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 Osama Bin Falwell

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Oct 14, 2001
Saddam Hussein is a very bad man. Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said that the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children is worth the price to punish Hussein. I'm not convinced of this math. I'm not convinced Hussein is punished by our sanctions either. There are many other murdering very bad men the US government supports. Hussein was supported by the US government when he was fighting Iran and gassing his own Kurdish minority. What changed our opinion of his badness was when he dared touch 'our' oil. Our standards are not consistently applied. Putin is slaughtering Chechens with our blessings now that he is our new second best friend in the terror campaign. I just want the truth about the exercise of naked US power to be in the open and not hidden by hypocritical (or possibly cynically calculatedly misleading) obfuscations about good and evil.


More diaries by Inden
The End Can't Justify the Means Because There Isn't One
Do They Hate Americans or Just Our Government?
Justice for the Victims of 9/11 ! :: (a minority viewpoint)
Here's Some More Meat for You SFB Vultures! Enjoy!
American Values & Pax Americana
I Am Not A Pacifist - Taliban Must Go - We Must Rebuild Afghanistan Afterward
This is *N O T* a Test!
It's *not* their Economy Stupid!
This will be Skippy's Last Diary Entry Here
Confidence Game E-Mail Example
Number Won !
Struggle With Violence Is Eternal
First Commandment: Revisit As Often As Necessary
Delicate Question for Muslims
The Reason I'm Posting on Adequacy Despite Being Unwelcome
Islam vs. non-Islam in a tiny nutshell
Nobel Prize for Irrelevance: How Wrong I Was !
Nurturing Healthy Palestinian and Israeli Senses of National Identity
West Virgina Allegory
The ZogCore? Answer Man Is Here !
Christian Sponsorship of Rationlist Islamic Charity as Foreign Policy
Meine Ehre Heisst Speaking Truth to Power
Brief Public Service Reminder
Galactic Hitchiker Travel Advisory
Writer vs. Editor Relationship in a Nutshell
I'm not a pacifist. I'm not advocating 'placating' Osama bin Falwell. I believe there must be military action to obtain whatever shred of justice is obtainable in this instance. Unfortunately, the ratio of justice to flat out imperial conquest has the potential to quickly approach a nano-fraction unless we open our eyes and shake off the blinders of empty phrases such as "United We Stand","These Colors Don't Run" and the shallow idea that they attacked us because they "hate our freedoms".

They do hate our freedoms. So do the followers of Reverend Falwell, Jesse Helms, David Duke and, unfortunately, the cabal of right-wing ideologues so desperate for power that they disqualified thousands of black voters from the Florida voting rolls before the election to give their man a head start. Islam has no monopoly on enemies of freedom.

There is a certain irony to the observation that our most anti-freedom president should be pursuing a war allegedly in defense of freedom. But our wars are always allegedly in defense of freedom. It's just the words that we use to rally spirit. It's how we see ourselves in the world and it definitely has a rose-colored hue when looked at from in front of the glasses.

I'm mainly interested in the people of the United States learning how the regular Arab in the street views the world a little better. This is not about casting Israel in the role of Czechoslovakia to Arafat as Hitler, as Sharon's metaphor put it. My fantasy is for there to be a website where regular people from all over the world would come and talk with each other to learn from each other. There are machine translation software programs that could enable this to take place. The trouble would be getting Americans to take an interest in finding out how normal people in other countries see the actions of our government and also in getting the word out widely enough that people would make use of it. It's kind of a giant world debating club with universal translations in almost real time. It would be best if it operated under official UN auspices.

We, as Americans who believe in human rights and democracy and freedom and the inherent intelligence and goodness of all humans, have a hypocrisy vulnerability when it comes to some, not all, issues of injustice and unfairness around the world. We don't get enough credit, if any, when we do the right thing for justice in some places and we get heaps of crap for every little injustice we fail to do something about anywhere in the world. We also get even more crap for trying to do the right thing and screwing something up but basically getting it mostly right. This isn't fair either. This is at the root of a lot of right-wing American outrage about criticism for our foreign policies.

The worst offense we commit, as far as I am concerned, is not being willing to tell things like they are. We overthrew a democratically elected parliamentary leader in Iran in 1953 and installed the Shah. We did this for the money. We told ourselves we were doing it to fight the Reds who would deprive our oil companies of their democratic rights to profits from the Gulf, but it really was for the money. We did the same thing to Allende in Chile in 1973, with the same justification. We failed to do it to Castro, but it wasn't for lack of trying. We don't seem to mind doing lots of good business with the democratically odious Red Chinese. Check out where all those cheap American flags we are now flying everywhere are manufactured. They were still Communists when last I checked. We did it to Nicaragua, against the express wishes of our Congress while it was going on!

The sick joke of the whole thing is we regular Americans don't actually see much of that money trickling down to our schools, public transit (roads we got plenty), parks and other civic goods. For all the money our policies have been able to protect and increase, it seems we still have more people in prison and in poverty than any of our equally industrialized allies. What's up with that?


Good stuff (none / 0) (#1)
by First Incision on Sun Oct 14th, 2001 at 10:35:10 PM PST
I agree with most of what you said. Not all, but I'm too sleepy to debate minor points.
Do you suffer from late-night hacking? Ask your doctor about Protonix.

Sure we have done all those bad things... (4.00 / 3) (#2)
by elenchos on Sun Oct 14th, 2001 at 10:36:46 PM PST
...and more. And we continue to do bad things. And USians are quite ignorant about people outside our borders. We tolerate some really hypocritical policies. We support things in Israel that aren't exactly moral.

But what does any of that have to do with the mass murders on Sept. 11? It isn't as if we got what we deserved, like it was the natural consequence of our misdeeds. That act was thoroughly beyond the pale of any concept of justice and retribution. And it isn't as if there were some sane course we could have taken to prevent it. Like the Taliban and al Queda would have been reasonable had we helped secure a homeland for the Palestinains. They would have hated us just as much, and been just as violent. Their violence is disconnected from normal moral scales.

So yes, we should clean up our act. But that is an entirely separate issue from how we deal with people who have taken the mass insanity of fundametalist religion to apalling new depths of depravity. That doesn't mean we should be bombing at will either, just that this is not about the US getting what we deserved.

I would say, though, that maybe it's time we learned not to arm and cultivate nut-job criminals because they happen to have the same enemies we do at the moment. The pattern of them turning on us is pretty clear. Again, we should quit making mistakes, but in no way should the outrage we have suffered in itself be taken as a rebuke or a punishment. It is nothing more or less than an inhuman crime.

I do, I do, I do
--Bikini Kill

Nothing, but nothing justifies terrorism... (none / 0) (#9)
by Inden on Mon Oct 15th, 2001 at 08:25:18 AM PST
Nope, nothing justifies the horror of the crime. There is no way to ever make it right again. No way to give the children their parents back and spouses their mate. We didn't have it coming to us. Didn't mean to imply we did. No group of people ever have anything so despicable coming to them, even those Dresden inhabitants who 'failed' to oust the (way overly cited) Nazis. [Not that I'm equating Nazi-ism with the misdeeds of US policy by implication so don't go there as a cheap debate tactic okay.] The Iraqis don't deserve the degree of economic hardship the US is providing them for 'failing' to oust Saddam Hussein-I'm-not-are-you. It's kind of a cheap shot to pin me to this "we deserved it for being a bully" slant, because that's not where I took this.

I'm using the crime as an occassion to call people's attention to issues that in normal times they won't pay so much attention to. I'm exploiting the tragedy for the sake of wider debate in these raw emotional times when things are often more clearly percievable.

er... (5.00 / 1) (#3)
by poltroon on Sun Oct 14th, 2001 at 11:05:31 PM PST
The trouble would be getting Americans to take an interest in finding out how normal people in other countries see the actions of our government and also in getting the word out widely enough that people would make use of it.

The trouble would be getting all these people online. I think it was the latest newsweek where there were some statistics on how internet-connected most of the middle eastern nations are - most are at around 0.2%, with the highest, in someplace like Qatar, being around 5%.

Jolly good. (4.25 / 4) (#4)
by RobotSlave on Sun Oct 14th, 2001 at 11:33:53 PM PST
I'm sure this piece would be voted up quickly if it were submitted as an article over at

I think it is wonderful that has provided the diary section, which allows people to get the odd 850+ words out of their heads and hopefully get some sleep. For those of us who do not have such energetic fingers, reading diary entries like this earnest, heartfelt lullaby can keep anguish, caused by the lack of any potential spouse, at bay, at least for a minute or two.

Oh, damn.

It isn't working.

It must be time, once again, to seek my fortune in a nice, clean tavern.

© 2002, RobotSlave. You may not reproduce this material, in whole or in part, without written permission of the owner.

Yawn. (4.00 / 4) (#5)
by tkatchev on Mon Oct 15th, 2001 at 03:11:37 AM PST
Take it to I hear they appreciate pointless pseudo-intellectual liberalist wanking.

Peace and much love...

Justify your accusations (none / 0) (#8)
by Inden on Mon Oct 15th, 2001 at 08:08:35 AM PST
Accusing the piece of pseudo-intellectual liberal wanking requires you to justify why you think so.

Ah, I see. (3.00 / 2) (#11)
by tkatchev on Mon Oct 15th, 2001 at 08:51:51 AM PST
This must be another clever liberalist trick.

Next you'll ask me to justify why I think that the sky is blue and why water is wet.

Peace and much love...

Your getting worse, not better. (none / 0) (#12)
by Inden on Mon Oct 15th, 2001 at 10:19:49 AM PST
You are not discussing. You are assuming I understand I know what you are talking about when you write "liberalist". I have no idea Gospodin Tkachev. Liberalist sounds like something Solzhenitsyn calls the problem with the rotting/decaying West. But what exactly do you mean. If you don't say what you mean I'll have to assume you don't have anything of substance to say.

It takes two. (none / 0) (#14)
by tkatchev on Mon Oct 15th, 2001 at 10:36:36 AM PST
It takes two people to discuss -- at least one to do the talking, and at least one to do the listening. I'm not going to spoon-feed "useful" information to you; if you wish, however, we can learn from each other through fruitful discussion.

P.S. Liberalism is not just a problem with the decaying West -- it's also a problem for the decaying East. (Just ask Mao.)

P.P.S. "Liberalism" because it is much a destructive totalitarian ideology as fascism.

Peace and much love...

I am interested in your discussion of liberalism (none / 0) (#15)
by Inden on Mon Oct 15th, 2001 at 02:24:42 PM PST
Why is liberalism a destructive totalitarian ideology?

Question (none / 0) (#17)
by hauntedattics on Tue Oct 16th, 2001 at 08:54:58 AM PST
Liberalism as espoused by Al Gore, or liberalism as promulgated by John Stuart Mill et. al.? They're a bit different...

Al Gore? (none / 0) (#18)
by tkatchev on Tue Oct 16th, 2001 at 09:21:57 AM PST
I doubt Al Gore can "espouse" anything but hot air. In that respect, I think Al Gore is disqualified from the philosophy business altogether.

Peace and much love...

And I am still waiting for you to express yourself (none / 0) (#19)
by Inden on Tue Oct 16th, 2001 at 08:47:40 PM PST
I would very much like to read whatever thoughts you have about the problems of liberalism from your perspective.

reality vs idealism (4.75 / 4) (#6)
by Anonymous Reader on Mon Oct 15th, 2001 at 03:45:25 AM PST
We, as Americans who believe in human rights and democracy and freedom and the inherent intelligence and goodness of all humans,

Yeah, yeah, who doesnt. Unfortunately, those things are luxuries. Despite the fact that America remains the safest country in the world, it didnt take very much to institute a program of restricted civil liberties. Can you imagine if the US were suddenly struck as poor as Afghanistan, under constant external and internal threat? Where would your precious rights be then?

It simply isnt realistic to expect poor nations to conform to the civil rights standards of wealthy countries whose citizens live freely because their community makes no demands on their personal liberty. Threaten that community with poverty or war, and political society will regress to medieval conditions. Look around the globe; no poor nation is enlightened, politically.

Say what you will about the Taliban, but in a Muslim country without government infrastructure, only a band of ascetics was able to disarm the population and end its perpetual and destructive internecine horrorshow; the Taliban have saved more lives than they have buried enemies.

Societies tend to organize themselves in a manner required to promote their survival, the best of all possible worlds in the worst of all possible circumstances, if need be. International strife will end when all nations are federated under single global, wealth distributive governance -- "a more perfect union", in the words of Jefferson. (Imagine America's history if all the States were independent countries full of greedy USians. The worst of European history squared.)

Global Communism. You know you want it.

I'm mostly in agreement with you -- rats! (none / 0) (#7)
by Inden on Mon Oct 15th, 2001 at 08:04:35 AM PST
I have to agree that it is unrealistic to hope to establish the kind of first world Jeffersonian or Euro-values democratic system in Afghanistan (or most other countries of the world for that matter, especially poor ones). Saudi and Kuwait interestingly are not poor so it is also a cultural argument, maybe more so.

It's also a good augur that noone here has gone off about my charging that the President and his Party's henchmen stole the election -- a pretty serious historical violation which could go down in the books in future as the turning point of the Pax Americana away from the Republic and into our Augustinian era along the parable of the Romans. Maybe the Messiah will come back again if that is the case. You never can tell.

I liked the phrase "best possible circumstances in worst possible conditions". But there is a fatalism and a blase lack of engagement, of disengagement in the tone of your response (and not a few of the others).

Here's the nutshell: observing and analyzing is worthwhile if it is informed by a moral sense that leads to constructive action. Constructive engagement has icky historical connotations but it works here. Observing and analyzing without positive progressive intentions really is political wankology/intellectual onanism.

Saudi is actually 200 billion in debt (none / 0) (#10)
by Anonymous Reader on Mon Oct 15th, 2001 at 08:43:28 AM PST
I liked the phrase "best possible circumstances in worst possible conditions". But there is a fatalism and a blase lack of engagement, of disengagement in the tone of your response (and not a few of the others).

Not really; life hasn't come with an option to abstain from struggle since Sisyphus, and there is always a field of ideas competing to engage our iterative progress. If ideas were unimportant, or strictly manifestations of material struggle, then history would be directed inexorably towards a marxist outcome; but I think ideas (communication, in general) have a much more volatile birth and importance independent of our material existence.

Dense reply yours (none / 0) (#13)
by Inden on Mon Oct 15th, 2001 at 10:27:42 AM PST
You mention some clusters of ideas that could bear further elaboration. What does it mean for ideas to be only "manifestations of material struggle"? Do you believe in the Marxist dialectic? Both of your posts allude to Communism. I won't stop listening to you if the answer is yes, I just don't understand the code that seems to be employed in this reply.

yes, marxist analysis offers many insights (none / 0) (#16)
by Anonymous Reader on Mon Oct 15th, 2001 at 04:33:40 PM PST
and a very useful approach to the study of history. Marxism may not be entirely correct, but as a body of knowledge and praxis responsible for social change in the modern world, it has no challenger. That's the real usefulness of the left and intellectualism in general, afiac.


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