong.

    4. Military actions are the bread and butter, the lifeblood of a burgeoning terrorist organization. You want to see a terrorist organization thrive? I’ll tell you what to do. Invade. Invade. Invade. Bring war to other nations. You’ll see terrorism rise to levels like never before.

  8. Dan

    Of course the worth of souls is great; I don’t think there’s a Latter-day Saint who would argue that point.

    It’s obvious to me that no one is going to change your mind. It is also quite obvious –humorously so– that you find yourself taking such a defensive posture trying to justify your views.

    Yes, Al-Qaeda is responsible for terrorism, at least you understand that. You call it quibbles, I call it ignorance (as in ignoring what you don’t want to hear, reciting your liberal slanted Bush lied, “company line”.

    Are you familiar with Salman Pak? No? You mean the left oriented sources you reference don’t talk about the training camps in Iraq? They don’t tell you that among other uses, the Salman Pac site contained a plane fuselage that terrorists used to rehearse their plans? Not familiar? Huh. Interesting.

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/iraq/salman_pak.htm

    Your argument that people died in Iraq because U.S. Troops are there is also flawed. Furtherance of your point would mean that if U.S. Troops were NOT in Iraq, people would NOT be dead…Oh, wait, that’s right, we forget that Hussein and his sons would NEVER harm anyone and there was no torture rooms found in Iraq.

    And let’s not forget who specifically is responsible for the continual deaths in Iraq after the arrival of the U.S. forces…it wouldn’t be from terrorists and terrorist bombings, would it? Oh, that’s right, your line of thinking is probably completely in line somewhere with many Democrats like Dick Durban that it’s the U.S. forces who run around randomly and cowardly torture innocent citizens.

    One final though: it’s entirely shameful that you’d try and use the Doctrine and Covenants to try and justify your political point.

  9. The usual anti-liberal dribble being spouted off by Vito. The fact is, the war is a complete disaster. It has wasted countless lives, Americans and Iraqi, killed, maimed or damaged in some other way, destroyed families, ruined our economy, our standing and influence in the world, AND, the biggest of them all, not made us any safer. We have porous borders, unprotected food sources (currently making us sick) and water supplies, cargo ships by the thousands coming into our ports uninspected, and we’ve created and energized more terrorists than any time in the history of the world. And on and on.

    Great going, Dubya, Dickie, Donnie and Wolfie!

    Excellent video and topic, Steve!

  10. Vito Vixa,

    It’s impossible to fight a war against a tactic. We fight wars against peoples and nation-states. The “war on terror” is an excuse for the Bush administration to do what it wants (and do it poorly, with no foresight) in the middle east.

  11. I suspect that Jesus’ instructions to love your enemy does not mean to kill them, unless it is in accordance with the instructions in Nehemiah (or its cousin on the standard of liberty in the Book of Alma).

  12. I am soooo not going to give you my name (#1) —

    When I went to the US for my mission I felt relieved. I am short (5′2″) but I felt like I was 6′2″! I could breath!

    Where did you go in the United States for you mission? Utah? I am 6’4″ or 6’5″ (depending upon time of day and size of sole), and in Utah I felt like I was 10′ tall! Salt Lake City has got to have the shortest population I’ve ever seen in any U.S. city.

    While touring BYU with my brother Jared and commenting on how I felt out of place for my height, he informed me that there is also a “Too Tall for BYU Club” where you have to be 6’2″ to join.

    In the midwest (Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, etc.) we have many more tall people and so I do not feel out of place and awkward like I did in Utah.

    Back on-topic: Last election I voted for Bush to accelerate the Second Coming of Jesus. (Really, I accepted the argument that a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush, and I wrote in Ralph Nader’s name in the state of Missouri; so I got two votes in one, where everybody else only got one vote.) This election I think I will vote for Obama to accelerate the Second Coming of Jesus (or for all you atheist ex-Moes, the acceleration of punctuated equilibrium). The first presidential election I could participate in (2000), I traded my vote with a New York University professor: he voted for Nader for me in the safe state of New York, and I voted for Gore for him in the swing state of Missouri.

    Back to France: Any American born within the Louisiana Purchase can apply for citizenship within their first year of French residency (all other immigrants to France must wait 5 years). Also, because the Louisiana Purchase is former French territory, any American born within its limits can run for election to the Presidency of France (and thereby become co-Prince of Andorra with a Catholic Bishop of Spain).

    I pledge mindless allegiance to the flag
    of the Corporate Empire of America
    and to the elitist oligarchy for which it stands:
    One nation-state,
    under crackpot Pentagon spooks,
    indivisible — except by lust for power —
    with liberty for the privileged classes
    and justice subservient to capitalist interests.
    Amen!

    Back to France: France was the first “America”. The name has nothing to do with Amerigo Vespucci, that is a fabrication proffered by social studies teachers. “America” means “a land or country under maritime law”. This is why to this day we fly a version of the East India Company’s maritime flag in the U.S.A. (and it is why I think Walt Disney made the Pirates of the Caribbean story about the East India Company), and this is how the DEA does all of its seizures through maritime law! Next time you hear “Satan has powers over the waters” in Church, think “the law of the water” rather than your backyard swimming pool; and when you think of the importance of the Missouri River to Satan’s power over the waters, think of the two Federal Reserve Banks which run along the Missouri River (Kansas City & St. Louis). Missouri is the secret financial headquarters of the United States: the United Missouri Bank system of banks is richer than any second-world country (e.g., Ukraine); and UMB and Commerce Bank, both headquartered in KCMO, together own most of Citigroup, the world’s largest bank.

  13. I regret that I don’t have time to give a thoughtful response to the very serious and thoughtful questions raised by this post.

    All I have time to do is point out a misappropriated quote used to bolster Mr. Wellington’s main rhetorical point. The quote attributed to Wolfowitz is a *misquote* by The Guardian, and it has been a fashionable quote to bandy about since it’s so “damning.” (I’ve seen it passed around work as well) The actual quote (from the transcript) is:

    Look, the primarily difference — to put it a little too simply — between North Korea and Iraq is that we had virtually no economic options with Iraq because the country floats on a sea of oil. In the case of North Korea, the country is teetering on the edge of economic collapse and that I believe is a major point of leverage whereas the military picture with North Korea is very different from that with Iraq. The problems in both cases have some similarities but the solutions have got to be tailored to the circumstances which are very different. -http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=2704

    The Guardian (and Mr. Wellington’s) quote are, wrong and misleading. Whether the Guardian intentionally restructured the sentence to mean something different than the original text is not known to me. I have not seen their commitment to the truth overcome their own spin on the war. It would seem that passing along a quote without original attribution or fact-checking is par for the course in the blogosphere, so I guess Mr. Wellington’s practice is as good as it gets.

    All the rhetoric and fancy stock photos in the world can’t put makeup over the black eye of not being right on the facts.

  14. Vito,

    #8,

    It’s obvious to me that no one is going to change your mind. It is also quite obvious –humorously so– that you find yourself taking such a defensive posture trying to justify your views.

    Defensive? Wither? Certainly not thither.

    Are you familiar with Salman Pak?

    Ah yes, good old Salman Pak, the only thing you’ve got. Sadly for you, it just doesn’t cut it. From the wikipedia on Salman Pak:

    The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence concluded that “Postwar findings support the April 2002 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) assessment that there was no credible reporting on al-Qa’ida training at Salman Pak or anywhere else in Iraq. There have been no credible reports since the war that Iraq trained al-Qa’ida operatives at Salman Pak to conduct or support transnational terrorist operations.”p. 108 The CIA and DIA both told the Committee that their postwar exploration of the facility “has yielded no indications that training of al-Qa’ida linked individuals took place there. In June 2006, the DIA told the Committee that it has ‘no credible reports that non-Iraqis were trained to conduct or support transnational terrorist operations at Salman Pak after 1991.” (p. 108)

    Who was pushing the lie? The Iraqi National Congress, of course. Ahmed Chalibi, who is now in Iran, criticizing the United States. Huh…

    Your argument that people died in Iraq because U.S. Troops are there is also flawed. Furtherance of your point would mean that if U.S. Troops were NOT in Iraq, people would NOT be dead…Oh, wait, that’s right, we forget that Hussein and his sons would NEVER harm anyone and there was no torture rooms found in Iraq.

    Whether Saddam Hussein kills his own people has no bearing on the equation. The question is who we kill and for what reason. The reasons given for us to go into Iraq and kill thousands and thousands of Iraqis is not even close to worth the opportunity cost.

    And let’s not forget who specifically is responsible for the continual deaths in Iraq after the arrival of the U.S. forces…it wouldn’t be from terrorists and terrorist bombings, would it

    Yep, we opened the country for them to come in and kill Americans. We are directly responsible for that. Once again, you’re not making points that improve your situation.

    One final though: it’s entirely shameful that you’d try and use the Doctrine and Covenants to try and justify your political point.

    I guess it was entirely shameful for President Hinckley to do likewise. Or is this another example of IOIYAR

  15. The reason both conservatives and liberals have their justifications wrong, IMO, goes back to why the US stayed out of the French Revolution: because self-interest and NOT idealism should dictate foreign policy. That’s why both these idealistic arguments fall flat to me:

    Liberals: We should never kill people for oil or any other reason! Human life is too precious!
    Conservatives: We are the liberators! We bring the seeds of democracy to the middle east and watch it flourish and grow!

    Wars will be necessary from time to time. This one probably wasn’t. But it makes me laugh that the conservatives who went to war are being criticized for acting out of self-interest vs. liberal ideology, which frankly isn’t the motive that scares me most; I’m much more worried by causes. For example, if Iran were acting out of self-interest, they would play nicer with other countries and specifically not poke the eye of Israel, but because their leader views Iran as a cause, they are a very dangerous country indeed. They consider themselves accountable to no one but Allah. They care little for what man can do, only what God can do.

    Thinking that we can go around the world and create new “baby democracies” is just folly. People must create their own democracies. And when atrocities occur, everyone wants the US to intervene. But one country cannot truly liberate another; those efforts must come from within, and it will be bloody and horrible. That is the simple truth I
    see.

    Frankly, it’s another reason the Mormons were viewed with such suspicion in Missouri. They were a cause, answering to God first, each other second and country last or not at all. Causes are not good neighbors.

  16. If the present war in Iraq is (was) for oil, then why am I paying $4.10/gal.?!?

    Or is the war a strategic strike against a broader, more dangerous ideology, namely radical Islamic Jihadism that began spreading rapidly in the 1990’s (post-Gulf War I by the way, which may explain the difference in our position on Saddam Hussein [just ask former President Clinton and his Secretaries of Defense and State]. But, Hey!, we wouldn’t want to reasses our positions periodically, now would we?).

  17. Hawkgrrrl: You have many good points, and I agree with you in many respects.

    However, with all due respect to you and to George Orwell (my personal hero), I no longer think that war can be a necessary evil – even from time to time. I won’t hijack this thread, but I recommend Emil Fuchs’ essay ‘Before they find it, they rest in authority’ excerpted from “Christ in Catastrophe.” It is a great essay that would be fodder for a great Mormonmatters post, if someone with keen wit and insight had a chance to read it.

  18. Everyone, N’s #13 got hung up in moderation due to the link in it. I am not commenting on the substance, but I thought it should not get overlooked simply because it was delayed in posting.

  19. Hawkgrrrl: I love the way you tied the France (or as they say in France: france) and Missouri threads together in your post! Amazing, I bow to your excellency. You are furthermore correct, we have a cause: the cause of Zion; and we’re bringin’ it to those bankers in the (pure-in-)heartland of Jackson County!

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    Ray thank you for pointing out N’s comment.

    His comment is ultimately pointless but his desire for facts is commended. His post was a waste of his own time and a waste of mine as it does not take away from the original quote provided. This “anonymous and pointless” character with his contentious comments is one of the reasons I am glad to quit the bloggernacle and spend time with my my wife and new baby.

    Where do I start…

    1. N has been consistently wrong throughout his “violent and jingoistic apologetics” that seek to justify war crimes, imperialism and criminality. Like the Taliban in the hills of Afghanistan, he pontificates with factoids thinking he has delivered a knock out blow and then cowers in his hole without addressing any other points I raise or even the point of the post..you need only look over my previous posts to see this!!

    Richard Dearlove, the ex-head of MI6, said, “The facts are being fixed around the policy!” in regards to the invasion of Iraq. I think you are fixing your factoids around your gas guzzling car and false warmongering priestcrafts.

    Your justification of criminality, war and violence makes me sick to my stomach. Spector has it right on…the war has only spurred on terrorism through out the world…and that IS a fact according to the National Intelligence Estimates of 2006 and 2007.

    2. N…have you actually read the transcript you linked to? I have never heard more Imperialistic mumbo jumbo from one man in my life?! But perhaps I need to read more of King George The Thirds’ works to find someone more idealistically imperialistic!! 🙂

    I think Woflowitz’s final statement perfectly sums his feelings about evil dictators:

    “If I take one of my favorite countries, Indonesia, there’s no question in my mind that if Suharto had gone down a different path in the late 80s and early 90s, and promoted reform instead of the opposite, that Indonesia might be in much better shape today than he left it.” (What about all the inncent people he killed Paul!!!! Binny Buchori said, “While, “during his 32-year reign, Suharto, his family and his military and business cronies transformed Indonesia into one of the most graft-ridden countries in the world, plundering an estimated $30 billion … Wolfowitz [Buchori said] ‘never alluded to any concerns about the level of corruption or the need for more transparency….'”)

    3. Ok lets look at your quote “N” and I must thank you for providing it fully. It does not in any way shape or form take away from the fact that Wolfowitz is saying that ultimately North Korea was to big to fight and didnt have oil.

    N says: “All the rhetoric and fancy stock photos in the world can’t put makeup over the black eye of not being right on the facts.

    All your false jingoistic justification demonstrates your willingness to give a black eye to others without really looking into the facts instead of using factoids and smearing attempts!!!!

    4113 US troops have been Killed, 30,000 US Troops have been harmed,over 100 British troops are dead, about 500,000 Iraqis are dead (probably higher), 5 million are homeless, and many widowed and fatherless.

    Dan…spot on mate…keep up the fight…lets keep our boys safe in Iraq and bring them home to their families with honour as soon as possible. No more war profiteering and no more widowed and fatherless in Iraq. No invasions of Iran or Syria…lets make peace, build up our defences and borders at home…and next time a war is proposed lets think long and hard about our self-interest and the wars necessity.

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    hawgrrrl…you have it so right…which is why…though I want to get rid of Mugabe in Zimbabwe…I dont think it is right that we do it. We will be accused of imperialistic meddling. They fought their war for freedom and this is what they have got to do again. They need to learn responsibility and to deal with the consequences as much as it pains me to see people die and suffer. I welcome refugees to the UK to start a new life and wish that all persecuted could find refuge and hope.

    And I agree with you about the self-interest.

    And just a wee point. In political science terms…we live in a Polyarchy…Mark Curtis says, “Polyarchy is generally what British [or American] leaders mean when they speak of promoting ‘democracy’ abroad. This is a system in which a small group actually rules and mass participation is confined to choosing leaders in elections managed by competing elites.” It is a form of low intensity democracy. We support polyarchies around the world…and this follows the patterns of polyarchies found in our own countries. US support for Iraq’s ruling Al Hakim family and the Dawa Party is a perfect example…as Al Hakim and the Dawa Party try to stablize the country…or consolidate power…whichever perspective one takes. The upcoming US election provides great examples of a polyarchy at work.

  22. Derek – I’m blushing!

    Stephen Wellington – yes, I have been thinking a lot about Mugabe also, and unfortunately, that’s my conclusion as well.

  23. hawkgrrrl,

    #15,

    For example, if Iran were acting out of self-interest, they would play nicer with other countries and specifically not poke the eye of Israel, but because their leader views Iran as a cause, they are a very dangerous country indeed. They consider themselves accountable to no one but Allah. They care little for what man can do, only what God can do.

    If the United States were acting out of self-interest, would they not also play nicer with other countries? Why should Iran?

  24. If you want to count bodies to find out the human price of oil don’t forget the 1000+ civilian contractors that have died. They of course knew that this could happen when they got their FAT government contracts. This is likely (in my opinion) the reason that the war was kicked off with a woefully inadequetly number of troops.

  25. Dan, the short answer is “yes.” The US would play nicer if our long-term self-interest guided our decisions. But it doesn’t usually. The key difference between Iran’s self-interests and the US’s are that the US is the sole superpower, while Iran is tiny and insignificant on the world scale but for their “cause.”

  26. #21 What I meant is that I had such a feeling of beeing able to breath that I could expand and grow. And there were even more tall people in the US than in France but I did not feel shorter. Thinking about this I think that it had partly to do with the fact that I could watch the horizon almsot anywhere I would turn to; there was seldomly and obstacle in my sight. It was a violent and yet sweet change.

    #3 I hope you’re right. I sincerely do. The thing is that when this all started anyone in France could tell the situation you’d be in today and the global security of the world. So if he has been acting on informations we don’t have I guess the positive results will be seen in the very long run because they are not showing right now.

  27. You want-ta response? You got-ta response! 😉

    His post was a waste of his own time and a waste of mine as it does not take away from the original quote provided.

    In fact, I think the post did 4 things:
    1. Wasted my time.
    2. Wasted your time.
    3. Showed that the character and context of the quote was ignored. I’ll get to this later on.
    2. It shows that you can’t take a factual correction without lashing out negatively. I see that you have a lot emotionally invested in your political beliefs.

    This “anonymous and pointless” character with his contentious comments is one of the reasons I am glad to quit the bloggernacle and spend time with my my wife and new baby.

    good for you! Congratz on the baby. I’m happy for you, and this demonstrates that you have a good sense of proportion and, in my opinion, good priorities. Name calling doesn’t become you, though. I’ll get to this later.

    Otherwise, it’s fun to know I’m a “character.” 🙂 I’m as anonymous as anyone on the internet, true (meaning not very). The email address associated with my profile is real, and can be used to contact me. How much less anonymous are posters required to be?
    Am I contentious? only inasmuch as I have vocally disagreed with your broad characterizations of people, nations, and situations. I don’t even necessarily disagree with everything you write, or even all your conclusions. As far as I know, I have only been vocally critical of one item in one of your posts, in one comment. Oh I also was vocal in criticizing one instance of moral equivalence I found distasteful. I’m probably forgetting all the other ones which must exist. As a blog contributor you have more visibility and easy searching on my comments than I do, so I’ll just assume you came to your characterization of me from a long track record of contentious interactions with your material. If I have caused you undue stress or anger, I apologize. The meaning behind a written word is a difficult force to wrangle, and I’m sure I’ve done it poorly.

    1. N has been consistently wrong throughout his “violent and jingoistic apologetics” that seek to justify war crimes, imperialism and criminality.

    Hmmm. Have I used the term “violent and jingoistic?” Or have you previously in regards to me? I can’t find it, and I’m trying to find the context of this remark/quote.

    I would also like to know which comment*s* you are referring to. If it’s the (overly long and dull) comment I made in response to your r-love-ution post, that’s an interesting data point. Do you have others which might be help me understand why I am “consistently wrong throughout [my] ‘violent and jingoistic apologetics’?”
    Your two long responses to my comment are very interesting, and I look forward to reading some of the things you pointed me to. I have just gone back to read them today, since you’ve brought up my comment history as an attempt to discredit me.

    Oddly, in looking back over (all) your posts, to find a second data point on your assertion about me, I noticed that you posted the exact same text in response to my r-love-ution comment as you did to another commenter in your “disenchantment part 2” post. and the “soldiers walk for peace” post. It must be nice to have stock responses; I should make a note to have some of my own.

    [Taliban metaphor deleted] without addressing any other points I raise or even the point of the post..you need only look over my previous posts to see this!!

    Ad hominem. Again, bad form. Taliban-flavored at that.

    Re: this post. I didn’t have time to do anything else. Sue me. I now have more time, but I find myself having to defend myself from your ad hominems, generalizations, and false characterizations. It’s like argument by attrition. *Now* I won’t have time to address the content of your post. 🙂 Your doing, mate. And based on how badly you take factual corrections, I should be disinclined to address *any* point you make, ever. I can imagine how that might be your intent. I’ve been ‘shouted down’ when people don’t want disagreement, and this is just one more time.

    Re: Your previous posts. It is true that I hadn’t revisited that (r-love-ution) thread after I left the comment. I left a comment, and felt like I had spent too much of my time on mormonmatters already. I had other things to do which took precedence. I also didn’t feel compelled to find out what you thought of my comment. Sorry, but I’m really not that into you. I feel bad that you expected a long discussion like those you’ve have with B. Nielson regarding the current Iraq war, but I’m not often one to do such things.

    You have certainly read a lot into my non-response to your response to my comment on your post.

    In any case, I can plainly see that you have no intention of being wrong on any point, even a factual/verifyable one. Heaven forbid anyone disagree with you on any other point which can not be so easily verified.

    I think you are fixing your factoids around your gas guzzling car and false warmongering priestcrafts.

    More (in order) supposition, straw man, and ad hominem.

    Your justification of criminality, war and violence makes me sick to my stomach.

    As do your mischaracterization of me using *one* other comment, and your constant use of the “Mormon matters” blog as a platform for your tediously repetitive political rants. or maybe we both just need an antacid. Whee! blog-fighting is fun! poke-poke.

    Spector has it right on…the war has only spurred on terrorism through out the world…and that IS a fact according to the National Intelligence Estimates of 2006 and 2007.

    Immaterial to your assessment of me as a “violent and jingoist warmonger” –which I think is what you were discussing here.
    That being said, I think it’s completely true. Anecdotally, I think a “cause celebre” makes a fine rallying point for people, and they might also be spurred on by jihadist sympathizers and other ‘useful idiots’ in the US and UK.
    This conclusion might suffer from ‘post hoc ergo propter hoc’ though, so I’ll just assume that the analysts have a compelling chain of causality behind their assessment.

    2. N…have you actually read the transcript you linked to? I have never heard more Imperialistic mumbo jumbo from one man in my life?! But perhaps I need to read more of King George The Thirds’ works to find someone more idealistically imperialistic!!

    Truthfully, I searched it for the relevant quote, once I found the original source of the quote and read the question and answer for context. Computers are awesome. Since you brought it up and think it germane to your discussion of me as a forum troll, I have since wasted some of my precious time reading it, giving you the benefit of the doubt. I’ll limit my conclusions to Wolfowitz’s own remarks as there are other people in the transcript.
    My conclusion: I think your dismissal of Wolfowitz due to him being an “imperialist” doesn’t hold up to modest scrutiny. -Not that being an “imperialist” invalidates his point about using different types of diplomacy for different situations, however. It’s just your attempt to shut down the quote. I have no opinion on his possession of either “mumbo” or “jumbo.”
    We seem to be working under different definitions of “imperialism.” I can’t square your assessment of him as being a super-imperialist with commonly-accepted geo-political definitions of imperialism (authoritarian controlled colonization for economic gain) or Lenin’s theory of imperialism (highest stage of capitalism, e.g. global monetary trade), based on what I’ve read.

    Before you read (or skip) this, know this: this is what you get for wanting to be addressed on every point. I’ve taken your rhetorical tropes and addressed them seriously. If you do, skip it, at least pick it back up at the paragraph before the stipulated quote. You’ll need to to keep up.

    To illustrate, I’ve included a long and tedious Q&A section dissecting the interview (I’ve also grossly oversimplified the questions and tried to edit but be true to the answers).
    Q: You said N. Korea needs a different governance, how do you propose to do it? I think it might have to be forced.
    W: “I think given all the factors involved, including [regional] perspectives…, but also the enormous danger that any contemplation of military force is fraught within the peninsula, I think a slower and more patient approach than I am hearing you suggest may be what’s necessary…. I think the task is to persuade… their leadership really, that the only way to avoid regime change brought about by internal collapse is to in fact have … fundamental policy change”

    i.e. no force, slow, patient, taking into regional considerations. Oooo, that’s quite the warmongering imperialist.

    Q: Can you address near term problems with nuclear NK?
    W: “[The] greatest danger posed in that regard is the danger of export… I think there are things we can do to limit the market elsewhere, and not perfectly, but the more cooperation we have the more we can do that successfully. But recognizing the time scale problem you referred to, I am not really sure I see a solution… Military action isn’t going to solve that short-term problem and large-scale bribery I don’t think is going to solve that short-term problem..”

    Still no authoritarian control, no colonialism, not even any capitalism (bribery anyone? bribery is free-market capitalism).

    Q: How do other troop deployments in the East and Iraq interact? We can’t go everywhere.
    A: “I think it’s much too early to say what our longer term or even relatively short term military presence is going to have to be…But the re-look at our defense posture is something we had in mind before the war even began. It is not … at all by considerations of what are our requirements will be in Iraq. At some point we’ll have to factor that in. But it is driven most of all by the sense that, as I said, first, the threat has changed. The need to respond on rapid basis in places that are quite unpredictable is dramatic. [more talk about need to act at distances deleted]”

    So, ‘we don’t know what we’ll need, we’re not done with what we’re doing.’ is my synopsis. To take this talk of military presence needs as imperialism would be stretching the definition to thew point of breaking.

    Q: Re: asia-pacific region. What’s the deal with China and India?
    A: “[china is modernizing] on the whole I remain relatively optimistic that China is going to continue with a focus on internal modernization. That process of modernization I think is going to increase the internal pressures in China to maintain a peaceful orientation toward the rest of the region…[if] the region as a whole is going to insist on peaceful behavior.” “our bilateral relationship with India in its own right is enormously important both in the defense relationship but also more broadly in the economic and technology relationship”

    Well, we have capitalism here, and defense, but no colonization. So yes. I concede your point. Wolfowitz mentions a reciprocal economic benefit to being on good terms with India, and therefore falls in Lenin’s theory of imperialism. I don’t think this is so bad, as if that had anything to do with it.

    Begin quote context section
    Q: Re: NK, is non-proliferation even an option?
    W: ” It seems to be that non-proliferation is not a dead letter at all … and if they want to save themselves from the dead end they are going down [i.e. political implosion], I think they have to address our concerns. I think that’s fairly clear.”

    Q: but isn’t letting them get away with this without intervention sending a mixed message vis a vis Iraq?
    W: “The concern about implosion is not primarily at all a matter of the weapons that North Korea has, but a fear particularly by South Korea and also to some extent China of what the larger implications are for them of having 20 million people on their borders in a state of potential collapse and anarchy. It’s is also a question of whether, if one wants to persuade the regime to change, whether you have to find — and I think you do — some kind of outcome that is acceptable to them. But that outcome has to be acceptable to us, and it has to include meeting our non-proliferation goals.”

    summary: It’s not only a WMD issue and the US, it’s also the local region’s interests in not wanting a politically and economically unstable NK.

    which leads to the misquote:

    “Look, the primarily difference — to put it a little too simply — between North Korea and Iraq is that we had virtually no economic options with Iraq because the country floats on a sea of oil. In the case of North Korea, the country is teetering on the edge of economic collapse and that I believe is a major point of leverage whereas the military picture with North Korea is very different from that with Iraq. The problems in both cases have some similarities but the solutions have got to be tailored to the circumstances which are very different.”

    So to paraphrase: ‘You couldn’t use economic diplomacy with Iraq because they have too much money. You can use economic leverage on NK, but you can’t use military options since they have a military upper-hand.’

    *This* is the damning phrase?
    *This* shows that Iraq was invaded for oil?
    *This* shows “why the US didn’t attack North Korea in 2003 instead of Iraq because North Korea was more of a threat”? (don’t get me started on unpacking the faulty assumptions behind this phrase).

    No, it shows that he thought the cost-benefit of pressing economic ‘buttons’ with NK was better than the cost-benefit of those same buttons with Iraq. This is what diplomats do and what ‘peace talks’ and ‘negotiations’ are.

    It’s not preferential treatment to oil-rich states as much as its an admission that fining a millionaire a couple bucks doesn’t change his behavior. Fining a poor homeless man $2 stings the poor man more harassing him. It is also an admission that not every solution is good in every circumstance, and demanding that is silly.

    This is different than what you said it meant. This is why it is a misquote (well, besides all the fiddly ignoring-the-context bits). I don’t know how to help you see that.

    You took a curious turn in your response, and try to “poison the well” regarding the quote, and misdirect the original issue. Here it goes:

    “If I take one of my favorite countries, Indonesia, there’s no question in my mind that if Suharto had gone down a different path in the late 80s and early 90s, and promoted reform instead of the opposite, that Indonesia might be in much better shape today than he left it.”
    What about all the inncent people he killed Paul!!!!

    So, Wolfowitz was talking about political change in NK in the context of an Asia Security conference; he chooses to give another example from the Pacific Rim that he has experience in. He says that he wishes Suharto would have “gone down a different path and promoted reform” which *in this same interview* has meant ‘political, armament policy, and economic reform by the NK authoritarian regime.’ So Paul is wishing that a country he liked/enjoyed would be better off, and it would have been if the dictator would have enacted economic and “political reform instead of the opposite” (entrenching himself with money and blood). What a monster Mr. W is! This shows that he wishes Suharto would have given up his ‘throne.’

    You produce a 2nd or more likely 3rd hand quote describing his inaction as ambassador to Indonesia (from wikipedia? or did you go back to the original source? or even tell us about that source?) here it is:

    Binny Buchori said, “While, “during his 32-year reign, Suharto, his family and his military and business cronies transformed Indonesia into one of the most graft-ridden countries in the world, plundering an estimated $30 billion … Wolfowitz [Buchori said] ‘never alluded to any concerns about the level of corruption or the need for more transparency….’”

    The original source says that says he was “an effective diplomat,” but a a silent humanitarian, if he was even that (there are other good things they say about him, so I guess he wasn’t a puppy-killer as ambassador). Sadly the original source doesn’t say how they (a coalition of NGOs) know about what he did or didn’t do. I’ll just assume they have proof and evidence that he did *not* do anything to pressure his host gov’t into political, economic and humanitarian reform (proof of a negative, very difficult, but I’ll stipulate it for the sake of it).

    That doesn’t invalidate his point that not every solution is good in every circumstance (which is the quote we are discussing, remember, and you tried to discredit him entirely). This doesn’t damn him as a dictator-coddler. He’s damned as a dictator coddler in the same way all ambassadors (and journalists in authoritarian regimes) are: see/hear/speak no evil lest you lose access. He was a spineless ambassador when it came to speaking up for what was right. Dictator coddler he was/is/whatever, it *doesn’t invalidate his point* and you’re trying to misdirect that issue.

    Since we got to the money quote, and passed it to get to the last paragraph, I’m stopping this long, boring pathetic hoedown of doing Q&A regarding your characterization of him as some flavor of super-imperialist. You might have a bad habit of using “Imperialist” to mean “someone with whom I disagree politically.” I have seen this habit in some of my socialist friends and coworkers. I can’t see any other good-faith explanation for the mischaracterization than that.

    3. Ok lets look at your quote “N” and I must thank you for providing it fully. It does not in any way shape or form take away from the fact that Wolfowitz is saying that ultimately North Korea was to big to fight and didnt have oil.

    No, that isn’t what he’s said (c.f. above) Even *this* summary about it is a mischaracterization.
    #1. He said nothing about “too big to fight” he was talking about the military situation in NK and the region as a whole. NK has artillery batteries on the border within firing range of Seoul. The reason the US to this day has a DMZ there is so that there’s *something* that can fight between NK and SK. We’ve already been to war with NK and it didn’t turn out smashingly for regional reasons (among others).
    #2. Additionally he didn’t say it was because they didn’t have oil. He said economic pressure was better on a failing economy than military pressure when the military situation would be even more difficult considering the conditions.

    I really can’t believe you can read a plain English paragraph and only see your preconception.

    I trust my points have been made: The quote didn’t mean what you thought it meant. *He* didn’t mean what you thought it meant.

    Everything else you have attached to my comment has been personal attacks based on exaggeration, supposition, misrepresentation of available facts, and an inability to admit that you were sloppy with your scholarship because it suited your political purpose.

    All your false jingoistic justification demonstrates your willingness to give a black eye to others without really looking into the facts instead of using factoids and smearing attempts!!!!

    Now all of this supposition and leaps-of-deduction are just starting to run together in a big “blah blah blah.” And you can quit shouting. I have not tried to justify or smear anything in the previous comment. You are reading way too much into what was there.
    This entire slur here is based on your own construct of who I am, and what I believe, and what I’m like, just like your other one. You can punch that little imaginary man as much as you’d like.

    My “willingness” includes (but is not limited to):
    1. checking quotes, searching for clarification and context before using
    2. defend myself when I’m attacked personally
    3. defend my conclusions when they attacked
    4. concede when I am wrong

    As far as I can see in your response to me, you aren’t willing to do at least 1 and 4.

    4113 US troops have been Killed, 30,000 US Troops have been harmed,over 100 British troops are dead, about 500,000 Iraqis are dead (probably higher), 5 million are homeless, and many widowed and fatherless.

    …keep up the fight…lets keep our boys safe in Iraq and bring them home to their families with honour as soon as possible. No more war profiteering and no more widowed and fatherless in Iraq. No invasions of Iran or Syria…lets make peace, build up our defences and borders at home…and next time a war is proposed lets think long and hard about our self-interest and the wars necessity.

    Wait! I thought *I* was supposed to be the jingoist automaton! You have to let me know when you change up roles like that.
    Keep doing this rosary, though, it’s got some real gems in it.

    UPDATE: Hey, I guess I really do have a ‘history’ with you and your posts beyond the only one I remember! I just found a second comment of mine under my given name in the blog archives. It’s not really “contentious” though, it was mainly an appeal to documents, but needed better info and sources. I also happen to disagree with your assessment of my comment there, but that is not for this thread. Discipline, people!

  28. hawkgrrrl,

    #26,

    Dan, the short answer is “yes.” The US would play nicer if our long-term self-interest guided our decisions. But it doesn’t usually. The key difference between Iran’s self-interests and the US’s are that the US is the sole superpower, while Iran is tiny and insignificant on the world scale but for their “cause.”

    So you’re saying the United States is mean because it can be, while poor Iran has to be nice because it can’t be mean because it isn’t a big enough bully?

  29. Post
    Author

    #29 – Yes Dan…that is my view aswell. The US is a bully in regards to its foreign policy. The Iraq war is a great example. French, German, Russian and Chinese companies had contracts in Iraq and were encouraging the sanctions to be lifted. Saddam was also trading oil in dollars. The US was threatened by this so they went in and 1) Made Iraq trade oil in Dollars again 2) Negate the contracts with those who were given them and gave them to British and American companies. The fact is that the US is so indebted and has its wealth backed by the Petrodollar. As soon as Oil stops trading in dollars (and if the US has a massive foreign debt) then the US, and the world, will see another recession/depression.

    #28 – N…

    I appreciate your response and your time. I also admire the fact that you are willing to read up the material I have put forth. We have both looked at Wolfowtiz’s Press Conference and have different perspectives therefore I see no need to dissect it further. I appreciate you have your understanding and enjoyed your analysis. Wolfowitz’s words, in context with his actions, are extremely saddening.

    I suggest you read Chapter 4 of Chomsky’s “Failed States” or even John Perkin’s “Secret History of the American Empire” to see US and Wolfowitz’s support for Suharto. In fact the UK sold him the Hawk Aircraft knowing that he would use it against the East Timorese. (See John Pilger’s Death of a Nation). The fact is that Suharto let us have the oil and many natural resources of Indonesia at a very cheap rate in addition to being staunchly anti-communist(which is a bit irrelevant)…but the former reason is mainly why we supported his disgusting regime.

    If you read posts of mine that I have written to other people you will see that I have admitted and apologized when I am wrong and been grateful. And I am grateful that you and I are having this dialogue. Nevertheless…in a court of law there is a great case for the criminality of Bush and Kissinger. And I will promote the hope I have that they are brought to an International War Crimes Tribunal in the hope that justice comes to those who have been harmed by their policies.

    I suggest you watch this:
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2815881561030958784

    And watch these clips from the BBC and Antiwar Radio.org for great scholarship about the illegality of the War and the criminal that is incumbant in the White House. I have given you the links and all you have to do is sit down infront of your computer screen and watch them.
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=s716WRIXnDw&feature=related
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=oxLhvwCbWwQ&feature=related (Definitely WATCH THIS)
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=AWEwfGCdFLs&feature=related

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=oxLhvwCbWwQ&feature=related

    I cut and pasted my previous responses because you never replied to the first one!!! And I strongly suspect you didnt even bother to read either of them until now!! This demonstrates to me, not only the shallowness of your hope to address the facts but your preference for contention, argument and ignorance. I have read everything you have referred to me and given my opinion. But you have not demonstrated to me your willingness to learn about the reasons for the war…nor have you even shared your moral and philosophical views on this post and other posts of mine. Thank you for correcting my spelling and dissecting my sources but you are straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.

    When it comes down to it you do not and have not addressed the main messages of my post.

  30. I will be running for Vice President of the United States in 2016. Vote “Marx & Moore” for President in 2016!

    My running mate Marc Saviano is in need of a bone marrow transplant, please donate or he might be dead in 2016 (and then who will be President?)!

    http://www.cotaformarcandsam.com/

    We will be running on a platform of Statehood for Iraq & Afghanistan. This ridiculousness of “Islamic republics” has got to stop! If we are spreading “democracy”, it needs to be done through the reach of our Constitution.

    As ancient trading routes to the east, Iraq & Afghanistan should be at home flying the “red, white, and blue” of the East India Company’s ‘Admirals of the Striped Squadron’ (a.k.a., “John Company’s gridiron”).

    Once the Rights, Freedoms, Privileges, and Appurtenances of Constitutional government are secured for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, then we will strategically have Iran surrounded by States of the Union. With courts, constitutional freedoms, federally-funded roads and highways and public education, with Senators and Representatives and their own State legislatures, certainly the people of these countries will be far better off than they are today (or have ever been)!

    If Iran continues to fuss with us through non-compliance to our demands, then we can just warn them of their impending statehood: “Don’t mess with us, Iran, or we’ll make you State! And you better watch out, your youth are on our side!” (And then we can be like, “Hey, now that you’re a State, check out this nuclear power plant!”)

    You see, the way I figure it, we go in alphabetical order. We are U.S.A., so obviously we are first. Next comes U.S.B., the United States of Babylon (Iraq, Afghanistan, & eventually Iran). Then U.S.C.: the United States of Canada (we’ll finally get around to freeing those poor British subjects to our north). U.S.D. is anyone’s guess. U.S.E. can be the United States of Europe, so we can save those bastards from the New World Order fascism of the European Union and such ridiculous federal constitutions as the Treaty of Lisbon which is being hoisted upon them by illegitimate and inbred Royals (all the legitimate royal dynasties are in the U.S.A. anyhow).

    Vote Marx & Moore in 2016!

  31. U.S.D. can be the United States of Down there — meaning Mexico and all those other little countries down there I can’t remember. We should own them too… I meant plant the seeds of democracy so that they can learn to be free and give us things for cheap.

  32. Valoel — Great point! Perhaps “United States of Dominica” would work nicely, which could include Mexico and all those other little countries we can’t remember. For this thread, it also ties back into the French angle, French Dominique is from Latin roots meaning Sunday. I’m sure Puerto Rico would finally enjoy possessing statehood (seems a long time coming for them, too bad we must focus on Iraq and Afghanistan first [due to the constraints of alphabetical order, of course]).

    Sorry, I-am-soooo-not-going-to-give-you-my-name, but we are going to have to take Guadeloupe and Martinique away from the country of your birth in order for this scheme to work!

    The rest of the world is going to be so excited to finally possess a constitution which gives servants and slaves a three-quarters vote!

  33. Oh, shoot… I totally forgot my other naming convention criteria: all future Unions must end in “A“, just like America. So that means the United States of Babylonia and the United States of Europa; it is simply a matter of convenience that the United States of Canada and the United States of Dominica will already end with an “A”.

  34. I suggest you read Chapter 4 of Chomsky’s “Failed States” or even John Perkin’s “Secret History of the American Empire” to see US and Wolfowitz’s support for Suharto.

    Immaterial to the discussion. Redirection. You’re still trying to poison the well. Wolfowitz’s dealings with Suharto have no bearing on whether or not he said “we didn’t attack NK because they had no oil” which you contend.
    On this tangential note, however, I probably won’t read the Chomsky piece. I’ve read mountains of Chomsky in graduate school, and I find him too willfully obtuse to take seriously. I have been meaning to pick up Perkins’ “Confessions…”

    If you read posts of mine to other people you will see that I have admitted and apologized when I am wrong and been grateful.

    I have read every one of your posts, but admittedly I have not read all of your comments. I don’t stick around for your protracted engagements with commenters, usually.
    When time permits, I will read them now, and I look forward to correcting my opinion of your engagements. I really *want* to, and will be happy to be wrong in this respect.

    Nevertheless…in a court of law there is a great case for the criminality of Bush and Kissinger. And I will promote the hope I have that they are brought to an International War Crimes Tribunal in the hope that justice comes to the poor and innocent who have been harmed by their policies.

    Immaterial to the discussion at hand. More misdirection.

    I suggest you watch this: [snip video link of anti-kissinger video]

    On your recommendation, I watched it. I have no doubt that the facts stated in this video are verifiable, and that those facts probably indicate he was a Very Bad Man. I have said before that I no love of Kissinger, or everything he’s ever done, or *anything* specific he’s done that I know about.
    This is *also* immaterial to the discussion about your use of quote. Misdirection again. I’m sensing a pattern.

    And watch these clips from the BBC and Antiwar Radio.org for great scholarship about the illegality of the War and the crimal that is incumbant in the White House.

    On your recommendation, I have watched them. I have no previous experience with the quality of the scholarship of antiwar.com, so I withhold judgment as to assessment of their “greatness.” I have had some experience with the BBC’s reporting, and it is very good.
    I have not argued the legality or morality of the current Iraq war in my comment. I have argued that the quote you used to bolster your rhetorical point was misquoted and mischaracterized. This line of discussion is immaterial and misdirection again.

    But you are probably to self satisfied with yourself to even do any of this.

    Supposition and mischaracterization. You’re still ad hominem-ing up a storm here.

    I cut and pasted my previous responses because you never replied to the first one!!!

    No, I said that you posted a response to me that was already cut and pasted from 2 other previous posts replying to other people. *Mine* is the duplicate of 2 other ones. It is impossible for you to have cut and pasted the reply to mine *again* in the text I’m referring to -well, without a time machine. I should not have brought this up; it’s tangential to the issue at hand, and something I noticed while reading all of your posts again and searching the comments for the history of my contentiousness.
    I haven’t even faulted you for doing it; I don’t know why you’ve used so many exclamation points in defending it. You have a body of proof texts you use for your convictions and deploy them as necessary. There’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t be so quick to lash back.

    And I strongly suspect you didnt even bother to read either of them until now!!

    This is entirely true, and I said exactly this in my previous comment. I don’t read comments on every post (I may not read every post). I am not bound by some dark geas to do so. I read the blog as I please, and comment as I please. I’m not here as your sounding board, toy, or as a captive audience for your political rhetoric.

    In general, I try not to engage in discussion in comment sections of blogs. In addition to issues of comment-posting-race-conditions, there are a number of other considerations which make it less than a profitable experience for all. There are better ways of having discussions. For example, if I wanted a discussion, I’d post my own blog entry and trackback to the originating post, and conduct it that way. When one leaves a comment on another’s blog, one is ‘playing someone else’s game on their own playground.’ They have power to moderate, alter, remove, etc anything posted as a comment. All of it is at the whim and pleasure of the blog author(s). This is often used with great efficacy in the blogosphere. I would not hold an in-face conversation with someone who can gag me at their whim. Why would I do so virtually?

    Additionally, I dislike having to read through 100 comments on a post to try and follow the single discussion worth reading. I’m projecting though, and since I hate doing it I assume other people probably do as well. This is an unprovable position, but there it is.

    My usual custom (around the blogosphere), is to read whatever comments are there when I read the original post, and then leave a comment that only pertains to the original post, if so moved upon. Then I move on– to another post, to another blog, to work, to family, whatever. I am not bound the the posts and threads, like many seem to be.

    I am also sad to admit, in looking at my own paltry comment-posts on mormonmatters, I have not held to my usual custom as I would like to. I hereby resolve to –uh– return to my resolve and not engage in comment section discussions any further. I’m sorry if this practice bothers you.

    I apologize if you have taken any affront from my lack of engagement in the comment section. Like I said, I’m just not that into you. It’s me, not you, though. It’s OK, you have plenty of other sparring partners, and plenty of other people you can bear-bait or reeducate.

    Oh, and stop trying to drag other previous comment threads into this one. It’s immaterial and misdirection again.

    This demonstrates to me, not only the shallowness of your hope to address the facts but your preference for contention, argument and ignorance.

    Again, you are reading way too much into my lack of engagement. You have no proof of my preferences, just vague, uncharitable characterizations (although I’ve been tempted to develop a preference for ignorance; they say it’s bliss). You have proof of a type of shallowness, yes, but not the kind you are referring to. I think I’ve adequately explained my flavor of shallowness to you (c.f. above).

    I have read everything you have referred to me and given my opinion.

    OK, are we back on topic as to your use of the Wolfowitz quote? You read the original source, and do not interpret the question and response context in the same way, correct?
    You still think he said “we didn’t attack NK because they had no oil.”
    I still say he said “we didn’t treat Iraq and NK the same way because the economic and military situations are very different.”
    I have not offered an opinion on whether I think his position was defensible on any grounds. That was beyond the scope of my comment.

    My original point is:
    These two summaries *mean different things,* and you have not merely misquoted him but unknowingly misrepresented the basic meaning of his response. I’m not even accusing you of academic *dishonesty*; I fully assume you didn’t know better. I am merely bringing out that it’s sloppy scholarship, if you were trying to achieve scholarship.
    That is *my* opinion.

    But you have not demonstrated to me your willingness to learn about the facts of not only the war…but your lack of will to share your moral and philosophical views on this post and other posts of mine.

    I thought you just said in your last comment that you were glad I was reading your suggestions? Is that not a willingness? Have I not just now informed you have watched the videos? Is that not willingness?
    Re: “Lack of will to share your moral and philosophical…”
    You’re the one with the blog/pseudo-public forum. You’re the one who wants to shout your views with lots of exclamation points. Not everyone shares that want/will/desire.
    You are correct in a sense though: if I had a *desire* (you call it a “lack of will” whichever you prefer) to share my moral and philosophical views with you or anyone else on this or any subject, I would have a blog. It’s really that simple.
    Re: “on this post and other posts of mine”
    I’m not sure you realize how vain this sounds –that I should spend more time reading, discussing, and debating *your* ideas in your own forum.

    Thank you for correcting my spelling and dissecting my sources but you are straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.

    I don’t recall correcting your spelling. It seems like insincere thanks, though.
    You may call it “straining at a gnat.” I call it basic sourcing for scholarship and academic practice.
    I have “swallowed” nothing. Everything you say that I have swallowed *you* have tried to put in my mouth. Your comment response to my source correction has been little more than supposition, straw man, libelous ad hominem, misdirections, and a veritable cornucopia of logical fallacies and insulting rhetoric. Oh, and links to youtube videos.

    When it comes down to it…your view of the Iraq War is ignorant and harmful.

    Which view I have not offered in this thread. More misdirection and ad hominem.

    You do not and have not addressed the main messages of my posts.

    I never intended to. Silence on my part can not be logically construed as opposition or approval, and your insistence cannot make it so.
    Against my better judgement, I have responded to attacks on my character and mischaracterizations of my beliefs by writing a second (and now third) comment.

    You may call it education or discussion, but I call it grandstanding and bear-baiting. I’m not going to be baited any more than I have let myself until now.

  35. Dan – “So you’re saying the United States is mean because it can be, while poor Iran has to be nice because it can’t be mean because it isn’t a big enough bully?” I didn’t say the US was a bully, and I have to imagine this is the first time the phrase “poor Iran” has been used. Iran in fact is a bully because it sees itself only answerable to God. The US is often viewed as a bully (whether it is acting as one or not) merely because it is the sole superpower. All I said was that the US would be more diplomatic if our leaders always considered the longer-term implications (beyond the next election) of their actions. Does the US sometimes act like a bully? Undoubtedly, usually in defense of some ideal or cause (like liberty and democracy and the state of Israel). My concern is that the root cause of bad behavior between countries is idealism or acting on a belief that “the cause” is the objective, whatever that cause may be. Causes don’t create diplomacy. Causes create dissonance. Self-interest promotes peaceful outcomes generally until it clashes with people who are crazed into a frenzy over a “cause” (such as terrorists).

  36. hawkgrrrl,

    I didn’t say the US was a bully, and I have to imagine this is the first time the phrase “poor Iran” has been used.

    Actually Iran is poor. And in comparison to the United States, Iran could never be the bully the United States is. We spend $500 billion dollars on our military. Iran spends $9 billion. Poor indeed.

    Iran in fact is a bully because it sees itself only answerable to God.

    And our conservative leaders don’t feel the same way? Bush certainly isn’t answerable to his people! I’m sorry to say hawkgrrl, but you really need to study up on Iran a little bit more. They are far more rational than you give them credit.

    Does the US sometimes act like a bully? Undoubtedly, usually in defense of some ideal or cause (like liberty and democracy and the state of Israel).

    Really? Let me share with you what the United States has done in the Middle East (let alone numerous other places) that are certainly not “in defense of some ideal or cause”. And speaking of that definition, Iran certainly acts the way they do “in defense of some ideal or cause.” You may not like that ideal or cause, but you still fail to show where the difference is between the United States and Iran. Now to my examples. From the book Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA. This is from page 138:

    One such “dirty trick” went on for a decade: the plot to overthrow the government of Syria.

    In 1949, the CIA installed a pro-American colonel, Adib Shishakli, as the Syrian leader. He won direct American military assistance along with covert financial aid. The CIA station chief in Damascus, Miles Copeland, called the colonel “a likeable rogue” who “had not, to my certain knowledge, ever bowed down to a graven image. He had, however, committed sacrilege, blasphemy, murder, adultery and theft.” He lasted four years before he was overthrown by Ba’ath Party and communist politicians and military officers. In March 1955, Allen Dulles predicted that the country was “ripe for a military coup d’etat” supported by the agency. In April 1956, the CIA’s Kim Roosevelt and his British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) counterpart Sir George Young tried to mobilize right-wing Syrian army officers; the CIA delivered half a million Syrian pounds to the leaders of the plot. But the Suez fiasco poisoned the political climate in the Middle East, pushed Syria closer to the Soviets, and forced the Americans and the British to postpone their plan at the end of October 1956.

    In the spring and summer of April 1957, they revived it. A document discovered in 2003 among the private papers of Duncan Sandys, Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s defense secretary, spells out their efforts in detail.

    Syria had to be “made to appear as the sponsor of plots, sabotage and violence directed against neighbouring governments,” it said. CIA and SIS would manufacture “national conspiracies and various strong-arm activities” in Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan, and blame them on Syria. They would create paramilitary factions and spark revolts among the Muslim Brotherhood in Damascus. The creation of the appearance of instability would destabilize the government; border clashes manufactured by the American and British intelligence would serve as a pretext for the pro-Western armies in Iraq and Jordan to invade. The CIA and SIS envisioned that any new regime they installed would likely “rely first upon repressive measures and arbitrary exercise in power” to survive.

    Roosevelt identified Abdul Hamid Serraj, the longtime chief of the Syrian intelligence service, as the most powerful man in Damascus. Serraj was to be assassinated, along with the chief of the Syrian general staff and the head of the Communist Party.”

    You can read on as to what happened. The plot failed. The Syrians saw through it and kicked out the Americans. Syria got closer to Egypt, and in the 1950s, this was a big thing as it put far more pressure on Israel.

    There are soooooo many instances of where the United States acted like a total and ugly bully. Why did we do it? Because we could. Who was going to stop us? Another particularly stupid act was to destabilize Indonesia, who at the time was an ally! Guess who came to power because of our destabilizing Indonesia? Suharto! Yeah, much good that did Indonesia. Was the CIA involved in Vietnam? You bet. And they screwed up there too.

    The United States is a bully like no other, and no we don’t go around being a bully for some noble ideal or cause. We do it because we can. Let me introduce you to little Tommy Friedman, who explained best why we went into Iraq. Take it away Little Tommy:



    We went into Iraq because we could. Suck on this, silly Iraqi!

  37. Dan – “you still fail to show where the difference is between the United States and Iran.” Whoa, I wasn’t trying to show the difference. I was trying to show that ALL nations, leaders, and people are subject to the same temptation: to make decisions based on ideals rather than self-interest. The early church certainly did this. Iran sounds rational to you? The citizens generally do, but the rhetoric of the leaders is very cause-driven, and also doesn’t sound rational to the UN as you will recall. And when any nation (US or Iran or other nation) feels they are only answerable to God and not beholden to the community of the world or even (in some cases) to the interests of their own citizens, they become very dangerous on the world stage. The rhetoric and the cause is the incendiary device that spurs actions that trample on human rights and in fact cause problems for that nation’s citizens in the eyes of the world: the Crusades (not so much a “nation”, Napoleon’s reign, Nazi Germany, all of these were based on causes.

    As to the US being a bully, all nations act like a bully when they get whipped up in the rhetoric of a cause, and as Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben said “With great power comes great responsibility.” You seem to think I’m disagreeing with you, but I’m not. I just see the root problem as idealistic fervor.

  38. Post
    Author

    N…I honestly can’t be bothered either. I take your corrections on board but I suggest that in the future, when you offer correction, you do it in an encouraging way rather than gloating that you have given the person corrected a black eye.

    Indeed Jeff…I definitely agree with you on that one. 🙂

  39. Vito Vixa, “The war actually is a “war against terror”

    Terror is a tactic, not an enemy. You can not have a war against a tactic, otherwise America would have to go to war with itself.

  40. MConder (#42) —

    Vito Vixa, “The war actually is a “war against terror”

    Actually, it is “The Global War on Terror”, that is the official title of this war.

    When analyzing the meaning of prepositions, it is often best to visualize a squirrel and a stump. The squirrel can sit “in” the stump, play “around” the stump, climb “up” the stump, or rest “on” the stump, etc.

    So, this being a War “on” Terror, the War (the squirrel) sits or rests upon Terror (the stump, and the tactic used to fight this war). In other words, Terror props up this War, not this War squelches Terror.

    But don’t take my word for it:

    On November 15, 2005, Department of Defense spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Barry Venable confirmed to the BBC that white phosphorus had been used as an incendiary antipersonnel weapon in Fallujah:

    “Yes, it was used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants. When you have enemy forces that are in covered positions that your high explosive artillery rounds are not having an impact on and you wish to get them out of those positions, one technique is to fire a white phosphorus round into the position because the combined effects of the fire and smoke — and in some case the terror brought about by the explosion on the ground — will drive them out of the holes so that you can kill them with high explosives.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-forces-used-chemical-weapon-in-iraq-515551.html

  41. The government has just answered this question for me.

    The EPA values a human life at $6.9 million dollars….down from $8 million dollars 5 years ago. So I guess that is about 140 barrels of oil according to the government.

    What do you think?? Is this too expensive…too cheap?

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