9/11 and the Iraq War

As Goering put it,

“Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the le...aders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

The jingoist response is more interesting for the mindset it reveals. Even the merest suggestion that there could have been a peaceful settlement where bin Laden was turned over to the US for trial if evidence was provided of his guilt is dismissed because it "avoids justice entirely, and leaves his Taliban protectors untouched and as powerful as ever," and then equated, almost literally, with appeasement of Hitler.
I certainly agree that spending "years planning th emurder [sic] of hundreds in Africa and Yemen" and further plotting "the murder of thousands of innocents," then carrying out one or both of these plans, is criminal. I am wondering, would apply the same standards to your own government that you do to bin Laden?

There were other criminal actions over the past decade we could rightly condemn, for example, the invasion of Iraq, which left more than 650,000 dead, according to the most recent academic estimate ("Mortality after the 2003 Invasion of Iraq: A Cross-Sectional Cluster Sample Survey" http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6T1B-4M3J0V5-1&_user=86449&_coverDate=10%2F27%2F2006&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=gateway&_origin=gateway&_sort=d&_docanchor&view=c&_acct=C000006858&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=86449&md5=8f6b401771c343c7c9e632f45566420a&searchtype=a). The study is only eight pages long and worth reading.

Considering the Iraq War has been a tragedy far worse than 9/11, do you also think that it would be appeasement for Muqtada al-Sadr to negotiate a peace treaty with the United States, as, in your view, it was for the United States to negotiate with the Taliban? Do you think that "the murder of thousands of innocents" is wrong when your government does it, or only when bin Laden does it? If the architect of the Iraq War, Bush, was offered over for trial to Iraq, would you reject this offer because it "avoids justice entirely, and leaves his [American] protectors untouched and as powerful as ever?"

I am wondering if "pro-American patriots" are an apologist for state violence, as long as the favored nation carries it out, or if you object to "the murder of thousands of innocents" because it is wrong. If you only object to bin Laden's criminal actions, and not to the American government's, I am hoping you could tell me why.

If you can't, then, how would they define "justice?"

On Patriotism and Violence

It is natural to look back and ask questions when major events come to an end. In this case, we can ask, "Has anything ended?"

Bin Laden's threats and attacks were supposedly the impetus for ...this series of murderous wars. But his death has produced not the slightest change in course. In other words, our government is saying, "OK folks, sorry for lying to you for ten years, it wasn't really about bin Laden, we still need to keep hundreds of thousands of soldiers and mercenaries stationed in virtually every country in the world, wiretap anyone we want and spend trillions while cutting money for children's health insurance." The existence of a demon is only pseudo-real. In other words, bin Laden, Saddam, the Russians, Qaddafi, and others to follow are primarily tools to instill fear (for example, that Ho Chi Minh, etc., will sail over on a raft and destroy your family or the country) and thus, unquestioning obedience, regardless of their actual threat.

When we pay attention to the facts instead of rhetoric we see that our government has two foreign policies: one, whose purpose is to steal through the threat or use of violence, and the other, whose purpose is to produce lies and self-justifications for domestic consumption. In short, that bin Laden's death changes nothing about our foreign policy proves that it was all a pack of lies.

Maybe we have come to learn one thing from 9/11: when we saw pictures of Americans running from burning towers, we now know how others feel when we see pictures of them running from American bombs.

Response to an American jingoist

We have gotten far off the original topic and now you're just spewing lies and straw men, exactly as I expected you to do when confronted with the simple facts sur...rounding the issues you're trying to speak about.

Even if we accepted your lies, the fact that anybody or country does some good things does not excuse their murderous crimes any more than bin Laden's crimes could be excused because he supposedly fought for freedom in Afghanistan. This is a tautology. I've mentioned it in earlier posts but apparently you disagree.

What you're saying is exactly like Teddy Rooselvelt, who argued that

“The expansion of the peoples of white, or European, blood during the past four centuries. . . has been fraught with lasting benefit to most of the peoples already dwelling in the lands over which the expansion took place.”

Lie#1: "eradication of the Native Americans, an event which occurred before there was even such a thing as the United States."

The genocide of the Native Americans was certainly not complete before 1776. At that time, the British settlers were confined principally to the east, as you undoubtedly learned about in elementary school. The rest of the continent was still left to "eradicate," as you phrase it.

Nor was there any equivocation amongst the earlier presidents that genocide was taking place.

Jefferson wrote that

"However our present interests may restrain us within our own limits, it is impossible not to look forward to distant times, when our rapid multiplication will expand itself beyond those limits and cover the whole northern, if not the southern, continent, with a people speaking the same language, governed in similar forms and by similar laws; nor can we contemplate with satisfaction either blot or mixture on that surface. Spain, France, and Portugal hold possessions on the southern continent, as to which I am not well enough informed to say how far they might meet our views. But either there or in the northern continent, should the constituted authorities of Virginia fix their attention, of preference, I will have the dispositions of those powers sounded in the first instance. The West Indies offer a more probable and practicable retreat for them. Inhabited already by a people of their own race and color, climates congenial with their natural constitution, insulated from the other descriptions of men; nature seems to have formed these islands to become the receptacle of the blacks transplanted into this hemisphere."

Washington wrote that

“I am very clear in my opinion that policy and
economy point very strongly to the expediency of being upon
good terms with the Indians, and the propriety of purchasing
their lands in preference to attempting to drive them by force
of arms out of their Country; which . . . is like driving the wild
Beasts of ye forest . . . when the gradual extension of our
settlements will as certainly cause the savage, as the wolf, to
retire; both being beasts of prey, tho’ they differ in shape.”

John Quincy Adams felt sorry for

“that hapless race of native Americans, which we are exterminating with such merciless and perfidous cruelty, among the heinous sins of this nation, for which I believe God will one day bring to judgement.”

Lie #2: The US brought down the Soviet Union.

There is no evidence of this. The primary forces causing the Soviet collapse were internal.

Lie #3: The US "stopped ethnic cleansing in the Balkans."

Actually, you've got the history backwards. The worst ethnic cleansing was precipitated by the US bombing and happened AFTER the US war, not before.

Lie #4: The US "spared thousands of lives in Rwanda."

There was no intervention here, so this seems to be made up out of thin air.

Lie #5: The US "saved thousands of lives wiht [sic] our actions in the war on terror."

There is absolutely no evidence for this. NONE. The war in Iraq has killed hundreds of thousands of people, perhaps more than a million, in addition to the thousands of civilians in Afghanistan. I think it is the most elementary moral point to state that killing innocent people is wrong even when the leaders say it is right. It is wrong to kill innocent people when the Soviets do it, when the British do it, when the Americans do it, when bin Laden does it, when a serial killer does it, or even if Mother Teresa did it.

Straw man #1: Of course the United States stopped the Holocaust, though not as successfully as Stalin. I never said anything differently. A typical tactic of those who support unlimited state violence is to pretend those who object are somehow supporting Hitler, or bin Laden, or whoever. This is a clear fabrication.

The rest of your post that isn't transparent falsity is just devoted to repeating patriotic slogans.

On the death of bin Laden and American hypocrisy

Is it relevant that bin Laden repeatedly offered truces, which the United States rejected, or that the FBI said there was no hard evidence connecting bin Laden with 9/11. It's easy to see why you want to move away from the facts and into patriotic slogans.

Followers of bin Laden could say, for example, that he aided in murdering scores of innocent people, but he also had a hand in freeing the Afghan people from Russian imperialism and was attempting to free the world from American imperialism through bankrupting our country. In fact, this is exactly what they say.

If we accept patriotic logic, we should root for bin Laden because he was fighting for "freedom" and ignore his atrocities. Do you accept this premise? Does anybody accept this premise? Why then is it reasonable to apply this sick logic to the United States?

There should be no argument about the validity of supporting genocide. To say there is shows the depths of nationalistic indoctrination. If we are serious about condemning murder and aggression, then we should condemn it regardless of whether the perpetrator is an official enemy or our own government. Similarly, if we are serious about supporting freedom and democracy, we should support it unequivocally. There's no contradiction here: the contradiction is in lauding genocide in the name of peace.

Is there any evidence for the notion that no other nation "has done more for thew [sic] advancement of freedom, peace, and democracy over tyranny in its history" than the United States?

The nation was founded upon the genocide of tens of millions of people, so, despite your support for a genocide worse than any Hitler ever committed, this is peace in the Orwellian sense. I think we should at least agree that genocide should be condemned even when it's carried out by the nation in which we happened to have been born.

The glorious founding was in response to British abolition of slavery in 1772, despite much rhetoric. Of course, slavery is compatible with freedom in children's fairy tales.

Moving to the twentieth century, it is hard to find a country wherein the United States did not subvert democracy. Just to name a few, the United States orchestrated coups, assassinations and invasions in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Venezuela, Chile, Brazil, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Libya, East Timor, Korea and the Congo. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Furthermore, the United States has supported authoritarian regimes in every country in the Middle East I can think of, against the will of the people. We may not remember these basic facts but surely the victims do.

As to World War II, there was one country that effectively won the war in Europe: the Soviet Union. Would it be honest to say that because Stalin liberated countries from German genocidal occupation during World War II, that we should ignore all of his other many atrocities? Of course not. Why, then, should we say the same thing about the United States?

So there are plenty of countries that have done more for peace, namely by not murdering millions of people. For example, Malta has done more for peace. Or Botswana. Or India. A more serious question is, if we abhor bin Laden for the death of many innocent American civilians, how many millions of innocent civilians have been killed by American foreign policy? Why should we support one and not the other?
Your initial statement is shocking for its hypocrisy and boyish logic. It is also clear that you are lazy and did not read the article.

You note that women are autonomous and thus have the responsibility not to involve themselves with abusers. The article notes that "in 1994 [Sheen] was sued by a college student who alleged that he struck her in the head after she declined to have sex with him. (The case was settled out of court.)"

If you approach this story from an elementary level of morality, you would apply the same standards to Sheen and other abusers that you apply to their victims. Assuming that drug addicts who assault people have the same autonomy that women do, certainly you would note that people who commit domestic violence deliberately choose to do so and thus should be punished for their crimes.

However, your logic perpetuates the twisted justifications for gender violence:

"Women mean "yes" when they say "no"; women are "asking for it" when they wear provocative clothes, go to bars alone, or simply walk down the street at night; only virgins can be raped; women are vengeful, bitter creatures "out to get men"; if a woman says "yes" once, there is no reason to believe her "no" the next time; women who "tease" men deserve to be raped; the majority of women who are raped are promiscuous or have bad reputations; a woman who goes to the home of a man on the first date implies she is willing to have sex; women cry rape to cover up an illegitimate pregnancy; a man is justified in forcing sex on a woman who makes him sexually excited; a man is entitled to sex if he buys a woman dinner; [and] women derive pleasure from victimization."


To say that victims of violence are at fault is a sick double-standard that exonerates rapists.