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For some reason, my latest diary discussing the doctrine of disproportionate force, as embraced by Hunter, has led to new meta-discussions about purity trolls, and a lot of accusations being hurled around. I would like to address several points again.

First, some words of contrition:

  •  I probably should have avoided the direct comparison with Cheney. I see this from an ocean away, and from this perspective, there is a lot of apparent proximity between all Americans on how to react to 9/11 - in particular with respect to the legitimacy of the use of "dispropotionate force". Hunter's post does reflect that (to contemporary Europeans, mysterious) casual willingness by America to use force in many circumstances. And this is something that unites people outside of America, and which explains the current hostility to America prevalent in most countries of the world. But in the US context, which is where DailyKos is, the difference between the left and Dick Cheney is quite stark, and that comparison was offensive, irrespective of whatever national consensus there may be on one issue, as I should know - and do know. So I have apologized privately to Hunter for these words, and now do so publicly.
  • similarly, the initial title of the diary ("how DailyKos also helps Al Qaida") was needlessly inflammatory, and i have similarly apologised to Hunter and repeat that apology now.

That said, I'd like to come back to the content of my diary, and to some reactions to it.

My diary was not about pacifism, and it was not about Afghanistan. It was, as I stated above, about the doctrine of disproportionate force. I have been accused of taking Hunter's words out of their context, and I vigorously contest that.

Here are his exact words (emphasis mine)

Like most Americans, I considered American actions in Afghanistan to be a dismal but necessary act. An attack on United States soil requires, unequivocally, a disproportionate response; a valid military response in this case would have indeed been a removal of the Taliban from power, the complete and total removal of al Qaeda from Afghanistan and in any other countries in which they had found refuge, and a generous reconstruction of Afghanistan in such a fashion as to ensure al Qaeda's continued inability to function there, thus demonstrating that terrorism against the United States would both fail in its purpose, and would result in disproportionate damage to the terrorists and hostile nations responsible. That's how you prevent terrorism: you make the consequences worse than the possible upside.

That proposition, supported by nearly all Americans, lasted mere months, however, before the Bush administration's eyes wandered away from the actual fight against al Qaeda and supporters and towards a large scale proxy war advocated by Rumsfeld and by neoconservative strategists looking to transfer American attention to the war they had wanted to fight, rather than the war they were actually in.

He repeats several times the same concepts, so I cannot be accused of focusing on one word and misinterpreting his words. He is arguing that (i) disproportionate force is necessary against ANY attack on the US, and that (ii) such disproportionate force is the only way to deter terrorists. He then uses that doctrine in the particular case of Afghanistan. He also accepts the notion that what followed 9/11 had to be a "war", to be fought with military means.

My argument was not about his conclusion (the war on Afghanistan was necessary) but about his premise (disproportionate reaction is necessary, and will deter further attacks). I actually happen to think that the attack on Afghanistan was justified (as did the United Nations, btw) - just not by the doctrine Hunter professes. I also stated that use of force could be justified, within a clear wider political strategy. But I find the doctrine of overwhelming force, as such, and as brought to an extreme by the Bush administration, and as obviously shared to a large extent by many in America, extraordinarily dangerous and an obstacle to peace in many parts of the world. How that was turned into a discussion about pacifism purity or about saying that I thought that America should not have reacted to 9/11 is beyond me.

:: ::

That stated, I'd like to get back to the more meta topic of purity, which Hunter himself (and others elsewhere) flagged as the main culprit here:

I don't give a damn about the argument over the Afghanistan war. It is a perfectly legitimate argument. Pacifism is a legitimate and -- when the pacifism is real, and not put on as simple show -- noble belief.

It is the method of argumentation here that I find so unforgivabe. Strawmanism is rewarded; false information, encouraged; false polarizations, celebrated as indistinguishable from wisdom. Black and white are the only allowed colors: anyone engaging anywhere between is, in the blunt and informative words of the diarist, "on the same side as Cheney".

That's it. You are allowed to be on the extreme left, or you are the enemy. No nuance need apply, because just as in Orwell's world, we are becoming ever more proud of losing the meanings of words. You are either a Pacifist, or Cheney. All the words inbetween have been removed by stupid people, stupid, shallow, hollow people whose need for ego outweighs whatever situation they may find themselves in.

I used first the words 'on the side of Cheney", so I take my share of the responsibility for the breakdown of dailogue, but the above still strikes me as patently lacking nuance. You know the old joke about people being separated into two kinds - those that separate people in two kinds, and those that don't. That's where we are today, with both sides accusing the other of being absolutist.

It is possible to have very ambitious ("pure") goals but to be pragmatic in taking what gets you somewhat closer to that. It's possible to agree with the pragmatists on the short term steps that should be taken to make progress without losing sight of longer term goal. It is possible to use purists as an argument against the other side to make concessions ('deal with reasonable me, and give me enough, or you'll have to deal with the crazies on my side'). However, it is also necessary to have basic principles and values that you stick to in all circumstances. In Kos's case, for instance, it is to get Democrats elected. Should we call him a purity troll for focusing relentlessly on that goal, at the cost sometimes of policy purity, because he thinks, not unreasonably, that a Democratic majority will bring better results, even if individual Democrats may hold ideas we don't like? Similary, we should not call those that focus on policy of being purity trolls for reminding us what the long terms goals of Democrats could and/or should be.

Which brings us back to the issue of tone. If we're all on the same side, as I'm arguing right now, there's no need to resort to insulting comparisons or other harsh words, right? To which I can only agree, and reiterate my apologies above, with several provisos. The most important (call it the "BTD rule"): those that criticize others viciously cannot call the purity troll police when they are similarly attacked - consistency matters. The other (call it the "I'm me rule") is that diarists should not be blamed for what commenters in their threads state.

Another thing is that front pagers have a more portentous voice than others - they get to bring their ideas on the front page, and have a strong recognition that ensures that their comments will be noted too. While there are good reasons for them to be on the front page, including a tough selection process, it does not mean that they are necessarily right on everything. It does make it harder for those that disagree with them to be heard, however, as these voices have to make it to the reclist for each individual argument, and then have to face a possible onslaught of "friends of the front pager" (note - see this comment about what i mean by "friend"). Provocative diaries and titles are one way to get some attention to arguments otherwise neglected on the front page. It's sometimes over the top and unpleasant (and I plead guilty on both counts), but it's the way the site works. The massive support that diarists like OPOL, MSOC or myself get when we voice supposedly pure or supposedly extremist ideas should be a signal that there is a desire for some balance in the ideas that are being brought forward on the site. And front pagers repeatedly insulting posters is unlikely to signal anything other than that these large swathes of opinion are unwelcome on dkos (and it makes protests about the tone of the site ring somewhat hollow). Most regulars can be assumed to share the stated goal of the site. Their disagreement on various issues of substance are not to be taken as betrayal of these stated goals.

In my case, I additionally bring a foreigner's perspective. As far as I know, the site is not reserved to Americans, although it sometimes feels that way when you see the scorn and hate regularly sent in my direction just because I'm French. I don't mind, it's a small price to pay to be able to participate in one of the most fascinating and significant movements in world politics today. But as long as I'm welcome here, I'll also bring my (left of center) outsider's perspective on America, and ideas that may be foreign to US liberals, and I'll say things as I see them. That does not mean that I do not respect the purported goal of the site (getting Democrats elected) - quite the contrary. I think, and that's just my opinion, that bringing different perspectives and information can help that goal. I've taken pains to avoid stepping into issues that should not require the opinion of foreigners. In any case, you're all free to ignore or discard my words if you disagree. Doing so just because I'm a foreigner or because you think I'm an attention addict is pretty sad, though. I don't think I have to prove my loyalty to the site any more. I participated to the movement that is now getting kossacks involved in proposing draft legislation to senior Congresspersons. I'm proud of that, and it's coherent with everything I've ever written here.

"Purists" and "pragmatists" are both necessary, and they help one another. Tensions between the two groups (which can be very different as the topic changes) are inevitable, and they often reflect genuine differences of opinion. Talking about them is the best - indeed the only - way to bridge the gap to some extent and to make it possible for all to unite towards the same goal - or at least towards enough common goals. Pragmatists need the "threat" created by the purists to achieve better outcomes in the real world. Purists need the pragmatists to actually get things done and bring policies in the right direction. Nobody need be happy about the process. Neither group is an noxious to the site.

Politics are fractious, frustrating and painful. There is no other way. Only one thing is certain: those that do not participate will lose out.

Originally posted to Jerome a Paris on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 07:59 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar - 25 February (159+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mapantsula, Sharon, Lupin, Spit, Alumbrados, OkieByAccident, vicki, Aeolus, pb, Inky, eugene, SarahLee, teacherken, natasha, Trendar, pletzs, Ramar, markymarx, Powered Grace, RunawayRose, Maryscott OConnor, JTML, sphealey, Shockwave, oblomov, mainely49, frisco, ZAPatty, RFK Lives, object16, grndrush, mataliandy, technopolitical, Plan9, RubDMC, opinionated, Hatu, bronte17, conchita, BlackGriffen, srkp23, poemless, Crimson Buddha, chuckvw, retrograde, boilerman10, thingamabob, splashy, cappy, Melanchthon, dejavu, Spatz, DianeL, ghostofaflea, cometman, waf8868, joliberal, hells kitchen, kalmoth, lecsmith, DelicateMonster, philbert, CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream, Deward Hastings, fran1, Steven D, bablhous, Lychee, kd texan, tipsymcstagger, bibble, JudyNJ, Jersey Joe, sxwarren, Karma for All, madaprn, Fabian, tovan, historys mysteries, Bluesee, 3goldens, Alexander G Rubio, tzt, asskicking annie, baccaruda, greatferm, bluewolverine, ignorant bystander, corvo, Simplify, Far left coast, Clem Yeobright, drewfromct, Turkana, Annalize5, ocooper, GreyHawk, Ice Blue, QuickSilver, Jawis, Sharon Jumper, JanL, JPete, Asinus Asinum Fricat, Mehitabel9, howth of murph, dannyinla, Major Danby, eire1130, PatsBard, vigilant meerkat, tobendaro, buhdydharma, NNadir, dewey of the desert, arbiter, Data Pimp, Iranaqamuk, Pager, Dauphin, NearlyNormal, plf515, MO Blue, bleeding heart, AndyS In Colorado, oxley, Persiflage, Dreaming of Better Days, zedaker, shaharazade, DanC, FrankieB, chesapeake, Autarkh, Friend of the court, Lesser Dane, Temmoku, FromCanada, J Royce, pgm 01, Elco B, dotsright, Kathie McCrimmon, RandomGuyFromGermany, FishOutofWater, Catrina, kath25, RosyFinch, vbdietz, Andy Lewis, keikekaze, suicide blonde, chilipepper, LightningMan, Unbill, CanadianBill, Alexandre, Diaries, Remembering Jello
    •  Step It Up 2007 (54+ / 0-)

      Meanwhile, I've been asked by Bill McKibben to thank all kossacks that have gotten involved in the Step It Up movement to organize demonstrations on 14 April to call for action on climate change - and to ask others to join in.

      I'll have a diary on this later this week.

      •  Nice diary (7+ / 0-)

        Getting to a good outcome is much preferred to being proven correct on some small point.  In this case, I would consider the "good outcome" to be making yourself understood, while arriving at a better understanding of those you are responding to.  

        One meta point I would like to make:  In comments to your previous diary you disavow responsibility for those commenting in your diary. I think there is, or at least should be, some level of responsibility on the part of the diarist for how the conversation proceeds.  Many of those commenting were making much more extreme statements than did you, and I didn't notice you disagreeing with either their conclusion or the tone and attitude with which they engaged those of us who had a contrary opinion.

        I have quite a few thoughts on the subtance of this debate and am waiting for Hunter's substantive response to continue the conversation.

        A conscientious man would be cautious how he dealt in blood.

        by decon on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 10:21:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  well done (35+ / 0-)

      Both the apology and the clarification and restatement of your thesis, with which I agree wholeheartedly.

      For the site's health, and the advancement of our common goals, I hope the "admitting to error of tone" virus is highly contagious.

      Peace.

      Politics: A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. -- Ambrose Bierce

      by OkieByAccident on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 08:32:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  As a frequent vistitor to Europe (22+ / 0-)

      The things in your previous diary reflect an enourmous lack of nuance about the US I find frequent among the left in Europe.

      It is often said in Europe - in part becuase it is true - that Americans don't understand Europe. Not 1 in 50 Americans knows anything about the French Elections.   What I have found is the reverse is true as well - Europeans don't really understand the US very well.  

      Not 1 in 50, for example, has any clue how the Civil War shapes present American politics.  

      Comparing Hunter to Cheney is a perfect reflection of that.  Here it is an insult - and frankly you deserve the heat you are taking for it.  The fact that it would be a natural thing for a European to say shows a larger ignorance of America.

      That your presence here has enriched the community is beyond obvious.  

      But ultimately this site is about electing Democrats.  And there are few things that make this group madder than suggesting there is no difference between the Democrats and the Republicans.  I here this in Europe frequently.

      My response is always the same: had Gore won, we would not have invaded Iraq. Amazing how quickly that ends the argument.

      It is the same response I would give to the Green Party trolls that infest here every so often.

      •  It's very true (20+ / 0-)

        Honest to God, Europeans really really do not understand America.

        Americans generally sort of vaguely know they don't understand Europe.

        Educated intelligent Europeans THINK they understand America, but they don't.

        That said, and leaving asides qibbles (to me) about tone and choice of words, I agree with Jerome's point and disagree with Hunter's.

        However, I'm glad both positions were clearly expressed and debated.

        OVER HERE: AN AMERICAN EXPAT IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE, is now available on Amazon US

        by Lupin on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 09:46:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  American unilateralism is largely shared (30+ / 0-)

        As noted, for instance, by the British newspaper of record, the Financial Times, quoting mostly American scholars and diplomats (including Madeleine Albright). The full article should be available at the link below:

        Imperial sunset? America the all-powerful finds its hands tied by new rivals

        The world that was born with the end of the cold war is dead and buried. Today, America's sole superpower status, which steeled the Bush administration in its determination to go to war in Iraq, is losing relevance. Instead, the US has an ungovernable new world on its hands.

        This, at least, is the outlook of some of the world's most seasoned officials and international affairs experts, who believe that the US has lost power and influence and that an uncertain era is about to begin. The age they describe is one dominated neither by Washington's matchless military strength nor the old international -institutions.

        (...)

        "The US has had its unipolar moment for about 15 years but is beginning to realise that it isn't getting the things done it wants," says Paul Kennedy, the author of The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers. "But just as the US could be moving back to a more multilateralist position, Russia and China may be less interested in agreeing with the west."

        (...)

        the Clinton era also contained signs of resurgent unilateralism. The US Senate refused to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty for nuclear weapons and made clear its opposition to the Kyoto protocol on climate change. President Bill Clinton himself decided to go to war over Kosovo without UN backing.

        The election of President George W. Bush and his response to the attacks of September 11 2001 took things much further. No longer did the US use its unipolar power for multilateral ends.

        "We used to say things such as: 'Multilaterally if you can, unilaterally if you must'," says Ms Albright. "But the Bush administration walking away from a bunch of multilateral arrangements gave people a reason to say: 'Why work with the US?' - and then that was compounded by the behaviour in Iraq."

        Arguing for overwhelming force and expecting it to be an effective deterrent is a widely shared idea in the USA. Bush and Cheney pushed it to an extreme, but the concept was here before, and was given a boost by 9/11 itself. Can you take a look at it from the perspective of outsiders?

        As I said, I knew it was an insult to write about being "on the side" of Cheney, and I have apologized. Why do you feel the need to call me ignorant?

        •  Because you didn't (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          vcmvo2, Major Danby

          foresee the firestorm that the remark would make.

          In that sense you were ignorant of the depth of feeling here among Democrats about suggesting there was no difference between them and the Republicans.

          It's not an insult - and I sure as hell don't want you to leave.

        •  It's not just the gratuitious insult (8+ / 0-)

          IMO, the mistake of comparing Hunter to Cheney (which, frankly, is as absurd a thesis as I've seen from anyone here who wasn't trying to be snarky), is compounded by something else.

          It's this second component that seems to start these silly firestorms:

          Gratuitously "calling out" a front-pager or another diarist in a diary.  

          This is also known as "Why Armando Is Bad For Daily Kos", after an infamous diary of that title that degenerated into a pro-Armando and anti-Armando flame war that continued for far too long.

          Essentially, your previous diary was, "Why Anything That Flunks My Purity Test Is Bad For The Front Page Of Daily Kos".  And that invitation to a flame war, that red flag in front of a bull, so to speak, was just compounded by the absurdity of comparing Hunter to Cheney, a point that Hunter addressed very well in his comment in your earlier diary.

          And it is also silly to complain about the front pagers having more of a voice here, given that anything you write, whether good or bad or not, is reflexively recommended by a lot of users who see your name and hit recommend without even reading what you wrote.  If that comment were coming from someone who does not write a lot of recommended diaries, it might be a legitimate point.

          So this is how liberty dies -- with thunderous applause.

          by MJB on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 10:53:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Question (6+ / 0-)

          Jerome, you are a very regular contributor here, are you aware of the deep contentiousness that has been taking place on this site? Were you aware of all the things that went on recently with the blogroll issue and the contention with MLW and other sites?

          I ask, because if you were aware of these things and the role Hunter played in them recently, I have to wonder what your goal was in posting such and inflammatory title initially and the Cheney comment. It was like picking a scab on a not yet healed wound and encouraged further festering.

          For someone whose diaries hit the recc list with great consistency I wonder why the inflammation was necessary.

          I appreciate that you have made apologies and I hope everyone will accept them. I agree that the idealists and pragmatists and all levels in between are necessary and useful to achieving common goals. What I do not appreciate on this site, though, is the tendency of the most popular diarists who develop their own fan base to use their popularity to detrimental purposes against the very place that offers them a platform from which to speak.

          I believe that those who become rock stars, whether on the front page or in the diaries should take even more care and be even more responsible for the effect they have with their views. It is the price they should pay. Otherwise the negatives of self righteousness and tribalism have the potential to supersede the value of what they actually contribute.

          For what it is worth, I've been an admirer of your work since way way back at the Whiskey Bar, before either of us were at this site. Keep up the good work, Monsieur. But be careful with your words!! Doofus! (an american term of endearment!)

          ...we are rebellious; it takes a great deal of love to give a damn-Patchen ArtKos

          by cosmic debris on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:14:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Why is disagreeing with Hunter... (19+ / 0-)

            with or without inflammatory title -- now considered a de facto INTENT to be inflammatory?

            The title was in direct response to what Hunter said in his own post.

            I am baffled by the atmosphere here.

            •  I have difficulty (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Christin, mataliandy, vcmvo2

              believing you really are baffled. My point was the timing, not that disagreement in itself is problematic. Given all the fighting here lately, of which I know you are aware, I felt it was the responsibility of Jerome, a widely read writer here, to use greater care for the greater good. Is there something wrong with that?

              I see you have written "Nevermind" below. You did say recently that you should stay out of meta here at Dkos. I agree with you, at least for right now. Things are still very raw around here and your input on meta tends to fan the flames rather than dampen them. It's up to you though, of course.

              ...we are rebellious; it takes a great deal of love to give a damn-Patchen ArtKos

              by cosmic debris on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 12:21:01 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Really? Are we really to the point (9+ / 0-)

                of suggesting who should not post about anything on this blog?  What the hell is happening to this place?

              •  to follow your logic (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Inky, DianeL, Eddie Haskell, ignatz uk

                FPers should not be allowed to enter into diary comments on the grounds that they simply fan the flames of dissent, or perhaps, blow them out would be a better analogy.

                Perhaps, Jerome's failing was in not making it clear that, being human, we all have our Cheneyesque side. The impulse to disproportionate response is a human impulse and is understandable, maybe even laudable, for that reason. To embrace it as the only appropriate response is, however, to give in to our Cheyneyesque sides (there are reasons he's compared to Darth Vader, after all). Disproportionate response is not defined by the size of a force sent against an attacker but by what that force's mission and approved tactics are, and sometimes, in hindsight, by its effects.

                Afghanistan was not a case of disproportionate response whereas Iraq is. It is the difference between legitimacy and illegitimacy. Disproportionate response turns a legimate response into an illigitimate response. Dispropotionate responses simply do not work because they cause more problems than they solve. The effects of a disproportional response tend to counter-balance, or even outweigh, any moral or legitimate justification for the response, this is the main reason that disproportionate response was condemned so adamantly in the post-WWII era. A condemnation that was led by the U.S. I might add.

                Hunter errs in confusing, or conflating, overwhelming force with disproportionate force. I suspect that Hunter actually meant overwhelming force to get Bin Laden and Al Quaeda which is a legally and morally justifiable proportionate response. If, however, he did not confuse the two ideas and did actually mean exactly what he said, then Jerome was exactly right to compare him to Cheney and wrong to apologize. On the other hand, if he did misuse his terms and simply meant an overwhelming force then it is he who should post a clarification and apologize for the confusion.

                Sometimes scabs do need to be ripped off in order to clean out a wound.

                "Liberalism is trust of the people, tempered by prudence; conservatism, distrust of people, tempered by fear." Gladstone, Me -8.88/-7.08

                by zedaker on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 06:42:53 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Maryscott (4+ / 0-)

              seriously? Jerome's diary did the following:

              (1) it had a title saying something like "how DKos helps al-qaida;

              (2) it implied Hunter was a warmongerer; and

              (3) it compared folks to Dick Cheney.

              And no, it wasn't really in response to Hunter's front page story which was about how Dick Cheney actually helped Bin Laden. It lifted a few lines from a fairly long post to make Hunter look like he had posted some kind of bloodthirsty, prowar post, which he hadn't.

            •  Many, many hugs to you darlin, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Inky
              you brave and wonderful example of a human being (too many fricken Guinness sweetie.)

              Your little nod, MEANT THE WORLD, to me.

              ;0)

              What an excellent day for an Exorcism... SCI/Kenyon

              by DianeL on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 02:52:42 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Shit. (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Vico, DianeL, bablhous, jfdunphy, oxley

            Never mind. I don't belong in this discussion, I shouldn't have said anything at all.

      •  I made the same mistake last night (7+ / 0-)

        I conflated the fact that someone works for ABC/Disney with, well, working for ABC/Disney — the company that brought us "The Path to 9/11". (Our conversation was, predictably enough, about the measure of responsibility we bear when working for a company creating pro-administration propaganda.)

        As an American, I feel a bit as if I'm an employee in the company -- and testing my 'job security,' perhaps, by speaking out brazenly against the boss. (Don't the job requirements demand that we speak out? That's what I tell my co-workers.) However, as unusual as my outspokenness is within the United States, I am still a red-blooded American so far as people see me abroad, striding into rooms in a different way. Europeans notice these things, they see it as a symptom. I, too, dislike it -- but why shouldn't that remind them of Cheney?

      •  Clinging to your historical roots (7+ / 0-)

        can prevent progress.

        Not 1 in 50, for example, has any clue how the Civil War shapes present American politics.  

        That is certainly true. What I believe though, is, if they would understand it, they still wouldn't change their minds about the US. For many foreigners it's just not comprehensible, why the US clings so passionately to its history and takes every syllable any of the Founding Fathers have ever written so literally and why they try to solve the problems of a modern, technologically advanced society according to their eighteenth century world views and wordings.

        It's also certain that almost no foreigner can understand your convoluted, complicated, non-transparent, way of competing state vs. federal rights kind of US Federalism and how it's used for check and balances.  I think the US excels in the mastery of check of balances by means of non-transparency and a purposeful mess of competing laws and regulation, which demands every citizen to be an expert in constitutional and other laws and all the trickery of rules and regulations in the House to get a clue.

        I heard even some Brits wondering why the US has never rewritten, adapted, adjusted updated or changed their legal system to meet its modern challenges more effectively, fairer and clearer. and their constitution to simplify and clarify most of the issues that the Americans seem to discuss over and over again, never making any real progress.

        As you see I demonstrate clearly the ignorance of a typical European dummy. Foreigners don't understand the US, as most people in the world really do neither.

        May I add the number of people in the world which don't understand the US is larger than the number of Americans who don't understand the rest of the world? Is that in any way important to consider?

        "False language, evil in itself, infects the soul with evil." ----Socrates

        by mimi on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:44:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If people were to understand... (6+ / 0-)

          how the US Civil War shaped, and continues to shape, America, then they would never again agree with words akin to "America is the greatest country in the world".

          And, it wouldn't matter whether one is American or non-American.

          I refer to Peter Irons' People's History of the Supreme Court when I look back at a history in which the US Constitution and US politics has been broadly and definitively shaped by race, racism and the refractory majority of Americans in our Republic's southeast corner.

          You write:

          For many foreigners it's just not comprehensible, why the US clings so passionately to its history and takes every syllable any of the Founding Fathers have ever written so literally and why they try to solve the problems of a modern, technologically advanced society according to their eighteenth century world views and wordings.

          This is part of the problem. The strict constructionists or originalists have become dominant, and they do so by forcing their Founding Father shit down all of our throats until we believe it. Heck, people are even arguing with the Federalist Papers here on dKos, even though up until the turn of the 20th century everyone thought that these were merely propaganda for the "federalist" position (as opposed to the non-federalist position). They want us to forget that America has evolved.

          In essence, they want us to argue on their originalist terms. For then it is much easier to dismantle our gains (women's rights, civil rights, equal rights, voting rights, great society, even new deal, etc.) as much as possible - they are the ones going back to the roots. How far are they going to get? Who knows. I say, Cheney dreams about knocking off everything attached to the 14th Amendment (except for the due process clause for the corporate world), but they will truly only get as far as we let them.

          If you want to understand America, then you have to understand the originalist backlash going down in America. Everything else, including the Iraq War, are mere fireworks. The Democrats have finally regained a part - currently the weakest part (by choice and by irresponsibility as Lowell Weicker once said) - of the power structure in the US. We have given ourselves a mandate to counter this great threat. And our problem is that 60 days into this new power situation, we are faltering. And this, my friends, is our fault.

          [Disclaimer: I am a Northerner (Pennsylvanian, to be exact. While Pennsylvania is, by far, the "greatest state" in the US, it throws a long, long shadow as well.)]

          •  BTW, Pennsylvania is NOT a state. n/t (0+ / 0-)
          •  Original Intent (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            technopolitical, JanL, Unbill

            [Jerome] write[s]:

            For many foreigners it's just not comprehensible, why the US clings so passionately to its history and takes every syllable any of the Founding Fathers have ever written so literally and why they try to solve the problems of a modern, technologically advanced society according to their eighteenth century world views and wordings.

            This is part of the problem. The strict constructionists or originalists have become dominant, and they do so by forcing their Founding Father shit down all of our throats until we believe it. Heck, people are even arguing with the Federalist Papers here on dKos, even though up until the turn of the 20th century everyone thought that these were merely propaganda for the "federalist" position (as opposed to the non-federalist position). They want us to forget that America has evolved.

            Much of the supposed "original intent" movement is as Justice Brennan put it, "arrogance disguised as humility." How many of the originalists accept Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptist Association as an explication of the meaning of "establishment of religion?"

            Was Bork looking for the original intent when he failed to find the right to privacy in the 4th Amendment's "Right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects?"

            For my part, I don't think we should worship the Founding Fathers; even those who didn't own slaves got rich off of slave labor. Yet, they saw abuses in the way things were run back then, and we owe them the respect to understand their concerns and try to preserve the reforms they dreamed of.

            •  I see your point about respect... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              historys mysteries

              and, on my good days, I think passionately of the Enlightenment that the Founding Fathers created in the New World.

              BTW, the quote was from mimi, not Jerome. Sorry for not citing clearly.

            •  Heh, Jerome would never write such nonsense (0+ / 0-)

              that was me, dummy mimi. Poor Jerome ... I really wouldn't want him to be mixed up with me, nah, that would be too much of a downfall into the comedy of errors.

              "False language, evil in itself, infects the soul with evil." ----Socrates

              by mimi on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 01:06:16 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  I think its partly a cultural issue (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mimi, TiaRachel, bablhous, zedaker, ignatz uk

          I'm no strict constructionist, but I think it might be because that is the common history of the United States. With the exception of our Native American citizens, we haven't been living here since the beginning of time. We're all from somewhere else. To me, hearing that (and I'm intrigued rather than offended) is kind of like hearing that we should give up our language or some other kind of major cultural signifier. I'm not being very clear here, but I think I'm trying to explain that America is an idea in a lot of ways, and to change that idea would be changing the heart and soul of who we are. When we argue about how we should interpret laws and the Constitution we are arguing about the content of what it means to be an American. Our identity is the idea itself, in some way.

          •  I agree... (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mimi, bablhous, JanL, suicide blonde, brklyngrl

            in principle with your, I think, eloquent argument.

            I, for one, would have less of a problem with the "Founding Fathers" concept, if more of our founding fathers and mothers, such as David Ruggle, William Lloyd Garrison, Lucretia Mott, Thurgood Marshall, Earl Warren, Angela Davis, etc., were accepted by all Americans into the "canon" through which we create our common understanding of the USA.

            •  Thank you (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              historys mysteries

              I agree wholeheartedly with your suggested additions to the "canon".  It is a big issue in the US, I think - what does it mean to be American (or a good American), and who decides. I think it may be due to the idea that being American is in some way partly something we do rather than something we are (I'm an American because I came to this country and started my own business, what could be more American than that?). I think you're quite correct to point out though that there is another, often unspoken, much uglier side of this appeal (I'm an American because I chose to come here, not like those former slaves who were just brought here, or those Native Americans who were already living here).

        •  why the US has never rewritten . . . (0+ / 0-)

          I can't speak for the wingnuts, but IMHO, the reason why we should not do this at this point in our history is that if a new Constitutional Convention got convened, it is exceedingly unlikely that anything even loosely resembling the Bill of Rights would survive it.

          Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

          by alizard on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 05:08:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  No one here has yet suggested that . . . (8+ / 0-)

        . . . "there is no difference between the Democrats and the Republicans," in the sense that it doesn't matter which party gets elected.  But the differences between the two parties are rather less than Americans of either party generally suppose, and Europeans, with their long experience of parliamentary systems representing, often, dozens of parties from outright Communists to outright Fascists, can see how relatively narrow the gap between Democrats and Republicans is in actuality.

        Gore would not have invaded Iraq as a response to 9/11, nor for any other reason on the set of "grounds" offered by Bush.  A Democratic president would have had a harder time selling any invasion to either a (skeptical) Democratic or a (hostile to the president) Republican Congress.  But neither party leadership, as the parties are currently constituted, offers very much resistance (if any) to the proposition that the United States has a unilateral "right" to invade some country, given the "right" set of plausible circumstances.

        There are many other dubious but fundamental policy assumptions of the modern world (capitalism, corporate personhood, "free trade") which are never seriously questioned by leaders of either party.  This is not to say that there is no difference between the parties, only that American politics can easily seem like much ado about very little from a European perspective, or even from that of many Americans, like me.

        "Do not forget that every people deserves the regime it is willing to endure." -- White Rose letter no. 1

        by keikekaze on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 02:11:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Gore DID win {N/T} (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bablhous

        "It's a lot of easier to throw grenades than it is to catch them." --Tim Russert

        by grndrush on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 03:57:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I read the original diary ... (13+ / 0-)

      ... and I thought it was completely fair.

  •  A mistaken premise re proportionality: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lupin, drewfromct

    That all non-combatants/civilians are innocent.   Wrong.   Some non-combatants are actually more guilty than combatants and aggressively support the terrorists and/or enemy.

    It's good for your enemies to think you're a little crazy. As long as you can back it up.

    by dov12348 on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 08:13:48 AM PST

    •  That sounds like an argument (51+ / 0-)

      for "kill them all, and let God sort them all". It's been tried before in history. Either you go all the way in that logic, and go for genocide, or you realize that there is a bigger political problem, and you solve it differently than by the use of force.

      •  American non-combatants (10+ / 0-)

        Yes, we're all guilty as Americans for our war crimes, even non-combatants. I tend to think that certain non-combatants are more guilty, and I would name the chicken-hawks like Hugh Hewitt, Jonah Goldberg, and Sean Hannity, et al as some of those more guilty than the terrorists.

        I believe that Barack Obama is the transformational candidate that our country desperately needs.

        by Aeolus on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 08:24:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, you solve things any and every way you can.. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SarahLee, bronte17, conchita

        ...before you resort to force.  We agree on that.

        It's good for your enemies to think you're a little crazy. As long as you can back it up.

        by dov12348 on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 08:27:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Here's an example: (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jay23, SBE, skymutt

        If missiles are coming at you from a village and there's no other way to stop them than to take out the village, then you take out the village.   The civilian deaths were in essence caused by their own government.

        It's good for your enemies to think you're a little crazy. As long as you can back it up.

        by dov12348 on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 08:31:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  First, this is a very worthwhile diary (8+ / 0-)

        before I get into any response.  I'm glad you wrote it.

        Here's a big difference between the U.S. and Europe, even beyond our cowboy-fueled belief in the efficacy of violence.  I'm going to phrase this very hyperbolically to make the point very clearly:

        What we do on the international stage matters more.

        In other words, the decisions about force made in the U.S. are consequential and those made in Europe are less so.  If force is the solution to a problem, it will rarely come from Europe without U.S. involvement.  The U.S., by contrast, will act unilaterally.  Sometimes for good, sometimes not -- I'm glad we went into Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo and sorry we didn't intervene in Rwanda, while I'm disgusted by what we've done in Latin America and too many other places to name -- but the ability to make consequential decisions is the consequence of our enormous military.

        People without enormous militaries have the luxury of observers everywhere: to sit on the side and comment and complain.  (We, in fact, have the same privilege being peons here on DKos.)  It's easier to stay pure while on the sidelines.

        How's your blood pressure?  Now as I mentioned, I'm being deliberately provocative above.  If you're a European (or Canadian) or sympathize with either, you may feel some offended pride welling up: "wait, we're hardly irrelevant!"  Yes, yes, it's true.  I would not actually defend the sentiment as far as the above would suggest,

        The meta point in that example is that a European leader will have to deal with that offended domestic sentiment in crafting a take on world politics.  There is some truth to the above sentiment -- not as much as I claimed -- but you had better not say that in European politics (as I understand it.)  Likewise, so does an American leader (or, like us, people who would put words in their mouths) have to grapple with American sentiment.  And that sentiment is what Hunter bowed to in his diary.

        You know the big strong kid in school -- could be a bully, could just be intimidating -- who no one would mess with?  That's us.  Sometimes those kids can't handle being hit.  I don't mean that they necessarily crumple, I mean that they don't react with properly measured proportion.  It's not the pain so much as the lese-majeste -- "how dare they attack me!"  And then they beat someone to a pulp.  That's us.  Americans do not believe that we should be allowed to be hit.  We have no tolerance for -- not pain, exactly -- for being subordinated.

        And so, yes, Americans favor disproportionate responses to the prospect of terrorist attacks.  I can't logically justify it, especially as we seem to counsel that the Iraqis smile while we bomb them.  But it's there, and if you're here, you know it's there.  No one who fails to favor a disproportionate response to terrorism is going to be taken seriously in American politics.  That's a given.  We're not like Europeans; we don't have a recent history of war on our soil.  (Hawaii wasn't even a state in 1941.)  We get incensed.  The question is how to deal with and constrain that reaction.

        Like me, Jerome, you probably hear "disproportionate response" and think of the Nazis executing 50 random villagers for every Nazi soldier who is killed.  (Or whatever number it was.  Disproportionate, anyway.)  And your stomach turns, like mine does.  And your reaction to the acceptability of collateral damage in bombing is much like mine -- it's not only wrong, it's hypocritical; the thrust of the argument that makes our bombing OK would also let Al Qaeda justify knocking down the WTC if there was one military office anywhere in the complex.

        But I believe that we're not that bad.  I probably have to believe it to go on living here and rooting for our well-being, but I do believe it.

        I think that we're in the situation that any hegemon is, and in many respects we're handling it better than most.  (I can point to any number of former colonial powers for examples.)  We can listen to reason (2006 elections) and if we were ever under serious attack, way beyond 9/11, we would probably rise to the occasion.  While we too easily accept damage to civilians, at least we have a movement to bring it to public attention, and at least we have some sense of conscience and decency.  Think of the two photos that we use to memorialize the horror of Vietnam: both involve pain being inflicted on Vietnamese, a naked young girl and a man being shot in the head.  You would not have seen such sentiments in Nazi Germany.

        Some degree of stupidity, or wrongful believe in the efficacy of force and the justifiability of disproportionality, is probably inevitable in a democracy.  We here in the U.S., we're not on the sidelines when it comes to the question of how to win over and shape our democracy.  That means sometimes paying obeisance to unsavory aspects of our culture -- much as a British politician has to pay lip service to the divinely chosen Queen to be viable or a French politician has to defend the status and significance of Europe in the face of a provocation such as the one with which I began my post.

        The fact is that is someone said that any response to Al Qaeda had to be no more than strictly proportional, they would be finished here politically.  And you don't want that any more than we do.  But while we can't eliminate this tendency, we can constrain and shape it even as we acknowledge it.  Our job is to prevent our country from becoming as fascist as you fear.  We're doing our best.  We're doing OK.

        My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

        by Major Danby on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 01:55:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  As a Canadian, (4+ / 0-)

          I take no offense, you're perfectly right, we don't have a big military, we're very limited in what we can do to affect change in the world in that sense.

          One way we can attempt to affect positive change is by encouraging dialogue between combatants.

          I can only pray that your very last, brief statement is correct.  It doesn't very much appear that way at the moment, but I'm sure it can be made to be true again.

        •  I think you're right MD, but (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Inky, Major Danby

          you, too, are erring in confusing overwhelming force with disproportionate force. The two are not the same and by conflating them we do nothing but sow confusion and make it impossible to argue against the use of disproportionate force when it is necessary to do so.

          Haiti, Grenada, Gulf War '91, and Afghanistan are examples of the proportionate use of overwhelming force. Whereas, Iraq could be described as a disproportionate use of (underwhelming?) force.

          I think absolutely every point in your diary is correct, but only when I substitute "overwhelming" for "disproportional". I realise that the same conflation is resident in the public lexicon, but that doesn't make it right. As an educator, do you allow a misconception to survive in your students even if it is a popular misconception?

          "Liberalism is trust of the people, tempered by prudence; conservatism, distrust of people, tempered by fear." Gladstone, Me -8.88/-7.08

          by zedaker on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 08:16:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not sure how one uses overwhelming force (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            zedaker

            without it being disproportional.  In theory it would depend on having very reliable guided bombs, etc., but our PR about them has always been a myth.

            Bulldozing the frontline Iraqi troops into the ground in the first Gulf War is, I realize, one such example, but I don't think it maps onto fighting terrorism, where one won't have massed armies.  I'd love to be convinced otherwise, so please take a shot.

            My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

            by Major Danby on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 09:43:17 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The distinction lies in the goals (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jerome a Paris, Major Danby

              that the force is used to accomplish.

              Afghanistan was a proportional use of force because the goals of the force were to get Bin Laden and Al Queda. The Taliban was removed from power because they put themselves into direct opposition to that goal, but in general there has been no attempt to target Afghanis as a population for harboring Al Quaeda which would cross over into a disproportionate use of force..

              Iraq is a different situation entirely. The fact that Bushco had to resort to false pretexts to justify the invasion is a strong argument that it was in fact a disproportionate use of force since there were other options available that may have accomplished the removal of saddam from power. I also think that one of the strategic justifications for invading Iraq was to use it as a stalking horse... the fighting them there is better than fighting them here argument. In that regard, it would perhaps be more accurate to term it a mal-proportioned use of force... in other words the tools were ill suited to the task. Such a usage is ineffective at realizing one's goals, and in fact, as in the case of Iraq, is actually counterproductive to attaining those goals.

              The use of Iraq as a stalking horse in the war on terror is pointless and counterproductive. It is pointless because 1) the terrorists are not there, and 2) terrorists are dispersed actors that simply go around concentrated forces. It is counter productive because it actually strengthens the terrorists by creating sympathizers willing to join the cause to avenge themselves for perceived wrongs at our hands. It is an attempt to overcome the single biggest problem with the idea of using the military to fight terrorism, which is that (as you note) one won't have massed armies. As such, it is a dismal failure.

              For the most part, the military will be ineffective against terrorism simply because it is too easily avoided. That is not to say there are not situations in which the military is the appropriate tool to use against terrorists. It is to say that generally the military will just plain not work as the primary tool to combat terrorists. There are military solutions to terrorism , insurgencies, and guerrilla warfare, but they exist in the realm of war crimes and crimes against humanity. We have rejected and refuted those solutions, and rightly so.

              "Liberalism is trust of the people, tempered by prudence; conservatism, distrust of people, tempered by fear." Gladstone, Me -8.88/-7.08

              by zedaker on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:26:30 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  After recommending your post... (11+ / 0-)

      ...I'm going to add, the reasons you give is exactly why the 9/11 strike was perfectly justified in the eyes of many around the world.

      If Americans could understand that, that would be a major breakthrough.

      OVER HERE: AN AMERICAN EXPAT IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE, is now available on Amazon US

      by Lupin on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 09:47:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well goddamn (0+ / 0-)

      If you could just sort those people out, put yellow stars on them, deprive them of their rights, send them off to concentration camps, and exterminate them, you wouldn't have to worry about that at all.

      Question authoritarianism

      by m00nchild on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 10:53:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If I came face to face with a... (0+ / 0-)

        ...civilian who I saw delivering water and sandwiches to an enemy who was trying to kill us, thereby enabling him to kill us, I wouldn't take the time to find out anything else about him.  No yellow stars or concentration camps necessary.

        I'd try to blow his brains out on the spot.

        It's good for your enemies to think you're a little crazy. As long as you can back it up.

        by dov12348 on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:07:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Might makes right (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Inky, grndrush, corvo, Diaries

          Just remember to speak softly and carry a big stick

          As well as whatever other full of militaristic bravado cliches you need to justify your itchy trigger fingers.

          Question authoritarianism

          by m00nchild on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:12:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, might doesn't make right. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RickD, RosyFinch, skymutt, Unbill

            Reason, rationality and recognition of human rights usually would, though.

            It's good for your enemies to think you're a little crazy. As long as you can back it up.

            by dov12348 on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:17:15 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Then maybe (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Inky, SarahLee, corvo, Diaries

              All your speculation as to how you're going to blow someone's brain out if and when you're faced with that particular scenario personally could be replaced with a more concerted effort to achieve the goals you just mentioned.  They are laudable and would create a better world.

              Question authoritarianism

              by m00nchild on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:19:05 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bablhous

              I'd try to blow his brains out on the spot.

              Reason, rationality and recognition of human rights usually would, though.

              Ah, what delicious irony. To paraphrase an old TV series: "Logic, American Style".

              The talk here is centered on some vague notion of "village" - yet the situation REALLY being discussed is Iraq.

              It's a dirty, thankless job, but someone has to say it: In Iraq WE are the ones throwing bombs at the village!

              People taking up arms to defend their own country from an aggressive invader are NOT terrorists - they're FREEDOM FIGHTERS. Jesus.

              cdn

              "It's a lot of easier to throw grenades than it is to catch them." --Tim Russert

              by grndrush on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 05:00:15 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Whoa there, tough talker! (7+ / 0-)

          I trust I'll see you in arms when next Dear Leader calls for a Surge to Stop Those Who Give Aid to The Enemy.

          ...individual doubt...is just one thing i've found...

          by Diaries on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:16:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Hope, your really really double-checked (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Inky, SarahLee, corvo, Diaries

          whether they were acting on their free-will before...

          Reality is that which, if you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

          by RandomGuyFromGermany on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:18:54 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  If he was clearly helping his buddy kill me... (0+ / 0-)

            ...I'm not sure why I would stop and try and figure out whether he was being forced into it.

            It's good for your enemies to think you're a little crazy. As long as you can back it up.

            by dov12348 on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:23:06 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  ...by delivering water and sandwiches. (9+ / 0-)

              You're delivering a showcase at the moment. You start with a situation and pile assumption on assumption just to get to the end you want to have - and in the process you lose sight of where you were starting. That's the way, tragedies happen.

              Reality is that which, if you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

              by RandomGuyFromGermany on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 01:02:50 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Not sure what your point is. (0+ / 0-)

                A guy who deliberately keeps alive the guy who's trying to kill me is also -- indirectly -- trying to kill me.

                It's good for your enemies to think you're a little crazy. As long as you can back it up.

                by dov12348 on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 01:33:49 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  My point is (6+ / 0-)

                  that, elsewhere in the comments, you obviously only paid lip-service to our objections ... yes, certainly, absolutely would you exploit every possible means, before jumping to premature self-defense.

                  But you're consistently falling falling back into your shoot-first-ask-later attitude. Elsewhere you came up with the village-and-rockets scenario, and we pointed out to you, that you were simply jumping to conclusions in assuming that erasing the village from the landscape would be the only way to go. Same here - not only are you not asking yourself, what you could do to save the lives of the civilians. You are even systematically ruling out any reasons, not to shoot the civilians, because you're so obsessed with the imagination that you or your buddy surely would be killed.

                  Just to give you background: The image, that stood before my eyes by reading your initial comment, were French or Polish civilians forced to supply German troops in WWII. And I somehow imagined that you would be exactly the type of ignorant and stubborn guy in some sort of 'Saving Private Ryan' movie, who actually would shoot them. The audience would gasp in horror, and I somehow cannot imagine that you would be the only one in the theatre shouting "Woo-Hoo - way to go!". You probably would recognize the problem in the movie theatre. Why not here?

                  So my point is: You don't seem to be able to learn.

                  Reality is that which, if you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

                  by RandomGuyFromGermany on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 01:58:59 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Back... (0+ / 0-)

                    ...you were simply jumping to conclusions in assuming that erasing the village from the landscape would be the only way to go.

                    I don't know whose posts you were reading but they weren't mine.

                    Same here - not only are you not asking yourself, what you could do to save the lives of the civilians.

                    Of course I'm not.  Because it's a different subject.  I said multiple times that I would attempt to exhaust all other options first.  I'm not going to go into them because there are a million scenarios and I'd die of old age before I could cover them all.

                    On the other hand if you want to lay out a specific situation I'll be happy to try and answer.

                    Just to give you background: The image, that stood before my eyes by reading your initial comment, were French or Polish civilians forced to supply German troops in WWII. And I somehow imagined that you would be exactly the type of ignorant and stubborn guy in some sort of 'Saving Private Ryan' movie, who actually would shoot them.

                    Maybe I wouldn't.  Maybe I would.  Maybe I'd be completely against it.  I'd have to see the scene and put myself into the context.  In any case I don't shout in theaters.

                    It's good for your enemies to think you're a little crazy. As long as you can back it up.

                    by dov12348 on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 03:19:19 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      suicide blonde

                      I don't know whose posts you were reading but they weren't mine.

                      How about this one. And before you complain, that this would imply that you've had exhausted all other means before - some of us pointed out the fallacy of that claim downthread.

                      On the other hand if you want to lay out a specific situation I'll be happy to try and answer.

                      You laid it out for yourself - civilians bringing water and sandwiches to your adversaries, and I have yet to understand how this could lead to a situation where the only way to escape your certain and immediate death would be to kill the civilians. You don't need to state the million scenarios you excluded. You only need to give me the one scenario left, that forces you to kill the civilians before they could deliver the water and the food (which you clearly must have at hand already - why would you have posted your comment the way you did? - so you shouldn't even need to think about it).

                      Reality is that which, if you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

                      by RandomGuyFromGermany on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 03:42:49 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Okay, here's a scenario. (0+ / 0-)

                        Me against two snipers who have me trapped.  I have water to outlast them  but they have none.   They cannot otherwise get to me.  I have no other means of escape.  Thus I would want to shoot a guy who attempts to bring them water.

                        If you want to throw in things to complicate the scenario, fine, but then I may change my mind.

                        It's good for your enemies to think you're a little crazy. As long as you can back it up.

                        by dov12348 on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 03:50:53 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Shoot them to death... (0+ / 0-)

                          ...or shoot at them?

                          Reality is that which, if you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

                          by RandomGuyFromGermany on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 09:25:42 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Preferably disabling the water guy. (0+ / 0-)

                            Not necessarily killing him, to correct an earlier statement of mine.

                            It's good for your enemies to think you're a little crazy. As long as you can back it up.

                            by dov12348 on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 04:42:18 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  If I had enough ammo and time... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...I'd fire warning shots first to keep him away.

                            It's good for your enemies to think you're a little crazy. As long as you can back it up.

                            by dov12348 on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 04:53:34 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Applies to both comments... (0+ / 0-)

                            Nice to see you climbing out of that hole. Honestly.

                            Because I was actually prepared to pester you with the following scenario, had you insisted on killing the civilians:

                            I'd simply had asked you, whether you were prepared to shoot the next waterboy, and the next one, and the next one (if they were coming, regardless whether voluntarily or not) ... and I had asked you, what you would have done, once you were down to two rounds of ammo.

                            Kill the next waterboy and you lose, because the snipers can get you. Spare the ammo for the snipers, and you lose, because you'd need to provide an answer to the question, what the two, five, seven ... civilians actually had to die for.

                            Which brings us all the way back to our starting point of "disproportionate force". You see - even in that seemingly so simple (albeit somewhat reckless) scenario, it boils down to matters of chances and luck, whether you actually can achieve something (and you still might have a problem justifying the price).

                            Reality is that which, if you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

                            by RandomGuyFromGermany on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 07:19:19 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I hear ya. (0+ / 0-)

                            Originally I was simplifying to an extreme to show that there were circumstances where I might or would have to kill a civilian.  Or a village.

                            It's good for your enemies to think you're a little crazy. As long as you can back it up.

                            by dov12348 on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 07:29:56 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  So we're not through yet... (0+ / 0-)

                            because the diary, and our discussion, is not about war in general and whether you can wind up in a situation, where you might cause civilian casualties (and even then, you've got no free ride based on the Geneva Convention).

                            This diary, and our discussion, is specifically about the question whether "disproportionate force" - even against civilians - could help against terrorism.
                            So I wouldn't want to let you get away with "simplifying to an extreme", because it didn't help you demonstrate anything of relevance. Every time we left the abstract, we wound up in a situation where you were making matters worse.

                            Reality is that which, if you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

                            by RandomGuyFromGermany on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 08:57:42 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Then how about if we leave it at this: (0+ / 0-)

                            It is impossible to generalize about when you should kill civilians in war; you have to be given a specific, concrete set of circumstances and only then is it possible to assess whether it would be necessary.

                            The main underlying principle, however, would be to focus on defending and protecting yourself, fellow soldiers and American citizens.

                            It's good for your enemies to think you're a little crazy. As long as you can back it up.

                            by dov12348 on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 09:04:31 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Or German, or French. or Iraqi citizens... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...for that matter. But yes - let's leave it at that.

                            Reality is that which, if you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

                            by RandomGuyFromGermany on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 09:26:26 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  This is how we differ then: (0+ / 0-)

                            I believe our country should go to war only to protect our own citizens.  Otherwise to be consistent we end up trying to protect the whole world and destroy ourselves in the process.  It doesn't appear you would agree with this.

                            It's good for your enemies to think you're a little crazy. As long as you can back it up.

                            by dov12348 on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 10:03:09 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  There's an irony! (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      RandomGuyFromGermany

                      You would never be so crass as to shout in a theater, but you would kill a civilian waterboy in a heartbeat. Lots of consistancy there.

                      "Liberalism is trust of the people, tempered by prudence; conservatism, distrust of people, tempered by fear." Gladstone, Me -8.88/-7.08

                      by zedaker on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 08:50:19 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  If he's trying to kill me, yes. (nt) (0+ / 0-)

                        It's good for your enemies to think you're a little crazy. As long as you can back it up.

                        by dov12348 on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 04:39:12 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Preferably, I'd try and shoot to just disable... (0+ / 0-)

                        ...him first.   So I'm correcting an earlier statement of mine.

                        It's good for your enemies to think you're a little crazy. As long as you can back it up.

                        by dov12348 on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 04:44:14 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  that is not what you claimed (0+ / 0-)

                          You said you would kill someone who was supplying food and water to your enemies without compunction and without regard to that person's combatant status simply because that person was supplying those things to your enemy.

                          You condemn yourself.

                          You should stop.

                          "Liberalism is trust of the people, tempered by prudence; conservatism, distrust of people, tempered by fear." Gladstone, Me -8.88/-7.08

                          by zedaker on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 09:39:53 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                •  bullshit. just bullshit! nt (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Inky

                  "Liberalism is trust of the people, tempered by prudence; conservatism, distrust of people, tempered by fear." Gladstone, Me -8.88/-7.08

                  by zedaker on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 08:46:14 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  You wouldn't care about (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Inky, mataliandy

              possible threats to his family?  or that maybe he wanted to keep his daughter from being raped?

        •  that is the argument (8+ / 0-)

          for bombing discos where troops are entertained, or bagel shops where they are fed . . .

          I'm a bit surprised to see it so aggressively defended here . . .

        •  and THAT would be a disproportionate (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Inky

          and criminal act for which a soldier should rightfully be charged and tried on a murder count.

          "Liberalism is trust of the people, tempered by prudence; conservatism, distrust of people, tempered by fear." Gladstone, Me -8.88/-7.08

          by zedaker on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 08:31:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Just War vs Iraq (10+ / 0-)

      Defining when a war is justified has been an ongoing struggle for humanity.  Thomas Aquinas took a swing at putting together a list based on war theories that had been floating around through the centuries. Here's the upshot:b

            1. A just war can only be waged as a last resort. All non-violent options must be exhausted before the use of force can be justified.

            2. A war is just only if it is waged by a legitimate authority. Even just causes cannot be served by actions taken by individuals or groups who do not constitute an authority sanctioned by whatever the society and outsiders to the society deem legitimate.

            3. A just war can only be fought to redress a wrong suffered. For example, self-defense against an armed attack is always considered to be a just cause (although the justice of the cause is not sufficient--see point #4). Further, a just war can only be fought with "right" intentions: the only permissible objective of a just war is to redress the injury.

            4. A war can only be just if it is fought with a reasonable chance of success. Deaths and injury incurred in a hopeless cause are not morally justifiable.

            5. The ultimate goal of a just war is to re-establish peace. More specifically, the peace established after the war must be preferable to the peace that would have prevailed if the war had not been fought.

            6. The violence used in the war must be proportional to the injury suffered. States are prohibited from using force not necessary to attain the limited objective of addressing the injury suffered.

            7. The weapons used in war must discriminate between combatants and non-combatants. Civilians are never permissible targets of war, and every effort must be taken to avoid killing civilians. The deaths of civilians are justified only if they are unavoidable victims of a deliberate attack on a military target.

      I'm not exactly a proponent of war, but can accept that there are times in human history that call for outsiders to put an end to extraordinary humanitarian injustice, times in which force is necessary, if regrettable. For those times, I feel the above principles serve as a half-decent yard stick for determining why and how force may be used without further compounding the injustice that is presumably being corrected.

      States are prohibited from using force not necessary to attain the limited objective of addressing the injury suffered.

      "Overwhelming" or "disproportionate" force is, by nature and intent, not limited addressing the injury suffered, and therefore, by this definition, is unjust.

      Just my 2 cents.

      Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.

      by mataliandy on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:21:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I hear ya. (0+ / 0-)

        Haven't gone through it yet in depth, plan to - - but here's another side...

        http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/...

        It's good for your enemies to think you're a little crazy. As long as you can back it up.

        by dov12348 on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 01:27:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Interesting supposition (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SarahLee

          The article has an interesting supposition:

          That group and, above all, the cause they fight for are our enemy.

          When I read that, I wondered how it would apply to a situation like Civil Rights.  There were violent groups (such as the Black Panthers) and non-violent groups fighting for the same cause. Was civil rights itself an enemy because groups like the Black Panthers were involved?

          Arguably, the cause they were fighting for was good, but individual groups involved in the struggle were very different.

          I know the civil rights movement wasn't a military conflict, so let's look at the cause of many military conflicts: the pursuit of self-determination.

          Is self-determination an enemy?

          Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.

          by mataliandy on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 01:47:47 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Kill them all... (6+ / 0-)

      Some non-combatants are actually more guilty than combatants and aggressively support the terrorists and/or enemy.

      ...and let God sort them out.

      Interestingly enough, the first time the infamous phrase was uttered, it was in Latin...

      Neca eos omnes. Deus suos agnoset.

      During the crusade of the Catholic church against the Albigensians, a city of Beziers that held a mixed population of Albigensians and Catholics fell to the Papal army after a bloody siege in 1209. Since many of the people in the city were good Catholics, the crusaders asked Arnold-Aimery, who led the Papal force , what to do with the survivors. You know his answer.

  •  As a person who holds opinions that are, (35+ / 0-)

    or have been, way outside "mainstream" views - including my extreme, and I think unpopular views on pacifism, I think it is useful to examine every view point.

    I am not familiar with the body of Hunter's work, but my impression is that he can take a punch, and, frankly, anybody, anybody at all who is committed to ideas must be willing to take a punch.

    I hope you, and he, remain friends.   I have not followed the debate about this matter, but I was inspired to make my last diary entry about pacifism and the utility of war.

    Pacifism has been popular in only a few places in history, and usually only for a short time.   India, for instance, is wiring itself for extreme war, nuclear war.

    The failure of pacifism to catch on does not mean that pacifists are required to accept the utility of war.

    Many extreme ideas have become mainstream in time, mostly because they are good ideas.

    It was once considered "extreme" in the United States to postulate that it was inappropriate to treat a class of human beings as if they were farm animals.   Nevertheless some extremists like William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass insisted otherwise.   Ultimately the ideas of Douglass and Garrison prevailed and the once mainstream view is considered historically reprehensible.   Of course, the treatment of human beings as farm animals went on for many thousands of years, all over the world.   The US was simply one of the last official outposts of such behavior.

    It does happen, of course, that there are still people who are treated like farm animals, but now on a planetary scale, it is mainstream to oppose this state of affairs.

    It is perfectly reasonable to ask, in my view, whether the war in Afghanistan has accomplished anything.   Has Shiek Omar been brought to trial for his crimes against humanity?   Has WTC been "avenged?"   Has Osama bin Laden's organization been shut down in Afghanistan?

    I wonder why these questions are considered irrelevant, or too difficult to ask.

    •  asdf (30+ / 0-)

      It is perfectly reasonable to ask, in my view, whether the war in Afghanistan has accomplished anything.   Has Shiek Omar been brought to trial for his crimes against humanity?   Has WTC been "avenged?"   Has Osama bin Laden's organization been shut down in Afghanistan?

      I'm struck by something.  The Bush Administration is all about the ends justifying the means.  That's the argument that underlies the dismantling of the Bill of Rights, the invasion of Iraq, etc etc etc.

      But what are the ends?  Terrorism hasn't been eradicated -- quite the opposite.  Al-Queda hasn't been dismantled, nor bin Laden brought to justice -- it's stronger than ever.

      Americans have had so much that we hold dear -- or should be holding dear -- taken away in the past six years, and for what?

      Money talks, so speak up -- Draft Al Gore

      by Mehitabel9 on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 08:26:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  a question (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        conchita, kalmoth, corvo, RainyDay, MO Blue, Autarkh

        in 2001, just a month or two prior to 9/11, the
        bush administration gave afghanistan $40 million
        in funds due to their poppy/opium eradication efforts. this is the same afghanistan where bin ladin/al qaeda was in residence. the same bin ladin/al qaeda that stood accused of the first wtc bombing, the assault on the uss cole and various other attacks.

        why was this done? wouldn't you expect the u.s. to demand either the expulsion of bin laden/al qaeda or their being turned over to the u.s. as a precondition to receiving those funds?

        or is this just another oddity in an extremely long list of oddities regards to all things bush, bin ladin and 9/11?        

      •  But COULD something positive have (0+ / 0-)

        been accomplished. Unlike in Iraq, I think the answer is yes. Not only destroying Qaeda and the Taliban, but giving Afghanistan a chance, not a certainty, to modernize and suppress the forces of religious extremism and tribalism. History might have been against us, but there was an opportunity, which has since been squandered.

        •  We played an instrumental role in... (4+ / 0-)

          .../ensuring/ that the forces of "religious extremism and tribalism" came to power in that country.

          It seems to me that the real opportunity was lost decades ago, and nearly everything we've done since has aggravated the problem.

          •  I'm not sure which decades (0+ / 0-)

            you are referring to. While Afghanistan was within the Soviet and before that, Russian, sphere of influence I'm not aware of anything we could have done.

            •  You forget we played a significant role (11+ / 0-)

              in funding, arming, and empowering the forerunners of the Taliban back when we decided the Soviets were the enemy. Those "religious extremists and tribalits" you speak of were under our blessing not too long ago.

              ...individual doubt...is just one thing i've found...

              by Diaries on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:09:25 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm not "forgetting" anything. Of course (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                TiaRachel

                we funded the Mujahadein and they were our proxy army against the Soviets. It needs be left for a totally different discussion the meaning of your statement, "back when we decided the Soviets were the enemy." Suffice it to say that was decided in 1922 when we and other countries invaded the USSR in an ill fated attempt to support the "white" army and continued till the USSR's demise, with a brief hiatus during WW II.

                I made the statement that if we had done it right in 2001 we had a chance to modernize Afghanistan and "Suppress" the forces of religious extrism and tribalism. Autarkh responded, saying we played an instrumental role in bringing those forces to power and that our real opportunity was "decades" earlier.

                I was trying to say that up until 1980 Afghanistan was in the Soviet sphere of influence. We had zero influence over or involvement in that country. Then the Soviets installed the Naji Bullah government which the Mujahadein were fighting and we began to support. This resistance army was based on the tribal alliances that have existed in Afghanistan forever. We did not create the tribes or their rivalries. Towards the end of the war when it was clear that the Soviets were loosing, the Pakistan secret service created and funded the Taliban, which unseated the interim government that took over after the Soviets left. We had nothing to do with the. We may have provided some assistance to Bin Laden but he was largely self funded with some help from Saudi friends and family.

                Back to the question I was responding to, we could have done nothing. If we had not funded the resistance to the Soviet occupation at the very least the conflict would have gone on longer. Maybe the Soviets and their Afghan allies would have prevailed. Who Know? But our inaction would not have altered in any way the long Afghan history of tribalism and Muslim fundementalism  

                •  Not quite. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  conchita, suicide blonde

                  I was trying to say that up until 1980 Afghanistan was in the Soviet sphere of influence. We had zero influence over or involvement in that country.

                  That’s just not true.

                  During the Daoud period, the U.S. and Iran (a key ally and client at the time) put considerable pressure on Afghanistan to dissociate itself from the Soviet Union, its main trading partner and source of economic aid. Afghanistan was (and is) a strategic prize in geopolitics' "great game". Even Zbigniew Brzezinsky—Carter’s national security advisor—admits that aid to the mujahedin began before 1980 and contributed to the Soviet invasion:

                  Question: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs ["From the Shadows"], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?

                  Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

                  Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

                  B: It isn't quite that. We didn't push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

                  Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn't believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don't regret anything today?

                  B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.  

                  Full article.

                  This obviously doesn't excuse the actions of the USSR, but it certainly puts things in perspective.

                  William Blum’s book "Killing Hope" has an excellent, well documented summary of the whole affair' it's a great great starting point for further inquiry.

                  But our inaction would not have altered in any way the long Afghan history of tribalism and Muslim fundementalism

                  There was no "inaction," but deliberate covert action which had precisely the effect you wished to avoid.

                  •  This whole thread has gotten out of whack. (0+ / 0-)

                    Sorry. I should not have said "zero." What I meant to say was that our influence was dwarfed by that of the USSR.

                    Yes, I do know that our funding of the mujahadein began before 1980, but it was after that when it began in earnest because the Soviets made the mistake of sending large numbers of troops in.

                    Maybe you can help me understand what opportunity we had "decades" ago to alter Afghanistan's centuries old traditions of Tribalism and fundamentalism.

                    But none of this has anything to do with my initial comment. Asdf said -

                    asdf (30+ / 0-)
                    It is perfectly reasonable to ask, in my view, whether the war in Afghanistan has accomplished anything.   Has Shiek Omar been brought to trial for his crimes against humanity?   Has WTC been "avenged?"   Has Osama bin Laden's organization been shut down in Afghanistan?

                    I'm struck by something.  The Bush Administration is all about the ends justifying the means.  That's the argument that underlies the dismantling of the Bill of Rights, the invasion of Iraq, etc etc etc.

                    But what are the ends?  Terrorism hasn't been eradicated -- quite the opposite.  Al-Queda hasn't been dismantled, nor bin Laden brought to justice -- it's stronger than ever.

                    Americans have had so much that we hold dear -- or should be holding dear -- taken away in the past six years, and for what?

                    In response I asked -

                    But COULD something positive have (0 / 0)
                    been accomplished. Unlike in Iraq, I think the answer is yes. Not only destroying Qaeda and the Taliban, but giving Afghanistan a chance, not a certainty, to modernize and suppress the forces of religious extremism and tribalism. History might have been against us, but there was an opportunity, which has since been squandered.

                    We were not talking about 1980, a totally different subject which gets us into Cold War politics. Rather, we were discussing 2001. Could the US have handled Afghanistan differently, in a way that would have really ended qaeda and Taliban influence? I think we could have. NATO, Pakistan, Iran, just about everyone was behind us. If we had used a large troop presence together with a massive infrastructure building and rebuilding program and had not invaded Iraq, I think there was a reasonable chance that real change could have been achieved.

                    By positing this, I was trying to suggest that Afghanistan, very much unlike Iraq, could have been a success if done properly. I know it is all supposition now, but I never heard a comment on the idea

              •  Talk about understatement! {N/T} (0+ / 0-)

                "It's a lot of easier to throw grenades than it is to catch them." --Tim Russert

                by grndrush on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 05:26:20 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  It's the other way round (6+ / 0-)

              as I understand it. The US were supporting the Mudjaheddeen, and actually bin Laden started as sort of a 'CIA operative', and then - when the Russians were retreating - all was left was a vacuum to be filled.

              Reality is that which, if you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

              by RandomGuyFromGermany on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:10:15 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Nothing positive has been accomplished (33+ / 0-)

      as a result of the invasion of Afghanistan. We do have more enemies and the drug trade is booming.  

      I was against that invasion. But if we are to adapt Hunter's (and others') reasoning, ie, that if your country is attacked you have the right to strike back disproportionately, I'd like to ask Hunter what ought the Iraqis do to us now?  

      To get revenge for our invasion of their country, they would have to kill 10 times the 'proportionate' number of civilians we've killed there. By my rough estimate, that would total approximately 6,000,000 Americans. Not to mention wounded and tortured, and theft of resources and money.

      Of course revenge should never be the motivation for whatever action is taken. Justice is what reasonable people seek. And as anyone can see, promoting the idea of seeking revenge could come back to haunt us in a really, really bad way.

      Let's stick to laws from now on, instead of kneejerk reactions. We will no doubt be subjected to more terrorist attacks, every country has been. We can't go around the world invading countries each time it happens.  

      America needs to grow up and start using its head. The mis-guided reaction to 9/11 will cost this country way more than any terrorist attack could have, for generations to come.

      Speak your truth quietly, and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant, they too have their story - Max Ehrmann

      by Catrina on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 08:38:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Dan Rather on Opium in Afghanistan (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SarahLee, Catrina

        He was just on Chris Mathews show this morning.

        Said one of our major tasks is to stop the drug trade there.
        Said it would not be easy.

      •  Nothing positive has been accomplished? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        EnderRS

        A stable, moderate government is in place?

        Women who were systematically oppressed and stifled under the Taliban, now represent > 1/4 of parliament?

        These are accomplishents, and not small ones.

        YOU GO TO WAR WITH THE PRESIDENT YOU HAVE. You don't go to war with the President you wish you had. --Tim Ryan, D-OH

        by skymutt on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 10:07:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That 'stable' government has no control (14+ / 0-)

          outside of Kabul and is closely guarded by US and UN forces. The government will fall, and nearly has even with the NATO presence, as soon as foreign troops leave.  Just as happened in the eighties.

          As for the plight of Afghan women? From Human Rights Watch:

          Afghanistan: Women Still Not "Liberated"
          Police Abuse, Forced Chastity Tests, and Taliban-Era Restrictions in Herat

          "Many people outside the country believe that Afghan women and girls have had their rights restored. It's just not true. Women and girls are still being abused, harassed, and threatened all over Afghanistan, often by government troops and officials."

          Speak your truth quietly, and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant, they too have their story - Max Ehrmann

          by Catrina on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 10:21:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Selective quoting (0+ / 0-)

            Here's another quote from your source:

            Human Rights Watch found that women's and girls' rights in Herat had improved since the fall of the Taliban, noting that many women and girls have been allowed to return to school and university, and to some jobs. But the report found that these advances were tempered by growing government repression of social and political life.

            Significant improvement has occurred, but the gains are in danger of being lost.

            YOU GO TO WAR WITH THE PRESIDENT YOU HAVE. You don't go to war with the President you wish you had. --Tim Ryan, D-OH

            by skymutt on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 10:28:09 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  And as soon as foreign forces leave (7+ / 0-)

              all gains will be lost. So, what has been accomplished?  A lot of dead and tortured people. The Taliban is regrouping as is Al Queda. A huge cost in human life and the loss of respect for the US (we are hated now in the nuclear-armed Pakistan where the biggest nuclear arms dealer in the world is being protected by our 'allies').

              Yes, a lot has been accomplished, but it is not positive. All reports show that terrorism is on the increase since our invasions of those two countries.

              Speak your truth quietly, and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant, they too have their story - Max Ehrmann

              by Catrina on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 10:34:04 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  predictions aren't fact (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                TiaRachel

                And as soon as foreign forces leave all gains will be lost.

                NATO has no plans of leaving anytime soon.

                All reports show that terrorism is on the increase since our invasions of those two countries.

                I think it's useful to separate discussion of Afghanistan from Iraq, if we're talking about whether the Afghanistan invasion was worth the effort.  I do not support the Iraq war.  

                YOU GO TO WAR WITH THE PRESIDENT YOU HAVE. You don't go to war with the President you wish you had. --Tim Ryan, D-OH

                by skymutt on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 10:49:04 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  No, reality of what is happening right now (8+ / 0-)

                  is fact.

                  Afghan government failure reopens door to the Taliban
                  Analysts say U.S. focus on Iraq is hurting mission, allowing insurgency to grow

                  A car bomb rips through a U.S. military convoy in the capital. A suicide bomber assassinates a provincial governor; another bomber kills six guests at the governor's funeral the following day. Gunmen launch fierce daily attacks on Western troops and government security forces.

                  ......

                  Five years later, U.S. and NATO troops are fighting a resurgent Taliban at the highest scale since the government was toppled in November 2001. Bin Laden remains at large, opium production is at a record high, and Afghanistan resembles a feudal hodgepodge of fiefdoms run by warlords instead of a centrally governed nation of 31 million people.

                  At least one top Western military official, British Capt. Leo Docherty, quit last month, describing the failed campaign to rein in the Taliban as "a textbook case of how to screw up a counterinsurgency."

                  And then there's the problem of getting troops from the participating countries:

                  Despite the growing threat, NATO troops have been unable to muster more soldiers to fight the Taliban. On Friday, NATO commanders said the 8,000 troops they have in the south are not enough to contain the violence, and called for up to 2,500 more, as well as for additional planes and helicopters. So far, Canada said it would send 200 more troops and a squadron of heavy Leopard tanks, and Poland promised Thursday to send 900 troops, but not until February.

                  I don't have time right now to double-check, but the NATO mission as far as I recall is NOT permanent, and already countries like Canada, Norway et al, are balking at supplying any more troops. We should not have opened that Pandaro's box.

                  And btw, I was talking about world wide terrorism. It has increased drastically since Bush decided to invade Iraq and Afghanistan, as was predicted.

                  Speak your truth quietly, and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant, they too have their story - Max Ehrmann

                  by Catrina on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:04:08 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  It is impossible to say (0+ / 0-)

                    How much of the terrorism is rooted in the unjust invasion of Iraq, and the consequences. In fact, a good number of those terrorist attacks are actually taking place in Iraq. So, I would suspect a lot of it.

                    To the extent that NATO members are unwilling to sustain participation with the US in efforts like Afghanistan, also has to do with our popularity due to Iraq. But both the US and the UK have recently announced commitments of more troops, so I stand by my statement that there is no NATO pullout imminent.

                    Finally, I have not claimed that we are not screwing up, even badly, right now in Afghanistan.  It has been neglected badly by the Administration, particularly in the past year.

                    YOU GO TO WAR WITH THE PRESIDENT YOU HAVE. You don't go to war with the President you wish you had. --Tim Ryan, D-OH

                    by skymutt on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:18:53 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Well, polls have been taken in Muslim (7+ / 0-)

                      countries that have shown that some formerly moderate Muslims became radicalized after these invasions, and particularly after Abu Ghraib.

                      Is that hard to understand?  What did WE do when this country was attacked? We had a national temper tamper tantrum went to war with two countries.

                      Considering our reaction, why would we assume that when we attack other countries, they too would not react as we did?  That they would not want revenge?  

                      This is one of the main reasons people were against both wars.

                      I think NATO is committed for five years. That can probably be extended. I did not say they would be withdrawing imminently. I said their commitment was temporary.

                      Anyway, thanks for a civil debate but I believe we should not have invaded Afghanistan. We should have done what other countries do re terrorism.  There will more attacks around the world. The world would be in a constant state of war if every country did what we did. It was never necessary and it has not stopped terrorism.

                      Speak your truth quietly, and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant, they too have their story - Max Ehrmann

                      by Catrina on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 12:00:46 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

        •  O.M.G. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          suicide blonde

          A stable, moderate government is in place?

          LMAO! That 'stable' government has control of most of downtown Kabul. Look at a map. The Taliban control all the rest.

          Women who were systematically oppressed and stifled under the Taliban, now represent > 1/4 of parliament?

          And wearing burkas!

          These are accomplishents, and not small ones.

          Too much Faux News, man.....

          cdn

          "It's a lot of easier to throw grenades than it is to catch them." --Tim Russert

          by grndrush on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 05:39:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Not irrelivant (6+ / 0-)

      One of the biggest indictments of the Iraq folly is that it diverted men, material, and aid from Afganistan, where it was justified and necessary. As a result of running Afganistan on the cheap, schmucko failed to get anything done.

      •  It is unproved however, that fighting differently (9+ / 0-)

        would have produced a better result.

        At least three major powers, Britain, the USSR, and now the United States have failed to accomplish the objectives of wars in Afghanistan.

        The British were defeated in Afghanistan for the first time, in 1842, and for the second time in 1880.

        The failure of at least 4 wars in Afghanistan with major powers as the players suggests that there may be something wrong with the idea of war in Afghanistan.

        •  It is equally unproven (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          EnderRS

          That reacting to violent actions from groups based in Afghanistan by sending Richard Gere-like "waves of love" and other pacifist new age nonsense works either.

          Actually, given Gere did that silliness a long time ago re: China/Tibet, and nothing changed, we can pretty much assume the silliness does not work.

          •  You are arguing from the specific to the general. (6+ / 0-)

            I'm not sure that a military attack on Chinese forces in Tibet would have produced the result that you seem to imply would have been achieved by appeal to it.

            Of course, you are discussing one case and deliberately ignoring many other examples.

            How successful was the carpet bombing of the Phillipines to bring down the Marcos dictatorship?

            Do you think that all of the people killed in Corazon Acquino's military actions were more spectacular than "people power."

            When I was a boy, I often wondered if I would be nuked in the afternoon because of the terrible menace of the evil forces behind the "Red Curtain."

            How many hundreds of thousands of Poles do you suppose died liberating Poland from Soviet oppression?   What about Vaclev Havel?   Was it his great genius as a military strategist that produced the resulting Czech Republic?

            Why did the British leave India?   Were they outflanked by the Indian Navy in the Bay of Bengal?   How many British aircraft carriers were sunk by the Pakistani Navy in the Indian/Pakistan War of Revolution?

            I can tell you that I never thought that I would find myself discussing the energy policies of Independent Estonia, as I did in this diary on Estonian wind power policy.

            Do you think that the Estonian War of Independence was ineffective?   Were the millions of Estonians killed in the 1990 war worth it?

            I note that the issue of Tibet is still not concluded.   I am not sure that 50 years of war in Tibet would have provided for a "liberated" Tibet.   Richard Gere may have been ineffective, but no more ineffective than the war in Afghanistan.

    •  Hunter.... (20+ / 0-)

      most certainly did not demonstrate his ability to 'take a punch' in the post linked to in Jerome's diary (Hunter himself).  Rather he insults a huge number of Kossacks with words like stupid people, stupid, shallow, hollow people and purity of the assuredly pure, and the ignorance of the assuredly ignorant and even If they wish to have a place where only the most brute and crassly shallow arguments survive

      Obviously, many of us don't live up to Hunter's idea of standards, but this kind of talk is not helpful imo.

      •  My impression is that Jerome can take a punch too (9+ / 0-)

        Hunter is clearly angry.

        I am often angry myself, and frequently I use harsh words.   Sometimes I don't even come to the point of regretting such use.

        Jerome is writing here, as I understand it, to indicate that he used an unfortunate choice of words.

        He probably would have been better served had he not couched his position in personal terms.  For instance he may have said something more general like about American culture in general.   I think that we are too quick to appeal to war, but I hardly think that the onus for the belief in the overwhelming use of force is peculiar to Hunter.   The majority, I'm sure, of Americans hold similar views.   Most wars, and certainly the Afghanistan war, are popular in America.  

        My primary motivation for writing at DKos has little to do with my pacifism - except in the peripheral sense that I believe that nuclear weapons should be dismantled and their cores used to produce nuclear power.   In my discussions of nuclear power, I am often abused and - this is important, especially as I am claiming pacifism - am often abusive in return.    Sometimes I am the first person to become abusive.   I can assure you though that what may seem personal on my part is often not actually so.  Human beings, as social animals, are often drawn to issues by appeal to personality.   One hopes though that such appeal will eventually result in the divorce of the issue itself from the personal interactions that generated the first interest.

        I don't know either Hunter nor Jerome all that well.   I have conversed here - and at his site - with Jerome, but I think that both men, however badly they may choose their words at particular points - are men of ideas and not men of violence.   I certainly hope that both will continue to contribute their fine ideas publicly and that they will move past this dispute.

    •  Completely agree.. (15+ / 0-)

      ...this reminds me of a  post from last night on this same topic...

      ... an argument against an Afghanistan invasion in favor of a police action or more limited military strike nearly six years after the fact, seems hardly that radical. I would flip the question. Are the so called practicalists so afraid of reasessing their own results on the ground that they can't question such decisions even 6 years out? That indeed is the sign of a troubled process, but it's not the fault of the 'left', or the 'fundies'. Rather, I would suggest, it's the fault of those who argue vehemently for 'realpolitik' solutions without realistically evaluating what their solutions have caused, nor again, what more of the same 'realpolitik solutions' may engender in the future.

      In truth, we fundies/purists tend to be more hardnosed realists than most of the so called 'realists'. We just like to make room for all the reality that's out there--like the murdered innocent Afghani kids, and the killed soldiers and the dead fathers and brothers and mother, etc..and all the grief that any military action necessarily causes. Our vision is less selective than so many of the so called 'practicalists'. Furthermore, why is a discussion of alternative approaches immediately labeled 'left'--shouldn't it more appropriately be labeled 'non-military'. Have we come so far in the militarization of our society that to suggest treating a crime against humanity as, in fact, a crime (which 9/11 certainly was), and not an act of war (which, as non-state enacted-- it really wasn't) is actually unpatriotic or somehow 'ultra-left'? In the words of MSOC, WTF?

      Evolution is scientifically provable, except in the case of Ann Coulter.
      DelicateMonster.com

      by DelicateMonster on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 09:55:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, some things have been accomplished (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      EnderRS, Unbill

      The oppressive Taliban has been removed (and yes I understand that they are not totally removed from the scene)

      al Qaeda has at minimum been disrupted within Afghanistan.

      A moderate, stable, at least nominally democratic government is in place

      Women, who were totally disenfranchised of any power whatsoever under the Taliban, now have vastly improved prospects, and now represent more than one fourth of representatives in parliament.

      YOU GO TO WAR WITH THE PRESIDENT YOU HAVE. You don't go to war with the President you wish you had. --Tim Ryan, D-OH

      by skymutt on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 10:13:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  hmmm, (5+ / 0-)

        afaik, the taliban is stronger than ever - which is why  bush and bliar are both sending troops to afghanistan and there is a call for nato to do more.

        i do not know about the representation of women in parliament and if that is the case that is progress.  however, i have read that little girls are still not allowed to go to school and that women are wearing burkas again out of fear.

        any curbing of the drug trade has been a hopeless failure.  if anything we have created a more lawless and dangerous situation.

        •  The Talibin is hadly "stronger than ever" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Unbill

          They used to control nearly all of Afghanistan, including Kabul. They were pushed into Pakistan and now control a remote area of that country, and are attempting to make a resurgence in Afghanistan, but certainly don't control most of Afghanistan as they once did.

          YOU GO TO WAR WITH THE PRESIDENT YOU HAVE. You don't go to war with the President you wish you had. --Tim Ryan, D-OH

          by skymutt on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 10:39:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  okay, stronger than ever may have overstated (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SarahLee

            the situation.  however, if there is any veracity to the threat of 10,000 taliban standing ready for a spring offensive, that is a substantial show of strength and says very little has been accomplished by our incursion into afghanistan.

            •  The Taliban still has to be countered (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Unbill

              ...and they are still a threat.  I think that if we had not invaded Iraq and had concentrated our effort in Afghanistan, the Taliban would not be near the threat that they remain.

              YOU GO TO WAR WITH THE PRESIDENT YOU HAVE. You don't go to war with the President you wish you had. --Tim Ryan, D-OH

              by skymutt on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:09:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  The Taliban is not "stronger than ever"... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          skymutt

          Before 9/11 the Taliban was implementing its regime in 95% of the country. In that summer, it had just had its international coming-out party by blowing up two ancient Buddhist statues.

          Regardless of how much success or failure in Afghanistan since removing the Taliban from control, I am certainly glad that these stone-age religionists have been dealt a serious blow. And, I hope that it stays that way.

        •  but, to the extent this is true (0+ / 0-)

          (ie The Taliban being strong) it is due not to the war in Afghanistan, but to the war in Iraq, and the fact that that war made it necessary to essentially desert Afghanistan

          What are you reading? on Friday mornings
          What have you got to learn? (or teach) on Saturdays

          by plf515 on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 12:36:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Afghanistan is a *stable* democracy? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        corvo, Autarkh, suicide blonde, Diaries

        Why then are they fighting a war on their territory?

        •  Quote me correctly (0+ / 0-)

          I said they have a stable government. They do. The Afghan government has been in place for several years, and it was democratically elected. I have not claimed that the whole country is stable.

          YOU GO TO WAR WITH THE PRESIDENT YOU HAVE. You don't go to war with the President you wish you had. --Tim Ryan, D-OH

          by skymutt on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 10:42:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Shouldn't a stable gov't be able to stand (7+ / 0-)

            on it's own?

            Can the Afghanistan gov't stand on its own without us?

            The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world She didn't exist.

            by callmecassandra on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 10:54:34 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  They will stand down as we stand up...do-wait... (6+ / 0-)

              you know how it goes! Something about standing, or sitting.

              ...individual doubt...is just one thing i've found...

              by Diaries on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:05:28 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Eventually, yes. (0+ / 0-)

              They should be able to eventually stand on their own.  Obviously.  But it will probably be many years before that is totally the case.

              YOU GO TO WAR WITH THE PRESIDENT YOU HAVE. You don't go to war with the President you wish you had. --Tim Ryan, D-OH

              by skymutt on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:10:55 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Your words: (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                corvo, suicide blonde, Diaries

                I said they have a stable government

                Which is it? Stable or unstable?

                The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world She didn't exist.

                by callmecassandra on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:14:00 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  The government is stable (0+ / 0-)

                  The country is not entirely stable.

                  YOU GO TO WAR WITH THE PRESIDENT YOU HAVE. You don't go to war with the President you wish you had. --Tim Ryan, D-OH

                  by skymutt on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:19:57 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Then the gov't is not stable after all. (5+ / 0-)

                    A gov't that can not stablize it's country without outside assistance, is not a stable gov't. You might say it has potential. Might. But stable, it is not. A stable gov't must, in significant part, be able to enforce laws, to enforce order.

                    The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world She didn't exist.

                    by callmecassandra on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:38:29 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Think of a car in a demolition derby (0+ / 0-)

                      The engine of the car is operating in a stable state. But the car is in danger of being wrecked. The engine is the government, the car is the country.

                      Contrast that to Iraq, where the "engine" is not working properly-- the legislature can't get a quorum, al-Sadr walked off with 1/3 of the lawmakers for a long period of time, and the government clearly doesn't have any control over the country, even with outside military support. Obviously an unstable government IMO.

                      Perhaps this will clarify what I am saying when I call the Karzai government a stable government.

                      YOU GO TO WAR WITH THE PRESIDENT YOU HAVE. You don't go to war with the President you wish you had. --Tim Ryan, D-OH

                      by skymutt on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 12:04:59 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  No, (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        corvo, suicide blonde, Diaries

                        what're you're describing is a potential. But a stable gov't does not exist at this time. A better anaolgy:

                        The engine of the car is functional. But the car, anything outside the engine including the body and wheels, is totaled. The engine is the government, the car is the country.

                        The engine is useless. It has potential, but as long as it remains in that totaled car, it's useless as it can not move the car. And going further, the engine can not be used to enforce the driver's will or "authority". And in this case, a driver isn't a driver...

                        The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world She didn't exist.

                        by callmecassandra on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 01:01:37 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

          •  Oh. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            corvo, suicide blonde, Diaries

            Let me ask you this then, if Afghanistan has a stable government, why are they fighting a war on their territory?

            I would hardly characterize a government that depends on the presence of foreign troops and controls only a portion of it's territory as "stable."

            How long would the "Government" of Aghanistan last if the troops were withdrawn?

            •  The government is stable (0+ / 0-)

              It has the support of the population, it is functioning as a government, and civil functions such as courts, police, etc. are in place, in at least a significant part of the country. That there is an insurgency that requires outside protection does not make it not a stable government.  We have troops in South Korea, for instance, but the South Korean government is certainly stable.

              YOU GO TO WAR WITH THE PRESIDENT YOU HAVE. You don't go to war with the President you wish you had. --Tim Ryan, D-OH

              by skymutt on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:24:52 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Comparing troop presence in SK to troop presence (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                corvo, suicide blonde

                in Afghanistan and using that to support a thesis of Afghanistan's stability is a rather disingenuous argument.

                ...individual doubt...is just one thing i've found...

                by Diaries on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:27:38 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Not at all (0+ / 0-)

                  ...because I'm not arguing that Afghanistan is like South Korea; rather, I'm just pointing out that it is possible that a government be stable while still requiring an outside agent for defense.

                  YOU GO TO WAR WITH THE PRESIDENT YOU HAVE. You don't go to war with the President you wish you had. --Tim Ryan, D-OH

                  by skymutt on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:40:05 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  I believe that SK became "stable" after (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                SarahLee, corvo, suicide blonde

                a "truce" was signed.

                I have never heard it suggested that the government there was stable during the war.

                The Confederacy in 1863 had courts, police, civil service etc, etc, etc, but it was not stable.   "Stable," as I understand the word, generally means that something can be expected to last a long time without any external input.

          •  Rigged elections too. The whole "loya jirga" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            suicide blonde

            a farce manipulated to produce the result Bush wanted.

  •  The saddest thing about all of this (40+ / 0-)

    is that the self-styled "pragmatists" want to shut down those that they've labeled "purists".  "Destroy" was one verb that I saw used by a "pragmatist".

    I can't tell you how much that disturbs and saddens me.

    What is becoming of us, as Kossacks, as Democrats, and as human beings?

    As always, Jerome, thanks.  Thanks for owning your part in this, thanks for being a grownup, and thanks for continuing to stand up for yourself in a way that doesn't disrespect those who don't see things your way.

  •  Jerome, mille fois, merci! (14+ / 0-)

    Sigh. I just keep thinking about how different a climate would have been created here if you had been officially on the FP.

  •  One not need to be a "friend of the front pager" (15+ / 0-)

    dislike a purist arguments.  Some of us came to the conclusion that they are silly, unrealistic, and utterly destructive all on our own.  I don't need marching orders from on high to form my opinions.

    Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.

    by clonecone on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 08:39:27 AM PST

  •  When Dubya said "We're going to hunt (28+ / 0-)

    them down" within hours of 9/11, when most of us were still in a state of shock over the vast tragedy...I knew he was about to hurl us backwards in terms of progress, right past what humanity has learned over centuries, right back to appealing to the most simplistic and base instincts of humans...kill, kill, kill.

    At the time I was dumbfounded that anyone could react with bodies strewn all over the ground in the financial district with words of more violence.  I truly believed that the USA would not resort to the same level of barbarity.  I thought that surely Congress would reel in the immature vigilante tendencies of Bush,..There was something about that primitive "hunt them down" in which the leader of the free world stepped into the muck and spoke about other humans as animals...Bush's reaction to 9/11, and the support it received from my countrymen and Congress continues to haunt me.  9/11 did not have to change everything, I know that is a scandalous statement, but I stand by it.  9/11 did not have to change us.  Victims do not have to internalize violence and choose to become violent themselves.  9/11 didn't change everything, our reaction to it changed everything.  IMO, we lost our power when we decided to respond with disproportionate force indiscriminately.  In reality, we allowed ourselves to become less than we were and allowed those that sought to profit from the tragedy to do so on all sides, by giving over our power, which lay as it always has: in our ability to reason.  

  •  Worth Repeating (20+ / 0-)

    "Purists" and "pragmatists" are both necessary, and they help one another. Tensions between the two groups (which can be very different as the topic changes) are inevitable, and they often reflect genuine differences of opinion. Talking about them is the best - indeed the only - way to bridge the gap to some extent and to make it possible for all to unite towards the same goal - or at least towards enough common goals. Pragmatists need the "threat" created by the purists to achieve better outcomes in the real world. Purists need the pragmatists to actually get things done and bring policies in the right direction. Nobody need be happy about the process. Neither group is an noxious to the site.

    Politics are fractious, frustrating and painful. There is no other way. Only one thing is certain: those that do not participate will lose out.

    Last night in another diary one the subject, someone commented that the "Purists" set the goals and the Pragmatitst help take the steps (tiny ones sometimes) towards them.  I thought that a good brief summary of how the process should work.

    When Democrats want to shut the "purists" out of the discussions, the country continues to move - to its peril and the peril of the world - to the right.   That is also why we got the Green Party.  And why, IMHO, the Democratic party may not survive if it does not change tactics.  

    The right does not shout down their purists because the right knows that their purists help move the nation to the right.

    As one of my mentors has said, there is "nothing in the middle of the road but yellow Stripes and dead armadillos"

  •  Good points (14+ / 0-)

    I think this is being utterly misread as a "purists vs pragmatists" thing. Frankly, I've seen a whole lot of calls for a different kind of "purity" among the pragmatists (as in, you'd better agree with me that the way forward is to vote for squishy dumbass X or you're a 'purity troll', whatever that means).

    Shutting down the conversation isn't something that just happens because of "far leftists" or whatever. It goes both ways, and I'm tired as hell of that never being discussed. It has far, far less to do with one's politics than it has to do with one's ability to respect other humans.

    I think that fundamentally, while you did some things in that post I'm glad you apologize for here, you were still right about the major point of your post. It is not a nitpick, it's something that really bothered me, too.

    I respect Hunter a lot and always have. But I just really don't understand his point of view on this, and rather than lose his temper and flail around about purists, I wish he'd just clarify his point, respond to what in the criticism is valid, and move on. Sadly, now we're just going to continue with the same tribalism (Pragmatists vs. Purists, Next On Pay Per View!) as his fanbase lashes out. As if everybody can be placed neatly into the "pragmatist" camp or the "purist" one.

    Maybe there's something about the internet that just encourages clannishness. I don't know.

    •  Too Much Black And White Thinking, Too Much (4+ / 0-)

      either or thinking, too much labeling, too little consistency on applying rules or criteria on different issues and too little attempt to understand what someone is trying to accomplish or how they came to their conclusions.

      The labeling of anyone who disagrees with your opinion as a Bush enabler or from the other side comparing a diarist to Bush, probably bothers me more than anything. No matter who is assigning the label, they stifel debate and any reasonable coming to any concensus.  Attempts at understanding and respect do not equate to agreement. Agreeing to disagree is a reasonable concensus that seems too often to be ignored on this site also.

      OTOH the controversial diaries and the flame wars are what most often get on the recommended list. I do not see the flame wars going away any time soon as there are too many people willing to take any opportunity (even in unrelated diaries) to throw gasoline on the flames. Either through ego or enjoyment they are determined to keep the division alive.

    •  'Disproportionate' vs 'Overwhelming' (5+ / 0-)

      It is very possible that Jerome read the original statement regarding the legitimacy of a "disproportionate response" in a mistaken way. It's quite conceivable that he saw it as being akin to the kind of thinking that has failed the Israelis.

      In their case, they've tried an approach that manifests itself in certain rules, like leveling an entire block if a single home in that block was used by terrorists. It arises in maxims like, "kill one of ours, we kill 10 of yours."

      That's very much a response that is not in proportion to the original offense. The difference is that, as executed by the Israelis, the 'dis' part of the disproportionary action tends to inflict civilians - the innocent. And the result is a worsening of the situation.

      I'm familiar enough with Hunter's work that I feel secure in saying that he was not advocating such an approach. Rather, it is far more likely that he was advocating an "overwhelming response." For evidence, you can see in his original that all of the actions he discusses are intended to affect the guilty parties and benefit the innocent ones.

      So, as in so many online disagreements, this one probably stems from a misunderstanding over semantic issues. The inflammatory language - "Cheney" - was not warranted and necessitated an apology, private or public.

      Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

      by The Raven on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 10:04:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Can't speak For What Others Write (0+ / 0-)

        But hunter's use of "disproprtionate", was to me a little confusing.

        And overwhelming force in conventional warfare has been US military doctrine for a long while.

      •  let me see if I understand this (7+ / 0-)

        Was "shock and awe" at the beginning of the Iraq war and "overwhelming response" or a "disproportionate response" or may be just something completely different (like a staged TV show about war in Iraq?) And then was the invasion and occupation that followed for the next three or more years thereafter an "overwhelming military response" or a "disproportionate military response". If you come to the conclusion that the latter was a disproportionate one, was it too much or too little response militarily?

        Scratching my head ...

        Oh, and considering the inflammatory language ... I remember a diary from Hunter about horse fuckery, in which he "politely" refused to call out the names of the horse fuckers he was thinking about. That was a very "nuanced and polite" piece, I assume?

        Jerome writes very politely an analysis of a more serious piece written by Hunter and has the audacity to come up with spelling out a name to make his point crystal clear. I don't know, I find Jerome more honest and even more polite than Hunter, even though Hunter didn't officially called out names and Jerome did.

        "False language, evil in itself, infects the soul with evil." ----Socrates

        by mimi on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 12:14:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Fair questions (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mimi, CanadianBill

          I sure didn't want to see "shock and awe." As described - and later seen - it was intended to be such a devastating attack as to dispirit any attempt at resistance. It couldn't be called "disproportionate" though, because no amount of force was justified. Iraq didn't attack us. As I'm sure you agree.

          As for the Afghanistan war, I'd say our performance there was "underwhelming" to say the least. Yes, we drove out the Taliban, but we didn't root it out, and now it's back. We didn't catch Bin Laden. Whatever our motivations were, we seemed to put forth a very limited effort, and then withdrew to attack Iraq. This half-hearted, half-assed approach was almost worse than doing nothing at all.

          And in Iraq - definitely underwhelming from the standpoint of dismantling the country's government and allowing looters and death squads to run riot. Really, all of the above, everything you describe, are just multiple instances of our incompetent administration making bad situations worse.

          But regarding the language, I think it's better to be called a horse fucker (not one of Hunter's better works, granted) than called a Cheney. Copulating with equines is poor form. It's rude, and the horses probably don't get much out of it. Cheneys, on the other hand, shoot people in the face, loot the treasury, destabilize the world, shred the constitution, and they do most of that before lunch.

          Seriously, around here it's probably the worst insult imaginable.

          Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

          by The Raven on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 12:43:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  or humans n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Spit
      •  Maybe so (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MO Blue, shaharazade

        but with my real-life friends, even though we may disagree, we don't treat each other as caricatures of some "side" to the degree I see here. I grew up in the country and have friends from all over the political spectrum; we manage to disagree without labelling each other on a regular basis. And even where the disagreements can get most vehement -- which usually does happen with my fellow lefties (for good reasons, IMO) -- we don't generally get so dismissive of each other.

        I really think some of it has to do with the format. Maybe some of it is human nature, maybe some of it is also this culture's tendancy to boil all points of view down to opposite poles, but I also think there's something about this format that tends to accent it.

  •  Disproportionate force (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    callmecassandra, SBE, lisastar

    The whole issue of disproportionate force is that it will in the end result in a quicker end to conflict and ultimately save lives. Take World War II as an example. We dropped the atomic bombs on 2 Japanese cities and the war ended within a week. Yes, we could have used less lethal means. However, it is likely the war could have been dragged out many years longer as our military ability degraded and industrial capacity slowed. A longer conflict might also have brought other nations into the conflict, like China.

    While I don't favor the idea of war at all, if we must fight, better to have it done quickly. The problem we have here and now is that Bush and Cheney did not want this conflict to end. Hence they invaded Iraq, and are now poised to invade Iran. It is our leadership that has failed.

    Do Pavlov's dogs chase Schroedinger's cat?

    by corwin on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 08:49:35 AM PST

    •  I can't accept that the best route to ending war (15+ / 0-)

      is to kill many people as quickly as possible, there has to be a better way.

      •  On September 11, 2001 (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        howth of murph, callmecassandra

        We were attacked. 3000+ people died in that attack. At that time, there was little we actually knew about Al Qaeda and the Taliban. We, as ordinary citizens, could not really know what their motives were, or if there would be more attacks coming. Like it or not, we were forced to respond in order to protect ourselves. since that time, we have learned much. Once we accept that we have been drawn, even against our will, into a conflict, we then have no choice but to accept casualties. The options at that point are either a long slow trickle, which can sap the nations involved of strength, or a quick end. Both will involve a lot of dead people.

        As to the bigger issue, this is a fight that was a long time coming. It represents the breakdown of diplomacy over the last 50 years, the election of warmongers as our President and Vice President, corporate shenanigans and war profiteering, the effective neutering of the UN as a peace keeper, the rise of a fundamentalist religion in the Middle East and our over dependence on Middle Eastern oil. Too many people at the top have a vested interest in this war to keep it going. Whether it is fast or slow, we the people are going to be screwed. Fix all that, and maybe the next war won't happen, and this will be a moot argument.

        Do Pavlov's dogs chase Schroedinger's cat?

        by corwin on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 09:14:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I opposed the Afghanistan invasion (16+ / 0-)

          Mainly because I did know about Afghanistan and the Taliban, but what's more, I had a strong feeling how Bush would screw it up. I was right.

          Besides, as Jerome's rightly pointed out, the discussion wasn't about whether to invade Afghanistan, but how it was to be justified. "Disproportionate force" satisfied various American domestic political concerns but it has usually failed as a military or diplomatic strategy whenever it has been tried.

          I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

          by eugene on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 09:41:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  While (6+ / 0-)

          the Department of Peace and NonViolence legislation encompasses much more that foreign policy, the breakdown of diplomacy you mention is one more reason I support that bill.  The more citizens that push for it, the more Congress recognizes that we want diplomacy as the first response and as a preventive to escalations of rhetoric that can lead to 9-11s.  And we do so, knowing that they (the politicians) will negotiate it down from our ideals.  

          The movement for change, for being proactive for peace, has to start with the citizens.  

        •  I disagree that we could not really know what the (12+ / 0-)

          motives were.  I don't know if this is simply a matter of being a New Yorker, but I was fully aware of what the reason for the attack was as the WTC had already been attacked.  The administration, we learned later, was also fully aware.  I believe that if we had handled 9/11 as a criminal investigation rather than leaping into the first justified war we could find we would have justice by now.  Bush responded by appealing to base vengeance instincts rather than addressing the issue with the logical structure that was before him.  We were played as a nation, at the expense of many lives, and it's time to go back to the beginning and start over.  First move:  Hand Iraq over to the UN, and then on to Waziristan to apprehend Osama Bin Laden and commence with the trial.  The greatest mistake we made was in empowering a terrorist organization by responding to terrorist acts with a war, we instantly escalated their cause.  They were criminals then, they are criminals now, and this has never merited a war as we were never attacked by a sovereign nation.

          I disagree that we need a fast and overwhelming military solution, what we need more than anything is to de-escalate all of this back to the point where the USA is seeking a band of thug criminals who perpetrated 9/11 rather than warring with nation after nation.      

        •  That reminds me... (4+ / 0-)

          We were attacked. 3000+ people died in that attack. At that time, there was little we actually knew about Al Qaeda and the Taliban. We, as ordinary citizens, could not really know what their motives were, or if there would be more attacks coming. Like it or not, we were forced to respond in order to protect ourselves.

          That reminds me of an old Russian anecdote...

          "After an attack on US installations by unidentified terrorists, the US retaliated with bombing strikes against arbitrary targets."

      •  I'm all ears.... (0+ / 0-)

        can you say what that way is?

        What are you reading? on Friday mornings
        What have you got to learn? (or teach) on Saturdays

        by plf515 on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 12:52:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Alternatives to mass-killing in the ending of (5+ / 0-)

          wars:

          Negotiation
          Compromise
          Diplomacy

          more, depending on the situation.

          However, it is best to be pro-active about expressly preventing war to begin with.

          •  When possible, obviously, I agree (0+ / 0-)

            at end of WW 2 vs. Japanese, I don't think any of those were going to work.

            And certainly preventing war is a good idea.  But what would you have suggested in 1930s Europe? OK, there were things that could have been done a lot better in 1918, but given that you were (say) PM of England in 1935, what would you do?  1939?  

            or FDR?

            Or, for that matter, Bush post 9/11?  

            Obviously, what Bush DID post 9/11 was utterly moronic.  But then, Bush is an utter moron.  You're not....obviously you are a LOT smarter than he is, and you seem to have thought about this sort of thing...

            so, 1935.....England invade Germany? Or negotiate? Negotiating didn't work well, in that case.

            I am, again, not trying to be snarky.  

            What are you reading? on Friday mornings
            What have you got to learn? (or teach) on Saturdays

            by plf515 on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 01:41:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Bush post 9/11 (5+ / 0-)

              should have launched a huge criminal investigation, followed leads we had through funding of 9/11 terrorists and used diplomatic pressure/international intelligence agencies to apprehend Bin Laden and those responsible for 9/11 rather than escalating to war.  

              We could debate for days all the wars that led to this point, but I believe that had preventative measures been laid for every war, they would not have taken place.  What I'm suggesting is sheerly hindsight for every previous war, with the exception of the present one, in which I truly believe exiting Iraq and moving this back to a criminal prosecution can work.  For prior wars, we should examine at what point we failed, and not dwell on the moments of absolutism we came across.  For example, the important issue is not whether England should have invaded Germany, but rather what allowed Germany to fall in the first place.  This is how we make progress in diverting future war...not by stubbornly clinging to past surface justification, but by examining the root causes and proactively working toward supporting justice.

              •  I agree with all this (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Karma for All

                I was asking a different question, which your response doesn't really answer, re WW 2 and Europe.

                Re Iraq....at this point, I am more pessimistic than you.  I don't think anything can work.  I think that a long and very bloody civil war (already begun) is inevitable, and that our presence does nothing to shorten it or lessen its severity, and may well lengthen it and make it even worse.  Our invasion and killing of Saddam certainly started it.

                What are you reading? on Friday mornings
                What have you got to learn? (or teach) on Saturdays

                by plf515 on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 02:03:23 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I guess I'm not really trying to answer the (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  conchita, plf515, suicide blonde, Diaries

                  question of WWII and Europe, those answers have already been determined.  My point is that we should learn about what causes war and not repeat mistakes if we are to hope to have peace some day.  I'm not sure we are given the opportunity to do that if we continue to consider war as a justified solution rather than the failure that it always is, which IMO, seems to be what is always implied when people say "well, what about Hitler" when one is advocating an end to war.  There were other ways the existence of Nazi Germany could have been averted, but we missed due to lack of vigilance on behalf of peace, in my view.  We have the chance every day to make peace viable, but for some reason peace is considered impossible, and for as long as we refuse to act proactively and hold it as our dearest value, we will not make progress.    

                  As to Iraq, if we remove our troops and present it to the UN, there might be a chance of getting surrounding states to intervene and negotiate.  Our presence, in my view, absolutely instigates its severity, as both sides use alliance of Shiites or Sunnis with the United States as a rallying cry, and as you've pointed out, stands to lengthen and make worse the civil war.  We knew this would happen from the beginning though.  

    •  I would hardly point to (18+ / 0-)

      Hiroshima and Nagasaki as shining moments in American military history, or as compelling arguments in favor of how swell disproportionate force is.

      Just sayin'.

      Money talks, so speak up -- Draft Al Gore

      by Mehitabel9 on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 08:54:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wars never have shining moments (3+ / 0-)

        Until they end.

        Do Pavlov's dogs chase Schroedinger's cat?

        by corwin on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 09:27:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  why not, exactly? (0+ / 0-)

        I'm not trying to be snarky - I'm curious.

        Do you think it would have been better to fight for the Japanese home islands with conventional forces? Or more fire bombing? Or what?

        What would you  propose as a better action against Japan?

        Me? I would have waited longer between Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  But I think fewer people died with the strategy Truman pursued than with any other strategy I've thought of....Do you disagree?

        What are you reading? on Friday mornings
        What have you got to learn? (or teach) on Saturdays

        by plf515 on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 12:56:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The people who died -- (4+ / 0-)

          hundreds of thousands of them -- were civilians.

          Dude, we dropped nuclear bombs on human beings.

          I invite you to spend a little time browsing the images here, here , and here.

          There is no justification for it.  None.

          Money talks, so speak up -- Draft Al Gore

          by Mehitabel9 on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 01:51:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm well aware of that (0+ / 0-)

            who do you think would have died in a conventional war for the Japanese Islands?  

            Surely civilians would have.  How many? Hard to say.  
            More than with Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Quite possibly.

            What methods SHOULD have been used to end the war?

            OK, it would have been much better, for all concerned, had the Japanese surrendered, pre Hiroshima.  It was clear they had lost.  But they did not surrender.

            I don't KNOW the answer to this, but I am not at all certain that Truman's strategy was wrong, even if you ignore any American casualties.

            What are you reading? on Friday mornings
            What have you got to learn? (or teach) on Saturdays

            by plf515 on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 01:59:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I can't do this. (5+ / 0-)

              I can't even wrap my head around it.

              What we did to those cities and to the people living in them was unspeakable.

              What methods should have been used?  I submit that anything would have been better than setting the precedent of using nuclear weapons as a means to fight a war, than completely destroying two entire cities and lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in the most horrific manner conceivable.

              Money talks, so speak up -- Draft Al Gore

              by Mehitabel9 on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 02:08:26 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  WWII - Atomic Bombs? (7+ / 0-)

      I don't necessarily think that the atomic bombs (at least the first one) wasn't an exercise in disproportionate force when one considers that the death and destruction by them wasn't worse than the firebombing of the German cities, maybe only in the sense that the atomic bombs were much more efficient.

      [By the way, China was involved in WWII, mainly as an occupied country.]

      That being said, I think that the concept of disproportionate force is very difficult. It might make Thrasymachus proud, but it makes terrible foreign policy.

      •  Lethal conflicts between nations (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TiaRachel, callmecassandra

        Always make terrible foreign policy. The question then is how to get out. The longer they drag on, the more the opponent has a chance to adapt. This increases casualties, not suppresses them. The more the mood in the nation sours. Not just on the war, but in all matters. The more likely the industrial capacity is diminished.

        A quick end will require some terrible things to be done, but at least it would have then given us the chance to help and rebuild, show or merciful side, like we did with the Marshall Plan. That was at least somewhat possible in Afghanistan. It was never possible in Iraq.

        Do Pavlov's dogs chase Schroedinger's cat?

        by corwin on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 09:26:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Arthur Harris, Hap Arnold, Carl Spaatz, Ira Eaker (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Inky, SarahLee, kalmoth, Unbill

      Did far worse to Germany with the bombing campaign (Cologne, Hamburg, Dresden being the most notable) which did not exactly break the spirit of the German people.  Germany didn't surrender until the Soviets were already inside Berlin and the Western Allies also occupied a good chunk of German territory.

      Japan had already lost, in a continuous string of losses, most of its territory for the previous 3 years before capitulating (and also having seen Germany capitulate a few months earlier).

      The other thing to remember is that the Soviet Union had also just entered the war against Japan and without its need to focus on Germany, that as well was probably a factor, as were many considerations.

      •  Let me remind you... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        poemless, suicide blonde, Diaries

        ...that Tokyo was also repeatedly firebombed, with casualties from one single raid exceeding 75,000. So Japan was firebombed (Tokyo Osaka, Kobe...) and THEN nuked.

        •  Germany was pounded much more for 3 years (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jerome a Paris, conchita, Unbill

          The 1,000-bomber raids began in Spring 1942 against Germany.

          Japan's bomber raids began about a year before Japan eventually capitulated, and only seriously about 6 months before capitulation.

          The U.S. and British air forces dropped almost 3 million tons of bombs on Germany over 3 years.  Less than 10% of this tonnage was dropped on Japan, primarily because Japan was out of range for large-scale bombing for much of the war.

          The premise presented was that disproportionate force can lead to the other side surrendering.

          Here's the truth for anyone wishing it:  Whether it be Nazi Germany, Japan, or the Confederacy in the Civil War - all three faced considerable disproportionate forces arrayed against them.  All three capitulated for reasons other than simply disproportionate force scaring them.

          Japan had been continuously militarily defeated for 3 years - pushed out of island after island and territory after territory, losing most of its fleet and air force.  You do understand that LeMay was sending B-29's without the kind of armament or escort precisely because there was almost no Japanese air power left to defend the homeland?  Quite unlike even Germany, which managed to do the largescale and futile New Year's raid of 1945.  Japan was also, as was Germany (and the Confederacy in the Civil War), cut off from raw materials.  Infrastructure was attacked in all three instances (rail lines, fuel, food, etc.).

          Even so, Germany and the Confederacy fought on and on for quite awhile.  Japan decided the atomic bombs were the final straw.  But as I said, there was the specter of the Soviet Union joining in, the capitulation of Nazi Germany, the loss of most of its naval and air forces, and its economic isolation from raw materials needed to continue pressing the war.

          Firebombings alone do not do that.  Shock and awe doesn't typically win wars by scaring the other side.  

          •  nyaah nyaah (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SarahLee, suicide blonde

            The U.S. and British air forces dropped almost 3 million tons of bombs on Germany over 3 years.  Less than 10% of this tonnage was dropped on Japan

            In Germany, targets were typically constructed of steel, tile, stone, brick and other suchlike stuff, whereas in Japan it was cute little bamboo-and-cardboard houses, so you cannot go just by tonnage.

            All three capitulated for reasons other than simply disproportionate force scaring them.

            Now, this one I just quoted for truth.

            •  Another way to compare (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SarahLee, mataliandy

              Germany and Japan had almost identical populations at the start of World War 2.

              Germany suffered about 3 times the military casualties as Japan.

              Germany suffered about 3 times the civilian casualties as Japan.

              The origination of the firebombing raids was Cologne, Hamburg, and Dresden - which had the original firestorms of around 1,500 degrees and causing hurricane-force winds.

              The construction of civilian structures in Tokyo provided an easier target for incendiary raids.

              My original post was my belief that disproportionate force alone didn't account for Japan's surrender and even if it did, it certainly doesn't present a certain rule that can be relied upon.  Germany's greater destruction provides an example which directly refutes that theory.

              Your response appeared to attempt to buttress the original assertion by pointing out that Japan had suffered city bombings prior to the dropping of the atomic bombs (and obviously, the whole selection of the targets for the atomic bombs was a suitable Japanese city that had largely been spared bombing).  

              I don't deny Japan was heavily bombed, or the incendiary raids on Tokyo.  Those are a historical fact.  But likewise, the greater amount of destruction rained upon Germany is also a historical fact.

  •  I guess I will continue to await (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    taylormattd, Friend of the court

    an action guide that shows how we can effectively end the Iraq war and get the two idiots out of the White House within the next two years.

  •  Who Mocks Your Nationality Here? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spatz

    I wish I could say you're blowing that out of proportion, everyone is attacked for some reason or another on this site, eventually.

    (-7.88, -6.10) I'm not going to take you seriously if you can't even spell Gandhi's name right (big insult in the East btw)

    by Nulwee on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 08:56:23 AM PST

  •  1993 Days and Osama's still free... (6+ / 0-)

    ...Remember when the Iranian hostages were being held and EVERY DAY on the news there was a count-up?

    Carter was made to seem ineffective in utilizing the military, and 'we needed a strong leader to get us out of this mess'. The effect of that on the American psyche helped 'us' justify Reagan's 'might makes right' perspective and subsequent election that eventually led us down the road to Bush's follies.  

    Invading Afghanistan to rout out the Taliban had, in my opinion, a worthwhile aim.  (Yes, I know there may have been other parties involved in the 9/11 plot, let's not go there...)  But the possible outcome in Afghanistan (some democratization,  reforms and improved human rights) was squandered to instead divert our attentions to Iraq.    

    Perhaps a counter of how many days we've 'been after' Osama ("wanted, dead or alive"- W) would help us as a nation remember the failings of this administration in it's first mission, still unaccomplished, and help us hold them accountable.  Sadly, a counter of troop fatalities seems to fail in this respect...

    Perhaps a counter of  

    The people shouldn't fear the government, the government should fear the people!

    by raygungnu on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 09:00:58 AM PST

  •  Thanks Jerome (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inky, mataliandy, Jerome a Paris, Pager

    Appreciate the acknowledgement the title was harsh from our perspective.  

  •  I don't (6+ / 0-)

    really see the point of reopening this wound.

    •  wound? (10+ / 0-)

      Isn't that a little over the top?  I, for one, am kind of glad to read this diary because I logged on last night for the first time in a week and was utterly perplexed as to what the heck was going on.  If I hand't read this, I'd have thought dKos regulars were on a campaign against pacifists!  Sometimes it's best to just take it back to the beginning of the conflict.

      •  I don't think (6+ / 0-)

        it is over the top. The original diary by Jerome not only contained a title accusing DKos of helping al-qaida, it essentially accused Hunter of being a warmongerer.

        And that type of diary seems to be an ever growing genre around here. On almost any given day, there will be a highly recommended diary that accuses other Dkos members or democrats of not being sufficiently liberal or anti-war in some fashion. I, for one, didn't recommend the one (and only one) diary complaining about pacifism. I consider myself to be a fairly strong pacifist. But I am sick to death of diaries lobbing accusations about being kept down by other Kossacks who are allegedly insufficiently anti-war.

        And this new diary doesn't really apologize for the previous treatment of Hunter (other than to say the original title was ill advised); instead, it is a "see, look at Hunter's words, I was right" diary.

        •  Well, I guess I'm not here enough to consider (6+ / 0-)

          all of this a "wound."  I mostly find the resulting arguments silly after discovering how far away from the actual jist of the original disagreement they were. I try to stay out of the battle of the egos that goes on here, which I sense is really at the core of all of this, as it has been for many months now.  It seems to me it's just the same re-hashing of old arguments.  I'm glad that it didn't reach the point where pacifists were being excluded from dKos, and I'm grateful that others agree that "purists v. pragmatists" was really a kind of dumb premise for the arguing .  As to arguing over who cast the first insult, well, overall we should simply treat one another better in our comments, and that goes for all sides.  I see it as strange thought that FP'ers are up in arms over anything considering kos himself told everyone to toughen up just recently.  I didn't agree with it, I thought he should have promoted more civility, but this is his site and that is his advice.   It should be up to Hunter to accept or not accept Jerome's apology, and maybe we should all just stay out of it from here on out as the ballooning of the whole drama is confusing at the very least.    

    •  I appreciated Jerome's clarification and apology (15+ / 0-)

      It's generated some interesting follow up in the comments. So i don't see this diary as reopening wounds.
      It may make you uncomfortable, but sometimes we need a bit of discomfort to promote growth.

      I listen to wingnut radio so you don't have to!

      by Sharon on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 09:21:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Purity" is a distraction from the actual issue. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spit, taylormattd, TiaRachel, Dauphin

    It is one thing to say that everybody here must always be against advocating disproportionate force.  We are ALL purists, to some extent; I think we all agree that everybody here must oppose escalation, for example.

    But that is a far cry from putting someone on the same side as Cheney.

    The primary objection many of us have is not with purity, but with the inanity of certain styles of argument.

  •  These be parlous times (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inky, SarahLee, conchita, sidnora, Unbill

    Our inability to end the war is driving us all frantic. Hence we fight a lot among ourselves.  I was saddened recently to see some liberal groups go after liberal evangelist Jim Loomis  It seems his sin is having faith, even if he's against the fundmentalists.
      Across the aisle, I was equally saddened to see big game hunter Jim Zumbo lose his gigs at Remington and Outdoor Life  for having had the temerity to say he didn't think assault rifles were sutiable for hunting.  6000 raving emails later and the poor man is a pariah among his own.
       Meanwhile here in the Catskills, It seems that the NIMBY crowd is pretty successful at blocking wind power.
        Toujours gai, and as always, gratitude and admiration to Jerome.  

  •  Human group behavior (5+ / 0-)

    It's the norm for people in a group to act as less than the sum of their parts.  The larger the group, the more true this is.  The function of real leadership is to create the atmosphere and circumstances that people in group can avoid falling to the lowest commom denominator.  True leadership, in this sense, is not a matter of office or position or popularity, but of personal character that brings out the best among their peers and equals acting in a group.  The essetial difference between leadership and demagogery is that the demagogue panders to the lowest common denominator.

  •  doesn't this diary break DKos Rules 101? (0+ / 0-)

    by calling out an individual diarist?

    Just askin'?

    •  No, it's OK (6+ / 0-)

      If the title of the diary was, "I dare Hunter to respond to this" or the like, then it would violate the "calling out" rule. But within the body of the diary, it's OK to address something brought up in another diary.

      That said, metacontent at that level is discouraged.

      For example, Jerome's diary here could have been easily written without any reference to Hunter at all. Jerome could have referred to "my previous diary" and linked to it. Then, he could have pretty much said everything he said here with the same impact.

      Those not following this bruhaha that closely would, however, likely be confused and so here the diarist has to make the call between linking the diaries together more closely or simply letting the ideas speak for themselves in isolation. When it's that fine of an issue, then it breaks either way.

      "Calling out," as such, doesn't mean using your diary to apologize and clarify an issue, but it means goading another diarist, keeping a flame war going, airing laundry in public.

      Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

      by The Raven on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 09:32:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The spirit of the rule can mean simply writing (0+ / 0-)

        diaries about other Kossians instead of about issues and ideas.  And it is especially disconcerting for Jerome to return for another slap at it in such a passive agressive manner.  If his apology was sincere, he should have felt closure and not decided to go for the gusto and try again to get some shite stirred up.

        This is nonsense since this is a site with a mission to elect Democrats to elective office.  There isn't anything that describes engaging in unlimited and shameful ethnocentrism at a site of which you are a guest.  

        To use this forum to attack Americans or a particular Kossian is really unfortunate and in poor taste.  And it has provided an arena for some folks to continue to display poor manners and dig at other folks and their host.  

        My grandmother told me that "those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones" and if we all "swept our own doorsteps first, we wouldn't have time to sweep anyone's elses" and I have found both of these to be very true in my life.

        Excellent advise for one and all.  Shall we begin?

        Peace,
        PaintyKat

        WWYTR? "Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend" MLK

        by PaintyKat on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:57:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I would like to very humbly put forth (13+ / 0-)

    the idea that calling people purists, pragmatists, or whatever is kind of asking for trouble. Those can easily become fighting words. Is anyone familiar with the concept of E prime? It's fascinating. The idea is never to use all forms of "to be" such as is, was, am, has been, being, etc. If you do that, you have to think of a more accurate way to state something. It "magically"
    eliminates your ability to insult someone, even if unintentionally.
    OK I'll go hide under my bed now.

  •  But, this is exactly what Bush didn't do. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SarahLee, The Raven, SBE

    But I find the doctrine of overwhelming force, as such, and as brought to an extreme by the Bush administration

    Not in Iraq and not in Afghanistan.  He if had, there would have been no looting and the borders would have been sealed.  Overwhelming force can be violence diminishing in the long run.  However, it is important to make sure that force, of any kind, is required at all.  I am not a pacifist, and I am not a purity troll.  In fact, I resent that term because "centrist", who lay claim to pragmitist, seem to think it doesn't apply to them when it does.  

    "Often it does seem a pity that Noah and his party did not miss the boat." Mark Twain

    by dkmich on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 09:09:09 AM PST

    •  Hmm (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SarahLee, dkmich, SBE

      .  He if had, there would have been no looting and the borders would have been sealed.  Overwhelming force can be violence diminishing in the long run.

      I somewhat disagree with this point, but your other in this post is right on, IMO. We can disagree on this point without either of us being more or less pragmatic or pure -- we just disagree.

      More specifically, I think that the use of overwhelming force can be violence diminishing in the long run, but isn't always -- it depends on the particular circumstances. The occupation of Germany worked because of its context, not primarily because the force was overwhelming, IMO. Of course, it also depends on what you mean by "overwhelming" -- I think we'd be a lot better off in Iraq, regardless of my opposition to the war, if we'd sent in enough people to actually secure stuff once the government there fell. So it's a more complicated argument, really.

  •  I believe that this whole fracas is just plain (8+ / 0-)

    silly. Yes, ''purists'' can shut down a conversation - as can die-hard, Machiavellian pragmatists, for that matter. It's not a question of opinion but a question of character, method, and delivery.

    Furthermore, aren't progressives supposed to be dedicated to open, honest discussions? If someone holds different views (as long as the person isn't a troll) it should be welcomed, or at least accepted, should it not? I would like to point out a conversation with a right-winger in http://www.dailykos.com/... where we defeated him with arguments, not name-calling, though I wanted to slap him on a certain point... yet I restrained my doughnuts. People with opposing views have a knack for finding flaws in your arguments, which is useful, though unpleasant.

    Though I'm not very-well acquainted with the issue here, I would appeal to everyone to show restraint and dedication to discussion, even when you really don't want to. It's why we are on this site, is it not? Or, at least, that is why I'm here. For cliques and one-mindedness I can head over to SovietEmpire.com or Redstate.org.

    It is true that the internet encourages cliqueishness and fights, because it is difficult to discuss something in-depth unless you are sitting face-to-face with a person. Because of a lack of facial expressions, body language, and tones of voice misundersandings are also common. But we can vanquish these problems.

    I hope.

    Omne malum nascens facile opprimitur, inveteratum fit plerumque robustius. - Cicero

    by Dauphin on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 09:16:22 AM PST

  •  Why do you do this? (15+ / 0-)

    It does make it harder for those that disagree with them to be heard, however, as these voices have to make it to the reclist for each individual argument, and then have to face a possible onslaught of "friends of the front pager".

    This is nonsense.  There is a cadre of posters here who regularly get their views on the rec list--like you--based solely on their popularity with readers.  Often the rec'd diaries are front-and-center much longer--days, even--than a FP post, so your claim that it is "harder" for those whose views differ from the FP'ers to get their ideas visible is silly.  Shall I run down a list of frequent flyers on the rec list whose views often differ from those on the FP?  Let's be honest, okay?

    Provocative diaries and titles are one way to get some attention to arguments otherwise neglected on the front page.

    Again, this is a strawman argument.  The FP is ephemeral in nature depending upon how many posts go up.  The numbers of comments on a FP post are often the same, or, indeed, fewer than the numbers of comments on rec'd diaries.  There is no "neglect" occurring on this site and to suggest that there is is intellectually dishonest.  When people disagree with a FP post, they frequent draft diaries in addition to commenting--like you did--and their diaries end up on the rec list--like yours have.  

    It's sometimes over the top and unpleasant (and I plead guilty on both counts), but it's the way the site works. The massive support that diarists like OPOL, MSOC or myself get when we voice supposedly pure or supposedly extremist ideas should be a signal that there is a desire for some balance in the ideas that are being brought forward on the site.

    What you don't get is that this diary and those by OPOL or MSOC are the balance.  Are you suggesting there can be no balance until someone like you or OPOL or MSOC gets a FP gig?  That's absurd.  

    And about the National Enquirer-style headlines.  They're counterproductive because they distract from the point the diarist claims, at least, to be trying to make.  If you don't want your diary derailed, choose an appropriate title that reflects the content.  Tricking people into opening your diary just pisses people off.  

    And further, I don't give a rat's ass if you're from Paris, Maine.  Arrogance knows no borders.  Indeed, this diary started out on the right track with your apology for such dreadful judgment in lumping those who disagree with you "on the side of Cheney" or "helping Al Quaeda" but you didn't exactly close the deal with the remainder of the self-serving rhetoric that followed.  

    You can't have it both ways, which is what you seem to want to do.  There's a part of you that seems to want substantive discussion, albeit of your flavor, and there's a part of you that wants to poke a stick in the eye of everyone else--and then pretend you didn't mean it.  Behavior that occurs repeatedly is usually not accidental, it's habitual.  If you really want to provide some "balance" to what you view as FP posters who are too conservative, try laying off the ad hom, either direct or indirect, and stay on point.  

    It's all fun and games until the Vice President shoots someone in the face.

    by lightiris on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 09:26:32 AM PST

  •  Here's what's so infuriating about this (11+ / 0-)

    I'm not going to get into the question of whether you should be lecturing Americans from Paris about the proper response to 9/11. Let's consider that - and I mean the lecturing part, as opposed to participating in a debate, even with a critical mind set - a question of personal taste. (In the interest of full disclosure, I'm saying this as a European living in the U.S.)

    But what has exposed you to this purism firestorm - which gets on my nerves no end because of those self-proclaimed "centrists" and moderates who you've given another excuse to parade all their stereotypes while flaggellating a legion of very dead horses - is that you took Hunter's statement completely out of context to appropriate it for your own purposes. Hunter was attacking Cheney for dropping the ball in Afghanistan and needlessly starting an imperialistic adventure that has helped promote the cause of Al Qaeda like literally nothing else. Ever.

    Now, do you disagree with this position of Hunter's? I rather suspect you don't. And that's what makes your diary - and this one too - a tad disingenous, all due respect. You attack somebody who you know to be at least 99.95% of the way on your side - for what? As the raging centrists would have it, to take somebody who you very well know is admired around these parts as a moral authority and exploit him as a stepping stone (or a doormat, pick your metaphor) to promote yourself as even more pure? Tell me that's not the case. As Hunter said, we can have perfectly legitimate discussions about the strategy in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the campaigns against terrorists, that's not the issue. It's the decontextualized attack on Hunter, of all people, that's responsible for the current brouhaha.

    Damn George Bush! Damn everyone that won't damn George Bush! Damn every one that won't put lights in his window and sit up all night damning George Bush!

    by brainwave on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 09:27:33 AM PST

    •  Hmm (9+ / 0-)

      is that you took Hunter's statement completely out of context to appropriate it for your own purposes.

      Well, it wasn't the fundamental purpose of Hunter's post, no. But he also included it. I don't think it's a bad thing to discuss points that are brought up in a post, even if they're not the central ones. And I don't see what's so out of context about looking at that particular statement -- paragraph, really -- and saying wow, I really disagree with this part of your argument.

      As the raging centrists would have it, to take somebody who you very well know is admired around these parts as a moral authority and exploit him as a stepping stone (or a doormat, pick your metaphor) to promote yourself as even more pure?

      Wow, I don't see it that way at all. I see Jerome -- and some others here -- just looking at that piece of the argument and being bothered by it, saying so. Not to be "more pure", but because it's genuinely a little disturbing to some of us. Not that it negates the rest of Hunter's post, which I suspect many of us agree with.

      Hunter is a popular guy here, and I like him too. But he's not above criticism for the things he writes, even the things that aren't his main point. If you put it in writing here, it's going to be discussed -- that's the point of a discussion forum, no?

      •  How much does it take (7+ / 0-)

        to preface a post on the use of disproportionate force by saying something like "I completely agree with Hunter's position re. Iraq. But I would like to question the validity of the doctrine of overwhelming military deterrant, which Hunter seems to presuppose"? I'm pretty sure had Jerome phrased it that way we wouldn't have had the current shitstorm.  

        Damn George Bush! Damn everyone that won't damn George Bush! Damn every one that won't put lights in his window and sit up all night damning George Bush!

        by brainwave on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 09:41:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Fair enough (6+ / 0-)

          but one of the things about this format for discussion is that it's very easy to simply miscommunicate on stuff like that. In general, I think Jerome is very, very good at trying to respectfully disagree when points like this come up, and I'm not going to freak out about him failing to explicitly say something like "I agree with some of what Hunter says, but this part bugs me".

          I agree with you that it could have been phrased better. But responding to it with, essentially, "you &^#! purists making everybody's life hell and taking me out of context!" was not a way to try to bridge any misunderstanding, nor to ratchet down the very clannishness problem on this site that Hunter himself abhors. I'm not trying to cap on Hunter, either, understand -- I think he's just really frustrated by a lot of things -- but what winds up happening in 99% of these disagreements is that people just wind up talking past each other, rather than trying to find the source of their disagreement.

          •  I'm completely with you there (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Spit, CanadianBill

            Hunter overreacted. He blew a fuse and, as I said last night, instead of just letting Jerome have it as others might have, he launched into this tirade about purism. And what makes it worse is that both of these guys are excellent writers, so you have to assume that whatever they say they mean and whatever they don't they don't.

            Damn George Bush! Damn everyone that won't damn George Bush! Damn every one that won't put lights in his window and sit up all night damning George Bush!

            by brainwave on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 10:48:59 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  It was not out of context (9+ / 0-)

      Look, I've explained in this very diary why I think I did not quote him out of context. I linked to his article, and quoted the paragraph where he explained his doctrine (and then went on to explain how Cheney messed it up). He repeated the important bits of it several times, so there was no ambiguity about it. I wanted to criticize that doctrine, as embraced by Hunter, not what Cheney had done. So it's not decontextualised - it's about the core underlying premise of his argument about what a good strategy would be.

      Now, that does not make me right on this (it's a matter of opinion, obviously), but whether I agreed with him about Cheney messing up things in Iraq was irrelevant to my point - actually, I think Cheney messed up for different reasons that Hunter wrote, because of that disagreement on doctrine.

      •  You're not going to seriously claim (5+ / 0-)

        that the strategy of retalliation with overwhelming force was the main point of Hunter's diary, are you? You're not going to claim that this was even a secondary point in Hunter's text, are you? It was a presupposition twice embedded in an argument whose primary target wasn't even BushCo dragging us into Iraq, but Cheney's claim that Pelosi and Murtha are helping Al-fracking-Qaeda by trying to extract us. And do you disagree with these main points of Hunter's? And did you bother to mention any of this in your diary? No, as a matter of fact, you didn't. What you did say is that

        Hunter is, on a fundamental level, on the same side as Dick Cheney. <snip> It's a shame to read the words above on the front page of Dailykos.

        And that's what gives your post this infuriating holier-than-though appearance of outrange mongering. Sorry.

        Damn George Bush! Damn everyone that won't damn George Bush! Damn every one that won't put lights in his window and sit up all night damning George Bush!

        by brainwave on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 10:28:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It was not the main point (5+ / 0-)

          but it was, in my view (note: that's just my personal opinion, again) a very important premise of his argument, and thus one worth discussing specifically.

          As to your quote, I have apologized for it, and will do so again if needed. I should simply have written that this was a fairly traditional vision of US foreign policy, shared by many on both sides of the aisle (and pushed to outrageous extremes by the Bush/Cheney crew).

          •  As for that part (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            taylormattd, cappy

            I would actually argue that Hunter was mistaken in citing the doctrine of disproportionate response in the context of the war in Afghanistan. Overwhelming response as a stratageme seems to really belong in the context of nuclear deterrance during the Cold War. It's not clear what "disproportionate response" would even mean in the case of the Afghan war. Bringing down the Taliban wasn't in any way measured in scale to the number of casualties of 9/11. It wasn't designed to be overwhelming - it was designed to remove the most important safe haven of Al Qaeda.

            Now, do you really want to argue that it was wrong of the U.S. government - yes even a government led by the The Idiot King and His Evil Gang of Motherfuckers - to try to take out, in response to 9/11, the Taliban and remove Al Qaeda's camps from the region? Let me put it this way - of all the wars the U.S. has fought since 1945, declared or undeclared, open or covert, the invasian of Afghanistan was among the most justified and the most sensible actions. If you really seriously disagree with that, then I can't help thinking you expect a country attacked by terrorists to just hold out the other cheek. And if that's the way you feel, then I don't see how there can be any further serious discussion about this, as far as I'm concerned.

            If you OTOH don't deny that the Afghanistan invasion  was arguably the right thing to do, morally and strategically, then you merely object to Hunter's use of the - as I see it, inappropriate - use of the phrase "disproportionate response" and the concept behind it. Which means you wrote a diary to excoriate Hunter for a minor side issue in his post that as it turns out wasn't even really germaine to his argument.

            Damn George Bush! Damn everyone that won't damn George Bush! Damn every one that won't put lights in his window and sit up all night damning George Bush!

            by brainwave on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 12:35:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Jerome agrees with you (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              brainwave

              My argument was not about his conclusion (the war on Afghanistan was necessary) but about his premise (disproportionate reaction is necessary, and will deter further attacks). I actually happen to think that the attack on Afghanistan was justified (as did the United Nations, btw) - just not by the doctrine Hunter professes.

              •  Okay then (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                taylormattd, cookiebear, cappy

                That to me means that Jerome indeed "wrote a diary to excoriate Hunter for a minor side issue in his post that as it turns out wasn't even really germaine to his argument". And for what? If he was interested in discussing the principle of disproportionate response, why did he have to frame his post as an attack on Hunter? As if Hunter was a major proponent of this doctrine? As if this question was a major fork in the road for the dKos community? As if this was something anybody except for Jerome had put a great deal of stock in? Why didn't he just say "You know, I think Hunter is absolutely right about Afghanistan, Iraq, and Cheney. But I think ge got it wrong on the doctrine of overwhelming response he's referencing, and here's why:" - that would have been the way to do it.

                Damn George Bush! Damn everyone that won't damn George Bush! Damn every one that won't put lights in his window and sit up all night damning George Bush!

                by brainwave on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 02:39:18 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Your way of phrasing it (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  taylormattd, mataliandy, brainwave

                  would have certainly have come across a lot better:

                  "You know, I think Hunter is absolutely right about Afghanistan, Iraq, and Cheney. But I think he got it wrong on the doctrine of overwhelming response he's referencing, and here's why:" - that would have been the way to do it.

                  Kudos for that.

      •  Then how is that others (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        taylormattd, mataliandy, cookiebear

        did not take away the same from reading Hunter's post?  I and several others read the same post that you read and do not agree with you that Hunter was advocating a doctrine of "disproportionate force is the only way to deter terrorists?"  I fail to understand how any of us are infallible.  You have explained the reasoning behind your conclusion but that does not make your conclusion correct.  

      •  You lifted (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cookiebear, brainwave, jhritz

        a few lines from an exceedingly long post about how Dick Cheney helped al-qaida and implied that Hunter was a warmongerer, that DKos helped al-qaida, and that Hunter was like Dick Cheney.

      •  Jerome..."pearls before swine" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        suicide blonde, Diaries

        Perhaps you "cast your pearls before swine". "Let him who has ears to hear..."

        Thing is...some of these people would much rather argue than engage in dialoge. Perhaps they're bored, a trip to Iraq would do them some good...yes? :)

        No matter you set things right...oh, hell no, they will continue until the next meta war comes along.

        Also, they DO have their sacred cows they will protect at all costs.

        Thank you for all you very fine work here. You're about the only one I read anymore.

  •  It seems to me that the support (24+ / 0-)

    for disproportional force is based on the belief that people are deterred from engaging in negative behaviors by the example of what happened to others who engaged in behavior similar to what they might contemplate.  Indeed, much of our "get tough on criminals" policy in the domestic setting is motiated by the same assumption.  But, there is no evidence to support that it works.
    People who contemplate anti-social behavior usually involving someone else of something to which they have a right (privacy, personal security, property, life itself) aren't directed by the example of others, but by a firm conviction that THEY can do what others can't.  The Bushes, of course, are prime examples.  That their actions and directives are bound to fail, in the sense of not achieving their declared objectives, is entirely beside the point.
    The criminal mind isn't directed by reason or example; the criminal mind is directed either by hubris or extreme mental incompetence, which inhibits it from anticipating the real consequences of its acts.
    If Bush/Cheney has demonstrated anything, it's that most of our assumptions about the genesis and origin of anti-social behavior are wrong.

    •  So far (7+ / 0-)

      This may be the best comment to the diary. Agreed totally.

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

      by eugene on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 09:42:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  We learned at law school that (17+ / 0-)

      punishment is extremely ineffective in preventing crimes. The two factors are (1) the reward for criminal behaviour, and (2) the chances of getting caught. All statisctics show that the relation between punishment and crime rates is practically non-existent.

      Furthermore, punishment almost never affects crimes comitted out of emotions, since they have no rational basis. And no, criminals usually aren't directed by hubris or mental incompetence; the usual motives are greed, lust, desperation, and extreme emotions.

      Omne malum nascens facile opprimitur, inveteratum fit plerumque robustius. - Cicero

      by Dauphin on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 09:43:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Death penalty (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      suicide blonde

      I agree with you.

      I wonder if there is a link between this belief in  "efficiency" of disproportional force and the support of death penalty?

    •  As a corrolorary (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jerome a Paris

      Not only is disproportionate force unlikely to be successful, but so too is invading/occupying another country and expecting the population to welcome you with flowers. (And here I use occupying to mean a stay of more than a week intending to pacify or stabilize a country.)

      What was interesting about the initial part of the Afghanistan operation was that so few US troops were used. Very smartly they used the Northern Alliance and helped them out instead. Unfortunately once the Taliban were overthrown the internal rivalries took over and the West succumbed to the folly of pouring in their own forces. These forces were not required. If they were unable to keep the Taliban at bay then the Taliban obviously had too much local support. We have to ask why the Taliban have that much support!

      I would argue though that any military support in Afghanistan should only use limited US/NATO forces (special ops). The majority of the fighting must be done by locals. Everytime a NATO/US soldier goes into a local house to search it you set up another possible "freedom fighter".

      It is now clear that Nato is not "winning" because the Taliban have local support in much of the country. You can not win military that way when you are the outsider.

      Americans, better than most should remember that they fought a war of independence against what would become an occupying force.

      Vietnam involved occupying another country for the US

      Afghanistan involved occupying another country for the Russians.

      Iraq involves occupying another country for the US.

      Just think about it...if anyone from outside comes in to run your country and does not speak the same language and is not of the same religion..and...how likely are you to trust them.

      Simple rule...unless you have a very broad worldwide coalition (a la Gulf War 1) just don't do it! No matter what!

      Just because you can doesn't mean you should!

      by taonow on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 04:24:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Disproportionate force is not a strategy... (17+ / 0-)

    at least not one that works in all cases as many Americans seem to think.

    While it is not entirely clear that the bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki constitute disproportionate force, or at least the only example of disproportionate force in the context of WW II, it is important to know that WW II did not end in the mushroom cloud over Nagasaki, it ended with negotiation. Proof of this is in the existance of the Monarchy in Japan. Back channel negotiations ensured the continued existance of the Emperor and in exchange Hirohito himself made the famous radio speech explaining surrender to the Japanese people.

    Someone honestly mistaken, when confronted with the truth, must cease to be one or the other

    by Inventor on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 09:39:23 AM PST

  •  Oh, you're from Europe? (16+ / 8-)

    The same Europe that stood by while Milosevic slaughtered thousands in your own backyards? At least no one can accuse you of initiating "disproportionate force."

  •  Excellent diary, Jerome (17+ / 0-)

    I think we should be questioning these concepts of disproportionate force more often. Whether it's "shock and awe" or some other form, Americans keep trying to delude themselves that simply applying overwhelming force outside the industrialized world will cause the people there to suddenly stop what they're doing, acknowledge our superiority, and do our bidding.

    This is where we can learn a great deal from the European - particularly the French - perspective. During the 20th century France fought several wars to maintain its empire, and was itself the target of such a war. In both Indochina and Algeria the French learned that disproportionate force accomplished absolutely nothing, except helping delude the government into thinking it could somehow win the war and therefore drag it out for years on end. In World War II the French themselves demonstrated that even in the face of Nazi persecutions, and their application of disproportionate force, you could not keep an entire population down.

    The valuation of "disproportionate force" is a common tactic of imperial powers seeking to maintain their control over colonized spaces, and it never succeeds in accomplishing anything but more bloodshed and the delay of the inevitable - loss and withdrawal for the imperial power.

    I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

    by eugene on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 09:51:44 AM PST

    •  And "pre-emptive war" (5+ / 0-)

      That one troubles me, too. As expressed by the Cheney "one-percent doctrine," if there's even a 1% chance of a hostile regime doing something against our interests, then we ought to act as if we have a 99% assurance that they will do so.

      It's this line of thinking that is ratcheting up the rhetoric and pressure on Iran. The most disturbing application of the idea is that, by its own definition, it justifies engaging in war before all other options have been explored.

      Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

      by The Raven on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:37:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The doctrine of disporportionate force is... (22+ / 0-)

    something that should be a major problem for an Kossack.  It is a doctrine of empire, if not a doctrine of fascism.  It is not a doctrine that should ever be adopted by a republic.

    Being the biggest bully on the block wouldn't have prevented 9/11, nor will it prevent a future one.  Paying attention to obvious warnings, following up on leads, and having a WH that vigorously coordinates the activities of law enforcement and intelligence agencies are the keys to fighting terrorism.  None of those things occurred in the summer of 2001 when warning lights were going off all over the place.  I'm not sure if these activities are really going on now.

    As someone who is of Irish descent, I'm familiar w/ the repeated British application of the doctrine of disproportionate force in my ancestral homeland.  It's not a model that I ever wanted to see my actual homeland adopt.  I always thought that the frequent attempts of this WH to adopt them were almost universally opposed on this site.

    Putting peoples' personal feelings aside, I don't understand the concept of anyone here advocating the use of disproportionate force.

    Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

    by RFK Lives on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 10:00:55 AM PST

  •  In America, if it's worth doing, (8+ / 0-)

    it's worth over-doing.

    17. Ne5

    In chess you may hit a man when he's down -- Irving Chernev, on Przepiorka v. Prokes, Budapest, 1929

    by Spud1 on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 10:08:28 AM PST

  •  Jerome, you are always welcome (9+ / 0-)

    I enjoy your diaries and your perspective.

    The problem with disproportionate response is that it is available for all sides.

    If I say, "For every person you kill, I will kill 10 of yours." And the enemy says the same, what do we get but an increasing spiral of killing?  How can that be a good thing?

    We've had that in Northern Ireland, the Middle East.  It's craziness.

    I remember when the abortion clinic attacks and burnings became a common news headline.

    In an article in the New York Times Magazine, a Viet Nam peace activist said about the abortion clinic attacks:  "Oh, the right tactics are being used by the wrong people."

    No, sir, when you legitimize a course of action for one group of people, you legitimize it for all.

    My moniker is in honor of three generations of women whose soul's were seared in the cauldron of Hell's Kitchen, NYC

    by hells kitchen on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 10:14:17 AM PST

  •  hey jerome- thoughts on the TXU buyout? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerome a Paris, blue vertigo

    apparently the biggest private equity buyout just got even bigger, near $50billion. According to grist   there were 'green' conditions in the agreement, including a stipulation that TXU "abandon" plans to build 8 ut of 11 coal-fired power plants, in Texas I believe it was. ALso, I think I saw a news report that an Austin judge had ruled against TXU's project plans. KNow anything about all of this?

    -8.63, -3.18 rethugs have blood on their hands.

    by feingoldforVP on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 10:18:41 AM PST

  •  Cheney Thinks All is Going Splendidly (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mattes, corvo, SBE

    in Iraq.

    Why?

    If he thinks this, he has a reason for doing so.

    That rationale should be examined.

    If, in Cheney's eyes, all is going well in Iraq, then what does that fact imply?

    Instead of simply denigrating the mind-set, thinking people would do well to examine this fact.

    Perhaps Iraq is going just as Cheney wants it to go.

    If that is so, where does that lead us?

  •  I don't get your position ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mattes, SBE

    on disproportionate force.

    You say you agree that the invasion of Afghanistan was right.  But what is taking down an entire government if not a disproportionate response?

    So you support a disproportionate response, but allegedly not because it's disproportionate.  Fine.  But clearly you don't actually oppose disproportionate responses, or you wouldn't be able to agree with the invasion of Afghanistan.

    Finally, you highlight "in this case" as if that made the passage you clipped out something irrelevant to the point you were arguing against (thereby attempting to justify that action.)  But it wasn't an ancillary point at all - it was the heart and soul of Hunters point in that paragraph.  It gave a specific explication of exactly what kind of disproportionate force is appropriate.  A specific disproportional response which I remind you you are on record supporting.  By cutting that out, you could then argue against some undefined (but presumably worse) version.

    "When watchdogs, bird dogs, and bull dogs morph into lap dogs, lazy dogs, or yellow dogs, the nation is in trouble." - Ted Stannard

    by jrooth on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 10:32:41 AM PST

    •  You (6+ / 0-)

      can not say that a disproportionate response is justified.  That distorts the meaning of the word, which included the premise that whatever is being described is not justifiable.

      disproportionate [disprəˈpoːʃənət] adjective; too large or too small in relation to something else

      What Hunter was saying is that acts of terrorism should be punished with enough strength that it acts as a deterrent.  For example, blowing up the largest buildings in Kabul and sending a missile into their miitary headquarters (an exactly proportionate response would not be adequate as a deterrant.  That's Hunter's argument.  Make of it what you will.

      What Jerome is saying is that a reaction to 9/11 should not be too this or too that.  It should be a reasoned reaction.

      This is a big argument over semantics.

      •  If thet's really the issue (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        taylormattd

        then what a stupid argument.

        But for the hell of it, I looked up "disproportionate" in both my OED and Websters unabridged - and the definition given is "out of proportion, as in size or number."

        Now I can read that perfectly well to mean one is much larger than the other without necessarily being unjustifiable.  That's how I was reading it when I said that taking down an entire government (which Jerome agreed was justifiable, as do I) is disproportionate to the 9/11 attack.

        "When watchdogs, bird dogs, and bull dogs morph into lap dogs, lazy dogs, or yellow dogs, the nation is in trouble." - Ted Stannard

        by jrooth on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:37:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's how I see it, too (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        taylormattd, jrooth

        This is a big argument over semantics.

        Indeed. The interpretation of "disproportionate" is probably the main item of contention. Viewed as "way over the top" and "out of all proportion to the circumstances," there's room to criticize it. I found it to be a rare misfire on Hunter's part, and said so in a comment.

        In an extended sense, meaning "very strong," "overwhelming," "massive," etc., it wasn't that problematic. The other discussion here, regarding "purity trolls" and "pragmatists," is also a semantic problem. Writing clearly is an extremely difficult business.

        Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

        by The Raven on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:59:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (4+ / 0-)

        What Jerome is saying is that a reaction to 9/11 should not be too this or too that.  It should be a reasoned reaction.

        Sort of. I'm reading more as a critique of the idea that the use of -- skipping "disproportionate", I'll go with "overwhelming" how 'bout -- force as a deterrent is both ineffective and inappropriate. But Jerome is here, so he can certainly clarify his view.

        I have a real problem with the idea that you can stop terrorism through this kind of deterrence, whether you call the force involved "overwhelming" or "disproportionate" or whatever. I'm not saying we should have no military response, ever -- sometimes, it makes sense. But I am saying that using sheer force primarily as deterrence is never, ever, ever going to work in these situations.

        That, IMO, is more at the core of the argument than the definition of "disproportionate" is. And it's about a lot more than semantics then, IMO -- it's about an underlying philosophy of defense, of what will or will not work in combatting terrorism.

        •  Well ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Spit, Jerome a Paris

          I guess I'd agree that one can't directly deter terrorism that way particularly effectively.

          But there's another element here - the government of Afghanistan, which chose to harbor al Qaeda.  And I do maintain that, in general, the people who run governments are for the most part rational actors who can be deterred. This is true even of most governments we really don't like - say Iran or Syria or whatever.

          So I think there's at least a reasonable argument for  overwhelming response for that reason - it can deter governments from harboring or supporting terrorist organizations.  Of course for this to be valid, one really needs to be a hell of a lot more judicious (not to mention effective) in one's use of such force than this administration has been.  Witness how our Iraq debacle has had the opposite effect.

          "When watchdogs, bird dogs, and bull dogs morph into lap dogs, lazy dogs, or yellow dogs, the nation is in trouble." - Ted Stannard

          by jrooth on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 01:10:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't entirely disagree (4+ / 0-)

            but I think it's more complicated. Because with things like this:

            it can deter governments from harboring or supporting terrorist organizations.

            First off, it depends on the strength of the government to control whether or not a terrorist organization can operate from within its borders. I'm thinking here of Lebanon, a case where deterrence doesn't work because the government simply doesn't have the power to boot any "terrorist" group within it. In fact, I'd argue that -- walking away from the specific example so as not to get muddled -- in those cases, using overwhelming force as a "deterrent" winds up instead only strengthening the group's ability to operate within a now highly angered population.

            But overall, I think you're right -- deterrence can work on governments. The problem is that we're not generally fighting governments now, frankly. Even where we are, we can pretty quickly dispatch the government, and we're left with an insurgency or whatnot that again cannot be countered with deterrence alone.

            When it comes to terrorist groups that get the bulk of their support from non-governmental forces (from the population itself, maybe, or from factions within the government but not the whole of the government), then overwhelming force deters nobody, because you're invariably hitting the wrong people while you go after that group, and thereby increasing their support.

            •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Spit

              So the upshot of this is that military action is only one small part of the answer.  But it is one part - including sometimes making overwhelming responses like we initially did (but failed to follow through on with all the stabilization and society building and law enforcement etc.) in Afghanistan.

              "When watchdogs, bird dogs, and bull dogs morph into lap dogs, lazy dogs, or yellow dogs, the nation is in trouble." - Ted Stannard

              by jrooth on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 01:31:13 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Maybe (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                SarahLee, mataliandy, conchita, ignatz uk

                it can be one part, and sometimes it will have to be IMO -- I'm not a pacifist, though I respect the point of view.

                What bothered me about Hunter's comment -- really just a small piece of a much larger subject -- was that it assumed at the base that doctrine of force-as-deterrence being valid, being a true thing. And while it may seem like a subtle distinction, I think it's an absolutely vital one -- one of the reasons I think our country is flailing around at the whole world right now is that we have failed to realize that all our displays of overwhelming force add up to jack shit when we're fighting enemies that cannot be defeated, and are in fact usually strengthened, in that way. It's an attitude that uses force as an end in itself -- making the "punishment" not worth the "crime" -- rather than seeing force as a sad but perhaps sometimes necessary means to an end when all else fails.

                The difference in wording is maybe teensy, but the difference in underlying philosophy is huge, and I'm glad the point got brought up. It's something that needs to be questioned, not reinforced through "any reasonable person believes this to be true" attitudes on the front page. I'm not even saying that's what Hunter meant, but it is, in fact, how it came off to me.

                As for Afghanistan, I have mixed feelings on our invasion there. I was dubious we'd actually follow through, and sadly I appear to have been right.

              •  Thanks guys (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Spit, SarahLee, conchita, suicide blonde

                Nice dialogue on the topic I had raised.

  •  This "Trusted User" shit is getting old (8+ / 0-)

    One day you are a TU, the next day, not.  Then you're a TU again, and you lighten up posting for a few days, and you're once again, not.

    It's almost as if someone revels in making fine moral distinctions ("trust"), as our Purse-Lipped President would say, "at the whim of a hat."

    Their real God is money-- Jesus just drives the armored car. © 2006 All Rights Reserved

    by oblomov on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 10:41:00 AM PST

  •  If you say this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mataliandy, shaharazade, SBE

    I actually happen to think that the attack on Afghanistan was justified...

    then you must agree that Cuba would be justified in attacking (if it were possible to get away with!) the USA for harboring Luis Posada Carriles.  No?

    'Be the change you want to see in the world.' Mahatma Gandhi

    by maracatu on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:02:26 AM PST

  •  A I understand it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerome a Paris, TiaRachel

    The site may welcome a foreigner's perspective, but the site remains dedicated to American Politics (if not getting Dems elected), so that perspective has to take into account how relevant it is to American Politics.  If the Iraq war proves anything it's that's what's right for one country will often not be right for another.

    Now.  I thought the changing of the title was an act of contrition enough.

    I didn't see any flame wars result of that very well written post.  I guess I missed 'em.

    Now.  The notion of purity is, and how it functions on this blog is going to be a very contentious topic of discussion.  I look at it through the lens of whatever tension exists between positions on issues informed by Ideology and those positions on issues that are formed by looking at the facts and liklihood of the potential consequences.  The reason why this is so contentious is because Ideologically motivated people are rightly offended for someone else to imply they haven't looked at the facts.  The two motivations are obviously co-existent within all of us.  Idealogically driven people (pure) can and will look at facts.  And people motivated by Practicality are in no way shape or form immune to the sway of Ideology.  

    Not only that.  Joe Klein, himself, has proven that a strictly Practical perspeotive on an issue can be fetishized by the Practical Advocate to the point where the rhetoric surrounding a Practical decisions starts to sound like Ideology.

    All this almost makes it amost impossible to discuss this shit.

    What I do know is that Hunter, the guy who wrote the first piece on Terrorism was not advocating for a Neo-Con policy that is primary rooted in might makes right.  Quite the contrary.  I think that should have been obvious to anyone who considers himself on the same side as Hunter in a Nationalized debate.

    At the same time, the complete and total entirety of discussion on blogs is ... well.... it had occured to me at the time, and I decided not to post a comment as such.  It appeared Jerome's response used [uh, yep] used disproportionate force to rebuke (Defeat???) Hunter's original piece.  Which I figured was kind of funny at the time.

    In any case, people can't say Sen. Clinton would have started the Iraq War.  They know she would not have.  People can't say Sen. Clinton would leave troops in Iraq.  They know she would get troops out of harms way as fast as Obama or any other candidates.  They know they are responding to rhetoric.  A kind of rhetoric that doesn't meet standards of purity on this blog that is informed by not so much Ideology, but the needs of the movement, the movement being whatever was started by Howard Dean and still continues to this day on this blog.

    How is that relevant?  Jerome's response to Hunter was no different than any other response here I see (on the front page and elsewhere) about Sen. Clinton.  Hunter says we should have swept into the hills of Afghanistan with everything we got and got the bastards (we should have, and Jerome agrees we should have) and, if anyone didn't want to be a dick about it, one would assume Hunters's not advocating for the neo-con approach to Terrorism.  What I've noticed is anything Sen. Clinton says on this blog is given the same treatment/benefit of the doubt.

    I really don't know what that means in terms of purity/ideology/practicality, but I can say that if there's one thing that this movement has in common with the DC Establishment Punditocracy it's that if we can't pretend people mean things they never said, discussion would cease to exist.

    "I think this perspective misreads the American people." -- Barack Obama on the Netroots' 'storyline'.

    by Edgar08 on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:34:44 AM PST

    •  I screwed up the punch line (0+ / 0-)

      Because if we can't pretend people mean things we know they didn't say, we, on this side of a Nationalized debate would never disagree.

      "I think this perspective misreads the American people." -- Barack Obama on the Netroots' 'storyline'.

      by Edgar08 on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:36:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You owe Hunter a personal apology, (5+ / 0-)

    in my opinion. This is not the correct place to be offering up your mea culpa.

    I'm not impressed, at all.

    - 8.88 - 9.54 Take the test

    by shpilk on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 11:40:08 AM PST

  •  If Only We Could "Import" You (6+ / 0-)

    I think it's a shame that the way politics is you, a foreigner, can't be a front pager. Worse still, getting you some kind of dual citizenship, assuming you don't already have it, wouldn't help.

    Needless to say, I'm a big fan of your diaries on energy and economics. They offer a cogent and original viewpoint that I wish was more "mainstream" here in terms of exposure. Even if you aren't a Front Pager, Jerome, you are an Institution here, and the community's the better for it.

  •  Disproportionate Responses (4+ / 0-)

    Whether or not responding to attacks with disproportionate force is right, or good, it's been longstanding policy for as long as our country has been around.

    Our very first foreign military action (the Barbary Pirate Wars) was arguably using disproportionate military force in response to an attack on American shipping.  We sent six frigates filled with cannon and marines to dismantle a privateering operation.  Compare this to the European response, which was just to bribe the pirates (and they had both more ships at risk, and more warships to respond with).

    Since then, many of our conflicts could be categorized as disproportionate responses.  Even less flattering, you could describe them as "The US stuck it's neck out where it wasn't welcome, got hit on the head, then reacted by killing the guy with the hammer and his whole family".  The Mexican American Wars and the Pacific theater of WWII are just two more famous examples of this.

    My point is that disproportionate response is nothing new, by now it's probably even expected both by our citizens and by the world at large.  Working to end this policy would be a slow and thankless task; as you can see by Hunter's comments, even much of the left is likely to work against you.  We're certainly not all pacifists.

    I'm just suggesting you take a moment to understand what you are arguing against.  It's not the "side of Cheney", but an ingrained (but yes, arguably unhealthy) habit in US Foreign Policy for as long as there's been a United States.

  •  Jerome... (0+ / 0-)

    I love your diaries and your view point. Of course, I am in envy of you because I would love to live in Europe...but that's not the point. ;)

    I wish that we could all stop with the whole 'my country is better than your country' crap. It's so ridiculous. We have a world to take care of, can't we all start working on that together? Any country that starts wars based on lies should be brought down, because they are going against the goal of having all the people in this world get along with each other, be healthy, and have a chance to live in a safe environment.

    So, please...could we just all stop with the nation bashing? I don't know who's doing it...but, it just doesn't achieve anything.

    No Retreat Baby, No Surrender

    by WI Dem on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 12:19:35 PM PST

  •  Frankly.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerome a Paris, harrylimelives

    Politics are fractious, frustrating and painful.

    More so because you're generally unbearably self-righteous.

    Your post facto apologies are fine. It would be better if you'd learn to understand, or at least wait a while before judging.

  •  Not sure why you wrote this diary (4+ / 0-)

    While I am on your side as to what the proper response to terrorism is, the debate is really about a very specific event and circumstances that happened in the past.  For example, I don’t think "over whelming" force is what Hunter would proscribe for McVie and the Oklahoma bombing just because it makes no sense.  What Hunter, and you, may support in the future will depend on future circumstances.

    So, those who took exception to your remarks have had their say.  You have given your rebuttal.  If this is the last diary on the subject, I think that would be good.  It’s not really worth debating compared to so many other things.  

    Do the right thing 'cause it feels better.

    by John Boy on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 12:55:45 PM PST

  •  As ususal, late to the party (9+ / 0-)

    but IMO Jerome nails it in this paragraph

    Another thing is that front pagers have a more portentous voice than others - they get to bring their ideas on the front page, and have a strong recognition that ensures that their comments will be noted too. While there are good reasons for them to be on the front page, including a tough selection process, it does not mean that they are necessarily right on everything. It does make it harder for those that disagree with them to be heard, however, as these voices have to make it to the reclist for each individual argument, and then have to face a possible onslaught of "friends of the front pager" (note - see this comment about what i mean by "friend"). Provocative diaries and titles are one way to get some attention to arguments otherwise neglected on the front page. It's sometimes over the top and unpleasant (and I plead guilty on both counts), but it's the way the site works. The massive support that diarists like OPOL, MSOC or myself get when we voice supposedly pure or supposedly extremist ideas should be a signal that there is a desire for some balance in the ideas that are being brought forward on the site. And front pagers repeatedly insulting posters is unlikely to signal anything other than that these large swathes of opinion are unwelcome on dkos (and it makes protests about the tone of the site ring somewhat hollow). Most regulars can be assumed to share the stated goal of the site. Their disagreement on various issues of substance are not to be taken as betrayal of these stated goals. (my emphasis)

    Everybody has opinions, ideas and their own way of approaching a problem or an issue.  For anybody, but particularly FPers, to insult a poster because they may disagree on "various issues of substance" is beyond the pale and hits below the belt.  I agree with Jerome that most of time (real trolls excepted) a person who does not agree with someone else or sees things from a different perspective is not betraying this site or any other commenter.  What they are doing is expressing their own opinions or beliefs, which they have the right to do.  And a FPer or anyone who posts a diary does not have a monopoly on what's wrong and what's right. Unless someone is clearly offensive, on the attack and writing offensive, racist, inappropriate comments, everyone here should be entitled to state their opinions, perspectives and yes disagreements with what a diarist or anybody else may write without fear of being attacked for what they contributed to the discussion.  It's up to each and everyone of us to carry on a respectful and civilized dialog even when someone else disagrees with us.  I've seen some pretty vicious attacks on folks simply because they disagree with someone or offer a different take or perspective on an issue.  The vitriol that ensues is often vicious and disgraceful and I've often wondered why the victims of such attacks stick around here and put up with the abuse they receive.    It's like Rodney King so famously stated, "Why can't we all just get along?"    

     

    •  I think we should remember (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Unbill

      that Hunter is Markos' employee these days.

      Markos has a financial stake in this blog and further Markos has stated that extreme views are unwelcome.

      I believe Markos thinks that extremes (and 9/11 conspiracists etc.) wreck the blog, make it look goofy and non-credible, and thus impact his advertising, bottom line and his own possible viability in a future career in consulting or being a commentator.

      I just look at what Hunter, Markos and the other FP-ers do through money-colored lenses, and I understand it better.

  •  Lumping people is not a good idea (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade

    "Americans" believe this
    "Europeans" believe that
    "Kossacks" behave thus and so
    "This site" is this way

    Oy

    SOME Americans believe that we should nuke the middle east.  SOME believe we should kill all the Jews. SOME believe George Bush is a good President, and, of course, some believe in the rather less ludicrous notion (on which I am not going to state my opinion) that the Afghanistan war was justified.

    Some Europeans hate America, and regard it as the source of all evil in the world.  Some Europeans think Arabs are all terrorists (Le Pen, anyone?).  And, of course, SOME Europeans believe the rather less notion that the war in Afghanistan was NOT justified.

    Some kossacks believe the site should be just for Americans.  The SITE does not believe that, because a SITE cannot have beliefs.  The OWNER of the site DOES have beliefs, and, while I have not asked kos his views, it is quite evident that he does NOT believe that the site should be so restricted.

    Let's not lump people together in groups unless those groups make sense.  

    What are you reading? on Friday mornings
    What have you got to learn? (or teach) on Saturdays

    by plf515 on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 01:09:46 PM PST

  •  I believe that 09/11/01 (0+ / 0-)
    was aided and abetted by persons born in the USA.

    Persons bereft of heart, evil usurped their reality.

    Don't believe in evil?

    Heh.

    What an excellent day for an Exorcism... SCI/Kenyon

    by DianeL on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 01:43:54 PM PST

  •  Superb diary! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    conchita, 42, suicide blonde

    This site wouldn't be what it is w/o you, Jerome. If the day ever comes where you're not welcome here...nah, not going there.

    Your candidness, willingness to admit mistakes, and courage to speak your mind = integrity of the highest order. And your VISION is remarkable.

    Don't leave until the energy crisis is over, OK? {g} /snark

    cdn

    "It's a lot of easier to throw grenades than it is to catch them." --Tim Russert

    by grndrush on Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 03:42:10 PM PST

  •  What a great diary! Just great! Really great! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grndrush

    Hoorah, diarist!

    Onward and (generally) upward with dkos!

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