August 18, 2005

AND NO GITMO CONTROVERSY:

Saudis: Country's Al Qaeda Leader Killed in Shootout (AP, August 18, 2005)

Al Qaeda's leader in Saudi Arabia was killed Thursday during clashes with police in the western city of Medina, the Interior Ministry said.

Saleh Mohammed al-Aoofi was among six Al Qaeda militants reported killed during police raids on numerous locations in the holy city and the capital, Riyadh, security officials told The Associated Press.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 18, 2005 1:12 PM
Comments

interesting, isn't it, how we keep capturing and killing their "leaders," and yet, like the many headed hydra new ones keep sprouting up...

just keep repeating the mantra: long. hard. slog.

Posted by: lonbud at August 18, 2005 1:26 PM

Dum, Dum, Dum, Another one bites the dust..

lonbud, why is it that you don't hearing the insurgents making that same claim about US soldiers? He who blinks, loses.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at August 18, 2005 1:31 PM

lonbud-

Would youprefer to make nice with these guys? I mean, who are we to make judgements?Al Queda is justified in hating us rght? Other than the fact that the 'leader' in question, if an authentic Wahabi/Taliban type, would like to see you (and me) dead or converted to his peculiar religious ways, there is nothing worth defending from your point of view since there are probably more just like him?

Posted by: Tom C., Stamford, Ct. at August 18, 2005 1:56 PM

lonbud - so the reason you oppose a war against terrorists is because it will be a long, hard battle? Such courage.

Let me guess - if the story had been about a terrorist leader who got away you'd bash the WOT for not killing enough terrorists.

So far today you've looked approvingly on the UN funding terrorist propaganda and been disappointed that a terrorist leader was killed in SA. Youre really making headway into convincing people to adopt your political philosophies. Keep it up!

Posted by: Shelton at August 18, 2005 2:24 PM

i don't know, fellas. mabe it's like michael herdegen says and i'm just misguided about how benign (or not) the world is.

i do know i am ever grateful not to wake up every morning and see threats and danger and forces against which i cannot blink lest i be killed on the spot.

you juddites remind me of a classic calvin and hobbes comic in which calvin appears racing through panel one, screaming, "run for your lives! a million angry hornets are heading this way! they are feral with rage; we're all gonna die!"

his pet tiger, hobbes, turns tail and runs too, asking calvin in their mutual flight, "what happened, why are there angry hornets coming after us?" and calvin says, "i've been throwing rocks at their nest all morning."

the final panel shows calvin hanging by his underpants in the branches of a tree, crying out, "a best friend wouldn't take their side!"

george bush's plan to fight terrists "over there" so we don't have to fight 'em "at home," in a just world, would find him hanging by his underpants from a tree in bagdhad, or riyahd, or mecca...

Tom C: who are we to make judgements? indeed. al quaeda is no more justified in hating us than we are in hating them.

just because they would like to see you (and me) dead or converted is, on its face, of no consequence. there are plenty of people in this world who would like to see things that will never come to pass. by directing our vast store of destructive energy and hate toward them, we empower them to realize their dark vision. it's a neat, yet inescapable quirk of reality that the chickenhawks here (as well as the psycho killers like robert duquette and ratbert and lou gots) do not comprehend.

Posted by: lonbud at August 18, 2005 2:36 PM

lb:

Isn't the point that we can stir up their nests over there with impunity here?

Posted by: oj at August 18, 2005 2:42 PM

shelton: like many on the right, you are prone to misread and misattribute the words of those with whom you disagree.

where did i look approvingly on the un funding terrorist propaganda? my comments were addressed to bolton's hysterical reaction to the printing of bumperstickers and t-shirts. for you, apparently, the palestinian people as a whole are terrorists.

please quote the words i used to express disappointment at the killing of a terrorist leader in SA. i am firmly opposed to terrorism as a tactic for political persuasion.

i just have a different take on how best to react to it than you do.

Posted by: lonbud at August 18, 2005 2:45 PM

Lonbud: I would have thought that at this point you would have spent enough time here to realize that there is no one "Juddite" view. I think OJ is a leftist, and most of the other commenters here think that OJ and I are wets because we don't think that we're in a general war against Islam.

In particular, President Bush was open about his plans for an administration focused on domestic issues right up until 9/11 when Al Qaeda, with no provocation, stole our planes and killed our people. Now we're going to kill them and all their friends, at which point we'll go back to ignoring the world until the next vicious sneak attack.

Posted by: David Cohen at August 18, 2005 2:45 PM

oj:

the point is, when you act with impugnity you have no defense against the corresponding reaction. but as a person who does not believe in the fundamental principles of science, you would not be expected to grok that.

david:

if you think oj is a leftist, that explains the incoherence of the bulk of your posting here.

Posted by: lonbud at August 18, 2005 2:53 PM

Mr. Cohen:
lonbud is a bigot and, as such, it pleases him to make gross generalizations about groups of people he knows next to nothing about.

"like many on the right, you are prone to misread and misattribute the words of those with whom you disagree."

It's a damned good thing nobody on the left does that, right, lonbud?

Posted by: Governor Breck at August 18, 2005 2:55 PM

lb:

What reaction? We've had our way with the world since 9-11. It was when we were sitting back that we got hit.

Posted by: oj at August 18, 2005 2:57 PM

When I was in the Marines, there was a poster with a stony-faced DI pointing his finger, with the words "If you were accused of being a Marine, would there be enough evidence to convict you?". I think that lonbud's characterization of me as a psycho killer would help at the trial.

lonbud, I guess it just comes down to your view of reality. When I think of the Calvin & Hobbes cartoon, we're the bees, and Bin Laden is Calvin. Can you really look at the series of terrorist attacks against us starting in the 90's with escalating severity, to which we did nothing, leading up to 9/11, and seriously argue that we are the provokers?

Posted by: Robert Duquette at August 18, 2005 3:03 PM

Oh my. Our current resident lefty troll is now going after David Cohen, perhaps the most consistently sensible and reasonable commenter here, for "incoherence." That's got to be the most amusing thing I've read in a long, long time...

Posted by: b at August 18, 2005 3:06 PM

lb-

you have more in common with oj than you realize. nazism was a loser from the beginning so it was a waste of time and resources for the us to get involved. the same was true of the stalinists. i disagree with both of you on those scores. the attacks of 9/11 on innocent civilians is the mark of barabrism. the left believes that the entire world is in a constant state of war with america so that 9/11 was only their version of dresden and the tokyo bombing runs of ww2. those with common sense believe it obvious that evil will triumph in the face of non-resistance. the perprators of 9/11 are evil. the us and the principles around which it is organized are the antidote to this evil.like it or not, lbud, you are facilitaing the rationalization of evil, oppression and death with your facile reasoning and historical ignorance.

Posted by: Tom C., Stamford, Ct. at August 18, 2005 3:10 PM

b: Thanks, but I never argue with an expert.

Posted by: David Cohen at August 18, 2005 3:18 PM

lonbud -

What would you, from this point forward, like to see concerning our response to terrorism. No talk please of what has been done or if you could turn back the clock, etc. If lonbud were in charge from this moment forward - what specific actions would you like to take? This isn't a setup either - I am truly interested. For all your bluster I haven't a clue as to what you believe should be done about it. Give us specific activities as well please - its no good saying "I'd engender peace and understanding" without telling us how, exactly, you'd do it.

And sorry if I mischaracterized your position, I'll restate it properly: Its not that you support the UN funding terrorist propaganda - its that you don't support criticism of the UN funding terrorist propaganda - my mistake.

Posted by: Shelton at August 18, 2005 3:18 PM

by directing our vast store of destructive energy and hate toward them, we empower them to realize their dark vision. it's a neat, yet inescapable quirk of reality

If only we could come to our scientific senses, and realize that we have the power to control their minds with our thoughts. For good or evil! And since this power can also reach back through time (since obviously 9/11 was caused by the invasion of Iraq) we can undo all the harm we've done retroactively. So we've got that going for us. Lonbud, are you now, or have you ever been, the Dalai Lama's caddy?

Posted by: joe shropshire at August 18, 2005 3:26 PM

"...David Cohen, perhaps the most consistently sensible and reasonable commenter here..."

I can't stand it.

Posted by: Peter B at August 18, 2005 3:33 PM

Peter: I did say 'perhaps'...

Posted by: b at August 18, 2005 3:44 PM

man, i wish i could just kick it here in juddworld all day but i actually have a job and so i'm gonna have to rejoin this conversation in a few hours. i hope some of you will stick around.

joe: the only power we have is to control our minds. everything else in the world flows from that.

tom c: common sense believe(s) it obvious that evil will triumph in the face of non-resistance. can you provide a historical example of that being the case? are you familiar with the concept of feng shui?

Posted by: lonbud at August 18, 2005 4:02 PM

lb:

The Jewish failure to resist the Holocaust. Of course, Gandhi recommended that they march to the ovens to teach the Nazis a lesson.

Posted by: oj at August 18, 2005 4:09 PM

It's our mental furniture that's screwing us up so bad. Of course!! Bad Chi!

Posted by: Robert Duquette at August 18, 2005 4:18 PM

lonbud--

are you familiar with the concept of feng shui?

Ah, is this a tenet of the faith of the "reality-based community"?

Posted by: Brian (MN) at August 18, 2005 4:29 PM

lb, you misunderstand America just like they do. Indeed, just like most of the world does.

We don't hate them. They may (and undoubtedly do) hate us, but we don't hate them. We don't love them, dislike them, or hate them. We don't care about them.

I didn't hate the nest of hornets that was under my porch. I didn't want them to sting any of us, so I killed them. The nest of barn swallows right next to the hornet nest, I left alone. They don't attack us, so I didn't care.

You'd think that anybody who bothered to read American history would realize that there is one thread---nay, a hawser---running through it. Going back to the Apache Indians and even earlier. If you attack Americans and continue to do so after repeated warnings, and don't stop, they we will kill you.

Posted by: ray at August 18, 2005 4:32 PM

I don't think that "we're in a general war against Islam".

It's just that the heart of Islam is in the Middle East, which is inhabited mainly by Arabs.
Arab cultures have failed to adapt to the modern world, and thus have outlived their usefulness.
I like to compare Arab cultures to those of the American Indians, because all of them will share a similar fate.

However, we are doing nothing to actively promote the death of Islam, or of Arab cultures, and thus it isn't a "war". Like a gerbil racing an elephant, they're killing themselves, while we're just ambling along.

While we couldn't care less, they correctly feel very threatened, which has led to the anti-Western terror.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at August 18, 2005 4:39 PM

Peter: I'm nothing if not reasonably consistent. And you did get them to move off "smartest."

Michael: I agree with almost all of that, except for we are doing nothing to actively promote the death of . . . Arab cultures. I think we're doing something.

Posted by: David Cohen at August 18, 2005 5:02 PM

Brother Cohen is the deluded one who keeps muttering that I'm not running, right?

Posted by: John McCain at August 18, 2005 5:10 PM

ray, you are so right. We really don't care and that's what so enrages and unhinges the left.

It just isn't fair that lonbud has to work and can't play with his laptop all day like the rest of us fat cats who have made our fortunes on the backs of the downtrodden. He should really try to get funding so he can spend all his time convincing us of our folly.

Posted by: erp at August 18, 2005 5:36 PM

(Thanks fellas. Best thread I've read all week.)

Feng shui. Of course! How could I have missed it? If only I could be drinking 6-packs of nuance instead of evil, corporate Amerikan BEER. ('ewwff, 'scuse me.)

Posted by: John Resnick at August 18, 2005 5:49 PM

erp: We're not working here? Uh oh.

Posted by: John Resnick at August 18, 2005 5:53 PM

erp: i'm happy to provide you with wiring instructions if you care to take the lead on the funding front. hell, i'll register as a republican candidate for office and have a few of my lefty buds come spit on obc's suv if he'll send me a few of those $1000 checks.

ray: you could have let the barn swallows take care of the hornets and left nature to its own symbiosis.

for a bunch of throwbacks y'all don't seem to care about, you sure seem willing to spend a lot of money and spill a lot of blood over the arabs who, as michael so generously describes them, have outlived their usefulness.

david: i think there is, in fact, one unifying theme among the juddites, and it's the connective tissue that binds you to the current junta in washington: hubris

Posted by: lonbud at August 18, 2005 6:01 PM

lb:

What money and blood? The WoT has been nearly cost free.

Posted by: oj at August 18, 2005 6:05 PM

hubris

You mean like demanding others confront jihadis with feng shui?

Posted by: Brian (MN) at August 18, 2005 6:15 PM

John, Sorry. I forgot the sarcasm/on - sarcasm/off signals.

lonbud. Sorry. You have to do your own begging, but I'm intrigued by your offer to supply wiring instruction?

What's that about?

Posted by: erp at August 18, 2005 6:21 PM

erp: no worries. I read you l/c.

Posted by: John Resnick at August 18, 2005 6:57 PM

Lonbud: Hubris is well-chosen, as it is so inviting a flaw. It's like the potential nanny we interviewed, who's self-confessed flaw was that she gave too much. If we have to have a flaw, then hubris is certainly the most American flaw to have; the tragic flaw of heroes who dare too much and contend against the gods themselves.

There is, though, this problem: hubris is only hubris if we fail.

Posted by: David Cohen at August 18, 2005 7:03 PM

oj: forgive me. i keep forgetting you are one of michael herdegen's demi-gods, living quite above the sweat and tears of mere mortals. the nearly 2000 lives of america's youg fighting forces lost in the WOT, the wrecked lives of their parents and spouses and children left behind, the irrevocably altered and damaged existence of the tens of thousands of america's fighting forces permanently disabled by wounds suffered in the WOT, and the over $200 billion wasted in the timeless sands arabia are of no consequence to someone like you.

erp: you were the one who suggested i get funded. i figured you for a put-up-or-shut-up kinda guy. "wiring instructions": how to send the funding.

david: it's hubris, then.

Posted by: lonbud at August 18, 2005 8:45 PM

2,000 in a population of 300 million and $200 billion in an $11 trillion a year economy is insignificant in historical terms, though obviously each life is invaluable in personal terms.

Posted by: oj at August 18, 2005 8:49 PM

Brian:

again, with the self-serving mis-characterization of my actual words? where did i ever demand anyone confront jihadis with feng shui?

feng shui isn't merely a plan for arranging furniture, gentlemen. it expresses in two ideograms an entire universe of interconnected truths which, when properly understood and religiously applied, lead to health, harmony, wealth, security, and peace. not that anyone here is particularly interested in those things...

Posted by: lonbud at August 18, 2005 8:57 PM

oj: what's your point?

Posted by: lonbud at August 18, 2005 9:01 PM

Well lonbud, demonstrating your usual perspicacity, you are just slightly off base identifying me as a put up or shut up kind of guy. It's very flattering (I think), but in real life, I'm a 70 year old retired college administrator and grandmother of six and neither putting up or shutting up are likely to be in my future.

You seem like a nice person, if misguided, and oj may be right in saying you are educable. It's been fun reading your comments and others commenting in rebuttal.

Posted by: erp at August 18, 2005 9:06 PM

lb:

That the war has been relatively cost-free and returned reality-changing results.

Posted by: oj at August 18, 2005 9:06 PM

Yes, lonbud, you're completely free of demands.

It's just that if someone thinks that your religion is crap, he or she is not interested in harmony and peace. Robert Duquette is a "psycho killer." John Bolton points out UN-financed Jew-hatred, and you complain about Bolton.

You can give it out, sir, but you cannot take it, like all the other self-regarding satyagrahis.

Posted by: Brian (MN) at August 18, 2005 9:37 PM

David Cohen:

Before 9/11, what were the U.S. doing, or the West in general, that had the direct or indirect goal of changing Arab culture ?

There were a few Christian missionaries in the Middle East, but they mostly had to work illegally and surreptitiously.

lonbud:

george bush's plan to fight terrists "over there" so we don't have to fight 'em "at home," in a just world, would find him hanging by his underpants from a tree in bagdhad, or riyahd, or mecca...

just because [al Qaeda] would like to see you (and me) dead or converted is, on its face, of no consequence. there are plenty of people in this world who would like to see things that will never come to pass. by directing our vast store of destructive energy and hate toward them, we empower them to realize their dark vision. it's a neat, yet inescapable quirk of reality that the chickenhawks here [...] do not comprehend.

Many of the "chickenhawks" here have already done their time - went to war, or not - and have every right in the world to comment on foreign policy and warfare.
We are citizens not just due to birthluck, but by virtue of our being willing to nourish the tree of liberty with our blood. (To steal a good line).

What's wrong with fighting terrorists in Iraq, instead of in America ?
The analogy of purposefully chucking stones at a hornet's nest is inaccurate. It's more like hitting a hornet's nest with a stone thrown by a lawnmower while you're doing yardwork. Our way of life threatens them, because their cultures cannot withstand contact with the modern world.
They weren't going to leave us alone, even if we hadn't initiated the Iraqi pacification. They have plenty to get themselves psyched up with, without Iraq.
Why not lure them to the terrorist-zapper ?

Terrorists can hit America hard, although they haven't yet**, and may never do so.
We've been waiting for decades for some organization or another to nuke a U.S. city, and there's no theoretical reason that a terror group couldn't whip up a super-plague.
Al Qaeda has explored doing both.

for a bunch of throwbacks y'all don't seem to care about, you sure seem willing to spend a lot of money and spill a lot of blood over the arabs who, as michael so generously describes them, have outlived their usefulness.

What I actually said was that Arab --> CULTURES As it is, their claim to fame is that they live above a very large pool of oil, and if every Middle Eastern and Northern African Arab were whisked away by aliens and replaced by black Africans, nothing would change about the world, as long as they kept the oil flowing.

The same cannot be said of America, or Israel.

Every American is potentially a demigod, to the inhabitants of the ancient world. We would even look the part, towering over them, much more well-fed, and much better looking, lacking the ravages of disease and bad oral hygiene.
The average American does in an average day what would have taken magical or divine powers to accomplish in the ancient world, thus: Demigods.

However, what I was originally referring to, when I used that appellation, was how the Americans of fifty years hence* would appear to us, now.
The changes that will occur between now and 2055 will be greater than the changes that occurred between 1870 and 2005.
Advances in energy generation and storage, manufacturing processes, composite materials, transportation, robotics, computers and data storage, communications, food production, and medicine will deliver by 2060, (at least to America and whomever else comprises the developed world then), the envisioned Star Trek future - minus the warp drives and teleporters.
(Although with the replicators and possibly the interplanetary travel).

feng shui [...] when properly understood and religiously applied, lead to health, harmony, wealth, security, and peace.

While it may lead to personal harmony and peace, and thereby contribute to personal health and wealth, if it worked objectively then there wouldn't be any poor or sick people in Hong Kong, the PRC, or Taiwan, would there ?
Clearly, it doesn't work any better than any other approach to living in beauty and tranquility.


* Possibly. I don't recall exactly which point in the future I wrote about.

** 9/11 seemed like a tremendous blow because we weren't expecting it, and we aren't used to being attacked on American soil. Compared to some WW II raids, it was fairly mild.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at August 18, 2005 11:36 PM

lonbud;

you sure seem willing to spend a lot of money and spill a lot of blood over the arabs who, as michael so generously describes them, have outlived their usefulness.
Michael wrote of Arab cultures. A rather hypocritical mistake from someone who complains of others misquoting them.

P.S. If feng shui provides wealth and security, why don't you have those things?

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at August 18, 2005 11:38 PM

Corrections:

(Yes, yes, preview is our friend...)

lonbud:

george bush's plan to fight terrists "over there" so we don't have to fight 'em "at home," in a just world, would find him hanging by his underpants from a tree in bagdhad, or riyahd, or mecca...

just because [al Qaeda] would like to see you (and me) dead or converted is, on its face, of no consequence. there are plenty of people in this world who would like to see things that will never come to pass. by directing our vast store of destructive energy and hate toward them, we empower them to realize their dark vision. it's a neat, yet inescapable quirk of reality that the chickenhawks here [...] do not comprehend.

***

What I actually said was that Arab --> CULTURES have outlived their usefulness. The Arabs themselves would be quite useful to the world, if they'd simply become junior Americans, or Israelis.
As it is, their claim to fame is that they live above a very large pool of oil, and if every Middle Eastern and Northern African Arab were whisked away by aliens and replaced by black Africans, nothing would change about the world, as long as they kept the oil flowing.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at August 18, 2005 11:46 PM

Michael: I was talking about since 9/11.

Posted by: David Cohen at August 19, 2005 12:09 AM

well, at this point i guess i should cite the thread re: christopher hitchens, and say i at least appreciated the line that said no serious person is without contradictions.

i believe i have been quick in my brief sojourn here in juddworld to admit when i've been demonstrably wrong, and to apologize when i've misqouted or misunderstood another poster's intent.

having done so in this case with respect to michael's comment about arab cultures, i should beg your leave to admit the error. but i'd also note that arabs are a necessary concomitant of arab culture.

erp: isn't that the beauty of the internet, that a septuagenarian grandma can be mistaken for an angry white male! that bit about having made your fortune off the backs of the downtrodden had me going there. as a retired college administrator, you are definitely up the wrong tree for me to be barking for funding. but also, at your age, ma'am, i daresay you are more misguided than i to willingly support the tactics and intent of the current administration. thanks for thinking i seem like a nice person, and for saying it's been fun to read my comments. oj's right about some things, and my being educable is one of them. i may not be the fastest learner, but i've been doing it all my life, and i hope to continue till i'm your age and beyond.

oj: the war has been relatively cost-free and returned reality-changing results.

wrong on the first count, but correct on the second. the reality of uncounted (tens? hundreds?) thousands of innocent iraqi civilians has most certainly been changed, as has that of many tens of thousands of americans and their families.

brian: satyagrahis; i had to look that one up. it's actually satyagrahas. guilty as charged, though the self-regarding part is your own embellishment, and i'll let those who know me pass judgment on that aspect of your appellation.

michael: The average American does in an average day what would have taken magical or divine powers to accomplish in the ancient world. excuse me?

the average american watches more than three hours of television in an average day, doesn't sleep particularly well, and needs some kind of drug or another to get through it.

the infinite expansion of the universe has produced many tools and toys inhabitants of the ancient world would have found magical and divine. as regards the wonders of modernity, however, average americans are a bit more like, well, let's just say we use more than we create; or save, for that matter.

if [feng shui] worked objectively then there wouldn't be any poor or sick people in Hong Kong, the PRC, or Taiwan, would there ?

you must be tired, michael. you aren't suggesting you believe everyone in those countries practices feng shui? or that it is the sole preserve of chinese peoples? or that there is anywhere on earth the principles of feng shui are properly understood and religiously applied in any grand or organized way?

aog: if feng shui provides wealth and security, why don't you have those things?

i do.

Posted by: lonbud at August 19, 2005 1:56 AM

note that arabs are a necessary concomitant of arab culture.

"Arab" is an ethnicity, and if they changed their societies to mimic America, then that would be "Arab culture".
I'm suggesting that they should do so, to avoid the economic dead end that's within a few decades of matching their social dead end.

the reality of uncounted (tens? hundreds?) thousands of innocent iraqi civilians has most certainly been changed...

Now, now lonbud, let's not forget that Saddam was responsible for causing 500,000 Iraqi casualties and 1.5 million Iranian casualties, (100,000 by poisonous gasses), during the جنگ تحمیلی, or Iran/Iraq war, which began when Iraq invaded Iran.

He is further responsible for perhaps 35,000 Iraqi casualties during the Persian Gulf war, which was a result of Iraq invading Kuwait a mere two years after the Iran/Iraq war ended.

In addition, during the twelve years of UN sanctions against Iraq, the continuation of which being caused by Saddam's refusal to abide by the terms of the '91 cease-fire agreement, there were 300,000* ( 50,000) excess and needless deaths of under-5 children.
Note that during the same time period, in the autonomous northern regions of Iraq, child mortality actually decreased by 12%.
Also during the same time period, while all of these children were dying due mostly to lack of food and medicine, Saddam increased his personal wealth by $ 2 billion, and paid another $ 2 billion worth of bribes to UN officials and others.

We won't count the hundreds of thousands killed by Saddam during the Kurdish revolts, the Shi'ite revolts, or in Saddam's torture chambers or CHILDRENS' PRISON. We've uncovered mass graves of executed children, some still clutching stuffed toys.

Between '80 - '03, Saddam was responsible for an average of at least, AT LEAST, 40,000 deaths a year, every year, over a million in all.
We're in Pol Pot territory now, heading towards Hitler.

When you criticize Bush for being responsible for the deaths of innocent Iraqis, you must also present a realistic alternative plan for removing Saddam from power, or you ipso facto defend the evil that I've mentioned, which is but a small taste of the horrors that the Saddam family visited upon Iraq.

BTW, a look at the numbers that I've provided as being deaths caused by Saddam, juxtaposed against the actions that U.S. and allied troops have taken in Iraq this time around, would show that there is NO WAY WHATSOEVER that the number of aggrieved Iraqis could reach anywhere near 100,000.

The average American watches more than three hours of television in an average day, doesn't sleep particularly well, and needs some kind of drug or another to get through it.

Americans don't sleep because we have so much entertaining stuff that we can do.
While I agree that it's not particularly healthy, ANY ancient person would trade places in a heartbeat. If you've ever been on a rural farm with no TV or radio, you know why entertainment is so prized.

The average American's most-used drugs are caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine, all drugs of choice, and of luxury.

the infinite expansion of the universe has produced many tools and toys inhabitants of the ancient world would have found magical and divine. as regards the wonders of modernity, however, average americans are a bit more like, well, let's just say we use more than we create; or save, for that matter.

Please. PLEASE.
"Infinite expansion of the universe" my spleen.
PEOPLE made those tools and toys. People dreamed 'em up, people designed 'em, and people manufactured 'em.
While humans are definitely part of the Universe, the creation and distribution of this stuff was not done without great effort.

Americans are the most productive people on Earth.
Why do you think that the U.S. account for fully 25% of the global economy ?
Even if you want to get into purchasing power parity, the U.S. still account for 10% of the world's production.

I have no idea where you got the notion that the average American uses more resources than she creates; it's so absurdly silly that I don't believe that you typed it straight-faced.

you aren't suggesting you believe everyone in those countries practices feng shui? or that it is the sole preserve of chinese peoples? or that there is anywhere on earth the principles of feng shui are properly understood and religiously applied in any grand or organized way?

Ah, now you make my argument for me.
Feng shui is an ancient conceit - surely if it worked people, would have noticed by now. However, as you point out, even in the places that it's most practiced, not everyone does it, and the principles aren't "properly understood", meaning that nobody can figure out how to make it work.

Now, a machine shop, on the other hand, can clearly produce wealth, and it can be duplicated.
Even in places where "feng shui" is the # 3 platter on the take-out menu, they understand "machine shop", and it's made literally billions of people wealthy over the centuries.


* A conservative estimate by Richard Garfield.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at August 19, 2005 4:51 AM

This thread reminds me of a cartoon. lonbud is like a cheeky kid stirring up a hornets' nest of grumpy old conservatives and...

Keep it up, lonbud, you're battling splendidly and with no small charm (and, for once, I genuinely mean it).

Posted by: Brit at August 19, 2005 5:04 AM

Brit:

I'm not sure that lonbud will appreciate the analogy, since by his own reckoning, it leaves him hanging from a tree by his underwear.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at August 19, 2005 5:14 AM

lonbud:

I'm interested in how you hang on the the words "innocent Iraqi civilians" and what you wish to imply by them. Surely you aren't just saying they aren't guilty of anything bad, with which we can agree. Are you using innocent as a synonym for unsophisticated and trying to suggest they are peasants who care little for democracy 'n stuff and so that whether they are killed by Saddam or collateral damage in a war of liberation (isn't it cool how we on the right have learned to love that phrase?)is one and the same? You really should provide us with some authority for that proposition. As I assume you wouldn't argue WW11 was an outrage against innocent German civilians, is that what separates the whites from the non-whites in your view?

Michael:

and if every Middle Eastern and Northern African Arab were whisked away by aliens and replaced by black Africans, nothing would change about the world, as long as they kept the oil flowing.

Taken any midnight walking tours of Lagos recently? Talked to any abandoned women with AIDS in Mozambique?

David:

Yeah, yeah. I remember guys like you from school. "Why can't you keep your desk clean like David Cohen?" "Why can't you print neatly like David Cohen?" "Why can't you be consistently sensible and reasonable like David Cohen?" It's enough to make one consider terrorism as a career choice.


Posted by: Peter B at August 19, 2005 6:07 AM

Now now, Peter. Let's not be trivial.

Posted by: Brit at August 19, 2005 6:26 AM

lb:

Changed for the better and far fewer than the sanctions were killing, not to mention Saddam.

Posted by: oj at August 19, 2005 8:21 AM

the infinite expansion of the universe has produced many tools and toys inhabitants of the ancient world would have found magical and divine.

Ah, Lonbud's religious. Much is explained.

Peter: When it comes to both desks and handwriting, boy, are you barking up the wrong tree.

Posted by: David Cohen at August 19, 2005 9:26 AM

Lonbud. Firstly, I not only "willingly support the tactics and intent of the current administration," I truly believe that our president was sent to us by a benign providence aka known as God to lead us out of the quagmire of the past one hundred years of the left's relentless drive towards world socialism, and I say this in the full knowledge that it is in direct contradiction to my position on religion which is somewhere between agnostic and atheist.

Secondly, I am not angry, just sick and tired of hearing the same old lies spouted by younger and younger mouths who have little historical perspective and who think they learned cosmic truths at the knees of their hippy-dippy college professors.

A good place to start learning some history is Paul Johnson's, The Intellectuals.

Posted by: erp at August 19, 2005 10:04 AM

erp-
Great book. One of my favorite quotes from it is "The cruelty of ideas lies in the assumption that human beings can be bent to fit them."
Kinda sums up the 20th century doesn't it?

Posted by: Governor Breck at August 19, 2005 10:21 AM

erp:

The mouths are generally the same age--we're all stupid when young.

Posted by: oj at August 19, 2005 10:27 AM

I agree with OJ. Otherwise the word 'maturity' would be meaningless.

Posted by: Brit at August 19, 2005 10:35 AM

Hey I remember some of the nihlistic garbage that fell out of my mouth when I was 18 and I'm pretty ashamed.

Posted by: Governor Breck at August 19, 2005 11:23 AM

The dominant characteristic of 'liberal thought' is it's reliance on a self-defined kind of rationalism which always seemed to be the epitome of irationalism particularly when applied to politics or economics. It's hallamrk is the complete rejection of common sense or reality 'on the ground' as generally percieved by those who actually work with that reality. It is 'magical thinking' at its worst and yes lb, I'm familiar with feng shui and fail to see it's relevence to the discusiion at hand other than the fact that you see some relation.

Posted by: Tom C., Stamford, Ct. at August 19, 2005 11:27 AM

Reason is inherently irrational--Grecco-Roman and Anglospheric philosophers understood that and made it the foundation of our politics. The continentals never grasped it so they fall prey to isms rather routinely.

Posted by: oj at August 19, 2005 11:40 AM

By the way, how old do you all think lonbud is? Raise your hand if you think the answer is under 30.
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If you did, I believe you're wrong. I can remember him posting a comment where he mentioned being in law school in '85. That would make him older than oj. 'bud, you don't have to answer of course, but how old are you?

Posted by: joe shropshire at August 19, 2005 12:05 PM

I pegged lonbud at about 40 plus or minus a couple of years. I also peg him for someone who has been doubting the conventional wisdom for some time and may be ready to "jump the shark."

Lonbud, read some of Roger">http://www.rogerlsimon.com/">Roger L. Simon's writings on how it was when he changed sides. Simon is an absolute pleasure to read, not only for the content, but for the flawless simplicity of his prose that makes it all look so disarmingly easy.

Posted by: erp at August 19, 2005 12:35 PM

erp: thanks for adding to my summer reading list! i'm going on vacation today, so your timing is impeccable. i'll be gone for a week but i'll try and have book reports on simon and johnson soon after i'm back. we'll see if oj has the cajones to post them.

i'm older than oj? i'd have never thunk it. but i guess that would explain a measure of his obdurateness.

i agree that youth is wasted on the young. as for me, i'll just say i'm old enough to know better (with apologies to john & paul).

Posted by: lonbud at August 19, 2005 1:11 PM

lonbud. Enjoy your vacation. I hope you will be in a beautiful location, have great weather, meet interesting people and generally have a wonderful time relaxing from worldly cares.

No need for book reports. You're not in school anymore.

Posted by: erp at August 19, 2005 2:18 PM

i guess they are called book reviews now... in any event, i'll be happy to share my impressions.

yes, bear valley, ca., between lake tahoe and yosemite. it's lovely.

Posted by: lonbud at August 19, 2005 3:40 PM

Peter B:

I assume that you were blind to the racist overtones of your comment to me.

Please explain why AIDS and crime make black Africans less worthy than Arabs, who surely suffer from their own social afflictions, including slavery ?

What have Arabs produced over the past two hundred years that should make us mourn the passing of their cultures ?

At least Europe has some nifty buildings.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at August 19, 2005 4:03 PM

Michael:

Not since Nietzsche.

Posted by: oj at August 19, 2005 4:17 PM

Michael:

Racist overtones? Oh, give me a break. Am I to assume that, while you are a fervant opponent of any racial ascribing (which I readily and admiringly believe), you want to dismiss the faith and culture of a billion people as worthy of extinction against their wishes and convictions because they don't meet your definition of success or social efficacy?

"Nothing personal or ethnocentric, old chaps. It's all about culture. Not a bit of prejudice here. Just step aside and let's not make a fuss. That's a good lad."

Posted by: Peter B at August 19, 2005 7:15 PM
"Nothing personal or ethnocentric, old chaps. It's all about culture. Not a bit of prejudice here. Just step aside and let's not make a fuss. That's a good lad."

Funny !
Also true, in both ways: There is nothing personal or ethnocentric about my analysis.

And, my attitude is patronizingly dismissive.

I don't care if Arab cultures thrive or die.
I just believe that they're going to go away.

They've had a very long time to do something about it, but they didn't, although it wasn't all their fault.
The oil, for instance, during the 20th century, made it both unnecessary and almost impossible to change.

Now they're between the hammer and the anvil.

The anvil is their complete lack of any industrial or technological infrastructure or foundation, that is unrelated to oil.

The hammer is their massive populations, completely dependent on oil revenues to keep the wolves from the door.

Now, the choice is either to adopt Western culture wholesale, with a patina of old Arab, or to let literally tens of millions starve, while they figure out how to become industrialized, technological Arab cultures, complete with scientists, doctors, and engineers.

I hope that they do the former, I suspect that they'll do the latter, simply because they always have, up until now.

[Y]ou want to dismiss the faith and culture of a billion people as worthy of extinction against their wishes and convictions because they don't meet your definition of success or social efficacy?

Not only my definitions, also their own.
They see the West; they see their own cultures; they draw their own conclusions.
Plus, they won't be able to feed everybody within forty years - kinda hard to maintain a culture when its members are dying off.

How about that black/Arab comparison, anyway ?
Do you really put Africans below Arabs, and if so, why ?

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at August 19, 2005 7:59 PM

Michael: Not at all. I hope, like you, that I don't succumb to racist thinking. But on the social/cultural front, the Muslim world is far ahead of the sub-Saharan.

Posted by: Peter B at August 19, 2005 8:06 PM

Peter:

No, I believe it varies with location, quite dramatically. Pakistan is probably about equivalent with Nigeria - no advancement there. Morocco and Tunisia are further along. And while Egypt has its place as the zenith of Arab culture, how much of that is due to its pre-Muslim history? After all, prior to Muhammed, the Arabian peninsula was just a pathway to somewhere else. But Iran, Iraq, and Egypt have histories much older than Islam (and they seem to be caught in an endless struggle to 'reconcile' them).

And that doesn't even begin to cover the "culture" of Palestine, Hezbollah, and all the tribes in Afghanistan & Pakistan (and other Islamic states) that have been absorbed into Islam. Their practices are hardly different from most sub-Saharan cultures, even if they have cell phones and Al-Jazeera.

For whatever reason, Islam seems to retain many of the nativist features of local culture, while it struggles to inculcate anything universal (other than the patterned religious observances).

Posted by: ratbert at August 20, 2005 10:10 AM
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