The Magnitsky Bill

Should President Obama sign the Magnitsky Bill (the bill that attempts to impose sanctions on Russia for human rights violations) in case it passes and ends up in front of him?

If his goal is to look like the planet’s laughing stock, then he surely must sign it. If his goal is in any way different, the he should not.

After Yugoslavia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, after the bombings of all and sundry for no particular reason, after Guantanamo, nobody in the world takes the US seriously as a defender of human rights on the global arena. The Russians will weep with laughter if the bill passes. I really dislike the way Russia is today, and I hope we will not give them this satisfaction.

This bill is the equivalent of me lecturing people on the importance of networking and censoring other bloggers for using strong language.

On a serious note, the Russians will take this bill as yet another step on the road to reviving the conflict for world domination of the Cold War era. And they will be right, too. If a country that has been violating human rights abroad left and right for a very long time (and happily coexisting with such huge violator of human rights as China) censors another country for doing the same within its borders, that can only be seen as a very direct statement of, “We (and those we like, or at least owe money to) are the only ones who can do this because we are the boss.”

This will only make us look ridiculous and weak and will achieve no useful goal.

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91 comments on “The Magnitsky Bill

  1. Iraq involved the overthrow of a very brutal Middle Eastern dictator. The war that broke out there was a result of al-Qaeda deciding to engage the U.S. I do not see how it is bad for human rights to overthrow a brutal, very oppressive mass-murderer. One can argue the U.S. lost credibility over the claim that Hussein had to be overthrown because of WMDs, but in terms of the pure morals of overthrowing him, I see nothing wrong, as he was a mass murderer.

    Afghanistan was about the terrorists who attacked the United States who had used the region as an area to train up for 9/11. The U.S. in Afghanistan is not going around slaughtering civilians (if anything, the problem is trying to get the civilian peoples there to stop fearing the threats from the terrorists who are promising to slaughter them if they side with the U.S. and to train them to be able to form a democracy, although that is essentially a pipe dream with those people). The entity that committed unspeakable atrocities in Afghanistan was the Soviet Union, which went in to support a communist government. Yes you occasionally get a bad apple like that recent soldier, but he is not representative of U.S. policy. One could also argue that the stress the soldiers in Afghanistan are undergoing is because the people there have no appreciation for them, and kill them over a Koran accidentaly being burned for example.

    The U.S. never wanted a thing to do with Afghanistan. That is part of what led the terrorists to utilize it as their area in the first place. After dealing with the Soviets there, the U.S. hoped to never have to go there again.

    As for Guantonomo, how exactly is that a violation of human rights? Gitmo is not some harsh prison. Prisoners there are allowed their prayers and to practice their religion, the International Red Cross is allowed in, etc…Gitmo exists as an unpleasant solution to a complex problem (i.e. where to put such people). That President Obama could not close Gitmo with Democratic party majorities in both houses of Congress only demonstrates this all the more (remember when he got elected, he announced Gitmo would be closed within a year? Then he discovered there are some specific reasons as to why it was opened in the first place).

    Having Guatanomo open also undermines U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East because it provdes a useful tool for propaganda for the terrorists. If it could be closed, they’d close it.

    By Yugoslavia, I am guessing you mean the 1999 bombings. On that I agree, it didn’t go as planned, but the objective was not to kill civilians, it was to stop one group from oppressing another. Yes, that’s a lousy excuse, but it’s still a lot different than say the Soviet Union and the Hungarian Uprising, or the Soviets and the Prague Spring, or the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, which were all about purposely oppressing people.

    • “Iraq involved the overthrow of a very brutal Middle Eastern dictator.”

      – The idea that it’s your place to overthrow other people’s leaders will make you universally hated. Sorry, has made you hated already. What if tomorrow somebody decides that you are ruled by a dictator and starts bombing you?

      “The war that broke out there was a result of al-Qaeda deciding to engage the U.S.”

      – I had no idea that there were still people who don;t realize that there wasn’t any Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

      “One can argue the U.S. lost credibility over the claim that Hussein had to be overthrown because of WMDs, but in terms of the pure morals of overthrowing him, I see nothing wrong, as he was a mass murderer.”

      – You can “see” whatever you choose. I’m trying to communicate how people around the world feel about the issue. But you prefer to be both deaf and blind.

      “Afghanistan was about the terrorists who attacked the United States who had used the region as an area to train up for 9/11. ”

      – And Russians have their own reasons for their invasions. What are you arguing about? That your reasons are better than everybody else’s because you say so?

      “One could also argue that the stress the soldiers in Afghanistan are undergoing is because the people there have no appreciation for them, and kill them over a Koran accidentaly being burned for example.”

      – You can argue that invading places is your God-given mission. That will not change the fact that everywhere in the world people are laughing hysterically at the idea of the US as a defender of human rights abroad. There is no greater violator of them.

      “The U.S. never wanted a thing to do with Afghanistan. That is part of what led the terrorists to utilize it as their area in the first place. After dealing with the Soviets there, the U.S. hoped to never have to go there again.”

      – Mommy, he started it fiiiiirst! I didn’t want to but heeeee made meeee!

      “As for Guantonomo, how exactly is that a violation of human rights? Gitmo is not some harsh prison.”

      – Do a Google search and you’ll find out. How is it my fault that you don;t follow the news?

      • “- The idea that it’s your place to overthrow other people’s leaders will make you universally hated. Sorry, has made you hated already. What if tomorrow somebody decides that you are ruled by a dictator and starts bombing you?”

        Hussein was not the people’s “leader,” he was a dictator, as in he bossed the people around whether they liked him or not and was brutally oppressive. He wasn’t any elected leader. There is nothing subjective about that. And one could say that it could make one hated if they just allowed such dictators to go on slaughtering peoples without doing anything about it. Your point would only be valid if he was an elected leader of a liberal democracy, in which case then yes, it will make you hated if you decide to go in and overthrow the leader. A dictator who oppresses their own people in a brutal fashion, through torture and mass-murder, the only people who get hateful over the overthrow of such a dictator are usually people who just hate the United States from the get-go.

        “- I had no idea that there were still people who don;t realize that there wasn’t any Al-Qaeda in Iraq.”

        Al-Qaeda went into Iraq to fight the United States.

        “- You can “see” whatever you choose. I’m trying to communicate how people around the world feel about the issue. But you prefer to be both deaf and blind.”

        How people around the world may “see” or “feel” about the issue means little, what counts is what is reality. And the reality is that he was a brutal dictator. His Baathe regime was modeled on the Nazi regime. He is a man who twice came close to acquiring a nuclear weapon, who used chemical weapons to kill thousands of people, who oppressed his own people, etc…as I said, people who hate the United States for overthrowing him just hate the United States anyhow.

        “- And Russians have their own reasons for their invasions. What are you arguing about? That your reasons are better than everybody else’s because you say so?”

        No. Our reasons are better because there is a difference between going into a country to actively oppress people versus going into a country to fight terrorists who are attacking your own country. The Soviets in Afghanistan went in to actively oppress the people. The United States went in to fight the terrorists who decided to attack the United States and in the process is not trying to oppress the people there.

        “- You can argue that invading places is your God-given mission. That will not change the fact that everywhere in the world people are laughing hysterically at the idea of the US as a defender of human rights abroad. There is no greater violator of them.”

        I’m not arguing that the U.S. has any “God-given mission” to invade anywhere (it doesn’t). As for people around the world, they can laugh as they please, considering most of them live under the security umbrella that the United States has provided against the real violators of human freedom for decades now. They are akin to the people who admired the Soviet Union and communism from the comfort of their capitalist societies. Similarly, you get people who claim the U.S. is some major violator of human rights from the comfort of either the U.S. or the various countries that live under the umbrella of protection the U.S. provides.

        And you are living in a fantasy world if you think there is no greater violator of human rights then the U.S. I suppose Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, Cuba, Syria (where they are engaging in active war on their own people), Saudi Arabia, etc…are all somehow greater defenders of human freedoms then the U.S.? No country has a perfect human rights record; the U.S. didn’t really fix its own until 1968. But note the difference: the U.S. repaired its human rights follies (oppression of women, minorities, etc…). The U.S. is among the greatest defenders of human freedom in the world right now.

        “- Mommy, he started it fiiiiirst! I didn’t want to but heeeee made meeee!”

        Technically, this is correct, the terrorists are the ones who started it. Of course, unless you think the U.S. should have just left the terrorists free to plan more attacks.

        “- Do a Google search and you’ll find out. How is it my fault that you don;t follow the news?”

        Terrorists do not have Constitutional rights.

        “- It’s like you have been asleep for the past 20 years. Why are we discussing the USSR in the context of proposed sanctions against the Russian Federation? If we are traveling back in history, let’s discuss how the Roman Empire was even worse. Because that’s just as relevant.”

        The point is that you criticize the U.S. for violation of human rights via Yugoslavia. What I was pointing out was that while one can criticize the U.S. for the actions there, it is in no way comparable to the various atrocities committed by other regimes and countries of recent memory who had a specific policy of murdering people.

      • “The point is that you criticize the U.S. for violation of human rights via Yugoslavia. What I was pointing out was that while one can criticize the U.S. for the actions there, it is in no way comparable to the various atrocities committed by other regimes and countries of recent memory who had a specific policy of murdering people.”

        – Which other regimes that committed atrocities are positioning themselves as the beacon of democracy and defender of human rights in the world? Please name them and I will laugh at them as hard as I laugh at the US in this role.

        “Terrorists do not have Constitutional rights.”

        – Please pay attention or the discussion loses meaning. Nobody discusses the US constitution here. We are discussing human rights. Do you see the difference?

      • “Hussein was not the people’s “leader,” he was a dictator, as in he bossed the people around whether they liked him or not and was brutally oppressive. He wasn’t any elected leader. There is nothing subjective about that. And one could say that it could make one hated if they just allowed such dictators to go on slaughtering peoples without doing anything about it. Your point would only be valid if he was an elected leader of a liberal democracy, in which case then yes, it will make you hated if you decide to go in and overthrow the leader.”

        – It is within your system of values that an election (no matter how stupid and rigged) has such a humongous meaning. Other people have their own system of values. And if you want to be taken seriously, it is not up to you to make such decisions for them.

        ” Our reasons are better because there is a difference between going into a country to actively oppress people versus going into a country to fight terrorists who are attacking your own country. ”

        – Translation: “our verbiage is prettier than their verbiage.”

      • “- Which other regimes that committed atrocities are positioning themselves as the beacon of democracy and defender of human rights in the world? Please name them and I will laugh at them as hard as I laugh at the US in this role.”

        Where has the U.S. “committed atrocities” in recent memory?

        “- Please pay attention or the discussion loses meaning. Nobody discusses the US constitution here. We are discussing human rights. Do you see the difference?”

        The Constitution protects human rights. By Constitutional rights though, I was referring to things like right to a trial and right to remain silent, etc…which would treat the handling of terrorists as a law-enforcement issue. In terms of other basic human rights, the terrorists do have those. And they are provided them at Guantonomo.

        “- It is within your system of values that an election (no matter how stupid and rigged) has such a humongous meaning. Other people have their own system of values. And if you want to be taken seriously, it is not up to you to make such decisions for them.”

        This is the problem though: those people were not living under their own system of values, they were living under a dictator. If that was the case, then there would have been no need for Hussein to use fear and torture and murder to maintain his dictatorship, as the people willingly would have wanted him to remain the dictator. He had to do that because the people did not want him to.

        A dictatorship means the people are being subject to the rules and values of someone else. It is not a free society whereby the people can rule themselves, where their government derives its power from the governed. You are correct that it is not up to anyone to make decisions for said people. That is why after overthrowing the dictatorship you try to establish a liberal democracy, so that the people can govern themselves. Liberal democracy is the only way in which the people can live under their own set of values.

        “- Translation: “our verbiage is prettier than their verbiage.”

        Not verbiage, a distinct difference.

      • “The Constitution protects human rights. ”

        – Whose constitution? Once again, we are discussing sanctions against Russia.

        “Where has the U.S. “committed atrocities” in recent memory”

        – Have you talked to any Latin Americans lately? Please do.

        ” Liberal democracy is the only way in which the people can live under their own set of values.”

        – According to you. Can you recognize the right of other people to think differently?

      • “- Whose constitution? Once again, we are discussing sanctions against Russia.”

        I was referring to the American constitution. Yes the overall discussion is about Russia, but I was referring to terrorists at Guantonomo.

        “- Have you talked to any Latin Americans lately? Please do.”

        The U.S. has not committed any atrocities in Latin America. Latin America is where a lot of conflicts took place because of Soviet-backed communists trying to take over control of the place. The U.S. backed anti-communist forces there.

        ”- According to you. Can you recognize the right of other people to think differently?”

        Two things:

        1) I know of no other system of governance that allows people to actively choose the people in their government and that respects human rights and freedoms then liberal democracy. It is the system of government that functions the least badly out of the alternatives.

        2) Sure people can think differently, but people living under a dictatorship like Saddam Hussein are not “thinking differently,” as they’re under a dictatorship. They are being coerced to live a certain way.

        Now people who voluntarily go off and live in say a commune somewhere, that is their choice, and they have the right to live that way if they please. But people living under a dictatorship usually did not choose that way to live.

      • “The U.S. has not committed any atrocities in Latin America.”

        – Well, then you can’t expect people to discuss the US foreign policy with you seriously.

        “Two things:

        1) I know of no other system of governance that allows people to actively choose the people in their government and that respects human rights and freedoms then liberal democracy. It is the system of government that functions the least badly out of the alternatives.

        2) Sure people can think differently, but people living under a dictatorship like Saddam Hussein are not “thinking differently,” as they’re under a dictatorship. They are being coerced to live a certain way.”

        – Yes, I realize that what you know is the sum of all wisdom on earth. I suggest talking to people from other countries and listening to them. I promise, you’ll be shocked to discover how much hatred and resentment this position provokes. I also suggest that you imagine how you’d feel if I decided that my way of life is distinctly superior to yours, broke down the door into your apartment, and started forcing you to live the way I do because “I know of no other system” of living that is better than mine. I suppose you’d be super grateful to me for doing that, right? I promise to apply the Constitution that I adopted in my apartment on you, too.

      • “- Well, then you can’t expect people to discuss the US foreign policy with you seriously.”

        Like I said, communists. But the U.S. military has never gone into Latin America to slaughter any people.

        “- Yes, I realize that what you know is the sum of all wisdom on earth. I suggest talking to people from other countries and listening to them. I promise, you’ll be shocked to discover how much hatred and resentment this position provokes. I also suggest that you imagine how you’d feel if I decided that my way of life is distinctly superior to yours, broke down the door into your apartment, and started forcing you to live the way I do because “I know of no other system” of living that is better than mine. I suppose you’d be super grateful to me for doing that, right? I promise to apply the Constitution that I adopted in my apartment on you, too.”

        Here is the problem with this line of thought: liberal democracy isn’t about forcing anybody to live in any way, it is about allowing EVERYONE to live however they want. It is about FREEDOM. The only people who would become hateful of liberal democracy are those who want to force people to live under the system they want. They are people who do not like freedom. They are people who do not want other people to have the freedom to live as they please, but rather want them to have to live under a specific system they desire. Liberal democracy allows everyone to do what they please, so long as it doesn’t harm others.

        As it stands, liberal democracy is really the only system of governance that allows this. If you know of some others, I am all ears.

      • “, it is about allowing EVERYONE to live however they want.”

        – Yes, I’ll totally invade your apartment, chain you to the wall, and allow you to live however you want after I decide for you what you are supposed to want.

        ” Liberal democracy allows everyone to do what they please, so long as it doesn’t harm others.”

        – When the Chileans democratically elected Allende, do remind me what happened.

      • “- Yes, I’ll totally invade your apartment, chain you to the wall, and allow you to live however you want after I decide for you what you are supposed to want.”

        This analogy doesn’t hold. It would more be like you being in an apartment in which you are at the mercy of a ruler, and then I break into the apartment, arrest the ruler, and tell you now you are free to live as you please. If you are already living as you please, then that would be akin to a free society, which a dictatorship is not.

        ” – When the Chileans democratically elected Allende, do remind me what happened.”

        He eventually was overthrown in a coup. But that is not an indictment of liberal democracy, that’s just an example of a liberal democracy failing (assuming his was a liberal democracy as not all democratic systems respect human rights and freedoms).

      • ” It would more be like you being in an apartment in which you are at the mercy of a ruler, and then I break into the apartment, arrest the ruler, and tell you now you are free to live as you please.”

        – What if I have chosen to live at the mercy of a ruler? Maybe I’m a patriarchal woman or a practitioner of S&M. Then, I would have you arrested for breaking down my door and intruding upon my privacy. Come to think of it, you will be arrested no matter what if you break into people’s places, irrespective of how noble your motives.

        “He eventually was overthrown in a coup. ”

        – Can I recommend some history books on the subject? Because you seem very unfamiliar with it.

      • “- What if I have chosen to live at the mercy of a ruler? Maybe I’m a patriarchal woman or a practitioner of S&M. Then, I would have you arrested for breaking down my door and intruding upon my privacy. Come to think of it, you will be arrested no matter what if you break into people’s places, irrespective of how noble your motives.”

        You may have chosen, but chances are there are millions of other citizens who did not choose to live under said ruler, which is why said ruler maintains a secret police that spies on people and throws dissidents into prison and so forth. None of that is necessary if everyone willingly likes living under the dictator.

        “- Can I recommend some history books on the subject? Because you seem very unfamiliar with it.”

        Sure.

      • No, you have not answered my question. :-) What will happen to you if, as a private citizen, you break down the door of another private citizen and kill somebody inside because you don’t approve of the way they live.

        Is the following also something of which you are not aware: “The Republic of Nicaragua v. The United States of America[1] was a 1984 case of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in which the ICJ ruled in favor of Nicaragua and against the United States and awarded reparations to Nicaragua. The ICJ held that the U.S. had violated international law by supporting the Contras in their rebellion against the Nicaraguan government and by mining Nicaragua’s harbors. The United States refused to participate in the proceedings after the Court rejected its argument that the ICJ lacked jurisdiction to hear the case. The U.S. later blocked enforcement of the judgment by the United Nations Security Council and thereby prevented Nicaragua from obtaining any actual compensation.[2] The Nicaraguan government finally withdrew the complaint from the court in September 1992 (under the later, post-FSLN, government of Violeta Chamorro), following a repeal of the law requiring the country to seek compensation.[3]
        The Court found in its verdict that the United States was “in breach of its obligations under customary international law not to use force against another State”, “not to intervene in its affairs”, “not to violate its sovereignty”, “not to interrupt peaceful maritime commerce”, and “in breach of its obligations under Article XIX of the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation between the Parties signed at Managua on 21 January 1956.”
        The Court had 16 final decisions upon which it voted. In Statement 9, the Court stated that the U.S. encouraged human rights violations by the Contras by the manual entitled Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare.”

        How about the following: “In 1961, the U.S. government began aiding domestic repression in Latin America. “In that year, under pressure from the Pentagon, the Latin American military role was changed from “hemispheric defense” to “internal security”; U.S. assistance programs were retooled to strengthen the hold of the local military forces over there own people. For 20 years, the Pentagon has lavished training and equipment on the Latin American military, both at bases in the United States and at the U.S. Army School of the Americas in the former Panama Canal Zone. Under guise of “civic action” programs, Latin American officers have been encouraged to meddle in government and civillian affairs.
        There has been little screening to weed out the drug racketeers and war criminals, and no indoctrination in civilized standards of warfare. Senior officers indistinguishable from the war criminals hanged at Nuremberg after World War II have passed through the Inter- American Defense College in Washington. Neither in training programs nor thereafter does the Pentagon insist on compliance with the Geneva conventions regarding humane treatment of prisoners and non combatants. Equipment is given without strings. For the United States, which lead the crusade against Nazi evil, to support the methods of Heinrich Himmler’s extermination squads is an outrage.”[36][37]”

        And how about this: “State Department documents obtained by the National Security Archive under the Freedom of Information Act show that in October 1976, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and high-ranking U.S. officials gave their full support to the Argentine military junta and urged them to hurry up and finish the “dirty war” before the U.S. Congress cut military aid.[146]
        The U.S. was also a key provider of economic and military assistance to the Videla regime. In early April 1976, the U.S. Congress approved a request by the Ford Administration, written and supported by Henry Kissinger, to grant $50,000,000 in military support to the Argentine military regime.[147] At the end of 1976, Congress granted an additional $30,000,000 in military aid, and recommendations by the Ford Administration to increase military aid to $63,500,000 the following year were also granted by congress.[148] U.S. military aid to the Videla regime continued on a smaller scale under the successive Carter Administration, despite its open condemnation of the junta’s dismal human rights record.
        The Reagan Administration, whose first term began in 1981, however, asserted that the previous Carter Administration had weakened US diplomatic relationships with Cold War allies in Argentina, and reversed the previous administration’s official condemnation of the junta’s human rights practices. The re-establishment of diplomatic ties allowed for CIA collaboration with the Argentine intelligence service in training and arming the Nicaraguan Contras against the Sandinista government. The 601 Intelligence Battalion, for example, trained Contras at Lepaterique base, in Honduras.”

        Still unaware?

      • “No, you have not answered my question. What will happen to you if, as a private citizen, you break down the door of another private citizen and kill somebody inside because you don’t approve of the way they live.”

        Well in a free society you will get arrested. In a dictatorship, it probably would depend. The analogy we were using was of the apartment being analogous to a dictatorial society and a person breaking into the apartment akin to a country like the United States overthrowing the dictatorship.

        “Is the following also something of which you are not aware: “The Republic of Nicaragua v. The United States of America[1] was a 1984 case of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in which the ICJ ruled in favor of Nicaragua and against the United States and awarded reparations to Nicaragua. The ICJ held that the U.S. had violated international law by supporting the Contras in their rebellion against the Nicaraguan government and by mining Nicaragua’s harbors. The United States refused to participate in the proceedings after the Court rejected its argument that the ICJ lacked jurisdiction to hear the case. The U.S. later blocked enforcement of the judgment by the United Nations Security Council and thereby prevented Nicaragua from obtaining any actual compensation.[2] The Nicaraguan government finally withdrew the complaint from the court in September 1992 (under the later, post-FSLN, government of Violeta Chamorro), following a repeal of the law requiring the country to seek compensation.[3]
        The Court found in its verdict that the United States was “in breach of its obligations under customary international law not to use force against another State”, “not to intervene in its affairs”, “not to violate its sovereignty”, “not to interrupt peaceful maritime commerce”, and “in breach of its obligations under Article XIX of the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation between the Parties signed at Managua on 21 January 1956.”
        The Court had 16 final decisions upon which it voted. In Statement 9, the Court stated that the U.S. encouraged human rights violations by the Contras by the manual entitled Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare.””

        The U.S. supported the Contras against the Sandinistas because the Sandinistas were a Soviet-supported puppet government that did away with democracy after coming to power and began oppressing the people. That the ICJ, a body of the United Nations, which is made up of quite a few blatant human rights violators, did not like this isn’t surprising at all.

        “How about the following: “In 1961, the U.S. government began aiding domestic repression in Latin America. “In that year, under pressure from the Pentagon, the Latin American military role was changed from “hemispheric defense” to “internal security”; U.S. assistance programs were retooled to strengthen the hold of the local military forces over there own people. For 20 years, the Pentagon has lavished training and equipment on the Latin American military, both at bases in the United States and at the U.S. Army School of the Americas in the former Panama Canal Zone. Under guise of “civic action” programs, Latin American officers have been encouraged to meddle in government and civillian affairs.
        There has been little screening to weed out the drug racketeers and war criminals, and no indoctrination in civilized standards of warfare. Senior officers indistinguishable from the war criminals hanged at Nuremberg after World War II have passed through the Inter- American Defense College in Washington. Neither in training programs nor thereafter does the Pentagon insist on compliance with the Geneva conventions regarding humane treatment of prisoners and non combatants. Equipment is given without strings. For the United States, which lead the crusade against Nazi evil, to support the methods of Heinrich Himmler’s extermination squads is an outrage.”[36][37]”

        This is over-simplifying what is a more complex issue. The United States wasn’t actively slaughtering anyone here, it was supporting an oppressive system for reasons of anti-communism (as the alternative wasn’t really any better). Completely different from having a policy of oppressing people for the sake of oppression.

        “And how about this: “State Department documents obtained by the National Security Archive under the Freedom of Information Act show that in October 1976, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and high-ranking U.S. officials gave their full support to the Argentine military junta and urged them to hurry up and finish the “dirty war” before the U.S. Congress cut military aid.[146]
        The U.S. was also a key provider of economic and military assistance to the Videla regime. In early April 1976, the U.S. Congress approved a request by the Ford Administration, written and supported by Henry Kissinger, to grant $50,000,000 in military support to the Argentine military regime.[147] At the end of 1976, Congress granted an additional $30,000,000 in military aid, and recommendations by the Ford Administration to increase military aid to $63,500,000 the following year were also granted by congress.[148] U.S. military aid to the Videla regime continued on a smaller scale under the successive Carter Administration, despite its open condemnation of the junta’s dismal human rights record.
        The Reagan Administration, whose first term began in 1981, however, asserted that the previous Carter Administration had weakened US diplomatic relationships with Cold War allies in Argentina, and reversed the previous administration’s official condemnation of the junta’s human rights practices. The re-establishment of diplomatic ties allowed for CIA collaboration with the Argentine intelligence service in training and arming the Nicaraguan Contras against the Sandinista government. The 601 Intelligence Battalion, for example, trained Contras at Lepaterique base, in Honduras.”

        Still unaware?”

        That the United States has supported authoritarian regimes in Latin America to counter the communists I am fully aware of, but that is nothing akin to engaging in atrocities in Latin America. It is simply making the best of multiple evils. If you have to deal with the spread of communism versus containing it, but doing so with authoritarian regimes, well it’s just the lesser of two evils, unless you would have wanted the United States to invade all of these countries and overthrow the dictatorships and try to establish liberal democracies there.

      • ” If you have to deal with the spread of communism versus containing it, but doing so with authoritarian regimes, well it’s just the lesser of two evils”

        – Lesser evil according to whom? Panamanians? Nicaraguans? How many of them have you talked to and they personally said that this was what they preferred? I’ve talked to many. None of them said that to me. As for Argentina, that was SO not about communists. The general feeling among Argentinians towards the US is that of profound hatred precisely because of the US actions during the Dirty War. Believe me, I’ve spent a lot more time with Argentinians than you have.

        “This is over-simplifying what is a more complex issue. The United States wasn’t actively slaughtering anyone here, it was supporting an oppressive system for reasons of anti-communism (as the alternative wasn’t really any better). Completely different from having a policy of oppressing people for the sake of oppression.”

        – The oppressed people told you that this made all the difference for them, I assume?

        “That the ICJ, a body of the United Nations, which is made up of quite a few blatant human rights violators, did not like this isn’t surprising at all.”

        – And how annoying when human-rights violators start judging you for your human rights violations, eh? See the body of the post on this subject. :-) :-)

        Kyle, you are offering a textbook example of why Americans are hated overseas. You are completely closed to any possibility that the people your country slaughters “for their own good” might see things differently from you. Talk to anybody from the countries that have been mentioned in this discussion and you’ll discover that far from being grateful for your attempt to “liberate them from oppression”, they hate you for it. You can’t make people happy against their will. This works neither on a personal level nor on the international level.

        It is wrong to bomb people, kill and rape them to “establish democracy and remove dictators.” It’s just wrong. It makes nobody happy. Don’t you get that? As much as I might disapprove of your lifestyle, as pathetic, wrong and ridiculous I might find it, no court in the world will justify my breaking into your house and forcing you to live differently through violence.

        You are saying horribly insulting things without even noticing how offensive to the lived tragedies of others you are being. You represent the only country in the world that has unleashed a nuclear Holocaust on people. Actual human beings. And all in the name of some vaguely defined “greater good.” After an atrocity of this caliber, after its egregiously shameful foreign policy in the XXth century, this country has lost every right to have an opinion on violations of human rights anywhere. It’s just as if Ted Bundy pontificated on the rights of women, seriously.

        But if you choose to keep regurgitating the messianic fictions of Fox News, I can offer no help. Why anybody would want to support these insane messianic fantasies when drowning in problems at home, is a mystery to me.

      • “Well in a free society you will get arrested. In a dictatorship, it probably would depend. The analogy we were using was of the apartment being analogous to a dictatorial society and a person breaking into the apartment akin to a country like the United States overthrowing the dictatorship.”

        – So the US should be arrested for its actions, right?

      • ”- Lesser evil according to whom? Panamanians? Nicaraguans? How many of them have you talked to and they personally said that this was what they preferred? I’ve talked to many. None of them said that to me. As for Argentina, that was SO not about communists. The general feeling among Argentinians towards the US is that of profound hatred precisely because of the US actions during the Dirty War. Believe me, I’ve spent a lot more time with Argentinians than you have.”

        How they feel has nothing to do with what the actual US policy was. And lesser evil in that one evil was devoted to the overthrow of Western civilization while the other evil was just an evil. To the people suffering, either one would be indistinguishable, but from the standpoint of the United States, if you can choose, you choose the evil that is not going to spread communism.

        “- The oppressed people told you that this made all the difference for them, I assume?”

        Nope. You are making it seem as if the people had any choice whether to be free or oppressed. If all that exist are sources of oppression, then all one can do is support the oppressive system that is the least bad.

        “- And how annoying when human-rights violators start judging you for your human rights violations, eh? See the body of the post on this subject.”

        There is no comparison between the United States seeking to contain what was one of the most oppressive and atrocious systems ever devised, versus dictatorships that regularly practice oppression of people for the maintaining of their power.

        “Kyle, you are offering a textbook example of why Americans are hated overseas. You are completely closed to any possibility that the people your country slaughters “for their own good” might see things differently from you. Talk to anybody from the countries that have been mentioned in this discussion and you’ll discover that far from being grateful for your attempt to “liberate them from oppression”, they hate you for it. You can’t make people happy against their will. This works neither on a personal level nor on the international level.”

        Except the U.S. never slaughtered anybody “for their own good.” That was what the Soviet Union did. As for their hatred, they would have suffered just as badly under communist systems.

        “It is wrong to bomb people, kill and rape them to “establish democracy and remove dictators.” It’s just wrong. It makes nobody happy. Don’t you get that? As much as I might disapprove of your lifestyle, as pathetic, wrong and ridiculous I might find it, no court in the world will justify my breaking into your house and forcing you to live differently through violence.”

        The United States does not bomb, kill or rape the general populace to establish democracy and remove dictators. It did not do that to remove Saddam Hussein, it did not do that to defeat Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and it has not done that in Afghanistan. The invasion of Iraq involved precision bombing designed to keep casualties to a bare minimum. The fighting of Al-Qaeda involved making friends with the Iraqi peoples to turn them against Al-Qaeda, who were so violent to the Iraqi peoples that it backfired on them. The same strategy is being tried in Afghanistan. The only people being actively killed, via drone attacks for example, are terrorists.

        “You are saying horribly insulting things without even noticing how offensive to the lived tragedies of others you are being. You represent the only country in the world that has unleashed a nuclear Holocaust on people. Actual human beings. And all in the name of some vaguely defined “greater good.””

        The United States never unleashed any nuclear Holocaust on anyone out of some sense of a greater good. It RELUCTANTLY dropped the atomic bombs because it was at war with the Empire of Japan who started the war with the United States in the first place, and because it was determined that the only alternative to dropping the bombs would be a full-scale invasion of the country, which it was calculated would have entailed the largest number of casualties of any operation in the entire war.

        There was no alternative with the Japanese. They could not be negotiated with. Even with two bombs dropped, they still didn’t surrender, not until after the Soviet Union declared war on Japan. And to this day, the Japanese have never acknowledged the HORRENDOUS atrocities they committed during that period. They were so cruel that they actually made the Nazis look a bit tame in some of the things they did, which is really saying something as the Nazis themselves made Stalin’s henchmen look tame when they invaded the Soviet Union. After WWII, German children were being taught about the Nazis as early as the 1950s. The Japanese have yet to acknowledge what they did.

        That was the mindset the U.S. was facing when dealing with Japan. The only way to defeat them was overwhelming force. They were not a country amenable to any negotiating. Nuclear weapons were requested during the Korean War, but rejected and since Japan the U.S. has never used nuclear weapons on anybody.

        “After an atrocity of this caliber, after its egregiously shameful foreign policy in the XXth century, this country has lost every right to have an opinion on violations of human rights anywhere. It’s just as if Ted Bundy pontificated on the rights of women, seriously.”

        What shameful foreign policy? Almost every foreign policy action the U.S. took in the 20th century was in response to oppressive countries. World War I with Germany, World War II with Germany again and the Empire of Japan, then the Korean War which was to protect the South from the communist North who to this day remain a very oppresive and bullying regime, then Vietnam which was (AGAIN) about containing communism, and various smaller actions throughout the world to contain communism. If it hadn’t been for the Soviet Union trying to spread communism everywhere in the first place, the U.S. never would have gotten dragged into any such involvements.

        “But if you choose to keep regurgitating the messianic fictions of Fox News, I can offer no help. Why anybody would want to support these insane messianic fantasies when drowning in problems at home, is a mystery to me.”

        No problems on the homefront here and I do not get my history knowledge from Fox News.

      • “How they feel has nothing to do with what the actual US policy was.”

        – How people you invade feel about the invasion is not relevant? Seriously?

        “No problems on the homefront here”

        – So that recession is a figment of my imagination?

        “Almost every foreign policy action the U.S. took in the 20th century was in response to oppressive countries. ”

        – According to the majority of the inhabitants of this globe, you cannot find a more oppressive country than the US. But you are not hearing this because who cares about what those lesser creatures think about anything.

        ” If it hadn’t been for the Soviet Union trying to spread communism everywhere in the first place, the U.S. never would have gotten dragged into any such involvements.”

        – I don’t want to offend, but have you been to high school?

      • “So the US should be arrested for its actions, right?”

        Nope. Breaking into someone’s apartment is only bad if that person is minding their own business and abiding by the law. If that person is the equivalent of a dictatorship, i.e. say is a child molester who has imprisoned multiple children in the basement, then morally there is nothing wrong with breaking in tofree the children.

      • “Breaking into someone’s apartment is only bad if that person is minding their own business and abiding by the law.”

        – How do you know what anybody is doing inside their apartment?

        ” If that person is the equivalent of a dictatorship, i.e. say is a child molester who has imprisoned multiple children in the basement, then morally there is nothing wrong with breaking in tofree the children.”

        – No, no, no, we are not going to include any extraneous characters now. Especially not children because comparing foreigners to children is way too disrespectful. Just the inhabitants of the apartment. Let’s take my neighbors. She is a woman in a headscarf who is perennially pregnant and surrounded by children. I think her life is intolerable. I really do. If I were her, I’d prefer death to this kind of life. Should I break and and liberate her now?

      • “- How people you invade feel about the invasion is not relevant? Seriously?”

        I’m not saying it’s not relevent, I’m saying how they feel about it has nothing to do with what the policy actually was.

        “- So that recession is a figment of my imagination?”

        I thought you meant me personally at home here.

        “- According to the majority of the inhabitants of this globe, you cannot find a more oppressive country than the US. But you are not hearing this because who cares about what those lesser creatures think about anything.”

        And you think because the majority of people think something, that this makes it correct? You say yourself on this website in your description of yourself that you take pride in having thoughts that go against the consensus. So why is the consensus important here? The consensus of the masses has oftentimes been very wrong throughout history, usually because of people lacking in education and thus being whipped into religious manias, frenzies, paranoias, etc…it’s why so many of the masses fall hook, line, and sinker for communism and other oppressive “isms. ” Much, if not MOST, of the intellectuals throughout the Cold War in the free, educated societies even were supportive of communism and the Soviet Union and critical of the United States. People critical of these views, such as the economist Milton Friedman or the French political philosopher Jean Francois Revel, were considered pariahs and radicals. And yet, the consensus among these people turned out to be totally wrong.

        So that the majority of people on the planet may think that about the United States thus, by itself, means nothing. Most of the people on the planet are very uneducated, povert-stricken, and hence prone to be whipped into hateful frenzies. The view unto itself is also factually wrong. There are multiple countries far more oppressive than the United States has ever been, usually the very countries these people are living in. You can go into Africa, Asia, the Middle East, etc…and find countries that are extremely oppressive. The U.S. has been the underwriter of global security since the end of World War II. It is what stands up to a beligerent China in Asia, and it is what helped finance the rebuilding of Europe and Japan and protected Europe throughout the Cold War against the Soviet menace. No, it doesn’t have a perfect record with regards to the Cold War, but when you are dealing with the Soviet Empire that is trying to spread communism everywhere, who can?

        ” – I don’t want to offend, but have you been to high school?”

        Of course. Are you suggesting the U.S. got involved in all sorts of conflicts without regard for the Soviet Union? If that’s the case, why did the U.S. even bother to help re-build Europe at the end of World War II? The whole place was devastated, why not just have turned all of those countries into a bunch of colonies under an “American Empire” in the way the Soviet Union did with Eastern European nations? Why did it allow Japan to grow into a liberal democracy as opposed to turning it into an imperial colony? That a nation such as America found itself in such a dominant position after World War II and did not take advantage of the opportunities for outright power and empire it had shows that America is one of the most peaceful and least oppressive nations in history.

    • ” If it could be closed, they’d close it.”

      – Coulda, shoulda, woulda. Hugely convincing.

      “Yes, that’s a lousy excuse, but it’s still a lot different than say the Soviet Union and the Hungarian Uprising, or the Soviets and the Prague Spring, or the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, which were all about purposely oppressing people.”

      – It’s like you have been asleep for the past 20 years. Why are we discussing the USSR in the context of proposed sanctions against the Russian Federation? If we are traveling back in history, let’s discuss how the Roman Empire was even worse. Because that’s just as relevant.

  2. Kyle,
    —No. Our reasons are better because there is a difference between going into a country to actively oppress people versus going into a country to fight terrorists who are attacking your own country. The Soviets in Afghanistan went in to actively oppress the people.

    I am sorry to inform you, but when Soviets invaded Afghanistan, we (the Soviets) were told that we are bringing them democracy and education. And that we are fighting against Islamic fanatics backed by the US and Saudi Arabia. And said fanatics threaten and kill people who dare to cooperate with the light-bringing Soviets… Do you see some parallels?

    —Al-Qaeda went into Iraq to fight the United States.

    Good. That would be impossible to do for Al-Qaeda if US did not go there first, before Al-Qaeda was there.

    And concerning Saddam and the morality of overthrowing bloody dictators:
    a) overthrowing bloody dictators becomes immoral after the numbers of “collateral damage” exceed the numbers of people killed by a bloody dictator.
    b) overthrowing bloody dictators is immoral if it is selective, and pro-US bloody dictators do not get overthrown.

    • “Kyle, I am sorry to inform you, but when Soviets invaded Afghanistan, we (the Soviets) were told that we are bringing them democracy and education. And that we are fighting against Islamic fanatics backed by the US and Saudi Arabia. And said fanatics threaten and kill people who dare to cooperate with the light-bringing Soviets… Do you see some parallels?”

      The Soviet Union did not invade Afghanistan with a policy of trying to make friends with the locals to fight terrorists who were attacking the Soviet Union, and of trying to establish any liberal democracy. It went in to try to support a dictatorship in the region. The Soviet army in the process committed horrendous atrocities against the Afghan people. There is no parallel with the United States or any moral equivalancy with the United States being in Afghanistan versus the Soviet Empire being there.

      I think the Soviet soldiers were told the same thing about invading Poland as well, that they were “liberating it” but note there was a huge difference between what they were actually doing versus what the Allies did when they literally liberated European nations.

      “Good. That would be impossible to do for Al-Qaeda if US did not go there first, before Al-Qaeda was there.”

      Doesn’t change the fact that it is Al-Qaeda that stirred up all the violence in the country. If the U.S. hadn’t gone in there, then the Iraqi people would still be subject to living under Hussein’s terror state.

      “And concerning Saddam and the morality of overthrowing bloody dictators:
      a) overthrowing bloody dictators becomes immoral after the numbers of “collateral damage” exceed the numbers of people killed by a bloody dictator.”

      The process of overthrowing Hussein himself involved very little such collateral damage. The collateral damage came from Al-Qaeda attacking after Hussein had been overthrown. If the very process to overthrow Hussein (the initial invasion) would have involved killing massive numbers of civilians, then you’d have a point here.

      “b) overthrowing bloody dictators is immoral if it is selective, and pro-US bloody dictators do not get overthrown.”

      Hussein wasn’t overthrown solely because he was a dictator though, there were other reasons involved. If the U.S. just had decided, “Let’s overthrow a dictator and free a people,” then I’d agree, how about start with one of the more U.S.-friendly dictators. But Hussein’s overthrow involved more than that. My point was just that overthrowing any brutal dictator is not morally wrong.

  3. If you’re using the argument that the war was justified because “we” got rid of Saddam Hussein, why haven’t “we” gone to war with the plethora of other authoritarian regimes out there? When the WMD argument failed and the association with Al Qaeda was falsified once and for all, the only thing Bush had left to justify his decision was that Saddam was evil. Yeah, so’s Abdullah bin Saud, but we don’t find ourselves discussing “Operation Saudi Freedom”, do we?

    There’s a reason the U.S. government did what it did. The American people were shocked by 9/11, so they wanted the government to do something – anything. Bush knew he needed to do something about terrorism to please the voters and stay in power, and he knew he knew he could do this by appealing to their sense of sensationalism and blind patriotic spirit. But how? Well, take an obscure Islamist dictatorship, take a Islamic terrorist group, mash them together in a blender and what you get is an entirely new organization – “them”. The evil, nasty “them” for the noble, courageous “us” to oppose. Then, ignore the economic, diplomatic (and mostly importantly) HUMAN cost.

    The truth of the Iraq War was that it was a decision made by a corrupt government to please a corrupt electorate.

    • “The truth of the Iraq War was that it was a decision made by a corrupt government to please a corrupt electorate.”

      – I’d add “a grievously ignorant electorate that has bought into the “WE know how to make everybody else happy” agenda.”

      “Bush knew he needed to do something about terrorism to please the voters and stay in power, and he knew he knew he could do this by appealing to their sense of sensationalism and blind patriotic spirit. But how? Well, take an obscure Islamist dictatorship, take a Islamic terrorist group, mash them together in a blender and what you get is an entirely new organization – “them”. The evil, nasty “them” for the noble, courageous “us” to oppose. Then, ignore the economic, diplomatic (and mostly importantly) HUMAN cost.”

      – It leaves me speechless to discover that there are still people who today, in 2012, do not recognize this.

    • “If you’re using the argument that the war was justified because “we” got rid of Saddam Hussein, why haven’t “we” gone to war with the plethora of other authoritarian regimes out there? When the WMD argument failed and the association with Al Qaeda was falsified once and for all, the only thing Bush had left to justify his decision was that Saddam was evil. Yeah, so’s Abdullah bin Saud, but we don’t find ourselves discussing “Operation Saudi Freedom”, do we?”

      As I said above, if there had been no other reasons to invade Iraq other than Hussein is evil, then I agree.

      “There’s a reason the U.S. government did what it did. The American people were shocked by 9/11, so they wanted the government to do something – anything. Bush knew he needed to do something about terrorism to please the voters and stay in power, and he knew he knew he could do this by appealing to their sense of sensationalism and blind patriotic spirit. But how? Well, take an obscure Islamist dictatorship, take a Islamic terrorist group, mash them together in a blender and what you get is an entirely new organization – “them”. The evil, nasty “them” for the noble, courageous “us” to oppose. Then, ignore the economic, diplomatic (and mostly importantly) HUMAN cost.”

      This I disagree with. The Iraq War was not conducted because of 9/11. Afghanistan was because of 9/11. And Hussein wasn’t obscure, he was a man who was noted troublemaker in the Middle East, who had twice come close to acquiring nuclear weapons, who was a mass-murderer, and who had invaded Kuwait in 1991.

      • One other thing, but Iraq would have been a major win diplomatically if the WMDs had been found. And the human cost would have been very low if Al-Qaeda had not started a war in the country after Hussein’s being overthrown. Unfortunately, the inverse of both of these happened. The administration paid attention to the economic and diplomatic and human cost, but it failed to see something that should have been obvious, which is that wars do not always go as planned. And the lack of WMDs was a major intelligence blunder.

      • “One other thing, but Iraq would have been a major win diplomatically if the WMDs had been found.”

        I agree; under an entirely different set of circumstances, the Iraq War would have been justified.

        “And the human cost would have been very low if Al-Qaeda had not started a war in the country after Hussein’s being overthrown.”

        And you honestly thought that they wouldn’t? The entire organization was centred around the idea of rallying Sunni Muslims together by provoking a holy war against the ‘infidels.’ Given this ideology, the optics of getting to fight an American invasion in the middle of the Islamic world must have seemed like a godsend.

        “And the lack of WMDs was a major intelligence blunder.”

        Some would say a blunder, others who actually paid attention at the time would say that it was pathetically obvious that there were no WMDs in Iraq, that the Bush administration was deliberately lying, and the only way that the electorate could have fallen for such lies is if they willed themselves to do so out of a desire (as Benoni suggests) to get revenge on *someone* for 9/11.

      • “Some would say a blunder, others who actually paid attention at the time would say that it was pathetically obvious that there were no WMDs in Iraq, that the Bush administration was deliberately lying, and the only way that the electorate could have fallen for such lies is if they willed themselves to do so out of a desire (as Benoni suggests) to get revenge on *someone* for 9/11.”

        The administration didn’t lie. Maybe they were a bit selective with the information, but lying they did not do. And no it was not obvious that there were no WMDs. General Colin Powell testified before the United Nations that there were WMDs, then suffered MASSIVE humiliation when this turned out not to be the case. No one does that unless they are 100% sure they are correct. The administration thought there were WMDs. Not being receptive enough to criticism of this belief was the problem.

      • “And no it was not obvious that there were no WMDs”

        It was. All of the weapons inspectors turned up no evidence of WMDs. There was no circumstantial evidence to support the existence of WMDs either.

        “General Colin Powell testified before the United Nations that there were WMDs”

        *Retired* General Colin Powell happened to be a member of the very administration that I am accusing of lying. That would be the bit where they lied, in fact.

        “then suffered MASSIVE humiliation when this turned out not to be the case. No one does that unless they are 100% sure they are correct. The administration thought there were WMDs. Not being receptive enough to criticism of this belief was the problem.”

        Massive humiliation? Really? ‘Cause I seem to remember all of the members of the Bush administration (including Mr. Powell) living out the rest of their lives in comfort until they left office and then getting fat book contracts afterwards. Oh yes, they really suffered some *dire* consequences. Clearly they would *never* lie with such a horrific fate looming over their heads!

      • “It was. All of the weapons inspectors turned up no evidence of WMDs. There was no circumstantial evidence to support the existence of WMDs either.”

        That didn’t make anything obvious, as this was a regime that was notorious for hiding evidence. After the 1991 Gulf War for example, it was found that Saddam Hussein had been only a few years away from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

        “*Retired* General Colin Powell happened to be a member of the very administration that I am accusing of lying. That would be the bit where they lied, in fact.”

        That wasn’t a lie. No man is going to destroy his very hard-earned professional reputation over something like that, especially a man who had the kind of disagreements with the Bush administration that Colin Powell had.

        “Massive humiliation? Really? ‘Cause I seem to remember all of the members of the Bush administration (including Mr. Powell) living out the rest of their lives in comfort until they left office and then getting fat book contracts afterwards. Oh yes, they really suffered some *dire* consequences. Clearly they would *never* lie with such a horrific fate looming over their heads!”

        If all you think is that money matters to them, then this might hold some water, but Colin Powell very much did not like his reputation being destroyed by there being no WMDs. Also, there was no reason for them to lie in the first place. Why lie to start a war? The war was not for reasons of political popularity because Americans wanted “revenge” on “someone” (if anything, the attitude shown towards Muslims in America was remarkably tranquil considering what had happened). And it most definitely wasn’t for any imperial reasons as some claimed.

  4. I have an idea! Let’s stop all this foreign adventuring and “helping” people and just let other countries decide their own fates. Osama Bin Laden, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, is dead, Saddam Hussein for better or worse, is dead, and we really have no reason to be over there any more. It’s clear to me that if we were ever wanted in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc., that that is no longer the case, and there is nothing anyone dislikes more than an intruder who will not leave. We aren’t accomplishing anything except getting more people killed who don’t need to be killed, wasting money we can’t afford, and building up generations of resentment. As for making the world safer for Americans to putter about in, the obvious is actually true; I’d love to travel the world, but I don’t feel that I can now, thanks to my well-meaning, bumbling, intrusive fellow Americans who don’t know when enough is enough.

    • I have never understood the argument, with regards to dictatorships, of “just let other countries decide their own fares.” That cannot happen in a dictatorship, only in liberal democracies. And the United States does not mess in the affairs of liberal democracies for the most part. We have had allies in Asia for example tell us to pull our troops out that were stationed, and we have obliged (now some of those same allies are asking for troops to be stationed again out of fear of China). We do not tell the likes of the Germans, French, the UK, the Italians, Japanese, South Koreans, Taiwanese, Australia, Canada, etc…how to run their countries. These are all countries where the people elect the leaders and decide the fates of their countries.

      Dictatorships, on the other hand, involve one very small group controlling things, and the people are at their mercy. The people cannot decide their own fates in such conditions. As for Afghanistan, that was never about whether the U.S. was wanted in there, it was about going in to kill the terrorists, which was something that had to be done. Iraq the goal was always to be able to leave, and let the country govern itself as a democracy. Right now Iraq is a fragile, but functioning democratic system. Only time will tell if it holds up.

      Regarding resentment, the people whom resent America to the point of being dangerous already resented America greatly to begin with. So Iraq and Afghanistan have probably not made things any more dangerous than they were before in that sense (and things are less dangerous now in terms of how the terrorists have been killed in vast numbers). You can travel the world to any free place now that you could before. And any place not free where anti-Americanism reigns, you had to watch yourself then just as now. If you go to a free country and have to risk getting harassed by citizens, that’s not so much the U.S. creating resentment as the citizens being outright nuts to the point that just because you are an American, and America overthrew a dictator, they will want to attack you.

      • Re other people and their crappy governments: not our problem. Sorry. I’m not sure why we think God died and left us in charge of deposing dictators (especially as we tend to not be able to prevent new ones from taking place of our puppets or our puppets simply sliding right into the dictator role, but now backed by American dollars). We have our own country to run and defend. We can’t fix everyone else’s life. Do you get that? We can’t fix every fucking thing that goes wrong on Earth. It is not our place.

        As for the rest of it, I skimmed. Sorry, gonna keep on blaming this continued worldwide busybodying we keep doing for me not feeling like I’d be welcome elsewhere. Or no that’s not it — I wouldn’t feel right inflicting my American ass on some other country. So many of my fellow Americans just barge in wherever the hell they please (and I have been to Europe, I have see obnoxious drunken entitled asshole American tourists being boors and pigs, I have had the urge to say “I’m Canadian.” It’s not so much about feeling safe — I grew up in Miami, not exactly Safe Space, USA — as it is feeling like I’d be yet another intruder barging in where I’m not wanted.

      • “Re other people and their crappy governments: not our problem. Sorry. I’m not sure why we think God died and left us in charge of deposing dictators (especially as we tend to not be able to prevent new ones from taking place of our puppets or our puppets simply sliding right into the dictator role, but now backed by American dollars). We have our own country to run and defend. We can’t fix everyone else’s life. Do you get that? We can’t fix every fucking thing that goes wrong on Earth. It is not our place.”

        Sure I get it. My point was just that the logic of, “Let other countries decide their own fates” really doesn’t work with a dictatorship. The way to reason it is just as you said, that we simply don’t have the resources to go around deposing dictators. The free nations of the world we let handle their own fates without any meddling.

        “As for the rest of it, I skimmed. Sorry, gonna keep on blaming this continued worldwide busybodying we keep doing for me not feeling like I’d be welcome elsewhere. Or no that’s not it — I wouldn’t feel right inflicting my American ass on some other country. So many of my fellow Americans just barge in wherever the hell they please (and I have been to Europe, I have see obnoxious drunken entitled asshole American tourists being boors and pigs, I have had the urge to say “I’m Canadian.” It’s not so much about feeling safe — I grew up in Miami, not exactly Safe Space, USA — as it is feeling like I’d be yet another intruder barging in where I’m not wanted.”

        America has to be a busybody around the world as it underwrites the security of the free world. So it will be involved in global affairs. As for “the ugly American,” I agree fully with that. People should be respectful of other cultures when they travel.

      • “The free nations of the world we let handle their own fates without any meddling.”

        – Free from what, exactly? What was Allende’s Chile not free of?

        ‘America has to be a busybody around the world as it underwrites the security of the free world. ”

        – I dislike it when people do the broken record thing. What is “the free world”? What is it “free” from? Let’s not be parrots, OK?

      • “- Free from what, exactly? What was Allende’s Chile not free of?”

        Free as in they respect human rights and freedoms. The U.S. tried to influence the election of Allende out of fear of the spread of communism as he was a Marxist (who didn’t have the best reputations for respecting human rights).

        “- I dislike it when people do the broken record thing. What is “the free world”? What is it “free” from? Let’s not be parrots, OK?

        The “free world” is those nations that are liberal democracies, that respect human rights and freedoms.

      • “Free as in they respect human rights and freedoms. The U.S. tried to influence the election of Allende out of fear of the spread of communism as he was a Marxist”

        – Do you have ANY evidence that Allende – a DEMOCRATICALLY elected leader – did not respect human rights? If so, you have made a historical discovery of huge proportions. Or you are saying that the US removed a DEMOCRATICALLY elected leader and substituted him with a bloody dictator because of what Allende might have done?

        “The “free world” is those nations that are liberal democracies, that respect human rights and freedoms.”

        – How about a nation’s right to have a DEMOCRATICALLY elected leader of its own choosing without any meddling based on what he MIGHT do? “cause, you know, that’s an argument one can use to invade pretty much any place.

      • “Free as in they respect human rights and freedoms. The U.S. tried to influence the election of Allende out of fear of the spread of communism as he was a Marxist (who didn’t have the best reputations for respecting human rights).”
        So, to be clear, Marxists like Allende have a bad track record of Human Rights abuses, so the USA (moral paragon that it is) decided to protect the rights of the Chilean people by installing a fascist puppet who made ‘disappear’ into a transitive verb and immediately murdered more than two thousand people upon his ascent to power. By so doing, the USA maintained its claim to having never committed a Huamn rights abuse.
        Wow, that makes loads of sense.

      • “So, to be clear, Marxists like Allende have a bad track record of Human Rights abuses, so the USA (moral paragon that it is) decided to protect the rights of the Chilean people by installing a fascist puppet who made ‘disappear’ into a transitive verb and immediately murdered more than two thousand people upon his ascent to power. By so doing, the USA maintained its claim to having never committed a Huamn rights abuse.
        Wow, that makes loads of sense.”

        – I always thought that the Soviet propaganda machine was powerful. But it’s nothing compared to the American propaganda machine. Even we would not have bought this kind of story.

      • “- Do you have ANY evidence that Allende – a DEMOCRATICALLY elected leader – did not respect human rights? If so, you have made a historical discovery of huge proportions. Or you are saying that the US removed a DEMOCRATICALLY elected leader and substituted him with a bloody dictator because of what Allende might have done?”

        One thing, but being democratically elected unto itself means nothing. Democracy is just two wolves and sheep voting on what to have for dinner. It has to be a liberal democracy. Regarding Allende, he was a Marxist who was friends with Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and also had backing from the Soviet Union. The U.S. did not remove Allende from power, but it was concerned over his being elected, and tried to influence the election, but Allende was elected anyway. He was later overthrown via a coup, which the U.S. was not involved with (although it had tried to make the situation ripe for a coup).

        “- How about a nation’s right to have a DEMOCRATICALLY elected leader of its own choosing without any meddling based on what he MIGHT do? “cause, you know, that’s an argument one can use to invade pretty much any place.”

        So long as it is a liberal democracy, I agree that any such nations should be left alone.

      • “So, to be clear, Marxists like Allende have a bad track record of Human Rights abuses, so the USA (moral paragon that it is) decided to protect the rights of the Chilean people by installing a fascist puppet who made ‘disappear’ into a transitive verb and immediately murdered more than two thousand people upon his ascent to power. By so doing, the USA maintained its claim to having never committed a Huamn rights abuse.
        Wow, that makes loads of sense.”

        That’s not what I said. What I said is that if you are given the choice of two evils, you have to choose the lesser of the two (or at least what you think will be the lesser of the two). Which would you choose: the leader who will spread communism, a murderous system that will expand the power and influence of the Soviet empire, or another murderer who will counter the Soviets?

      • “That’s not what I said. What I said is that if you are given the choice of two evils, you have to choose the lesser of the two (or at least what you think will be the lesser of the two). Which would you choose: the leader who will spread communism, a murderous system that will expand the power and influence of the Soviet empire, or another murderer who will counter the Soviets?”

        Oh I’m sorry! Here I was thinking that you had just said that the Iraq War was justified because the Iraqi people didn’t have a choice when it came to Saddam Hussein. Apparently when it comes to the Chilean people though, their choice doesn’t matter if it’s not the one the Americans favour! Why? Because it doesn’t correspond to some nebulous and ill-defined notion known as “liberal democracy” (as apart from, you know, regular democracy). Which is of course why installing a fascist dictatorship in Sweden would be perfectly acceptable, since apparently “social democracy” is not good enough.
        But of course, it doesnt matter, since you have also just argued that the USA had nothing to do with the coup in Chile. But even if they did, apparently, then that would be justified. “I didn’t kill him, I was out of town at the time of the murder, and even I wasn’t the bastard had it coming anyways!” Do try to keep your story straight.

      • “Which would you choose: the leader who will spread communism, a murderous system that will expand the power and influence of the Soviet empire, or another murderer who will counter the Soviets?”

        – The Chileans made their choice and it is well-known. They made it freely and democratically. So did the Nicaraguans. So did the Spaniards. What WE would choose is irrelevant in the face of the choice these people made in their own countries. You’ve spent hours arguing that the democratic choices of people should be respected. And now you are arguing the opposite? Where is consistency? Where is logic? You either respect free democratic elections in all cases or you don’t. Respecting them when it suits your fancy and disrespecting them when that is more convenient translates into disrespect for democracy.

      • “Oh I’m sorry! Here I was thinking that you had just said that the Iraq War was justified because the Iraqi people didn’t have a choice when it came to Saddam Hussein. Apparently when it comes to the Chilean people though, their choice doesn’t matter if it’s not the one the Americans favour! Why? Because it doesn’t correspond to some nebulous and ill-defined notion known as “liberal democracy” (as apart from, you know, regular democracy). Which is of course why installing a fascist dictatorship in Sweden would be perfectly acceptable, since apparently “social democracy” is not good enough.”

        A few things:

        1) Allende didn’t win enough votes to be elected, the Congress had to vote on him, and when they selected him, he signed a promise to abide the Chilean Constitution, which he did not do, and later admitted he never intended to do.

        2) You need to understand the context of the time and what was at stake. It wasn’t a simple matter of the Chilean people voting one way and the United States just “not liking it.” The stakes were INCREDIBLY high. We had seen what communist leaders such as Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro, etc…led to. And Allende’s government was tied to some very pro-communist forces (the kind who called for violent revolution) in the country, along with backing from the Soviets. Allowing a man like him to stay in power constituted too large a threat.

        3) Liberal democracy is not some “ill-defined” notion, it is very clear. It refers to a democracy that has protections for human rights and freedoms, to protect the minority from the majority and the majority from the minority. “Regular democracy,” by which I am assuming you mean mob rule, has no such protections. It is a bunch of racist whites voting to pass laws to oppress blacks because they outnumber the blacks for example.

        4) The social democracies are liberal democracies. Social democracy refers to how to combine a welfare state with a market economy.

        “But of course, it doesnt matter, since you have also just argued that the USA had nothing to do with the coup in Chile. But even if they did, apparently, then that would be justified. “I didn’t kill him, I was out of town at the time of the murder, and even I wasn’t the bastard had it coming anyways!” Do try to keep your story straight.”

        Considering the number of people that were at the risk of being slaughtered had the coup not occurred, yes it would have been justified. It is very easy to sit decades in the future, with the benefit of total hindsight, and judge what went on, saying this or that person was evil or this or that policy was totally wrong-headed, but for those who were active during that actual time period, it was a completely different situation.

      • “Allende didn’t win enough votes to be elected, the Congress had to vote on him, and when they selected him, he signed a promise to abide the Chilean Constitution, which he did not do, and later admitted he never intended to do.”

        – All of this is a matter for the people of Chile to decide. Not for foreign invaders armed with stories of what might or might not be. What next, you’ll read tea leaves and invade on the basis of that? This actually might be a good idea, seeing how much the US intelligence sucks.

        “Considering the number of people that were at the risk of being slaughtered had the coup not occurred, yes it would have been justified. It is very easy to sit decades in the future, with the benefit of total hindsight”

        – So how do you calculate the NUMBER of people who ran which risk if something had not occurred? I mean, hindsight won’t help, you need magic powers here.

        “The stakes were INCREDIBLY high”

        – Tell that to the Chilean people.

        “Allowing a man like him to stay in power constituted too large a threat.”

        – I know it’s useless, but I’ll try once again: it is not your place to allow or not anything to other people based on what might or might not happen. Do you also support jailing people who have committed no crimes but might potentially commit them? Based on their genetic makeup? Or the statistical probability?

      • “- The Chileans made their choice and it is well-known. They made it freely and democratically. So did the Nicaraguans. So did the Spaniards. What WE would choose is irrelevant in the face of the choice these people made in their own countries.”

        Plenty of things are “well-known” that are also completely wrong. The Chileans voted and their choice wasn’t sufficient to bring Allende to power. As for Nicaragua, the Sandinistas were mass-murderers and communists as well who had to be countered. What the U.S. would prefer is relevent if the election by the people can lead to the whole country falling under something like communism, especially back then.

        “You’ve spent hours arguing that the democratic choices of people should be respected. And now you are arguing the opposite? Where is consistency? Where is logic? You either respect free democratic elections in all cases or you don’t. Respecting them when it suits your fancy and disrespecting them when that is more convenient translates into disrespect for democracy.”

        Democratic choices of people should be respected when it is within a liberal democracy. Allende’s Chile was not a liberal democracy and was on the verge of a revolution because he had so destroyed the nation’s economy with his socialist policies. Nor was Nicaragua a liberal democracy under the Sandinistas.

      • “Allende’s Chile was not a liberal democracy and was on the verge of a revolution because he had so destroyed the nation’s economy with his socialist policies.”

        – So. . . now it’s OK to invade people if you dislike their economy and think (again, based on tea leaves and divining rods) that they are “on the verge” of something you might not like? Sheesh, so what about the US whose economy dropped into the toilet in 2008-9 and took the rest of the world with it? Chile’s economic issues did not endanger the entire planet, while the US tanking economy did. Should people have invaded? I mean, it might have saved them from economic collapse?

        “Democratic choices of people should be respected when it is within a liberal democracy. ”

        – Do you know that most people in the world do not consider the US any form of democracy? Are these people allowed to invade the US since that is what they believe?

      • Okay, boy, you know what? Fuck this shit. I can feel my IQ points sliding away for every second of my life that I waste arguing with you. I will say only that you CANNOT SUPPORT THE CONCEPTS OF LIBERAL DEMOCRACY AND FASCISM AT THE SAME TIME! Do you understand that? Do you understand that even if Allende was not perfect, his election was a fucking sight closer to “liberal democracy” than a Conservative Military Dictatorship that murders scores of people for being “inconvenient.”
        And incidentally, you haven’t answered my point: how was the US to make this judgement while at the time you yourself have maintained that the coup magically happened out of thin air without any support whatsoever from, for example Henry Kissinger?
        You know what? It doesn’t fucking matter. I have litt;le doubt that you will be able to give your ass a good shake and pull out some other bit of after-the-fact “justification” for attrocities committed by the USA, but you know what? It will still be bullshit, just like every single other thing that you have written today. Goodnight, Kyle, and may whatever Gods you believe in have mercy upon your soul.

      • “- All of this is a matter for the people of Chile to decide. Not for foreign invaders armed with stories of what might or might not be. What next, you’ll read tea leaves and invade on the basis of that? This actually might be a good idea, seeing how much the US intelligence sucks.”

        You make it sound like the threat of a mass-murdering communist regime was simply some vague threat. It was nothing of the sort.

        “- So how do you calculate the NUMBER of people who ran which risk if something had not occurred? I mean, hindsight won’t help, you need magic powers here.”

        The communists were planning a civil war in which they were willing to accept casualties of anywhere from 500,000 to 1 million.

        “- Tell that to the Chilean people.”

        The Chilean people did not suffer all that greatly from the coup. Assuming the claims of 26,000 people tortured (which is an incredibly questionable statistic), that would be nothing in comparison to what potentially could have occurred.

        “- I know it’s useless, but I’ll try once again: it is not your place to allow or not anything to other people based on what might or might not happen. Do you also support jailing people who have committed no crimes but might potentially commit them? Based on their genetic makeup? Or the statistical probability?”

        It is very much a country like the U.S.’s place to allow or not allow such a thing if the stakes are so high. Jailing people is comparing apples to oranges here.

      • “It is very much a country like the U.S.’s place to allow or not allow such a thing if the stakes are so high. ”

        – Why? Who decided this?

        “The Chilean people did not suffer all that greatly from the coup. ”

        – Are you simply heartless or do you not realize what you are saying?

        ‘ Assuming the claims of 26,000 people tortured (which is an incredibly questionable statistic), that would be nothing in comparison to what potentially could have occurred.”

        – You do realize that you can justify ANY massacre by saying that potentially something worse could have happened?

        Seriously, Kyle, you are scaring me now. The Pinochet regime in Chile was not great suffering? Have you ever talked to a Chilean? An Argentinean? Have you read testimonies of the tortured people? Maybe you should. Maybe that will awaken your humanity. No normal human being, not a total sadist can get over just the descriptions of what happened to those people.

        These are horrible, horrible things you said here. I honestly hope you didn’t mean them and this was just the heat of passion. But I have no words for how horrible what you said is.

        SHAME ON YOU.

      • “- So. . . now it’s OK to invade people if you dislike their economy and think (again, based on tea leaves and divining rods) that they are “on the verge” of something you might not like? Sheesh, so what about the US whose economy dropped into the toilet in 2008-9 and took the rest of the world with it? Chile’s economic issues did not endanger the entire planet, while the US tanking economy did. Should people have invaded? I mean, it might have saved them from economic collapse?”

        The economy unto itself had nothing to do with it, it was just one part of the overall threat brewing in Chile. If the United States was on the verge of electing in a man whose reforms would likely lead to a full-on communist dictatorial government taking over control of the country, then yes, other countries would have a right to intervene because at that point the stakes are too high.

        “- Do you know that most people in the world do not consider the US any form of democracy? Are these people allowed to invade the US since that is what they believe?”

        I would love to know why said people believe such nonsense. No one who is sane could believe the U.S. is not a liberal democracy. A flawed liberal democracy sure, but a liberal democracy nonetheless.

      • Okay, boy, you know what? Fuck this shit. I can feel my IQ points sliding away for every second of my life that I waste arguing with you. I will say only that you CANNOT SUPPORT THE CONCEPTS OF LIBERAL DEMOCRACY AND FASCISM AT THE SAME TIME! Do you understand that? Do you understand that even if Allende was not perfect, his election was a fucking sight closer to “liberal democracy” than a Conservative Military Dictatorship that murders scores of people for being “inconvenient.”

        Allende brought the country closer to an outright communist state, not a liberal democracy. Your argument actually should apply to Pinochet, in that he wasn’t perfect, but he brought the country a lot closer, and ultimately to, a liberal democracy and prosperous economy, as opposed to the socialist whose policies outright destroyed the economy and made the country ripe for revolution.

        “And incidentally, you haven’t answered my point: how was the US to make this judgement while at the time you yourself have maintained that the coup magically happened out of thin air without any support whatsoever from, for example Henry Kissinger?
        You know what? It doesn’t fucking matter. I have litt;le doubt that you will be able to give your ass a good shake and pull out some other bit of after-the-fact “justification” for attrocities committed by the USA, but you know what? It will still be bullshit, just like every single other thing that you have written today. Goodnight, Kyle, and may whatever Gods you believe in have mercy upon your soul.”

        I didn’t say the coup happened out of thin air, I said that the U.S. sought to help make the conditions ripe for it. And you ought to seriously study up some on Latin American history and the communist movements that were going on in that region. The U.S. wasn’t involved in the region for the fun of it.

      • “- Why? Who decided this?”

        No one really “decides” such a thing, it just kind of got handed to the U.S. as being the country that had to contain communism and protect the free nations of the world.

        “- Are you simply heartless or do you not realize what you are saying?”

        I am being a realist is all. In comparison to what the ycould have gone through.

        “- You do realize that you can justify ANY massacre by saying that potentially something worse could have happened?”

        You are again oversimplifying what was occurring in the region during this time period, in terms of the brutality that had been observed with communism, the fear from Castro’s revolution, the communist uprisings in other areas of Latin America, etc…in lieu of all that, if you could install a strong military leader as opposed to run the risk of the whole country going into full-scale civil war, well I mean you can see the complexities involved.

        “Seriously, Kyle, you are scaring me now. The Pinochet regime in Chile was not great suffering? Have you ever talked to a Chilean? An Argentinean? Have you read testimonies of the tortured people? Maybe you should. Maybe that will awaken your humanity. No normal human being, not a total sadist can get over just the descriptions of what happened to those people.”

        And for many of those people, there is not a shred of proof that they were telling the truth. People had great incentive to lie about being tortured, as that made them applicable for monetary rewards from the government for having been a victim (the same thing happens in America with regards to Vietnam veterans…the number of people claiming to be veterans greatly exceeds the number of actual veterans). This was especially the case as many people did not have to produce any actual proof of having been tortured.

        Also, no one is saying Chile was a great place under Pinochet. It wasn’t. But it could have been FAR worse.

        “These are horrible, horrible things you said here. I honestly hope you didn’t mean them and this was just the heat of passion. But I have no words for how horrible what you said is.

        SHAME ON YOU.”

        You make it sound as if I am for the wholesale slaughter of people just for the fun of it or something.

    • “Let’s stop all this foreign adventuring and “helping” people and just let other countries decide their own fates.”

      – YES, YES, YES! Let’s solve our own issues and let other people sort out their dictators, democracies, and so on. Until now, not a single nation has been grateful for this meddling in its affairs. Maybe it’s time to realize that all this “help” is decidedly unwelcome. We have unemployment here, a huge national debt, youth unemployment is growing, the roads are not that great, there are so many things to take care of internally. The rest of the world can take care of its own business, seriously.

      • We leave democracies alone and let the rest of the free world take care of itself. People can’t sort out dictators though (that’s why they’re dictators!). The reason not to overthrow dictators is that it’s just completely unrealistic, as there are so many of them. But some help is looked for (look at the uprising in Iran which looked to the U.S. for support for example).

      • “We leave democracies alone and let the rest of the free world take care of itself.”

        – Not true.

        ” The reason not to overthrow dictators is that it’s just completely unrealistic, as there are so many of them.”

        – Are you aware of the ONLY reason why the last Fascist dictator in Europe managed to remain in power until 1975, 30 years after his best buddy Hitler killed himself? Would you like to venture a guess about the secret to that bloody dictator’s longevity? He was the one who overthrew the legitimate, democratically elected government, you know. And who do you think helped him remain in power? Hmm, I wonder. . .

      • Yeah, Iranians “looked to” us and they got fuckall. You know why? We can’t afford to take on Iran’s government. These are the bad facts. We can’t fix everything. We can’t fix everything. How many times do I have to say this? I was disappointed in Obama and Co’s complete non-response to the Iranian situation, but you know what? I understand what was behind it. If only our government would extend this understanding (that we can’t take on a place like Iran) to the rest of the places we are involved in. Right now it just looks like we’re picking on weak countries, which is not exactly kosher. And it’s certainly not spreading any kind of democracy and who the fuck are we to spread democracy? Are we going to set up Kelo laws (where the government can take your house if it decided they have a better use for the land), and construct airport security gates to grope their grandmas and babies too? We’re busy making “democracy” a laughingstock over here — I can’t believe we’re arrogant enough to claim that our invasions of other countries was part of a scheme to make these places more “democratic and free.” I’m American, even I find that ridiculous.

      • We can afford to take on Iran’s government as we already are, through having enacted very crippling sanctions against them. What “weak” countries are we “picking on?” As for spreading democracy, the point of a democratic system is to let the country itself write its own laws. The idea is simply to establish a liberal democratic system (one that respects human rights and freedoms). And invading Iraq and Afghanistan were not unto themselves about establishing any democratic systems there, with Iraq that was just seen as an end-goal to go along with the reasons such as WMDs and so forth. With Afghanistan, it was because otherwise the country would become a haven again for the terrorists.

      • “- Not true.”

        How so? What liberal democracies are we dictating to?

        ”- Are you aware of the ONLY reason why the last Fascist dictator in Europe managed to remain in power until 1975, 30 years after his best buddy Hitler killed himself? Would you like to venture a guess about the secret to that bloody dictator’s longevity? He was the one who overthrew the legitimate, democratically elected government, you know. And who do you think helped him remain in power? Hmm, I wonder. . .”

        Franco remained in power because he was a very oppressive thug. He received support from the U.S. due to his being anti-communist. But what other solution was there for the U.S.? Unless you wanted the U.S. to overthrow him and establish a democratic system, like the U.S. is/was trying to do with Iraq.

      • “Franco remained in power because he was a very oppressive thug. He received support from the U.S. due to his being anti-communist. But what other solution was there for the U.S.?”

        – Easy peasy: not give him money.

        ‘ Unless you wanted the U.S. to overthrow him and establish a democratic system, like the U.S. is/was trying to do with Iraq.”

        – Do not ascribe you strange fantasies of invasions to me. All I’d hope for was a boycott of a Fascist dictator. Was that so hard to do? Especially while he was slaughtering people and torturing them left and right.

        “How so? What liberal democracies are we dictating to?”

        – Are you serious? I gave you a list in this very thread. And if you reread the post, Russia. Their elections were rigged but he won more honestly than Bush Jr. won his first elections. Yet, the US wants to dictate to the Russians.

      • “- Easy peasy: not give him money.”

        Not engaging in any relations with him might have turned him into a Soviet ally or if he was overthrown, another dictator take his place who was very anti-U.S. (as that is what usually happens).

        “- Do not ascribe you strange fantasies of invasions to me. All I’d hope for was a boycott of a Fascist dictator. Was that so hard to do? Especially while he was slaughtering people and torturing them left and right.”

        I understand this and can’t say I necessarilly disagree, but the problem was what if he turned into a Soviet-supported ally? If we didn’t support him at all, the Soviets would have.

        “Are you serious? I gave you a list in this very thread. And if you reread the post, Russia. Their elections were rigged but he won more honestly than Bush Jr. won his first elections. Yet, the US wants to dictate to the Russians.”

        Russia is not a liberal democracy. It does not respect human rights and freedoms. It is a nation where if you criticize the government too much, you end up dead. And the U.S. does not want to dictate ot the Russians, it’s the Russians who want to dictate to the U.S., constantly harping about us having a missile defense system in the area to protect our liberal democracy allies such as Poland and the Czech Republic . President Bush won his first election very fairly. He lost the popular vote, but won the electoral vote (which has happened in the past). It was contested in the SCOTUS but they ruled in Bush’s favor.

      • “Not engaging in any relations with him might have turned him into a Soviet ally”

        – I’m now laughing and beating my head against the desk. :-) :-) :-) Kyle, you are hilarious, seriously, man. Franco as a Soviet ally is priceless.

        I didn’t think that anybody could make me laugh on the subject of Franco, but you managed that. I now have something to entertain crowds of fellow Hispanists. As an autistic who finds social occasions intensely painful, I will be forever grateful to you.

        ” It is a nation where if you criticize the government too much, you end up dead. ”

        – Man, you are slaughtering me here. :-) :-) This is too funny. Stop! My stomach muscles are hurting with laughter and I don;t even have stomach muscles.

        “President Bush won his first election very fairly.”

        – No, no more! Too much fun so late in the night. I now won’t be able to sleep. :-) :-)

        Thank you for the great discussion! I’m completely serious here.

      • “- Man, you are slaughtering me here. This is too funny. Stop! My stomach muscles are hurting with laughter and I don;t even have stomach muscles.”

        You seem incredibly clueless about the current state of Russia. You also seem completely unaware of all of the journalists who have been killed there in recent years who just also happened to be very critical of the government.

      • “You seem incredibly clueless about the current state of Russia.”

        – My friend, as a Russian-speaker whose many relatives and whose husband’s entire family is in Russia right now, I think I know what goes in Russia a little bit better than you, eh? :-) If you want to argue about this, please list for me which Russian newspapers, websites and radio stations you access on a daily basis. Please include the dissident ones. And then I’ll share the list of mine. That will be one looong comment, though. :-) :-)

        ” You also seem completely unaware of all of the journalists who have been killed there in recent years who just also happened to be very critical of the government.”

        – Let me guess. . . WashPo? Or our old and trusty friend Fox News? :-)

        I know that you know more about Russia than Russians and more about Spain than Spaniards and every historian of Spain combined, but, seriously, ignorance is nothing to be proud of. It’s always a good idea to listen to people who actually know things, OK?

      • “- Let me guess. . . WashPo? Or our old and trusty friend Fox News?”

        International Federation of Journalists, in collaboration with the Russian Union of Journalists, the Glasnost Defense Foundation, and the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations. Since 1993, up to 124 journalists have been killed as a direct result of their work. Anna Politkovskaya is one of the most infamous and latest, but there have been many others, lesser-known: http://www.ifex.org/russia/2009/06/23/ifj_partial_justice_report.pdf

        “I know that you know more about Russia than Russians and more about Spain than Spaniards and every historian of Spain combined, but, seriously, ignorance is nothing to be proud of. It’s always a good idea to listen to people who actually know things, OK?”

        That journalists have been getting murdered in Russia is nothing new, and has been widely reported in the media.

  5. —The war was not for reasons of political popularity

    It is getting more and more confusing… so the idea of deposing a bloody murderous dictator, who 10 years before invaded Kuwait and could have weapons of mass destruction actually was not popular among the Americans?

    Never mind that some people still remember the war was ~70% popular in the beginning, when it looked like a little glorious morale-boosting war, no just the beginning of eternal mess.

    • I said the war wasn’t for reasons of political popularity, not that it wasn’t politically popular at the beginning.

  6. //” It is a nation where if you criticize the government too much, you end up dead. ”
    //- Man, you are slaughtering me here. This is too funny. Stop! My stomach muscles are hurting with laughter and I don;t even have stomach muscles.

    It isn’t true now, right? Clarissa?
    From abroad looks like I would be more afraid of crime and corruption there than of government. Like: policemen beating somebody to death, not because he is anti-gov but because they felt like it. Or rich people doing whatever they want without being punished in any way. It has to do with corruption & crime, but can’t call it doing with political ideology of any kind. Am I right?

    • “Like: policemen beating somebody to death, not because he is anti-gov but because they felt like it. Or rich people doing whatever they want without being punished in any way. It has to do with corruption & crime, but can’t call it doing with political ideology of any kind. Am I right?”

      – Of course, you are right. The Russian government doesn’t kill people who speak out against it. That’s ridiculous. I follow blogs of many people who have called for the violent overthrow of the government and described fantasies of Putin’s murder. Yet they are all alive, healthy, and doing great. The blogosphere, the newspapers, the radio stations say all kinds of hugely critical things about the government, yet everybody is alive.

      I want to remind people that nobody in the US dared to make a peep against the Iraqi war when it first started. Yet, in Russia there were always journalists who spoke out against the war in Chechnya. And looked what happened to the academic who dared question the official version of 9/11. Freedom of speech, my ass. And then these people go and criticize others. For shame!

      • The Russian government does appear to go after people if they have enough influence. Regarding Iraq, lots of people criticized that from what I remember. But to be fair, a lot of those people were shouted down as being “unpatriotic,” which was VERY WRONG I think.

  7. One question Kyle: what would you say if, after the rigged election of George Bush, the whole world ganged up on USA ? Hey, if US can do this then why the rest can’t ?
    The only thing that guarantees United States’ position as the only superpower is its military might. Once it wanes (and believe me, the day will come, as it comes to all powers) we shall see how many friends you made: friends that will help you not out of fear (like in “democratic states” where you have strong military presence and where you can slaughter the opposing government).
    Do you really think Japan, Germany, Afghanistan and Iraq love you ? Hell, there is a limit to affronts and indignities your once loyal allies can suffer. Poland was in love with US after 1990 but, thanks to lying to our government and people it represents US is a laughing stock. Hell, a lot of people claim that at least Soviets did not force us to fight their wars for them and generally treated us better as allies (at least after Stalin’s death, it was hell before).
    Way to go, from being viewed as a grand protector of democracy to having morality comparable to Soviet military.

    • “Way to go, from being viewed as a grand protector of democracy to having morality comparable to Soviet military.”

      – Exactly. That’s exactly why I’m saying that the US foreign policy seems to have been purposefully designed to undermine the country as much as possible. First, you arm the Taliban, then you fight the Taliban who is fighting with the weapons you gave it. Yeah, makes ton of sense.

    • “One question Kyle: what would you say if, after the rigged election of George Bush, the whole world ganged up on USA ? Hey, if US can do this then why the rest can’t ?”

      If George W. Bush was the equivalent of a Stalin or a Hitler and his election was rigged, then many Americans would welcome the rest of the world coming to intervene.

      “The only thing that guarantees United States’ position as the only superpower is its military might. Once it wanes (and believe me, the day will come, as it comes to all powers) we shall see how many friends you made: friends that will help you not out of fear (like in “democratic states” where you have strong military presence and where you can slaughter the opposing government).”

      The U.S.’s might comes from its economic might. Military might is a byproduct of that. As for waning, America is not any standard empire. It isn’t surrounded by enemies trying to invade and it doesn’t maintain any formal empire like say Britain had. Having bases all over for the protection of our allies is not the same as an empire. As for friends, the U.S.’s allies are not allies out of fear of America, they are allies out of fear of other countries such as China, North Korea, and Russia, against whom they need protection. As of late, some of them think the United States isn’t doing ENOUGH to protect them.

      And the U.S. military isn’t just for power projection, it also is great for disaster aid. It is the U.S. that is the one that will send in aircraft carriers to devastated areas to help the people in those areas, as no one else has the ability to do so. The nuclear reactors on board an aircraft carrier can provide electrical power to onshore facilities, the helicopters can ferry people around, the medical facilities on the carrier can treat lots of people, the kitchens can cook up lots of food to serve people, etc…

      “Do you really think Japan, Germany, Afghanistan and Iraq love you ? Hell, there is a limit to affronts and indignities your once loyal allies can suffer. Poland was in love with US after 1990 but, thanks to lying to our government and people it represents US is a laughing stock.”

      Iraq and Afghanistan of course not. Japan and Germany are allies. Doesn’t mean they love us at all. They are allied to us. As for Poland, YES I AGREE THERE, our current president really sold your country out it seems, something many of the neoconservatives and the right-wing of the country were very upset about.

      “Hell, a lot of people claim that at least Soviets did not force us to fight their wars for them and generally treated us better as allies (at least after Stalin’s death, it was hell before).
      Way to go, from being viewed as a grand protector of democracy to having morality comparable to Soviet military.”

      The U.S. military is absolutely nothing comparable to either the old Soviet military in terms of its morals. And BTW, our current president will eventually be out of office, even if he is re-elected. He is a pretty center-left guy who seems to like to go out of his way to be friendly to dictators while sticking it to America’s allies.

  8. Kyle, let’s put history and its interpretations aside for a moment and have a look at the here and now. I mean what is going on here on this very blog. What do you make of the fact that several educated people, most of whom come from the countries which are the US allies, and many of whom come from the countries which, historically, had various problems with Russia (in all its reincarnations) and/or communists (and have the first-hand knowledge of what communist government style is) find US claims of moral superiority at best laughable and at worst deeply disturbing? Do you consider it some sort of a PR blunder, which can be fixed by more ingenious propaganda? Are we all victims of Russian/Taliban/North Korean/[add your favorite] propaganda? What do you make of it?

    • Most of the arguments finding U.S. claims of moral superiority laughable do not hold much water from what I have seen, and seem to be due to a lack of understanding and very over-simplified view of just what went on during the Cold War.

      • A claim of “moral superiority” doesn’t hold up, even when it comes to people in the United States. Example: the “moral mistake” that was the Tonkin Gulf Resolution was almost exactly repeated, word for word, by Obama in his speech about Libya. In addition: if the United States is so moral, why is it we completely ignore places like Darfur in favor of places like Libya? (The answer is control of resources, by the way. It has absolutely nothing to do with morality.)

        The United States only does what suits its best interests. It always has and always will. But the only way to make the people support foreign policy is to say that “these people need help, so we must send people to help them.”

      • The tragedy is how many people in the US buy into this propaganda. I have no idea how anybody can be so brainwashed that even today – in 2012! – they think that Iraq was invaded to help the Iraqis.

  9. “You make it sound as if I am for the wholesale slaughter of people just for the fun of it or something.”

    – Slaughter of people is horrible for any reason.

    SHAME ON YOU.

    • YES, it is, I agree wholeheartedly. But you know the world doesn’t work between the choice of “slaughter versus no slaughter.” Instead, oftentimes the choices are two oppressors, and just trying to choose the one that is less-evil then the other. Yes it’s terrible, but that is the world we live in.

      • You mean it’s like choosing between between Stalin and Hitler ? World would be better without such “choices”.
        Oh, and our president is right wing. A devout Catholic etc.
        As for your claim that Germany and Japan are your allies- the situation is somewhat comparable to when US forced Unequal Treaties on Japan… US still relies on gunboat diplomacy.
        By the way- ever wonder why the world still buys your obligations and dollars ?
        It has a lot to do with your military. Let’s see what the new international currency will be when you won’t be the strongest kid in the playground.

      • The U.S. is required by treaty to protect Japan. Part of Germany’s defense policy also involves relying on the U.S. for protection. The dollar is not the reserve currency because of fear of the U.S. military, it is because the U.S. is the largest and strongest economy. What would replace the dollar is if another economy surpasses the U.S.

  10. Pingback: Sunday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion « Clarissa's Blog

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