Free speech open thread

Bird Dog's picture

Apparently, the Kansas Board of Regents doesn't think much of the First Amendment, with emphasis on doesn't think.

Last week, the Kansas Board of Regents, a nine-member governing body that controls six state universities and some 30 community and technical colleges, voted unanimously to approve a new policy that gives each institution’s “chief executive officer” discretion to discipline or terminate any faculty or staff member who uses social media “improperly.” Many in the higher education world denounce this move as a sweeping attack on academic freedom, one prompted by a tenured journalism professor writing a single (admittedly awful) tweet about the National Rifle Association.

[...]

The new Kansas policy, though, makes good and sure that any similar blunder would result in its author being permanently fired—in this case for “inciting violence” (though most believe Guth was not being literal). And that’s by far the least objectionable of the policy’s clauses. The regents seem to have milked the Guth incident for maximum possible censorship, and now the verboten also extends to statements that are “contrary to the best interests of the university” or anything that “impairs discipline by superiors or harmony among coworkers.”

At MSNBC, Joy Reid exercised her First Amendment right to be an idiot, which is done early and often on that channel. Ironic that they would question a journalist's integrity for defending Snowden while unapologetically defending Obama. Yes, I'm sure there are similar recent FoxNews tidbits out there.

The American Studies Association is pushing for a boycott against academic institutions in Israel, and it appears to be backfiring.

If you're a Muslim Brotherhood member in Egypt, you, too, may be a terrorist.

If you're a woman in Red China, the government still has police power over your womb, only a little bit less so now. The policy is probably too late to stem a major demographic imbalance downstream.

If you're an Iowan who signed up for Obamacare, better try again.

If you're a lunatic German feminist, you'd gate-crash Christmas mass at the main cathedral in Cologne and chant things like, "My pussy rules! I am God!"

If you're in Vermont, you won't keep your health plan because they're doing single-payer. We'll see how it turns out, but give them credit for playing hardball with CGI.

If you're in the wrong county, and there are many of them, good luck finding an affordable health plan.

If you're a president who claimed that al Qaeda has been decimated, well, you would be wrong.

If you're running Turkey, or mis-running Turkey to be more accurate, then you're in trouble.

 

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Melissa Harris-Dingbat Strikes Again

(#311964)
M Scott Eiland's picture

Keep it classy, MSNBC.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

There's not much information to go on about the entire context

(#312010)
brutusettu's picture

Maybe her real joke was that Mitt is in a denomination that once viewed non-whites as angels that sat around while Satan tried to take over?

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."

 

Frank Zappa

It appears the context is some sort of context of

(#312030)
brutusettu's picture

the selection of who to adopt.  Unless there is some items in evidence I'm not aware of, bringing up the kid seems a poor choice.

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."

 

Frank Zappa

And Another Grievance Studies PhD Is Born

(#311962)
M Scott Eiland's picture

“Toward a Feminist Postcolonial Milk Studies”, courtesy of an organization previously most notable for anti-Semitic, intellectually vacuous grandstanding.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Here's my idea of intellectual vacuousness

(#311967)

Taking any criticism of Israeli policies as anti-semitic. 

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Except That The Propsed Boycott. . .

(#311972)
M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .was of academics from Israel, not government officials. The accusation stands.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Huh?

(#311983)

It's the identical formulation, whether it applies to Israeli universities or Israeli government. Israel = Jewishness, ergo, anti-Israeli = anti-Jewish. (Palestinians are semitic people too, so I've had to translate from nonsense for you.)

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Yes, I'm Familiar With That Dodge From Back In the 80s

(#312003)
M Scott Eiland's picture

So nice to see it's alive and well in 2014.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

If the shoe was on the other foot

(#312005)

You would jump up and down about race-baiting and card-playing and grievance-mongering. When you're called on it, you can't defend it substantively so your defense is... that you've heard it before? Okay, whatever.

 

In the meantime... maybe look up the meaning of the word semitic? It might not mean what you think it means.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Ding Ding Ding! We have a winner!

(#311970)
HankP's picture

and it just shows the insecurities of those making that argument. They don't want a discussion of facts, they want to go 100% emotional as their first move.

I blame it all on the Internet

There's a difference between criticizing, say, Likud policies

(#311975)

and criticizing the existence of the Jewish state. The fact that ASA thinks that Israel is culpable because it's a white oppressor state rather than a Jewish state is immaterial.

Meh

(#311976)

http://www.theasa.net/

american_studies_association_resolution_on_academic_boycott_of_israel

 

if there's a criticism if the "existence of the Jewish state" there I don't see it.

 

seems like the reason given is all about policy, not existence. In fact I don't see anything about white oppressor state in there either.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

If they were opposed to a certain set of policies

(#311978)

of certain governments that are opposed by a large number of Israelis themselves, then their resolution wouldn't be a blanket targeting of all Israeli academia. Likewise, the phrase, "Israeli occupation of Palestine" sort of implies that Israeli settlement on all lands from the Jordan to the Med is ipso facto illegitimate.

 

See also the slogan of anti-Israel commies: "Palestine will be free,/ from the River to the Sea."

I used to make that same argument

(#312012)

A mere 8 years ago or so.  What happened since then?  Nothing.  Not much in the way of organized terror attacks, and Israel's used this respite to..    do nothing.  Build more settlements.  Avoid any negotiations with the Palestinians in any form.

 

At a certain point, it is quite literally apartheid, as a dictionary definition, not as a pejorative.  If you assume that Israel is not temporarily occupying the west bank, and has in fact effectively annexed it, then you have a situation where there are 2 classes of citizen in the west bank, based on ethnicity.  How is that not apartheid?

 

Of course, on paper, it's a "temporary occupation".  No legal annexation.  So Israel in the West Bank is "not an apartheid state" on a technicality, while being exactly equivalent to one in terms of daily reality.  Coming up on 50 years of temporary occupation now.

Oh jeez

(#311985)

Is this the same kind of tortured logic that was deployed in the apartheid debates of the 80s?

 

"you can't boycott/divest the whole because some of those people agree with you and you'd hurt them too" I believe was how it went.

 

look, I personally don't have a strong for or against position on this particular tactic of the ASA... But I don't think you can make it out to be anti Semitic.

 

also the last slogan you mentioned likewise does not appear in the ASA statement. Not sure why you keep straw manning this discussion.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

"Israeli occupation of Palestine"

(#311987)

is a really, really strong implication that Israelies have no business living in any of Palestine.

 

And Israel of today simply isn't apartheid-era South Africa, a state that had white supremacy baked in to its very existence. There are, after all, plenty of Israeli Arabs with equal rights who live and work right in the heart of the dreaded Zionist Entity.

Living in != occupying

(#311992)

And opposition to a state of occupation != anti semitism.

 

Look, what are you arguing here? That the ASA is antisemitic? Or just too extreme? Or are those equivalent to you?

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

I'm arguing that the ASA considers the state of Israel

(#311993)

itself to be illegitimate and that they consider the very existence of Israel to be an occupation of Palestinian land.

 

Does it matter that they get to this perspective from leftist post-colonialism rather than anti-Semitism? No it doesn't.

i dunno

(#311996)

Whereas the United States plays a significant role in enabling the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the expansion of illegal settlements and the Wall in violation of international law, as well as in supporting the systematic discrimination against Palestinians, which has had documented devastating impact on the overall well-being, the exercise of political and human rights, the freedom of movement, and the educational opportunities of Palestinians;

IMO you're really reaching to construe that statement as a condemnation of the very existence of israel. is it then also, by extension, a condemnation of the existence of the united states?

 

then to take your last sentence, are you telling me if someone disagrees with israeli occupation, whether it be pre 1967 borders or west bank or illegal settlements, they may as well be anti semites? what you call them, anti colonial or anti semitic "doesn't matter?"

 

ho-keee then.

 

is it too difficult to for you argue with the resolution in and of itself? do you have to reach for "really really strong implications" to get to fuzzy "i don't care what you call them, jew haters or lefty commies, same diff" arguments instead?

 

 

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Once again, if it were just an issue of

(#312046)

settlements and fences, i.e. a specific policy of Likud and coalition governments with Likud, they'd have a point. Why refer to it as "occupation of Palestine" if they're problem is with the--genuinely unjust!--treatment of folks in the West Bank? Why target Israeli academia as a whole unless you consider Israel to be a state like South Africa, one who's whole makeup is illegitimate regardless of policies?

in the statement

(#312048)

Whereas the American Studies Association is cognizant of Israeli scholars and students who are critical of Israeli state policies and who support the international boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement under conditions of isolation and threat of sanction;

that addresses the issue of targeting academia as a whole. 

 

and again i would ask you, why repeat the reaganesque  "because you hurt the people you're trying to help, some people there are on your side" argument about not boycotting/divesting? or am i misreading you?

 

as to the other issues, they refer throughout to israeli state policies, make clear they do not consider israel monolithic etc etc etc.

 

why do you ignore that and take this statement as calling for an end to israel? 

 

and further, (and to my original point) why do you take such a position as antisemitic (or think there is no difference between this position and antisemitism, anyways)?

 

edit to add: i want to be clear here. I am not asking you to validate or agree with the boycott. but i think the arguments you present don't deal with what is being resolved by the ASA. 

 

i wonder why its fine to say "well, anti israeli policy = antisemitic" when we have a whole right wing grievance studies major brewing up in the form of "anti obama deosn't mean i'm racist."

 

 

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

'Palestine' is an overloaded term

(#312047)

It could mean the whole area west of the Jordan river, as you suggest, or it could mean the area east of the 67 line + gaza.  Given that the smaller area is occupied while Israel proper is self-governed, I'd assume "occupation of Palestine" was talking about the area of land recognized by the UN as 'the nation of palestine'.

yes

(#312049)

thats what i would interpret this as. it could be clearer, but it makes sense to me this way.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

They are on record with both

(#312000)
Bird Dog's picture

By their very words. They are opposed to our "significant role" in "enabling the Israeli occupation of Palestine". They are opposed to our "significant role" in the "expansion of illegal settlements and the Wall". That is a plain reading of their resolution. If they were just opposed to illegal settlements and border fences, they would not have brought all of Palestine into it.

 

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

+1

(#311990)
Bird Dog's picture

The resolution's language is fairly clear:

"Whereas the United States plays a significant role in enabling the Israeli occupation of Palestine..."

There are no qualifiers re 1967 borders, etc.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

is it too much for you

(#311997)

to paste the rest of the sentence?

 

Whereas the United States plays a significant role in enabling the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the expansion of illegal settlements and the Wall in violation of international law, as well as in supporting the systematic discrimination against Palestinians, which has had documented devastating impact on the overall well-being, the exercise of political and human rights, the freedom of movement, and the educational opportunities of Palestinians;

seems to me to be talking about the illegally occupied territories, settlements  and the walls. you may disagree but clearly the added context doesnt help you or you would have no reason to omit it.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Like I said, emotional buzzwords

(#311977)
HankP's picture

designed to kill objective discussion. Sidetracking, optionally infuriating your interlocutor so they forget the point they're trying to make. Pretty juvenile.

 

I blame it all on the Internet

The best comment possible about Prism.

(#311944)
mmghosh's picture

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/30/2013-horrorshow-bak...

Prism has to be the cockiest secret plan in history for one reason alone: it's got its own logo. At some point someone involved in this highly confidential surveillance operation decided it needed a distinct brand identity, presumably so the public wouldn't confuse it with any of the other top secret plans it doesn't know about.

43% of Republicans believe in evolution

(#311939)

I think it is probably worse

(#311963)

I think it is probably worse than that.  Many far right conservatives call themselves "Independents" but vote R consistently, despite their asinine temper tantrums.  My guess is they now account for some uptick in the "I" column and if they were included in the "R" column, the GOP would look even more regressive.

 

Ah, we live in a glorious age.  I think I'll go puke now.

Roughly 2 million have signed up for Obamacare

(#311933)

through the state and federal exchanges. The unmitigated disaster appears to be quite a bit more mitigated than the law's anti-cheerleaders have been saying. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Glad you got the nomenclature right

(#311956)
Bird Dog's picture

The administration is not telling you how many have actually enrolled, and they are not telling you the demographic make-up of the signees, nor are they telling you how many of the sign-ups were due to canceled policies that arose from Obamacare; therefore, those bits of news are bad, because they only release news that is politically advantageous to Barry. You have to read between the lines with this deceptive and dishonest administration. But hey, it's enough for the cheerleaders to cheerlead on.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Given that the numbers of uninsured are generally

(#311935)

given as forty to fifty million, I'm still wondering about the others. Sure, some were cut off at the knees by Roberts, but that still leaves a lot more out there who're uninsured.

ACA was originally estimated to cover 32 million out of

(#311938)

55 million uninsured. Medicaid expansion was supposed to cover an additional 17 million, extending dependent coverage up to 26 covers a few million, individual market coverage was supposed to handle around 7 million in 2014, expansion of small business coverage handles another few million.  

 

After SCOTUS struck down the Medicaid expansion, leaving conservative states free to turn down fistfuls of billions of dollars, an additional 3 million are expected to remain uninsured in the "Medicaid gap" between current state-level coverage and what would have been expanded coverage. 

 

So: 26 out of 55 million will remain uninsured. That includes about 8 million illegal immigrants who are ineligible for subsidies and Medicaid, but who can still get ER treatment under EMTALA. And also these people:

 

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2010/0323/Obama-signs-health-care-bill-Who-...

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

it is confusing, for sure

(#311937)

but i think that the market everyone is talking about now is the individually self insured folks. the number of people in that market who where uninsured is more in teh 7-10 million range (i think?).

 

of that 40-50 million number, i think big portions where carved off by allowing adult children to 26 to stay on parents plans, and allowing pre exisiting conditions to be inusred, all of which already happened a while ago.

 

also i'm not sure if they are counting medicaid signups in that 2 million number. i doubt it. 

 

But yeah there are so many numbers and so many agendas behind every report its difficult to get a good read on how things are really shaking out.

 

 

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

The USA Today article doesn't just bury the lede,

(#311931)

it scattered the ashes. Where are the numbers they dug up for these people in rural counties who are getting stuck paying for silver or gold plans? How many counties, how many states, how many people are we talking about?  

 

Is anyone else tired of crap journalism?

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I have not yet begun to tire of crap journalism

(#311948)

Every reporter worth a bull's nipple at the local paper has moved along. The author of the book that 'Army Wives' is based on, the author of 'No Easy Day', Chris Hondros the photographer killed with Tim Hetherington . Something isn't keeping the quality in the news room and for these folks and at least one other, their most significant works were the next job.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Yeah, Every Last One Of Us

(#311946)

Which is one reason to hang out here, besides the bar thing.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

I'm not usually sympathetic to radicalism, but

(#311930)

I have to admit I like the cut of FEMEN's jib. Having Christmas mass at Cologne cathedral interrupted by women shouting "My vagina is God!" has to be a one-of-a-kind unforgettable cultural experience. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I Approve Of This Countermeasure

(#311919)
M Scott Eiland's picture

Insurance companies could help the process along by inserting exclusions into their personal liability coverages making it clear that anyone raising this particular (and similar) defense for their spawn will have zero coverage for the inevitably following lawsuits. Having state legislatures explicitly nuke it and making defense attorneys trying to get around said nuking subject to draconian sanctions wouldn't be bad, either.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Wouldn't the plaintiff want to see this defense?

(#311949)

If the problem is that the defendant is claiming his riches make him a sociopath then wouldn't the jury be inclined to award 'curative damages' in lieu of, or in addition to, punitive damages along with the quantitative damages?

 

 

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

I think affluenza

(#311928)

is a real condition.  It's just that I view it as an aggravating factor,  rather than mitigating.

Watching the Seahawks game

(#311914)
HankP's picture

and the question is, how far can you go in the playoffs with an excellent defense, excellent special teams and no offense.

 

Also, looked at the pickem pool. We really do suck. The best record isn't even 2 out of every 3 games.

 

I blame it all on the Internet

I missed a week, yet still 5 games out of a tie for 1st

(#311923)
brutusettu's picture

n/t

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."

 

Frank Zappa

OK

(#311936)
HankP's picture

everyone except you.

 

I blame it all on the Internet

I Think Everyone Sucks This Year

(#311915)
M Scott Eiland's picture

While obviously the point spread makes it tougher, it's worth noting that Bill Simmons--who is deeply annoying but is certainly a competent NFL (and other sports) expert--is 28 games below .500 for the season going into Week 17.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Wow, he does suck

(#311916)
HankP's picture

that record is pathetic. Like head injury pathetic.

 

But let us give up a moment of silence for Sulla, who had to suffer through one of the most epic collapses in the history of the NFL.

 

I blame it all on the Internet

And It Just Got Worse

(#311921)
M Scott Eiland's picture

He went 6-10 against the spread today to finish 108-140-8 for the regular season. Yikes.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

To make this case

(#311912)

You need to not say how horrible drones are... of course, war is horrible. You need to make a case that drones are better than the alternate scenarios.

 

What are the alternate scenarios?

 

1. Let Al Qaeda flourish in Pakistan. Don't worry about counter-terrorism at all.

2. Trust Pakistan to take care of our counter-terrorism.

3. Begin counter-terrorist incursions into Pakistan.

4. Begin a ground-based counter-insurgency in Pakistan.

 

I'd say 1) is an untenable risk, 2) would be just about the same as 1), and 4) is totally implausible. What we are left with is 3), which would have even worse political consequences in Pakistan, and probably have even worse civilian casualties, since given the need for force protection, we would have to go in guns blazing.

 

I'm willing to entertain the possibility that the drone program needs stronger controls, but the information for me to make that judgment is (for understandable reasons) not readily available.

 

What would be your alternative, Manish? Or BD, another drone critic? I'm open to persuasion.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Step 1 is the right policy.

(#311917)
mmghosh's picture

After the USA withdraws from Afghanistan in 2014, they should also withdraw all "counter-terrorism" operations completely.  Military "aid" should also be stopped.  In any case, military aid is given to allow the purchase of US made armaments - essentially a US subsidy to its own arms manufacturers. 

 

Let countries in the region fend for themselves. They have some of the world's largest standing armed forces.  Is the USA going to remain in the region for the next 200 years?  If al-Qaeda is the preferred option for the people then let them see what it will be like to live under their yoke.  If the past history of the region is any guide, militancy should be a thing of the past within a few decades.  Without the pressure of external circumstances, militant parties have always lost out in democratic elections.

 

The reason militancy is there in AfPak is directly because militancy is externally funded - by the USSR, USA and Saudi Arabia from the 1970s onwards - even today, militancy funds itself via US contractors whose money filters to the various warlords.  On its own, militancy has no basis for existence.  Militancy is not a career option, unless it is externally funded.  It does not create an economy, or make it run.  The only way militancy makes economic sense is when it is funded.  The reason the Taliban and al Qaeda won out over the assorted warlord anarchocracy in the mid 1990s was because it was funded directly by the ISI, who in turn funnelled US military aid to them. 

 

The fact is that imperialism, lust for dominion and an overwhelming and ceaseless desire to bestride the world has its own imperatives and there are any number of excuses that have been made and will continue to be made for intervention in AfPak.

 

Don't mistake the so-called backwardness of AfPak.  The region has been highly civilised for many millennia.  It does not need the USA to be around at all.  

Not viable, in my view.

(#311924)

Let countries in the region fend for themselves.

Yes, but who will fend for us? Pakistan has a huge army, but it is not principally foreign states that are feeding their extremist elements, but Pakistan's intelligence apparatus itself... and they have a lot of local sympathizers.

If the past history of the region is any guide, militancy should be a thing of the past within a few decades.

A few decades? Who could be so patient? The terrorist threat to the U.S. is real, not imagined: the first WTC attack, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Yemen, 9/11. There is a prolonged history of attacks, and the worst was about 20 times more deadly than the attack on Mumbai. Al Qaeda is not an imagined specter, or a paper tiger. And the danger is not just the direct casualties, but the awful over-reactions that the attacks provoke in us. (e.g., Iraq.)

The only way militancy makes economic sense is when it is funded.

I think this is a very serious miscalculation of the attraction of Islamism. The Iranian revolution was a home-grown phenomenon. Islamist extremism has grown adherents in very many different localities, with negligible or no foreign backing. Do not believe in homo economicus. It's been proven time and again that ideas can move people to action as surely as gain.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Why should anyone fend for you?

(#311926)
mmghosh's picture

It mystifies me why you should think extremist sympathisers within a country's armed forces are your problem.  Its not, its their problem.  It seems to me to be commonsensical not to fill the coffers those armed forces with largesse, especially when you know that said armed forces are unreliable in their loyalty to you.  OBL was located in Pakistan's main garrison town! 

the first WTC attack, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Yemen, 9/11

Neither SA, Kenya, or Yemen is a part of the USA, so that a very large part of the problem is the US being there in the 1st place.  

 

As for Islamism, it is extremely unattractive to the vast majority of the world's non-Muslims, and also within Muslim countries.  These are people just like you or me, who want to lead ordinary lives, and not blow themselves up.  Iran's anti-Americanism can be honed down pretty much to the 1953 CIA coup.  The Shia are not systemically anti-American - Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani is USA's biggest ally in Iraq.

 

Of course Islamists are a problem at its points of contact with other religions - with Christianity in West Africa, with Judaism in the ME, with us in South Asia, with Buddhists in Myanmar and so forth.

 

But why would this concern you (as a nation, I mean, not personally) - why not  just let these conflicts run their course?  How does training/supercharging/funding these conflicts with USD and armaments help them to resove?  My other point is why/how do US made drones come into the picture? And how does it help the USA to take sides in obscure regional ethnic and religious conflicts? 

Kenya was an embassy

(#311940)

Is it your belief that having diplomatic outposts is imperial overreach?

 

9/11 showed that Al Qaeda had the desire and ability to reach into our soil. This is not hypothetical or speculative.

 

The fact that there haven't been successful attacks in the United States since then has to be at least partly explained by the fact that becoming a leader of Al Qaeda is pretty much a short cut to the grave. Why is that so? Largely because of U.S. drone capability.

 

I believe we are sometimes getting involved that don't affect us directly, and we should avoid that. Islamism shouldn't be our enemy; harboring anti-US terrorists should be our enemy, and liberal forces should be our friend. Knowing where to intervene is not always clear. I believe we did a lot of good in the Kosovo conflict. I think the Libyan intervention probably prevented bloodshed. Syria we should probably stay out of, Egypt too.

 

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Breaking the siege of Sarajevo would be a

(#312035)

good in my mind. Kosovo, I'm not so sure. Neither side is pretty in that one. I can't help but feel that sticking the finger in Rusia's eye was the motivating factor. That, along with the dropping of any remaining illusion of respect for national borders, were unfortunate precedents.

When diplomatic outposts are used as outposts, no.

(#311942)
mmghosh's picture

I agree that the relatively hands-off US policy is better than before.  I also agree that the war in Kosovo had good results.

 

But Kosovo was a war against a specific country, Serbia, with defined military targets and so forth.

The drone war OTOH is against unspecified "enemies", without even the semblance of trials, processes or anything resembling law.  Even in the USA with criminal procedures and processes, DNA testing and so on the wrong people are convicted and even executed.  And we are to accept that with no investigations or processes, Hellfire missiles are picking out murderers of US forces in NFWP from, say, Colorado correctly all the time?  Or even 50% of the time?

 

Come on.

That's the wrong model

(#311951)

We obviously can't have trials and processes of law in areas where we have no sovereignty, and where the task of apprehending the parties would be dangerous and difficult.

 

Yet at the same time, we can't tolerate mortal threats to our citizens, even in places where we lack sovereignty. That's just the doctrine of self-defense, pure and simple.

 

To ask how much collateral damage can be tolerated in targeting those threats is a serious question. I'm willing to entertain the possibility that we are not being careful enough to avoid civilian casualties, I would even say that it's likely we're not being careful enough, just from published evidence I've seen. But I lack the information to come to a fully informed decision about that. It's a question of weighing risk against risk.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

So self interest trumps all?

(#312060)
mmghosh's picture

we can't tolerate mortal threats to our citizens, even in places where we lack sovereignty

An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind.

I don't know of any country

(#312072)

That has the means to protect its citizenry from attacks and chooses not to, out of concern for the welfare of foreigners. If you can think of analogs, please let me know. Is it pretty that we don't put the value of foreign lives on par with our own? No, but that's an ugliness that is part of our human nature.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Two points.

(#312074)
mmghosh's picture

First, the idea that bombing civilians without knowing about whether they actually committed crimes or not is not a very good way to ensure that attacks will not continue.  It is far more likely to increase hatred and ideas of revenge, which is what it is, quite predictably, doing.

 

Secondly, it helps not to inject sophisticated weaponry, training in its use and modern wealth into ancient tribal conflicts that have no discernible influence on your societies - something that Western nations have been doing in Afghanistan since the late 1970s.  Yes, what is done cannot be undone, but not aggravating it seems to be the least bad option. 

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan when it was "free."

(#311929)

They were funded almost entirely by ISI. And the US left them mostly alone... until 2001 made the very idea of allowing extremists to control an entire state untenable. You're suggesting a return to a policy that has been proven to strengthen al Qaeda and international terrorism in general. 

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Where do you think the ISI got their money?

(#311941)
mmghosh's picture

core.kmi.open.ac.uk/download/pdf/9311454.pdf‎

 

In 1989 alone, the USA disbursed over $450 million in direct aid.  Not even included in that aid was other funding to create school primers with the charming message of "J is for Jihad", not to speak of counting with Kalashnikovs.  This does not include aid from Saudi Arabia and other nations under US influence. 

 

 

The meme that the USA left Afghanistan "to its own devices" in the 1990s allowing extremists to take over the Afghan state is completely fake.  The Taliban did not come to power from an alien world.  They were, quite deliberately, foisted upon the Afghan people by the state institutions of an US ally, with US funding.

 

While these things were possibly understandable in the face of Western economies warring with each other (though not by us) in the 1980s, the same does not stand today.

great comment.

(#311922)

and happy new year manish -- the only forvmer i've actually met IRL!

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

I've been there nilsey

(#311925)

The times when you have seen only one set of footprints
Is when I carried you.

Open thread = booze review

(#311906)

John B. Stetson Kentucky Bourbon.  I never heard of it, I saw it, I bought it and I wish I could go back to never having heard of it.  I'll dispense with the references to pickled thyme, wet nutria pelt, and lavender lamp-oil.  At $27 fitty a bottle for bourbon I expect an oooooh or an ahhhhhh but not an ugh.  Darth got taken, don't let it happen to you.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Catchy, Eeyn and I went back and forth a bit about Guth

(#311904)

I think his (Guth) words suggested that he might be becoming a bit unglued.  He wasn't inciting violence but having a preference that the next victim(s) be somebody's kids puts one far enough outside the norm that you might want to make sure they sit in the shade for a bit.  This is a precautionary step for the employer.  But by now this should have been resolved and if he isn't eating bugs or hiding in sewers he ought to have been returned to his position.  It appears that Catchy was correct and Guth's suspension is an attempt at intimidation.

 

Pardon me, I'm back.  I needed a short break after I typed that Catchy was correct.  All is good for the night and I'll smooth things over with the neighbors in the morning.

 

The NRA/KRA's part in this is very much like what GLAAD attempted with Robertson.  Just my opinion, but pressuring the employer for something a guy says on the clock is in the realm of fair game, pressuring an employer to sanction a dude for his off-the-clock activities is something I think right thinking folks ought to be against and apply pressure back.  The b**ch of it is, it's hard to see this when it's coming from organizations one supports or sympathizes with.  There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that at some level "anti-gun rights A-hole, f**k him!" was turning over in the Cuddly brain housing group.  But now it's clear to me, this is simply gun rights folks dumping on 1st Amendment rights. 

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

I think you're right on Guth

(#311911)

Though you still haven't acknowledged that tenured public university professors being "on the clock" is different from other vocations. Their societal function is to be able to speak their minds and reconsider the way society is organized, and should have the widest possible birth re: free speech.

 

I don't know anything about the Robertson thing and back in the States for the holidays have obviously lost track of a lot of stories. I saw a mag cover on whether Santa is white and am not overly disappointed I'm following the local outrages a bit less.

Tenure is a value held within academia

(#311920)

The various professions generally have some in-house recognition of a special status.  But that status is within that profession and never limits the employer's liability or responsibility in any way.  Also, there is no call for anyone outside that profession to recognize or respect that special status.  So no, I don't recognize 'tenure' the same way you do, just as you don't recognize 'command' the same way I do.

 

Ok, the funny thing is, I missed the Santa issue. I dunno maybe it's me but tell me there's a guy wearing a red velvet suit yelling "Ho!"  The image that comes to mind isn't a jolly fat white guy.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome.