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Author Topic: Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity  (Read 4059 times)

Hastur T. Fannon

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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #120 on: December 08, 2006, 08:01:34 am »
Quote from: Akrasia
And for the record, the British never changed their 'military strategy' for dealing with terrorism.  Rather, both the British and Irish governments put pressure on the sectarian groups in Northern Ireland to find a peaceful solution to the Troubles.  They predicted that, should such a solution be put on the table, that there would be huge domestic support for it in Northern Ireland, which would further undercut support for sectarian paramilitary groups.  And they were right.


This is the perspective of someone born during the Troubles and who has missed being blown up by a matter of minutes on two occasions (admittedly only one of those was the Provos)

The Provos switched to primarily economic targets designed to disrupt life rather than destroy it.  Within months the British government was at the negociating table having sworn for years that it would never negociate with terrorists.  Admittedly everything worked out ok in the end, but if Al-Q ever learns this lesson then we'll all be in trouble
 

Akrasia

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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #121 on: December 08, 2006, 09:16:50 am »
Quote from: Spike
... my intent is not to praise tyranny, but to simply suggest that democracy is not the end all be all of governance, simply one alternative among many...


No one would deny that there are many alternative forms of government.  That's an empirical fact.

My point is that only democratic governments can plausibly claim to express the views of the people that they govern.  This is a morally significant difference.

As Churchill once said: "Democracy is the worst form of government possible.  Except for all the other ones."
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Werekoala

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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #122 on: December 08, 2006, 10:22:34 am »
Quote from: Yamo
It's a cold day in hell that I'm even factually correct. :)

Now back to draining this bottle of limoncello I bought on a whim on the way home from work today...

Damn you, DeVito!


Threadderailment:

What exactly IS Limoncello? I'd never even heard of it until last week, now its everywhere. Even the password to a Call of Duty server that I played on last night!
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Spike

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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #123 on: December 08, 2006, 12:14:59 pm »
Quote from: Akrasia
No one would deny that there are many alternative forms of government.  That's an empirical fact.

My point is that only democratic governments can plausibly claim to express the views of the people that they govern.  This is a morally significant difference.

As Churchill once said: "Democracy is the worst form of government possible.  Except for all the other ones."



I got this quote from a game: Democracy is the only government worth a damn, because its the only form of government where the people get exactly what the deserve.



Maybe I've got a rather dim view of humanity.  The fact of the matter is, in large groups humanity can be rather stupid, even childish.  Children can't be given total self determination.  What I see out of democratic states is a gradual trend towards populism in law, a rise of stupid, counterproductive laws designed to 'get votes' rather than 'run a government'.   You see shit like in france where everyone is garuanteed lifetime employment, and it's ruining their economy... and the government CAN'T get rid of it without massive riots.  

Another, less drastic, method of looking at it, the US Civil war was essentially a war between two different forms of 'democratic' government, a federalized central power, and a statist confederacy. This isn't to denigrate the actual war or it's causes, but to illustrate something about governments.

Now, arguable, the voting population of the South was 'More Free' than the voting population of the North.  Each State was entirely self determinant, which is what they wanted: Freedom from controls imposed by 'others'.

One of the reasons the North won was the Army was entirely under the command of the central government, whereas in the South each state commanded their own army. So if Georgia was getting pressed hard, they'd withdraw their troops, screw the big picture.  Virgina wouldn't send troops to help Georgia out, so Georgia has to fight alone...and might pull HER troops away to defend her own borders, further crippling the main army. And the confederation government couldn't stop them.  

Now, that is an incredibly selective way of looking at it, but it was a factor in the war.  It is also illustrative why giving people the freedom to be self determinant in a civilized nation might not always be a 'good thing'.

Like any parental figure, a good government needs to listen to it's children, but more imporantly needs to be able to make descisions that are unpopular for the good of the people.... and Democracy has a very poor track record with 'unpopular' decisions.
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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #124 on: December 08, 2006, 01:02:09 pm »
Quote from: Werekoala
Threadderailment:

What exactly IS Limoncello? I'd never even heard of it until last week, now its everywhere. Even the password to a Call of Duty server that I played on last night!

Break your google button?;)
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Werekoala

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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #125 on: December 08, 2006, 02:21:07 pm »
Quote from: fonkaygarry
Break your google button?;)


I just figured hearing about it from someone who actually DRANK it would be more informative, but I'll look into it. :)
Lan Astaslem


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Yamo

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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #126 on: December 08, 2006, 08:45:30 pm »
Ice-cold (ideally) liquor made from lemon rinds, sugar and about 25%-30% alcohol.

It tastes to me like Lemonheads candy in boozy liquid form.
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Akrasia

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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #127 on: December 08, 2006, 10:27:46 pm »
Quote from: Spike
...  giving people the freedom to be self determinant in a civilized nation might not always be a 'good thing'.

Like any parental figure, a good government needs to listen to it's children, but more imporantly needs to be able to make descisions that are unpopular for the good of the people ...


Dude, I could have lifted the above quote from pretty much any 1930s fascist speech.

Do you really want to go down this argumentative road?

Quote from: Spike

.... and Democracy has a very poor track record with 'unpopular' decisions.


Um, okay.  It has a bad track record.  Pretty much awful.  Well, except for the nondemocratic systems.  Those are actually worse.

Read my Churchill quote again.  Think about the quote.
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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #128 on: December 08, 2006, 10:43:51 pm »
Quote from: Akrasia
Dude, I could have lifted the above quote from pretty much any 1930s fascist speech.

Do you really want to go down this argumentative road?
 


He has something of a point, though. Democracy needs some limits. Hell, it's the whole reason that democratic nations have Supreme Courts: So that unrestrained mob rule is less able to do vicious and unjust things like deprive minorities of rights.
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RPGObjects_chuck

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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #129 on: December 08, 2006, 11:30:48 pm »
Quote from: Akrasia
Dude, I could have lifted the above quote from pretty much any 1930s fascist speech.

Do you really want to go down this argumentative road?



Um, okay.  It has a bad track record.  Pretty much awful.  Well, except for the nondemocratic systems.  Those are actually worse.

Read my Churchill quote again.  Think about the quote.


Well... I am personally VERY leery of increased power of the central government.

But I think one thing Spike might be thinking of is racial integration of schools.

Southern senators were VEHEMENTLY opposed, because their CONSTITUENTS were.

Similarly, southern governors and elected law enforcement officials fought against the integration for the same reasons.

Even state courts mostly sided with segregation in the south, and if the judges were elected, that rises REAL dramatically.

Again, because the PEOPLE wanted segregation to continue by an overwhelming majority.

In other words, all those elected officials in the south were doing EXACTLY what they should have done in a democratic system.

It was purely the federal courts, backed by the National Guard that FORCED integration down the throats of these southern states.

That's a case where the "will of the people" was pretty ugly. We're talking about a time when Senators CAMPAIGNED against anti-lynching laws that would "change the culture of the south" and went on to landslide elections.

Similarly, Hitler rose to power completely through legal means, leading his party to a majority in the Reichstag. When the Austrian Nazi party engineered a coup and Hitler came in "to restore order", his first act was to hold a plebescite in which 99% of the populace requested he stay and merge Austria back into Germany.

The "will of the people" has as much capacity to be ugly as human beings do, which is to say a lot.

Chuck

Akrasia

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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #130 on: December 08, 2006, 11:44:25 pm »
Quote from: Yamo
He has something of a point, though. Democracy needs some limits. Hell, it's the whole reason that democratic nations have Supreme Courts: So that unrestrained mob rule is less able to do vicious and unjust things like deprive minorities of rights.

I agree that there need to be institutional protections for individuals and minorities.

I've already explained that I'm committed to liberal democracies.  Liberal democracies have institutional mechanisms to protect individuals and minorities against the 'tyranny of the majority'.

This is an old point.  I had already made Spike aware of it.
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Akrasia

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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #131 on: December 08, 2006, 11:48:55 pm »
Quote from: RPGObjects_chuck
... The "will of the people" has as much capacity to be ugly as human beings do, which is to say a lot....


There's no denying that.  Things are complicated.  But my point is simply that we have no idea what people actually 'want' outside of democratic means.  Maybe they want bad things, in which case we should argue and try to change that.  And be grateful for individual rights that protect people (hopefully!) who dissent.

There's no reason to assume that a dictatorship (or any nondemocratic system of government) would be superior.
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RPGObjects_chuck

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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #132 on: December 08, 2006, 11:52:47 pm »
Quote from: Akrasia

There's no reason to assume that a dictatorship (or any nondemocratic system of government) would be superior.


100% Agree.

For every Elizabeth I (yes, I consider her a superior, though totally ruthless monarch) there's a couple of Adolf Hitlers and a whole SLEW of garden variety, Henry VIII/Benito Mussolini whackjobs, and even more who are just incompetent like the fucker we still have to put up with for another couple of years.

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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #133 on: December 09, 2006, 11:24:38 am »
Quote from: Spike
I got this quote from a game: Democracy is the only government worth a damn, because its the only form of government where the people get exactly what the deserve.


And this is why it's vital for Democracy to take root all through the Pan-Arabic world.

When the fighting eventually catches up with the demographic scale of this conflict, I'll feel better knowing that the people dying have had some sort of say in the government running their respective countries.
 

ChalkLine

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Iraq: We should close our hearts to pity
« Reply #134 on: December 09, 2006, 05:04:34 pm »
I'm glad to see this thread has swung back to intellectual discussion, and totally without outside (cough mod cough) intervention. Some other lists could learn from this.

Spyke;
I understand your pragmatism, but I have a few points I'd like to raise.
 - We invaded Iraq. We fucked over their whole world. If we pull out, we'll still be attacked because the Iraqis have a truckload of payback owed. If we cantonise into armed laagers and focus on reconstruction, mortar sales will be the hot shares in the middle east. If we disperse into the community and try to go 'softly softly' as per the British model, we'll be involved in RPG attacks, car bombs and running gunfights with militias and the very forces we're training there. If we sponsor one power and then hover nearby in another country, we in effect colonise the host nation and we can get their homegrown guerillas as well as cross border attacks and ambushes.
We have stuck our dick in a blender.

Akrasia;
I'm a democratic (soviet consilliar) socialist, I understand your point. It may well be that we're viewing arrested development in the Middle East, we're prolonging the birth pains through intervention and stabilisation. When the powers pulled out, they tried to install traditional rulers and stabilise the situation (the Shah et al) through innate cultural conservatism, but the population base was far larger than such structures could maintain. With affluent Western cultures just across the Med, many Middle Eastern people thought it might be a good idea to come up with Islamic democracies, but the Ba'athist nationalism theme was usually attacked by us (as it favoured nationalising our oil assets incountry, see JimBob's interesting mini-essay on our oil addiction) until it could become moderate and economically globalist.
In essence, we'll never see democracy in the Middle East while we coerce their governments into giving us their one and only resource on our terms.

Anyone attacking the First Division Handbook;

You are making a major mistake.
The title of the handbook is not 'a perfect guide to every Arab/Islamic culture on earth'. It is a an avenue for soldiers, many who are recruited from culturaly homogeonous and poorly educated areas (and there's many who aren't, I'm not hassling the US Army) to be able to think outside their cultural box and get a handle on some of the motivations of a foreign culture. I assume, and I haven't read it, that no allowance is made for Persian cultural influences as that is outside the scope of the book. The same handbook is consulted if you're in Saudi Arabia, Turki or Iraq, three radically different places. To bridge this gap troops are given orienteering lectures by specialists.
View the material for the reason it was written. It is not a scholarly work bent on definitive cultural analysis, but a handbook for soldiers who get shot at and want to have some idea why.

History;
This current fetish with The Crusades as an evil war of mindless aggression in isolation against a peaceful people is, to be technical; bullshit.
Just as much Islamic territorial aggression occured before and after The Crusades, something Islamic scholars are just as willing to agree. The pop history about that time really, really shits me. It also forments cultural bitterness, something out of place with the actual events. Please, if you must cite The Crusades, learn a bit of mediaeval history or you just come off looking stupid.

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