Monday, August 29, 2005

If you're looking for sympathy, you're knocking on the wrong door.


Oh, yawn. Apparently, fellow progressive blogger Joe is all up in arms over my apparent lack of compassion for the good folks of the Gulf coast, given that Hurricane Katrina seems about ready to redesign their landscape big time. To which I can, with a perfectly clear conscience, say, when it comes to things American, I've pretty much run out of said sympathy, natural disasters or otherwise.

From the ballistic missile defense program, to wanting to inflict their "no-fly" list on us, to banning Canadian beef, to illegal tariffs on softwood lumber, to Marc Emery, there's been an overwhelming attitude of pure thuggishness rolling up from the States lately, not just from the administration but from a lot of the media and even more of its citizens. Soviet Canuckistan, indeed.

Is the Gulf Coast in for a pounding? By all accounts, you bet. But at least its citizens had the freedom to, way ahead of time, jump in their gaz-guzzling land yachts and head for higher/dryer ground, unlike the citizens of, say, Fallujah in Iraq, many of whom were forced to hunker down in their bombed-out houses while American bombs and missiles rained down around them. If you're keeping score, I'd say the residents of Louisiana won that little comparison, no?

This piece over at CNN describes the potential looming devastation, writing:

Flooding expected from Hurricane Katrina could wreak catastrophe on New Orleans, overwhelming its water and sewage systems, damaging its structures and leaving survivors in a bowl of toxic soup, a top hurricane expert said Sunday.

Well, gosh, comparatively speaking, I wonder if that would be more or less toxic than, say, having your country's landscape saturated with depleted uranium from unceasing military strikes? Just asking.

And there's no doubt any rebuilding job is going to be that much harder, given that the normal manpower for this -- the Reserves and the National Guard -- have been stretched painfully thin, what with so many of them having been shipped off to Iraq. There's some irony for you -- "I'm sorry, we'd love to help with the emergency rescue work but we're kind of busy occupying this country, killing its citizens and destroying its entire infrastructure." I'll bet no one saw that coming.

Will there be suffering? Sure, but I'm betting it's not a "Maher Arar, shipped to Syria and tortured for months in a prison cell" kind of suffering.

It's also amusing that that previous CNN link was titled "Katrina may be 'our Asian tsunami'", given that the U.S.'s pathetic first response to the actual Asian tsunami was an embarrassing $35 million, while the cost of Commander Chimpy's inauguration was estimated at some $40 million. If the United States was looking for sympathy, they might not have wanted to remind everyone of their own miserly attitude towards other countries' disaster victims.

Of course, it's quite possible the rest of the world may chip in and help out. The Bush administration can always get their man at the U.N., John Bolton, to put out a call for assistance. I mean, given the friends he's made so far, how could any of those countries refuse? (That was sarcasm, for the current events-impaired.)

And if Katrina does even a fraction of the potential damage that's been predicted, fer shure, there's going to be a massive rebuilding effort needed, which would include, one would think, lots and lots of wood. To which the Canadian government should announce, "Well, we'd like to help but with these softwood lumber negotiations being as delicate as they are, I think the proper response is to roll up our sleeves, get back into that meeting room and hammer out an agreement, no matter how long it takes. And we, of course, should try to avoid any emotional tirades like, 'For God's sake, help us, please!!!'"

Do I feel any sympathy for the unfortunate citizens of the Gulf Coast? Sure, to some extent. But then I remind myself of how, when the chips are down, Canada is always willing to open its arms in an emergency and how, in return, we get slagged at every opportunity by so many assholes to the south of us.

So I'm just not wasting any more sympathy. If the Americans want help, let them pray for it. Like I said before, I'm sure Pat Robertson would be happy to help.

P.S. And, by the way, feel free to get your cheap drugs elsewhere.

P.P.S. And having grown up in Manitoba, don't think I haven't noticed this little indignity.

43 comments:

Canadian Perasma said...

All I have to say is:

1. You're a sad excuse for a Canadian.
2. You're an even worse excuse for a progressive.


You are what give us the anti-American tag we work so hard to shed. This isn't about "sympathy", it's about upholding PROGRESSIVE humanitarian values regardless of your political ideology or in your case, dogma. How insulting that you blow off progressive Americans who apparently aren't affected by this storm. Seriously, how are you in ANY WAY different than a Blogging Tory for example as you cling onto your dogmatic views of the world? All your wasted words still show you cannot justify your position on a factual based level. I think it is YOU and any of your sympathizers who has deteriorated into emotional, nationalistic tirades.

Your comments are beyond out of line. I've read more of your blog and I'm glad you're able to hide behind those who post on here to frankly kiss your ass and hide behind your trite monkier. I hope other prog blogs stand up for their values which you clearly do not have ANY respect for.

You do not repesent MY progressive Canadian values, Canadian Cynic. I'm sorry for you that you're not the authority you hold yourself out to be.

teffie-phd said...

I'm surprised at the "fire and brimestone" thing you have going in this post. Feels rather old-testament.

Though I'm not as worked up about it as joe is. It's your blog after all.

CC said...

It's Monday. I'm cranky. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. :-)

Jim said...

I think Prog Bloggers are going to have a hard time taking the high road against Blogging Tories from now on.

CC said...

Ah, yes, I'm sure the Blogging Tories will be ever so angst-ridden and upset about the devastation all along the Gulf Coast.

These would be, in large part, the same Blogging Tories who didn't seem all that excited about the invasion of Iraq and the deaths of tens of thousands of its innocent civilian population.

Yeah, like I'm worried about them seizing the moral high ground.

dveej said...

American Prog Blogger here: one of the purported victims of CC's alleged dogma.

Reading CC is good for my soul. He expresses, clearly and succinctly, how many of my fellow American progressives and I feel about the direction our country seems to be taking. Upon reading CC, I get a small but significant surge of endorphins, causing me not infrequently to smile or even laugh, my blood pressure and cholesterol levels to drop, and my income to increase.

You go, CC. You're good for those of us down here who agree with you.

Jim said...

My mistake. Let's all cheer, then.

Robert McClelland said...

Right on CC. Frankly I'm a little disgusted the way some of my fellow progressives are caving in to the stupidity of the right whingers and are now afraid to speak their mind for fear of offending them. Who gives a crap if the right thinks we're anti-American. Fuck them.

Warwick said...

You lot are truly pathetic.

dveej said...

If we're so pathetic, aren't you even more pathetic for taking the time and energy to post a comment to us pathetic ones saying how pathetic we are? Am I missing something here?

Meaghan Champion said...

"I think Prog Bloggers are going to have a hard time taking the high road against Blogging Tories from now on."

I doubt that... very very much.

If Canadian Cynic had been suggesting locking up American spokespeople and putting their children into "residential schools"... and none of the prog-bloggers had anything to say about that... you might have a point.

I actually do feel bad for Americans in the affected places who don't own gas-guzzling SUVs... or indeed any cars at all, and could not escape the city even with the mandatory evacuations.

This is going to be bad folks. It took 4 months for Ocala FL to recover life back to normal after the last 3 Hurricanes rolled thru here last summer. Katarina is going to be doing more damage. It's going to be awful... and what people don't understand is... what's going on right now isn't the worst of it.

The worst of it is what comes after... no power, no water, no sewage... no ice...no gas.. everybody's fueled up and the pumps run out for miles... then your food starts to rot because of the climate and because they ration things like Ice... and you have no idea when things are going to get any better.

People who are wealthy can afford to just hole up in a hotel for a few weeks. It's going to be poor families and their children who are going to suffer the most with all this.

Jim said...

People who are wealthy can afford to just hole up in a hotel for a few weeks. It's going to be poor families and their children who are going to suffer the most with all this.

CC makes no such distinction.

Jim said...

Right on CC. Frankly I'm a little disgusted the way some of my fellow progressives are caving in to the stupidity of the right whingers and are now afraid to speak their mind for fear of offending them. Who gives a crap if the right thinks we're anti-American. Fuck them.

Didn't say anything about being anti-American. Said something about being anti-progressive.

CC said...

That's right, CC makes no such distinction because CC is just in that kind of mood this morning. But, hey, let's follow this train of thought, shall we?

Why are the poor going to suffer the most? Well, for a starter, they're poor. And who's fault is that? Perhaps the Republicans, whose fiscal policies are ridiculously slanted towards the wealthy and leave those poor exactly where they are.

Perhaps it's because those poor are notoriously uninsured or underinsured. And whose fault is that? Go ahead, guess.

Perhaps it's because those poor live in communities that are also notorious for poor water and environmental quality in the first place. And whose fault is that? (Hint: which recent administration has been gutting environmental protections lately?)

Those poor are going to suffer the most simply because the GOP doesn't give a crap about them.

Jim said...

Why don't you argue that instead of hoping the hurricane evens the score?

stellababy said...

Joe- having been a longtime reader of this particular blog, I am sometimes mystified by CC's often biting snark in regards to really serious and tragic events. But I believe CC's discourse, while occasionally offensive, has an important role in "progressive" talking points. CC succeeds in connecting dots, pointing out inconsistencies, challenging common reactions... so what if he's being an asshole while doing it? I certainly dont agree with CC 100% of the time, but he does inspire me to reconsider my opinions, and I'm a flaming American liberal too. By the way, CC, the GOP isnt the only bad guy in keeping the poor down. don't be so black and white.

As for the rest of you- omigod! what a tragedy! hurricanes kill people! catastrophic damage! have a heart CC! get over yourselves. people die. people spin tragedies into partisan battlegrounds. there is nothing new going on here. poor people always suffer the most. thats why y'all should stop your whining and donate some time/money to charities that will be helping those most affected. Hey, when is the last time anyone here gave some dough to the Tsunami victims?? or maybe I'm just being a bitch. whatever.

Anonymous said...

With non-progressives, it's always the show that's more important than the action, no matter how much they protest otherwise. The pious "calls to prayer", the wishes of "godspeed" , the visible acts of personal charity ('I donated money to those pitiable disaster victims; of course I voted to cut taxes and cut the poor's most basic services on a long-standing, permanent basis, but my personal charity, in this most dramatic of circumstances, is what's important because of the satisfaction it provides me'), and the prissy high-dudgeon with which they condemn anyone who doesn't recite from this tired script, just begs for a cynical response.

But progressives generally just indulge in it briefly, and then move on.

Mark Francis said...

I understand, and even largely agree with CC here, but my sense of compassion overrides my negative feelings.

Canadian Perasma said...

And it's never occurred to any of you that this will hit SW Ontario at some point with at least a good soaker? I don't have to worry about that in Calgary but it at least crossed MY mind.

Sorry, you're not a progressive if you sympathize with CC's post. And I think the hypocritical statements against such people as Pat Robertson comes across as "my shit don't stink" but yours does.

If the US had another 9/11 incident tomorrow, I think you lot would be jumping up and down about that too. You're Canadians of the lower common denominator. And yes..this does hurt Prog Blog's argument that we take the high road against the Blogging Tories.

In any case, this will be my final posting here. Much to your chagrin I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, you're not a progressive if you sympathize with CC's post. And I think the hypocritical statements against such people as Pat Robertson comes across as "my shit don't stink" but yours does.

This gross mischaracterisation does more to diminish all of humanity than some cynical comment from a blogger ever could for progressives.

You're a poor excuse for a Canadian, Joe.

Anonymous said...

Just as something to think about, I would like to point out that eight months ago Indonesia lay in tatters, and certain American fundamentalists had the appalling bad taste to suggest that because most of those affected were Muslims, perhaps the tsunami was a well-deserved punishment from God.

Progressive bloggers were quick to tear them down, and rightly so. Such schadenfreude is simply intolerable in the face of genuine human suffering, which, particularly in the case of natural disaster, no political or social position can fully ameliorate.

Today, all those progressive bloggers had a chance to acquit themselves consistently with their touted ideals. Today, the shoe is on the other foot, and what do I find but CC doing the exact same thing the fundies did with regard to Indonesia. I am deeply disappointed.

Because the disaster is happening to someone not like him, people in a nation with whose policies he disagrees, people with religious and political beliefs that may differ from his, they are not deserving of his sympathy. This is the antithesis of progressivism.

Natural disasters have absolutely nothing to do with people's religion, what kind of vehicles they drive, how much energy they consume, who they voted for, who the majority of their state voted for, the foreign policy of their nation, or any other such factor, and should not be considered in any sane person's response to such an event.

In short, CC, the reality-based community wonders where you went. Please come back.

Adam said...

There is more than one way to look at a tragedy like a hurricane.

One is to focus on the immediate dammage, loss of life, lasting misery, and all of the things that make an event a tragedy. This is important.

Another is to look at why an event becomes a tragedy. In some cases - like December's tsunami - it's pretty much unavoidable. In others - as CC has been trying to argue here - there are prior decisions and policies that lead directly to increased suffering and loss.

Maybe if we looked at this as a "root causes" issue we could explain some of the invective...

Has CC not been properly sympathetic to the first viewpoint, the suffering of the victims? Perhaps - or perhaps it's awareness of their suffering that's got him so pissed at those responsible.

Anyway, on another point, if it were up to me the Liberals would be first to get the boot from Prog Blogs. Of course, that's not remotely any of my business, but really: "progressive enough"? Way to take a vague, ill-defined political adjective and turn it into a measuring stick...

angela said...

since the progbloggers dont know what the definition of tasteless commentary on katrina is, i have provided this bonnie link

i dont agree with cc, but booting him out of pb isnt going to stop blogtories from declaring that canadian progressives are america-haters, etc. i mean, they decide that by reading extreme viewpoints and applying them to an entire portion of the population. theyre mad that we can reduce them to their wingnuts (because they put them in parliament), so they're trying to do the same to us. smearing, etc.

what is more pathetic than smearing? a blogging alliance going on a PR rampage, perhaps? :)

CC said...

i dont agree with cc, but booting him out of pb isnt going to stop blogtories ...

Let me be clear about this -- nobody booted me out, I offered to leave to minimize the fallout from exactly what you're talking about.

angela said...

i was just referring to the desire of some that you remove the progressive label

JimBobby said...

Whooee! I reckon it'd be a good thing t' remember that 49% o' Merkins voted against Georgie Dubya. Merka ain't a big monolith like sum fellers an' gals seem t' think. There's all sortsa good Merkins who din't choose t' be born pore in Louisiana. They din't vote fer BushFeller, neither.

So what if it's the right-wing republicans' fault there's such a big gap between rich an' pore? That don't make the sufferin' the pore folks go through any easier.

I figger when folks is sufferin' from these here disasters, it's only human t' wanna help. It don't matter if the pore bastards is in Indonesia or Alabama or Kelowna or Winnipeg or Switzerland or Portugal. Human bein's help out other human bein's in need. If they don't that's inhuman, sez I.

Anyway, from what I hear tell, Katerina din't hit New Orleans nearly so hard as they thought it was gonna. Typical scaredy-cat Merkin fear-mongerin', I s'pose. Mebbe the whole storm was sumpin' dreamed up by the MSM t' sell papers. ;-)

Yores trooly,
JimBobby

Luke said...

Offering to leave and others demanding you leave is exactly the opposite of what progressive is supposed to be about.

This was one post. A single post. And the reaction is absurd. Some might point out that progblogs were hard on Pat robertson, but if you can't see the difference here, well then I'm not sure how you graduated high school (assuming you graduated from HS).

This wont go down as the greatest or most progressive blog entry in the world, but it would be counterproductive and unprogressive to give someone the boot after a first offense, so to speak.

Lone Primate said...

Joe, Jim... you guys strike me as far more worried about being able to float above the Blogging Tories than whether or not there are fundamental truths to what's being said.

CC's got a colourful way about his prose, to be sure. But don't let the bite of how he says what he says blind you to the basic idea that he's trying to get across. At the risk of being boring, it boils down the widespread notion that, generally speaking, accompanying its rise to military and economic preeminence, the United States has evolved into a cold, uncaring nation that considers itself almost divinely ordained to be above attack, correction, or criticism from without. A land where suffering is unnatural and somehow against the will of God. Like it or not, there are people in the world — and good people, too — who wish to see people in the US suffer some torments, setbacks, and humilitation, not so much out of some malicious urge just to see them suffer for its own sake, but in the hopes that it will remind them of the commonality of the humanity they share with the rest of us... that they are not some order of being above and beyond, as they so often seem to assume in even their most casual moments. The hope is that in suffering loss, they will remember that they too were once victims, once powerless, once worried about the whims of others, once at mercy of forces beyond their control, and perhaps become better people for it. The kind of people who cannot purposefully bomb cities full of human beings right off the map as though they were tree stumps in a field, or blithely refer to thousands upon thousands of innocent foreign dead every night as "collateral damages", instead of what they are: the indisputable murder victims of the policies of their nation. If one person in the US sees the destruction in Louisiana and Mississippi and reflects on the things he's seen coming out of Iraq and is compelled to think differently, well... that's progress, in my books. Real, practical progress, unlike some abstract high moral ground king-of-the-mountain game with the Blogging Tories.

Anonymous said...

First time reader. Found it puerile and malicious. SO glad you're not on my side.

Alex said...

I'll admit to being a right-winger here, so feel free to take my opinions with a grain of salt, but this post evidences the sort of sick and twisted thinking that's a waste of text no matter who espouses it. The religious fanatic who says 9/11 happened because the US had strayed from the Word of God or that the tsunami last winter happened because they weren't Christian is espousing reprehenshible philosophies, and I slag them all the time, despite the fact that they're on "my side" on quite a lot of things. They are wrong and malicious when they try to be gleeful about tragedy befalling those they dislike, just like you are when it happens to your opponents.

This isn't about politics, you idiot, it's a hurricane bearing down on people who don't deserve to die for living in the wrong country. The correct response is compassion and whatever aid you can afford to help those who need it, not polittical sermonizing about how "they're just Americans, they deserve it" - if you can't hear the ring of fascist dictators everywhere in that statement, then you need to get your head out of the sand.

Also, I'll touch on Iraq here, just to clear something up. Just because innocent people die doesn't make a war bad. Of course I wish that it didn't cost innocent lives to liberate a country, and I know that a life lost there is as important as a life lost in Mississippi in a hurricane. But making the argument that just because innocents are dying as a result of the war means that the war is bad is simplistic at best. As powerful as the US is, it doesn't have powers normally ascribed to deities - it can't remove Saddam and set up a functioning nation just by snapping its fingers. And that's always been the case - as successful as the post-WW2 rehabilitation of Germany and Japan were, those ran into many of the same problems that we face today for longer than we've faced them for(and I'm not even going to mention the staggering cost in blood it took to put the troops on that ground in the first place, a cost that we were thankfully spared this time).

But the standard in this war, even if you're looking at it from a perspective of pure humanitarianism, is not some mythological war where we could stop Saddam's brutal and oft-genocidal habits without getting our hands dirty or without inconveniencing people. The choices were US rule or Saddam's rule, and anyone who is even remotely familiar with the statistics can tell you that the US's rule is far preferable, even if it isn't perfect. Of course I wish that it could be better, and I wish that they had made fewer dumb mistakes in their post-war conduct. But as long as the US actually finishes the job, and sets up somethign approximating a modern, functioning democracy(and yes, it CAN be done), then the result is far, far preferable to the continued rule of a megalomaniacal dictator who thought nothing of grinding his citizens underfoot.

That's why I supported the war(well, it's one of the reasons, at least), and even if you choose to disagree with other aspects of it, or disagree with my figures, please don't assume that anyone on this side of the spectrum is being cavalier about thousands of dead innocents - it's a tough choice, and one where I wish there were better alternatives, but I'm standing behind the one that I believe will do the best job of eliminating human misery the fastest. And I hope that you can acknowledge that fact - just because we want the US to follow a course of action that you believe to be counterproductive doesn't mean that we're motivated by oil, malice, or the stupidity that it's too easy to attribute to people who oppose us. I believe in doing what is best for the world, as do you - don't try to assert otherwise, unless you're trying to say that I own a lot more shares in Texaco than I know about.

Anonymous said...

What a piece of shit. You call yourself a Canadian?

First and last time reader.

-Joe Kelly from Ontario

Anonymous said...

I had the privilege of bweing in Asia during Tsunami. If I have ever read a more ignorant referral to the ordeal and the helpers involved I can't recall. What is WRONG with you? Your opinion is yuor own but discouraging people from being compassionate? Ridiculous. Maybe it takes the experience of watching people DIE IN FRONT OF YOU to know that. You have my pity, never my respect. I detest knowing that I come from the same country as yourself. You ought to be more grateful and do more traveling. Ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

So let's get this straight, the people suffering ought to be blamed for a goverments poor decisions? THEY have the control over them? THEY should suffer when they're dying? You are beyond ignorant.

Anonymous said...

It occurs to me that, by and large, these are the same people responsible for electing the government that has, through its cuts, neglect, and attentions elsewhere, essentially condemned them to this fate; as well, it is the same government that has undertaken a war of choice that has taken the lives of tens, perhaps hundreds of times more innocent civilians in Iraq... and that was a conscious decision, not fiat of nature; murders that many of them shrugged off with little problem. These people are, on the whole, religious... do you think the words "divine retribution" carry any weight with them? If the God they believe in is just, they should.

Alex said...

Even if I grant all of the worst claims about the Iraq war, that still doesn't make Bush the worst world leader out there. If you're looking for divine retribution, why wouldn't you have your gaze fixed on North Korea? Oh wait, I'm sorry, they're Marxists, so I guess they're only suffering the wrath of historical inevitability.

CC said...

Even if I grant all of the worst claims about the Iraq war, that still doesn't make Bush the worst world leader out there. If you're looking for divine retribution, why wouldn't you have your gaze fixed on North Korea?

The new motto of the Bush administration: "Not as bad as North Korea!"

Catchy, and with a beat you can dance to.

maple moonbat said...

If you're looking for divine retribution, why wouldn't you have your gaze fixed on North Korea?

Remind me again, please... who've they invaded in the past 50 years or so?

Here's a list, compiled in 1991, of US invasions, interventions, and usurpations during that period alone that might put North Korea's evil into some perspective.

IRAN/l953/Command operation/CIA overthrows democracy, installs Shah.

VIETNAM/l954/Nuclear threat/French offered bombs to use against siege.

GUATEMALA/l954/Command operation, bombing, nuclear threat/CIA directs exile invasion after new gov't nationalizes U.S. companies' lands; bombers based in Nicaragua.

EGYPT/l956/Nuclear threat/Soviets told to keep out of Suez crisis.

LEBANON/l958/Troops, naval/Marine occupation against rebels.

IRAQ/1958/Nuclear threat/Iraq warned against invading Kuwait.

CHINA/l958/Nuclear threat/China told not to move on Taiwan isles.

PANAMA/1958/Troops/Flag protests erupt into confrontation.

VIETNAM/l960-75/Troops, naval, bombing, nuclear threats/Fought South Vietnamese revolt & North Vietnam during the Vietnamese civil war; over two million Vietnamese casualties in longest U.S. war; atomic bomb threats in l968 and l969.

LAOS/1961/Command operation/Military buildup during guerrilla war.

CUBA/l961/Command operation/CIA-directed exile invasion fails.

GERMANY/l961/Nuclear threat/Alert during Berlin Wall crisis.

CUBA/l962/Nuclear threat, naval/Blockade during missile crisis; near-war with Soviet Union.

PANAMA/l964/Troops/Panamanians shot for urging canal's return.

INDONESIA/l965/Command operation/One million-plus killed in CIA-assisted army coup. CIA provides assassination lists to military, plus weapons.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC/1965-66/Troops, bombing/Marines land during election campaign.

GUATEMALA/l966-67/Command operation/Green Berets intervene against rebels.

CAMBODIA/l969-75/Bombing, troops, naval/Up to 2 million killed in decade during/after U.S. invasion of Cambodia and bombing, starvation, and political chaos.

OMAN/l970/Command operation/U.S. directs Iranian marine invasion to intervene in Omani civil war.

LAOS/l971-73/Command operation, bombing/U.S. directs South Vietnamese invasion; "carpet-bombs" countryside.

SOUTH DAKOTA/l973/Command operation/Army directs Wounded Knee siege of Lakotas.

MIDEAST/1973/Nuclear threat/World-wide alert during Mideast War.

CHILE/1973/Command operation/CIA-backed coup ousts democratically-elected Marxist president and installs brutal military dictatorship.

CAMBODIA/l975/Troops, bombing/Gas captured ship, 28 die in copter crash.

ANGOLA/l976-?/Command operation/CIA assists South African-backed rebels.

IRAN/l980/Troops, nuclear threat, aborted bombing/Raid to rescue Embassy hostages; 8 troops die in copter-plane crash. Soviets warned not to get involved in revolution.

LIBYA/l981/Naval jets/Two Libyan jets shot down in maneuvers.

EL SALVADOR/l981-?/Command operation/U.S. mercenaries, military advisors, overflights aid anti-rebel war.

NICARAGUA/l981-90/Command operation, naval/CIA funds, trains, equips and directs exile (Contra) invasions, plants harbor mines against revolution.

HONDURAS/l982-?/Troops/Maneuvers help build bases near borders.

LEBANON/l982-84/Naval, bombing, troops/Marines expel PLO and back Christian Phalangists, Navy bombs and shells Muslim positions.

GRENADA/l983-84/Troops, bombing/Invasion four years after socialist revolution. U.S. installs puppet government.

LIBYA/l986/Bombing, naval/Air strikes try to topple nationalist gov't.

BOLIVIA/1987/Troops/Coast Guard and Army assists raids on cocaine region.

IRAN/l987-88/Naval, bombing/US intervenes on side of Iraq in Gulf War.

LIBYA/1989/Naval jets/Two Libyan jets shot down.

VIRGIN ISLANDS/1989/Troops/St. Croix Black unrest after storm.

PHILIPPINES/1989/Jets/Air cover provided for government against coup.

PANAMA/1989-?/Troops, bombing/Nationalist government ousted by invasion. U.S. installs puppet government and refuses to hold new elections.

LIBERIA/1990-?/Troops/Foreigners evacuated during civil war; troops protect CIA communications/listening post.

SAUDI ARABIA/1990-?/Troops, jets/Iraq countered after invading Kuwait. Forces also in Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Israel.

IRAQ/1990-?/Naval, bombing, troops/Blockade of Iraqi and Jordanian ports; large-scale destruction of Iraqi military.

KUWAIT/1991-?/Naval, bombing, troops/Attacks on Iraqi military; effort to return dictatorial royal family to throne.


Now... getting back to just who is or isn't deserving of retribution...

maple moonbat said...

The new motto of the Bush administration: "Not as bad as North Korea!" Catchy, and with a beat you can dance to.

But like most other things about the Bush Administration, in a larger sense, it's a lie.

Alex said...

I'll grant that invasions and threats of force tend to be ugly, nasty, and generally not good on TV. But since when are they automatically evil? I'm sure this is about the ten thousandth time that this point has been used against you, but I'll roll the odometer here - WW2. Tell me with a straight face that the assorted invasions of that war, invasions that cost millions of lives, were not justified despite their costs. As for the ones you listed, a quick scan of the list says that most of those are totally irrelevant and most of the rest were worth the costs. Yes, there were exceptions, botches, mistakes, and maybe even some that were intentional. But there's never been a President of the US that has displayed the tiniest fraction of the malice, inhumanity and depravity that is an everyday event in nations run by men like Hussein, Kim Jong-Il, Stalin, Hitler, or any of thousands of others during this weird and generally awful thing we call "human history". The US makes mistakes, yes, and due to its size, it's mistakes tend to have wide-ranging effects, but it is not an evil nation, and it is not ruled by subhuman sadists. Comparing the US to North Korea is insanity.

maple moonbat said...

But since when are they automatically evil?

Where does "automatic" come into it? The only invasion that's justified by Hitler is the one that took place in 1944... it doesn't extend forever forward ad infinitum. In this case, we're talking about the invasion of a country that had been militarily prostrate for over a decade, and posed no threat to the US or any other country, and in which no concrete evidence to the contrary was ever put forward, before or since. On the other hand, it had just scads and scads of oil, was selling it for euros instead of dollars, and provided a (supposedly) pushover target where upwards of a dozen permanent bases could be (and are being) built, to cow the rest of the Middle East. Saddam was hardly an ideal leader. But innocent people are far more likely to die now, and much more likely to die by violence, than they were under his regime. Far from being an improvement, the presence of US and allied troops has been to the vast detriment of the average Iraqi. And if dictatorship is all the excuse the US needs to kick in the door, why Iraq? There are many much more egregious regimes in Africa that are more deserving of Uncle Sam's gentle attentions, and yet somehow, they are forever overlooked. Too many black folks, not enough black gold.

The US makes mistakes, yes, and due to its size, it's mistakes tend to have wide-ranging effects, but it is not an evil nation, and it is not ruled by subhuman sadists.

Again, like using the example of Hitler to justify any and every invasion ever after, this statement is far too universal. Having good intentions, good stated goals, and good press does not excuse venal evil. There are evil men running the United States. What else can you call men possessed of vast, imperial might, arrogantly willing to initiate a war of choice that needlessly murders hundreds of thousands of civilians, ruins their infrastructure for years, turns their country into a breeding ground for terrorists, and leads them to the brink of civil war, all so that it can be rejigged to work better in the interests of the invading nation? Paper it over with screeds about freedom and democracy all you want; it changes none of that. Iraq has been smashed and is enduring a torturous, fumble-fisted attempt at gluing it back together in an image more pleasing to the United States. What is that if not sadistic? How is the blithe acquiescence of the (slight) majority of the American electorate to these ends not evil? There is no level on which this is not objectionable; one need do no more than imagine some other power doing likewise to the United States to realize this. The fact that there have been worse regimes in history can hardly excuse this one today, and cannot rescue the reputation of the United States. Only refraining from behaving this way in the future can do that.

Comparing the US to North Korea is insanity.

Refusing to admit the true nature and impact of the actions of this administration because the ramifications are uncomfortable is intellectually dishonest. That someone is capable of drawing ethical parallels between the actions of regimes you don’t like, and those of ones you do, does not make that person insane, however disturbing you may find the exercise philosophically.

CC said...

Tell me with a straight face that the assorted invasions of that war, invasions that cost millions of lives, were not justified despite their costs.

Your logic seems to be that, since some wars are good, therefore all wars are good. You might want to rethink that.

But there's never been a President of the US that has displayed the tiniest fraction of the malice, inhumanity and depravity that is an everyday event in nations run by men like Hussein, Kim Jong-Il, Stalin, Hitler, or any of thousands of others during this weird and generally awful thing we call "human history".

Another perfectly appropriate slogan for the Bush administration: "Hey, we're not as evil as Hitler!"

Alex said...

Where does "automatic" come into it? The only invasion that's justified by Hitler is the one that took place in 1944... it doesn't extend forever forward ad infinitum.

Granted - I'm just using that as an example of how it can be a good thing to do something that has some negative side effects. The rhetoric I tend to hear from the left doesn't acknowledge that possibility, which is why the Hitler example gets used - it just sets the ground rules for the discussion, by showing that nasty things happening(e.g., people dying in large numbers) can be an acceptable outcome - never desired, of course, but acceptable.

In this case, we're talking about the invasion of a country that had been militarily prostrate for over a decade, and posed no threat to the US or any other country, and in which no concrete evidence to the contrary was ever put forward, before or since. On the other hand, it had just scads and scads of oil, was selling it for euros instead of dollars, and provided a (supposedly) pushover target where upwards of a dozen permanent bases could be (and are being) built, to cow the rest of the Middle East.

Yes, Iraq was prostrate, but that state of affairs continued only as long as the US and UK were willing to make unreasonably large efforts to keep Saddam in a box. And while it wasn't a threat at the time of invasion, anyone who says that Saddam wasn't making efforts to get WMD's, and that he would never have gotten them, is short-sighted at best. There may not have been a short-term danger there, contrary to claims made pre-war, but there was a long-term danger, just like there is from any country that wants to become a danger.

And yes, Iraq had oil(big surprise there). That oil was most of the reason why Saddam was dangerous - he had tens of billions of dollars to fuel his megalomania with. As for bases, I'll say openly(as will many other war supporters) that yes, putting bases in to push around other local regimes with is one of the positive outcomes of this war. The WoT won't be won until the entire Middle East is made up of stable, modern nations(because citizens of such nations don't fly planes into buildings), and to do that it's going to take a whole lot of things, well-placed army bases included.

Saddam was hardly an ideal leader. But innocent people are far more likely to die now, and much more likely to die by violence, than they were under his regime. Far from being an improvement, the presence of US and allied troops has been to the vast detriment of the average Iraqi.

I suggest you re-check the stats. According to Iraq Body Count(a left-leaning page that counts civilian deaths), about 25,000 civilians have died from the war so far - that's about 10,000 per year. The best numbers I've seen for pre-war deaths were closer to 50,000. You can dispute the latter up or down by a fairly large factor, but it's hard to believe that it's higher now than it was before the war. And even if it is the same, consider that there's still a major difference - the Hussein regime was going to continue indefinately if nothing was done. The current strife will eventually end(most insurgencies burn out, historically), and then the deaths will stop. That's an improvement.

And if dictatorship is all the excuse the US needs to kick in the door, why Iraq? There are many much more egregious regimes in Africa that are more deserving of Uncle Sam's gentle attentions, and yet somehow, they are forever overlooked. Too many black folks, not enough black gold.

Limited resources, mostly. Iraq was a humanitarian concern, but it's also part of the WoT, and as such, it rates higher as a priority for the US military than does a humanitarian intervention without other side benefits. At the end of the day, the priority is national security first, humanitarianism second(as it must be), and Iraq was one of the two best national-security targets in the world(the other being North Korea, which is off-limits because of their ability for massive retaliation in case of invasion).

Again, like using the example of Hitler to justify any and every invasion ever after, this statement is far too universal. Having good intentions, good stated goals, and good press does not excuse venal evil. There are evil men running the United States. What else can you call men possessed of vast, imperial might, arrogantly willing to initiate a war of choice that needlessly murders hundreds of thousands of civilians, ruins their infrastructure for years, turns their country into a breeding ground for terrorists, and leads them to the brink of civil war, all so that it can be rejigged to work better in the interests of the invading nation?

Every war is a war of choice - to beat the dead horse again, Chamberlain and FDR had the choice between surrender and war. Bush had a less-bad choice, between an unhappy status quo and war, but it was just as much of a choice as it was in any other case in human history. Why don't you blame the insurgents for fighting a terror campaign of choice?

Also, the number is ~25000, not "hundreds of thousands" - I wouldn't think that that one would need exaggeration, it's horrible enough as-is. And if you don't think that Iraq was breeding terrorists for decades, you don't know what you're talking about - the only thing that has changed is the target.

Paper it over with screeds about freedom and democracy all you want; it changes none of that. Iraq has been smashed and is enduring a torturous, fumble-fisted attempt at gluing it back together in an image more pleasing to the United States. What is that if not sadistic? How is the blithe acquiescence of the (slight) majority of the American electorate to these ends not evil? There is no level on which this is not objectionable; one need do no more than imagine some other power doing likewise to the United States to realize this. The fact that there have been worse regimes in history can hardly excuse this one today, and cannot rescue the reputation of the United States. Only refraining from behaving this way in the future can do that.

I'm glad to see that you have so much respect for liberty that you consider praise of it to be "screeds" - real great viewpoint there. That said, I'll agree that the Iraq that is getting put together today is more pleasing to the US than what was there before. What's your point? It's possible for a change to benefit both the Iraqis and the Americans(hell, given the state of affairs pre-war, it'd hard to think of a change that wouldn't benefit both), and turning Iraq from a tyrannic dictatorship into a liberal democracy benefits both groups greatly.

And the opinion of the American electorate is utterly irrelevant - the important part is that it's both good foreign policy from the American point of view, and an action that is a net benefit to the world from the bystander's point of view(i.e., mine). In other words, they should be doing it, and it's good that they are.

As for the concept of invading the US, you're right to say that such a thing would be wrong. So would invading Canada, France, or Lichtenstein - any country that isn't screwed-up enough for the benefits of the regime change to outweigh the detriments of the war shouldn't be invaded. Iraq was a bad enough place that the cost-benefit analysis said that invasion was probably a good thing.

Refusing to admit the true nature and impact of the actions of this administration because the ramifications are uncomfortable is intellectually dishonest. That someone is capable of drawing ethical parallels between the actions of regimes you don’t like, and those of ones you do, does not make that person insane, however disturbing you may find the exercise philosophically.

I don't think that I'm guilty of intellectual dishonesty. The war has negative side effects - I acknowledge that. I just think that those are smaller than the side effects of leaving a genocidal maniac in control.

Your logic seems to be that, since some wars are good, therefore all wars are good. You might want to rethink that.

And your argument seems to be that since bad things happen in war, war is bad. I don't think that either of us is arguing from either of those rediculous extremes. I'm just trying to point out that war *can* be good - trying to get my foot in the door, as it were. If you'll acknowledge that war can be beneficial, then we can get to discussing whether this war fits into that category, instead of just hearing screwming about how it must be evil because people are dying. What I'm trying to get to is a more reasonable point of discussion(which is, admittedly, a better place for me to be arguing from), which is why I keep talking about Hitler. Plus, there's also a bit of nose-thumbing at those who disagree with your slogan ;)

Fat Arse said...

Just came across this post - to confuse the just desserts owed the a morally bankrupt economic and political elite in a country with the impending peril their underclass was about to experience was (four years ago) poor form. To have kept this post on your blog archives without an updated compassionate 'mea culpa' is simply wrong.

Heartfelt political partisanship most definitely has its virtues; but to not formally address this past ideologically driven indiscretion is beyond the pale.

how can I possibly contemplate calling that narrow-minded ideologue and bigot "The Raging Tory" to account for his past post when you stand by this post?


p.s. don't have the time to go all through all your posts since 2005 - so if you did happen to address this particular issue in latter posts please let me know.