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View Diary: Declaration of Thingamajig (155 comments)

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  •  Your feelings are not "opposition." (1+ / 0-)
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    You haven't done a damn thing to oppose Khadaffi.  The people who took to the streets are opposing Khadaffi.  NATO is opposing Khadaffi.  The Arab League is opposing Khadaffi.

    And I support that opposition.  You don't.  You argue vehemently against it, and call them baby-killers.

    And when you very very obviously elide the massive death caused by Khadaffi, when you ignore the salvation of thousands upon thousands of people in your analysis of the war's humanitarian impact, you are making a very clear statement about what you care about.

    When you care about something, you allow it affect your thinking and actions.  Your statements to date, your assertion that this war is "killing babies," as opposed to the truth, which is that it is saving them, demonstrates that you are shutting out those facts from your thoughts.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 09:47:33 AM PDT

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    •  Actually for the last six years (11+ / 0-)

      (on and off, now full-time) for an organization that supports democratic activists in the Middle East, so it's bit more than feelings. What about you? Do you do anything more than blog your opinions? Is that all you do to support human rights in the Middle East, post comments like the one above?

      [Incidentally, the organization I worked for supported the intervention (over many objections).]

      •  OK, good for you. Good cause. (1+ / 0-)
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        What about you?

        What about me?  I've never claimed that I've done more than express my opinions.

        Perhaps you should listen more closely to your friends in the NGO.

        Art is the handmaid of human good.

        by joe from Lowell on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 10:15:55 AM PDT

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      •  Yes, supporting only ineffectual interventions (1+ / 0-)
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        leaves one without those horrible burdens of responsibility for one's choices.

        A lot of the time you're right, David, but sometimes one has to accept that one must make choices that will lead to blood and death -- through action, inaction, or a combination of both.  There's no purity available when someone is intent on a mass slaughter that one has the ability to prevent.  You either act or bemoan.

        To protect the Latino "community of interest" in redistricting Orange County, Santa Ana, eastern Garden Grove, and central Anaheim must be in the same legislative districts.

        by Seneca Doane on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 10:16:43 AM PDT

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        •  ? (9+ / 0-)

          No one's talking about purity. Do you support bombing Syria?

          What?! No, you don't? Then you support Assad?

          There are moral, humanitarian arguments on both sides of all interventions, including Iraq.

          We all support some and oppose some, although I will oppose more than many.

          You support this one. I don't. I might be wrong, but that doesn't mean I support Gaddafi and oppose the Libyans.

          All of us support the Libyans and oppose Gaddafi, the debate is over how best to exercise that view.

          It's a simple concept, one I can't believe you don't get.

          You'll notice that the comment that triggered this position didn't even take a position, only noted the absurdity of the claim that this didn't amount to hostilities. Even if you support this war, you shouldn't have a disagreement with that.  

          •  We can't do much in Syria (2+ / 0-)
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            joe from Lowell, kestrel9000

            We could -- and did -- do something worthwhile and important in Libya.

            You would, and are working towards with your current "activism", leaving people who have done something brave and admirable to die.

            Objectively, you want what Qaddafi wants right now.  It would be a human rights disaster.

            This is not the moment to be on the fence.  You protect the admirable revolution.  You can't wait.  "Staying out of it" means that they will lose and be slaughtered -- starting with resumed shelling of Misrata.

            That's a simple concept that I can't believe that you don't get.

            So -- which side are you on?  Sometimes it really does come down to that.

            To protect the Latino "community of interest" in redistricting Orange County, Santa Ana, eastern Garden Grove, and central Anaheim must be in the same legislative districts.

            by Seneca Doane on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 10:41:09 AM PDT

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          •  When you cite a single event of a missed strike... (1+ / 0-)
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            causing civilian casualties as proof that "this mission is killing babies," without any acknowledgment at all of the thousands upon thousands of people this mission has saved, you are talking about purity.

            That isn't an argument that the mission is, on balance, harmful to the Libyan public.  You'd actually have to weigh competing factors to conclude that.

            Instead, what you've made is an argument that any civilian casualties whatsoever caused by this intervention make it illegitimate.

            That's an argument from purity.

            Art is the handmaid of human good.

            by joe from Lowell on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 10:55:52 AM PDT

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            •  Well.... (0+ / 0-)

              "without any acknowledgment at all of the thousands upon thousands of people this mission has saved"

              Why should somebody acknowledge something that exists only in your imagination?

              You can't actually prove this because it is a speculation of yours. So what you are ultimately saying is how dare you show the fact of people actually dying and say you care about this without dismissing their actual deaths in favor of wringing your hands about deaths that i imagine would have taken place in an alternate future that i've speculated?!

              You're welcome to your speculations but some prefer to operate in the world of facts. Another alternate speculation is that the war was coming to a close before the kinetic thingamajig, but the problem was the wrong side was going to win. In order to prevent that, the thingamajig was launched and has just prolonged the war and death indefinitely in order to try to bring about the opposite result (regime change) at some unknown time in the future.

          •  You mean... (0+ / 0-)

   these tender explosive kisses of democracy.


      •  Serious request, David: (2+ / 0-)
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        kestrel9000, david mizner

        Given your involvement with and support for pro-democracy movements in the MENA region, are you bothered by the anti-war argument, coming increasingly from the left, that the Libyan opposition are Skeery al Qaeda Mooslems that we shouldn't be supporting?

        I've seen solid left-leaning people - John Cole comes to mind - who spent years denouncing Islamophobia who now turn around and say that we shouldn't be backing the Libyan rebels, on the grounds that people from "this region" (Middle East?  Eastern Libya?) are probably just terrorists anyway.

        Art is the handmaid of human good.

        by joe from Lowell on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 10:53:20 AM PDT

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        •  I don't like that argument (1+ / 0-)
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          joe from Lowell

          I've sometimes pointed out the AQ links of (a small number of) rebels for the purpose of showing the incoherence of American foreign policy, but the Libyan rebels deserve our support. Their cause is righteous. The question is how best to support them. Tom Malinowski if HRW went to Bengazi and wrote about the rebels.It's an encouraging report. Malinowski, for what it's worth, think there's a better chance of democracy in Libya than in Egypt, because the rebels already control an area.

          It's my view that some American human rights activists take too benign a view of military force and imperialism. Will the rebels, who have been linked to and dependent, on western force be able to shake themselves free of them if and when Gaddafi falls?

          •  Your concern about the rebels' independence... (1+ / 0-)
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            david mizner

            is exactly why this supporter of the NATO mission doesn't want to see western ground forces in Libya, even if it would mean a quicker victory.

            No more Iraqs.  No more Afghanistans.  No more occupations.  No more of us trying to establish other people's democracies.  I spend the entire Iraq War insisting, in the face of neocon accusations that I didn't want Middle Easterners to have democracy, that we can't export democracy to Middle Eastern nations - that democracy has to come from local reformist movements, and that our rightful role is to support them and follow their lead.

            Well, here it is, and a whole lot of people who spent the Iraq War saying the same thing or nodding along are suddenly looking at the uprising in Libya and saying "OMG!  Al Qaeda!" because they think that Islamophobic scare-mongering would be useful for their "anti-war" position.  These are people who'd been cheering the protesters on the day before the UN uprising, and who'd sneered at Pat Buchanan for making similar accusations.

            I think that's disgraceful, and I hope that someone like you, who opposes the military mission, can get through to them.

            Art is the handmaid of human good.

            by joe from Lowell on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 02:44:48 PM PDT

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            •  I'm hoping to be wrong about this (1+ / 0-)
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              joe from Lowell

              Hoping that the rebels can form a government without too much more death, hoping my organization, Juan Cole, and others are proved right, in which case I'll have to reevaluate my ideas of military interventions, especially interventions in oil-rich Muslim nations.

              But, probably needless to say, we're a long way from that point.  

              •  Let's just say, I can appreciate skepticism... (1+ / 0-)
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                david mizner

                about an operation that involved a bunch of western nations using military force against a Middle Eastern nation, that has oil, in the hopes of a positive political outcome.  Skepticism is a good thing.  Skepticism is a demand for more solid information before drawing a firm conclusion.

                But you must admit, there is a lot going on here that doesn't fit the script we both know so well.

                A UN authorization that sets meaningful limits on what we can do?  The Arab League requesting the action and endorsing the use of military force by the west?  Action against an oil dictator that was selling us oil and signing fat contracts with our drilling companies and playing genial host to John McCain?  A genuine, honest-to-God, not astroturf popular uprising that preceded, by months, even the idea of western intervention?  A formal commitment not to put in ground troops?

                You must admit, this isn't what it usually looks like when we decide to "kick their ass and steal their gas."

                Art is the handmaid of human good.

                by joe from Lowell on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 03:04:32 PM PDT

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                •  Yes, different in some ways (1+ / 0-)
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                  Meteor Blades

                  Which is why for me, it wasn't a no fucking way kind of deal. I had to weigh both sides. It mattered that humanitarian concerns were part of the motivation, that Samnatha Power (not, say, Dick Cheney) was in the White House pushing this, and that some people I normally agree with (Meteor Blades, here, for example) supported it, and that most importantly, there was a call from the rebels for a no-fly zone.

                  Different enough, though, to overcome the difficulty of getting from here to there? Different enough to negate the imperialist tendencies that, even if not there at the outset, will emerge as the western countries consider their strategic interests? My feeling is no, but time will tell.

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