Friday, April 21, 2006

The Euston Manifesto

A group of bloggers and others on the Left have recently composed, signed, and disseminated this document, known as "The Euston Manifesto." Prominent blogger and Marxist professor Norman Geras was highly involved in the writing of the Manifesto, and has posted a great deal of commentary about it on his blog, both here and here.

Norm is one of those "principled leftists" who recognize the liberation aspects of the Iraqi invasion by the US. The document is well worth reading, and the signatories are an impressive bunch (scroll down to the bottom of the Manifesto link to find them).

There's little in the document with which a former liberal (rather than leftist) and present neocon such as myself would disagree. And that little is exceedingly tangential to the main thrust of the Manifesto, which is to place these leftists back in the forefront of the worldwide struggle for human rights and in opposition to the sort of kneejerk embracing of reflexive anti-Americanism that ends up sending certain other self-labeled "progressives" straight into the loving arms of dictators such as Saddam, and terrorists who purposely target innocent people and blow them to bits.

My quarrels? As I said, they are tangential. Some of them are only with a phrase or an emphasis here and there, hardly worth mentioning. Two slightly larger ones are as follows:

(1) The document's unqualified support of trade unions. Trade unions have done a lot of good, especially back when they began, when capitalism was utterly laissez-faire. But in recent years they've sometimes overcorrected and created new problems. Another topic perhaps, for another time.

(2) The seventh statement, about Israel, is vague and extremely general. My guess is that it represented a compromise between some widely disparate views held by the signers on this incendiary topic. The words "We recognize the right of both the Israeli and the Palestinian peoples to self-determination within the framework of a two-state solution. There can be no reasonable resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that subordinates or eliminates the legitimate rights and interests of one of the sides to the dispute" are actually words with which I agree, but they are so open to interpretation (especially what's "legitimate") as to mean virtually nothing.

But that's okay; this document isn't really about Israel and the Palestinians. Nor is it, of course, about trade unions.

There are so many good sections in the Manifesto that I would suggest, once again, that you read the whole thing. But I'd like to especially highlight the following (a job well done, and very few punches pulled):

2) No apology for tyranny.
We decline to make excuses for, to indulgently "understand", reactionary regimes and movements for which democracy is a hated enemy — regimes that oppress their own peoples and movements that aspire to do so. We draw a firm line between ourselves and those left-liberal voices today quick to offer an apologetic explanation for such political forces....

6) Opposing anti-Americanism.
We reject without qualification the anti-Americanism now infecting so much left-liberal (and some conservative) thinking. This is not a case of seeing the US as a model society. We are aware of its problems and failings. But these are shared in some degree with all of the developed world. The United States of America is a great country and nation. It is the home of a strong democracy with a noble tradition behind it and lasting constitutional and social achievements to its name. Its peoples have produced a vibrant culture that is the pleasure, the source-book and the envy of millions...

11) A critical openness.
Drawing the lesson of the disastrous history of left apologetics over the crimes of Stalinism and Maoism, as well as more recent exercises in the same vein (some of the reaction to the crimes of 9/11, the excuse-making for suicide-terrorism, the disgraceful alliances lately set up inside the "anti-war" movement with illiberal theocrats), we reject the notion that there are no opponents on the Left. We reject, similarly, the idea that there can be no opening to ideas and individuals to our right. Leftists who make common cause with, or excuses for, anti-democratic forces should be criticized in clear and forthright terms. Conversely, we pay attention to liberal and conservative voices and ideas if they contribute to strengthening democratic norms and practices and to the battle for human progress.

12) Historical truth.
In connecting to the original humanistic impulses of the movement for human progress, we emphasize the duty which genuine democrats must have to respect for the historical truth. Not only fascists, Holocaust-deniers and the like have tried to obscure the historical record. One of the tragedies of the Left is that its own reputation was massively compromised in this regard by the international Communist movement, and some have still not learned that lesson. Political honesty and straightforwardness are a primary obligation for us...

We repudiate the way of thinking according to which the events of September 11, 2001 were America's deserved comeuppance, or "understandable" in the light of legitimate grievances resulting from US foreign policy. What was done on that day was an act of mass murder, motivated by odious fundamentalist beliefs and redeemed by nothing whatsoever. No evasive formula can hide that.

The founding supporters of this statement took different views on the military intervention in Iraq, both for and against. We recognize that it was possible reasonably to disagree about the justification for the intervention, the manner in which it was carried through, the planning (or lack of it) for the aftermath, and the prospects for the successful implementation of democratic change. We are, however, united in our view about the reactionary, semi-fascist and murderous character of the Baathist regime in Iraq, and we recognize its overthrow as a liberation of the Iraqi people. We are also united in the view that, since the day on which this occurred, the proper concern of genuine liberals and members of the Left should have been the battle to put in place in Iraq a democratic political order and to rebuild the country's infrastructure, to create after decades of the most brutal oppression a life for Iraqis which those living in democratic countries take for granted — rather than picking through the rubble of the arguments over intervention.


The Manifesto (love that word! it's so apropos for leftists and Marxists) amounts to a shot across the bow from one segment of the Left to the other--a declaration that the Left is not monolithic, nor has it gone entirely mad. Bravo and thank you to the signers!

116 Comments:

At 3:03 PM, April 21, 2006, Anonymous vanderleun said...

I noted this manifesto and, like you, thought well of it and, in general, found myself in agreement with its principles.

I despair, however, over whether or not it will have any effectiveness whatsoever. As many of the "psychobloggers" you refer to below might attest, the sickness is just too far gone. There are no longer ears to hear nor eyes to see.

The mere talking cure is not going to work here. We're far beyond that.

Shocking and sudden trauma may work, but for there to be a real cure here "the sickness must grow worse."

 
At 3:16 PM, April 21, 2006, Anonymous SB said...

This will be useful if enough people on the left publicly support it. Such public agreement might serve to isolate the radicals and inspire greater trust from conservatives and the undecided.

Unfortunately, I think the most vocal elements of the left will quickly brand these signatories as fascists and traitors and shout them down. I tend to agree with vanderleun - it seems the time for reasonable debate is long past.

Or it could be that the thing will be ignored by most people - just another example of leftist drama queens passionately speaking out for or against this or that.

Like neo, however, I can find little in the document to disagree with. I hope these guys represent a sizeable, as yet unheard group on the left. That would give me hope. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

 
At 3:42 PM, April 21, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

There's like an election in virginia or something, where you have James or something Webb vs some other dude lobbyist.

Webb is a former Marine, Vietnam veteran war hero. He's a Democrat, so is the lobbyist. Webb wants to like you know, withdraw from Iraq. Who do you think Howard Dean supported? Right, the lobbyist.

Aren't the Kos Kidz excited by ex-military vets running as Democrats, and helping them kill the war effort? If so, are they really going to back a candidate like Webb to the end?

Kos backs Webb

Webb

If they do back candidates like Webb, that's a good thing. But, what if they disagree in the future, and Kos brings out the knives?

Here we have Kos, or just a writer for Kos, writing about agreeing with the Ashbrook center. The. Ash. Brook. Center. Amazing.

http://www.ashbrook.org/publicat/oped/owens/04/webb.html

Politics make strange bedfellows.

If it holds, good, but if it doesn't? War war.

 
At 4:06 PM, April 21, 2006, Anonymous Spanky McSpankerton said...

Neo,

the biggest problem with the Euston Manifesto is that it is bait - the whole "when did you stop beating your wife" crap.

I suppose that there are some people who would make the argument that opposing the war is the moral equivalent to wanting to give Saddam Hussein a blowjob, but surprisingly enough, there are people who can make principled arguments for why the war was a bad idea AND still love freedom and puppies and democracy and America.

Euston, on the other hand, is more of the same old. Basically, you are asked to either accept or reject: freedom, democracy, liberty, anti-terrorism, anti-racism, anything good, everything bad.

And then there's that bit about how people who disagree with them over Iraq are either pro-Baathist or only paying lip service to freedom while secretly loving tyranny and openly hating Bush.

No one wants to be on board as opposing a manifesto that loves freedom, right? Of course not. So why don't you just sign up? You do love freedom, don't you? Don't you?

Rhetorically, the Right has been doing this to the Left forever. The Right will challenge the Left's patriotism and support for puppies ad nauseum, until the Left can either respond or look like puppy-haters. But as soon as they open their mouths to say "actually, I do love freedom," they're legitimizing it as a topic of discussion and focusing the discussion on themselves talking about whether they love freedom. It's lose-lose.

I'm sorry, there are very few people in this country who actually dislike freedom. You can find some of them posting on Indymedia and you can find some of them marching in Illinoise. However, the vast majority of Americans are, surprisingly enough, a lot like each other in their enjoyment of freedom and their dislike for various forms of un-freedom.

I would go so far as to venture that if you were to approach the average American on the street and demand that they sign a manifesto, or else you will publically denounce them as a freedom-hater, you'd get a fat lip for your trouble, and that's probably what you'd deserve.

 
At 4:07 PM, April 21, 2006, Anonymous Spanky McSpankerton said...

Vander, when trying to convince people that you are correct and that they should believe what you believe, it generally doesn't help to call them "sick". Most people, on being told that you think they are mentally ill because of their beliefs, will not really want to hear you out.

 
At 4:10 PM, April 21, 2006, Anonymous Spanky McSpankerton said...

Yammer, I know that you are fond of drama, and that you are Very. Very. Serious. About. Your. Drama.

But the whole Typing. Each. Word. As. Its. Own. Sentence. Thing?

That's usually only most effective when you use it sparingly. Not several times a day, as you seem fond of doing.

But, then again, you're so serious about this whole War for Civilization and Freedom and Puppies that you're willing to go out there, day after day, writing words as their own sentences for extra emphasis. Keep up the good effort, tiger.

 
At 4:25 PM, April 21, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Thanks I will. Keep up the work as Kos's assassin, can't have the sheep leaving the pasture now can we.

 
At 4:30 PM, April 21, 2006, Anonymous SB said...

Spanky,

I was about to try having a sensible discussion with you, but after reading your last two comments I suspect that would be a waste of time.

I do note in your reply to vanderleun that liberals resent being labeled "sick" because of their beliefs. I would like to point out that conservatives have long since tired of liberals describe them as mean, stupid, racist, fascistic, homophobic, warmongering etc., etc., etc. From which reasonable people like yourself might conclude that name-calling and bizarre "diagnoses" of each others' supposed mental conditions are not conducive to meaningful political discussion.

The "it's a trap" angle was interesting. You may be right that some people will consider it a "patriotism test." I wonder if the folks who wrote it thought of that?

It's too bad conservatives don't usually write manifestos. I wonder how many would have a similar reaction?

 
At 4:32 PM, April 21, 2006, Anonymous douglas said...

Spanky- "but surprisingly enough, there are people who can make principled arguments for why the war was a bad idea AND still love freedom and puppies and democracy and America."

I guess you need to read it again. The point wasn't being against the war- people signgin the manifesto took BOTH sides. The issue is what are you doing NOW, and are you sacrificing an opportunity to advance democracy by railing against a war we're already in and cannot back out of without serious consequences for both us and the Iraqis, among others, just because you dislike the president and his policies. You still don't get it. Instead of asking how do we make the best of what you perceive as a bad situation better, you want a declaration of defeat, and all that entails... Nothing positive, no real agenda other than defeatism and BDS.

Spanky, you are the problem they wrote the manifesto to address.

 
At 4:43 PM, April 21, 2006, Anonymous Spanky McSpankerton said...

SB - truce. No name calling.

Douglas - one can even make a principled argument - GASP! - as to why the US should withdraw from Iraq.

Permit me, if you will.

The presence of US troops enables the main Shi'ite parties of the Iraqi government to pursue a maximalist agenda. That is, so long as the US is there to defend them, they have no reason to comprimise politically with the Sunni minority. While comprimise with some Sunnis might seem distasteful, it's still vitally necessary for the sucess of Iraq. The insurgency is fueled primarily not by jihadis, who represent only a few percent of the insurgency (check Brooking's Iraq Index, which uses US government figures as its source). It is instead fueled by Sunnis who fear - probably correctly - marginalization. They have few reasons not to fight and destabilize the Iraqi government.

Regardless of whether one thinks the Sunnis are the embodiment of all evil, or at the least should not be rewarded for fighting in the insurgency, ending the insurgency should be the highest priority, not punishing the Sunnis. That means political comprimises with the Sunnis. Concessions to them will both eliminate their main grievances, but also give them a stake in the functioning of the Iraqi state.

If the state is to succeed, the Shi'ites must comprimise with the Sunnis. But the Shi'ites have no reason to - the insurgency will never be a threat to the government's existence so long as we're there to protect them. If the US were to set a withdrawal date, the Shi'ite parties in power would suddenly have a very good reason to make those comprimises: if they don't, they will be destroyed when the US leaves.

Oh, but I guess I just made all this up because I'm sick in the head with Bush Derangement Syndrome. I hate him so much that I am literally mentally insane as a result, and all of this is simply a product of that, right?

Asshole.

 
At 4:44 PM, April 21, 2006, Anonymous SB said...

Actually, I think we voters should issue our own Manifesto, stating our firm belief that the President and Congress should all just piss off and get regular jobs and leave the rest of us alone.

Who's with me?

 
At 4:57 PM, April 21, 2006, Anonymous SB said...

Spanky,

Your reasoning makes sense to me. The main objection might be that it makes a lot of assumptions about how the various factions would behave if we implemented such a withdrawal. Also, doesn't it kind of ignore the Iranians? How do we know they won't help the Shi'a gang up on the Sunnis and take over the whole south of Iraq? (I'm assuming (?) that the Kurds can take care of themselves.)

Anyway - can you find me a Democratic presidential candidate who'll follow your plan and not just cut and run?

(And who isn't John Kerry? Sorry - I've got Kerry Derangement Syndrome. Had it since 1971, but they tell me that amazing new treatments are being developed every day...)

 
At 5:08 PM, April 21, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 5:08 PM, April 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SB - I think this is basically what Kerry et al. were proposing when they talk about a "time-table for withdrawal."

But as there are currently no Democratic presidential candidates, I cannot point to anyone.

I think the problem is that if the Shi'ite parties do not make concessions to the Sunnis, what you are going to see regardless is Iran having enormous influence in Iraq. I think it's going to be inevitable, one way or the other - the Shi'ite parties have close ties to Iran and garner lots of support from voters.

If you're wondering about an invasion or anything like that, I wouldn't take that too seriously. Iranian society is still feeling the impact with the last war with Iraq, and during that war the Shi'ites of Iraq did not rise up in support of Iran. It wouldn't be popular in either country.

 
At 5:13 PM, April 21, 2006, Anonymous Spanky McSpankerton said...

Sorry, that last post was, in fact, mine. Yammer, "Spanky" is only my nomme de guerre. My real name is....Diabolique.

Yammer, is your kind shaped from a mold? I used to know a crazy Israeli who thought that he could determine, based on my writing style, that I was an Iranian named Hassan or something like that.

Now you're trying to deduce that I'm Brian, and the other day were trying to figure out my race based on a single phrase.

Weirdo.

 
At 5:20 PM, April 21, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

I was reading the links in Spanky's name. Not sure why he did it, but sadlyno was interesting.

Brian sounds a lot like spank when he talks to me for some reason.

I don't recommend people read all of his links of course, but, well sometimes a little bit of reading goes long in debates.

I like information spank. What can I say, you can always prove me and my analyses wrong.

Brian talked about nukes r us not being able to blow up a level 7 pyromeister, which was funny and also akin to what I've heard before.

Because the Anon guy talking about Ymar's fixation on fantasy elves to David, is the same Spank here now. I guess he decided to provide a name, since he was getting such enjoyment here.

I just find it interesting that people have many masks. One mask for polite society. One mask for their trusted group of friends. And another mask for their enemies.

 
At 5:29 PM, April 21, 2006, Anonymous Spanky McSpankerton said...

Or could it be, Yammer, that there are no masks hiding a "true" "core" of being, but rather that we are, in fact, defined by our social interactions.

Nah. Heidegger would have hated that. It's all about Authenticity and being-there.

But Yammer, of course we're going to treat people we like differently from the people we don't like. Why does this seem like a surprise to you?

 
At 5:31 PM, April 21, 2006, Anonymous ElMondoHummus said...

Spanky. Enough. In one post you say "no name calling", then proceed to end your post by calling someone "asshole". You end another by saying "weirdo"; not as harsh, but still a put down. Please, keep things civil and adhere to the first principle instead of the last. There's a difference between being challenging and being insulting. Challenging is all right, no matter how firm or emotional. Insulting is a different matter altogether.

Neo: Roger L. Simon also has a thread on this:

Link

There's some interesting commentary over there noting that, no matter how positive a development, this is still not exactly a conservative's dream manifesto. I think that conclusion is overblown; liberals/progressives/leftists are never going to agree with our side of the spectrum on topics such as economics, for example (you pointed out labor unions; posters at Roger's blog make comments about the lack of free market statements). But in my mind, the point of the Euston Manifesto is to remove the automatic, reactionary "America bad" tendencies that have poisoned discourse between the left and right. It's a starting point that doesn't compromise liberal principles, and in fact, reasserts them in the face of the newer, more American-phobic variety.

Overall, I think it's a positive development, and not a "gotcha" statement, as some have colored it (I'm not singling out Spanky here; posts at New Statesman and WorkersLiberty.org exists that are in the same vein). It at least is a challenge to adhere to positive principles rather than negative, cynical viewpoints. That's a good thing, no matter how much disagreement there is among leftists and rightists on specific points contained in the work.

 
At 5:40 PM, April 21, 2006, Anonymous Spanky said...

Elmo,

My truce was with SB. Douglas basically said "your beliefs originate not from deeply held convictions or from sound reasoning which I happen to disagree with, but rather because you're crazy and dumb."

He gets called an asshole for that.

Toodles.

 
At 5:43 PM, April 21, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

But Yammer, of course we're going to treat people we like differently from the people we don't like. Why does this seem like a surprise to you?

That's because I can't treat people I like differently from those I don't like. If my enemies fight and kill my brothers, and then signs a peace deal, I'll have dinner with him. If my brother murderers others and does not remove himself from the streets, I will remove him myself.

While blood is thicker than water, it's not as thick as ice. The societal conditioning not to do violence can be defeated. So can the same be applied to family of the blood.

Please, I recommend everyone interested in spank to go here

http://sadlyno.com/

It is very entertaining, if you can hold your head and tolerate the cuss words.

 
At 5:46 PM, April 21, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Spank's not crazy or thumb I mean dumb. As you can witness with his arguments vis SB.

Although I have to wonder why Spank gets such a visceral enjoyment out of mispelling my name on purpose.

 
At 5:52 PM, April 21, 2006, Anonymous Spanky said...

How do you know my enjoyment is visceral?

That sounds so...dirty.

 
At 6:10 PM, April 21, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Because

Look at the comments section.

 
At 6:44 PM, April 21, 2006, Blogger MikeZ said...

#8. "Against racism - the anti-immigrant racism of the far right".

Will these people never understand that it is not racism. If they were green meanies or blue Scandinavians entering illegally, we would be just as affronted.

No society can withstand an endless influx of poorly educated poor people.

#9: We're against terror, but we do not intend to do anything about it. The only thing we object to is that there just may be some prejudice against Muslims. Who are so much freer in this country to observe their religion than any other religion is in their country.

They begin with "We are Democrats and progressives". From what I read, the Left stopped useing the word "Socialist" when they noticed that most of the glamor had gone out of it, and replaced it with "progressive", to mean the same thing.

There are some good points in the Manifesto (even though they obviously still like that word, one that was so often used by Marxists, Leninists, Fascists, and others).

They signle out Abu Ghraib - something for which we have quickly and severely punished the perpetrators, but step lightly over the "infractions that outstrip these by far".

It may be a small step in the right direction, but far too little (but never too late).

 
At 7:16 PM, April 21, 2006, Blogger Jack Trainor said...

I too was heartened by the Euston Manifesto. I spent most of my adult life somewhere on the left and I would like to see it get over its rampant anti-Americanism and start supporting democracy in places like Iraq instead of seeing Iraq as a zero-sum game that they win if Iraq goes down the tubes.

Unfortunately I suspect that the EM will have a negligible impact on the left. Things will have to get worse for them before they realize the need to change. To that extent, things will get worse for all of us.

 
At 9:13 PM, April 21, 2006, Blogger Jack H said...

We must beware, *beware!* I say, of the urge to hyper-orthodoxy. Niggling points have their attractions, but any voice of reasonable reason should be welcomed, especially from the widdershins wunderkinds. It's a sort of understated tolerance - a sort of, *You can spit in my well, but please don't poison it.*

So if the Eustonians have finally noticed the wreckage of their commuter trains, and take that first step to repudiating the insanity so highly correlated with a belief that human nature is perfectable - well, what might we say, but welcome to the light.

I had something so say about Euston itself, here:

http://forgottenprophets.blogspot.com/2006/03/madrid-march-11-2004.html

We do not tolerate blood enemies. We must tolerate error. Sometimes, time itself will correct it. Experience is an effective teacher. Something that is perhaps relevant, here

http://forgottenprophets.blogspot.com/2006/04/pragmatism_114523394711288182.html

Pardon - I do use a nasty word ... it seemed apropriate at the time.


Best,

Jack H

 
At 11:01 PM, April 21, 2006, Blogger troutsky said...

Do they say anything about imperialism? Or are they just "progressives"? Perhaps "the sickness is just to far gone".Pathetic quislings in my opinion.Is that reasonable debate?

 
At 12:03 AM, April 22, 2006, Blogger Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) said...

Yammer, is your kind shaped from a mold?

That's a scary thought. I'd like to think there's only one Ymarsakar :P

 
At 12:44 AM, April 22, 2006, Blogger Harry Mallory said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 1:13 AM, April 22, 2006, Blogger Harry Mallory said...

I was starting to get a little over-enthusiastic about this "manifesto". I suppose any ray of common sense from the left would be a relief to me.

 
At 1:23 AM, April 22, 2006, Anonymous douglas said...

Spanky first:"there are people who can make principled arguments for why the war was a bad idea AND still love freedom and puppies and democracy and America."

Spanky later:"one can even make a principled argument - GASP! - as to why the US should withdraw from Iraq."


Shifting midstream... poor form. Or you were sloppy in your first statement, and meant what you said later, but weren't clear. I don't see that as likely since you're clearly an inteligent guy who chooses his words carefully (like asshole).

"If the state is to succeed, the Shi'ites must comprimise with the Sunnis. But the Shi'ites have no reason to - the insurgency will never be a threat to the government's existence so long as we're there to protect them. If the US were to set a withdrawal date, the Shi'ite parties in power would suddenly have a very good reason to make those comprimises: if they don't, they will be destroyed when the US leaves."

Fine, threaten to leave IF they won't play ball with the Sunni, but artificial timetables are just a date for the insurgents to keep.

Try again.

 
At 5:44 AM, April 22, 2006, Anonymous Moscowite said...

The core problem with Manifesto is it address some rational argumentation to auditorium which long ago had abandoned its ability to accept any rational argumentation. Their sickness is not neurosis curable by rational therapy; it is acute psychosis, massive denial of reality, emotionally charged with aggression against everybody who challenge their (wrong) core beliefs. It is self-immunized to criticism, and the only thing that can change it - some watershed. 9/11 was not enough to them; I wonder what would be enough?

 
At 8:51 AM, April 22, 2006, Anonymous david said...

oh dear i probably should not even join in with this but......

neo, is a 'principled leftist' someone who agrees with you? I feel i am principled. You might not like them, but I have them.

To my mind the whole problem of the Euston Manifesto is that it says so little that is controversial apart from one key idea; that we, whether we supported the war or not should accept the current position as a fait accompli and - take it from here. I worry about this because it is a recipe for the abandonment of any form of international law and a move to military conquest once again being seen as a legitimate arm of international relations. The question I have asked of Nick Cohen and Norman Geras is would they hold the same views in the aftermath of a US invasion of Iran or (slightly silly example) North Korea. In effect are they saying that we are no longer entitled to be critical of our governments. They then argue I am anti-American......Which gets tiring, as I am not. The USA has been and will be in the future a major contributer to the culture and well being of the whole of humanity. I simply argue that it has got itself into an oil based foreign policy that is incredibly dangerous.

As a related aside can anybody on here explain why the US didn't diversify its energy use away from oil after the massive price rises of the early 1970's? Given that oil is globally in greater demand than ever, and in the future in increasingly short supply you would imagine that market mechanisms would drive the move to alternatives....or is this an exaple of something that only large scale government funding can produce?

 
At 8:57 AM, April 22, 2006, Anonymous david said...

oh and i have just read vanderleun's comment at the start of this posting,

"As many of the "psychobloggers" you refer to below might attest, the sickness is just too far gone. There are no longer ears to hear nor eyes to see."

the pathologising of ideas that oppose your own was one of the favourite ideas of the soviet union. You don't agree with me? therefore you must be sick.

come on

If i don't agree with you i might be wrong because of some point, evidence or whatever that you have. But i am not sick. Those kind of statements are made by people across the political spectrum and are just as silly whoever it is.

sorry

 
At 9:29 AM, April 22, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

The controversy has to do with the principles david brought up. Because neo sees principles as "saying what you mean, and meaning what you say". So if liberal a believes in human rights, liberal a shouldn't hob knob with the UN and party in Congo while the peacekeepers outside have a rape party. You could argue that this is in the pursuit of the human right to party, but that'd be wrong.

Principled leftists, in Neo's meaning, are people who believe in human rights or just any other principle, and are willing to actually do something to accomplish those goals. International law to principled leftists would not leave dictators in power or chairmen of the UN Human Rights Commission or any other such abuses. The international law of the principled leftists believing in human rights, would protect the weak from the strong, and give justice to all.

The USA has been and will be in the future a major contributer to the culture and well being of the whole of humanity. I simply argue that it has got itself into an oil based foreign policy that is incredibly dangerous.

Having studied propaganda results and the psychological consequences of communistic propaganda and fear tactics, I realize that people can compartamentalize their minds. It is the process of double think in a sense. This applies to anti-Americanism. People can be anti-American, and also love Americans. Canadians, for example, could hate Bush and the American system of government, and love Americans and greet them with politeness and what not.

In one compartment, they love Americans. In another, they hate Americans for voting in a hated system. When they see Americans, they switch on love, when Americans leave their house, they switch on 2. In certain German exchange host families, Americans have been testified that they get quite a good drubbing from their host families when they criticize America and Bush. Even though the Americans are not Bush fans, they feel a need to defend him and America from attacks by foreigners. They also feel directly insulted and attacked. This is a special instance.

Most people do compartamentalize their minds, and so don't show hostility if they meet Americans. They do show hostility if the americans leave, sorta like talking behind someone back.

So I don't think it too surprising if people believe in the goal of America, and disbelieve in the fact that Americans by their choice in government is setting the goal of America correctly.

As a related aside can anybody on here explain why the US didn't diversify its energy use away from oil after the massive price rises of the early 1970's?

That's easy. Environmentalists made the nuclear scare, and so the power companies stopped building nuke plants. Then the Congress felt the need in their wise infinitum to put restrictions and taxes on Oil Companies, which made those Oil Companies stop making refineries because of the cost. Of course market economics would drive up demand and hence supply, but not when the government controls the energy and teh taxes. Any European would obviously understand that predicament.

David's comments about people not agreeing with you being sick, is an example of compartamentalized thinking. While he says that, at the same time he believes people like me are an abnormality, a sickness if you will, and that I will in time grow out of my beliefs because the rest of America isn't like me. Just because he doesn't agree with me.

 
At 10:40 AM, April 22, 2006, Anonymous Spanky said...

Douglas, one can make a principled argument for never having gone to war in the first place, and one could make a principled case for why we should now withdraw. This isn't a difficult concept. It's not shifting midstream.

I meant them both. I don't think we should have gone to war in the first place for all sorts of principled reasons that I can get into later if you'd like. I think, considering the current situation, that our best option is withdrawal. The problem with your argument is that the Shi'ites are ALREADY not cooperating with the Sunnis. You want us to wait to threaten them with withdrawal when they're not cooperating...well, they're not cooperating. So threaten them. It's the only way to stop them from pursuing a maximalist agenda.

An enormous part of the problem is that a large part of the insurgency is fueled by hostility to the US presence in the first place. Certainly, if the US were to withdraw it would not eliminate every grievance, real or imagined, of the insurgency, but if the Shi'ites were to cooperate with the Sunnis it would eliminate several major causes for the insurgency in the first place: Sunni hostility to the current government because they perceive it as marginalizing and disfranchising them and Sunni hostility to US troops.

The Sunnis, except for a few of them, aren't hostile to the regime because they hate freedom and puppies. They're hostile to the regime because of the impact attacks have on the US presence.

Go and read David Anderson's "Histories of the Hanged" about Mau Mau in Kenya in the 1950s. It's a wonderful analogy. 30,000 Europeans and 5 millions Africans. The Africans wanted them out. But the Europeans were too well defended. So the Africans went after Africans loyal to the British. There was no way so few British could rule so many Africans without the cooperation of some Africans. By terrorizing loyalist Africans, Mau Mau made it impossible for the British administration to continue, and so they left.

The insurgency is targeting Iraqis loyal to the government and friendly to the US because the US is too strong to target. But since our project their relies on the formation of a stable government, they'll target that much weaker government.

David is right - if you think people who disagree with you do so because they're mentally ill, you're an asshole. Yammer, you're basically projecting: David never said anything about think you were mentally ill because of your beliefs; there are, however, people here who are explicitly saying that I am mentally ill because of what I believe. Why not, I don't know, criticize the people who actually say it instead of projecting on David and attacking him for what you divine he is thinking?

Aren't you the one who's always going off about how we can't trust Iran's leaders because they said this and that and we should take them at their word?

We didn't diversify away from oil because of the price inelasticity of oil. The costs of shifting our economy away from oil were higher than simply paying for higher-priced oil. I love how Yammer manages to blame EVERYTHING on the bogeyman that is the Left. Most of our power is generated by coal, not oil, and so long as coal is cheaper than the alternatives, we'll keep using the crap.

Honestly, the Euston Manifesto is basically: "Do you love puppies and kittens and babies and cakes and pies and flags and preventive invasions of countries that aren't significant threats to the US? No? You don't love puppies and flags? You sick bastard."

 
At 10:46 AM, April 22, 2006, Blogger flenser said...

As a related aside can anybody on here explain why the US didn't diversify its energy use away from oil after the massive price rises of the early 1970's?

You mean, why did the US not fully exploit nuclear and coal power generation? As I recall, there was intense opposition to doing so, led by the left.

Why is it that you people can never accept responsibility for your own actions?

 
At 10:51 AM, April 22, 2006, Blogger flenser said...

spanky

(What an apt moniker.)

You don't get to determine what countries are/are not a significant threat to the US. That power, in our country, is assigned to the executive and legislative branches of government.

If the people disapprove of how that power is used they are free to express that disapproval at election time.

Over the past few election cycles the people have expressed their approval for the actions taken. Learn to deal with it.

 
At 11:09 AM, April 22, 2006, Anonymous david said...

just as an historical note flenser, in Britain the coal mines were shut down by the right wing Thatcher and Nuclear Power was pushed by Labour Governments.

And neither source of power would be much use for transport.

Do you think it is possible that the free market, in the face of a clear need to change energy sources for environmental as well as geo-political reasons, is not capable of acting because there is no prospect of early profit. Therefore it is the state that will have to make this change in the economy.

 
At 11:24 AM, April 22, 2006, Blogger flenser said...

david

It does not matter what governmnent was in power in the UK in the '80's. You know pefectly well what the political affiliation of those opposed to nuclear power was and is.

And neither source of power would be much use for transport.

Rubbish. Power is fungible. Currently we burn a lot of oil to create electricity.

Therefore it is the state that will have to make this change in the economy.

It is the state which has created the gridlock blocking the development of new sources of power, as well as the exploration and exploitation of further oil deposits. So in a sense, you are right, but not in the sense you think.

 
At 11:46 AM, April 22, 2006, Anonymous david said...

1. If you are saying the left are crap when it comes to energy policy then it does matter that it was a right wing government who shut down the mines. It was a dumb move.

2.And neither source of power would be much use for transport.

Rubbish. Power is fungible. Currently we burn a lot of oil to create electricity.


and how does this replace cars and 'planes?

3. It is the state which has created the gridlock blocking the development of new sources of power I don't really know enough about the regulation of US energy policy but are you saying that the only reason that companies are not producing new sources of fuel is because the Federal Authorities stop them?

4. As for the exploration of new oil fields, given the clear environmental damage digging up the arctic will cause surely the effort should be on getting away from oil?

5. And the appeal of nuclear power is obvious but who is going to develop the technology to clear up the mess.

"There is no advanced reprocessing technology contemplated that will eliminate the need to ultimately dispose of nuclear waste, including defense waste."

http://www.nei.org/


Again it shows the limitations of the free market as lots of companies are set to make money generating the fuel but few seem to be able to work out out how to get rich clearing up the mess. And you have to admit that the mess is potentially dangerous, and is a hell of a legacy to leave to future generations

 
At 12:52 PM, April 22, 2006, Anonymous Spanky said...

"You don't get to determine what countries are/are not a significant threat to the US. That power, in our country, is assigned to the executive and legislative branches of government.

If the people disapprove of how that power is used they are free to express that disapproval at election time.

Over the past few election cycles the people have expressed their approval for the actions taken. Learn to deal with it."

What an odd way of framing the issue. It's so odd that I think you are insane for believing it.

But seriously, I really don't know where you'd get the idea that just because the government decided Iraq was a threat that a) it really was a threat (even our Dear Leader has the capacity to be wrong every now and then), or that b) because the government determined it was a threat, then the electorate somehow lacks the right to discuss whether it was wrong or not.

The Euston Manifesto is directed at the electorate. We're discussing the Euston Manifesto. I'm a member of the electorate. I'm allowed to disagree with the government AND the Manifesto. Fancy that, freedom of speech and what not.

 
At 1:47 PM, April 22, 2006, Anonymous Sally said...

First of all, the argument that the US should withdraw from Iraq as a means of forcing the Shia to cooperate with the Sunnis is simply an argument over political tactics, not ever strategy, and certainly not over principle. It's an argument that would require some detailed knowledge and experience, and is not one that, as far as I can tell, anyone here has any particular qualifications to make (least of all Spanky "Asshole" Spankalot).

Second, the argument that much of the contemporary left has sunk into a pathological neurosis is buttressed by the appearance of the Euston Manifesto -- which provides, by contrast, the example of a rational and debatable alternative to rightwing, conservative or neoconservative views -- as well as by the reaction to it from the neurotic left. Here, for example, excitable lefties (including that notorious puppy-lover, Spanko) have repeatedly asserted that the document supports the US position in Iraq; but here's what they actually said:
The founding supporters of this statement took different views on the military intervention in Iraq, both for and against. We recognize that it was possible reasonably to disagree about the justification for the intervention, the manner in which it was carried through, the planning (or lack of it) for the aftermath, and the prospects for the successful implementation of democratic change.

The simple appearance of reason seems to have so upset the hyterically self-righteous lefties that they can't even read any more.

 
At 1:51 PM, April 22, 2006, Anonymous mizpants said...

Neo, I'm sorry to join this discussion so late.I've been waiting for you to comment on the Euston Manifesto. It echoes many of the points of the Walzer article ("Can There Be a Decent Left?") that I've been trying to get you to respond to for months. In fact, Walzer is a signer of the Euston document.
It really warmed my heart to read it when it first appeared. It seemed like a kind of chiropractic adjustment of the twisted spine of the Left. But the sniping started so soon! Just as in the case of Todd Gitlin, who brought down on his head an avalanche of disses for having the temerity to suggest that leftists need not be unpatriotic. So now I'm left not heartened but dismayed. I really have to conclude that most of the people I know (I live in academia) have become addicted to their own rage and gone mad.

 
At 2:17 PM, April 22, 2006, Anonymous Spank-O said...

Sally,

Why do you hate puppies?

But Sally, you're assuming that it takes less knowledge of Iraq to argue that "staying the course" will result in actual positive results. I'd agree - I think that this is a conclusion that one would make if one didn't have a very detailed understanding of Iraq, and believed that there was some finite number of insurgents who can simply be killed in order to achieve victory, or something along those lines.

On the topic of Euston, the Manifesto states: "We have no truck, either, with the tendency to pay lip service to these ends, while devoting most of one's energy to criticism of political opponents at home (supposedly responsible for every difficulty in Iraq), and observing a tactful silence or near silence about the ugly forces of the Iraqi "insurgency"."

That's interesting - one can still be critical of headchoppers, but if one is not critical loudly enough for the authors of Euston, then they're simply paying lip service.

It's an ideological test, plain and simple. 90& of the manifesto corresponds to what I - and most Americans - already believe. It's the garbage about those "who manage to find a way of situating themselves between such forces and those trying to bring a new democratic life to the country". That would, I guess, be me, for believing that there are more cost-effective methods of counterproliferation and democracy promotion than invading Iraq. Mea culpa.

But I don't even know why I'm arguing with you when you have clearly descended into a pathological level of puppy-hating.

 
At 2:54 PM, April 22, 2006, Blogger maryatexitzero said...

I think that this is a conclusion that one would make if one didn't have a very detailed understanding of Iraq, and believed that there was some finite number of insurgents who can simply be killed in order to achieve victory, or something along those lines.

Anyone would have to believe that there is a finite number of insurgents that can be killed.

Unless you're trying to tell us that the number of possible insurgents is infinite?

 
At 3:19 PM, April 22, 2006, Blogger Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) said...

Okay, I have to ask: what the heck is with all the different nicknames, Spankmaster?

 
At 3:24 PM, April 22, 2006, Anonymous Sally said...

But Sally, you're assuming that it takes less knowledge of Iraq to argue that "staying the course" will result in actual positive results.

No, spanks -- get your mind off the puppies for a minute and pay attention: I'm assuming that making a rational and usable assessment of particular political or military tactics requires some detailed knowledge of the factors involved in the situation -- as opposed to just making them up, which is what you seem to be doing.

That's interesting - one can still be critical of headchoppers, but if one is not critical loudly enough for the authors of Euston, then they're simply paying lip service.

Sadly, again, no: "paying lip service" here really just means paying lip service -- as in, "yeah, yeah, we're opposed to the Minutemen's -- sorry, the 'insurgent's' -- unnecessary violence ... but Bu$h's war is a greater holocaust than, than, than the Holocaust!!"

It's an ideological test, plain and simple.

No, it's a sanity test -- coupled, perhaps, with a decency test. It doesn't necessarily correspond to what most Americans believe, but it does stake out ground within which one can disagree without recourse to paranoid delusions.

From what you say, that's not ground you want to occupy -- you'd rather be among those who've managed to "situate themselves between [the gangs of jihadist and Baathist thugs of the Iraqi so-called resistance] and those trying to bring a new democratic life to the country." Nice ambition, Spanks. Maybe you should just stick with the puppies.

 
At 4:05 PM, April 22, 2006, Anonymous Spank-O said...

Justin, I am just using variations that Sally has been using.

Mary, you are correct that there is a finite number of insurgents. However, "staying the course" is not a simple matter of enough soldiers firing enough bullets into enough insurgents in order to achieve victory. The US presence in Iraq is an enormous recruiting tool for the insurgency and one of it main reasons for existence. No, we are not "causing" the insurgency - they're not animals responding without thinking. But a lot of people really don't want us in their country, and are willing to fight us.

One could argue that we simply need to wait them out - that is, fight a war of attrition. we could stay, Sunnis could keep signing up, and we could keep killing them until there were no more Sunnis left to fight. Of course, the problems with this are numerous, including the fact that we're trying to liberate these people and bring them freedom and puppies, not kill them.

This latter part - this war of attrition - is "staying the course." If you look at numbers released by US commanders (check the Brookings Institution's Iraq Index), we keep killing or capturing hundreds or thousands of insurgents every month. All the while the reported strength of the insurgency remains the same or increases. Either the commanders are lying or, more likely, lots of Iraqis are joining the insurgency every month. We can either a) try to kill them at a higher rate than they are recruiting, or b) find a solution to the political situation that removes their desire to join in the first place.

I go with the latter. Fewer people die on both sides, more puppies are adorable, less dollars are spent, etc.

 
At 4:30 PM, April 22, 2006, Anonymous Spanles said...

Preface: murder is bad, Hitler was worse than Bush, puppies are fluffy and adorable.

Sally,

The fact that you want to change the subject from your pathological hatred of puppies (and, I suspect, kittens and ducklings) doesn't surprise me. Your irrational hatred for adorable baby animals has clearly driven you insane.

That said, you are wrong. Euston states that people are "paying lip service" to criticism of the jihadis.

Basically, what this means is: you might be out there, saying that head-chopping is wrong, but we the authors of Euston know what you're really thinking - we're mind readers, you see - and we know that you don't really mean it and are simply paying lip service.

I realize that sarcasm doesn't come across well on the internet, but when I quoted the section on those who "situate themselves between jihadis and freedom lovers", I was, in fact, disapproving of the heavy-handed garbage that is Euston: Euston is saying "yes, yes, we understand that people can have principled disagreements over Iraq, but basically, you either agree with us and love freedom or disagree and want freedom to fail in Iraq."

I call foul.

Sally, I'll never understand the Right's obsession with stating the obvious. Where I come from it is understood that things like murder, tyranny, head-chopping and puppy-hating are wrong. Imagine the following:

My puppy-loving compatriots and I read a story in our local liberal-biased newspaper about a man suspected of rape who was beaten while in police custody. My colleagues and I might have a discussion about how beating a suspect into confessing is not a solution. What would be unspoken is OUR UNDERSTANDING THAT RAPE IS A BAD THING.

Do you see? I don't know how many times I have heard conservatives complaining that the Left doesn't spend enough of its time condemning jihadis. Excuse me? I thought everyone already knew this! Where I come from, things like murder, torture, and theocratic oppression are bad things. I don't need to be reminded of this every five seconds.

In fact, I believe that it is so commonly agreed upon that these things are bad that I don't even waste my time talking about them - because I assume you all agree with me.

I could, I suppose, preface every statement I make with the comment "Sex with children is wrong." But if I didn't, wouldn't it still be wrong, and wouldn't most people agree?

Oh, but Michael Moore!!!!11!! He's fat!!!!111!1!! And he said that thing about the Minutemen!!!111!11@22424!

That's right, he did. But Moore is not "The Left" - there's no more a monolithic Left than there is a Right or a single version of Christianity or Islam to which every believer ascribes. Moore, Ward Churchill, Chomsky - the Right loves trotting these people out as examples of the perfidy of the Left, and yet doesn't seem to have a problem with Ann Coulter speaking at major GOP events and espousing genocide. Oh well.

In other words: the average person in this country, left or right, doesn't like head-choppers (but loves freedom and puppies...and cake).

So if I am critical of Bush's handling of Iraq, but don't preface every criticism of Bush with "but Hitler was worse", that doesn't mean that I love Hitler and think that Bush is worse than Hitler. This is, I hope, understood by everyone.

But people like you seem to have a hard time grasping the concept that not loudly trumpeting your disaproval of tyranny every time you open your mouth is, in fact, approval of tyranny. I don't get it. It's not approval of tyranny.

See, from where I stand, disaproval of murder is so basic, so fundamental, that it would never occur to me to repeat it over and over again. However, lots of people disagree over the handling of Iraq. This is a topic worthy of discussion. That murder is wrong is not a topic worthy of discussion; that is settled. I really just don't get why you need to hear it over and over again. Are you afraid you'll forget that murder is wrong? Are you afraid that if people don't hear, every time someone says something bad about Bush, that Hitler was in fact worse than Bush, then those people will forget that Hitler was worse than Bush?

But, I guess I shouldn't expect any more from a puppy hater.

Postscript: puppies are adorable. Murder is bad. In case you forgot.

 
At 4:37 PM, April 22, 2006, Blogger maryatexitzero said...

But a lot of people really don't want us in their country, and are willing to fight us.

Most of the suicide bombers in Iraq are Saudi, and many of them are sent by their government to blow up Iraqis and Americans. Then, of course, there are the Iranians who are helping, plus other random foreign fighters.

Arabs/Muslim govenments are too weak to fight their wars using standard military tactics, so they fight wars with these foreign-funded insurgencies. That's how they're fighting in Thailand. And in Israel. When they're not using insurgencies, they use ethnic cleansing. If we left, the Saudis, Iranians, Syrians, etc. would continue to murder Iraqis, at a rate that might make the (after exit) carnage in Cambodia look tame.

If we followed your advice, something close to genocide would probably be the result. Look at Darfur. Look at Thailand. Islamists are waging war against everyone who they 'don't really want' in their country, whether those people are natives or not. Terrorism and ethnic cleansing are the weapons that they use, whether Americans are around or not.

Those are the weapons they'll use against us until we learn to fight back. We can't learn how to fight them if we run away.

 
At 4:40 PM, April 22, 2006, Anonymous david said...

.... surely the question is not 'can there be decent left' but rather 'can there be a decent right?' Because as far as i can see there are two right wing approaches. First the authentic, and brutal "we need the oil so we are entitled to do whatever is required to get it route." Lacks on subtlety but high on honesty, Secondly there is the neo-con 'we used to be liberals but agree with the right wing and don't want seem like such selfish people so it isn't really the oil we are bothered about as much as the freedom and democray of the people who happen to live in oil rich lands. Well except the Saudis who can do wht the hell they like including the 9/11 bastards.'

Which is best?.......which is decent?...

 
At 5:36 PM, April 22, 2006, Blogger Tom Grey said...

The Manifesto is great, the serious discussion on the Left about it is good, and overdue ... and there may be results in the US elections in 2006, but more likely in 2008. Where both parties with have somebody OTHER than Bush.

The time to get out of Iraq is a compromise between the US gov't desires, and the Iraqi gov't desires. (Sort of like the time a young man leaves his parent's home?)

The US should certainly not act unilaterally, because we have been supporting the creation of democratic gov't, and one is being created there that DOES require the majority Shia to compromise with the Sunnis and the Kurds.

But the "sickness" of the Left needs to be cured, and the name of that sickness is anti-Americanism.

The causes include: envy - at America's success and objective "goodness"; anger -- at America's imperfections like Abu Ghraib (similar to ex-Christian's anger at a God who nevertheless allows evil to exist?); disillusionment -- with an equality-oriented socialism that has repeatedly failed to help poor people as much as the non-altruistic capitalism which is so vibrant in America;
and RAGE at the "unjust inequality" of America being the sole superpower.

Spanky-troll should have his own blog, Ymar too (does, I know), to carry on extended conversations. I do too, if any are interested.


David on oil -- cheapest source for transport. Any Dem who wants to change the economics can do so easily, Gas Taxes. Maybe not at $1, or $2, but at $3 / gal (of tax, meaning $5+ at the pump), and the "market" would rapidly switch to other stuff. And such a Dem would almost certainly be voted out.
Any environmental or security concern that doesn't advocate higher gas taxes is not truly serious.

I advocate higher gas taxes, 1 penny increase per month, until the budget is balanced. (Other times I might advocate other schemes, like price stabilization taxes, which go up and down opposite to market prices of gas) Gas taxes ain't popluar.

I also advocate really open software (EM #? 9?) -- like an end to using gov't force to punish people who share digital information; and end to 'intellectual property rights'. Society should support innovation through prizes and fame and other means, even tax credit donations, not IPR. All gov'ts of the world should be using Free software, now, wherever it's feasible -- and funding their University students in working on more open source free software for use throughout the world.

 
At 6:24 PM, April 22, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

The US presence in Iraq is an enormous recruiting tool for the insurgency and one of it main reasons for existence.

An enormous part of the problem is that a large part of the insurgency is fueled by hostility to the US presence in the first place.


Anti-warrior meme = Terrorism is caused by fighting terrorism. This ever popular theme is repeated with only slight variation by all the anti-warriors sooner or later.

 
At 6:28 PM, April 22, 2006, Anonymous Sally said...

Spank: My puppy-loving compatriots and I read a story in our local liberal-biased newspaper about a man suspected of rape who was beaten while in police custody. My colleagues and I might have a discussion about how beating a suspect into confessing is not a solution. What would be unspoken is OUR UNDERSTANDING THAT RAPE IS A BAD THING.

See, Spanky, the problem arises when the story in the liberal-biased newspaper goes on at great length about what the rape-victim had done to deserve it -- and when you and your "colleagues" go on about how the rapist shouldn't be called a "rapist" at all, but should be accorded the neutral term "activist", who has after all some legitimate grievances, and who may have felt he was addressing historic wrongs in this symbolic manner, etc., ad nauseum. That, you see, is when later assurances along the lines of: "of course rape is a bad thing, but ..." begins to look like "lip service", regardless of the caps.

We've seen this in many versions, after all. The left indulges itself in the most extreme rhetoric and works itself into a raving lather as long as it thinks no one but fellow true believers is listening -- then, when someone calls them on it, a sudden calm comes over them: "What, that?! That's just Michael Moore -- no one who's anyone on the left listens to him anymore! That? That's just ol' Chomsky -- we like to patronize him, but we all know he's really lost it! That? Cindy Sheehan? Come on, she lost her son, cut her some slack! Atrios? He's just a blogger! Kos? Ditto." Etc., etc.

The simple fact of the matter is that large segments of the contemporary left have lost not just credibility, but basic respectability in their belief that an ever escalating, ever more exaggerated rhetoric will somehow win them back an audience -- and now a group of left liberals have made it painfully evident just how vicious this language has become by pointedly distancing themselves from it. I don't wonder that those who've been under its spell are both confused and agitated at being so rudely woken.

So, Spanky, if the manifesto is just stating the obvious, you shouldn't have any trouble signing on to it -- then we can all move into an honest debate over the handling of Iraq.

 
At 6:40 PM, April 22, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

The US presence in Iraq is an enormous recruiting tool for the insurgency and one of it main reasons for existence.

An enormous part of the problem is that a large part of the insurgency is fueled by hostility to the US presence in the first place.


The basic meme: Terrorism is caused by fighting terrorism. This theme is enormously popular with the anti-warriors & is endlessly repeated. It’s a versatile meme & can be used in a variety of ways by simple substitution.

The Cold War variation: Communism is caused by fighting communism.

The domestic politics variation: Crime is caused by fighting crime.

 
At 7:16 PM, April 22, 2006, Blogger flenser said...

spanky

the idea that just because the government decided Iraq was a threat that a) it really was a threat

Oh, you want to talk about whether it really was a threat. Unlike, I suppose, the various discussions we had prior to April 2003. Which presumably never concerned themselves with whether Iraq was really a threat.

We has this discussion in 2003, 2003 and 2004. We decided it really was a threat.



or that b) because the government determined it was a threat, then the electorate somehow lacks the right to discuss whether it was wrong or not.

The electorate did discuss this. Then the electorate voted on it. The electorate decided that Iraq was a threat, and that the government was right to take action against it. I'm not sure how anyone could have missed this happening.

What do you think the elections in 2002 and 2004 hinged on?

 
At 9:15 PM, April 22, 2006, Anonymous Spankle said...

Wow, I have my own little fan club. So many comments, where to start?

Grackle, I'll start with you.

Grackle, I never said that fighting terrorism causes terrorism. In fact, I explicitly said that fighting terrorism does not cause terrorism. Do I need to spell it out?

Ok. Fighting terrorism does not cause terrorism.

Do you understand the difference between a cause and a goal?

Certainly the violence in Iraq is not caused by the US presence. Iraqis are not robots programmed to respond a certain way. That's basically the implication of this argument - that they are robots which, when given the input of US presence turn out the output of terrorism.

Again, the US presence does not cause terrorism. You cannot deny that the goal of many people joining the insurgency is to eject the US from Iraq. Jihadis from Saudi Arabia and Islamists and blah blah blah. Guess what, the commanders in Iraq estimate that roughly ten percent or less of the insurgency are foreign jihadis. The insurgency is a Sunni nationalist movement with jihadis tagging along for the ride.

Now, the fact that their goal is to remove us from the US is not an argument for us to withdraw. Got that? Now you can't say that I'm arguing that we need to withdraw to appease terrorists.

You cannot deny that the insurgency recruits lots of Iraqis every month - as I've said before, check out Brookings' Iraq Index. So long as US troops stay in Iraq, this will continue.

Imagine the British in 1776 arguing over whether their presence in the colonies was "causing" the rebellion there. Of course it wasn't "causing" the rebellion, in the sense that people aren't robots. But the goal of the colonists was to kick out the British, and so long as the British stayed the Continental Army would get recruits.

Unlike the British, we have no interest in staying in Iraq over the long term. We do, though, have a goal in ending the insurgency. If we stay, the insurgency will drag on because it will be able to recruit in perpetuity. We don't have an interest in killing every Sunni - only in getting the ones fighting to stop (by killing them or surrender or whatever) and stopping those who want to join from doing so.

If we stay, people keep joining and we keep fighting. If we leave, they keep fighting - but fewer and fewer join. The insurgency now regenerates itself. If we left, it would lose its ability to do so.

 
At 9:30 PM, April 22, 2006, Anonymous Spanktor said...

Flenser,

I'm sorry, that's just so idiotic. Yes, there was an "accountability moment". Blah blah blah. Guess what: in our dynamic democracy, every moment is an accountability moment. We don't have a single discussion once every couple of years. We have a constant discussion. The fact that people voted for Bush does not end the discussion. The fact that you want me to end the discussion does not end the discussion.

What's more - the fact that 50%+1 of the population voted for Bush does not decisively end the debate, no matter how much you would like it to. Bush won by a tiny margin, and would likely lose an election if he were to run now. But regardless of this, it's important to remember that truth is not decided upon by majority. I don't really care how many people believe that Iraq was a serious threat to US security. It wasn't, and I think it's assinine to believe that I would stop saying it was because lots of other people believed it was.

Iraq had no functional WMD program. But lots of people apparently believed Irad did. So let's go back in time and pretend that we believe Iraq has a WMD program.

The danger as argued was that Iraq was likely to give WMD, if it had them, to a terrorist group. Let's pretend for a moment that any state would give weapons of mass destruction to an uncontrolable group. There were two other countries also cited as likely: Iran and North Korea.

So we have finite resources to spend on this threat - that any or all of these countries will give WMD to a terrorist group. We could, perhaps, spend those finite resources going after the country MOST likely to give WMD away - the country that we knew had them, North Korea. Or we could use them designing a system of homeland security to defend us against WMD given to any terrorist group by any of these countries.

Instead, we decided to spend all of our resources going after one of these countries, with none left over for the other two. If the threat is WMD attack, then the cost is the same no matter if North Korea gives up WMD or if Iraq does - really high. So we spend lots of resources on Iraq, with none for North Korea or Iran. But the potential cost remains the same - North Korea could still give WMD to a terrorist group, but now we don't have the resources to do what we did to Iraq.

Imagine that there are three men threatening to shoot you in the head. You know one of them has bullets in his gun. Maybe the other two do, but you don't know for sure. You have finite resources to defend yourself. Maybe you could buy a bullet-proof helmet to protect yourself from all three. Maybe you could buy a single bullet to shoot the one guy you know can shoot you. Or maybe you spend all your money on a single bullet to shoot one guy who may or may not be armed.

I dunno, this was sort of rambling. But Iraq had no WMD, and its army was in shambles when we went in. In what way was it a threat?

 
At 10:00 PM, April 22, 2006, Anonymous Spanktastic said...

Sally,

I honestly have nothing to say to you. I thought about writing a response, but what's the point? You believe that I'm evil, or insane, or whatever you want to believe, and that anything I say is either wrong, or a lie, or insane. And that's fine. If I were like you, I might argue that you had taken on a knee-jerk, pathological hatred of people who disagree with you.

You're a nasty, shrill little person. So...whatever.

 
At 11:33 PM, April 22, 2006, Anonymous Sally said...

Spankme: You're a nasty, shrill little person. So...whatever.

Buh-bye, Spanks. I understand why you wouldn't want to respond. As you say, whatever.

 
At 12:01 AM, April 23, 2006, Anonymous Spankerton said...

Shorter Sally: "You are stupid and crazy and love terrorism and want to give Osama bin Laden a blowjob.

What? You don't want to have a serious conversation with me? Why ever could that be, rape-lover?"

 
At 12:21 AM, April 23, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

Spanky objects: Grackle, I never said that fighting terrorism causes terrorism.
You cannot deny that the goal of many people joining the insurgency is to eject the US from Iraq.


Yeah, sure, like I or anyone else thinks the terrorists want the Coalition to stay in Iraq. Of course the terrorists want the Coalition out! I doubt if Spanky or the other anti-warriors have even an inkling of the real goals of the terrorists or they wouldn’t constantly reiterate the obvious as if it was some sort of penetrating wisdom.

The insurgency is a Sunni nationalist movement with jihadis tagging along for the ride.

Another anti-warrior ‘insight.’ The terrorists are a “nationalist movement” in the same sense that Saddam was a “nationalist leader.” “Nationalist” sounds better than “terrorist” to the anti-warriors & gets smiley faces galore on the anti-warrior blogs. If the terrorists were really nationalist-minded they would run for office instead of murdering Iraqis.

Spanky even compares the terrorists to the American revolutionaries, despite the obvious differences. Spanky, do you think if the British had given self-government to the colonists that there would have been an American Revolution in the first place? Naw, Spanky, the terrorists are a ‘take-over-the-legitimate-government-by-murder-movement,’ a la their jailed leader, Saddam.

The insurgency now regenerates itself. If we left, it would lose its ability to do so.

Spanky keeps protesting that he is not saying ‘fighting terrorism causes terrorism,’ & I get my hopes up, & then he goes & makes a statement like the above. Oh, well.

 
At 3:29 AM, April 23, 2006, Anonymous david said...

....the quality of debate seems to have taken a bit of a dive. Maybe i can focus back on the Euston manifesto


1. The war was fought for the oil. All the wmd, freedom of Iraq's was an excuse.

2. The American right recognise this and are blatant in fighting for oil. Read the heritage foundation three pronged policy

3. Neo-cons are uncomfortable with this idea and hopefully cling to the wmd and freedom stuff. For all your ideas of 'being mugged by reality' this is one aspect of reality you resist.

4. The Euston Manifesto, among other things, says that the problem is not america fighting for oil but the anti-americanism of those who criticise this policy.

5. For those of us criticising it is hard not to be seen as anti-American because we criticise American policy, and British. We are placed in the uncomfortable position of criticising the actions of our own troops. But it would appear that more than a few of the troops are unhappy at the role they have been given. There was a post here that I noticed very few of you were willing to debate with - for obvious reasons.

6. The motor behind all this is our inability to stop being economically dependent on cheap oil as there are no market mechanisms - other than price - to push innovation. Therefore the state needs to intervene to finance large scale research into new sources of fuel and means of transport. Imagine this on the same lines as the large scale government funding of military research.

happy sunday

david

 
At 11:40 AM, April 23, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

The war was fought for the oil. All the wmd, freedom of Iraq's was an excuse.

Personally, I always thought the Iraqi Freedom thing was overdone. I was in favor of toppling Saddam for a variety of reasons of which finding Saddam red-handed with WMD & freeing Iraqis from his brutal rule were the least important. The important thing was to topple Saddam while there was a consensus in the Congress to do so because if Saddam was ever let alone he would have reconstituted his WMD program & would have continued to use terrorists to conduct war by proxy with the US. Timing is everything.

The American right recognise this and are blatant in fighting for oil.

I’ll allow that the anti-warriors have managed to make fighting for oil as one of the main anti-warrior slogans but the fact remains that all concerned knew that war in Iraq would hinder the flow of Iraq’s oil. Such facts neatly undercut the anti-warrior oil meme. I doubt if much oil will flow from Iraq for some time, but then neither will Saddam be slipping a WMD to his favorite terrorist.

Neo-cons are uncomfortable with this idea and hopefully cling to the wmd and freedom stuff. For all your ideas of 'being mugged by reality' this is one aspect of reality you resist.

I am one neocon that is perfectly content with a foreign policy that is geared toward assuring a supply of oil for the US. That is because I believe any administration should be looking out for the economic well-being of the US & oil is necessary for the US economy.

The Euston Manifesto, among other things, says that the problem is not america fighting for oil but the anti-americanism of those who criticise this policy.

Yep. I think the writer finally got something right.

For those of us criticising it is hard not to be seen as anti-American because we criticise American policy, and British. We are placed in the uncomfortable position of criticising the actions of our own troops. But it would appear that more than a few of the troops are unhappy at the role they have been given. There was a post here that I noticed very few of you were willing to debate with - for obvious reasons.

It is very difficult not to appear anti-American when you are blatantly anti-American. Yes, one would think that every anti-warrior would be uncomfortable criticizing their own troops but comfort aside the anti-warriors manage to constantly, one might even say ‘eagerly,’ criticize the troops. The post mentioned was back in January by someone anonymously claiming to be a veteran. Personally, I never take a military debater’s personal anecdotes about the military seriously unless the debater is willing to forego anonymity. We’ve all seen these anonymous posts claiming to be from a vet.

The motor behind all this is our inability to stop being economically dependent on cheap oil as there are no market mechanisms - other than price - to push innovation. Therefore the state needs to intervene to finance large scale research into new sources of fuel and means of transport. Imagine this on the same lines as the large scale government funding of military research.

I wonder if the writer knows that President Bush has proposed legislation toward the goal of US independence from foreign oil. Have any anti-warriors in Congress proposed any legislation of this type? Bush even referred to America’s “addiction to foreign oil” in a recent speech.

 
At 11:57 AM, April 23, 2006, Anonymous david said...

oh dear ...what the hell is an anti warrior? argue against me not something you made up. Glad you agree that the US is prepared to fight for it's oil.

And I am not anti-American. I get bored with repeating this, but hey ho.....

Am aware of , and v surprised by what Bush said. Do you agree that free markets will not do this and you need state intervention?

 
At 12:54 PM, April 23, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

I haven't had the time to read through the comments yet, been doing other things these few past few days. Although I will say one small comment.

If you notice, or even if you had not, Spank will pick out one person he is angry at and trying to provoke him or her. In this case, it was me. This started a few threads back, then he went away.

He'll keep on offloading on you, until he successfully provokes you into attacking him or giving him the satisfaction of seeing you lose your cool. Since he has a certain lack of quality in his character, it does misery good to see company.

So, by all means, keep posting. But just take things into perspective.

 
At 1:03 PM, April 23, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Okay, finished reading. What's next? Not much, just the observation that sally is right about spank playing games.

 
At 1:03 PM, April 23, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

oh dear ...what the hell is an anti warrior?

Try using your imagination.

Glad you agree that the US is prepared to fight for it's oil.

I agree with the article that the US should be ready to help nations that have their oil seized by terrorists.

And I am not anti-American. I get bored with repeating this, but hey ho.....

Ever wonder why you have to keep repeating that you are not anti-American?

Am aware of , and v surprised by what Bush said. Do you agree that free markets will not do this and you need state intervention?

I not at all sure “free markets will not do this,” & thus, do not agree; I’m just a liberal, not a complete socialist. But on the other hand, isn’t Bush’s legislative proposal “state intervention,” of a sort, or at least a step in that direction? Has the opposition proposed any such legislation?

 
At 3:40 PM, April 23, 2006, Anonymous david said...

grackle......anti warrior?....are you saying i am a pacifist? No i am not, are you saying i am anti British and American power - No I am not. I simply oppose this war. Well i tried and nope i dont get it. You tell me. Meanwhile could you argue with what i say not with these imaginary terms.

I agree with the article that the US should be ready to help nations that have their oil seized by terrorists.

oh come on just admit it. You think the US should use military force to maintain oil supplies. It is an honest opinion. It is all the dressing it up as spreading democracy that i find silly.

Ever wonder why you have to keep repeating that you are not anti-American? Yes because people such as you do not seem to be get the idea that I do not oppose America just this war. Gulf War One Yes. Gulf War Two Bush should have waited to have a proper international basis. You might think my opinion is wrong but you have no basis to call it anti-american.

But on the other hand, isn’t Bush’s legislative proposal “state intervention,” of a sort Yeah I suppose you are right. The point I was trying to make, as a socialist is that only through collective action mediated by the state are we going to get off this oil addiction. I can't see free enterprise doing it. I would love to be proved wrong.

oh yes and the final thing...
Personally, I never take a military debater’s personal anecdotes about the military seriously unless the debater is willing to forego anonymity. Now I have no idea how genuine th eguy is but he did give a detailed account of his job in the military. And it is reasonably clear that at least a portion of the US & British military are annoyed about how they have been used.

 
At 6:05 PM, April 23, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

grackle......anti warrior?....are you saying i am a pacifist? Well i tried and nope i dont get it. You tell me.

If you’ll read some archived articles you’ll see my explanation of the term somewhere among them. Sorry, but you badly need the consciousness-raising such a search would give you.

oh come on just admit it. You think the US should use military force to maintain oil supplies.

No, I don’t think the US should use military force to maintain oil supplies, unless someone starts torpedoing oil tankers headed toward the US or bombing domestic sources. Acts such as these would be an act of war & should be dealt with accordingly.

It is an honest opinion. It is all the dressing it up as spreading democracy that i find silly.

I don’t believe Bush is “dressing it up” by professing to believe in the pacification powers of democratic government. I believe he is sincere in his belief in this policy. It remains to be seen whether he will be proved correct. It’s a moot point for me since I don’t really care what type of government the Afghans & Iraqis end up with, as long as they don’t behave as the previous governments did. Rebuilding Iraq is not high on my list of things to do, either.

You might think my opinion is wrong but you have no basis to call it anti-american.

I thought we were discussing the Euston Manifesto, which you complained refers to certain elements of the Left being labeled as anti-American, but which I heartily agree with. Read my posts carefully.

The point I was trying to make, as a socialist is that only through collective action mediated by the state are we going to get off this oil addiction. I can't see free enterprise doing it. I would love to be proved wrong.

It sounds very doctrinaire to me but then I’m a liberal not a socialist. It sounds like the early communists who were sure free enterprise was going to crumble. Guess who crumbled?

Now I have no idea how genuine the guy is but he did give a detailed account of his job in the military. And it is reasonably clear that at least a portion of the US & British military are annoyed about how they have been used.

It’s not that I think the poster might not have been in the military at some point but rather that without identification I have no way of gauging whether personal anecdotes are true or not. For instance, if I tried to say something happened during my own military service that did not actually happen & I identified myself, those who served with me who would know I was lying. If I post anonymously that sort of quality control doesn’t pertain. Anyone’s entitled to debate the issues but If they start in with the anecdotal “proofs” I want them to use their real name, otherwise I pay no attention at all. It was my experience during my stint in the Navy that grousing about conditions was a common pastime even during peacetime. Rather than look to anecdotal material to confirm erroneous beliefs about the military one might want to look at things like reenlistment rates among the soldiers serving in Iraq.

 
At 7:24 PM, April 23, 2006, Blogger Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) said...

I just saw this post on another blog I read, and it seems particularly relevant to the current debate (well, the one that's developed, not the one the original post was about)

 
At 11:48 AM, April 24, 2006, Anonymous david said...

It sounds very doctrinaire to me but then I’m a liberal not a socialist. It sounds like the early communists who were sure free enterprise was going to crumble. Guess who crumbled?

oi! why you try debating with what i said not with you think 'early communists' said. Do you think the state has a role in developing new technologies. I do.

 
At 12:24 PM, April 24, 2006, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> Shi'ite parties in power would suddenly have a very good reason to make those comprimises: if they don't, they will be destroyed when the US leaves.

This is blatantly silly. Ridiculous, even. Clearly FALSE.

The Shi'ites are the largest group IN Iraq. How the hell do you think they would be wiped out by the Sunnis? The Kurds are probably the best set for any internecine strife, but aren't likely to intercede on behalf of the Sunnis, since the Shi'ites probably could NOT wipe them out.

What needs to happen in Iraq is that the three parties need to get a grip on the idea that mutually-shared unhappiness is better than a fight.

Compromise is better than using a gun to try to get your own way.

It's a critical aspect of the democratic model -- because, once someone decides that blowing their enemy's head off is more important to them than the risk to life, limb, and family which the alternative represents, there is no hope of any kind towards compromise. One of the chief weaknesses of Islam is that it does exactly that -- encourages one to destroy one's enemy at the cost of one's own life.

This principle has some value in one-to-one tribal conflicts, but when you're pissing off an enemy with far more nukes than you have, it's a recipe for self-genocide (if they don't get that result from the West, I will utterly guarantee you China won't hesitate to apply it)

 
At 2:10 PM, April 24, 2006, Anonymous SB said...

Coming to this after a hiatus, so sorry if I disturb the flow of the discussion.

I can understand how Spanky and others feel about being tarred as evil anti-American lefties. It seems like there's a perception problem - not their fault, but it's there nevertheless.

Specifically, it appears to many people that "ordinary" liberals have made common cause with genuinely radical, anti-American leftists due to a mutual dislike of George Bush and his policies. Looking at it from the other side, this is exactly the same as believing that the Republicans have made common cause with born-again religious fanatics led by Jerry Falwell. There may be a small kernel of truth behind each perception, but it fails to describe "average" liberals and conservatives justly and accurately.

I don't want a theocracy in America, and I don't believe George Bush is likely to start one. Similarly, I assume Spanky doesn't want a Soviet-style collective in America, and he doesn't believe John Kerry (or whoever) is going to start one. But this is exactly the kind of crap we hear from the further reaches of our political spectrum.

Unfortunately, the media consider this nonsense to be exciting news. Pat Robertson's latest foot-in-mouth attack is more interesting than a boring policy statement by some Republican bigwig. Cindy Sheehan's latest rant is more tasty than some Democrat party functionary droning on about education.

I think that both sides of the debate, by giving the nut-cases a pass just because they agree on broader issues, are doing themselves and their opponents a great disservice. We cannot count on the party politicians to distance themselves from these extremists - they're afraid of losing votes. So we have to depend on ourselves to make our positions clear to each other through blogs and other public fora.

I guess what this amounts to is: Spanky, when you think of me, try to keep Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson out of your head. For my part, when I think of you I'll try to ignore Michael Moore and Cindy Sheehan.

And I don't know where the Manifesto fits in, truly. For one thing, "average" voters don't go around signing manifestos. The more I think about it, the more it sounds like a publicity stunt.

 
At 2:11 PM, April 24, 2006, Anonymous Spanky said...

I'm confused, Nick B. Are you unfamiliar with the concept of the pronoun?

You see, I wrote "Shi'ite parties in power would suddenly have a very good reason to make those comprimises: if they don't, they will be destroyed when the US leaves."

In the latter sentence, the word "they" refers back to the subject of the first sentence, "Shi'ite parties in power." This pronoun represents, or takes the place of, a noun.

Instead, you seem to believe that, while I wrote "Shi'ite parties in power," that "they" referred instead to "all Shi'a in Iraq."

Not quite sure where you came up with that, but it was nice of you to make up an argument and then call me silly and rediculous for it.

The Shi'ite parties in power - the Iraqi government, in essence - are, in fact, in great danger of being destroyed by the insurgency if the US withdraws its protection. Isn't that what all of you we-must-stay-or-else-evil-wins folks talking about all the time? The Iraqi government isn't strong or stable enough to survive on its own.

While we're keeping the government alive, we're also helping to ensure that the insurgency will continue indefinitely, and that we'll need to stay in order to protect them indefinitely.

So long as we're there protecting the government, the Shi'ite parties have no incentive to cooperate with the Sunni minority. If they were actually threatened with actual distruction - that is, if we were to offer a withdrawal date - the government would suddenly have a very good reason to comprimise with the Sunnis.

So long as the Sunnis feel the government won't serve their interests, they will continue fighting the government. So long as the Shi'ites monopolize power, the Sunnis will feel the government won't serve their interests. The Shi'ites don't want to share power at all, and they have no reason to - we're propping them up. If we were to threaten to leave unless the Shi'ites comprimised with the Sunnis, then they might actually do that - most of the power is better than none of the power.

There are examples of successful counterinsurgencies in history. Most of these involve putting lots of people in concentration camps (ie, the British in South Africa, Kenya, and Malaya) or genocide (ie, the Germans in Poland). We tend not to like doing those things, and so we're going to have to try to find another way of ending the insurgency.

This means threatening the Shi'ites so that they will finally be forced into doing what they can do to end the insurgency.

 
At 2:17 PM, April 24, 2006, Anonymous Spanky said...

SB, you're a sweetheart.

Nick B, you wrote:

"One of the chief weaknesses of Islam is that it does exactly that -- encourages one to destroy one's enemy at the cost of one's own life."

I'm very curious about this - you obviously must know a lot about Islam to know one of its chief weaknesses.

So tell me: what is Islam?

While you're at it, maybe you can answer the exact same question, phrased differently: what is Christianity?

 
At 3:24 PM, April 24, 2006, Anonymous Sally said...

SB: Jerry Falwell et al are recognized as speaking for a distinct and well-defined sub-component of American conservatives; that's not the case for the likes of Mikey Moore, for example, who's been feted with red-carpet treatment by the limousine-liberals of Hollywood, nor for the whole radical-chic element that continues to pervade and dominate the nation's academic insitutions. That's why the Euston Manifesto is important and needed -- to make it clear that those who continue to toy with blatant anti-Americanism, apologize for any tyrant who mimics their rhetoric, and blame Bush, America, and the West generally for every ill, are on the other side of a significant divide between reason and unreason.

By the way, it's touching to see poor Spanky's appreciation for your pat on the head -- but, by his own reaction to the Euston document, and his quick descent into name-calling, it's pretty clear which side of that divide he's really on.

 
At 4:09 PM, April 24, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Spank's analysis is inverted. The Shia would genocide the Sunnis and the Kurds, because of the intereference by Sadr and Iran once the US leaves. This is why the Kurds and the Sunnis are making deals with the US, and trying to not get us to leave by dumping on the foreign jihadists and the Sunni insurgents.

In the beginning, the Sunnis thought that their organization, experience, and militarism could get them back into power if they just caused enough casualties and problems for America to pull a Mogadishu Mile on them.

Obviously, this was before we trained an Iraqi National Army and a Police force made predominantly out of Shiites. As the native Iraqis get more experienced and combat hardened, the Sunni insurgency sees more and more rewards in the political process. When they targeted the police lines and Iraqi civilians over US casualties, it was their admission that they could no longer force AMerica out. That they could perhaps intimidate the Shiites into making a better deal. With the 2 votes, that didn't work either.

The Shiites have always believed Americans were too soft on the insurgency. So they always believed that if we left, the Shiites could take care of things. This contradicted with their belief that Iran and Syria were a national danger without the Americans, of course.

Now with an American trained Iraqi force that is superior to the iranians, syrians, and Saudis combined, the Shiites are arguing from a position of strength.

If we left, the Shiites would strike first at the Sunnis, because they could not be given any guarantees that the Sunnis would not strike first. The Americans are serving as a trust broker, we are the middle man. We are trusted by Kurds, Shia, and Sunni because we belong to none of their tribes, and we hold no particular loyalties to one or another of their enemies or allies.

In tribal politics, this matters a lot.

The fake liberals are stuck on this idea that if you are threatened with destruction, then you will unite. You saw this during Roosevelt's President for Life reign, and you saw some of it as criticism leveled at Bush for being a divider not a uniter.

Here again, you see spank espouse the same narrow minded idea.

To apply it more accurately than spank did, Americans leaving would unite Shiites in a Shiite dominated government that would be united in the pursuit of the destruction of all their enemies, whether Sunni or no sunni. Thus the civil war of Lebanon would commence once again.

Without US assurances of protection against the Shiites, the Sunnis would unify and fight the Shia. It would be the best civil war the Left could engender in generations I am sure it will prove very entertaining to Hollywood as well.

 
At 4:36 PM, April 24, 2006, Anonymous Spanky said...

So, according to Yammer, we have established a government in Iraq which, if we were not there, would commit genocide against millions of people.

So, Yammer, we overthrew Saddam's genocidal regime because...?

 
At 4:45 PM, April 24, 2006, Anonymous Spanky said...

Red-carpet treatment?

Limousine-liberals?

Hollywood?

Radical-chic?

Anti-Americanism?

What sort of dressing would you like for your cliche salad?

Unfortunately, Sally will very likely never, ever believe that liberals - you know, about half the country - are anything but monsters.

It will probably never matter that Bill O'Reilly called for San Francisco to be attacked by terrorists, or that Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh have both called for liberals and democrats to be murdered en masse.

You see, these don't represent Sally. No. Those are fringe elements. However, those crazy people over there? They embody everything I believe. They represent me in every way.

Because, you see, Sally has a problem with reason and unreason. She's always mixing them up.

 
At 5:29 PM, April 24, 2006, Anonymous Sally said...

For the "cliches", mea culpa. But you know, Spanks, if you're talking about originality I think you're on pretty thin ice -- "I know you are, but what am I?" is kind of juvenile, don't you think?

By the way, for the record, I don't actually think all liberals are monsters -- I actually diverge just a fraction from Ann Coulter in that regard. Spanky obviously finds some comfort in extending his peculiar brand of political neurosis to include everyone who simply shares that end of the spectrum -- but that's his delusion, not mine, as the Euston Manifesto makes evident.

 
At 5:38 PM, April 24, 2006, Anonymous Spanky said...

Now who's backtracking?

First it was: Michael Moore is crazy and he represents the Left because the Left is crazy too! You're crazy for being on the Left!

Now it's: I was only calling some people crazy. Why do you think I'm calling you crazy? Talk about projection!

 
At 5:59 PM, April 24, 2006, Anonymous Sally said...

I'm just going to leave the above as a humorous, if pathetic, specimen of verbal -- possibly emotional -- derangement.

For what it's worth, I'll just note that the topic of the post that initiated this increasingly bizarre exchange was the Euston Manifesto, a document put out by liberals and leftists, which I've been at some pains all along to say I found rationally debatable.

 
At 8:30 PM, April 24, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

oi! why you try debating with what i said not with you think 'early communists' said. Do you think the state has a role in developing new technologies. I do.

Yeah, sure. The ‘state’ in the US is already playing a major role. Much research here is government-funded. But yeah, maybe the government could do more to wean the US off oil. I suspect you & I could find many areas of agreement on various issues. I have a liberal viewpoint on most domestic issues. But all that is small potatoes compared to the religious war the West finds itself in. Wake up & see what they are doing & what is coming unless people like you wise up.

 
At 8:33 PM, April 24, 2006, Anonymous Dr. Spankenstein said...

Nothing encourages grown-up discussion like calling someone who disagrees with you "deranged."

Cheers, Sally.

 
At 8:43 PM, April 24, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

It will probably never matter that Bill O'Reilly called for San Francisco to be attacked by terrorists, or that Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh have both called for liberals and democrats to be murdered en masse.

I’m not a fan of any of the media folks named above, especially Limbaugh, who is slyly slanderous. Coulter’s specialty is ironic exaggeration for comic effect & O’Reilly is frequently disappointing, so I’m not one to defend them but calling for terrorist attacks? Murder of liberals en mass? Sorry, Spanky, but I’m going to have to see some reliable sources for such charges to be believable.

 
At 9:14 PM, April 24, 2006, Anonymous Spanky said...

http://mediamatters.org/items/200511100008

Bill O'Reilly on San Francisco:

"And if Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead."

You can listen to the audio clip of O'Reilly saying this.

 
At 9:20 PM, April 24, 2006, Anonymous Spankie said...

Limbaugh:

"We don't want to get rid of all liberals. I want to keep a couple, for example, on every major U.S. college campus so that we never forget who these people are."

http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/eibessential3/x.guest.html

 
At 9:33 PM, April 24, 2006, Anonymous Dr. Spankenstein said...

Coulter:

"We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee."

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,183006,00.html

Haha, she joked about murdering a Supreme Court Justice. Hahahahaha.

Other choice quotes:

"My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building."

"We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed too."

Ehhhhh I'll find cites later but I'm tired now.

Check out Oricnus - http://dneiwert.blogspot.com for lots of eliminationist rhetoric on the right - so and so is vermin and should be killed, liberal hunting permits for sale, etc.

Point is: Crazy Lefty says crazy thing. Crazy Righty says crazy thing. Bot should be condemned.

Sally says: your crazies are special; you are in love with them and want to have their babies. Michael Moore! He gets red carpet treatment! Everything he says is the gospel truth of the Left!

Oh, our crazies have called for murder and terrorism? Well, they are a) just joking or b) totally marginalized.

How convenient!

Look, I'm not responsible for Moore and I don't read Kos. I don't care! Coulter, O'Reilly, Limbaugh...these people have big followings on the Right. Cheney was just on Limbaugh's show last week. Moore went to the convention as a guest of a president who has been retired for decades. Limbaugh got to make kissy-kissy with the sitting Vice President.

Sally, own up to the fact that the problem is just as bad for the Right as it is for the Left.

Or, continue denying reality. Either way, ehhhh, you smell bad.

 
At 9:44 PM, April 24, 2006, Blogger Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) said...

Ahh, another impeccable display of logic, Spankmaster. Let's take a look at the two people you quoted.

O'REILLY: Hey, you know, if you want to ban military recruiting, fine, but I'm not going to give you another nickel of federal money. You know, if I'm the president of the United States, I walk right into Union Square, I set up my little presidential podium, and I say, "Listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you vote against military recruiting, you're not going to get another nickel in federal funds. Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead."

And if Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead.


Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is indeed saying that al Qaeda should attack San Francisco. I mean, just how the UN has called for massacre after massacre by not sending in its troops to stop it.

I know many people want Dan Rather to fly the coop, but I don't. I'm seriously thinking of the campaign called "Don't Dump Dan." It's actually a two-pronged campaign to save Dan. The first is: "Don't Dump Dan." The second prong of the campaign would be a PSA. I have a script here, a public service announcement to help find the fall guy for Dan so that Dan doesn't take the heat. I'm not coming out in four square defense of Dan Rather. I am coming out -- I'm seriously thinking about this -- in defense of Dan Rather keeping his job. Now, I know -- if Mr. Snerdley's face is any example -- many of you out there scratching your heads, shouting at your radios and saying, "Why?" My friends, as I've always said here since the earliest days of the EIB Network, "We don't want to get rid of all liberals. I want to keep a couple, for example, on every major U.S. college campus so that we never forget who these people are." I mean you need an opponent out there. It heaps keep you sharp. We need liberals being who they are. We need liberals doing what they do. It helps create more non-liberals. It just does. We want to be able to remind future generations just who liberals were and are, how they think, what liberals do -- and I was thinking about this last night.

Right, again. Because telling people to go out and kill most liberals is not just one of, not just the most probable, but the indisputably correct interpretation of all the possibilities for that passage.

 
At 9:58 PM, April 24, 2006, Anonymous Spanky said...

Ah yes, Justin. Please, excuse and defend eliminationist rhetoric. Vile is a good look for you.

Of course there is more than one way to interpret every statement. You're such a good little postmodernist. Think of all the different "voices" that form the "text"! Ah, a breath of fresh air in a stale room.

I'm sure, Justin, that the slightest hint of anything even remotely like this from a liberal sends you into paroxysms of hysterical, indignant, righteous rage. But when a conservative says it, well, he meant something else! It was a joke!

Imagine if Moore had said "And if Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead."

You'd by in a tizzy, I imagine. But a liberal didn't say it, O'Reilly with his 2 million conservative viewers and listeners said it. But that's ok, because he's one of you, right?

 
At 10:48 PM, April 24, 2006, Anonymous Sally said...

My goodness -- "eliminationist rhetoric"! "such a good little post-modernist"! You don't suppose Spanky's betraying a little frustration at being nailed quoting completely out of context, do you?

It's true that if you pore over the texts of people on the left or right looking for quotations that can be made to look bad out of context, you can always find them. So this becomes an obvious exercise for those lefties, like Spanky, in denial over the atrocious state of a significant segment of their own political wing -- "Oh yeah? Well you're another!" is their feeble attempt at a comeback. But it's really just kicking dust in the hope that something like the Euston Manifesto will be obscured and forgotten. That document is an open acknowledgement on the part of a number of people on the left that the problem is not an occasional crack, but rather an entire mindset, a mindset that betrays the values underpinning rational politics on any wing, left as well as right.

 
At 10:53 PM, April 24, 2006, Anonymous Spanky said...

Sally, this isn't a simple case of "you are too", even though it could be.

The point is: you asserted that the Left's fringe somehow represents the Left, while the Right's fringe is properly marginalized. This is clearly false. The Right has the same problem as the Left.

Seriously: if Moore had said what O'Reilly said, or if he had called for the murder of a Supreme Court Justice over his political views, you'd be throwing a tantrum and shouting that this proved your point, that the Left is unhinged and etc. Except Leftists didn't say this.

Am I quoting out of context? No, this seems pretty clear to me. Of course it doesn't surprise me that you'd try to explain or excuse away this sort of thing when it's your team saying these things, but that's the point of selection bias, right?

 
At 11:40 PM, April 24, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Most people don't know this, but if you free an oppressed people from the shackles of tyranny, their first instinct is to smash the crap out of the ruling elites. That means Shiite smashing Sunni golden toilet bowls, ransacking and looting going on.

That's why a lot of Revolutions go down into chaos and the Revolutionaries lose power to another elite. I.E. Bolshevik Revolution and the French Revolution.

The most violent transfigurations occur when the beaten upon acquires the power to beat upon their tormentors. You will never imagine anything like it until you see it for yourself.

Since Justin and Sally aren't making an effort to explain O'Reilly's comments, I will. Just for the record, of course.

When San Francisco becomes another nation, then they do not benefit from the US military's protection, and thus it would be as if Mexico had a suicide bombing. We're not going to do anything about it, because it is neither in our jurisdiction nor should we, given that Mexico has its own government to deal with problems like that.

O'Reilly's reasoning is of course, not very clear to the unreasonable. So I guess people should give them a break or two.

 
At 12:30 AM, April 25, 2006, Anonymous Sally said...

Spanky: Of course it doesn't surprise me that you'd try to explain or excuse away this sort of thing when it's your team saying these things, but that's the point of selection bias, right?

And of course it doesn't surprise me that you'd want to deny there's a particular problem with the ideology you hold dear -- that's exactly the point of selection bias. But it's not just me, and it's not just the right, and it's not just the center -- it's well-known liberals and leftists themselves that are finally admitting to that particular problem, and are trying to do something to correct it. Merely asserting that that's "clearly false" isn't going to make it so.

Why this problem exists, asymmetrically, on the left is another matter and a longer story -- and likely one that would be more interesting and more profitable to pursue than just continuing with repetitious denials.

 
At 12:51 AM, April 25, 2006, Anonymous douglas said...

Sally, I don't know why you apologized to spank for using cliches. Just because something is cliche doesn't make it incorrect. His was a juvenile reply.


Oh, wait, now he's going to call me juvenile for using the 'juvenile' line on him.

oh, well...

 
At 12:54 AM, April 25, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm tiring of the spankathon...

perhaps we can all agree to answer him as dryly as is possible. He seems to get off on the jousting...

 
At 3:29 AM, April 25, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

Coulter: "We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee."
Haha, she joked about murdering a Supreme Court Justice. Hahahahaha.


Here’s the full quote: "We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee," Coulter said. "That's just a joke, for you in the media."

It was an ill-advised joke, an unfunny joke, but nonetheless a joke, definitely tongue in cheek & labeled as such. Hardly a serious call for the mass murder of liberals. O'Reilly’s quote was stupid, but it wasn’t exactly a call for murder, either. Likewise the Limbaugh quote, part of a mawkish & clumsy attempt to be ironic, was absolutely idiotic but not proposing murder. I’ll take your word about Oricnus.

On the other hand, although the quotes were not a call for murder, what was said was bad enough to make your point for me. I will concede that these 3 have a following on the right & that is not a good thing for the right – but you need to realize that people like Moore & Sheehan are just as damaging to the left.

I never liked O’Reilly. He’s a ratings scientist that’s found a sizeable niche working assorted hot button issues. An ex-employee took him for a bundle because of some sordid phone trash he talked to her. The enterprising lady had the foresight to record the calls. First they let him make a fool of himself by denying everything, then produced the tapes, which Ol’ Bill hurriedly paid a pretty price for. Limbaugh is a master of character assassination & his favorite method is implication. He’s arrogant & accusing but very careful to avoid saying outright anything he could be sued for. Coulter is sometimes entertaining & does manage some witticisms in her lighter moments, but frequently lapses into a kind of hysterical shrillness, as your quotes illustrate.

Yes, there’s too much hyperbole on both sides.

 
At 7:34 AM, April 25, 2006, Anonymous Sally said...

grackle: Yes, there’s too much hyperbole on both sides.

Fine.

But that's not the point of the Euston Manifesto. It's not a matter of making funny remarks, however offensive, or off-hand cracks, however tasteless. And it's not about particular personalities, and whether or not you find them entertaining. Michael Moore says some funny if politically offensive things, for example, and no one bothers about it -- so does Jon Stewart or Bill Mahr. It's what Moore and his like say when their dead serious that is the source of concern. And it's not just a few high-profile moon-bats that we're talking about, it's the pervasiveness of this sort of seriously disturbed world-view throughout the activist portions of the contemporary left -- the proliferation of paranoid-level conspiracy theories, for example, or the deep-seated, generalized sense of cultural guilt, or the swollen level of self-righteousness, all of which and more underlie the particular symptoms outlined in the Euston Manifesto.

Anybody can always find someone on both their right and their left with whom they disagree, and maybe whom they can't stand. But it's important to understand that this Manifesto is pointing to a phenomenon that goes beyond this sort of personal and perennial judgment -- it's saying that the left in particular needs a way of distinguishing more clearly between rational and irrational, decent and indecent. The natural tendency to want to balance blame in this case is just a way of avoiding an important issue.

 
At 8:13 AM, April 25, 2006, Anonymous Spanky said...

Actually Grackle, we agree.

You're right, people like Moore are an embarassment. He's a liability. The Minuteman comment? Every time he opens his mouth he damages the efforts of real, actual progressives. Every time he opens his mouth it becomes harder for anyone else to take us seriously. I have no idea whether he really believes that or if he has decided that his commercial position requires him to be as extreme as possible. Maybe like Coulter? Who knows. I do know that so long as Coulter is a guest at GOP pac meetings and gets covers on Time Magazine, she's as much an issue for people on the Right as Moore is for the Left.

But I didn't bring her up to accuse you for being on the Right and being associated with Coulter. I don't feel any more associated with Moore than you do with O'Reilly or Coulter. At what point do people like us become responsible for them? And what could we even do?

Sally will probably never believe this. She seems a little set in her ways. I could probably point to a hundred, a thousand examples of the same sort of excesses on the Right as on the Left. But those on the Right Sally will explain away - it was a joke! ha ha ha - or excuse away - these people are marginal! Pay no attention to Cheney on Limbaugh's show last week - or just outright deny it.

This isn't at tit-for-tat thing, Sally. This isn't "the Right is bad too so therefore we're not bad." It's "both sides have a problem that needs to be dealt with, and it's the same problem for both sides, and denying that doesn't help the situation."

But you'll never agree with that, because of this:

"the left in particular needs a way of distinguishing more clearly between rational and irrational, decent and indecent."

When you accuse your opponent of not being able to distinguish the ration and decent from the irrational and indecent, your opponent thinks you're an asshole and won't take your ideas seriously.

Let's try it! Sally, you're insane. You're stupid. You have trouble distinguising reality from fantasy, like a crazy person. You probably have poor personal hygiene. You love evil. You hate good. Now why won't you take my ideas seriously?

So Euston is, according to you, basically the authors accusing the Left of being crazy idiots who hate America. And you wonder why we don't like it?

 
At 9:13 AM, April 25, 2006, Anonymous Sally said...

So Euston is, according to you, basically the authors accusing the Left of being crazy idiots who hate America.

For the few people (other than Spanky) still reading this thread, let me just try one more time to clarify a topic that Spanky is working hard to muddy: the authors of the Euston Manifesto are themselves leftists, as I've frequently pointed out, so it would hardly make sense for them to accuse the left "of being crazy idiots who hate America", or for me to think that they're saying that. Their target -- and mine, here -- is instead a subset of the left for whom "sense" is a suspect, potentially dangerous concept. This is a subset that Spanky, for example, despite his efforts at appearing even-handed, perfectly illustrates with the nonsensical quote above, and with the froth that preceded it.

 
At 10:39 AM, April 25, 2006, Anonymous Spanky said...

Wow, Sally, you're a genius. A group has a subset that has more extreme views than the group as a whole! Did anyone else know this astounding fact about group dynamics?

The key here is that this group is every group. Left, Right, everyone. Extremism and looniness are a problem for everyone. But you don't care about that.

Euston's authors are a very small set of the Left: those who supported the war in Iraq and believe that criticism of the war is, in essense, putting oneself on the side of the terrorists. They are, in essence, attacking everyone else on the Left, loony or not.

What you are doing is taking this small subset of Leftists who agree with you, calling them rational, and then accusing anyone who doesn't agree with them of being irrational.

Let me sum this up for you: the "subset" of Leftists Euston is attacking is not the fringe minority - Moore and Churchill and whomever - but rather most Leftists.

If Euston had said something like "lots of us disagreed over Iraq, but we're there now, so let's figure out what the best solution to our problem is, whatever that may be, irrespective of ideology or ego."

Euston instead said "lots of us disagreed over Iraq, but let's move past that and realize that if you want us to leave, then you're a terrorist-lover."

The key is this passage:

"This opposes us not only to those on the Left who have actively spoken in support of the gangs of jihadist and Baathist thugs of the Iraqi so-called resistance, but also to others who manage to find a way of situating themselves between such forces and those trying to bring a new democratic life to the country. We have no truck, either, with the tendency to pay lip service to these ends, while devoting most of one's energy to criticism of political opponents at home (supposedly responsible for every difficulty in Iraq), and observing a tactful silence or near silence about the ugly forces of the Iraqi "insurgency". The many left opponents of regime change in Iraq who have been unable to understand the considerations that led others on the Left to support it, dishing out anathema and excommunication, more lately demanding apology or repentance, betray the democratic values they profess."

Euston is attacking a strawman. There are people on the Left (if you can call them people) who have actively spoken in support of the insurgency. There are probably about five of these people in the country. That's fine, speak out against them all you want. They deserve whatever you have to say about them.

But Euston doesn't stop there. Euston goes on to criticise those who "situate themselves" between the good guys and the bad guys. Who would this be? I thought we already covered the extremist fringe. Someone else, then? Some group of people on the Left who aren't on our side, but somewhere in between? These are people who "pay lip service" to positive ends.

Ah, and here's the crux of it: those who "pay lip service" are, by Euston's definition, actually speaking out against terrorism and jihadis. They're just not doing it loudly enough, or in an ideologically pure enough, or often enough way to satisfy Euston. Apparently Euston has a monopoly on the appropriate way of condemning murder, and anyone who phrases it a different way? Euston sees into their hearts and knows that they don't really believe what they say.

What I figure is this: Euston's authors supported the war, and had lots of fun making fun of other leftists who opposed it. Then, when things started to go wrong and those Lefties said "told you so, you were wrong," Euston's authors couldn't stand it. Those Lefties were being mean. So Euston establishes an ideoligical purity test: you love freedom? Hate tyranny? Freedom lover says withdrawalfromiraqmeansyourontheotherside. What? Oh, nothing.

Ooooh, I'm frothy.

 
At 11:10 AM, April 25, 2006, Anonymous Sally said...

Spanky's now into just recycling himself -- for anyone interested in a response, go back about 50 or so comments. But after his rather strained efforts to appear reasonable, it's interesting to see him now revert to form, fabricating quotes as well as history ("What I figure is this", etc.). Again, for what it's worth, here's the real key passage of the document as it relates to Iraq:
The founding supporters of this statement took different views on the military intervention in Iraq, both for and against. We recognize that it was possible reasonably to disagree about the justification for the intervention, the manner in which it was carried through, the planning (or lack of it) for the aftermath, and the prospects for the successful implementation of democratic change. We are, however, united in our view about the reactionary, semi-fascist and murderous character of the Baathist regime in Iraq, and we recognize its overthrow as a liberation of the Iraqi people. We are also united in the view that, since the day on which this occurred, the proper concern of genuine liberals and members of the Left should have been the battle to put in place in Iraq a democratic political order and to rebuild the country's infrastructure, to create after decades of the most brutal oppression a life for Iraqis which those living in democratic countries take for granted — rather than picking through the rubble of the arguments over intervention.
(Emphasis added)

 
At 11:21 AM, April 25, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Looks like the Left excommunicated Moore. I wonder if Moore got the memo.

I suggest to sally to stop talking to Spank.

 
At 11:29 AM, April 25, 2006, Anonymous Spanky the Prolific said...

Sally, will you sign the Spanky Manifesto?

We, the supporters of the Spanky Manifesto, support the following things:

America, freedom, liberty, democracy, cake, America, grandma, puppies, kittens, ducklings, America, capitalism, America, baseball, flowers, rainbows, America, good cell phone reception, high speed internet access, America, and all that is good.

We oppose: tyranny, fascism, oppression, Osama bin Laden, communism, fascism, grouches, grease stains, stuffy noses, burnt toast, jihadism, and paper cuts.

Plus, by signing this, you agree to admit that you were wrong about everything because you are stupid, crazy, or both, and that your opposition to our policies indicate that you love Osama bin Laden and want to make out with Saddam Hussein.

Sincerely, Spanky and the Gang.

Remember, if you don't sign, you hate America.

 
At 11:38 AM, April 25, 2006, Anonymous Spanky the Great said...

I don't know; maybe Euston's authors really did mean it as an ideological purity test and a trap; maybe they meant it sincerely, but just couldn't resist a good dig at all those mean Lefties who said "I told you so." How rude! But either way, if you excised that bit about opposition to the war placing one between the forces of good and the forces of evil (which, by implication, is with the forces of good - if'n you ain't with us, you're agin' us!), then I'd be happy to sign. Most everyone on the planet would be! It's such an obvious statement of good things that it's impossible not to want to sign - until you're reminded at the end that by doing so, you're admitting that support for withdrawal (principled or otherwise) is, in fact, hating America and wanting the terrorists to win.

But at that point, what does the value of Euston become? What is the value of a statement of truisms? Tyranny bad, freedom good. Sign? Sure! But to what end? What good does it do if everyone agrees that freedom is good? I was under the impression that there was already a concensus on that.

Next, we'll have the Euston Sky Manifesto: "We, the undersigned, agree that the sky is often blue, with white fluffy clouds, and that sunshine is nice. Also, if you think we should withdraw from Iraq, you support genocide and hate freedom."

 
At 11:52 AM, April 25, 2006, Anonymous SB said...

FYI - I am not a sweetheart, I am a recovering depressive who's convinced that every time he gets a little better the rest of humanity gets a little worse. Or does that make me a paranoid schizophrenic? I can never keep it straight...


I agree that Euston would have been more effective if it had followed the formulation of "let's work together to solve the problem" rather than "all opposed are in effect supporting terrorism." However, if such a formulation were to have any meaning, both sides would have to start from somewhere other than their usual "stick it out until the bitter end" or "bug out as soon as we can get away with it" positions. If we didn't, then no matter how good our reasoning and evidence appeared, we'd always end up accusing each other of merely defending the pro- or anti-war stance rather than trying to come up with practical solutions. (Sort of like we're doing now...)

I would question the Spankmeister's statement that there are "like five people in the country" who fit in the Ward Churchill category. Ever been to, oh, just about any kind of protest you can think of here in DC? The radicals exist in numbers, they are organized, and when they're on the march they receive the media's undivided attention. Extreme behavior and extreme rhetoric get the press these days, while moderate voices are ignored. I submit that we have, in effect, been trained by the media to believe that the radical elements are typical of both parties.

A recipe for paranoia...

My problem is, whether it's the media's fault or mine, that I perceive the Spankmeister and Cindy Sheehan as allies. I feel that the adoption by our government of Spankorino's reasoned arguments for withdrawal from Iraq - assuming for the moment that they do represent the most practical solution - would somehow validate the beliefs and behavior of the old nutball and her allies. I have no problem being proven wrong by reasoned argument or harsh experience. I do have a problem with anything that increases the social and political capital of people like Sheehan.

Oh, well - maybe it's just a case of "love me, love my dog." Strange bedfellows and all that. Politics sucks.

 
At 6:37 PM, April 25, 2006, Anonymous tequilamockingbird said...

The Spankster:

Well done! You're floating like a butterfly, buddy -- they haven't laid a glove on you.

At 108 comments and counting, I don't know if this thread has much left for legs. (I'm exhausted just reading the thread; I haven't yet read the EM document, so I won't presume to comment.) But keep fighting the good fight, Spankster. Hope to be seeing you around.

tequilamockingbird

 
At 7:58 PM, April 26, 2006, Blogger Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) said...

Ah yes, Justin. Please, excuse and defend eliminationist rhetoric. Vile is a good look for you.

Of course there is more than one way to interpret every statement. You're such a good little postmodernist. Think of all the different "voices" that form the "text"! Ah, a breath of fresh air in a stale room.

I'm sure, Justin, that the slightest hint of anything even remotely like this from a liberal sends you into paroxysms of hysterical, indignant, righteous rage. But when a conservative says it, well, he meant something else! It was a joke!


Bwahaha. At this point I must point and laugh at you. Again. You've gone and made an argument that can be disproven in less than 30 seconds. AGAIN.

Maybe you could tell me, what was going through your head when you saw I replied to two of those quotes but not the third? Were you honestly not able to put two and two together (critical thinking: it does a brain good!), or were you thinking something along the lines of "well crap, I don't have any other argument, so I might as well throw out an allegation and hope he sucks at math"?

Though I guess your feverish knee-jerk reaction (how’s that for mixed metaphors?) to the (two) quotes alone shows you're pretty desperate, and willing to settle for whatever you can get. Either that or you just picked the first quotes that could possibly be misinterpreted in your favor, and thought we were too dumb to notice; I resent that.

 
At 8:46 PM, April 26, 2006, Anonymous Spanky the Confused said...

Justin,

I'm not exactly sure what you're talking about. I made an argument that can be "disproven" in 30 seconds, but I'm not quite sure what argument that's supposed to be. None of the quotes you offered contain, you know, an argument.

Maybe you could tell me, what was going through your head when you saw I replied to two of those quotes but not the third? Were you honestly not able to put two and two together (critical thinking: it does a brain good!), or were you thinking something along the lines of "well crap, I don't have any other argument, so I might as well throw out an allegation and hope he sucks at math"?

Sucks at math? Two quotes but not the third? Is this supposed to be coherent?

"you're pretty desperate"

Desperate? I'm sorry to dissapoint, Justin, but the word "desperate" is a little extreme to apply to the comment thread of a blog. Maybe blog comment threads are a major part of your life and so they can get a little extreme or out of hand for you, but...I can't really imagine a situation in which I'd get "desperate".

Sorry Justin. Try cleaning this up, and making it a little more coherent and a little less....homless person crazy ranting...and maybe I can respond?

 
At 10:59 PM, April 26, 2006, Blogger Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) said...

Sucks at math? Two quotes but not the third? Is this supposed to be coherent?

I'm sorry, I apologize. I guess I take for granted being able to get jokes before the person even finishes saying them, even when the joke involves things said several weeks ago, or one or two levels of pun indirection. Allow me to spell it out for you, since you seem to have an unusually poor ability to make inferences that aren't illogical.

I defended the first two because the most common meanings (indeed, the ones that come to mind first of all; at least if you - you - didn't have a vested interest in giving them another meaning). The third I had no desire or need to defend, because the most obvious meaning was indeed the way you interpreted. My issue is with reason, not who said what; frankly, I rarely read who gave what quote until after I read it, for the obvious reason that I prefer not to leave any possibility of contaminating my opinion.

You're particularly laughable in the part about excusing things said as being jokes when my politics coincide with theirs. Two faulty assumptions, there (out of two): I don't agree with their politics, and I didn't even care that Coulter said the quote was a joke. You do seem to love saying things you can't back up.

2 + 2 = 4, in my world. Let me know when you decide to move in; I'll give you a welcoming present of Peeps.

 
At 11:28 PM, April 26, 2006, Anonymous Spanky the Sleepy said...

Justin...

What are you talking about?

You defended what? You defended my quotes? You defended against them? What?

"indeed, the ones that come to mind first of all; at least if you - you - didn't have a vested interest in giving them another meaning"

What? Are you high?

"You're particularly laughable in the part about excusing things said as being jokes when my politics coincide with theirs."

Ok, this isn't incoherent. It's just a really, really awful sentence.


"Two faulty assumptions, there (out of two)"

What? Two faulty assumptions, out of two...what, assumptions?

Oh, is that what 2+2 equals? I made it to Calc 3, but I forgot most of that. Integrals and derivatives were never really my cup of tea.

Meh. You're still a douche. Apparently, a mostly incoherent douche.

I shouldn't expect anymore from the spittle-flecked, hysterical right.

 
At 12:28 AM, April 27, 2006, Blogger Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) said...

*SOB*

I think we need a good nuclear holocaust; humanity is far too pathetic to deserve existence.

You defended what? You defended my quotes? You defended against them? What?

Ah yes, Justin. Please, excuse and defend eliminationist rhetoric. Vile is a good look for you.

Okay, I'm into immunology, not neurobiology (and in fact haven't had any courses on neurobiology), so there isn't much I can do for you; I suggest you go to an expert and get tested for the full battery of memory degrading ailments immediately.

What? Are you high?

No, but your memory (or lack thereof) makes me think you've had a few too many joints in your life.

What? Two faulty assumptions, out of two...what, assumptions?

Yes... Okay, okay, I get it, now. You got me good. All this time I thought you just had 60 IQ (at best), when you've been toying with me the whole time, pretending to have no idea what I'm talking about to force me to make post after repetitive post attempting to teach you the process of linear thought. I concede; your cunning ran circles around me.

 
At 7:24 AM, May 02, 2006, Blogger kevin said...

They're for trade unions, which are by no means meritocratic, but they're alos for open source because it is meritocratic--they should really be more consistant in their argument.

 
At 9:57 PM, May 02, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

I was reading tequila's stuff, and I only realized he wasn't joking when I realized what tequila's previous comments were about.

Funny. Justin carries the hot potato with Spank here, and I go around talking about cataphracts and WWI tanks.

I did think it was a joke primarily because I am used to spank's hyperbole and bombastic rhetoric. It's overkill.

None of the quotes you offered contain, you know, an argument.

Neither does Spank's comments, so it's like, it takes one to know one, ya know? Or maybe not cliched.

Desperate? I'm sorry to dissapoint, Justin, but the word "desperate" is a little extreme to apply to the comment thread of a blog.

got a better word. Eager. An eager attack dog puppy, ready to tear kittens apart.

Sorry Justin. Try cleaning this up, and making it a little more coherent and a little less....homless person crazy ranting...and maybe I can respond?

It's weird, but whenever Spank directs his comments to me, the vitriole goes up past the redline mark, but whenever I read his comments to other people, it seems toned down. Must be a psychotropic effect. It's not that toned down of course, but he will ask Justin questions like "mabbe I can respond". He always talks about playing games and credibility taxes to me.

What are you talking about?

You defended what? You defended my quotes? You defended against them? What?


I picked up what Justin was saying, even without remembering the rest of this thread. Spank doesn't want to engage in logic and reason with me, and I return the favor, but it surprises me Spank has a lot of IQ but not the structured formal ability to use it to decipher what Justin is talking about. What's the point to being smart if you can't get the truth from only a few facts and words?

Spank has my problem, to be honest. The problem is not that he is funny to me, when he talks to other people, and annoying when he talks to me. No, the thing is I tend to overreact emotionally when people write short shorts. I input my words where they left it out, instead of asking for clarification. I noticed this flaw, and I put efforts to correcting it. I think Spank went the other direction.

Justin, one way to prevent being run around the ringer, is to have 3 personalities. That way, you can always deny that you got confused.

 

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