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Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by digital_signal_, Mar 22, 2003.
I'll 2nd that, thanks Chris!
I'll 3rd the thankyou to Chris for his post. I also want to thank all of the other posters in this thread for their sincere, well thought-out contributions and the civil manner in which they were presented. It makes me proud to be associated with each and every one of you. There are so many ways to look at these issues that it's the rare person who can actually see the whole picture, I certainly can't. This cross section of views certainly helps. One thing that really helps, in these troubled times, is to see the nearly universal support of our troops and the desire to see them come home safely regardless of personal feelings about the war.
Best Regards, Jim
Hi Val, I guess we are pretty far apart in some of our assessments. What I see when I read your post is a dislike for Bush bordering on hatred. There may be other factors you did not mention that factor into your opinion of him but I will address only those you mentioned. As far as his "you're either with us or with the terrorists" comment, I hadn't thought about it before but I suppose it can be taken in more than one way. I for one was glad to hear it. For a Canadien to be upset with it must mean he/she took it to be a threat. I never imagined that any of our close allies, Canada, England, etc., would take that as a threat. I took it as a rallying call, come together, all free peace loving nations and lets defeat terrorism. I think its message was meant for those "borderline" countries like Egypt etc. that they should abandon their ties to terrorism or face united condemnation from the free nations. A move to try to get these states to help the west, since they would have intelligence we didn't have. I see no reason to think this was a bad idea, and if you think about the timing of when it was said, you realize how important it was for the American people to hear a strong straight forward leader after so many years of appeasement. I think I've already made it clear I feel appeasement is never an effective tool for dealing with dictatorships and monachies. Nor are sanctions. Sanctions only hurt the common population. They have little or no power to become dissatisfied with their government to the extent they can successfully rise against it. Look at whats happening now in Iraq, with troops killing civilians who won't fight or try to leave. I'm sure some will say that those reports aren't true, that the west media makes them up. The wests media is free and all to often hurts government interests with articles that bear little truth, and that twisted like a pretzel. However, it is that freedom which allows us to be confidant that the press isn't just a mouthpiece for the government, and as such is a small price to pay.
Going back to your post, yes Canada and almost every other nation in the world did show overwhelming support after 9/11, and if it weren't mentioned by name, then realize that most other nations weren't either. I can see where this omission may hurt Canadiens feelings, but don't see how it can go beyond that.
Nafta, I agree.
Friendly fire incident. This was covered in the press here in great depth. Hey, it was a shame and I am very sorry it happened. But this has happened often in the past and no doubt will continue. It has just happened to British forces this week. I am not up to date on what is happening to the pilots but they are in my opinion being pursued a bit too aggresively for the sake of showing Canada that we are sorry for the incident. Perhaps that is too little to late. A bungled diplomatic effort. I don't know what else to say. It is very unfortunate but was an accident.
The one topic you raised that I really have to take issue with is the statement that with this war the US has declared itself an empire. How can you reach that conclusion when you look at the history of our country? As I read somewhere recently, it may well have been in this thread, our country, in all the wars we have fought to free other countries, has never asked or acquired any land, other than what was needed to bury those who would never return. There is no valid reason to believe that the currant administration will depart from that. Please don't be offended, because I hold you in high regard and value the friendship developed thanks to the existance of the Gauge. But that attitude strikes me as irrarational, or at least conceived well before sufficient evidence has been gathered. What we have here is an honest effort to rid the world of terrorism, so we can resume the lifestyles we all cherish. The US still stands for freedom.
Digital signal has already answered your point about Halliburton. What I find interesting is France's recent statement that they will oppose any resolution permitting the US and Britain to run postwar Iraq. So, after doing everything they could to prevent the war, they want us to bear all its cost and then hand it over to them in order to protect their oil interests? And that isn't condemned, but the US giving that work to a US firm is, and is extended to be the reason we went to war in the first place. believe me, I am often critical and cynical of the ways of my government, but if they were to give in to the UN on this issue they would be fools. What nerve France has to sit on the sidelines, no, worse, to actively hinder operations, then to demand that all the sundry nations of the security council be able to decide who profits afterwards, as long as it isn't the US! If the US were to lose its power, and financial stretgh is essential to maintain its power, then the freedoms we all enjoy would be in great peril. We cannot continue to help fight for freedom while spitting in our own face.
Anyway, hope we're still friends!
Hi Gary - yes, absolutely we are still friends. I hold you in very high regard as well and I too hope I haven't offended you with my comments. This is why it's dicey talking politics and I very nearly deleted my post for that reason.
I don't hate George Bush, but he does worry me. I think in many ways he is sincere, and he certainly believes the course of action he has taken is the right one - or he wouldn't be taking it. I do think that he is misguided however, by hawkish elements led by the "neo-Reaganite" Paul Wolfowitz.
My comments regarding trade policies, and the various slights that Canada has been dealt since Bush's arrival in the White House were meant more by way of explanation and I apologize for the ranting tone. It just seems to be the way of the world that the big guys call the shots and the little guys don't really like it. It was ever thus! Be that as it may, we are allies after all and our two countries are extremely closely tied. As I say, Canada was immediately supportive of the US after Sept 11, opening their homes en masse to stranded travellers, sending millions to the families of WTC workers, and flying US flags on their homes and cars.
But Canada, as a small, fairly peaceable nation, has declared our decision to stick with the UN, flawed though it may be. Again we are hearing "you're either with us or against us" and some people think that's unfair. Others think we should be an active participant in the war. There is a huge debate going on here now.
On a personal level George W. Bush and our prime minister Jean Chretien do not get along very well as one is a neo-conservative and the other a liberal (akin to your democrats). Relations have been somewhat cool to say the least, and it's always well to remember that there is a personal element in politics.
I could cite the French here and their actions which seem entirely designed to thwart the Brits - their age-old rivals. And Russia, headed by a former KGB secret policeman, with who knows what blood on his hands, claiming the moral high ground while covertly sending arms to Iraq. Their level of BS is absolutely stunning!
The whole thing is a nasty can of worms, and there is no one who doesn't have a hidden monetary or political agenda - except the actual fighting men and women.
I haven't really addressed your point about the "American Empire" here, because truth be told the jury is still out on that one. I'm glad you are uncomfortable with the idea, but there are a lot of high level government officials, such as Paul Wolfowitz, who are not. This, above all, is what most people outside the US are worried about, and why support for this war has been so tepid.
I am completely torn on the issue, and don't really know what to think. Saddam is evil, yes. The UN dropped the ball and basically set the stage for this to happen.
But just think what could have happened, had $75 billion been allocated to developing alternative energy sources, and walking away from the Middle East and its centuries-old hatreds. I fear we have started something we will not be able to control.
Anyway, those are my concerns. I support you, I respect you, and of course I want a swift victory over tyranny. But let us not stop questioning those at the top - without us, they tend to get carried away with their own power.
cheers my friend
Well, I guess I should wade in with my opinion.
where to start. I've been really struggling with this one as there are several things that I believe (note.. these are my beliefs and I fully understand and respect that they may not be yours). Just so you know I know consider myself a Canadian and speak as one even though I've been here 6 years, I was formerly a Brit.
This whole war is really two seperate issues.
1. The War on Iraq.
2. The US and its place in the world community.
I don't think anyone doubts the evil of Saddam Hussein. but for a nation (the US) to decide unilaterally (having a few allies doesn't count as multulateralism in my book) to invade the country and overthrow the goverment can never be legal. This particular war may well have some moral founding but what precedent does it set, who can now criticise a nation for going to war, if the US can react to a percieved threat, then why not other countries? More upsetting for me is the cost of this war, who is truly paying?, the ordinary Iraqi people, at best they are terrified, at worst they are dead. While I hope fervently that the soldiers on ALL sides are kept safe and return to thier homes and loved ones they at least chose to join the military (Iraqi conscripts not withstanding.. I count them with the civilians in this) with the grave responsibilities and risks that this entails. Are the inncocent lives lost worth the price?, I don't pretend to have a solution but the UN with all of its faults can make a difference and can get better at what it does. I'm not even going to mention the financial cost, how many of the starving in the world could be saved with $1Bn a day? if you want to be rather cold and clinical about it, that amount of money could save far more lives that Saddam could take.
On the role of the US in the world. this is a far more serious and difficult subject. I'd like to state first that it is NOT my intent to upset anyone, I am NOT anti-american, I have many dear American friends.
Again where to start, some facts I guess. The US is undoubtedly the most powerful nation in the world. This is the first issue that scares me, not because its the US, but because it is so much more powerful than the rest of the world. This is a situation unique in human history. I know many Americans are of the opinion "but we are the good guys, we'll do right by you". On an individual level this is generally true, I've found my American friends to be generous almost to a fault and they always want to do the right thing. The real danger here is that the right thing for the US may not be the same as the right thing for the rest of the world.
There does seem (an this is an impression) to be an opinion amongst its citizens that the US is the best country in the world and this is indeed laudable. I have found however that many Americans cannot seem to understand that people in other nations feel the same way, even if they are not as rich, or have fewer freedoms or less opportunity. Not everyone wants a world like America, many of us are happier in our less free, less rich, less powerful societies and we see the over-bearing dominance of US foreign policy and Economics as Arrogant and threatening to our way of life. While some of the language used by Canadian politicians has been a little less than diplomatic I find it totally understandable. We hear that negotiations and trade deals with the US and Canada may be a little less favourable now, compromise is less likely etc etc. I was under the impression that one of the defining features of friendship is that you can disagree without falling out, well it certainly seems that the Bush administration and others will attempt to make Canada pay for having a Democracy and a mind of her own.
There are many other issues with this debate but I'll finish now, this is long enough as it is!, I hope I've not upset anyone.
I hope for peace and stability for the Iraqi people, and a safe return for the soldiers of all nations
Nature abhors imbalance
Support troops .. I wish them peace, whether US, British, or Iraqi
more than th
Just two additional comments:
(1) The power with which America yields in the world is not without precedent. In fact, it is almost a constant throughout human history. In each era there is a dominant national/regional power - witness the Roman Empire, the Greeks, and when the industrial revolution started up, the United Kingdom. Each nation ends up in a powerful position through a combination reasons - economics, military, etc. - and then eventually fades into either "dust" (like the Roman Empire) or to a much less powerful station in the world (like the United Kingdom, which is still one of the more powerful "nations" in the world). So too will be the fate of the United States - the only real questions are "when", and what nation will come to the fore ?????
(2) I find it extremely hypocritical that this war, which is being fought (so they say anyways) to bring the freedoms of the western world to Iraq, has resulted in the admonition / outright hostility towards entire nations like France (whose motives I agree could be seen as dubious), and to a lesser extent, Canada. If we aren't free to disagree with the United States, exactly what freedoms are we fighting for ????
I lied, one more comment.
Even as a Canadian, my automatic reaction whenever a newsworthy crisis was occuring in the past was to race home and turn on CNN. No more - their disregard for any semblance of journalistic integrity has given way to becoming a propaganda lackey for the United States government. They treat whatever the coalition forces say as gospel, while totally discounting whatever the Iraqis say.
In any war, control of the media is a critically important facet of military strategy. Half-truths and outlies abound on both sides. I'm more willing to believe the coalition than Iraqi myself, but CNN has gone *way* over the edge, and have more or less decided to tell us what's truth and what's fiction, without letting us intelligent humans decide for ourselves. As a futurist, I believe this will spell the end of their worldwide media dominance, in favor of more regional networks.
Further, if any of you have satellite systems, you may wanna check out CBC Newsworld's coverage - *MUCH* more balanced.
Just a small thing Mike.
US power is unprecedented
With both the greeks and the romans, we only tend to consider the known "western" world, the Chinese and other Asiatic civilisations were doing quite well at the time .. also there were suitably powerful foils for the Romans (the northern barbarians) and greeks (the persians).
The UK didn't have such an absolute advantage, the other nations of europe were close to being as powerful but lacked the naval infrastructure to support larger empires.
On the second point, hear hear, what use is freedom, if the only opinion that is allowed is defined by a single country. Suddenly this sounds like totalitarianism and a return to international McCarthyism.
I just recieved this from a cousin, and I'll try to exercise my non-skill at computers, and attach it here:
JOHN COLE wrote:
This gentleman makes a heck of an argument for justification of a war with Iraq.
I asked a friend of mine who is in his 80's who was in the Korean War and World War II to give me a little history lesson and his thoughts today on War. I am sharing this because it is a different look at the War. It is not my opinion just thoughts from an honorable man that lived through two Wars and that I have a great respect for. Thoughts to think about:
I'm not going to get into a history lesson. The short, short version
is that the League of Nations (established after WW I to prevent wars) failed to stop Mussolini's Italy from invading and conquering Ethiopia.
It failed to stop Japan from invading and conquering Manchuria and much of China. Their committees wrung their hands spoke in platitudes but did absolutely nothing to stop war.
At France's coaxing Britain's prime minister Nevil Chamberlain met with Adolph Hitler in Munich and surrendered the Sudetenland to Nazi Germany in the interest of "peace in our time." The French and British watched as Germany took Austria, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia. They all had committee meetings and wrung their hands and talked of peace.
World War II erupted when Nazi Germany invaded Poland. Britain had a mutual defense treaty with Poland so they couldn't escape. They declared war on Germany. Germany had a mutual defense treaty with Japan so Japan Declared war on Britain. France wet their pants and surrendered to Germany as fast as they could and gleefully shipped all the Jews they could find to death camps in Germany to prove to Adolph that they really were on the side of Germany.
Japan attacked the United States and, because of Japan's mutual defense treaty with Germany, Germany declared war on the United States. Up until December 7th and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a large number of our people were wringing their hands and saying, "Appease Hitler. He is really a good guy who just needed a little more land for his expanding population. The dear man just wants peace. And World War II was in full swing leaving better than 50,000,000 people dead including about
450,000 American soldiers and sailors.
Three cheers for the League of Nations!
After World War II it was decided to do the whole thing all over again.
This time we would call it the United Nations and we will have committee meetings and hand wringing parties and make sure peace prevails throughout the land.
While that august body wrung hands the Soviet Union split Germany, invaded Poland and Yugoslavia, Rumania, Hungary and Bulgaria along with Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. The peaceful world saw Korea with 37,000 American soldiers killed, over 1,000,000 South Korean soldiers and civilians killed and the country nearly destroyed.
Since then we have had over 50,000 American soldiers killed in Vietnam and have fought wars in Somalia, Herzegovenia, Panama, Granada, plus the Gulf War when Iraq invaded Kuwait.
We should have gone into Baghdad and taken out that evil regime then but the United Nations would have no part of that. All they would allow was for us to chase the Iraqis out of Kuwait, then peace would prevail.
Now, here we are with Saddam violating all 17 United Nations resolutions while he has massed poison gas and bio weapons. He is frantically trying to develop a nuke and his buddy, Kim Jong-Il of North Korea may give him a few. (It was the United Nations who prevented us from taking North Korea when the war was hot and we had the means to do it.)
France is wetting their collective pants in fear that the United States will take Saddam out and along with him, France's 60 billion dollar contracts with Iraq. Russia hedges because Iraq owes them 6 billion dollars that they sorely need.
In answer to your question....... hell yes we should go to war with
Iraq. We should have done it six months ago. We should also get out of the United Nations. Can you believe that the United Nations has appointed Iraq and Syria to head up the United Nations Disarmament Committee?
Can you believe they have appointed Libya to head up the Human Rights Committee?
All three of these countries are on the UN List of Terrorist States .............. Absolutely unbelievable.
Just don't get me going. Throughout recorded history the only time
peace has prevailed is when the good guys have militarily whipped the bad guys.
Who are our best friends in the world?
Japan because we whipped them.
Germany because we whipped them.
Italy because we whipped them.
Britain because we whipped them.
It is only when all points of view are considered, that a well made decision can occur.
Graham, I respectfully disagree with your assertion that it's unprecedented - especially when it comes to the Roman Empire.
I won't bore everyone with the details, but every era thinks everything is unprecedented - whether you're talking the last decade; or the last century; or the last millenium.
This is of course, assuming history repeats itself again, and we, God, or some unknown third party doesn't decide (accidently or purposfully) to terminate the existance of mankind.
uP yours Sadam!
Let's play with the name game.
No need to play- I figured it out real quick-
Sad man who's insane.
Mark <-----now a target! Don't think you aren't!
P.S. for the pacifists...
...Don't call US- we'll call you. Next time you need our taxes to bail your sorry butts out of anything- lets get tough and as a a brave American put it- "Let's Roll"!
Read a history book if you can, one that wasn't published after they sanitized/politicized/compromised/etc- the spelling isn't that hard to conquer. You remember- when they offered more than dress stains and dope?!
Like Colon Powel said- The only ground we've taken and occupied during all the conflicts we've supported or been involved in-
Is the ground our dead young men lay in.
Think about it- then don't get back to me if you think you know better.
I am NOT a pacifist, I am a realist.
Let's review, shall we, WHO publishes the history after a war - yep, that's right, the winner.
Let's also review, shall we, how long it was before the US got involved in both of the world wars. They were both exponentially larger in scale than this "military intervention" before the US got involved.
This war is going to continue to be very nasty, and I'm estimating it will spread throughout the region. Don't be the least surprised if it's still ongoing at the end of summer.
In ww1 and 2, the US hadn't the benefit of history yet to teach them the humility in not acting more quickly. Only after the extent of the holocaust became known did this lesson take root in the subconscious of western leaders. In my mind, 9-11 is as grave a lesson, to allow a nation of people with beliefs, infrastructure, and will to commit such an act against us or another country is well within our moral right to remove from power.
Call it empire building if you wish. The world as a whole benefits from this as much as the US does in the long run, and the Romans and colonial Brits would be damned to care about the rest of the globe unless threatened during their empire.
The media coverage of the war has been slanted toward the US side for two reasons. First and foremost, US journalists are not allowed to gather information in Baghdad, report, or even broadcast without supervision from government representatives. All shots of Baghdad streets on US networks are supervised during "tours." All shots from the Hotel are allowed. Arab and some foreign networks are given free reign. They can visit hospitals, bomb sites, interview people, and show the human side of the war. CNN has started in the past 2 days to make great use of Arab network footage as it's been showing the "rest" of the story.
Second point is the fact that the US military has allowed journalists to accompany it's units. They keep repeating the silly term "imbedding" which is inaccurate (I feel), since any reporter in a military unit would stick out like a sore thumb. Regardless, their broadcast will inevitably consist of what's going on around them in the US campaign. They are forbidden to interview Iraqi POW's by the Geneva convention, and even limit their broader footage of them. These journalistic standards have obviously been disregarded by Arab media sources, and Iraqi TV, even to the extent of showing their own wounded let alone US pow's.
I thank the US media for sparing me the sight of mangled bodies for one, I need little reminder of the sacrifice we make when politics meets blood, and should my conscious pause at the sight of more dead people in the name of freedom, I'll just watch a PBS special on 9-11 or the holocaust.
Here's an interesting site. www.dear_raed.blogspot.com
After reading what appears to be the thoughts of an ordinary Baghdad resident, jingoistic bombast seems just a bit silly. Sure glad I'm here & not there!
Thanks everyone for your comments on this issue.
Future political comments should be restricted to PM's or private email.