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February 18, 2004

Comments

Paul Craddick

With Gaddis as the tutor, one would do well to look at one of the primary sources in this discussion, the National Security Strategy Document published in September 2002.

Aside from its own internal merits - qua document - the NSS invalidates the vogue claim that the administration's case kept "changing" in the run-up to the war. Nearly all of the themes which were touched upon as justifying the invasion of Iraq appear here, in "integral" fashion; that is to say, they flow out of a systematic diagnosis and prescription for meeting the challenges of an age of (potential) "mega-terror."

I think it's an open question whether OIF was a "pre-emptive" war. After all, the U.S. and Britain had done Yeoman's service for nearly 12 years in surrounding, partitioning, and patrolling (the airspace of) Iraq. (Yes, Pilgerites, the pantheon on Mount Olympus - sorry, the UN - didn't explicity bless - sorry, "authorize" - the no-fly zones; yet another element in the reductio ad absurdum of the view that the UN possesses any particular moral authority). The constant exchanging of fire, along with the serial Iraqi violations of the '91 cease-fire accords , entail that the Gulf War never really ended, but rather shifted from overt hostilities into a mode of "low-level" warfare. As, in effect, the deed-holders to the conflict, it was within the moral and strategic rights of the U.S. and Britain to conclude the conflict on their terms. And indeed they did.

I suppose the timing of OIF entailed a measure of pre-emption: better to end the conflict now, on our terms, and therewith prevent any future Iraqi involvement in a devastating asymmetrical attack against us and our allies. To have tolerated ambiguity regarding Iraq's intentions and capacities post-9.11 would have been foolhardy.

Peter Bocking

Only a small point, but pre-emptive attacks are as old as warfare itself.Cold war strategy was predicated on detecting,preventing or retaliating to a "First Strike".The difference now is the enemy does not seem to have any concern for casualties and is thus impossible to deter by any other method than going after them.

John Turnbull

"While posing as a sage sociological observation, this line of thinking in fact has a strongly political sub-text that we in the west in some way bear indirect responsibility for terrorists' attacks against us by ignoring the conditions that supposedly give rise to such despair."

This is letting the West off too lightly. Our governments helped to CREATE "the conditions that supposedly give rise to such despair". It could be argued that if Anglo-Iranian Oil (now BP) and the CIA hadn't overthrown the democratically elected Mossadegh in Iran, then Islamic fundamentalism would not be the force it now is - no coup, no Shah, no Iranian revolution. (see http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/oil/2003/0519oily.htm)

You are right to say that it is religious hatred that drives bin Laden and his ilk, but much of their support comes from those who, understandably, perceive the West to be responsible for their poverty and - perhaps more importantly - their sense of powerlessness.

Matthew

" This administration is dead serious about trying to make the world safe for democracy."

Gaddis is clearly unaware of the Bush Administration's relationship with the President of Uzbekistan, a man who has his opponents boiled to death. For example, http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/02/20020221-8.html

kieron mcnulty

Hello

Can Oliver Kamm answer me this?
In the future can any country in the world attack any other country as long as they say its for preventative or preemptive reasons? And if they can't then why not? Does the US and the UK hold the right to do this for themselves?

Cheers

Kieron

BF

"In the future can any country in the world attack any other country as long as they say its for preventative or preemptive reasons?"

This is what is supposed to pass for a serious moral argument. Iraq was clearly not just any other country. The US is not as well. The US is the de facto enforcement arm of the UN, and co-signer of the (repeatedly broken) 1991 armistice.

Perhaps you would wish the US to cede decisions on use of its armed forces to the members of the Security Council? Perhaps this may occur when those very members do not act to derail their own resolutions. Perhaps when the enforcement arm of the UN consists of an equitable contribution in money, arms and spent blood, your moral fantasies will have some foundation in reality.

The defense of Europe and its oil lifeline have been, and remain, at the expense of US taxpayers. Austria spends less than 1% GDP on defense. Germany lingers nearby. Including France, these wealthy nations cannot field one functional, modern aircraft carrier - yet, would presume to exert control over the use of the US armed forces.


David Duff

Kieron asks, "In the future can any country in the world attack any other country as long as they say its for preventative or preemptive reasons?"

The answer is yes! And that has been the answer since Man first picked up a club and bashed his neighbour. Whilst the past can never be an exact guide to the future, in the light of *all* recorded history, it would seem to be prudent for a nation to maintain the equivalent of a large 'club' and use it as and when it thinks it is in its self-interest so to do.

What constitutes a nation's self-interest is a matter of judgement and therefor some will get it right, some will get it wrong and in any event, good men will disagree. For example, our host made a passing and favourable reference to our recent, reluctant adventure against the Serbs. I still fail to see any British interests that were effected by Serb behaviour up to the time of our attack. No doubt, one of these days, Oliver will unleash an intellectual 'shock-and-awe' strike and explain where I have got it wrong.

In the meantime, I advise Kieron to work on the hypothesis that all sorts of nasty people are likely to attack you for all sorts of reasons and will certainly do so if they think they can get away with it.

Cosmo

Yes, yes, Matthew, and by your reckoning the Allies should have avoided their WWII alliance with the Soviets in meeting the emergency presented by Germany.

One step at a time. The West is just waking from it's holiday from history, when nasty compromises of the Cold War were kept well past their 'use by' dates.

This is similar to the Goldilocks critique, which has the U.S. either "propping up" unsavoury regimes, like Saudi Arabia, or "failing to engage" other unsavoury regimes, like North Korea. It says more about the critic than the critiqued. The U.S. is China's largest customer and a major source of investment capital. So, is the U.S. 'propping up' or 'engaging' one of history's most murderous regimes?

BF

Mathew should name one country that does not deal with abusive regimes for its commerce or mutual security.

Cosmo is spot on: "It says more about the critic than the critiqued."

As for Uzbekistan, US law is set to teminate their aid on the basis of poor human rights performance:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1125098,00.html


Kieron McNulty

Goodness gracious

BF believes that I have some moral fantasies(whatever that is supposed to mean). I was merely asking whether countries can do as they please in the world or is there some kind of legal framework to stop them.

I believe that BF thinks that the US can do whatever it likes, whenever it likes, because apparently it is so self evidently on the side of the angels. I would really like his views on other states rights and whether the UN charter or the UN Security Council has any validity or it is merely useful when it happens to agree with the United States.

I know from what David writes that he doesnt believe in any kind of international law at all and the world is full of cavemen . He explicitly says that any country has the right to do whatever it likes as long as it says that its defending its interests.

Therefore, according to David, Iraq was OK to invade Kuwait - defending its economic self interest. The Soviet Union was perfectly entitled to invade Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan - security concerns and instability on its borders. And the US was perfectly entitled to invade Panama because - well I forget what excuse they used at the time, but Im sure people like your good selves totally agree with whatever it was.

From my own experience I completely agree with David's hypothesis that there are some bad people in the world and evil things do happen. I happen to think that to the best way to combat this is to rely on a system of law.

Kieron

BF

"I would really like his views on other states rights and whether the UN charter or the UN Security Council has any validity or it is merely useful when it happens to agree with the United States. "

Kieron,

The UN, and other international bodies are perfectly fine in so far as they are effective. In the absence of US money and blood, the UN is not particularly effective on security matters, as its track record so tragically demonstrates. When it proves itself to be ineffective - and in the case of Iraqi policy increasingly corrupt - it forfeits legitimacy. Laws that are unenforceable are worthless.

Many think of the UN as some kind of global government. History has shown the UN to be a talking shop of individual governments pursuing their own selfish interests without regard to the UN Charter. Bear in mind that in the history of the UN, every permanent member of the Security Council has broken the charter in pursuit of perceived national interest. The UN is neither accountable, nor governed by the rule of an enforceable set of laws, except when the United States steps up as global cop. "Laws" which depend on the deliberation of a legislative body for every individual act of enforcement are a charade. No reasonable governing body can function in this manner.

And therein lies your problem Kieron - one cannot have effective, organized, international security until someone enforces it. However, no single nation powerful enough to be repeatedly called upon as the sole or principal enforcer, is going to be persuaded to play this role as a subordinate. To think so is utopianism - and a moral fantasy.

Legitimacy in international law does not spring from words on paper. It stems from mutual commitment, mutual benefit and mutual stakes. When Europe is willing to pay its fair share for security in terms of money and blood, it may be taken seriously on matters of international enforcement.

Machiavelli warned of the danger in ceding security to a more powerful nation. His concern was loss of national sovereignty. We have a different situation today, where the main concern may be loss of relevance.

David Duff

Kieron gets it wrong - again:

"He [that's me!] explicitly says that any country has the right to do whatever it likes as long as it says that its defending its interests."

I said no such thing because I do not believe that the notion of 'rights' has any place in international affairs between states. To paraphrase, appropriately enough, John Wayne, a state has to do, what a state has to do! It will then attempt to justify this action by appealing to (or inventing) any evidence it can use, particularly that which is likely to be believed by its own population and/or any third parties.

That is the way states have behaved throughout recorded history and I see absolutely NO EVIDENCE of a change. Consequently, a statesman should adapt his policies accordingly. History will judge his wisdom or foolishness but rights and wrongs simply don't come into it.

Matthew

Both BF and Cosmos, in reply to my reminder of the Bush Administration's links with the President of Uzbekistan, make the point that all countries trade or have links with unsavoury regimes, or that would I rather the Allies had not been allied with Stalin's Soviet Union in World War II.

They clearly therefore did not read Oliver's post. Gaddis said, "What has happened here is fundamental. This administration is dead serious about trying to make the world safe for democracy"

Maybe if the Bush Adminstration had been dramatically cutting its links with Uzbekistan this might be ok. But in fact the Bush Administration since 2001 has expanded its links with Uzhbhekistan (e.g http://usinfo.state.gov/topical/pol/conflict/02031201.htm) in the military, economic and political sphere. This is not consistent with 'dead serious about trying to make the world safe for democracy' unless you don't believe Uzbekistanis deserve democracy.

Of course it doesn't surprise me, as I agree with Chris Hitchens when he says "Bush's addiction to the death cult... touches every important aspect of what could be described as his 'politics'".

Tim Newman

This is not consistent with 'dead serious about trying to make the world safe for democracy' unless you don't believe Uzbekistanis deserve democracy.

Firstly, they're called Uzbeks. Secondly, I wrote about this here.

BF

"Secondly, I wrote about this here."

Read Tim's thoughtful post to which he links. It could not be said better.

Intellectual maturity involves recognizing that many apparent hypocrisies are in fact exigencies of responsibility and command. Adult life is full of compromises and poor sets of options. If Mathew would prefer to isolate and weaken the regime of Uzbekistan, he should be ready to take responsibility for the resulant surrender to Talibanism with it's attendent atrocities.


Cosmo

BF captures the dilemma of real-world decision-making, and hints at the consequences of irresponsible ideological expediency, beautifully.

Matthew: Whether or not I read Oliver's post (and I did), perhaps you should re-read mine, where I was quite clear about the speed and consistency with which the West is addressing alliances of convenience in the rougher neighborhoods of our planet.

I wrote: "One step at a time. The West is just waking from it’s (sic) holiday from history, when nasty compromises of the Cold War were kept well past their 'use by' dates."

Are you disagreeing with the policy of making the world safe for democracy, or simply impatient with the speed and consistency of its implementation? If it’s the former, a temporary alliance with Uzbekistan shouldn't bother you. If it is the latter, then to be consistent, you'd be urging Mssrs. Blair and Bush to go faster.

Cosmo

Kieron writes, "I happen to think that to the best way to combat this is to rely on a system of law."

Earnest Western internationalists, normally sensitive to recognizing and respecting cultural and political differences, are quick to project their values into parts of the world where noble concepts like conciliation, compromise and concession translate into weakness and invitations to aggression.

Kieron has a nice thought, and we certainly shouldn’t stop trying. But aside from the demonstrable failure of this approach throughout the last century, and during the previous decade with regard to Iraq, the approach presumes recognition of the primacy of the rule of law by gangsters and charlatans in control of countries where no such higher authority exists. I think we’ve heard quite enough from the mouthpieces of despots in places like the UN, conning and gaming Western idealists like carneys, grifters and riverboat gamblers.

We patronize barbarity, attempting to ‘civilize’ it with inclusiveness – in this case, extending the evenhandedness and predictability of the rule of law – giving it a seat at the dinner table, so to speak. Then, we are surprised when our little Liza Doolittle projects start threatening the other guests and ourselves with the cutlery.

Matthew

I don't believe extending your links in all areas with Uzbekistan is consistent with what Gaddis said about Bush. If you say 'no more hypocrisy' then you can't add 'except in this case'.

I read Tim's lucid article and can't say I agree with it -- mainly because I could see nothing in it which wouldn't justify continue to conduct trade and have military links with Saddam Hussein.

Paul Craddick

In contradistinction to Uzbekistan, the salient "military links with Saddam Hussein" were that the U.S. and Britain had been in a state of de facto war with his regime since '91. That is to say, Saddam was an implacable foe; it was only reasonable to treat him as an enemy. Uzbekistan is a regrettably useful "ally" at the moment, in meeting wider objectives in the Middle East (and beyond). Contra Chomsky and those of his ilk, I see no way that - apart from a thorough-going isolationism - it is possible to conduct foreign policy without some measure of "hypocrisy"; we can hardly ever fill one hole without opening up another.

And what, pray tell, do we mean by "International Law"? The Law of the Sea? The Right of Conquest?! Perhaps ... the system set in place by the victors in WWII, to "manage" the world and their relations with one another? As I once read in a newspaper's letters-to-the-editor section, the UN Security Council is little more than "Realpolitik by committee." Authentic International Law was approximated in the middle of the 19th century, with widespread free trade, facilitated by the gold standard, and animated by a fair measure of cultural continuity. Today - Benetton adverts notwithstanding - there's nothing approaching a "world culture."

Cosmo, it seems to me, hit the nail on the head by adverting to the necessarily incremental nature of adopting a "new" foreign policy (And I for one would question President Bush - and Gaddis too - as to what the U.S. could have done much differently during the Cold War; I know of no case in which the U.S. preferred a "friendly despot" to a viable constitutional democracy [with a reasonably unhindered market economy, rule of law, etc.]).

I suppose what's arguably "new" in the current American security posture is that we're more alive to the dangerous element of inertia in Realpolitik; alliances quickly outlive their utility. Henceforward, "sunset" provisions might animate alliances which are clearly of the "hold your nose" variety - exactly what seems to be occuring with respect to the Uzbeks (and, let us hope, the Saudis).

Matthew

To quote Gaddis again,

"We put a lot more emphasis on simply building solid relationships with whomever the rulers of Middle East states happened to be than we did in trying to transform these states into democracies or transplant the idea of democracy to that part of the world"

Substitute 'Uzbekistan' for 'Middle East states' and nothing has changed. I'm sure George Bush Jnr, and everyone else who followed the above policy would claim they were only doing it in the short-term, and would rather see democracy flourish.

BF

Mathew,

This is getting repetitive and tedious, so perhaps you can outline what you would do if it were your option to exercise US foreign policy as you see fit. How would you justify and defend the likely consequences of your decisions?

Barry Meislin

Of course the West, the Americans and the Zionists are to blame for all that dire poverty, despair, backwardness, hopelessness and (fill in the blankety blank of your choice) in the Arab and Islamic worlds!

(Hold on! There's all that obscenely huge petro-wealth as well).

But mum's the word on that. For who the hell are we, who can't even begin to understand the values of "the other," and who have certainly been sufficiently patronizing over the past half millenium, to meddle in internal affairs of that world....

And if the Islamicists believe that the west deserves--courts--destruction, who could argue the point?

At least they believe in something. Earnest and admirable believers that they are.

Matthew

My apologies, I meant George Bush Snr in the above post.

BF -- I wouldn't be chummy with people who boil their opponents to death. That strikes me as a simple moral judgement.

youcancallmemeyer

The recent referral of the fence issue to the ICJ by the General Assembly is a good example of the "rule of law" methodology of the UN.

It is naive to think that the UN General Assembly, dominated by the block vote of the International Islamic Organisation, as it is, is going to deliver anything that even resembles justice and fair dealings.

Any appeal to this body, by Israel, for fairness or evenhandedness is rejected. The fate of Israel's draft resolution to the 3rd committee of the UN General Assembly on the effects of Palestinian terrorism on Israeli children is but one of many examples.

Cosmo puts it well:

"the approach presumes recognition of the primacy of the rule of law by gangsters and charlatans in control of countries where no such higher authority exists."

If the gangsters and charlatans were disorganised any only pursued their own narrow national self interests, the UN would be tolerable. But, when the vast majority of these charlatans and gangsters vote as a block, the UN becomes positively dangerous.

There is no law that can work unless it can be enforced. Luckily, President Bush seems to feel this way also.

Oliver, I enjoyed reading your essay. Well put.

Matty

Oliver is right when he states that Islamic Fundamentalism is not "caused" by poverty or dictatorship but is a religious extremist line of thinking that would exist anyway. However, he fails to convince that dictatorship and oppression in the Islamic world does not provide it with footsoldiers. Most extremist movements are guided by well-off well-educated leaders who use angry and susceptible youngsters to carry out their "military actions". All it takes is for some Palestinian kid to see his tower block blown up to want to hit back and to be drawn into the fold of any movement that wants to do so. Fundamentalist terrorism is fairly new in Palestine (before, they were nationalist movements) and this reflects that Palestinians willing to use violence will simply attach themselves to whatever "current" organised movement is using those tactics. In the 1970s, the organisations were Marxist, now they are Islamic Fundamentalist. The type of people drawn to them are the same. A great deal of these people would *not* be drawn to these movements if they were living in wealthy functioning democracys.

BF

"BF -- I wouldn't be chummy with people who boil their opponents to death. That strikes me as a simple moral judgement."

That strikes me as a jujune moral judgment. Taken to its logical end, your argument would suspend commercial and political ties with much of the world. Perhaps we ought limit oil trade to Norway?


Matthew

BF you'll have to explain why American's oil imports were dependent on George Bush meeting the President of Uzbekistan.

Cosmo

Matthew's absolutist approach, while admirable for its integrity, is quite impractical, and leads inevitably to the sort of political bickering I described in a prior post. One man's 'litmus-test of standards' becomes another man's 'bullying interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.' Jimmy Carter lost his way here.

Give aid to North Korea? Stop trading with China? Invest in Myanmar? Sanctions against this country or that? There's no end to disagreement over whether different types of 'engagement' encourage reform, help the people, or merely keep tyrants in power. How one answers these questions will often say more about one's politics than about the issues themselves.

Perhaps Paul suggests a way out when he writes, "we're more alive to the dangerous element of inertia in Realpolitik; alliances quickly outlive their utility," and goes on to recommend sunset provisions (with consequent loss of various incentives to encourage good behavior) in order to maintain the integrity of the doctrine as best we can when unpleasant and ambiguous choices lay before us, and to seize opportunities to make progress whenever possible. This, at least, starts with a recongtion of our dilemma, and goes from there.

Cosmo

Matthew:

Before BF "explain(s) why American's oil imports were dependent on George Bush meeting the President of Uzbekistan," could you please substantiate such dependence? Thanks.

BF

"BF you'll have to explain why American's oil imports were dependent on George Bush meeting the President of Uzbekistan."


Let me be plain. Your argument is that we should not have commercial, political or military ties to regimes with abhorrent standards for human rights. I see no reason why you would limit that critique to Uzbekistan. As a moral absolutist, why would you not would include the likes of Saudi Arabia?

Matthew

You guys!

Cosmo - I think BF's last comment shows that is what he meant.

As to the wider point, what I would or would not do as President is irrelevant, though I am answering your questions out of politeness. I wouldn't meet people who boil their opponents to death. Many - most -- people's moral compass wouldn't allow that. But then again I wouldn't do a lot of things the Bush Administration does - the relevance is zero.

What is important is whether expanding your relationship and providing support to someone who has his political opponents boiled to death is being 'dead serious about democracy'. And clearly it's not.

Kieron McNulty

Hello everyone

It seems to me that pretty much everyone (Matthew excepted)in this particular 'blog stream' shares some common assumptions. These are:
a.That the US - whilst it makes mistakes - is fundamentally benevolent
b.That the US can act as it pleases
c.That international law/the UN charter has no validity unless the US says it does
d.that the US is interested in bringing democracy to the world
e. That its a tough old world out there

I was just wondering about this because there seems to be a lot of verbiage floating aroung and I think I've cut it down to the essentials.

By the way I think I can help Paul Craddick out with his historical lacuna -
"I know of no case in which the U.S. preferred a "friendly despot" to a viable constitutional democracy [with a reasonably unhindered market economy, rule of law, etc.]).'
Guatamela 1954 and Iran 1953. The CIA's and MI6's role in organising the coup that overthrew Mossadegh in Iran is outlined in Mark Curtis excellent book "Web of Deceit"

cheers

Kieron

BF

"That the US - whilst it makes mistakes - is fundamentally benevolent"

This is like stating whether humanity is fundamentally good or bad, to wit the non-adolescent mind would respond, "compared to what?" The argument is not about this. It is about whether laws have some innate validity once they appear on paper, or whether the evolution of events and circumstances can render laws meaningless.

In the United States, power often shifts from one party to the other according to so called "law". But it is not the law per se that makes this happen. It is the mutual stake and trust in the adherance to the law that leads individuals to play by the rules *coupled with the certainty of enforcement by an armed body*. There is no such mutual stake in the "laws" of the UN, because those laws have been repeatedly broken by all parties, and enforcement has been a charade, the only credible armed body being supplied by one nation - the United States.

But as long as you have brought up this issue of benevolence, why don't we compare the United States historically to other nations of comparable power?

In 1991 the United States had 500,000 troops sitting atop the largest oil reserves in the world and withdrew them. If you wish to speak about benevolance, then consider how many nations in history, of similar comparative might, would have simply taken the oil. Machiavelli would have predicted it. The US proved him wrong.

"That the US can act as it pleases"

Every country can and does act as it pleases within the contraints of its abilities and its priorities. There are all sorts of UN provisions about human rights. How many nations even try to follow them?

"That international law/the UN charter has no validity unless the US says it does"

You got the first half of the sentence right. The second half is fatuous nonsense.

"that the US is interested in bringing democracy to the world"

Well let's go to the video tape. How many democracies have been nurtured by the foreign policy of France? Germany? Russia? China? Japan? Italy? Spain?

"That its a tough old world out there"

No, it's a world of sugar plum fairies.

By the way Kieron, if you want to go to the historical playbook to demonstrate instances of US depravity, we should be able to do the same in assessing other nations as well. After all, if we are to judge the United States by the actions of the Eisenhower administration, shouldn't it be valid to judge England by the work of Anthony Eden, Russia by the deeds of Stalin, France and Germany by..well enough said. I would happily weigh the collective historical sins of the US against those of other powers.

Matthew

Well know we know, BF.

I haven't read it, but this article in the New York Review of Books on Richard Pearle might be interesting and covers some of the topics discussed here.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/16953

Michael B

"The difference now is the enemy does not seem to have any concern for casualties and is thus impossible to deter by any other method than going after them."

It can even be said that is stating it in an unnecessarily reticent manner. The need to state this as merely an appearance is negated given the fact 1) civilian casualties are deemed to be part and parcel of their tactics and 2) their suicidist initiatives and their accompanying cult of (real-world) nihilism makes it evident they care not for their own lives either.

There is no mere "seeming" or possibility, it is all far too empirically verifiable; the (mere) possibility has manifested itself fully in reality. Of course this underscores just how anemic and even jejune the critics on the Left have most often been.

Cosmo

No, Kieron, you've simply constructed a straw man to argue with out of assumptions which mischaracterize what has been posted here by others. I'm not going down that rabbit hole. But I applaud BF's patience for doing so, and his/her clear responses.

Matthew: If we give Uzbekistan the boot, does this mean we no longer have to put up with ridiculous pleas to 'engage' North Korea, the nuclear-armed famine masquerading as a nation? Will we start hearing questions about why one of our most prolific trading partners, China, maintains a vast network of prison labor camps? Can we leave the embargo against Cuba in place? Can we stop the whining about being more ‘even-handed’ in our treatment of the incompetent, murderous thugs running the Palestinian Authority?' And is there anyone in Liberia – this year’s poster child of humanitarian interventionism – who would meet your standards?

You see where this is going. Which countries ends up on one's sh^t list and which one's don't will be largely a function of one's politics. Neither the U.S., nor her sanctimonious critics have yet to corner the market on tortured apologia on behalf of friends and allies, and turning blind eyes toward their sins. Those taking the U.S. to task for fighting fire with fire during the Cold War -- for failing to abide by Marquis of Queensbury rules against an enemy that recognized no rules – seem to have little time for considering just who was responsible for turning half the planet into a jail and extinguishing the lives of tens of millions.

BF is right to call for a reckoning.

And I'm still waiting for details on U.S. 'dependence' on Uzbek oil . . .

http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/petroleum_supply_monthly/current/pdf/stable3.pdf

http://www.ott.doe.gov/facts/archives/fotw246.shtml

http://ask.yahoo.com/ask/20030919.html

Kieron McNulty

Hello again

Ive been reading and rereading BFs and Cosmo's posts and my brief list of assumptions of where you are all coming from seem to be pretty valid. I don't need to invent straw men you do a pretty good job yourself.

All you seem to be saying is that since the terrible crimes of 9/11 the US can do what it wants with respect to real, imagined or in the case of Iraq invented threats. The contempt for law and thirst for revenge is obvious in what Cosmo and BF both write.

Any sympathy for the 3000 people who died in the US invasion of Afghanistan or the God knows how many people who have died in Iraq since the invasion?

Kieron

Cosmo

Oh dear. Well then, you may want to re-read those posts again, Kieron. Because your description of "all we seem to be saying" bears no resemblance to anything I wrote. However, please feel free to continue this discussion with someone who is actually taking the positions you've assigned to me.

Matthew

Cosmo,

That there is no point debating anything with you can be simply seen from the fact that you make things up. I am fully aware of where America sources its oil imports from, and never claimed it was 'dependent' on oil from Uzbekistan. In fact I said the complete opposite -- in wonderment I asked BF why he believed that unless America was chummy with Uzbekistan it would have to buy its oil from Norway? I didn't receive a response.

Given your tendency to make things up I see no point in continuing.

Cosmo

Matthew:

Here's what you wrote:

"BF you'll have to explain why American's oil imports were dependent on George Bush meeting the President of Uzbekistan."

Here are the facts:

http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/petroleum_supply_monthly/current/pdf/stable3.pdf

http://www.ott.doe.gov/facts/archives/fotw246.shtml

http://ask.yahoo.com/ask/20030919.html

Now, which part of it did I make up?

BF

"The contempt for law and thirst for revenge is obvious in what Cosmo and BF both write.

Any sympathy for the 3000 people who died in the US invasion of Afghanistan or the God knows how many people who have died in Iraq since the invasion?"

And there we have it. The last resort of the intellectually cornered is ad hominem, shallow demonization of the opposition.

"in wonderment I asked BF why he believed that unless America was chummy with Uzbekistan it would have to buy its oil from Norway? I didn't receive a response."

Matthew, apparently you cannot comprehend how a general argument can be framed from the singular case of Uzbekistan. It's called inductive reasoning...he said in wonderment. Scroll up, re-read, then give it some thought.

Matthew

Cosmo,

We are all wasting Oliver's webspace, particularly you with your pointless reposting of the same links.

Just read what I said -- 'you'll have to explain' makes it a question. 'Dependent on George Bush meeting' is not 'dependence on the oil'.

Learn to read, then we'll continue.

Best wishes

Matt

Bf,

I can, which is why I can't work out your logical reasoning. Uzbekistant seems to me (but not to Cosmo, clearly) irrelevant to American's oil needs.

Matt

BF

"I can't work out your logical reasoning."

That's the hand you've been dealt. I can't help you there.

"Uzbekistant seems to me...irrelevant to American's oil needs"

Mystifying isn't it?

Kieron McNulty

Cosmo and BF

A lot of what you said strongly suggests that you think the Bush Doctrine is a wonderful idea. Am I wrong in thinking this? The Bush Doctrine to all intents and purposes are those assumptions I posted above.

I happen to think that the Bush Doctrine is incredibly dangerous for the world because these preemptive or preventative strikes can be used at any time with the flimsiest of evidence - as we have seen in Iraq. It also quite openly states that the US has some special position in the world because it is inherently and obviously good and only it or other especially worthy states like the Uk can do these sorts of things.


Kieron

BF

Kieron,

How can you expect a debate when you are already assured that our "contempt for law and thirst for revenge is obvious"?

Try to break out of your tiresome boilerplate bigotries. Lad, those who disagree with you on this issue are not the devil.

Kieron McNulty

Thanks Bf for your considered comments. No I dont think you are the devil. Just wrong and misguided.

cheers

kieron

BF

"No I dont think you are the devil. Just wrong and misguided."

Obviously you think I'm wrong...it's a debate - it was for a time a credible one - until it was debased by sputtering about contempt and revenge. I can go to any waterfront pub for that level of discourse.

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