Thursday, June 23, 2005

Political genetics? Zell has the final word

On June 21, the NY Times published this article headlined, "Some politics may be etched in the genes."

Wow, I thought. What are neocons, genetic mosaics?

However, it turns out the research was more about concepts that influence politics than about political affiliation itself. Here's an excerpt:

...on the basis of a new study, a team of political scientists is arguing that people's gut-level reaction to issues like the death penalty, taxes and abortion is strongly influenced by genetic inheritance...

From an extensive battery of surveys on personality traits, religious beliefs and other psychological factors, the researchers selected 28 questions most relevant to political behavior. The questions asked people "to please indicate whether or not you agree with each topic," or are uncertain on issues like property taxes, capitalism, unions and X-rated movies...

The researchers then compared dizygotic or fraternal twins, who, like any biological siblings, share 50 percent of their genes, with monozygotic, or identical, twins, who share 100 percent of their genes.

Calculating how often identical twins agree on an issue and subtracting the rate at which fraternal twins agree on the same item provides a rough measure of genes' influence on that attitude. A shared family environment for twins reared together is assumed...

On school prayer, for example, the identical twins' opinions correlated at a rate of 0.66, a measure of how often they agreed. The correlation rate for fraternal twins was 0.46. This translated into a 41 percent contribution from inheritance...

But after correcting for the tendency of politically like-minded men and women to marry each other, the researchers also found that the twins' self-identification as Republican or Democrat was far more dependent on environmental factors like upbringing and life experience than was their social orientation, which the researchers call ideology. Inheritance accounted for 14 percent of the difference in party, the researchers found.

Here's the part that starts being relevant to what's going on with neocons (perhaps):

A mismatch between an inherited social orientation and a given party may also explain why some people defect from a party. Many people who are genetically conservative may be brought up as Democrats, and some who are genetically more progressive may be raised as Republicans, the researchers say.

In tracking attitudes over the years, geneticists have found that social attitudes tend to stabilize in the late teens and early 20's, when young people begin to fend for themselves.

Some "mismatched" people remain loyal to their family's political party. But circumstances can override inherited bent. The draft may look like a good idea until your number is up. The death penalty may seem barbaric until a loved one is murdered.

That's quite simplistic, but it's a version of the old "mugged by reality" line about neocons (one I've been guilty of using, although in retrospect I think it's glibly misleading, as further segments of my "change" series should wind up demonstrating. The true situation is far more complex.)

But here's my very favorite part. I'm with Zell Miller on this one, although I wish I could say it as well as he does:

Other people whose social orientations are out of line with their given parties may feel a discomfort that can turn them into opponents of their former party, Dr. Alford said.

"Zell Miller would be a good example of this," Dr. Alford said, referring to the former Democratic governor and senator from Georgia who gave an impassioned speech at the Republican National Convention last year against the Democrats' nominee, John Kerry.

Support for Democrats among white men has been eroding for years in the South, Dr. Alford said, and Mr. Miller is remarkable for remaining nominally a Democrat despite his divergence from the party line on many issues.

Reached by telephone, Mr. Miller said he did not see it quite that way. He said that his views had not changed much since his days as a marine, but that the Democratic Party had moved.

"And I'm not talking about inch by inch, like a glacier," said Mr. Miller, who makes the case in a new book, "A Deficit of Decency." "I'm saying the thing got up and flew away."

My sentiments exactly. The blasted thing just got up and flew away.


At 12:38 PM, June 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suspect some people are born with a gene that predisposes them to accept the veracity of everything they read in the New York Times, even Frank Rich and Paul Krugman.

At 1:47 PM, June 23, 2005, Blogger Goesh said...

I've alluded to this in another blog or two - we need to start utilizing phrenologists again. They are more reliable than genetic assumptions, hands down.

At 1:58 PM, June 23, 2005, Anonymous Ray Zacek said...

Paul Giametti's character in the movie Sideways is a good example of the NYT gene. He exists and muddles through life in a self-absorbed fog and first thing in the morning he wanders into a coffee shop to order, robotically, a latte and copy of the Times.

At 6:10 PM, June 23, 2005, Blogger Ho Chi Minh said...

I think this is Nazi shit.

On the other hand genetics, knowing no borders, could explain why there are good and bad people everwhere.

And why bad American's like to do business with bad dictators (Saddam for instance), and pretend it never happened. ..Oh, then bomb and starve his people after subjecting them to thirty years of tyranny.

Then wonder why Arab's don't trust us?

Intelligence is genetic. Maybe that's the gene Zell stumbled across.

At 7:42 PM, June 23, 2005, Blogger Goesh said...

I like the way a reader gets to see who is posting via the way the names are highlighted. It really makes is simple not to have to read certain respondents, not that I would ever mention Ho's name out loud.

At 7:49 PM, June 23, 2005, Anonymous meander said...

I'm an admitted internet dinosaur so when I linked the "genetic mosaic" thing, I noted how you phrased your search and thought, "Oh, so that's how you do that. I just might need to do that myself sometime so I'll make a little mental note." Then I get into the comments and Goesh puts me to the test with the word "phrenologists". So, thanks, I went to google and I wasn't stumpede for long.

At 7:49 PM, June 23, 2005, Blogger Promethea said...

Despite my avid reading of neocon blogs like yours, Roger Simon, LGF, etc., I still can't grasp why the Democratic party is so clueless or evil re the War on Terror. Don't these senators and representatives believe that Flight 93 was aimed at them?

There's a real deficit of imagination and intelligence in this department from people who should know better.

Maybe Ho Chi Minh is a college student who doesn't know any better because he hasn't been educated. So I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

But Kerry, Pelosi, Durban and their ilk? They're just dumb or evil. Really, this whole Gitmo hoohah is just one more example of either stupid or traitorous behavior.

Sometimes the truth is simple and not nuanceable.

At 9:35 PM, June 23, 2005, Blogger neuroconservative said...

It is a pleasant surprise that the NYT even allows Zell to speak for himself.

I have been a fan of your blog since I recently discovered you, and you have been something of an inspiration for my blog, Neuro-conservative.

I have several posts on this genetics article, as well as several on Freud and related topics that you might be interested in. I hope you have a chance to check it out.

At 11:11 PM, June 23, 2005, Anonymous JackieB said...

Neo - Thanks so much for your blog. I discovered you about 2 months ago via Roger L Simon, and since then read you every day. Regarding Zell Miller, I agree with the good doctor that he is unusual, based on my own experience. This Southern belle became a Republican (the party of Lincoln!) early on,in 1968 (though she didn't realize at the time that it would be life-long.)Up until that time the Democratic party really had been the "big tent party". From that year on, there was clearly no place for a conservative. So I agree with Zell: I didn't leave the party, the party left me. That it took so long for him to admit this I can understand, for it is rooted in the southern reverence for "tradition". Most southern conservatives defected long before he did he did.

At 4:34 AM, June 24, 2005, Blogger Ho Chi Minh said...


Thanks for giving me the benifit of the doubt.

Your post is confusing though:

The U.S. did not help create and support dictatorships and tyranny?

In the case of Iraq this has not been forgotten, or deemed irrelevent? Are you aware of the extent America was involved with Saddam Hussein the past 35 years?

And because I am of a different opinion then yours means I'm "un-educated"?

Your obvious superior education has still not enabled you to see the absurdity in the U.S. (and others) giving (selling) Saddam a gun (and gas), then screaming bloody murder and taking the moral high ground because he has a gun (and gas). Of course he does, WE GAVE IT TO HIM!

It's not like Saddam was a democrat that changed stripes or tricked us, we knew exactly who we were getting in bed with. Yet when blinded by the light of our glorious, new found American benevolence, completely irrevelant to America's "educated".

I suppose a fireman who goes around starting fires and puts them out is a hero too.

I hope your parents didn't spend too much money on your education.

At 4:40 AM, June 24, 2005, Blogger Ho Chi Minh said...


How dare me confront your conventional wisdom.

You're right though about the names, but yours caused me to wonder what it meant. Goesh, like in Gosh? Or to be me more accurate, Gosh What A Dick Head?

At 6:52 AM, June 24, 2005, Anonymous Joseph said...

A very interesting article on political genetics, I don't agree with everything but I must say that with my years of experience in politics the most truthful part is the party identification aspect and ways holding onto such is almost like religion in the sense it is a means most measure family loyalty and social order. As a former life-long Democrat I will tell you that voting for Bush created a fury within my circles, but the permanence of changing political parties (which I did) almost got me a full mock burial, it was as if I swore off my Jewish heritage.

I would also like to add that saying "the party left me" is too simplistic as I do believe that the truth lies in between. The parties have changed but the priorities of many of us political crossovers has also matured. It is quite plain to those without jaded eyes to see retrospectively that since Reagan the Republicans have been the more progressive Party, but further if one has come to see War as the only true means to achieve the ends of freedom, one party barely has the stomach for it, while the other party has no stomach for it at all. The other point is my changing testified to the lack of hope I had in influencing the Democrats and their base to change in appreciable degrees on such matters. In a nutshell I lost any sense that it was worth fighting over because the WOT is a more important fight with little time to waste and this is where I feel my energy should go. Which Party would make me feel I was spinning my wheels in such efforts? On this Zell and I agree.

At 8:06 AM, June 24, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uncle Ho,

the US severed diplomatic relations with Saddam's Iraq shortly after the Yom Kippur war of 1973. If I'm correctly informed, it was the only western nation to do so.

Diplomatic relations were then resumed in 1984, in the midst of the Iraq-Iran war: when the tide had turned against Iraq and it was in danger of being overwhelmed by Chomeinist Iran. To support Iraq at that time was a pragmatic choice between the lesser of two recognized evils.

It was in this context, by the way, that the famous picture of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam was taken: When he, as Reagan's envoy to Iraq, prepared the resumption of diplomatic relations.

Let me add that in 1984 Saddam had not yet revealed the full extent of his demonic nature and rule. The gas attacks against the Kurdish villagers, e.g., only took place in 1987. Therefore, while nobody in his/her right mind in 1984 could harbor any doubt that Saddam was a thuggish autocrat, he did not yet stick out very much by the standards of his region.

U.S. diplomatic relations with Iraq were again severed over the Kuwayt crisis and war in 1991. They were only re-established recently (2004 or 2005).

So much regarding your clich├ęd evocative drivel about the "extent America was involved with Saddam Hussein [over] the past 35 years". Diplomatic relations over this period were limited to less than a dozen years. The U.S. neither created nor continually nurtured the monster.

Michael, Germany

At 8:42 AM, June 24, 2005, Blogger Alex said...

Thank you for the history lesson, Michael from Germany. (Incidentally, isn't Ho from Germany as well?)

In other news, maybe no one cares but I have my doubts about the methodology of this study. The strategy of comparing MZ and DZ twins is a decent one in general, but used on political views it presents a problem. Identical (DZ) twins are famous for the level of intimacy they share with each other. Now of course this is not universal, and some DZ twins hate each other or go their separate ways for whatever reason. But that said, I'm almost certain that DZ twins, on average, spend more time talking together than MZ twins. This certainly might be enough to induce a greater correlation in political views.

A caveat: why do DZ twins spend more time together? If it's due to a greater "natural" affinity then perhaps the gap could still be traced back to genetics. But it also might be the eeriness of having a different version of yourself in the top bunk, and just needing to try to figure that person out...

At 8:46 AM, June 24, 2005, Blogger Alex said...

Whoops! I switched "MZ" and "DZ" in the last post. Identical twins are MZ. Just imagine it reversed and everything still makes sense.

At 9:30 AM, June 24, 2005, Blogger Ron said...

ah, Uncle Ho will blame us for the Soviet gulag, because of WWII lend-lease...yup, makes sense to me...ahem.

At 10:30 AM, June 24, 2005, Blogger Goesh said...

Micheal makes some excellant points. The vain arguments certain folks make, not that I would ever mention anyone whose name starts with an H, simply do not hold water. The analagous example to Iraq often cited is the US assisting the mujahadeen in their fight against the Russians in Afghanistan. The ol' Lefty reasoning goes: because the US helped, we are responsible for the aftermath. Sure, sure, it's like alerting someone to a fire in their home then being blamed because they fell down and broke a leg fleeing the house. At times I pity the twisted logic of the Left, at other times, I am blessed with the ability to ignore it. You da' man, George Bush, you da' man!

At 12:23 PM, June 24, 2005, Anonymous neo-neocon said...

Michael, excellent comment, making some very good points that are rarely brought out.

Alex, in an earlier version of this post I had tried to go into just that--the doubts I have about the indentical/fraternal twin methodology and the assumptions about having the same environment. But I figured the post was already technical enough. Sometimes I really do go on! Thanks for the explanation; I agree with you entirely on that.

Joseph--your comments are insightful, as usual. I agree with you that it isn't quite as simple as "the party left me." Although for me, it is still a very very strong perception.

At 1:53 PM, June 24, 2005, Blogger Brad said...

I think this stuff is bunk. The biochemistry is far more important than the genetics, and the biochem is heavily influenced by the environment. Genes may influence certain primal impulses, but not a particular political worldview. And to further Alex's point, keep in mind that MZ twins are always the same sex, which means that their environmental experiences will always be more similar.

At 2:18 PM, June 24, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alex, Goesh, dear Hostess,

thanks for the flowers.

As to Ho being German, I have no idea, Alex. Did he hint something to that effect in comments to earlier threads? (I'm a relative newcomer to this site.) In this thread at least he consistently speaks of the US as "us" (ha, a little pun!). While that could of course be a ploy, I dont't detect any interferences of a presumed native German in his English. Therefore I would cautiously bet against Ho being a German.

At 2:21 PM, June 24, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, forgot to sign the last comment, which is from

Michael, Germany.

At 2:26 PM, June 24, 2005, Anonymous Joseph said...


I feel a need to cover part of what I discussed at Roger L. Simons blog concerning Oriana Fallaci and her kind of transcending politics in the stereotypical right/left sense because it touches upon this topic. It had been said by a person posting that Oriana was following a long proven good sense of smell and while I agreed with this I felt it needed to be pointed out that when we talk about this sense of smell she is not unique in smelling such bad things out, for I think this is something we are all capable of, but what is lacked by many (myself included at times) is the moral maturity, mental courage, commitment to one's convictions, and the inner strength to put principle above petty prejudice,and selfishness shunning politics all the way on such matters.

Now this touches upon change in the political sense, but for me it is quite simple, when we approach life with sound ideas to achieve certain ends, what is important is the ends even more so then the means, but the means is where the true test is, courage is needed. It is the means that brings so much trouble, this is where change can be affected and influenced by the courage or lack thereof for our convictions, it can truly reveal our true priorities. Peaceful ends may justify means that seem ugly, but the means employed does need to be fair and principled and sometimes war fit that description, especially when one looks to the alternatives.

Neo-neocon the truth is if I was anti-War during Vietnam, and as a teenager indeed I was, how can I say the "party left me" now that the Democrats are playing the same role? This is why I said change was a mixed bag, part of that change is me maturing in a way to see that at times the necessity of War is real, but even more necessary then I had afore thought.

Now the above for me is what being a "neo-con" is all about. I still dislike the term but it appears to have been pinned on my behind by those around me, I consider myself a liberal. But alas I am an agnostic Jew breaking bread with pro-Israel Social-Conservatives, why? Because of the ends, but don't get me wrong it does breed a certain loyalty to this group but before 911, I would not have done such a thing. One day it hit me that the ends of life needed in this world were more important then my long held inner-prejudice and protection of party affiliation and the truth is many principles and ends that I felt worthy were being more universally sought and succesfully acheived by the other political team not because my party "changed".

I have watched friend and family member declare over and over evil what would be considered acceptable if only implemented by Democrats, I have grown impatient with such thinking. Agian, saying "they left me" in a sense places to much responsibility on those I have parted with. It aviods admittance of being in error in the past because to say "they left me" implies no mistakes on my part, is that really what happened to most of us? Their may be exceptions but the truth is I also needed to do some changing to get there.

The biggest component or avenue for change also is what gave me the ability to accept the "neo-con" pejorative label first slapped upon me in the most derogatory terms by my brother, even though at the time I almost punched him in the nose! But the definition I give for neo-con answers the question.

Their are many definitions of a neo-con... a liberal mugged by reality, neo-liberal on steroids, neo-liberal with boots, but for me my own self made definition is this,

neo-conservative - "a liberal who is willing to use conservative means to achieve liberal ends."

A liberal willing to use conservative means to achieve liberal ends? Damn straight! I feel I talk for many so-called neo-cons and lifelong Democrats that find themselves in my position. My commitment is for the ends and in a post 911 world the means just happen to be War and a Republican President. What has changed? I have come to love the ends of achievement above and beyond justifying my prejudices of who is fighting for the cause. Do I want to lose so I can say I told you so? Many in my family wouldn't admit it yet their prejudice and anger is ruling them.

Oriana Fallaci is an Atheist and doesn't love the Pope because he is Catholic, and I certainly don't love Dubya because he is a Social Conservative. Oriana has enough courage for her convictions to respect all race creed and color who share her goals, I have finally matured enough to try and do the same. That is the true point! Zell Miller did not change party's, the courage of his convictions didn't require it, but he did declare Bush to be a far-sighted leader with courage, and Zell's desire for achieving the goals he shared with Bush out-stripped all his former party "team player" tendencies. In my case I felt the courage of my convictions did require changing party affiliation but in the end the story is the same. The ends Zell and I desire to achieve transcend Party loyalty and as I said, how we behave in such times reveals much. Great Blog!

Joseph Samuel Friedman

At 2:30 PM, June 24, 2005, Blogger Alex said...

I only think Ho is German because on his profile (viewable by clicking his name) it says his location is Hamburg, Germany. Suppose he could be an expat, who knows. Well, I guess Ho knows. (Sounds like a certain ad campaign.) Care to enlighten us, Ho?

At 3:57 PM, June 24, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

G&S take from Iolanthe

When all night long a chap remains
On sentry-go, to chase monotony
He exercises of his brains,
That is, assuming that he's got any.
Though never nurtured in the lap
Of luxury, yet I admonish you,
I am an intellectual chap,
And think of things that would astonish you.
I often think it's comical--Fal, lal, la!
How Nature always does contrive--Fal, lal, la!
That every boy and every gal
That's born into the world alive
Is either a little Liberal
Or else a little Conservative!
Fal, lal, la!

When in that House M.P.'s divide,
If they've a brain and cerebellum, too,
They've got to leave that brain outside,
And vote just as their leaders tell 'em to.
But then the prospect of a lot
Of dull M. P.'s in close proximity,
All thinking for themselves, is what
No man can face with equanimity.
Then let's rejoice with loud Fal la--Fal la la!
That Nature always does contrive--Fal lal la!
That every boy and every gal
That's born into the world alive
Is either a little Liberal
Or else a little Conservative!
Fal lal la!

At 5:14 PM, June 24, 2005, Blogger ShrinkWrapped said...

I posted on this article on Tuesday but didn't see your article until today. As with so much that the MSM writes about science, the article is almost completely worhtless in terms of conveying menaingful information.
From my post:
"Genes direct a cell to produce proteins and proteins can do many things, but they do not produce attitudes or behavior."
I have a lot more in the post about the vast distance between gene expression and attitudes/behavior, a distance so vast as to make such conclusions as stated in the article the wildest of nonsensical speculation. When you have a moment, take a look.

At 6:23 PM, June 24, 2005, Blogger Alex said...

To be honest, ShrinkWrapped, I don't share your critism. Genes don't produce behaviors? What about instinctual behavior in animals? In humans, genes are far from the only things that produce behaviors, and indeed may be far less important than other factors. And also, the pathway from gene to behavior is extremely complex, too complex for us to trace or to give us predictive power. But I think it's a mistake to say that genes have no influence in the matter just because the analysis is beyond our means.

Note that this article, like the paper on which it was based, is not concerned with finding the specific mechanisms by which genes might affect opinion. It doesn't need to. You take them to task for not writing about feedback loops and protein folding. But supposing the research strategy were truly airtight (which I don't think it is; see my comments above), and we truly had a natural experiment comparing MZ and same-sex DZ twins, then by comparing correlations we could make a very strong case for or against the influence of genes without ever going near a microscope. We wouldn't know which genes they were (further research might do that) but we'd know it was genes and not environment.

As for things like the exact 14% influence that you rail against in your post, I'm pretty sure there's a margin of error around that number that the Times just isn't reporting.

Listen, I wasn't crazy about this story either, and I do agree that by saying something is "all in the genes" some people will take that to mean that no one is responsible for their actions, and we wouldn't want that. But it seems undeniable that genes have some influence, and this methodology is as good a shot as I've seen at teasing out the contribution of genetics.

At 7:59 PM, June 24, 2005, Blogger Ho Chi Minh said...


If I am correctly informed Saddam was on the CIA payroll in Cairo from 1957, involved in both the botched assassination of Iaqi President Abdul Kassim in 1959, and the successful 1963 killing, which brought the Baath Party to power (in the first place). As the Baath Party's Interior Minister, Ali Saleh, was later quoted: "We rode the CIA train to power".

Excuse me, but Saddam was on that train.

The 1963 coup was indeed bloody, involving collecting names of ("communist") intellectuals, politicians etc., and their families, and liquidating them outright. After Saddam performed further work hunting down and interrogating (torturing) "communists", again on the CIA payroll, as he rose in the ranks of the Baath Party, first becoming head al-jihaz a-khas, their secret intelligence service. Again benifiting from US expertice.

Overthrown in a military coup themselves, the Baath Party returned to power again in 1968, once more with CIA help. Saddam was made number two in the party. Thanks America.

Nationalising their oil industry in '72, and a complete U.S. oil embargo after the Arab Israeli War, the U.S. did cut off diplomatic relations. No one else did because they were still getting their oil. Yet business and some military relations continued, as they did when the U.S. cut off relations with South Africa.

Just because offial diplomatic relations are severed doesn't mean everything comes to a dead halt. This is "drivel" on your part.

As the Shah of Iran was ousted in Iran in 1979, all was forgotten (including our 1952 coup that ousted Iranian President Mossagdeh tha brought the Shah to power in the first place, setting off the whole chain of murderous events we're talking about). That year Saddam was made number 1 in the Baath Party in Iraq, purging his country of all political opponents. Again, while diplomatic relations with the US were still off, the official thaw was quick. Saddam was our favourite boy again, despite his brutal political purges.

US arms and finaces aided Iraq in the war against Iran, and (not) funny enough, Iran against Iraq too (to weaken both sides, and to finance our bloody adventure in Nicaragua). ..Oh how the Arabs must love us.

We delivered the gas and equiupment for it's proper use because Iran was gaining the upper hand in the war. It was clear he was going to use the gas, that's why we gave it to him. According to a US Armed Forces Radio disclosure we trained him how to handle and use them both, the gas and equipment. Other US sources confirm this as well. You're dreaming if you think we didn't know.

As for Saddam not being any worse then others in the region, like the Shah, Saudi's lovely ruling family,
or Turkey's military government, maybe that's because we trained them too.

And just to clarify, America doesn't have to go around the world causing trouble, theirs trouble already there. We do seem to have a remarkable talent though to intervene in foreign internal disputes and try to steer things to our own, very private geo-political advantage, often with disastourous human consequences: Like the Baath party and Saddam Hussein, and all we see in Iraq today.

Saddam, as a 22 year old student, entered the Baath Party on the CIA payroll, riding the CIA train. While relations were once severed, enough money, intelligence, weapons and terror can be traced back to our intervention over the last 37 years
to make any American ashamed.

This is neither cliche or drivel, this is your tax payer money (and your parents) at work.

At 8:03 PM, June 24, 2005, Blogger Ho Chi Minh said...

Oh, and I'm American

At 8:25 PM, June 24, 2005, Blogger Ho Chi Minh said...


"The ol' Lefty reasoning goes: because the US helped, we are responsible for the aftermath".

Excuse me, but perhaps the support of the most powerful nation on earth might embolden people to attempt things they would normally never do, especially if you're the tiny minority Baath Party back in '59.
Without out our weight behind them what would have happened? Yes, remain thugs (Saddam was studying law), but thanks to us they bacme big international thugs, elevating them to a level they could really do some harm.

And in any court of law, if you're an accomplice you're guilty, as Saddam's lawyers are sure to argue.

And I disagree, in this context we're not "alerting someone to a fire", we're giving the arson the gasoline and the match, and for no other reason then it was in our interest at the time.

As for "falling down and breaking a leg", if you calculate American meddling setting off the chain of events from Mossagdeh's murder to the Shah, Saddam, and after, we're talking about a few million dead people. This is no broken leg.

"I am blessed with the ability to ignore it. You da' man, George Bush, you da' man!" ..No, you are only blessed with blindness.

At 1:55 PM, June 27, 2005, Blogger Michael B said...

Ho Chi Grim,

And a gleeful grim it is. Once again your demonstrations - of being able to marshal facticity in the service of your schadenfreude and shallow triumphalism - in turn demonstrate your more anemic and myopic qualities when it comes to substance and a more mature view of the broader realities. No one believes the US performed flawlessly during the Cold War, only that the US and the West in general, given the choices and realities, were on the right side of history and similarly that the Left was consistently on the wrong side of that same history. The US didn't perform flawlessly or with moral purity during WWII or any of its other conflicts either. Hence it's a strawman argument and a demonstration of a shallow analysis to suggest otherwise. The simple fact remains, Saddam Hussein is responsible for his own actions, the US is not The Great Satan, and your analysis is shallow indeed.

At 4:02 PM, June 28, 2005, Blogger Ho Chi Minh said...

Michael B(ull-shitter),

Once again your collegiate verbalising demonstrates the academic and logical blinders "you" stumble through life with. ..Oh, and into wars.

"Saddam Hussein is responsible for his own actions, the US is not The Great Satan, and your analysis is shallow indeed."

Saddam is responsible for his own actions. And who is for ours?

If by Great Satan you mean the country with the biggest, slimiest intelligence agency, the most powerful military with the most bases scattered in every corner of the world, the one meddling the most in other peoples affairs, peddling cash, arms and political influence the most, invading other countries the most, bringing to power and supporting dictatorships the most, and willing to do anything for money the most, if all of this is considered ..then I guess that is "us", United Satans of America( your choice of words. Mine would be Imperialist Money Bags of America. Closer to reality.

And what about substance? My run down on how Saddam enterred politics (a CIA assassin), bringing his minority party to power (2 times), arming them when we needed them, training his security forces and Army, complicity in his people's misery for 30 years, then starving 1 million of his people out for having weapons we gave (or sold) him, then invaded killing tens of thoudands more, not to mention destroying their infrastructure and generally blowing the country to bits, or triggering an unstoppable civil war, all this isn't substantive enough to support my premise: That Arabs have a good reason to fight us. (And that's just the U.S. working it's magic on Iraq).

Yet all you have to say is "Saddam is responsible for his own action", and my views are "shallow indeed".

Again, in any court of law the U.S. would be found criminally complicent in Saddam's crimes, and still might, if he's ever brought to trial that is.

I suppose we could have hired a nice, democratic kind of guy to kill Kassem back in '57, but you know, in this world that ain't easy. Nice guys commited to democracy don't shoot elected presidents in the head.

Hold tight to our flag Michael, you don't want to lose your baby blanket.

At 8:55 PM, June 28, 2005, Blogger Michael B said...

The standard hate-born displays of a presumptive venomist.


At 3:01 AM, June 29, 2005, Blogger Ho Chi Minh said...

Standard American conservative bull-shit response. Considering what we've done in the Midle East the last 50 years you don't see any reason for Arabs to hate us? Or does my even brining the point up
demonstrate to you merely my "self hate", or "hate-born" outlook, or some other utterly bizarre American formulation to explain away geo-political realities.

How typical, anything except accepting responsibility for our actions, or that they might illicit a response.

Nothing but hollow posturing. Boring. Pathetic.

At 3:10 PM, July 19, 2006, Blogger DonS said...

If I am correctly informed Saddam was on the CIA payroll in Cairo from 1957, involved in both the botched assassination of Iaqi President Abdul Kassim in 1959, and the successful 1963 killing, which brought the Baath Party to power (in the first place).

All the stuff I can find to back that story leads back to Roger Morris, a State Department foreign service officer who quit when Nixon invaded Cambodia, or anonymous sources. I don't buy it, in part because Saddam's Iraq was a Soviet client state.

Back up your claims with sources that don't lead to Morris.

At 3:14 PM, July 19, 2006, Blogger DonS said...

Considering what we've done in the Midle East the last 50 years you don't see any reason for Arabs to hate us?


We haven't done much. The Russian, French, and British influence has been more significant. We were not even a major supporter of Israel until after '68.

Unverified stories of CIA involvement with Saddam are small potatos even if true. They don't hate us for what we have done, but for what we are.

At 3:25 PM, July 19, 2006, Blogger DonS said...

And what about substance? My run down on how Saddam enterred politics (a CIA assassin), bringing his minority party to power (2 times), arming them when we needed them, training his security forces and Army, complicity in his people's misery for 30 years, then starving 1 million of his people out for having weapons we gave (or sold) him,

So we provided Soviet T-55s, T-62s, T-72s, MiGs, AK-47s, and French Mirage aircraft with Exocet missles? And the training to use them?

You do realize Saddam's Iraq was a Soviet client state, an enemy of our (post '68) friend Israel, and that he was still receiving Russian (and perhaps French) weapons on the eve or even during the US invasion.

The people with the dirty ties to Saddam are French, Russian, and UN officials.


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