Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

June 6, 2006

JON STEWART DOESN'T HOLD BACK....Anyone who watches "The Daily Show" realizes that Jon Stewart is not terribly fond of the Bush administration, but I think it's safe to say his disappointment has officially turned to disgust.

That was Comedy Central's Jon Stewart cutting up while emceeing yesterday's Peabody Awards for broadcasting excellence at the Waldorf-Astoria. "This afternoon's program is sponsored by your Internet and phone records," Stewart told the star-studded crowd. "Isn't that interesting -- your Internet and phone records, because 'blah blah blah, 9-11.'"

In case anyone missed his point, Stewart also quipped: "Thomas Jefferson once said: 'Of course the people don't want war. But the people can be brought to the bidding of their leader. All you have to do is tell them they're being attacked and denounce the pacifists for somehow a lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.' I think that was Jefferson. Oh wait. That was Hermann Goering. Shoot."

First, damn. Once in a while, Stewart really doesn't hold back.

Second, in case there was any doubt, the quote is largely accurate, and came from Goering at the Nuremberg trials in 1946. It does have a certain resonance today, doesn't it?

Steve Benen 3:28 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (198)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

The content of what Mr. Stewart said has gone completely over my head because I'm so incensed at him mentioning Nazis! You can't mention Nazis!! He said Nazis!

Posted by: Clueless Republican (but I repeat myself) on June 6, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Surely you are not surprised by this ? I'm waiting for you to post something about Barry McCaffrey's report on Afghanistan.

Posted by: Mike K on June 6, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, the titan of penetrating political and historical analysis, Jon Stewart, despises George Bush. How notable.

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, the titan of penetrating political and historical analysis, Jon Stewart, despises George Bush. How notable.

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Sure. But Hermann Goering's a big fan.

Posted by: Chocolate Thunder on June 6, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

There should be much more of an outcry than there is over the fact that the best descriptions of our current political landscape have been provided by Hermann Goering and Benito Mussolini.

But it's not all doom and gloom. Joseph Heller also offered a neat commentary forty years before the fact: "Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing." (An old Italian woman says that to Yossarian in the middle of the novel.)

Posted by: Roddy McCorley on June 6, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

I thought Hermann Goering was one of those Nazi's that American soldiers massacred at Malmedy?

Posted by: Bill O'Really on June 6, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

Sad that just about the only person on television who seems to care about the decline of our Republic is a comedian. Sadly that also includes most Democratic politicians (judging from their general silence).

Posted by: Augustus on June 6, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

Any guesses when Jon Stewart is frog-marched to Gitmo for being an enemy combatant?

Posted by: beb on June 6, 2006 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Will,
What are we to take from your post?

Do you have anything valuable to add?

Are you tired of being wrong?

Posted by: theCoach on June 6, 2006 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

Coach, you are funny!

"Do you have anything valuable to add?
Are you tired of being wrong?"

Wow that is awesome. Penetrating, inciteful and a facinating view on the subject at hand. All with only 13 words.

Posted by: hector on June 6, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

whoops sorry coach I took you totally out of context. My apologies. That is what I get for being reactionary and only reading the last few posts.

Posted by: hector on June 6, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Gosh, Coach, I was just remarking about how notable it was that Jon Stewart despises George Bush.

Also, what have I been wrong about? That invading Iraq was an action fraught with danger, with no assurances of success? Or that it was 100% certain that the oil in the Persian Gulf would be extracted, and the only question was whether it would be done with the decades-old model of enslavement-by-proxy of the population, or the slaughter of the population (which is the overwhelmingly likely outcome if the enslavement- by-proxy option continued to be pursued), or by the population becoming self-governing? Tell me, coach, with your penetrating analysis, do you suppose the rest of the world, to say nothing of the U.S., is going to leave that crude in the gorund? If not, do you propose that it be extracted under the guise of slavery, slaughter, or self government? If the third choice is the preferred option, how do you propose that it be accomplished, assuming that you are honest enough to admit that despots who control huge oil reserves are largely immune to any external economic or trade pressures, and as long as they are ruthless enough, immune to internal pressures as well?

Am I surprised at the current situation? No. I just wish that those who opposed toppling any despots by force in the Persian Gulf would have the honesty to admit that they believed the best way to effect the unavoidable extraction of the region's oil was through the continued enslavement of the region's population, and then explain how pursuing that failed model would not likely lead to the eventual slaughter of that population.

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

"toppling ... despots"

We didn't topple a despot, we crushed him along with 100,000 innocent bystanders.

Posted by: Boronx on June 6, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

All you have to do is tell them they're being attacked and denounce the pacifists for somehow a lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.

Is it your contention that no one is actively attempting to attack Americans? Or American allies like Canada, Britain, etc.? you quoted it with approval as though you think that enemies of America itself or democracy in general are imaginary.

It appears from reports so far that surveillance of communications is what lead to catching the guys in Toronto. Do you accept the imam's claim that the 3 tons of ammoniium nitrate were strictly for peaceful purposes? Do you think that the Canadian and American governments overreached in that case?

Posted by: republicrat on June 6, 2006 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

To head off the predictable straw-man, if you think what is currently happening constitutes a slaughter of the Iraqi population, you ain't seen nothin' yet. If the population of the region does not become self-governing, and thus control the region's oil reserves in the next 10-20 years, hundreds of millions of people will likely die, for that is nearly always the outcome (in terms of percentage of the population killed) when a militarily weak population sits atop the world's most valued natural resource, and attempts to use force against much more militarily powerful populations who wish to obtain it. To decry this unavoidable ugly truth doesn't make it less true.

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

To decry this unavoidable ugly truth doesn't make it less true.

yeah, speaking of strawmen.

Posted by: cleek on June 6, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Will Allen, you are complete idiot. First, granting, arguendo, that your tripartite division of possibilities sums the possible ways in which oil could be extracted from the Middle East, and granting, again arguendo, the implicit premise that the only consideration relevant to policy toward the Middle East is "what model of resource extraction is preferred", it is necessarily the case that.

1. If one were to grant that, as you imply, overthrow-by-force of existing despots is a necessary means of establishing any model of extraction other than slavery-by-proxy, then anyone who does not support overthrow-by-force of all the despots in the Middle East (not merely select subsets) is, necessarily, a supporter, to some degree, of slavery-by-proxy.

2. Contrary to #1 and your implicit arguments, one can in fact support self-government and believe that US-led military intervention is not likely to result in it, but instead is most likely to result in either slaughter (the apparent current course in Iraq) or slavery-by-(new!)-proxy. This belief is possible both as a general belief, or in response to the circumstances of particular proposed interventions.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 6, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

Is it your contention that no one is actively attempting to attack Americans

No.

you quoted it with approval as though you think that enemies of America itself or democracy in general are imaginary.

It's not that they are imaginary, but rather that the profferred solutions to the problem are better suited to enemies quite different from those who we actually face.

Posted by: Irony Man on June 6, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK
To head off the predictable straw-man, if you think what is currently happening constitutes a slaughter of the Iraqi population, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

Um, that's not heading off a strawman. And, yeah, I'll agree, the slaughter is only just begun, though it is accelerating as the misguided policy continues.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 6, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Let's not get too "inciteful" here.

Posted by: Kenji on June 6, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Will,
No you weren't -- you were making a snide comment that did not add anything to the post. A lot like spending time posting a comment about who would waste their time on such a trivial comment.

And then you devolve into hyperbole and strawman logical choices, largely unanswerable because of the false dichotomies.

Posted by: theCoach on June 6, 2006 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus, Will Allen - what a strawman argument.

Jon Stewarts point made was the use of fear and "patriotism" as cover for going to war when the real reason would not suffice. Your strawman puts forward the need to topple despots to get to their oil. It is not really the issue Stewart was getting at.

Let me help you here. Stewart was pointing out the analogous relationship between the modus operandi of Goering et al, and GW Bush's administration.

However, your post does point out that taking someone else's oil was what it was all about, making Jon Stewart's analogy even more brilliantly obvious.

Posted by: jcricket on June 6, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Is it your contention that no one is actively attempting to attack Americans? Or American allies like Canada, Britain, etc.? you quoted it with approval as though you think that enemies of America itself or democracy in general are imaginary.

Germany was under attack and had terrorist enemies, even.

Posted by: Boronx on June 6, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Will;
Toppling Persian Gulf despots?

GREAT!

When do we start with Saudi Arabia?

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 6, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Gotta run - but I'll check in with the thread later on today.

Posted by: jcricket on June 6, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Sad that just about the only person on television who seems to care about the decline of our Republic is a comedian. Sadly that also includes most Democratic politicians (judging from their general silence). Posted by: Augustus

Word.

The folks inside and outside government in Washington proved what true pieces of shit most of them are, cowards at the very least, when they didn't walk out en mass when Bush did through his little looking for WMD pantomime at the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association Dinner in 2004. That was truly the grossest spectacle in American political history.

But what does one expect from someone who made fun of a woman about to be executed.

Posted by: JeffII on June 6, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Boronx, if the figure you cite is from the Lancet study, it should be noted that the study is far from being established as methodologically sound, and if the death of large numbers of innnocents in and of itself renders the crushing of a despot illegitimate, a good many despotic regimes would never have been toppled. Gosh, a lot of civilians were killed in the southern Korean Peninsula in the early 50s; I guess that means it would have been a better outcome for dear ol' Kim to now control the entire peninsula, doesn't it?

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

All right all ready!! We get it!

Bush is Hitler.

U.S. armed forces are Nazis.

Jeez, can't you people talk about something else?!

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 6, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

bush does have some similarities to hitler, yes ... but the only one equating american troops with nazis is a chickenhawk pussy like yourself, bill oreilly.

Posted by: Nads on June 6, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Will, How many Iraqis would you kill to save them from Saddam?

Gosh, a lot of civilians were killed in the southern Korean Peninsula in the early 50s; I guess that means it would have been a better outcome for dear ol' Kim to now control the entire peninsula, doesn't it?

I detect a note of sarcasm. Does that mean you think unprovoked invasions that destroy nations and slaughter civilians ought to be violently challenged by a world wide allied army?

Posted by: Boronx on June 6, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

Will, thy name is Straw Man. Strop trying to control everything and listen for a change. Nobody's going to buy your phony either/or arguments.

Meanwhile, double word to JeffII, re the press when "they didn't walk out en mass when Bush did through his little looking for WMD pantomime at the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association Dinner in 2004. That was truly the grossest spectacle in American political history."

Most of us didn't know about Abu Ghraib back then, but even so it already smacked of Hitler doing a "Concentration camp? What concentration camp?" routine at Berchtesgarten.

One huge thing that history will find fascinating about this whole debacle is that the right managed to stage a near-fascist coup built around a leader with zero personal charisma. Quite an engineering feat, wasn't it?

Mocking his own failure at the Correspondents dinner, with hundreds of thousands of lives at stake and zero outrage from the press -- well, that just added another few levels of pathos to the disaster. Jon Stewart would be the first to admit that the shit just isn't funny anywmore.

Posted by: Kenji on June 6, 2006 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Will Allen: If the population of the region does not become self-governing, and thus control the region's oil reserves in the next 10-20 years, hundreds of millions of people will likely die

Within 10-20 years, a great many people in the Middle East will very likely die, not because of who controls the oil reserves, but because the region is going to run out of water.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 6, 2006 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK
Boronx, if the figure you cite is from the Lancet study, it should be noted that the study is far from being established as methodologically sound

If you have a specific criticism, please post it.

and if the death of large numbers of innnocents in and of itself renders the crushing of a despot illegitimate, a good many despotic regimes would never have been toppled.

What renders the war illegitimate is that it was a war of aggression conducted without provocation and contrary to signed and ratified treaty commitments of the United States.

The huge and still mounting civilian death toll from the horribly misguided policy just makes your attempt to justify it in terms of "self-government" instead of "slaughter" or "slavery-by-proxy" as a method of extracting oil -- not the terms the war was framed in by its authors -- ludicrous on its face.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 6, 2006 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

It's shocking that thinly-disguised Nazis employ the methods of not so thinly-disguisde Nazis.

Really.

sportsfan79:U.S. armed forces are Nazis.

Once again proving yourself to be a lying bastard, just like your neo-Nazi handlers.

Keep it up.

When his supporters do the same, it adds more fuel to the Bush-lied meme that has played so well he's dropped 50+ approval rating points and is dragging the GOP down with him.

I LOVE IT!

BTW, no one ever said Bush is Hitler.

What they've said or implied is that he employs the methods that Hitler employed and commits similar violations of international law and therefore is like Hitler.

I'm sure you are too stupid to understand the distinction, seeing as that would require some actual intellectual thought, something that is missing entirely in the conservative mind.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 6, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

sportsfan79: All right all ready!! We get it! Bush is Hitler.

"Stop comparing Bush to Hitler. Hitler was a decorated war veteran who saw front line combat." - Bill Maher

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 6, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

You're right.

Posted by: Wang on June 6, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK
All right all ready!! We get it!

No, clearly, you don't. You fail analogies 101.

Bush is Hitler.

U.S. armed forces are Nazis.

Pop quiz:

Hitler:Nazi Party::Bush:??

a. US military
b. US Postal Service
c. Dallas Cowboy's Tailgate Party
d. Republican Party

(Hint: The answer is not a.)

Now, I know Bush defenders love to equate criticism of Bush to attacks on the men and women of the US military, but that's just not right.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 6, 2006 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

I would throw into the "innocent bystander" category Iraqi conscripts. The Pentagon does not count these deaths, I believe neither the Lancet study nor Iraq Body Count include them.

Posted by: Boronx on June 6, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK


republicrat: ...as though you think that enemies of America itself or democracy in general are imaginary.


BUSH BUDGET SCRAPS 9,790 BORDER PATROL AGENTS - michael hedges - houston chronicle - 2/9/05

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 6, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

Is it your contention that no one is actively attempting to attack Americans? Or American allies like Canada, Britain, etc.?

There absolutely is! They are made up mostly of anti-choice religious fanatics that bomb clinics, assassinate doctors and nurses, or threaten and harass women.

Then there is the entire right wing of the GOP attacking freedom and liberty hear and anywhere they rear their heads. They are terrorists that seek to install a Taliban-style government OVER people, complete with stoning and other delightful means of murder and torture. THESE are the people we need to gin up our military to fight.

On rare occassions we will stumble on the ragged band of disaffected foreigners angry at past transgressions, real or imagined, against their families, culture, or religion, but it is a fact that they remain a minority of the hoards that are, in fact, a true danger to freedom and liberty in the US, Canada, and Britain (and Germany, France, Japan, etc, etc).

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on June 6, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK
Within 10-20 years, a great many people in the Middle East will very likely die, not because of who controls the oil reserves, but because the region is going to run out of water.

Well, its going to run out of fresh water. Its not going to run out of water, though, and while desalination is extraordinarily costly, its a cost preferable to death; most likely those that have resources to sell on the world market for which quantity demanded does not react much to price changes will continue to survive, but the price of the goods they produce will skyrocket.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 6, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

American fascists have learned one thing from history that other fascist regimes never did pick up on: do everything you can to avoid your population from sacrificing. Whether Nazi or Communist, European fascism always had severe demands on its resident population. Our home-grown brand of proto-fascism, on the other hand, realised that that sacrifice always led to the downfall of the regime. The Republican Party has thus been able to create a relatively stable society that can easily slip into a pure authoritarianism that will have the backing of either a slim majority or a very large, very vocal minority.

As Sinclair Lewis predicted, fascism came to America wrapped in a flag and holding a Bible. Our elected government is now seriously debating our own version of the Nuremburg Laws (we have merely substituted homosexuals for Jews), our leaders and their enablers denounce the very values our democracy was founded on, and we perpetrate atrocities very much beneath our shared morals.

It is a fitting moment in our country's history for 6/6/06 to roll around.

Posted by: reader on June 6, 2006 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

..far from being methodically sound..

It's always nice to hear that some Bushlickers are concerned about the methodical soundness of a study that does not support their great leader's fiasco.

Posted by: lib on June 6, 2006 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Will Allen: Gosh, a lot of civilians were killed in the southern Korean Peninsula in the early 50s; I guess that means it would have been a better outcome for dear ol' Kim to now control the entire peninsula, doesn't it?

Saddam hadn't invaded another county and started killing that country's citizens in April 2003, as NK did, so your analogy is inane.

If you are so concerned about intervening in areas where people are being killed, try the Sudan or any of a dozen other places around the world with equally high death tolls or do you think it's a better outcome that all these people are dying while we waste our time and resources looking for non-existent WMDs and democracy in Iraq?

And if you were so concerned about the killing in Iraq under Saddam, why didn't you scream it from the rooftops in the 80s when Reagan and Bush were funding his little killing sprees?

Or when Bush assumed the presidency in 2000, instead of waiting until after April 2003 and the lack of WMDs to all of a sudden become concerned?

Or even when Clinton was president - why didn't you rage then about his lack of action against Saddam's alleged killing machine?

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 6, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

No, cmdicely, you are the idiot, or merely dishonest (actually, you are likely both), in that you seem to think it is possible for ruthless despotic regimes, which sit atop the world's most easily extracted oil reserves, to be made to relinquish power through means other than external force. Now, you could be supposing that the regimes will become less ruthless, such as what happened in Stalinist Soviet Union, over several decades. Unfortunately, supporting the extraction via enslavement-by proxy-model for several more decades as that process (hopefully) unfolded would overwhelmingly likely intensify the conflict we have been in with the region's population for decades, due to our enabling their enslavement, and elements of that population would be become increasingly motivated and proficient in attacking us. The U.S. population, like all other powerful populations in human history, will not tolerate this.

To you, and others in this thread who dispute this analysis, I simply pose a few questions, not that I expect any honesty on your part:

1. Do you dispute that the central feature of the rest of the world's relationship with the region's population is the demand for the world's largest and most easily extracted oil reserves?

2. If this isn't disputed, do you acknowledege that this demand will inevitably mean that the oil will be extracted?

3. Can that oil be extracted under any other guise than the region's population being enslaved, slaughtered, practicing self government?

4. Which method of extraction do you prefer?

5. If you prefer the population becoming self governing, how fast do you think this might occur, given that ruthless despots with control of huge, easily extracted oil reserves, are largely immune to non-violent external pressure, and have the means to annihilate any internal opposition?

6. If you think it can happen quickly, please explain how.

7. If you think it more likely to happen slowly, how do you think the populations being enslaved via our oil purchases are likely to view us in the interim?

8. How are they likely to act, in a manner that is consistent with those views?

9. What response is the U.S. population likely to demand in turn?

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

"...when Clinton was president - why didn't you rage then about his lack of action against Saddam's alleged killing machine?"

Because the Republicat Party was too busy decrying the whole icky notion of "nation building". Rwanda, Kosovo, Bosnia? ....eeeewwwww!

Posted by: Kenji on June 6, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Advocate, I made no such argument; I merely disputed the notion that large numbers of civilian deaths necessarily meant that the toppling of a despot was illegitimate. As for Saddam's supposedly benign stance toward the outside world and the United States, I'll simply note that he gave refuge to one of the masterminds of the first WTC bombing, which can reasonably be interpreted as an act of war against the United States.

Personally, I would have preferred it if the Bush Administration had simply announced that since the Hussein regime had repeatedly violated the 1991 cease fire agreement, the firing was going to commence anew, unitl the Hussein regime no longer existed.

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

A good example of the wingnuts putting Goerings words into action as best they can:

http://www.mydd.com/story/2006/6/6/14213/48947#readmore

Another fine example where Glen Reynolds blames Haditha on war critics and displays the moral sense of idiot by asserting that accusations (of which he offers no evidence) caused the marines to commit these acts. http://instapundit.com/archives/030653.php

Posted by: Catch22 on June 6, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

Within 10-20 years, a great many people in the Middle East will very likely die, not because of who controls the oil reserves, but because the region is going to run out of water.

Well, its going to run out of fresh water. Its not going to run out of water, though, and while desalination is extraordinarily costly, its a cost preferable to death; most likely those that have resources to sell on the world market for which quantity demanded does not react much to price changes will continue to survive, but the price of the goods they produce will skyrocket.
Posted by: cmdicely

Or, as global warming increases, you may actually see an increase in precipitation in the region with the tropics expanding another 10 degrees farther north (and south). The desert will bloom! It's certain that that was the situation some five-thousand years ago at the height of the Babylonian civilization. That part of the world was wetter than it is now.

Posted by: JeffII on June 6, 2006 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

Will, your argument just became much less straw-like, and therefore a little more interesting. But mostly it just lays out a good case for moving on from oil (and despot) extraction to other technologies, since you are essentially saying that war is the most economically feasible method with which to proceed -- an attitude that is as impractical as it is immoral.

Also, what does it have to do with Jon Stewart?

Posted by: Kenji on June 6, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely, please give us insight as to the titanic intellectual thought process by which you concluded that giving refuge to one of the first WTC bombers did not constitute an act of provocation by Saddam Hussein?

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

Will Allen--

I don't see how the way the US invaded Iraq and has run the occupation since then has furthered any of the goals you espouse. Also, I am unclear as to what you mean by "self-governing." If the majority of the country wants a theocratic state that proceeds to take revenge on the Sunnis for decades of oppression and aligns itself with Iran, does that count as self-government? Much of this fuzzy "we're for democracy" talk seems to be predicated on the idea that a "truly democratic" state would behave like an American puppet state.

Posted by: k on June 6, 2006 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

Kenji, it was coach who raised the question as to whether I was tired of being wrong, a question which has a false premise, which led to the my posts going in the direction they did.

The guest author of the post generating this thread thinks that Stewart's comment was apt, biting, analysis and that it is notable that Stewart despises Bush. It wasn't and it isn't.

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

Will, your argument just became much less straw-like

now only 95% straw !

Posted by: cleek on June 6, 2006 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

.. the idea that a "truly democratic" state would behave like an American puppet state.

For Republicans, a 'truly democratic' state is synonymous with an American puppet state, especially if the state is sitting on oil.

Posted by: lib on June 6, 2006 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

k, I said from the beginning that odds of success were not good, but since the status quo was so hideous, proceeding with the invasion was the least awful of hideous choices. Sure, the population of the Iraq, if it becomes self governing, might choose to engage in acts of war against the United States, as the theocrats in Iran have done. If the population of Iraq wishes to have war with the United States, then it will have it, which will mean it's utter annihilation. It probably is more likely, however, that the population of Iraq does not desire to be annihilated, and thus, if it accomplishes self-government, will see it as being more beneficial to trade with the United States, since we very much wish to trade with them.

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

Will Allen: As for Saddam's supposedly benign stance toward the outside world and the United States, I'll simply note that he gave refuge to one of the masterminds of the first WTC bombing, which can reasonably be interpreted as an act of war against the United States.

Well, that's certainly laughable.

I guess the US giving refuge to various Nazis after WWII was also an act of war, not to mention giving aid and comfort to the Shah or any number of other tyrants who warred against their own peoples.

act of war: "an act of aggression by a country against another with which it is nominally at peace"

No, it cannot reasonably be interpreted as an act of war.

But then you have never been reasonable by any stretch of the imagination.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 6, 2006 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

It is easy to see that Will Allen is a phony. If he really believed his own posts, he would be advocating for the invasion and occupation of Saudi Arabia. *That's* a despotic regime. Moreover, SA was home to 15 of the 19 9/11 terrorists.

Will Allen's arguments are the flimsiest, most contrived rationales for invading and occupying Iraq I've heard yet. At least the ones used at the time--Saddam had WMDs that threatened the US and a working relationship with al Qaeda--were logical and compelling reasons to invade Iraq, had they been true (which they weren't, and were known to be suspect at the time).

Will, please prattle somewhere else. Don't try to insult our intellegence here.

Posted by: Joel on June 6, 2006 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

Will Allen: . . . the status quo was so hideous . . .

So, make your case that it was more hideous prior to the invasion than it has been after.

So far all you've done is blow your usual pompous smoke.

cmdicely, please give us insight as to the titanic intellectual thought process by which you concluded that giving refuge to one of the first WTC bombers did not constitute an act of provocation by Saddam Hussein?

No, you give us insight as to how you concluded that this constituted an act of aggression or act of war.

If allowing a person who has committed awful crimes against the humans in another country refuge or passage in or through one's own country or possessions constitutes an act of war, then the US has committed many such acts during its existence.

Certainly giving aid and comfort to Saddam before, during, and after he attacked Iran would constitute and act of war under a definition as broad as the one you were using, which means that the US committed acts of war against Iran and thereby justified any and all retaliatory measures they may have taken, including the support for terrorists attacking the US which is much less damaging that an outright invasion.

As usual, conservatives blunder into giving justification to the acts of terrorists and the nations that support them in fabricating excuses for the misdeeds of this country.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 6, 2006 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

At least give Will Allen credit for accepting that the Iraq invasion was all about oil.

Posted by: nut on June 6, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

So let's see: Will doesn't have to show that he's correct; I have to show that he's wrong? Sorry, but I don't play those games. When you've got a valid argument to make, rather than simply waving your hands around and indulging in fact-free rants, we might just take you seriously, Will. Until then, you're just here for our amusement.

Back on topic, it's not even remotely the first time that that Goering quote has been applied. And yes, it is appropriate. I wish it were not so.

Posted by: PaulB on June 6, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

since you are essentially saying that war is the most economically feasible method with which to proceed -- an attitude that is as impractical as it is immoral. . . . Posted by: Kenji

Or, we could return to America's historic post-WWII realist foreign policy, being mature enough (unlike the pie-in-the-sky neo-con idealists) to admit that we really have very little power over vast areas of the globe. Other than blowing it up.

Oh, that and finally putting the screws to Israel to honestly work with the Palestinians. This, if nothing else, would at least save the public about $3 billion a year - the proverbial good money after bad. Public health anyone? Better schools?

Posted by: JeffII on June 6, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

Will Allen: I merely disputed the notion that large numbers of civilian deaths necessarily meant that the toppling of a despot was illegitimate.

It is if the deaths attributable to the despot were less than the deaths attributable to the action that removed him, since that seems to be your only measure.

So, again, prove up the number of deaths that can be attributed to Saddam after conservatives stopped funding him of course.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 6, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Boy howdy, Will Allen, you sure gave 'em the ol' one-two. Oil extraction by slavery! Gadzooks, that's a casus belli for half of OPEC! Everyone loves to talk about Iraq, but they seem to forget that in March 2003 we had troops on the ground in Uzbekistan, too. Except I think they may have been supporting the slave masters.

Tarnation, now that I think about it, it seems there might be a logical distinction between an ideal result such as oil extraction by self-governing peoples all around the world, and a practically achievable result such as chaos, civil war, and a lack of security that makes it difficult for oil to be pumped in Iraq at all, except under heavy protection by a foreign military occupation, while most of the other oil-producing peoples are still mired in either slavery or feudalism.

And gee whiz, once you make that distinction it becomes difficult to think about freeing those slaves without wondering if it might be one of those ideas that looks good on paper when some armchair general draws them up, but doesn't look so pretty in the real world where bodies are being dumped on the streets of Baghdad, the Uzbeks are still enslaved, and the Saudis are still wining and dining our corporate execs while treating their women marginally better than livestock.

Actually, now that I really think about it, it occurs to me that you're a fucking idiot.

Posted by: ajl on June 6, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

Advocate for God wrote: "So, make your case that it was more hideous prior to the invasion than it has been after."

Nope, Will doesn't work that way. His modus operandi is to indulge in wild flights of unsupported fancy and then tell you that you have to prove him wrong or claim that you're an idiot because you're not seeing the "obvious." A discussion with him is amusing, but pointless.

Posted by: PaulB on June 6, 2006 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Tell us, then, advocate, how would you label the act of a nation giving refuge to one of the first WTC bombers? Is not giving aid and comfort to those who wage war on the United States itself an act of war? Your analogy with Nazis is inapt, in that Nazism was destroyed by 1945. As to your Shah analogy, thanks for proving my point, even though the Shah was less ruthless than most of the region's despots; allying with the despots, whether for Cold War considerations, or to facilitate oil extraction, makes us enemies in the eyes of the regions' populations, and those views are acted upon.

Kenji, I didn't mean to ignore your earlier point. Unfortunately, moving form an oil-based economy will take several decades, decades of conflict if the reactionary, failed, slavery-by-proxy model continues to be pursued.

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

yeah, the goering quote is great. mainly b/c it makes the point w/o having to explicitly use the "N"-word. which is still simply too hard for me---as a dyed-in-the-wool hate-mongering liberal---to resist.

so, nazi nazi nazi nazi nazi nazi nazi nazi nazi nazi nazi nazi nazi nazi nazi nazi nazi nazi nazi nazi nazi nazi.

but serially, folks---goering and the nazi's logic deserves a more thorough public airing. if for no other reason than to allow the country to move b/y the GOP's ad hominen arguments and 9/11 hysteria.

yet, if it was good enough for a regime to last a thousand years . . .

Posted by: mencken on June 6, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK
cmdicely, please give us insight as to the titanic intellectual thought process by which you concluded that giving refuge to one of the first WTC bombers did not constitute an act of provocation by Saddam Hussein?

I wouldn't say it requires "titanic intellectual thought processes", just basic awareness of the facts and simple logic that anyone with two brain cells to rub together ought to be able to handle.

The only provocation that would justify military action under the UN Charter -- a ratified treaty -- absent an express authorization of force by the UN Security Council (the last authorization against Iraq having expired with the UNSC's imposition of a cease fire on all sides, which only it had the power to lift for noncompliance) is an actual attack (customarily, an imminent threat -- a specific attack that is in the immediate process of execution but has not yet struck is equivalent).

Giving shelter to any person is not an attack, either actual or imminent.

QED.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 6, 2006 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK
Personally, I would have preferred it if the Bush Administration had simply announced that since the Hussein regime had repeatedly violated the 1991 cease fire agreement, the firing was going to commence anew, unitl the Hussein regime no longer existed.

Since the cease fire resolution was imposed by the UNSC and is binding on all parties barring either its modification by the UNSC or a new actual attack allowing force under the Charter without UNSC authorization, that would have been just as illegitimate as the pack of lies with which Bush did sell his war of aggression.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 6, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK
Unfortunately, moving form an oil-based economy will take several decades, decades of conflict if the reactionary, failed, slavery-by-proxy model continues to be pursued.

So? In the best case, the slaughter-in-the-name-of-self-government policy you clearly prefer as an alternative will also take several decades of conflict, whether or not why try to move from an oil-based-economy in the meantime.

You offer no credible reason to believe you have a policy that offers anything better than what you criticize -- indeed, that doesn't have all of the downsides you attribute to others preferences, and more.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 6, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Well, yes, JeffII, and if we continue to help enslave the population of the Persian Gulf via our oil purchases, we will be inevitably drawn into conflict with that population, because, realistically, most folks don't like being enslaved. You go ahead and defend the model of oil extraction that prevailed from the early 20th century on, however; it's been working out so well for the last couple of decades, after all, and the trends have been so positive!

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Will Allen, if indeed humans extract and burn all the remaining economically recoverable oil in the Middle East, which you assert to be inevitable, then none of the things you are concerned about will matter. If we do that, we will pump so much more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that the already extreme, rapid and accelerating warming of the Earth will be pushed into overdrive, and, as James Lovelock says, by the end of the century the human species will be virtually extinct, with perhaps a few "breeding pairs" surviving (for a while) in some small habitable zone well above the Arctic Circle. There will be no need to be concerned about self-governing vs. despotic human societies, because there won't be any human societies.

We humans really need to cut the crap and move as quickly as possible to stop burning any and all fossil fuels -- oil, coal and natural gas as well.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 6, 2006 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

Some answers to the 5:20 post by Will Allen:

Q1 Mideast oil is the major definer of that regions relationship with the rest of the World.
Q2 - Yes, indeed that oil will be extracted.
Q3 Huh? Whats this Region bullshit? Were talking about invading Iraq under false pretences.
Q4 - Big metal, phallic thing gets stuck into the earth and pumps away.
Q5 Yeah, OK, Self-governing, a slow process worldwide bananas, oil, whatever.
Q6 But why did the US and the Coalition of the Willing invades Iraq? Why did the US support Saddam in the 80s? Why hasnt the US of A done something about all the Feudal Kingdoms dotting The Mideast?
Q7 Well be viewed the same by enslaved Middle Easterners as by the enslaved populations of African despots, or Latin American Despots or Alabaman despots.
Q8 Yes
Q9 - Lower taxes and Ban gay marriage

Posted by: Pierre Asciutto on June 6, 2006 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

"You go ahead and defend the model of oil extraction that prevailed from the early 20th century on . . . "

Will, do you have any idea how obviously feeble and silly your straw man arguments appear here? Nobody is defending "the modele of oil extraction that prevailed from the early 20th century on." Nobody. You're talking to air.

Please do yourself a favor and shut up. You are a fool.

Posted by: Joel on June 6, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. Bush = Hitler. How original. Pretty impressive, Jon Stewart - nobody ever thought of that one before!

Posted by: Al on June 6, 2006 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

Will Allen: Tell us, then, advocate, how would you label the act of a nation giving refuge to one of the first WTC bombers?

PaulB was right.

It's very simply, Will.

Provide us with a definition for "act of war" from a reputable source that encompasses giving sanctuary to a person who has attacked or ordered and attack on civilians in another nation.

If you can't do it, then you are blowing smoke.

Period.

I could just as easily claim that Bush stating that Iran is part of the Axis of Evil constitutes and act of war that justifies any attack on America by Iran.

If you believe that to be so, then say so.

If you don't, then, again, you are blowing smoke with your claim.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 6, 2006 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

From an earlier post, Equating Bush to Hitler is laughable. Hitler surrounded himself with the best and brightest Germany had to offer (No, I am not defending him!!!!!!) Where as Bush has surrounded himself with a bunch of greedy no account yes men. The Bush administration will go down in history as the most laughable disappointment the world has ever seen.

ITMFA

Posted by: imbroglio on June 6, 2006 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Cmdicely, given the UNSC council has despotic governments as members, it has limited legitimacy. It's fine to use it for utilitarian reasons, but it should never be confused with a legitimate governing body.

Look, there is a non-insane case to be made, although I strongly disagree, that pursuing the oil extraction via slavery-by-proxy model for several more decades is the best alternative. I just wish that invasion opponents had had, or now had, the courage to explicitly state that this was their preference. Yes, I strongly suspect that Bush and Co. have been dishonest in some respects as well. Since they are politicians, I expect them to be dishonest; it is their trade, after all. What's your excuse?

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB wrote: Back on topic, it's not even remotely the first time that that Goering quote has been applied.

Thanks. Yes, back on topic, I have seen that quote from Goering cited innumerable times in articles about the Bush administration's post 9/11 war-mongering propaganda. Yes, it does accurately describe the Bush administration's propaganda, and yes, it does demonstrate a very clear and specific parallel between the Bush administration's propaganda techniques used to "bring the people to the bidding of their leader" to support war and the Nazi propaganda techniques that Goering himself pioneered to accomplish the same end. But no, there is nothing particularly extraordinary about Jon Stewart referring to it, except perhaps that the venue was the Peabody Awards instead of an article on CommonDreams.org or truthout.org.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 6, 2006 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

You go right ahead and argue for the non-war-like nature of giving refuge to those who attempt to blow up the World Trade Center, advocate.


Oh my goodness....I'm just like Goering....somebody call Jon Stewart!

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

I think you guys are being too hard on Will-- he's almost certainly at or near the top of the Republican intellectual molehill.

Posted by: latts on June 6, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

Joel, if you don't wish to defend it, then don't advocate that it be pursued, fool.

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

Will Allen wrote: ... the Shah was less ruthless than most of the region's despots ...

Oh really? And what evidence can you offer to support that claim?

Also, given that, as I understand it, you are arguing in favor of unilateral US military action to overthrow by force of arms all the despotic governments in the Middle Eastern oil-producing countries, do you think that a good start might be for the USA to stop providing them with billions of dollars in military aid and advanced weapons systems?

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 6, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

Al, Al, you're three hours late!

We won't tell anyone at GOPFOXRNC.
Honest

Mums the word.

Posted by: Pierre Asciutto on June 6, 2006 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK
To you, and others in this thread who dispute this analysis

Actually, I don't dispute your analysis as much as I dispute the characterization of your bizarre fantasies as analysis, but I'll answer anyway...

1. Do you dispute that the central feature of the rest of the world's relationship with the region's population is the demand for the world's largest and most easily extracted oil reserves?

No, I rather think that is the central problem of the status quo policy. So I don't dispute what you state, though I dispute what you seem to imply, which is that this cannot and/or should not change.

2. If this isn't disputed, do you acknowledege that this demand will inevitably mean that the oil will be extracted?

No, I don't acknowledge that. Oil will continue to be extracted as long as it can be extracted at a net gain in utility to someone in a position to extract it; that is not indefinitely inevitable even given the continued existence of oil reserves in the Middle East.

3. Can that oil be extracted under any other guise than the region's population being enslaved, slaughtered, practicing self government?

The extraction of oil is largely irrelevant to those three options under most reasonable sets of definitions. But, as any living people will either live free or unfree, it is trivially true (oil aside) that either the people in the region -- as with people everywhere else -- will be more free than not, or be less free than not, or die.

4. Which method of extraction do you prefer?

The states you describe are not methods of extraction, so the question is nonsense.

5. If you prefer the population becoming self governing, how fast do you think this might occur, given that ruthless despots with control of huge, easily extracted oil reserves, are largely immune to non-violent external pressure, and have the means to annihilate any internal opposition?

I disagree with your "givens", and, therefore, will not answer the question as to do so would be to validate its false premises. Currently, the US is supporting regional despots to secure the extraction of oil and its sale on minimally hostile terms (as in Saudi Arabia), mostly fearing popular sentiment that might produce regimes less favorable to the US, and yet those despots grips on power is often slippery enough to be worrisome to those who support their continued rule.

Further, this seems the most appropriate point to mention that your whole series of question seems to have the underlying premise that self-governing can be created by external invasion more quickly and with less slaughter than through local initiative, and that the status quo policy of the Bush Administration manifest in, among other things, the invasion of Iraq is a reasonable way to accomplish that. Yet you provide no reason to believe either the general or specific implications that clearly are at work.


6. If you think it can happen quickly, please explain how.

Define "quickly".

7. If you think it more likely to happen slowly, how do you think the populations being enslaved via our oil purchases are likely to view us in the interim?

Probably no worse, and most likely considerably better, were we to stop actively supporting their oppression by deliberately devoting resources to stabilize certain of the tyrannies that we prefer than they do now that we are stabilizing those tyrannies while causing the slaughter tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of innocents in the name of "self-government".

8. How are they likely to act, in a manner that is consistent with those views?

By not trying to kill us as hard as they are now, when we are supporting some tyrannies in the region while butchering innocents in the name of removing others.

9. What response is the U.S. population likely to demand in turn?

An elimination of the increasingly pervasive systems of surveillance and control imposed on the basis of the threat of terrorism that is partially real (and magnified by the status quo policies toward the region) but largely blown out of proportion to impose tyranny and restrict self-government here, as the specter of threat underlying those policies will be harder for the defenders of those policies to maintain.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 6, 2006 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

"I just wish that invasion opponents had had, or now had, the courage to explicitly state that this was their preference."

The phoniness continues.

I opposed the invasion and occupation of Iraq by the United States. This, of course, does not inply that I "prefer" oil extraction by slavery or that I "prefer" despots such as Saddam.

It is unfortunate, Will, that the capacity of your tiny mind cannot embrace more than two alternatives. For those of us who see the world as more complex than black-and-white, the world is full of complexity and there are many solutions to the world's problems. Too bad you are unable to keep up.

Posted by: Joel on June 6, 2006 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

"Joel, if you don't wish to defend it, then don't advocate that it be pursued, fool."

Where did I advocate that it be pursued? If you won't answer this question, Will, than you are worse than a fool, you are a lying fool.

Posted by: Joel on June 6, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

imbroglio wrote: Hitler surrounded himself with the best and brightest Germany had to offer (No, I am not defending him!!!!!!) Where as Bush has surrounded himself with a bunch of greedy no account yes men.

I am not an expert on the Third Reich, but it is my impression that Hitler surrounded himself with a bunch of pseudo-intellectual, sycophantic, ideologically-driven nutcases, which in the long run helped bring about the downfall of Nazi Germany since this gang of self-aggrandizing lunatics, and Hitler himself, thought they knew better how to conduct the war than the "best and brightest" of Germany's military.

There may be another parallel with the Bush administration there.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 6, 2006 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

Will Allen, have you lost your mind?

"There is a non-insane case to be made...that pursuing the oil extraction via slavery-by-proxy model for several more decades is the best alternative."

My God, Will, have you forgotten the finest hour of the US military, when our tanks rolled into Prague and Warsaw, the Airborne Rangers seized East Berlin, and Ronald Reagan personally tore down the Wall with his bare hands? How on earth could any society reform from within and achieve liberal democracy without a full-scale American invasion? That's crazy talk!

There is only one true path to liberty in the world, and that is to be occupied indefinitely by an insufficient number of US troops to secure your country! Everyone knows that!

Posted by: ajl on June 6, 2006 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK
Well, yes, JeffII, and if we continue to help enslave the population of the Persian Gulf via our oil purchases, we will be inevitably drawn into conflict with that population, because, realistically, most folks don't like being enslaved.

Inasmuch as we are enslaving the populations in the Middle East, its not principally by our oil purchases, but by more direct aid to despotic regimes for the purpose of stabilizing them against popular local forces that we don't happen to like.

(Of course, most of our -- the US's -- oil purchases aren't from the Middle East, anyway; our government's interest in controlling the Middle East isn't principally about purchasing oil from there, its about controlling the world economy by influencing the terms of trade in oil, keeping world oil prices controlled, maintaining the capacity to deny oil to our enemies in the event of a major conflict, and making sure US companies profit from the oil extraction in the Middle East.)

Posted by: cmdicely on June 6, 2006 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

Provide us with a definition for "act of war" from a reputable source that encompasses giving sanctuary to a person who has attacked or ordered and attack on civilians in another nation.

Under international law the commonly understood definition of "act of war" is an action that results in a state of armed hostilities between the parties; merely providing sanctuary to a person considered hostile by the opposing regime is not, traditionally, a sufficient trigger. If it was, then Cuba, for example, could argue that the US providing sanctuary to the terrorist Jorge Luis Posada Cariles is an act of war, or China could say that the US sheltering the Tianmen protestors and various Uighur and Tibetan dissidents is an act of war.

Posted by: Stefan on June 6, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK
I think you guys are being too hard on Will-- he's almost certainly at or near the top of the Republican intellectual molehill.

If by "Republican" you mean "Bush Cult", I would agree (though that's damning with faint praise). But not all Republicans are Bush Cultists.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 6, 2006 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

Will Allen: Look, there is a non-insane case to be made, although I strongly disagree, that pursuing the oil extraction via slavery-by-proxy model for several more decades is the best alternative. I just wish that invasion opponents had had, or now had, the courage to explicitly state that this was their preference. Yes, I strongly suspect that Bush and Co. have been dishonest in some respects as well. Since they are politicians, I expect them to be dishonest; it is their trade, after all. What's your excuse?

What about pursuing an option other than the Hobson's choice you present above (invade or support slavery)?

For example, there's a very good possibility that all the fossil fuel we've been burning might be having some impact on the global climate. So perhaps we could really put our nation's collective backs into finding alternate energy sources? Not to mention the whole peak oil problem. So these are just a couple of examples of serious situations that exist outside your Hobson's choice and which suggest that your model for the Middle East is a bit over-simplfied.

Posted by: cyntax on June 6, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK
Cmdicely, given the UNSC council has despotic governments as members, it has limited legitimacy. It's fine to use it for utilitarian reasons, but it should never be confused with a legitimate governing body.

You either believe that the UN Charter -- as a treat signed by the President, ratified by the US Senate, and not repudiated -- should be treated as law, or you are an enemy of the Constitution. Which is it?

Posted by: cmdicely on June 6, 2006 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely wrote: Of course, most of our -- the US's -- oil purchases aren't from the Middle East, anyway; our government's interest in controlling the Middle East isn't principally about purchasing oil from there, its about controlling the world economy by influencing the terms of trade in oil, keeping world oil prices controlled, maintaining the capacity to deny oil to our enemies in the event of a major conflict, and making sure US companies profit from the oil extraction in the Middle East.

I would add that there is another longer-term factor. As I understand it, oil extraction in most other regions is expected by geologists to peak and decline sooner than in the Middle East. As that happens, in the "peak oil endgame", oil-consuming nations including the USA will turn more and more to the Middle East for oil. The effort to establish US control of those oil supplies now is being undertaken with that future in mind.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 6, 2006 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Just because the US doesn't buy oil from the Middle East doesn't mean it doesn't have a vested interest in keeping that supply moving. If supply drops anywhere, prices will go up everywhere as the same consumers buy up a reduced supply. The Middle East just happens to be the most volitile (volatile?) group of exporters.

Posted by: Viserys on June 6, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

Well, yes, JeffII, and if we continue to help enslave the population of the Persian Gulf via our oil purchases, . . . blah, blah, blah . . .Posted by: Will Allen

Will, you've painted yourself into such a stinky narrow corner.

We can't change the world. We can alleviate some of the pain. But, getting back to one of your original points, short of "removing" everyone in charge in the region, and this pretty much includes most of the "clergy" as well, we can't begin to fix the "problems" of the region.

As I don't remember you posting here before, my apologies if you are a regular, you would know that my computer screen is spittle-flecked with the best of the ranters about our fucking stupid dependency on oil in general and the resulting entanglements with countries in the ME in particular, a part of the world I never see us coming to much agreement upon anything other than dates making a nice snack. Go to the "gays and gas" thread if you are still confused.

Posted by: JeffII on June 6, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

Will Allen is one of the most peculiar people I've ever observed, online or elsewhere. If I had to guess, I'd say he suffers from a mild form of autism or Asperger's syndrome.

I'm serious. In fact, I've witnessed exactly his claims made in exactly the same way by someone with Asperger's.

Posted by: grh on June 6, 2006 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

Al, Al, you're three hours late!

We won't tell anyone at GOPFOXRNC.
Honest

Thanks. Sorry about the delay; the meeting with Karl ran late.

Posted by: Al on June 6, 2006 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think that Iraqis in general considered themselves as slaves of Saddam. Being a citizen of a country rules by a dictator does not automatically make you a slave.

Will Allen is full of shit. No need for a point by point rebuttal of his posts here.

Posted by: lib on June 6, 2006 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

Nads.

Being a citizen of a country ruled by a dictator does not automatically make you a slave.

Posted by: lib on June 6, 2006 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

(Of course, most of our -- the US's -- oil purchases aren't from the Middle East, anyway; our government's interest in controlling the Middle East isn't principally about purchasing oil from there, its about controlling the world economy by influencing the terms of trade in oil, keeping world oil prices controlled, maintaining the capacity to deny oil to our enemies in the event of a major conflict, and making sure US companies profit from the oil extraction in the Middle East.)Posted by: cmdicely

It's good you pointed this out. Because if the wingnuts really wanted to get a handle on this thing vis-a-vis oil, instead of wasting our time invading countries halfway round the world that essentially pose no military threat to us (and would be of no interest whatsoever if we didn't need their oil, etc., etc.), we should be invading Venezuela or Canada, since they provide 75% or so of our oil.

Posted by: JeffII on June 6, 2006 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

lib
Being a citizen of a country ruled by a dictator does not automatically make you a slave.

You certainly don't have the freedoms that we have here or in Europe. So how would you label it?

Posted by: red state mike on June 6, 2006 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

red state mike:

So by your definition, everyone who does not live here or in Europe is a slave, as he/she does not enjoy the same freedoms that we have here or in Europe. This does not make any sense.

Posted by: lib on June 6, 2006 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Joel, I suppose you could propose a law
requiring that oil no longer be the world's principle energy source starting tomorrow, which would indeed make you a fool, albeit a more obvious one. Look, unless you explicitly state by what means you propose the oil of the Persian Gulf be extracted, you simply are avoiding the issue, which means implicitly supporting the status quo.

Cyntax raise some perhaps reasonable issues, and if secualr animist's estimations are correct, none of what we are debating matters a whit, but tomorrow morning, just like many, many, many, many mornings afterwards, several billion people are going to get up in this Vale of Tears, and seek to burn oil, for that is how their world has been organized. That means that they are going to demand, if sometimes indirectly, that the oil in the Persian Gulf be extracted. That means the people of the Persian Gulf will either be enslaved, be killed, or self-govern, and thus trade their oil with the rest of the world. That means that anyone discussing this issue, if they have anything to say worth listening to, has to explicitly state by what means the oil is to be extracted, and for how long. If you wish to childishly avoid the central issue, feel free.

Viserys, thank you for explaining the fungibile nature of oil to some folks here, and why it matters not that the U.S. does not get the majority of it's oil from the Persian Gulf, as long as the Persian Gulf contains the largest reserves, and is the most easily extracted. That this needs to be explained at this date is somewhat remarkable.

Tell ya' what, Stefan, you go right ahead and describe giving refuge to those that seek to kill thousands of American citizens as being non-war-like in nature. It does much to explain why the Democratic Party has had so little credibility with the American electorate for several decades in regards to national security, and why the Republicans, for all their obvious failings,
have gotten the better of their opponents on this issue.

cmdicely, I think that the U.N. should be afforded as much respect as the Dred Scott decision was by those who facilitated the Underground Railroad. Presumably, you would have sided with the law in 1858, and helped return the chattel to it's rightful owner. Good for you.

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK
cmdicely, I think that the U.N. should be afforded as much respect as the Dred Scott decision was by those who facilitated the Underground Railroad. Presumably, you would have sided with the law in 1858, and helped return the chattel to it's rightful owner. Good for you.

No, anytime prior to the adoption of the 13th Amendment, I would be an unabashed advocate of the position that the US Constitution was an instrument of oppression, and I would be its enemy so long as it remained such an instrument.

Of course, in that time there's a good chance that, given my racial background, I'd be either be chattel or a target of genocide, anyhow, so its not like anyone would be listening to me.

But we don't live then, we live now. Again, do you believe the UN Charter should be treated as law -- and therefore, faithfully executed by the President and a constraint on the actions of the US government -- or are you a present enemy of the Constitution?

Posted by: cmdicely on June 6, 2006 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

JeffII, you apparently also fail to grasp the fungibility of oil, and why that fungibility renders the fact that the U.S. is not the major oil purchaser in the Middle East irrelevant. Look, if you think that continuing the model of extraction via enslavement is the best that can be done, just say so, and then explain why this won't inevitably further draw is into more intense conflict with the region's population.

Lib, if you wish to argue that a person who can be made to labor, without the ability to refuse, under penalty of death, and, indeed, can be killed, upon the whim of an individual, or group of people, which does not subject itself to the possibility of being removed from power by will of the population, is not a slave, well, you just go ahead and make that argument. Gosh, I'm sure if you were in that position, you'd feel free as a bird on the wing!

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK
JeffII, you apparently also fail to grasp the fungibility of oil, and why that fungibility renders the fact that the U.S. is not the major oil purchaser in the Middle East irrelevant.

Fungibility doesn't render that fact irrelevant; each purchaser can choose which vendors to do business with, even if the product is fungible.

Look, if you think that continuing the model of extraction via enslavement is the best that can be done, just say so, and then explain why this won't inevitably further draw is into more intense conflict with the region's population.

Continuing the pre-invasion model cannot be done, because its no longer the current model.

"Extraction by enslavement" is a bad name for that model, because, even if enslavement is a fair description of the state of those societies, it is not the means of extraction, but the context in which it takes place.

The present model which is mostly still what you call enslavement mixed with what is clearly slaughter rhetorically justified by (now, though not so much when it was initiated) concern for self-government, even more inevitably than any other alternative draws us into intense conflict with the people of the region, since the policy itself is intense conflict with the people of the region.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 6, 2006 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely, I think the UN Charter should be treated as law as long as it serves the interests of the United States. I think a body of government which seated Stalin's Soviet Union on it's most powerful council at it's inception, and continue's to recognize despots, is every bit as legitimate as the Supreme Court ruling which allowed people with low I.Q.s to be sterilized against their will, or citizens of Japanese heritage to be stripped of their property and interred in camps. Tell me, cmdicely, would you have strapped down those citizens to gurneys so they could be drugged and sterilized, or would you have been an Enemy of the Constitution? Would you have manned the barbed wire in front of the citizens of Japanese descent as the battle for Iwo Jima raged, or would you have become an Enemy of the Constitution?

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

Very funny Will Allen spoof above. Or is it real?

Posted by: lib on June 6, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

Lib, if you wish to argue that a person who can be made to labor, without the ability to refuse, under penalty of death, and, indeed, can be killed, upon the whim of an individual, or group of people, which does not subject itself to the possibility of being removed from power by will of the population, is not a slave, well, you just go ahead and make that argument. Gosh, I'm sure if you were in that position, you'd feel free as a bird on the wing!

Did this happen under Saddam to the population in general? Saddam was a dictator, and a despicable one at that, who killed the dissenters and those who were a threat to his regime, but you have to provide me with a proof that he forced people to labor under the threat of death. I have seen no accounts of people being forced to labor under the threat of death.

Posted by: lib on June 6, 2006 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

Cmdicely, fungibility renders the fact irrelevant because the consumers of oil very much desire to purchase said oil at the lowest price possible.

Also, if the French and British had greatly intensified it's conflict with Hitler in 1936, an even greater intensification may have been avoided. Given that facilitating oil extraction by continuing in the participation in the enslavement of the population of the Persian Gulf has a high likelihood of resulting in a death toll unseen since WWII, taking very risky measures to end that model was worthwhile, as awful as those measures are/were.

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

lib, the mere fact that someone has that power over you, without them having to obtain the consent of the governed, makes you a slave. Also, if you were to talk to the marsh Arabs, or many Shiites and Kurds, you'd gain a better appreciation of how slavery is fair description of someone having the power of life and death over you, when that someone rules solely via his exercise of violence, or threat thereof.

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of comedians, it's too bad that the Three Stooges aren't around anymore.

They were responsible for a classic piece of political satire, produced in 1938, with Moe as the "Dictator of Moronia" -- a thinly-veiled and unhinged Adolf Hitler-type character -- with Curly doing a pompous send-up of the bemedalled Hermann Goering, and Larry as the conniving Propaganda Minister, based loosely on Josef Goebbels.

Just think of what Moe, Curly and Larry could do to Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. Oops -- I compared them to Nazis. Darn. What a shame.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 6, 2006 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

Just think of what Moe, Curly and Larry could do to Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. Oops -- I compared them to Nazis. Darn. What a shame.

That made me laugh immoderately.

Posted by: shortstop on June 6, 2006 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

Gee, I missed it above, cmdicely, where you dispute that the world's most valued natural resource will inevitably be extracted from the region in which the largest reserves exist, and where it is physically most accessible. I thus doubt pursuing any further dialogue with you pertaining to this issue is useful. Believe whatever you wish.

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

It's hard to address multiple strawmen from several sources, but to address the idiotic "The U.S. cannot topple a Persian Gulf despotism unless it is Saudi Arabia" argument, if one were to even accord the respect due a rational argument, invading the nation which governs Mecca would have been several orders of magnitude more difficult, strategically speaking, in 2002. If it really needs to be explained why this is the case, well, once again, that is rather remarkable in and of itself.

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

The convolutions of Mr. Allen that lead to the conclusion that Iraq was the one and only country that was worth invading are quite amusing.

It is not worth paying any attention to his arguments.

Posted by: lib on June 6, 2006 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

Well, lib, if you are so challenged as to think that toppling one dictator is wrong because all other dictators aren't toppled simulteaneously, well, it would be amusing, if it weren't so pathetic.

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

"Well, Joel, I suppose you could propose a law requiring that oil no longer be the world's principle energy source starting tomorrow, which would indeed make you a fool, albeit a more obvious one. Look, unless you explicitly state by what means you propose the oil of the Persian Gulf be extracted, you simply are avoiding the issue, which means implicitly supporting the status quo."

Will, your bafflegab may be a source of amusement to you, but as an educated person, I find it immensely tiresome. For me to oppose the invasion and occupation of Iraq *does not* imply a single alternative course of action. No matter how many times you repeat your stupid mantra, it won't make it so.

Please go away now, Will. Adults are trying to speak.

Posted by: Joel on June 6, 2006 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

I'm simply going to repeat the reductio ad absurdum I used nearer the top, because Will Allen seems determined to stick to that tiny ledge of logic in which violent resource plundering is our only option.

"... mostly it just lays out a good case for moving on from oil (and despot) extraction to other technologies, since you are essentially saying that war is the most economically feasible method with which to proceed -- an attitude that is as impractical as it is immoral."

The fact the Republicat party no longer seems to think it needs moral justification is frightening, indeed. But it's also disturbing that we all respond so strongly to this one-track pony because, compared to the glitter-eyed fundies and neocons, he seems at least like a pragmatist. But people, regardless of how well it is motivated by sheer self-interest, this is not pragmatism if it's the absolute worst way of getting the job done.

And maybe it's time to redefine what "the job" is, anyway.

Posted by: Kenji on June 6, 2006 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

Can we get a karma system for comments already, rather than let a single person hijack the conversation?

Really monthly people call the guys at Reddit to have one rolled out for you.

Posted by: patience on June 6, 2006 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

Advocate for God wrote:

BTW, no one ever said Bush is Hitler.

What they've said or implied is that he employs the methods that Hitler employed and commits similar violations of international law and therefore is like Hitler.

So, one is a metaphor and one is a simile. You can't even make a point without tripping over yourself. Run along, little man.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 6, 2006 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely wrote:

Pop quiz:

Hitler:Nazi Party::Bush:??

a. US military
b. US Postal Service
c. Dallas Cowboy's Tailgate Party
d. Republican Party

(Hint: The answer is not a.)

----------------------------------

I think you'd have to say that the answer is a.), since military personnel overwhelmingly support Bush, and overwhelmingly vote Republican.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 6, 2006 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Joel, please then explain under what political model you propose that the world's most demanded natural resource be extracted from where it is most prevalent, and how you propose that model to be put in place, assuming you are honest in not preferring the dominant model of the past eighty years or so? Or are you such a child as to be unwilling to face the ugly choices which confront adults, or like cmdicely, childishly deny the reality of what it means for the world's largest oil reserves to be in the Persian Gulf? Will you ever grow up?

Kenji, how fast do you think it feasible for the global economy to no longer be oil-based? What do you think happens in the interim? What makes you think that billions of people, many of them yearning to get the standard of material well- being we take for granted , are willingly going to make such a sacrifice? Has there ever been an instance in human history where an extremely highly valued natural resource has been left unextracted by more powerful populations, out of deference to the peculiar circumstances by which the weaker people which sat atop the natural resource were governed? If not, why do you suppose there will be an exception this time? Do you have any idea how ahistorical that would be?

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

I would again advise anyone familiar with Asperger's syndrome to read Will Allen's comments here and elsewhere, and consider whether he's demonstrating signs of it.

I'm really not joking about this. His behavior here is exactly like that of people I've known in regular life with Asperger's.

For people not familiar with it, this wikipedia description is okay:

In very broad terms, individuals with Asperger's have normal or above average intellectual capacity, with atypical or poorly developed social skills...

People with Asperger syndrome often are noted for having a highly pedantic way of speaking...

Asperger syndrome can involve an intense and obsessive level of focus on things of interest...the difference in Asperger children is the unusual intensity of their interest... there are normally one or two at any given time...

Children and adolescents with Asperger syndrome often have little patience for things outside these areas of interest...In more serious cases, the combination of social problems and intense interests can lead to unusual behavior, such as greeting a stranger by launching into a lengthy monologue about a special interest rather than introducing oneself in the socially-accepted way...

A person with Asperger syndrome may have trouble understanding the emotions of other people...They also have trouble showing empathy with other people. Because of this, a person with Asperger syndrome might be seen as egotistical, selfish or uncaring. In most cases these are unfair labels, because the affected person is neurologically unable to understand other people's emotional states.

Posted by: grh on June 6, 2006 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

Memo to GOP

You are wasting your money. Send in better trolls.

Posted by: lib on June 6, 2006 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, grh, it is those who express any difference with the echo chamber that is this forum, and who are then consistently met with all manner of ad hominem insults (see cmdicely's first post to me), who suffer from poorly developed social skills. The lack of self-awareness that is commonly dsiplayed by the "liberals" here is quite pathetic, if sometimes amusing. Lack of empathy, indeed.

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

"Well, Joel, please then explain under what political model you propose that the world's most demanded natural resource be extracted from where it is most prevalent, and how you propose that model to be put in place, assuming you are honest in not preferring the dominant model of the past eighty years or so?"

Little Willie, I'm under no obligation to explain myself to you. Your false dichotomies fail on their own, and don't require me to inflate or deflate them.

For folks (unlike you, little Wilie) who take this issue seriously, the question isn't the one you pose at all. The question for thoughtful adults (unlike adolescents like yourself) is how we extricate ourselves from the addiction to oil, not how we invade and occupy the countries under which oil lies. But I don't expect you, little Willie, to grasp this modestly sophisticated argument, trapped as you are in your little binary world.

My contribution to mitigating this problem is to minimize my oil consumption. I drive less than the national average, use public transportation more than the national average, bike and walk more than the national average, keep my home warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter than the national average. If everyone lived like I do, the oil-rich countries in the Middle East (and South America and Canada, where most of the US petroleum actually comes from) would have to look elsewhere for income.

But I don't expect a dull-witted yahoo like you, little Willie, would understand actual, you know, personal responsibility.

Moron.

Posted by: Joel on June 6, 2006 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

"The lack of self-awareness that is commonly dsiplayed by the "liberals" here is quite pathetic, if sometimes amusing. Lack of empathy, indeed."

Heh.

Projecting much, Willie boy?

Posted by: Joel on June 6, 2006 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, yes, Joel, if you ride your bike to work, that will change things. As long as you tap your red shoes together three times, of course, while and closing your eyes weally, weally, tight!

Child.

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

Roddy,
Yosarian, the Chaplain and Milo were my favorites.--Dan

Posted by: Dan on June 6, 2006 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

"Yes, yes, Joel, if you ride your bike to work, that will change things. As long as you tap your red shoes together three times, of course, while and closing your eyes weally, weally, tight!"


Ah yes, little Willie, invading and occupying Iraq really changes things. And pussies like you close your eyes weally tight, while manning your manly keyboard.

Your blend of tedious sophistries, bafflegab and snark fool nobody here, Willie. You want others to die for your life style and you'll say and do anything to preserve your bankrupt position.

You're not just a moron, Will, you're a pussy.

Posted by: Joel on June 6, 2006 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

grh,
You make an interesting point....

Posted by: Dan on June 6, 2006 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

That Pop Quiz is tough.

Its hard to see how B could be correct, other than that like stamps both got licked in the end. [Jeff Gannon where are you?]

You think about C, tail gate parties, and you think about drunks.
And when you think about drunks, you think about George, America's most famous drunk.
[God I miss Foster Brooks].
But I don't think Adolf drank.

It can't be D. That doesn't make sense,
The Republicans are God-fearing, the Nazis were pagans;
the Culture of Life, they're full of it, while the Nazis were full of Lager;
And let me tell you Eva Braun was no Katherine Harris!

Its hard to argue with the logic of sportsfan79.
Its hard to make my forehead go that low.
And, as I've eliminated all the others, I'm with sportsfan79.
Its A.

Posted by: Pierre Asciutto on June 6, 2006 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

Joel, you really are unaware that it was you who decided to adopt an insulting, hostile, tone for the exchange we had, aren't you? What is it about you "liberals" which causes you to be completely unaware of how your hostility and insulting tone will appear to others, and how others are thus often likely to respond im kind? Do "liberals" such as yourself commonly have the emotional intelligence of third-graders?

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

grh: Couple of other posters called that one privately long ago. It's dead on, like the rest of your posts.

Posted by: shortstop on June 6, 2006 at 10:28 PM | PERMALINK

"Do "liberals" such as yourself commonly have the emotional intelligence of third-graders?"

Heh.

I find I only have to adopt this tone to get the attention of intellectual cripples such as yourself.

Moron.

Posted by: Joel on June 6, 2006 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

Joel, given you have approximately zero knowledge of my lifestyle, perhaps you would be wise to refrain from making remarks about the alleged bafflegab of others. Then again, you seem to adhere to the notion that ignorance is bliss, along with being incredibly lacking in self-awareness. Safe to say that when one devolves to scatological name-calling, one has achieved new heights in self-parody. Congratulations.

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

" . . . how others are thus often likely to respond im kind?"

Heh.

So you're compelled "to respond im [sic] kind?" What happened to the culture of personal responsibility that you conservatives are so proud of, Willie?

Nah, Willie. I just got your goat, and you respond like a little puppet on a string. You tried to jerk us around with your chickenhawk bafflegab, and you ended up being the one jerked around. You chickenhawks are all alike. I love it!

Posted by: Joel on June 6, 2006 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

" . . . the alleged bafflegab of others."

Not others, little Willie. Just you. It is all about you, isn't it?

Posted by: Joel on June 6, 2006 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

No, Joel, I really think it is most considerate to give a person with whom I am having a conversation the type of exchange they indicate is desired, and I give them the benefit of the doubt that they have enough empathy to grasp that how their behavior is likely to be mirrored to some degree. Thus, if one wishes to have a civil encounter with a neighbor, one does not flip them the bird.

Unfortunately, and amusingly ironically, given the content of grh's yammerings, many of the "liberals" in this forum lack the ability to grasp how their insulting, hostile, tone directed toward nearly anyone who expresses diagreement with the consensus, is perceived as a desire to have an insulting and hostile exchange. Why else would someone call someone else a "phony" or a "fool" or an "idiot", in one of their first few posts, if they did not desire hostility? How lacking in empathy and social skills, along with many of the other "liberals" here, are you?

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

" . . .one does not flip them the bird."

I consider insulting the intelligence of others with posts such as yours to be the rhetorical equivalent of "flipping the bird." You get what you deserve, Willie boy. Stop trying our patience with childish pseudo-logic and obfuscatory bafflegab and you won't get the finger.

"Why else would someone call someone else a "phony" or a "fool" or an "idiot", in one of their first few posts, if they did not desire hostility?"

Uh, maybe because, you know, that someone was behaving in a phony, foolish and idiotic fashion? In the reality-based community, we call 'em as we see 'em. Spare me the victim pose.

Posted by: Joel on June 6, 2006 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

Kenji, how fast do you think it feasible for the global economy to no longer be oil-based?

Probably a lot faster than it will take to overthrow the various despotic governments of the ME.

Posted by: haha on June 6, 2006 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

Never claimed to be a victim, Joel; I was just remarking upon the irony of a writer attributing "projection", regarding a comment concerning lack of self-awareness pertaining to poor social skills, when it was the writer who started a thread with ad hominem insults. Look, you have all the qualities associated with a poorly socialized seven year old, and then you say others are "projecting". Carry on.

Posted by: Will Allen on June 6, 2006 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

"Look, you have all the qualities associated with a poorly socialized seven year old . . . "

Heh.

Pot, kettle, black, etc . . .

Posted by: Joel on June 6, 2006 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

Dan & shortstop,

Thanks. As I say, I'm really not kidding about this. I'm also not exaggerating when I say I've heard precisely the same argument argued in precisely the same way from someone who actually has been diagnosed with Asperger's.

Will Allen, here and elsewhere, demonstrates all the characteristics -- in particular, the inability to read how people function emotionally, with the subsequent frustration and anger, etc. It's almost like he's reading a textbook and basing his persona on it.

Posted by: grh on June 6, 2006 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

grh nails it.

Posted by: Joel on June 6, 2006 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

Joel,

It's of course impossible to say based on this, but his behavior is definitely suggestive.

In particular, someone with an integrated emotional intelligence would have long ago asked themselves why they felt compelled to return to engage with people for whom they seem to have such sneering contempt. This type of angry, obsessive behavior is very common among those with Asperger's.

Posted by: grh on June 6, 2006 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

Together with my own, more limited, knowledge of this topic (I'm a medical school professor), you're comments make a compelling case. Thanks for this insight.

Posted by: Joel on June 6, 2006 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, that should be "your comments". It's getting late here. Bye now.

Posted by: Joel on June 6, 2006 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

Irony Man: It's not that they are imaginary, but rather that the profferred solutions to the problem are better suited to enemies quite different from those who we actually face.

That may be so, but that isn't the gist of the Goering quote. If America has real enemies planning to initiate attacks, then the Goering quote is irrelevant to the political debate.

Posted by: republicrat on June 7, 2006 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

Secular Animist: Within 10-20 years, a great many people in the Middle East will very likely die, not because of who controls the oil reserves, but because the region is going to run out of water.

No place with that much energy (solar, wind, petrol) and thousands of miles of coastlines is going to run out of water unless they give up trying altogether.

Posted by: republicrat on June 7, 2006 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

Boronx: I would throw into the "innocent bystander" category Iraqi conscripts. The Pentagon does not count these deaths, I believe neither the Lancet study nor Iraq Body Count include them.

It is not clear whom the Lancet study counted. They asked their respondents who had lost family or friends since the invasion. There was no distinction by combatant/noncombatant status. that's one of the weaknesses of the study. Their 95% confidence interval is "up to 100,000"; their actual estimate was closer to 30,000.

Posted by: republicrat on June 7, 2006 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

Joel: If he really believed his own posts, he would be advocating for the invasion and occupation of Saudi Arabia. *That's* a despotic regime. Moreover, SA was home to 15 of the 19 9/11 terrorists.

wrong on two counts: (1) you can believe it is possible to solve one problem without believing it possible to solve two problems -- in this case, the Baathist govt of Iraq was the worse of the two bovernments; (2) SA and even the US was "home" to the 9/11 terrorists before their murders, but the Baathist regime of Iraq provided aid and comfort to murderers (including the Achille Lauro hijacker) after they committed their murders.

Posted by: republicrat on June 7, 2006 at 12:17 AM | PERMALINK

cyntax: So perhaps we could really put our nation's collective backs into finding alternate energy sources?

good point. as followup, let me recommend:

Science , vol 312, p 1277, available at www.sciencemag.org

and also

www.doegenomestolife.org/biofuels/

cited by Dr. Somerville in the Science editorial.

Posted by: republicrat on June 7, 2006 at 12:22 AM | PERMALINK

cmdicely: Again, do you believe the UN Charter should be treated as law -- and therefore, faithfully executed by the President and a constraint on the actions of the US government -- or are you a present enemy of the Constitution?

most of the time that is a false choice because the U.N. mostly exists to nullify action, so its policies have no effect. On the issue of invading Iraq, for example, the UNSC neither supported nor opposed the invasion.

Note also that the UN commission on Human Rights mostly exists to block the support by the UN of the universal declaration of human rights that the UN ratified and that every country nominally supports. When the UN acts directly contrary to itself, our treaty commitments to the UN have no commitment. It's loosely analogous to a proof in mathematics where two of the assumptions can not actually both be true: none of the possible logical "consequences" can be disproved, so none of the defelopment has actual consequences.

Posted by: republicrat on June 7, 2006 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK

oops, cmdicely, I meant to add that, on this issue, you have been "too clever by half".

The UN has called for the closing of the most humanely run prison in Cuba. If their recommendation had any force, I would certainly recommend opposing it (though I am in fact in favor of returning all the prisoners to their home countries just to get them out of the news.)

Posted by: republicrat on June 7, 2006 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

This is very late in the thread--157 posts in--but something crystalized for me today, re Nazis.

I have been told that during WW2 the average Germans didn't know about the Nazi slaughter of the Jews. I dread waking up someday and discovering that Bushco body counts are also much much higher than we realized at the time.

Posted by: PTate in MN on June 7, 2006 at 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

I have never seen anyone give a list of dictatorships (ordered by the brutality of the regimes) in the middle east that they want deposed. If the Bushlickers made such a list public, their protestations that they want freedom for all middle easterners and that you can only depose one dictator at a time would be more credible.

Posted by: lib on June 7, 2006 at 1:11 AM | PERMALINK
republicrat 2:08 AM It is not clear whom the Lancet study counted. Their 95% confidence interval is "up to 100,000"; their actual estimate was closer to 30,000.
Your interpretation of the Lancet study is in error, but more importantly since that study was completed, the situation in Iraq has worsened drastically and far more Iraqis have died.
12:17 AM regime of Iraq provided aid and comfort to murderers after they committed their murders.
By all reports, Bin Laden is in Pakistan, ruled by a military dictator, General Pervez Musharraf, who took power in a coup in 1999? What more provocation for war do you need? Where's the consistency?
12:29 AM On the issue of invading Iraq, for example, the UNSC neither supported nor opposed the invasion.
As the UN has maintained, the invasion of Iraq by the US was illegal under the UN Charter. Further, the US has lost any moral standing in regard to human rights.
12:33 AM The UN has called for the closing of the most humanely run prison in Cuba.
That is a laughable assertion. There is nothing "humane" about the hell-hole gulag run by the torture supporting Bush regime. Posted by: Mike on June 7, 2006 at 1:14 AM | PERMALINK

The Goering quotation, reproduced at the snopes.com web site, is far more vicious and cynical than the portion recited by Stewart. But it is nice that Stewart quoted the portion that he did.

Posted by: raj on June 7, 2006 at 1:47 AM | PERMALINK

Well, it's been a numer of hours since heading out and coming back. It looks like all that has been established is: that Will Allen defends the war in Iraq as a bid on control of oil, since (implicitly) someone has to be in charge of it and since we outlawed slavery over one hundred years ago, and since we are the primary consumers of oil in the world that the "extractors" of oil should be US.

But....this discussion of his has run an endgame around the issue of leadership using fear and fearmongering as a cover for what is really going on. Which is the inspiration for the original thread.

Will Allen, you are to be comended for your persistance, but you have missed the point completely. The point being: Do we require our leadership to adhere to a moral standard of truth when they commit us to the serious business of war, or does the end justify the means? Is the taking of someone else's oil -- someone else's natural resources (kind of like our national forests) through deceitful measures, justifiable because we are the likely consumers of that resource?


Your posts -and they are many -- indicate that you do not recognize that the natural resources under Middle East land belong to the landowners, not the endusers -- at least not until it is sold. This sense of entitlement is irrational and at best, the product of a myopic view of the world. The world does not exist to supply the inhabitants of the United States with the conveniences of living. You will understand this as time goes on. Oh yes, war has been waged over resources, but if Jon Stewart's point is to be made, at least we shouldn't be spoon fed some crappy fear-mongering/patriotic, Nazi standard operations manual, dog and pony show as the reasoning for it.

Posted by: jcricket`` on June 7, 2006 at 2:20 AM | PERMALINK

Word!

Posted by: Joel on June 7, 2006 at 6:29 AM | PERMALINK

Instead of arguing like toddlers that Bush and company aren't fascists because they say so, perhaps the GOP should instead influence them to resign or at least act in a way that is legally compelled by the Constitution. The fact that they are acting in a scary and analogous way to fascists and tyrants is in evidence every day and is also not defensible.
Very sad for our great nation--brought low by Rove and a lack of principle on the part of corporations.

William Allen is way off his meds I see.

Posted by: Sparko on June 7, 2006 at 7:33 AM | PERMALINK

Will Allen
Has there ever been an instance in human history where an extremely highly valued natural resource has been left unextracted by more powerful populations, out of deference to the peculiar circumstances by which the weaker people which sat atop the natural resource were governed? If not, why do you suppose there will be an exception this time? Do you have any idea how ahistorical that would be?

Dude, you rock.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 7, 2006 at 8:20 AM | PERMALINK

jcricket``
Your posts -and they are many -- indicate that you do not recognize that the natural resources under Middle East land belong to the landowners, not the endusers -- at least not until it is sold. This sense of entitlement is irrational and at best, the product of a myopic view of the world.

Your naivete is showing.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 7, 2006 at 8:33 AM | PERMALINK

Within 10-20 years, a great many people in the Middle East will very likely die, not because of who controls the oil reserves, but because the region is going to run out of water.
Posted by: SecularAnimist

Indeed. What oil has been to the last century, water will be to the next. There's excellent continuing coverage of these 'inconvenient facts' over at bbc.com.

Posted by: CFShep on June 7, 2006 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

aWol: Hola, Vincent. Have I got a deal for you, amigo. I'll let you keep exporting millions of your most improverished people to the US for a shot at letting Exxon run that little PEMEX monopoly ya'll got down there. You still get to pocket the royalties, stash some in off-shore accounts, and get to juice up remittances, too.

Vincent: What's not to like?

Posted by: CFShep on June 7, 2006 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

republicrat:

You may want to check your numbers before posting. No one can argue that you don't believe your own opinion but we can show you wrong when you post numbers.

The Lancet number estimated 100,000 NOT the 30,000 you posted. They did indeed count what the cause of death was and the 100,000 is the EXCESS deaths (i.e. after subtracting out the deaths from an identical period of time before the war).

Further studies have shown this to be correct. If you wish to argue this I would be glad to do so (but I suggest you follow Mike's link to Deltoid). If not I will expect a retraction since these are simple facts. Anyone placing bets that I get one?

Y.

Posted by: Yelling in the fog on June 7, 2006 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

Yelling, you don't give a fuck about dead people so take your stats and go cry crocodile tears somewhere else.

Why are we not talking about the thwarted terrorist attacks in Canada????????? Afterall, Canada has been in the forefront of the left's appeasement strategy. Open borders, attempting to build relations with the Muslim communities, welcoming of deserters that oppose the Iraq conflict........why oh why would the misunderstood Islamic jihadists ever want to hurt the sensitive intelligent people of Canada?
Should we commission a study to find out how the Canadiens offended and outraged the Jihadists provking them to attempt an attack on their country? Barbara Boxer could lead this effort, afterall the left is convinced they have the winning solution right? Except when it comes to elections.

Posted by: Jay on June 7, 2006 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

CF, you've now been reduced to the guy on the corner holding a sign stating that world is going to end?

Wouldn't this be considered fear mongering?

Posted by: Jay on June 7, 2006 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

One more time, since you're such a slow learner, Cut&Run: I'm not a 'guy'.

There are any number of fears which the acknowledgement of which constitute a healthy appreciation of reality.

"If humans pursue a business-as-usual course for the first half of this century, I believe the collapse of civilization due to climate change becomes inevitable." Tim Flannery

Posted by: CFShep on June 7, 2006 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

From: foreignpolicy.com

The List: The Worlds Water Crises

Posted May 30, 2006
"If oil was the resource of the 20th century, then the 21st century belongs to water. The lack of clean water and basic sanitation already curbs world economic growth by $556 billion a year, according the World Health Organization. FP looks at four countries struggling to quench their thirst.

China
Situation: Chinas rapid urbanization is ratcheting up demand for water. Of the countrys 660 cities, more than 400 lack sufficient water supplies, and 110 suffer serious shortages. Vaclav Smil of Canadas University of Manitoba estimates that when people move from the countryside to cities, they increase their personal water consumption at least fivefold. Irrigation demands are also rising, and rivers are thinning as a result. The Yellow River, the second-longest river in China, now struggles to reach the sea. To meet growing demand, underground aquifers are being depleted.

Implications: Regulating water has always been crucial to governing China. The Chinese word zhi means to regulate water, but it also means to rule. Freshwater scarcity may not only halt economic growth; it could lead to political turmoil. Wide-scale disaffection with the governments water management could seriously destabilize the regime. And large dam projects may not be enough to save China from its water problem. Experts say China must improve crop selection, increase the price of water, and make usage more efficient.


India
Situation: Monsoon rain clouds may roll in every June to September, but the countrys water reservoirs are poorly maintained, and floodsexacerbated by felled forests and overfarmingroutinely destroy irrigation systems. As a result, more than 21 million farmers resort to desperate tactics, such as extracting groundwater to water their fields. An estimated one quarter of Indias crops are now being grown using underground aquifers, and the H2O is being pumped faster than it can be replenished.

Implications: Unless India changes the way it manages water, the World Bank reports that India will have neither the cash to maintain and build new infrastructure, nor the water required for the economy and for people. There is a great deal of bickering among the states that share water, and the tensions will only get worse. The countrys water-related problems will require better governance and infrastructure and broader use of rain harvesting in areas prone to drought.


United States
Situation: Out West, heavily subsidized farmers place huge demands on sources of freshwater, which have led to conflicts among neighboring states. The water rights to the Colorado River have been hotly contested between seven states, including California, Nevada, and Arizona. The two reservoirs that supply Arizona, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles, and Lake Powell and Lake Mead, are at 49 and 56 percent of capacity, respectively. Subsidized prices discourage efficiency. Farmers in Californias Central Valley alone receive an annual water subsidy of $416 million.

Implications: The government estimates that droughts cost the country between $6 and $8 billion a year. The West is growing fastthe countrys five fastest-growing cities are in Nevada and Arizonabut that growth is in danger of being stifled by water scarcity. Cutting water subsidies would probably put ranchers and farmers out of business throughout the Great Plains of the northern Midwest, West, and Southwest. Little surprise, then, that political leadership on this issue is largely absent in Washington.


Pakistan
Situation: Pakistan is one of the worlds most arid countries; its water supply per capita is about 1,250 cubic meters per year. (One-thousand cubic meters is considered an acute shortage by international standards.) One third of Pakistans Indus River is diverted to cotton fields, drying out large swaths of Sindh province and forcing farmers to abandon fields for overcrowded Karachi. The countrys irrigation system leaks about 40 percent of the water that flows through it, leading to a rise in water tables and the salinization of groundwater.

Implications: Agriculture (read: irrigation) underpins almost one fourth of Pakistans gross domestic product, and about two thirds of Pakistans population of 160 million live in rural areas with farm-fueled economies. If the water situation continues to deteriorate, expect even greater social upheavals than the country is already experiencing. And for a government struggling to get a handle on sectarian violence, rein in rebel elements in the west, and maintain political legitimacy, unemployed farmers is exactly what Pakistans major cities dont need."


Posted by: CFShep on June 7, 2006 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Man or woman really doesn't matter in your unisex world does it?

Do you realize how long man has been predicting the end of civilization? And we're to believe that this is a more imminent threat than jihadism?

Please tell us again in '08. We don't want to forget what you really stand for.

Posted by: Jay on June 7, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

Let's highlight this one little fact from the Foreign Policy piece:

'Farmers in Californias Central Valley alone receive an annual water subsidy of $416 million.'

Posted by: CFShep on June 7, 2006 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Oh CF is playing upon our fears!!!!!!!!!
(somehow it was more drama queenish when Gore said it).

Posted by: Jay on June 7, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Jay, you're a moron.

Posted by: CFShep on June 7, 2006 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

Jay:

I gather from your post that you don't like facts. Is it all facts that you are opposed to or only those that don't line up with your beliefs?

regards,
Y.

Posted by: Yelling in the fog on June 7, 2006 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

yelling in the fog: The Lancet number estimated 100,000 NOT the 30,000 you posted. They did indeed count what the cause of death was and the 100,000 is the EXCESS deaths (i.e. after subtracting out the deaths from an identical period of time before the war).

good grief, you write as though you think I never read the Lancet report. The interviewers asked respondents about deaths; none of them were ever verified independently, and there was no independent determination of who, if any, were combatants. AND the 100,000 was the upper bound of their confidence interval. Other estimates, included in the Brookings Institution Iraq Index are closer to 30,000 - 50,000, near the Lancet "point estimate".

Posted by: republicrat on June 7, 2006 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

CFshep, you are correct that the subsidization of water purchases, in large part in order to grow feed for livestock, just may be the single dumbest policy within the United States. Except for the War on Drugs, of course.

JRcricket, how does advocating that a population govern itself, and sell it's natural resources, equate with advocating that the natural resources be taken? What is remarkable about this thread is the complete lack of historical reference, or if if there is any historical reference, it is made by people who think that history began in the last few decades. I'll ask again, on the off-chance that there is somebody with enough honesty to attempt to answer it: Has there ever been an instance in human history where an extremely highly valued natural resource has been left unextracted by more powerful populations, out of deference to the peculiar circumstances by which the weaker people which sat atop the natural resource were governed? If not, why do you suppose there will be an exception this time?

Posted by: Will Allen on June 7, 2006 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

republicrat:

I did write as if you had never read the report since your presentation would indicate that. If you did you did read then I apologize for that impression - but question your comprehension skills. Anyway, to address your points.

none of them were ever verified independently

From the paper: " In 63 of 78 (81%) households where confirmations were attempted, respondents were able to produce the death certificate for the decedent"

AND the 100,000 was the upper bound of their confidence interval.

From the paper: "We estimate that there were 98000 extra deaths (95% CI 8000194 000) during the post-war period in the 97% of Iraq represented by all the clusters except Falluja. In our Falluja sample, we recorded 53 deaths when only 14 were expected under the national pre-war rate. This indicates a point estimate of about 200000 excess deaths in the 3% of Iraq represented by this cluster. However, the uncertainty in this value is substantial and implies additional deaths above those measured in the rest of the country."

So in fact the 98,000 is almost certainly too low.

Regards,
Y.

Posted by: Yelling in the fog on June 7, 2006 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

Actually Will most of that subsidized irrigation water in the Central Valley goes to two crops: Rice and cotton. Neither are fodder. Neither are suitable to semi-arid conditions.

Posted by: CFShep on June 7, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

William Allen: what you propose is silly on its face. Through human history, wars are common place, but one would have to be foolish indeed to state there have never been instances where a weaker nation was left alone on its precious resources. History teaches us that war is usually the worst way to grab resources.
Think of all the natural resources of Canada and Mexico. Switzerland. Nigeria. Saudi Arabia.
The world is governed by complex alliances based on everything from religion to languages. Your world seems to be rooted in Cromagnon Man.

Posted by: Sparko on June 7, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Sparko
William Allen: what you propose is silly on its face. Through human history, wars are common place, but one would have to be foolish indeed to state there have never been instances where a weaker nation was left alone on its precious resources. History teaches us that war is usually the worst way to grab resources.

I think what Will is saying, is that the more powerful population will get those resources, even if it means taking them by force (last resort) or buying them from unscrupulous dictatorships that essentially enslave their people but are friendly to those with money, and who will use the money to increase their strnaglehold on their own population.

Where do you stand on the second choice?

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 7, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

To add to Yelling's smack-down of Republicrat's reading-incomprehension, a sample of the reported deaths were verified via death certs.

See Tim Lambert for more details.

Posted by: Disputo on June 7, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

nevermind; I see that Yelling did address that; so much for my reading comprehension....

Posted by: Disputo on June 7, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

RSM: Not to put to fine a point on it, but your definition would equate all economic policies with warfare. Obviously all nations balance their economic objectives with their principles or lack thereof. And most weak nations with precious resources stand uninvaded-keeping an empire MUCH harder than conquering it. A better question would be has a weak nation ever decided to forego economic benefit and leave a precious resource unexcavated or exploited? Even then, the answer is yes. Some nations act out duty to humanity and are allowed to do so, protecting endangered species or disallowing strip mining or slavery.

Posted by: Sparko on June 7, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

CFShep, in other parts of the west, large subsidies, and large amounts of water, are given for the purpose of growing fodder. Not that growing rice or cotton in areas where it doesn't rain much makes sense (it doesn't), but it is even dumber to use water in arid or semi-arid areas to grow plants, which are then fed to livestock, in order to produce meat or milk.

Sparko, I wasn't advocating war to grab resources. I was asking the question of whether there has ever been an instance where a valuable natural resource was not extracted by powerful populations, out of deference to a weaker population which sat atop the natural resource. To my knowledge, it has never happened. The only open question is whether the weaker population is killed, enslaved (directly or by proxy via a local dictator), or governs itself, and thus is able to sell the natural resource for it's own benefit. There ain't any other options, because the natural resource is not going to be left in the ground when billions of people around the world have a demand for it.

Thus, if one is to be an adult in discussing how to interact with people of the Persian Gulf, one has to make an explicit choice regarding which political model to employ in order to facilitate the extraction of oil: Is the population of the region to be killed, enslaved, or traded with, which means it must be governed via it's freely given consent? The problem with most posters in this thread (excepting those who believe that if they ride their bike to work the problem will go away, or who otherwise cling to the fantasy that the rest of the world's population will somehow not demand that the oil be extracted) is they think the only viable alternative is to continue with the slavery by proxy model for several more decades, as the region slowly evolves. Of course, they are also unwillingly to explicitly state that, and/or they mistakenly believe that our participation in the region's enslavement by despots for several more decades does not carry with it the very likely chance of a war that will be so bloody that it will make the current conflict look like a schoolyard scrap.

Posted by: Will Allen on June 7, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Sparko
RSM: Not to put to fine a point on it, but your definition would equate all economic policies with warfare.

I left off the ideal situation, where you by it from the country that is governed by its own people (not dictators) such as us buying oil from Canada.

Frankly, Will is laying it out pretty straight, near as I can see.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 7, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

RSM: The principle of asymmetric warfare is that weak nations counterbalance anothers strength through means other than direct confrontation. Vietnam, for example, stood against more powerful nations wishing to continue to dominate its resources. Britain sued for peace rather than continue a war based on power dynamics in 1783. Attrition is the thing which makes Allens proposition, and most wars, ludicrous. The smallest nation can extract a grievous price for hubris. We have learned it again through needless mistake

Posted by: Sparko on June 7, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

sparko, name one natural resource that was in great demand throughout the world that have ever gone unextracted, due to political or moral considerations, or out of a sense of duty to humanity in general. Hell, hardly anybody demands whale products anymore, and yet whales are still being slaughtered. Nearly every human being on the planet has some demand for oil, and billions of people, in China, India, South America, and elsewhere, will demand considerably more oil tomorrow than they did today. That demand will be served. The only question is whether slaughter, slavery, or peaceful trade with a self-governing population, is employed in the process of serving that demand. One must choose, and trying to avoid choosing is in itself a choice for the staus quo, which for the last eight decades or so has been enslavement by proxy in order to facilitate oil extraction.

Posted by: Will Allen on June 7, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Sparko, I should note again that I have stated from the beginning that this was a terribly, terribly, difficult task. Unfortunately, given that continuing to participate in the region's enslavement is more than likely going to lead to a titanic slaughter, and given that there is no way the oil is going to be left in the ground, trying to somewhat rapidly get the region's population to practice self-government is the best of a lot of really, really, bad options. Life sucks sometimes.

Posted by: Will Allen on June 7, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Will: in the case of oil producing nations, they hold all the cards. Venezuela has threatened to cease export. It has the power to act on this despite its apparent weakness. You offered a false paradigm. Oil requires stability for exploration, production and export. The cruel reality is you can always destroy ports and pipelines with boy scouts. The Arab oil embargo did not end in invasion. The Suez Crisis was ended intelligently by Eisenhower who knew the limits of power. Never in human history was such a precious commodity like oil so utoiterly vulnerable to spoiling attack. The power, such as it is, rests in the ruthless little nations that sit over it. The US must counter this through technological innovation since war is unethical and untenable. The double whammy. We must find reliable energy--not rely on past practices. It's a new world created in some weird images of man.

Posted by: Sparko on June 7, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK
trying to somewhat rapidly get the region's population to practice self-government is the best of a lot of really, really, bad options

This certainly would be an interesting debate to have in an alternate universe. Here in this one, however, the U.S. did not invade Iraq to "get the region's population to practice self-government," nor are we continuing to occupy Iraq for that reason.

Posted by: grh on June 7, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

they think the only viable alternative is to continue with the slavery by proxy model for several more decades, as the region slowly evolves.

Please STFU until you learn to stop attacking strawmen. Until then, any attempt to debate you is useless.

Posted by: Disputo on June 7, 2006 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

Sparko, if you believe that concern for ethics ever stopped a war over resources that people had great demand for, well, we'll just have to disagree. I hate to be a pessimist, but if your assessment is nearly right, and it may be, we're going to witness a slaughter unlike any since the middle part of the last century.

Disputo, having any conversation with someone who won't explicitly state what political model is to be used to facilitate Persian Gulf oil extraction over the next couple decades, and how that is to be achieved, isn't just a waste of time; it is akin to having a conversation with a two year old. Yammer on.

Posted by: Will Allen on June 7, 2006 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

having any conversation with someone who won't explicitly state what political model is to be used to facilitate Persian Gulf oil extraction over the next couple decades, and how that is to be achieved, isn't just a waste of time

Great! Let's start the conversation. My position is: I want the Middle East to be run by democratically-minded matriarchal Uniterians. This will be achieved by my hoping really hard it will happen.

True, this is childish, but no more so than the "invade middle east and hope against all historical evidence and common sense about human nature that the Bush administration will democratize it" plan.

Posted by: grh on June 7, 2006 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly