Alternatives to US global policy (continuation of "lying idiots" thread)

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by oxbow3, Jan 15, 2005.

  1. oxbow3
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    oxbow3 Member

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    Hey y'all. I didn't want to jump in and take that thread off tangent so I've started this one to continue what me and manu were discussing last night.

    There are many things the US is authorized to do that would fall under this, though. Keeping someone under water until they pass out, in other words, making them think they're dying and risking brain damage, is torture in my book. Chaining someone in the fetal position with a hood over their heads, leading to total sensory deprivation and loss of movement for upwards of 48 hours, is torture. Sensory Deprivation studies in the 50's and 60's confirmed that after less than 14 hours extreme mental disturbance and temporary insanity could occur in even less stringent conditions.

    http://www.fairgofordavid.org/pubdocs/AmnestyReport19August03.pdf

    While I know its hard to read such words against one's own country, the charges are valid. In the days after 9/11, hundreds of citizens and legal US residents were held without being charged or even publicly detained by our own gov. This is much like the events that occurred less than 60 years ago, after Pearl Harbor, to Japanese-American citizens in internment camps. Documents like the above by Amnesty International do show that the government officials do play the human rights card as a political tool when it is in the administration's favor, but refuse to abide by it when their interests are not being met by the rules.

    This is why US soldiers cannot be charged in international courts at present, as well as why torture occurs at places like Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Is it naive to expect us to play by the same rules we charge others with breaking?

    Being idealistic is not the same thing as being naive. I think I have a fair amount of real world experience. I worked for my own car and insurance, I pay most of my tuition. I grew up in a warzone the first seven years of my life. I still remember sitting in bomb shelters while everyone looked at the ceiling and the ground shook and rumbled. I have travelled around both coasts of our country and to several other places in the world.

    I am definitely not anti-American or anti-Bush. I am pro-truth though. Given repeated attempts at deception and half-truth by this administration on multiple fronts, I tend to be somewhat skeptical after a time. The boy can cry wolf only so many times.

    I was so proud of my people for the generosity that governments corporations and private citizens alike showed the past few weeks after the tsunami. The President even personally wrote a check for $10,000, an admirable example by our leader. He is not an evil man, but he and his administration have a shameful record on all the important issues. I am proud to be an American, and proud to maintain the heritage of informed skepticism that is essential for a healthy democracy.

    Who watches the watchmen? - Juvenal, Satires, VI, 347

    "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
    George Santayana (1863–1952), U.S. philosopher, poet “Reason in Common Sense,” ch. 12 (1905-6).

    I will try to post shortly on the discussion about hypothetical changes to US foreign policy.
     
  2. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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  3. oxbow3
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    oxbow3 Member

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    we were talking yesterday about the best things that can be done to prevent terrorism. I mentioned unhypocritical foreign policy, including not treating countries according to different rules depending on our political and economic relationships. I believe that the greatest thing of all though is to stop meddling altogether in their politics and policy. We have a history of backing anti-democratic regimes, most notably in the mid-east and central America for economic beneift, as well as the fact that dictators are easier to deal with when we want something. This history includes the CIA backed coup against democratically elected President of Iran in 1953, bioweapons and intelligence given to Iraq, military and financial aid to Israel and most notably, support of the Saudi monarchy despite repeated human rights violations and terrorist support.

    While I have little experience in Central/South American studies, a cursory search by google will bring up many sites like this: http://free.freespeech.org/americanstateterrorism/usgenocide/CrbnCnSthAmrc.html
    (I can't attest to its accuracy though, as I am ignorant as to the specifics of S American politics)

    There are many reasons for this behavior by our country in the past. In the present conflict though, there is one group of policy makers that stands out as the architects behind our philosophy of foreign relations. The Project for a New American Century is a conservative lobbying group who's stated goal is to use our military dominance to provide a secure base for US power projection around the world. Past and current members of PNAC (founded in 1997) include Dick Cheney, Jeb Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Newt Gingrich as well as less well known people such as.

    Paul Wolfowitz (US Deputy Defense Secretary)
    Lewis Libby (Cheney's current chief of staff)
    Bruce P. Jackson (Former VP of Lockheed Martin, largest defense corp. in the world)
    Elliott Abrams (member of National Security Council, President of Ethics in Public policy center. He was convicted of 2 counts of lying to Congress in Iran Contra, but was pardoned by Bush, Sr.)

    These people were responsible for the US policy of regime change in Iraq. They lobbied for Congress to approve the Iraqi Liberation Act, which made regime change official public policy in 1998. 9 days after 9/11, they sent an open letter to Pres. Bush, calling for the destruction of not only Al Qaeda, but also to extend war to Iraq, and to take measures against Iran, Syria Lebanon and the PLO because of 9/11. Remember, this was when we had no evidence for any of these others being connected to al Qaeda in any way.

    In November 2002, the committee for the Liberation of Iraq, a spinoff of the PNAC sharing many of its same members, began working closely with White House officials. CLI reps made it clear that they wanted to overthrow Saddam no matter what weapons inspectors found in Iraq. Their website said at the time that "the problem in Iraq is not just Saddam Hussein's Weapons, it is Saddam Hussein's regime." While we know how cruel this regime was, everyone also knows now that they were no worse than many of our allies in both terrorist support and human rights violations.

    CLI members met with Condi Rice in November to get approval for their goal and then began making media rounds to try and get the public to go along with the case for war. At the same time they began working with the state dept. to coach Iraqi dissidents on what to say to the media, as it was thought that they could better win public support than Americans for war. These people received training on what to say and how to say it, after which they were seen on various talk shows, news programs and newspaper opinion pieces, according to the LA times.

    CLI, PNAC and half a dozen other think tanks with similiar goals all worked with Benadar Associates, a powerful media relations company that helped them get maximum exposure from the media. The strategies that they used to get these "experts" to look credible include giving them titles like "senior fellow" or "adjunct scholar" and other academic-sounding names. In contrast, real middle east experts at American Universities were given considerably less attention in the period leading up to war by the media. No doubt, this is because they don't have PR firms working full-time to get them multiple gigs on MSNBC, CNN, Fox News and other channels. This might explain why you hear the experts on the news programs today saying exactly the opposite of what they were saying 2 years ago.

    In the next post, I will talk in more detail about one specific document written by members of PNAC in 2000, which gives a pretty good outline of their philosophy for using the US military to secure our economic and political interests throughout the world. This philosophy is the main reason I believe we have had such a rise in Anti-Americanism, in the last few years. After all, any other country that actively wanted to build military bases in other countries and employ troops around the world to "defend the homeland" would get flack, too! It is simply doublespeak at its most harmful.

    The document in question: http://newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf

    Read the wikipedia entry and make up your own mind on PNAC: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_for_the_New_American_Century

    This source is biased but the info accurate nevertheless: http://www.antiwar.com/orig/stockbauer1.html
     
  4. oxbow3
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    oxbow3 Member

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    Hi again Kathianne. I haven't read the UN reports you mentioned last time yet, but I will when time permits.

    Your point seems to be that our enemies do things many times worse than us, no? I agree wholeheartedly. Their actions have no excuse.

    However, our gov. says that it abides by international law in the cases I mentioned above. Our enemies don't. Furthermore, we use international law when it suits us, for instance against China for Human rights violations, in order to deny them economic benefits or to veto actions to their interest in the UN. However, we say nothing about much worse human rights violations in Saudi Arabia because they are an economic partner. They use torture and stuff too, but some of the everyday stuff they get away with is pretty bad as well. Did you know that women in Saudi Arabia cant even drive a car, much less work or vote?

    We also break the law ourselves by waging pre-emptive war and using torture on people, without proof that there are security reasons for doing so, and say that we aren't. Either we must be on the side of law or against it We cannot use the law as a carrot and a whip to scourge or reward those countries that do what we like. And we cannot use White House lawyers to redefine the meaning of torture in secret so we can get away with more of it without getting flack from others.

    Our enemies commit torture, I know. They behead and kidnap and kill civilians without a second thought. They have marked their path on the side against the rule of law. We are the good guys. We must follow the law even when our enemies don't. It sucks, but I believe it ito be the moral position.

    Two wrongs don't make a right, and it would be a logical fallacy to say that our actions are justified because theirs are similiar or in this case, many times worse.

    http://www.du.edu/~mtursi/logicalfallacies.html
     
  5. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Actually Oxbow3, sorry I dropped the 3 before, I think the point is that the liberals are quick to point out US problems, even when the scope and depth aren't there. At least that was the point I thought the link was making.
     
  6. oxbow3
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    oxbow3 Member

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    That is a relevant point. I'm sorry, perhaps I was just disturbed by the imagery.

    I agree, liberals don't often mention the abuses of the enemy first or sometimes ever. I guess its a case of picking the beam out of their own eye first. I don't know why this is. Perhaps they feel that the conservatives do it enough that they don't need to point it out. The news they watch is also different. Fox News often shows graphic footage of abuse by both present day terrorists and Saddam's regime that CNN and the other networks avoid, for instance. CNN for its part seems to focus less on positive news stories from Iraq than negative ones, as was pointed out in another thread. The end result is that the liberals get more liberal and the conservatives more conservative, as they hear what they want to in many ways from their media. (actually, I dont think CNN is all that liberal, just more striving for objectivity and PC-ness. These may be the very characterisitics of liberal media though, I don't know.)
     
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  7. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Wow, I'm blown away. I thought I had you in a box and you surprise me with cogent thought! Wow again.

    If all liberals recognized those problems, i.e. that the left tends to demonize the US, while ignoring the abuses of their 'favored ones' or at least US enemies that have their own problems, I might be converted.

    Well probably not, but I would respect them a lot more.
     
  8. oxbow3
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    oxbow3 Member

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    Not to ruin it for you, but I don't even know if I consider myself a liberal per se. I like small gov., low taxes, and I'm against abortion in most cases, for instance. On the environment and foreign policy, my beliefs do tend to line up with the liberal more. The only gift that I can leave my children is a healthy environment and a stable, peaceful world to live in.

    Maybe I'm an independent. I haven't honestly tried to peg myself into a category lately. That's not entirely a bad thing IMO, though. ;)
     
  9. MissileMan
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    MissileMan Senior Member

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    IMHO, the only way to have any chance at all of ending terrorism is to move those nations where it originates towards political and economic equality. If that can be accomplished, the whispers of hate from the radicals will fall on deaf ears. The establishment of democratic governments in Afghanistan and Iraq are the first steps in the right direction.
     
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  10. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    To Oxbow and others. Seems to me the best thing for the US is to decide where we think terrorism is aided and abbeted. Then make it clear it will not stand.

    Second thing is to let our 'allies' know that they are being judged now, not in the past centuries!
     
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