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Re: [casi] Iraq: "We didn't know" or it didn't happen? (repost)

>her to describe the peace promoters as "useful idiots":
>     "I suspect this fact will do nothing to dissuade
>     the gullible and the naive. They will persist in
>     their pathetic pilgrimages to Baghdad...

I have noticed that those who supported the war are rather aggressive in
general. I have been yelled at, sworn at, shown obscent gestures, called
un-American, cowardly, and all sorts of names. No -- not just aggressive,
but childish, prone to hurl insults as schoolyard bullies do. As like
many small children, these people show little hesitation in telling
baldfaced lies.

This characterization is not mere name-calling on my part. I heard
Senator Sessions, Republican, Mississippi, of the Armed Services
committee, say in an interview that since the US had paid for and owns
the weapons they have the US has the right to use them in any way it
wants. Personally, I have a hard time imagining Mrs. Brown letting little
Jimmy get away with that line as an argument for his shooting litle Billy
next door with the BB gun he saved for from his allowance -- but can well
imagine little Jimmy saying that. Hearing it from a US Senator is
shocking. It was also shocking to hear a California Congressman say those
who opposed passing the resolution giving Bush authority to attack Iraq
were hand-wringing cowards.

No, not just aggressive and childish, but nasty and bullies. My first
reaction is ignore such children, but sadly, the "juvenile delinquents"
-- adults who never quite grew up properly -- never matured
psychologically -- who hold positions of power are being seriously
listened to by many citizens. And, of course, those many citizens never
quite grew up properly either.

They never really learned the principles of democracy, fairness,
gentleness, sharing, truthfulness, and the other things alluded to in the
(approximately recalled) title of the book "Everything I need to know I
learned in kindergarten". One might also recall the child's penchant for
fantasy, both invention of, and believing in. Neither should we forget
the potential of the disturbed child for tyranny: smashing ants with a
hammer, or tormenting small animals. Children are naturally quite selfish
also, evaluating all situations in terms of what is gratifying for the

What we have in the US is a culture which has never quite grown up, and
recently regressed, populated to a large extent by people who watch
adventure movies and cartoons over news or analysis, and rarely take the
trouble to read serious material. We have politicians and corporations
who do their best to educate people as peasants and children, and keep
them dependent, appealing to the emotions, and particularly fear and
pride -- all the better to control them and sell the snake oil. Thus the
responses to reasoned, factually based arguments I've presented to hawks
often assume the classical dialectic form of "Well, you're a stupid poopy
head!". ("Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them.")

In short, when an article attempts to "persuade" with gratuitous
name-calling, the rest of the material is suspect, and needs to be
researched before given any weight.

We especially need to distinguish between expert and honest opinion, and
mere opinion or propaganda. I have often heard -- strangely from some who
reject "relativism" over absolute God-given ( to THEM) morality -- a line
of argument which tries to reduce all opinion to mere diversity of views,
as when the "creation scientists" want creationism to be taught in the
classroom along side evolution as an equally valid scientific viewpoint.
We heard arguments like "[nebulous] evidence for WMD in Iraq has not been
decisively refuted", attempting to shift the burden of proof for an
assertion, as when Iraq was supposed to prove they had no weapons (prove
the negative, an impossible task).

We also see problems of consistency:

Some articles fall apart solely by analysis of the article itself even
without any outside facts.

"Yes, of course the sanctions hurt - but not too much,
because we are a rich country and we have the ability to get everything
we can by money. But instead, he spent it on his palaces."

Hmmm... "can get everything by money". Isn't that the whole point of
sanctions -- to stop people from buying and selling things? What does a
"rich country" mean"? Simply having oil in the ground does not make one
rich, and lack of industry and trade makes one poor. The sanctions were
precisely the opposite of being able to get everything by money. But
instead, he spent it on his palaces."

The article says:

"Under the sanctions regime, "we had the ability to get all the drugs we
needed", said Ibn al-Baladi's chief resident, Dr Hussein Shihab. "Instead
of that, Saddam Hussein spent all the money on his military force and put
all the fault on the USA."

(The text is formatted wrongly -- it should be right-justified. <G>)

How is it that Saddam could spend the money on palaces if he spent it all
on military force? And if he spent it on the military, then where was the
military during the war? We also heard that he spent it on WMD -- which
now appears not to have existed.

One might also ask that if Saddam could have gotten everthing needed to
the people to make them happy, then what was the point of killing them
off? Would not that 1/2 million children at least make welcome addtions
to the military? Would not the Iraqi people support Saddam and not
welcome the invaders with flowers and dancing as predicted? Is a
devastated and demoralized nation more difficult to invade, rather than
less? Was the recent attack so much more difficult to prosecute than the
first Gulf War when the country was stronger -- strong enough to invade

Oh what tangled webs we weave when first we practice to believe -- or

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