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Total number of comments: 14 (since 2014-07-12 02:18:01)


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  • Is Hillary Clinton responsible for rise of ISIL, as Bernie's Campaign Manager Alleged?
    • Is there some rule that says the US must either prop up a dictator or bomb them? This does seem like the sort of false dichotomy that drives so much of the discussion of US policy.

    • I have never seen anyone claim that ISIS leaders were not responsible for ISIS actions, but I do see people often erecting the straw man you just constructed and setting it on fire. It's a distraction. I have seen people on the far left say silly things, but nearly all this agency denying is made up.

      The Iraq War was predicted by many to have disastrous consequences, but nobody could have been certain about the details. Clinton supported it and other interventions, so to some degree she shares blame for the consequences. We needed politicians to stand up to Bush and Cheney and she supported them. Does this mean that ALL of the blame goes to Hillary? Of course not. Just a small fraction which she shares with many likeminded people in the US and none of this somehow means ISIS members are innocent. Now can we stop these stupid arguments? No, probably not-- those strawmen won't burn themselves.

    • Ideologues of the center commonly invoke ideologues of the right and left to downplay or deny America's role in causing havoc. Sensible people on all sides agree we are not solely responsible, but I will take these complaints about " ideologues" seriously when high ranking American officials and politicians are held to account for their mistakes and yes, sometimes crimes.

    • You assume that of course a woman with a law degree couldn't serve in the military. You are of course making the point that politicians who favor war frequently aren't the sort of people who would even consider joining the military.

  • How much Palestinian unrest is work of Undercover Israeli Agents?
    • Brilliant analogy, Samuel. I suppose you live under occupation in Boston, but realize throwing stones at the British troops wouldn't do any good.

  • Why Obama and Putin are Both Wrong on Syria
    • Guerilla forces nearly always practice terrorism to some degree--the Soviets had far greater firepower and killed more people during the 80's but it's silly to pretend the mujahideen fought without terrorist tactics--we see what they did in the 90's, I agree with Gary's other points in this thread, but the use of " terrorism" in an inconsistent manner bugs me. The Al Qaeda distinction is, as you said, their interest in committing terrorism outside Afghanistan, not the use of terrorism itself.

  • Why Boycotting Israel will Backfire, just as Netanyahu's Blockade of Gaza Has
    • This piece would be more convincing if the writer had spelled out an alternative in some detail--the final paragraph was hopelessly vague.

  • European Islamophobic Networks influenced Roof to Kill in Charleston
    • Roof mentions what is happening in Europe, and most of the white racists inEurope are Islamophobes, though they tend to split on Jews. Roof doesn't mention Muslims or any specific person, but he has to have read the Islamophobes as they are the ones yelling about his themes in Europe. He might be too dumb to understand who it is he is supposed to hate.

  • Are there Echoes of the old Anti-Semitism in today's Islam-Hatred?
    • I think another analogy would be to McCarthyism. Communist governments really were evil and there were spies, just as today there are Islamic extremists, but extreme anti-communists made no distinctions among people on the left and were willing to support policies abroad that were actually genocidal and persecuted people domestically.

  • Today's Top 7 Myths about Daesh/ ISIL
    • Unfortunately Wood goes further than that--he basically claims that ISIS understands Islam correctly and moderate Muslims do not. It's the same as saying that Russian pogromists understood the anti-semitic passages in the New Testament correctly and were the true exemplars of Christianity. This is a debateable point at best. The Bible contains passages that justify brutal conduct and compassionate conduct--I've not read the Koran, but I gather the same is true of it. Cruel people focus on the cruel passages.

  • Why Obama is Right to avoid double standard about Modern Christian Atrocities
    • During the 1980's the Christian Right supported people like Roberto D'Aubisson, Rios Montt, Jonas Savimbi, and the guerrilla group Renamo in Mozambique. I am surprised that so few people seem to remember this anymore,but morally speaking these men were as bad as any modern day Islamic terrorist.

  • Stop Saying 'If X fired Rockets at U.S.': It's Racist, & assumes we're Colonial
    • Israel in fact does shoot at Gazan fishermen and it does shoot at Gazans who wander into the buffer zone inside Gaza. So they might or might not bomb Gaza if there were no rockets, but they do enforce the inhumane blockade and they shoot at Gazan civilians from time to time.

      You seem completely oblivious to the larger background.

  • Post-American Iraq by the Numbers
    • "If Albright did not, as she has made clear she did not, believe that the “cost” of the policy was as high as Stahl claimed, then her support for the policy does not in any way demonstrate that she thought the policy was worth the cost.,"

      As I explained above in more polite terms, this is fatuous. I don't believe the 500,000 figure myself--from what I've read it's probably in the low hundreds of thousands. But there is no doubt that the sanctions caused immense economic damage to Iraq, prevented repairs to the water and sewage systems and even without any statistics one could trust, obviously this would cause innocent deaths.

      Albright thought it was okay to inflict harm on Iraqi civilians and she had to know the harm was on a large scale, without necessarily knowing how large.
      And of course the US disclaimed all responsibility most of the time. That's what made Albright's statement so striking and it's why she walked it back.

      Imagine how the US would react if somehow a hypothetical Arab superpower could impose similar sanctions on Israel, after a bombing campaign that had damaged civilian infrastructure. If an Arab Albright said that the Israeli suffering was "worth it", I doubt anyone would bother to deny that this person had said something brutal and callous.

    • The sanctions death toll is disputed, but is most likely in the low hundreds of thousands. What shouldn't be disputed is that the US intended the sanctions to cause civilian suffering while of course denying it. The policy had its birth in the bombing campaign of Gulf War I, as shown by Barton Gellman in a June 23 1991 article he wrote for the Washington Post (you can find it online). The bombing damaged Iraqi infrastructure and the sanctions were meant to prevent repair.

      As for Albright, obviously any American political hack would deny that our policy had killed 500,000 or 100,000 or 200,000 children. But she did say "the price was worth it", so yeah, she had a moment of honesty and then tried to take it back.

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