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#76533 - 08/07/02 10:44 AM Re: Choosing Violence
WhitmanO'Neill Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/13/01
Posts: 4189
Loc: Rio Grande, Cape May County, N...
Or perhaps, more sinisterly, it is merely an attempt to exert direct control over a large percentage of the world’s petroleum reserves.

Yup...unfortunately, just "follow the oil"...that's what it's been about for decades, and has now reached critical crescendo with this current administration. And whether you support Bush or not, you have to admit that broadcasting your war plans for months in advance isn't the stuff that "hands-on" leadership is made of...I thought, at the beginning, that, at least, Dubya had assembled some knowledgeable, savvy, experienced people behind him...but now, like Chemeng, I'm seriously doubting the competence of this administration, and in the face of the current world situation, that's doubly scary. Interior squabbling may be a big part of that (I don't think they planned on Colin Powell exerting his more moderate positions to the degree he is), but it's still no excuse. Cheney is now effectively muted because of his ties to Big Oil and the corporate scandals (and his own shady business dealings). Condoleeza Rice, who weighs-in heavily on foreign policy, is an expert on the old Soviet Union...what's the relevance to what we're facing now?...(and she was also once an oil executive, BTW). And why isn't Bin Laden dead or behind bars, huh? I figured 3 months, tops, once the shooting started over in Afghanistan. But, now, I really believe they're just exploiting this whole horrible situation for the oil interests...how utterly wretched and abysmal. Even Afghanistan ...ENRON and others wanted a pipeline across the east of that country to rich new oil rich fields in the mountains above it, and in order to achieve that deal they needed a stable government in Afghanistan, ANY stable government. And the Taliban decided to stop playing ball, so it was very convenient to install another (and where is Bin Laden?)...Oil Domino #1. And, of course, Saddam's embargo on oil exports from Irag, one of the largest oil reservoirs in the world...Oil Domino #2. And I suspect that Somalia, with their newly discovered oil fields, will be #3. Oil Wars under the mask of September 11th?...it's revolting. Covert special forces can take out Saddam, if it's so crucial...what's the hesitation?...so why is a major war necessary?

#76534 - 08/07/02 01:40 PM Re: Eastern Civilization?
Jazzoctopus Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/03/00
Posts: 1094
Loc: Cincinnati & Loveland, Ohio, U...
But make no mistake, the irrepressible thrust of Western Civilization owes a lions share of its enabling nature to the East, in particular, the middle-eastern gift of Christianity. Without the egalitarian precepts introduced by Christianity, self-government as we know it, could not exist.

Ok, two things:

One, the area where Christianity developed is basically in the realm of the western world. Mesopotamia (Iraq, Iran, Israel) is where western "civilization" began way back with the Sumerians. And the whole area was part of the Roman Empire at the time Paul started his merry religion. Eastern civilization refers to the area of China and Japan, not Persia etc.

Two, Christianity as an institution had virtually nothing to do with the development of egalitarian and self-governing principles. Greece, though obviously not a perfect society, was the first attempt at universal input in government. Christianity didn't exactly influence them. Plus, how do Papal bureaucracy and the divine right of kings aid in furthuring egalitarian principles?

#76535 - 08/07/02 05:16 PM Re: Eastern Civilization?
WhitmanO'Neill Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/13/01
Posts: 4189
Loc: Rio Grande, Cape May County, N...
One, the area where Christianity developed is basically in the realm of the western world. Mesopotamia (Iraq, Iran, Israel) is where western "civilization" began way back with the Sumerians. And the whole area was part of the Roman Empire at the time Paul started his merry religion. Eastern civilization refers to the area of China and Japan, not Persia etc.

Good point, Jazzo. "The Fertile Crescent" has always been regarded as the "Birthplace of Western Civilization," that's Western Civ 101. And it was the Far East that was shut out of our texts and studies so many years...India, China, Japan, Indonesia. Not to say that there doesn't exist a gulf and alienation of culture between the societies of the Middle East and European/American (continental sense) societies (and what about tropical Africa, where do they rate in all of this?). But, yes, the Middle East was always regarded as the Cradle of Civilization, Western Civilization. But, something to consider, is that back when these nomenclatures were developed most folks from a religiously Christian eye regarded the world split into two parts...the Christianized civilization of the West, and the heathens and savages of the "uncivilized" world. So perhaps any vestige of historically known civilization, even BC, was lumped into the category of "Western" by the earliest chroniclers, to discredit the presumption that any non-Christian heathens could be civilized. Was Nebuchadnezzar really Western in his thought and action? I dunno...I just know that's what the books say and support. And what's more, the ancient Sumerians were literate. To accrue other than Western creedence to heathens capable of a written language may have been deemed too drastic a violation of the unfortunate tunnel vision of the time. You should see some of the passages in an 1849 geography textbook that came to me in my one-room schoolhouse...the arrogant and dismissive views of other cultures in Africa, in Asia, and the native peoples of all the Americas from one of the most educated and intellectual minds of that time is nothing short of appalling...it's actually so ridiculous that all you can do is react with a smirk of incredulity at some of the remarks. And this was the 19th century. Imagine the viewpoints at the beginning of the first millennium when the first historical texts were being transcribed during the initial rise of Christianity. Relativism?

BTW, Westerners didn't really know that the distant east had a real history until they began to trade regularly in the Middle Ages (the story, or myth, of Marco Polo). So, while ancient historians knew that India, China, Japan, and Indonesia were there from the tales of infrequent trading forays (and lost sailing ships that occasionally returned, no doubt), the "Mysterious East" was simply dismissed as one big heathen culture with an abundance of riches (spice, gems, carpets) to be exploited...by then an earnest research into the ancient dynasties of China would have seriously sidetracked from the already-imbedded Biblical vision of the world.

#76536 - 08/08/02 05:05 AM Following right along ..
Capital Kiwi Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/13/00
Posts: 3146
Loc: Northamptonshire, England
My response to TEd or whoever above inspired me to try to emulate SatireWire, one of my favouritest sites in the whole wide world ... but it's not for public consumption, really, and if you're easily offended in the political sense, don't bother.

But if you're interested, drop me a PM and I'll send you the link.

I'd also be interested in hosting other people's efforts along the same lines!

The idiot also known as Capfka ...

#76537 - 08/08/02 09:24 AM Re: Eastern Civilization?
milum Offline
old hand

Registered: 09/03/01
Posts: 872
Loc: Birmingham, Alabama
OK Jazzoctopus, Thing One:

Yes I agree, through Sumer, through the Greeks, through the Romans, through China, through India, and through every other culture that had a horse to ride, came Western Civilization. And after Good King George and the bloody British passed the baton to the Rebels in the States, Western Civilization became essentially "American" Civilization, and that particular brand of civilization is the system of social and economic behavior that will save the world from ruin and squalor in the world of tomorrow.

Today is today, and ancient Sumer is gone and Iran and Iraq are hardly hotbeds of Western Civilization anymore. Get with the program.

Thing Two:

Like Western Civilization, Christianity is a mindset and not the Pope or the Inquisition. In Christianity is found the embodiment of a unique frame of reference toward conduct conducive to civility, i.e. Christian Love. A Love of life and of all mankind, forgiving Love, Love extending even to all enemies. This is the base, and the only, message of Christianity.

Argue and rail against Love if you will, but this message is interwoven into the fabric of advancing Western Civilization. Get on board.

#76538 - 08/08/02 10:15 AM Re: Eastern Civilization?
Chemeng1992 Offline

Registered: 08/03/01
Posts: 131
Loc: Alabama
<This is the base, and the only, message of Christianity>

Civility and loving of everyone is hardly the ONLY message of Christianity. C'mon milum. Jeez Louise!

How about 'God sent His son to die on the cross for our sins and only through acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ can one obtain eternal life'. I'd say that this is a pretty strong base and message of Christianity.

I don't want to get into a religious discussion, but you WAY undercut Christianity with that statement.

#76539 - 08/08/02 10:16 AM Re: forgetting to learn? or learning to forget?
armor Offline

Registered: 07/06/02
Posts: 9
of troy says
In reply to:

This is interesting..

one of the problems that arises, it how do you deal with violence directed towards your self?

If i chose nonviolence (negotiations, talks, the UN or other routes on a national scale)- and my counterpart chooses violence..what do i do?

Let's take this out of the realm of glittering generalities and get down to specific cases.

There was a recent flame war here. I can't comment on the merits, since I wasn't here. But flame wars usually involve verbal violence.

And it doesn't take much searching to find verbal violence from YOUR mouth, of troy. Yet NOW you say, "the natural reaction is to respond to violence with violence.. but then, I am behaving in a way that i have defined as morally reprehensible.... i am lowering my standards".

Perhaps I'm missing something, so until you have a chance to respond (without violence!) I'll suspend my initial reaction. Which is that for YOU to claim such suppposed "standards" is pious hypocrisy and unmitigated gall.

#76540 - 08/08/02 10:22 AM Re: Choosing Violence
TEd Remington Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/17/00
Posts: 3467
Loc: Marion NC

First: while there are admittedly aspects of vengeance to the current actions of the USA in taking on world terrorism, by far the greatest reason we are going after terrorism is prevention. This worldwide affiliation of terrorists has stated repeatedly that its intentions are to destroy the West. I think it's safe to say that we learned from history that the only way to be safe from bullies like this is to go after them.

And the history I am talking about here might start with the appeasement of Hitler during the 1930s. It's my view that Hitler would have backed down had the UK and France stood up to him. I will grant that the USA bears its share of that onus, since we were at best ambivalent towards the threat he posed. On the other hand, that threat was 3000 miles away and we were in the throes of the Depression. Perhaps understandably, our thoughts were on things closer to home. My view is that the cowardice of Chamberlain (and the ambivalence of the British people, not to put too fine a point on it) and the smug reliance of the French on the Maginot Line in the face of an almost certainty that Hitler would not respect the neutrality of Belgium resulted in the world's reaping the whirlwind of WW II.

Let's try to imagine what would happen if the USA pulled back its troops from around the world and said, "You guys are on your own again" which is what we did after WW I. That single decision of the United States was one of the most disastrous ever taken by a world power, in my opinion. Failing to insist on a just peace with Germany was another, a mistake you will note we did not repeat at the end of the rematch.

First off, Europe's needs for energy would drive a rapprochement with Iraq. Iraq’s main purchasers of oil already include France and Russia, and if the price is right they can sell throughout Europe if given the chance.

Right now Saddam's sales of energy amount to about 3/4s of iraw's capacity, but under the embargoes in place the money for the oil comes in the form of people-related stuff 9butter not guns.) Without these restrictions Saddam would solidify his power base and would have the money to continue his weapons research. Sooner or later (probably sooner) he would have weapons of mass destruction that he not only could but would use against a neighbor. Most likely Israel, but quite possibly Turkey. He would also be tempted to use it against Iran and Saudi Arabia because of continuing ideological differences, Sunni vs. Shia vs. the Wahabbism of Saudi Arabia, etc. And the age-old conflict of Arab vs Persian.

While it's certainly possible he'll have nuclear capability, in all likelihood he will rely on biological warfare. How long would it take bioweapons to spread across the face of Europe if they are unleashed in the Middle East? Days? Weeks? And what defense is there short of totally sealing your borders? Were I Saddam I would unleash my bioweapons through a series of coordinated releases by terrorists whom I have infiltrated into all the countries of the West. On top of causing widespread death and panic, it would be damned difficult to prove Saddam was behind the pandemic.

I submit to you that dealing with Saddam now is far preferable to dealing with him later. And if Tony Chamberlain Blair doesn't have the stones for it, then we will have to go it alone.

God knows I am not a supporter of Shrub, but I do believe that overall the world-view of the USA is preferable to the European (and Arabic) model that is little more than the appeasement of a madman such as Saddam, who is nothing more nor less than a modern-day Hitler.

And certainly there are other states that promote and export terrorism. Terrorists are in general cowards and bullies. If you swat them down while they're relatively weak you can control them. And we have to consider what is the greatest threat. Ghaddafi may be able to blow up the occasional plane or two, but he doesn't have the population resources needed to sustain high levels of threat against the West. On top of that he’s having enough trouble remaining in power that he doesn’t have a lot of personal energy or the resources to take on the west. Also, remember, Libya has only somewhere around 1/5th of the workforce of Iraq according to www.geographic.org.

I was a bit surprised to see your inclusion of Turkey in your list of what I would consider rogue states for lack of a better term. Unlike, Iran, Libya, Syria, and Saudi Arabia, Turkey has a non-sectarian government based on universal suffrage. (Iran's Baath Party is technically not sectarian, but it is predominated by Sunnis, which represent only a minority of Iraq's population.) And the Turks have real elections! Its legal systems are based on a European model as opposed to the sharia that predominate in most of the other countries you mentioned. And while no country (including the USA) is anywhere near close to perfect, I’d rather live in Turkey than any other country on your list.

As you indicated in the preface to your remarks, the choices for the USA are to fight or pull back. If we don’t fight now, we are going to be fighting later. Sort of like what happened in the 1940s, doncha know? Back then, though, as everyone will or should admit, the USA did not bear the brunt of the fighting, at least not in Europe, though the final defeat of Japan in the other hemisphere was pretty much a US operation (not totally, but pretty much.) I think most historians and military types will say that if the USA had stayed out of the Western part of WW II Europe would be a wasteland, possibly a nuclear wasteland, in the aftermath of a final cataclysmic struggle between the monoliths of Nazism and the Russian brand of totalitarianism.

I don’t think even an avowedly neutral USA would let things get so out of hand as that, but as it is we certainly would rather confront evil while it’s local or regional rather than continental. Our actions after WW I were cowardly in my opinion and in retrospect contributed greatly to the conditions that engendered WW II, though of course the overall actions of the Allies in pursuing the unbelievably harsh provisions of the Treaty of Versailles are rather more contributory.

Though not much attention has been paid to it, I believe that Pakistan represents the greatest long-range threat to world peace. The leadership there was so supportive of the Taliban it’s not impossible to think of that “organization” as a de facto part of the Government of Pakistan. Believe it or not, for a considerable period of time in the 1990s, you could place a local call from anywhere in Pakistan to the city of Kandahar, which was the de facto capital of the Taliban movement, and was the home base of Mulla Mohammed Omar. Both Quetta, Pakistan, and Kandahar had the same “area code” 081.

Certainly the Taliban would not have risen to power in Afghanistan without overt and covert support from Pakistan. Probably the majority of the Taliban at least at the cannon fodder level were Pakistani, and definitely most of them had been trained in the conservative madrassas that are ubiquitous in western Pakistan. Western Pakistan is actually ruled at the local level by a series of small emirates who are in cahoots with the transportation mafia that controls almost all of the commerce within Afghanistan. There’s little if any central control from Islamabad. Of course, to make matters even worse, Pakistan possesses atomic weaponry, and they are working valiantly to develop delivery systems that would allow them to flex their muscles in a sphere from Tehran on the west to Bangladesh on the east. That encompasses a big chunk of land and a whole bunch of people. Parenthetically, Osama Bin Laden sent more than a million US dollars during calendar year 1999 to Bangladesh to support the Harkat-ul-Jihad party, which has stated publicly its desire to turn Bangladesh into a Taliban-type Islamic republic.

I’m pretty certain in my mind that the US Government not only recognizes the threat of Pakistan but intends fully to use its bases in Afghanistan to provide support for a movement to gut terrorism from Pakistani territory, which would require the removal of the Army from control of that country. I would expect India to fully support this, of course, and I suspect that China would also, since Pakistan funds the dissenters in China’s only Muslim province, the name of which temporarily escapes me. Zhiou Whuang? Something like that?

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the US is trying to export world stability. Certainly, we are doing so because we want trading partners, people to buy the technology and information that we produce, but I firmly believe there's on overarching altruism that much of the world doesn't appreciate. We want all people to have the same rights (and responsibilities) that we enjoy here in the USA. Radical Islam is against stability since such stability prevents them from fulfilling their dreams of a world-wide Islamic state. And that's why they are our enemies. And why they should be your enemies also.



#76541 - 08/08/02 02:29 PM Re: Eastern Civilization?
milum Offline
old hand

Registered: 09/03/01
Posts: 872
Loc: Birmingham, Alabama
Civility and loving of everyone is hardly the ONLY message of Christianity.
C'mon milum. Jeez Louise!

And a very good "Jeez Louise", to you Chemengee,
you good sweet flower of the north, who saw fit to transplant in the rich black earth of the deep deep south and who, therefore, must be very smart, hello.

Now Chemengee as they say, I 'druther drink muddy water and sleep in a hollow log, than buckdance on a neighbor's religion, but this time I didn't buckdance.

O'Blessed Giver of two worthy sons of the worthy south, I was not talking about religion. Religion is another story. I was talking about the simple but powerful message of Jesus Christ as it is incorporated into the dynamic mechanism of what we call Western Civilization.

Now civility, that is something else, Jesus wasn't acting exactly civil when he turned over all the gaming tables and threw the money changers out and such, was he?

#76542 - 08/08/02 04:26 PM Re: Eastern Civilization?
Jazzoctopus Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/03/00
Posts: 1094
Loc: Cincinnati & Loveland, Ohio, U...
Now civility, that is something else, Jesus wasn't acting exactly civil when he turned over all the gaming tables and threw the money changers out and such, was he?

Nor here either, really:

(Matthew 10:34) - "Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household."

"prince of peace" my . . .

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