FRIHOSTFORUMSSEARCHFAQTOSBLOGSCOMPETITIONS
You are invited to Log in or Register a free Frihost Account!


Stop it!





OldReliable
Stop making fun of Obama. He is not muslim and is not stupid. Why not make fun of Mcain of being an old duffer? Its just sad.
ocalhoun
You know, that really would be more appropriate as a reply to someone who actually did make fun of Obama. Most of us don't and anyone who does make fun of either candidate (or anyone for that matter) in such petty ways deserves to be ignored, or at most rebuked.
handfleisch
Lots of dummies are taking potshots at Obama. To the wingnuts he is all at once a terrorist, an elitist, a Muslim, a Christian fanatic, an "oreo", a black radical.

Meanwhile McCain is constantly having "senior moments" and getting away with it because the mainstream media's default setting on McCain is stuck on "don't criticize".
ocalhoun
^And the media is who is making pot shots at Obama? Oh well, it might make up for the fact that they give him far more media coverage.
myleshi
Quote:
Lots of dummies are taking potshots at Obama. To the wingnuts he is all at once a terrorist, an elitist, a Muslim, a Christian fanatic, an "oreo", a black radical.


That's not what I see. The media is afraid of saying anything that might be construed as offensive about B. Hussein Obama.
liljp617
Why make fun of any candidate? People making fun of McCain would be no different than people making fun of Obama. You can't come out and say "don't poke fun at Obama" and then follow that by saying "poke fun at McCain." It's illogical and hypocritical.

It is quite funny however that within 5 replies, someone emphasizes upon Obama's name as if it means a damn thing. Perhaps do some research into the meanings of the words in his name...I'll give you a hint, none of them have anything to do with terrorists or murdering dictators. They have pretty simple translations.

myleshi wrote:
Quote:
Lots of dummies are taking potshots at Obama. To the wingnuts he is all at once a terrorist, an elitist, a Muslim, a Christian fanatic, an "oreo", a black radical.


That's not what I see. The media is afraid of saying anything that might be construed as offensive about B. Hussein Obama.

Nobody is afraid. The vast majority of mainstream media is liberal based and run by liberal editors. They're not afraid, they're going by their agenda. And it doesn't help when the only real mainstream conservative news station comes out and says Obama is doing, quote, "terrorist fist bumps."
myleshi
lilpj617 wrote:
Nobody is afraid. The vast majority of mainstream media is liberal based and run by liberal editors. They're not afraid, they're going by their agenda. And it doesn't help when the only real mainstream conservative news station comes out and says Obama is doing, quote, "terrorist fist bumps."


I agree, what really started that blathers was Michelle O. doing the fist bump with the girls from the TV show "The View". That's when the Muslim power fist bump thing got going.

And about his name; it's his damn name! Why the hell is everyone afraid to use or say it? Afraid it might dissuade some people from liking 'ol Obama? He has a Muslim sounding name, that's a fact.

The question is, will that be the deciding factor for most people to vote for him? I don't think so. I read somewhere in an article that it is estimated that 90% of the blacks in the US will vote for him because he's black and that 15% of the whites will NOT vote for him because he's black.

I think if the Jerry Wright commercial about "God Damn America" came out before Iowa, Obama would not even be an issue now, but...
mehola
who cares that he is a muslim???

i am a jew and i don't care from that,
so why the other people need care?
liljp617
mehola wrote:
who cares that he is a muslim???

i am a jew and i don't care from that,
so why the other people need care?

The point is that he ISN'T MUSLIM! He has never been Muslim. He grew up in a non-religious home, attended a school of both Muslims and Christians, was non-religious for quite some time, and is now Christian (Baptist I believe).
liljp617
myleshi wrote:
I agree, what really started that blathers was Michelle O. doing the fist bump with the girls from the TV show "The View". That's when the Muslim power fist bump thing got going.

People have been doing that for decades in sports...there's not really any excuse for that anchor to have said something like that solely to get a rise out of people and spread propaganda.

Quote:
And about his name; it's his damn name! Why the hell is everyone afraid to use or say it? Afraid it might dissuade some people from liking 'ol Obama? He has a Muslim sounding name, that's a fact.

Not afraid, annoyed by emphasis placed on it as if it means a thing beyond its Kenyan/Middle Eastern translation. Use it all you want, but it came across like you were placing emphasis on as a reason not to support him.

Quote:
The question is, will that be the deciding factor for most people to vote for him? I don't think so. I read somewhere in an article that it is estimated that 90% of the blacks in the US will vote for him because he's black and that 15% of the whites will NOT vote for him because he's black.

No it won't be the deciding factor. Luckily we have some remotely intelligent voters in some places.

Quote:
I think if the Jerry Wright commercial about "God Damn America" came out before Iowa, Obama would not even be an issue now, but...

The same could be said about John Hagee and Jerry Falwell (among others) with McCain....who, I would have to say, have said things much more terrible than Wright was blabbering on about. But FoxNews didn't spend three months trying to dismantle McCain's campaign by using random sound/video clips of these people saying the idiotic crap they spew.
handfleisch
The "liberal media" thing is a joke. A joke on you if you believe it. The mainstream media overwhelmingly supports and represents the spectrum of status quo to right wing.

Compared to the microscopic search for anything negative about Obama ("terrorist fist jab"), McCain is getting quite a free ride. His ignorance, mistakes and "senior moments" should be more of an issue. McCain's Problem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEtZlR3zp4c
Moonspider
handfleisch wrote:
The "liberal media" thing is a joke. A joke on you if you believe it. The mainstream media overwhelmingly supports and represents the spectrum of status quo to right wing.


Then why did ABC, CBS, and NBC send their anchors overseas to cover Obama's trip but not any of McCain's overseas trips since becoming the presumptive nominee? Why did an editor at The New York Times choose to publish Obama's op-ed but not McCain's unless it, among other things, "mirrored Obama's piece."

Compare Tony Snow's obituary in the Associated Press with their obituary of Tim Russert. I won't even disuss the L.A. Times' despicable treatment of Tony Snow.

All news sources are biased, because all people are biased. And I think we all tend to see only the bias that is against our point of view. But I am honestly hard-pressed to think mainstream media outlets tend to have a more conservative bias than liberal. What you pointed out as not being covered regarding McCain are missteps.

Everyone makes mistakes when speaking in public several times a day, especially with relentless schedules, time demands, and large amounts of responsibility. Just imagine how often you'd get caught saying something by accident if you had constant media coverage on your public life. Heck, even Dan Rather accidentally called Obama Osama bin Laden the other day on live television. I don't think Rather had a "senior moment," nor do I think he really has problems telling the two apart. It was just a mistake and no one's going to make a big deal out of it, because it's not a big deal.

Respectfully,
M
LumberJack
Honestly, since Obama voted for the FISA amendments, I have serious reservations about him becoming president. Absolutely disgusting in my opinion, especially when he was previously against it. He settled for an imperfect bill that is better than just extending the Patriot Act, or some explanation like that.
Bikerman
Moonspider wrote:
All news sources are biased, because all people are biased. And I think we all tend to see only the bias that is against our point of view. But I am honestly hard-pressed to think mainstream media outlets tend to have a more conservative bias than liberal. What you pointed out as not being covered regarding McCain are missteps.
Where would you put Fox on the liberal-conservative continuum? To be honest the terms are confusing to us Europeans - Liberal over here often means half-way between Capitalist and Socialist..

I also don't think the definitions are particularly useful. If the situation is anything like it is here in the UK you will normally find that the Government in power complains about the media misrepresenting them, and the opposition complains that the media don't give them fair coverage (no matter which way around the parties are).
The media is capitalist. Whether that is liberal capitalism or conservative capitalism depends largely on who is placing the adverts (and, therefore, who the target audience is). The media is largely an advert delivery system (be it newspapers, TV or most radio), and it will deliver programmes or articles to suit its target demographic.
handfleisch
Bikerman wrote:
Moonspider wrote:
All news sources are biased, because all people are biased. And I think we all tend to see only the bias that is against our point of view. But I am honestly hard-pressed to think mainstream media outlets tend to have a more conservative bias than liberal. What you pointed out as not being covered regarding McCain are missteps.
Where would you put Fox on the liberal-conservative continuum? To be honest the terms are confusing to us Europeans - Liberal over here often means half-way between Capitalist and Socialist..

I also don't think the definitions are particularly useful. If the situation is anything like it is here in the UK you will normally find that the Government in power complains about the media misrepresenting them, and the opposition complains that the media don't give them fair coverage (no matter which way around the parties are).
The media is capitalist. Whether that is liberal capitalism or conservative capitalism depends largely on who is placing the adverts (and, therefore, who the target audience is). The media is largely an advert delivery system (be it newspapers, TV or most radio), and it will deliver programmes or articles to suit its target demographic.


Yes translating the left-right spectrum into European terms is difficult both in terms of language and relative position. In the USA "right wing" or "left wing" means to be pretty extreme, while in Europe in just means on that side of the center. Also a British friend told me that US politics are so much more conservative than British politics that the Democrats here (considered "liberal") would be called conservatives there (based on Democratic policies, which are pretty status quo) and the US Republican party would be considered extreme right wing in Britain, right of "conservative", closer to (but not quite) fascist.
ocalhoun
Bikerman wrote:
Liberal over here often means half-way between Capitalist and Socialist...


It often means about the same thing here... Wink
Moonspider
Bikerman wrote:
Moonspider wrote:
All news sources are biased, because all people are biased. And I think we all tend to see only the bias that is against our point of view. But I am honestly hard-pressed to think mainstream media outlets tend to have a more conservative bias than liberal. What you pointed out as not being covered regarding McCain are missteps.
Where would you put Fox on the liberal-conservative continuum? To be honest the terms are confusing to us Europeans - Liberal over here often means half-way between Capitalist and Socialist..


I'd place Fox on the conservative side of the continuum. Most of the anchors seem to (although that's subjective) favor conservative views, and they certainly have their share of conservative talk show hosts (Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, and formerly Tony Snow).

Bikerman wrote:
I also don't think the definitions are particularly useful. If the situation is anything like it is here in the UK you will normally find that the Government in power complains about the media misrepresenting them, and the opposition complains that the media don't give them fair coverage (no matter which way around the parties are).
The media is capitalist. Whether that is liberal capitalism or conservative capitalism depends largely on who is placing the adverts (and, therefore, who the target audience is). The media is largely an advert delivery system (be it newspapers, TV or most radio), and it will deliver programmes or articles to suit its target demographic.


I'll agree with that to a degree. People's beliefs also play a role, I think, particularly those with the power and money in a media company. In my opinion, few people with power and money will sell out their own beliefs just to gain more advertising dollars. Humans for the most part are too self-centered, self-righteous and proud to do that. And many of those that aren't self-centered and proud just know in their heart that their point of view is correct and anyone who disagrees is simply wrong. Wink



handfleisch wrote:
Yes translating the left-right spectrum into European terms is difficult both in terms of language and relative position. In the USA "right wing" or "left wing" means to be pretty extreme, while in Europe in just means on that side of the center. Also a British friend told me that US politics are so much more conservative than British politics that the Democrats here (considered "liberal") would be called conservatives there (based on Democratic policies, which are pretty status quo) and the US Republican party would be considered extreme right wing in Britain, right of "conservative", closer to (but not quite) fascist.


fas-cism, noun wrote:
a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.
Source: "fascism." Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 23 Jul. 2008. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fascism>.


Either you don't understand anything about the Grand Old Party or you don't know the definition of "fascism." I'm not a registered Republican, but I find the very idea of comparing Republicans to fascists in even the remotest of terms deeply insulting.

Respectfully,
M
Bikerman
Moonspider wrote:
I'll agree with that to a degree. People's beliefs also play a role, I think, particularly those with the power and money in a media company. In my opinion, few people with power and money will sell out their own beliefs just to gain more advertising dollars. Humans for the most part are too self-centered, self-righteous and proud to do that. And many of those that aren't self-centered and proud just know in their heart that their point of view is correct and anyone who disagrees is simply wrong. Wink
I'm not sure I agree with you. In my experience people with power and money use whatever methods they can to maintain and increase both. Take Rupert Murdoch as an example. Here in the UK he owns The Times (high end broadsheet), The Sun and the News of the World (low-end tabloids). The only consistent editorial line taken is on issues which affect Murdoch's potential wealth and power (particularly opposition to the European Union and support for China). On issues of principle and morality it would be hard to find a consistent line between the 3 papers.
Also consider his political stances. His publications are normally regarded as conservative. He was, for example, a great supporter of Maggie Thatcher and the Tory party. In the 1990s however, he switched to support of Blair (in all his papers, as well as personally).
The same thing can be seen in the US - he would probably be regarded as solid Republican (he setup Fox News, for example), but he has recently endorsed Obama (in the New York Post and in personal interviews) and last May he hosted a fundraiser for H. Clinton's Presidential campaign (after opposing her run for the Senate in 2000).
Pure pragmatism in action.
handfleisch
Moonspider wrote:


Either you don't understand anything about the Grand Old Party or you don't know the definition of "fascism." I'm not a registered Republican, but I find the very idea of comparing Republicans to fascists in even the remotest of terms deeply insulting.

Respectfully,
M


Please reread. "Closer to but not quite" is what I said.

Chances are you have a quaint view of the GOP as "conservative" with a small "c". If you take a look at their actions the last 20+ years you would see the party has abandoned "conservatism" (no deficit spending, protect-the-borders, protection of individual rights over gov't power) and gone into something to the right of that. You can pick your own term; what I meant (and said) was that on the British political spectrum, they are Far Right.

I use the word "quaint" advisedly; that is what a recent GOP attorney general called the Geneva Conventions, which ones once a commonly accepted (conservative) universal standard of minimal human rights protection. Sorry if you find this insulting but you might want to take it less personally and more studiously.
Moonspider
handfleisch wrote:
Moonspider wrote:
Either you don't understand anything about the Grand Old Party or you don't know the definition of "fascism." I'm not a registered Republican, but I find the very idea of comparing Republicans to fascists in even the remotest of terms deeply insulting.

Respectfully,
M


Please reread. "Closer to but not quite" is what I said.


Yes, I know. Which is why I replied, “…comparing Republicans to fascists in even the remotest of terms…” (emphasis added). How can you even begin to believe that Republicans are any where “close” to fascists? Is there anything in the party’s platform or behavior since Lincoln that comes “close” to the definition of “fascism?” Other than Lincoln’s behavior when in office, I cannot think of any.

handfleisch wrote:
Chances are you have a quaint view of the GOP as "conservative" with a small "c". If you take a look at their actions the last 20+ years you would see the party has abandoned "conservatism" (no deficit spending, protect-the-borders, protection of individual rights over gov't power)


I agree that not all Republicans in office are as fiscally conservative as others. But on the whole, as a philosophical belief in government’s role, the party is fiscally conservative (lower taxes, fewer government programs, less spending). If I were to do an analysis of the last two decades (G.H.W. Bush, Clinton, and G.W. Bush) I’d have to break it out in order to compare apples to apples. One couldn’t include war expenditures in the argument, for example. I’d be interested to see how it falls out.

And I agree on the border protection issue. For whatever reason no political party has the will to deal with it.

I disagree on protection of individual rights wholeheartedly. “Liberals” tend to be more likely to infringe on individual rights. It’s simply a function of their paradigm regarding the role of government. They believe in a larger, more invasive role. This by its nature infringes upon individual rights. Higher taxes infringe upon my right to do with my money as I please. Social security forces me to buy into a government retirement plan instead of allowing me the freedom to use that money on my own retirement plan or blow it in Las Vegas. Gun control. Environmental regulations. Social health care. Etc. Such plans, whether I agree with them or not, by their nature limit the liberty with which one is able to live. I’ve seen little to nothing from the Republican party that limits my freedom. Privacy yes, of course I see that. But freedom and liberty, no. I have no fewer liberties today than I had in 1991. (Except for the fact that I live in California now rather than Tennessee. Wink So in that regard I have many fewer freedoms and liberties! But I have more social programs available to me.)

handfleisch wrote:
You can pick your own term; what I meant (and said) was that on the British political spectrum, they are Far Right.


And I am not disputing that. I know nothing of British political terms and will take your word as gospel.

handfleisch wrote:
I use the word "quaint" advisedly; that is what a recent GOP attorney general called the Geneva Conventions, which ones once a commonly accepted (conservative) universal standard of minimal human rights protection.


This would be the topic of another discussion which I would be more than glad to engage in since it is something in which I have a little knowledge.

I assume that you are referring to one of Gonzales’ memos to President Bush shortly after the invasion of Afghanistan and the beginning of the “Global War on Terror.” I don’t know your background, so forgive me if I offend, but I believe few people appreciate the legal complexities associated with this war.

First of all, the Geneva Conventions have nothing to do with “universal standard of minimal human rights protection” as you put it. They govern the conduct of war. Plain and simple.

Since certain people against whom we are fighting (like Al-Qaeda) are not nation-states, the Geneva Conventions arguably have no application. Furthermore, they typically operate from or hide in civilian areas and purposefully attack civilians (forbidden by the Geneva Conventions). They do not wear uniforms or distinguishing markings as combatants (forbidden by the Geneva Conventions). The Taliban, though the government of Afghanistan, a party to the Geneva Conventions, also operated outside of the rules of war. Therefore, they are arguably not entitled to POW status.

And if you read the conventions (I have electronic as well as hard copies), there are quite a few “quaint” things in there. For example, my military I.D. card has the Roman numeral “IV” printed on it as my Geneva Conventions Category. This means that I am entitled to receive a payment of sixty Swiss francs a month from the detaining power while a POW. I think that quaint, and if ever captured by Al-Qaeda or some other such entity, I don’t expect to receive it.

I don’t think Gonzalez was calling the conventions as a whole “quaint.” Designating someone a POW carries with it a lot of legal ramifications, not to mention the fact that it would legitimize members of terrorist organizations by bestowing upon them the honor of being legal soldiers. And if one grants POW status to a suspected terrorist member, the questioning of that person is suddenly restricted far beyond what an NYPD detective does on a daily basis with suspects.

No where do I think Gonzalez recommended treating prisoners inhumanely.

This war is legally confusing. Some terrorist organizations are large enough that they must be dealt with by military force, yet they are not militaries, signatories to the Geneva Conventions, nor do they operate within even the spirit, let alone the letter, of the Conventions. Their acts are criminal, but they operate in a world outside of normal law enforcement action. The same is even true of some governments, like the Taliban.

It is a new realm of warfare, Fourth Generation Warfare in possibly its highest form since Mao Tse Tung first conceived it. The Geneva Conventions were written based upon the warfare philosophies prior. Forcing legal documents based upon the legal histories, traditions, and nation-state decorum of First, Second, and Third Generation wars upon Fourth Generation Warfare is like putting the proverbial square peg in a round hole. It doesn’t work.

handfleisch wrote:
Sorry if you find this insulting but you might want to take it less personally and more studiously.


Not at all, and if you spar with me enough here (or read some of my other posts) you’ll find that I am incredibly studious. Smile

Respectfully,
M
Bikerman
Not to interrupt this exchange for too long, but I can't let the following pass without challenge Moonspider;
Quote:
This war is legally confusing. Some terrorist organizations are large enough that they must be dealt with by military force, yet they are not militaries, signatories to the Geneva Conventions, nor do they operate within even the spirit, let alone the letter, of the Conventions. Their acts are criminal, but they operate in a world outside of normal law enforcement action. The same is even true of some governments, like the Taliban.
That just won't do. The 'large numbers' we are dealing with are in countries which have been invaded and this is nothing new. I do not accept that the word terrorist applies in such cases - neither does most of the world's media. The word more correctly used is 'insurgent'. As an American you must surely know the difference (Fort Sumter?) Smile
The idea that some governments (like the Taliban) are criminal is, again, nothing new - 'twas ever thus.

I am not saying that the US does not face numbers of organised terrorists - it does. To classify this as something new and legally confusing, is, in my opinion, both wrong and dangerous. The UK has faced large numbers of ingurgents (China, India, Africa) and terrorists (IRA) for centuries - other countries have also faced similar challenges. Now I am not, of course, suggesting that the US adopt the same policy that Britian frequently did on these occasions (ie set an example to the blighters by killing them) but the notion that this is new is wrong - it's simply new to the US, since it has historically been isolated enough to be protected. Now that the US is the 'big bad wolf' it is inevitable that it should face the problems that previous 'top dogs' have faced. The attempt to define this as a 'new' problem is disingenuous and designed to cover repressive measures (in the US and abroad).

Terrorists are civilian criminals and should be dealt with via civilian criminal law. Insurgents are (often) combatants and should be dealt with under military codes (including Geneva).

I know you well enough to be fairly sure you are familiar with the GCs (or honest enough to check them out if unsure). I would draw your attention to the 4th GC - particularly the commentary:
Quote:
Every person in enemy hands must have some status under international law: he is either a prisoner of war and, as such, covered by the Third Convention, a civilian covered by the Fourth Convention, or again, a member of the medical personnel of the armed forces who is covered by the First Convention. There is no intermediate status; nobody in enemy hands can be outside the law. We feel that this is a satisfactory solution – not only satisfying to the mind, but also, and above all, satisfactory from the humanitarian point of view."
Jean Pictet - commentary to the 4th Geneva Convention
Also, the ICRC commentary on the GCs:
Quote:
"If civilians directly engage in hostilities, they are considered "unlawful" or "unprivileged" combatants or belligerents (the treaties of humanitarian law do not expressly contain these terms). They may be prosecuted under the domestic law of the detaining state for such action. Both lawful and unlawful combatants may be interned in wartime, may be interrogated and may be prosecuted for war crimes. Both are entitled to humane treatment in the hands of the enemy."
International Committee of the Red Cross
I ask you, honestly, to say whether you think this has been respected in the case of Guantanamo? The correct action would have been to prosecute these people under US law on the US mainland. The US has deliberately attempted to muddy the waters in order to avoid such an outcome.

PS - I don't understand why it is relevant that the 'opposition' do not, or might not, abide by the GCs. Surely the signatories are bound by the conventions, regardless of the status of the 'enemy'?
handfleisch
Moonspider wrote:

Yes, I know. Which is why I replied, “…comparing Republicans to fascists in even the remotest of terms…” (emphasis added). How can you even begin to believe that Republicans are any where “close” to fascists? Is there anything in the party’s platform or behavior since Lincoln that comes “close” to the definition of “fascism?” Other than Lincoln’s behavior when in office, I cannot think of any.


Don't look at the platform, look at their policies and actions, as I have mentioned.

Moonspider wrote:
I agree that not all Republicans in office are as fiscally conservative as others. But on the whole, as a philosophical belief in government’s role, the party is fiscally conservative (lower taxes, fewer government programs, less spending). If I were to do an analysis of the last two decades (G.H.W. Bush, Clinton, and G.W. Bush) I’d have to break it out in order to compare apples to apples. One couldn’t include war expenditures in the argument, for example.


WHOA. Not counting war expenditures? Why not? Fiscal conservative is fiscal conservative, and especially with the elective wars of the Bushes and Reagans, war spending sure does count.

I am surprised you don't know that Clinton balanced the budget that had been warped by the spendthrift spending of Reagan and Bush Sr. and now has been agan by Bush jr. Clinton was hands-down more of a fiscal conservative than any president since maybe Ford I believe, in other words, back in the days when Republicans were conservatives and not Neocons.

Moonspider wrote:

I disagree on protection of individual rights wholeheartedly. “Liberals” tend to be more likely to infringe on individual rights. It’s simply a function of their paradigm regarding the role of government. They believe in a larger, more invasive role. This by its nature infringes upon individual rights. Higher taxes infringe upon my right to do with my money as I please. Social security forces me to buy into a government retirement plan instead of allowing me the freedom to use that money on my own retirement plan or blow it in Las Vegas. Gun control. Environmental regulations. Social health care. Etc. Such plans, whether I agree with them or not, by their nature limit the liberty with which one is able to live. I’ve seen little to nothing from the Republican party that limits my freedom. Privacy yes, of course I see that. But freedom and liberty, no. I have no fewer liberties today than I had in 1991. (Except for the fact that I live in California now rather than Tennessee. Wink So in that regard I have many fewer freedoms and liberties! But I have more social programs available to me.)



Here you range far afield. We were initially discussing how the Republican party falls on a more international spectrum. To just start in with the statement " “Liberals” tend to be more likely to infringe on individual rights. It’s simply a function of their paradigm regarding the role of government. They believe in a larger, more invasive role" is both a change a subject and a glaring absurdity in the age when Republican (neo)conservatives are implementing all sorts of invasive procedures and enlargements of government (Homeland Security etc) and when the forces trying to work against such things as increased domestic surveillance are "liberals".

About the liberty thing, it seems you mainly define it as lower taxes. I don't. I think that's a mean and petty, not to mention archaic, way to define freedom I don't know if you were kidding when you say "I have many fewer freedoms and liberties! But I have more social programs available to me", forgive me if I am somewhat humorless online. I don't feel less free because my taxes are 30% and not 25%; I do feel a lot more free if I live in a society that ensures there is urban public transit and health care available to all its citizens, and gladly pay the extra tax for that. Ironically we wouldn't need any tax increase to implement the help that the US needs, we would just need the 3 trillion dollars the Iraq War is costing.

Moonspider wrote:
Environmental regulations. Social health care. Etc. Such plans, whether I agree with them or not, by their nature limit the liberty with which one is able to live.
This is the part where you are the most wrong, I think. Environmental regulations don't limit my liberty one bit, in fact they give me more liberty to live in a clean place, to breathe unpolluted air. National Health Care doesn't limit anyone's liberty, and it rids the society of a lot of poverty and misery and desperation, and so gives me more freedom to live in an atmosphere with a minimum of well being. Health Care and with it subsidized education also give families more money to spend (instead of on exorbitant doctor bills) and so more societal liberty even by your definition.

I will let Bikerman take up the slack on the GC thing; suffice to say I summarized its rules of treatments of prisoners of war as a sort of internationally accepted conservative minimum protection of human rights, which was publicly dismissed by this Republican administration.
handfleisch
In replying to points I omitted the overriding issue, which is whether "close to but not quite fascism" can fairly be applied to the Republican party. Despite the lack of a supreme leader (it settles on revolving leaders, often from the same family!), this administration, in being nearly indivisible from the military industry (which overlaps with the retired military figures themselves) that gets the lion's share of taxpayer money for the wars the administration has elected to start, in constantly using fear of an outside threat to bolster itself, in implementing routine surveillance of citizens not suspected of any crime, in routinely flaunting the rules of habeas corpus that are a fundamental of democracy, in these ways and more has a lot in common with traditional definitions of far right governments that border on fascism.
jessic007
Making fun of Obama is a disgrace to everyone who lives in the U.S. If you cannot support your president you cannot support your country.
liljp617
jessic007 wrote:
Making fun of Obama is a disgrace to everyone who lives in the U.S. If you cannot support your president you cannot support your country.

So people should back someone and every action they take/support just because they have a prestigious label? I disagree. The President is no more special (in technicality) than any other citizen of the country. There's a reason the President is labeled the Chief Citizen. He/She is subject to the same criticisms and laws every other citizen is. This is of course speaking in the terms laid out long ago...we all know these ideas, which are very clearly stated in the founding documents of the country, are ignored these days.

Again, I must pull out the: "A true patriot is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins." -- Frederick Douglas

Obviously the context is important there, but the thought still applies when left on its own. Mindless backing of a person just because they have a high office is hardly supporting your country. One should speak out against their government/higher powers if they feel they or others have been wronged by their government's actions.


On an obvious side note, Obama isn't the President =/
Bikerman
jessic007 wrote:
Making fun of Obama is a disgrace to everyone who lives in the U.S. If you cannot support your president you cannot support your country.
Wow. I hope that you can consider this statement and realise the dangers inherent in the sentiment expressed. Really!
ocalhoun
jessic007 wrote:
Making fun of Obama is a disgrace to everyone who lives in the U.S. If you cannot support your president you cannot support your country.


Er, last time I checked, Bush was my president, not Obama...

And who supports him these days?

Are the majority of people in the country unable to support their country because they don't support the president?
phpc0d3r
Take it with a grain of salt. You have to understand that he's a public figure now, he's open to these kinds of attacks. It's easy to poke at the big guys when you're not one of them. You just have to be mature enough to move on.
spinout
The odds of Obama becoming the next president is high! That is when the pies come flyin!
Obama might not be a muslim - BUT all polititians must be stupid! BEcause if they know in case they are wrong they must keep the program and countinue to be DUMB!
wmmullaney
http://www.frihost.com/forums/vt-95451.html

Please read my post on this page.

Oh, and now were calling McCain an OLD DUFF?????

If you want to talk that way than Obama is an ignorant, He has NO political experience.

He has changed every policy he has made when it 'Pleases' the people.

He will not debate McCain, he is a coward.
Moonspider
Sorry for the long delay, between work and performing in a musical which opened last weekend, I've had very little time to myself! But this week offered a lighter rehearsal schedule which allowed me to indulge in some personal time. Smile

Bikerman wrote:
Not to interrupt this exchange for too long, but I can't let the following pass without challenge Moonspider;
Quote:
This war is legally confusing. Some terrorist organizations are large enough that they must be dealt with by military force, yet they are not militaries, signatories to the Geneva Conventions, nor do they operate within even the spirit, let alone the letter, of the Conventions. Their acts are criminal, but they operate in a world outside of normal law enforcement action. The same is even true of some governments, like the Taliban.
That just won't do. The 'large numbers' we are dealing with are in countries which have been invaded and this is nothing new. I do not accept that the word terrorist applies in such cases - neither does most of the world's media. The word more correctly used is 'insurgent'. As an American you must surely know the difference (Fort Sumter?) Smile


I’m a Southerner, so we don’t call those folks who attacked Fort Sumter “insurgents” or “rebels.” They were not rebelling against their respective governments. They committed an act that they thought legal (secession). Thus that was not a civil war, but a war between independent states. Wink (I speak in half-jest, my father’s family fought for the Union and my mother’s for the Confederacy, even though both resided and continue to reside in the same West Tennessee county. My Indian ancestors, with whom both sides of my family intermarried during the latter 19th Century, didn’t care too much, I don’t think.)

More to the point, the CSA fought the USA using a standing army and navy, uniformed services. They did not attempt to defeat the United States and secure their independence using squads of suicide bombers and/or bomb laden vehicles targeting civilians in Washington D.C. and New York City to demoralize U.S. citizens and convince them to negotiate a peace settlement. The first would meet the requirements of the Geneva Conventions and met the traditional requirements of honorable warfare of the period. The latter would not and does not.

I wouldn’t classify Al-Qaeda as insurgents. But I’ll concede others, like those in Iraq, may be classified as so. However they do use terrorist tactics and therefore, in my opinion, may be and should be classified as terrorists. To call them “insurgents” grants them a level of credibility akin to calling a child-porn film director an artist.

Bikerman wrote:
The idea that some governments (like the Taliban) are criminal is, again, nothing new - 'twas ever thus.

I am not saying that the US does not face numbers of organised terrorists - it does. To classify this as something new and legally confusing, is, in my opinion, both wrong and dangerous. The UK has faced large numbers of ingurgents (China, India, Africa) and terrorists (IRA) for centuries - other countries have also faced similar challenges. Now I am not, of course, suggesting that the US adopt the same policy that Britian frequently did on these occasions (ie set an example to the blighters by killing them) but the notion that this is new is wrong - it's simply new to the US, since it has historically been isolated enough to be protected. Now that the US is the 'big bad wolf' it is inevitable that it should face the problems that previous 'top dogs' have faced. The attempt to define this as a 'new' problem is disingenuous and designed to cover repressive measures (in the US and abroad).


I’ll agree to some extent that it is nothing new. However, the Zulu never attempted to overthrow the crown by sending bomb-laden civilian ships to London harbor. And feel free to correct me if I am mistaken, but it was never the IRA’s intention to overthrow the British government, only to secure Northern Ireland’s independence and unify Ireland. The goal of Muslim extremists is to destroy the United States or at least cause it so much damage that it is removed from the world stage altogether: culturally, militarily, and economically. No? To this end they will use every terrorist tactic and weapon at their disposal. If they obtain a nuclear weapon, will they use it against a military target? Doubtful. Many of them believe that the United States stands in the way of Islam’s ultimate triumph in the world, and therefore it is allah’s will that the U.S. (and Israel) eventually be destroyed in favor of Islam, an almost apocalyptic vision.

Sure, the British Empire faced her share of insurgents and terrorists. But how many of them wanted England destroyed, London in ruins? How many had the hope of obtaining weapons capable of wiping out entire cities, dreamed or planned the murder of thousands or tens of thousands of British civilians on their own soil? And I stand by my statement that this is Fourth Generation warfare in its highest form. In that sense, it is very new, dating back at most to Mao, although one might see certain elements of it in previous wars.

Bikerman wrote:
Terrorists are civilian criminals and should be dealt with via civilian criminal law. Insurgents are (often) combatants and should be dealt with under military codes (including Geneva).


I agree entirely. But I honestly can’t tell what my government thinks they are. Although I usually applaud President Bush for his resolution in the face of opposition when he believes he is right, I believe he failed morally by choosing to classify these terrorists as something in between civilian criminals and soldiers who violated the Geneva Conventions.

Nonetheless, I understand the position in which the U.S. government finds itself. This is a war, and thus one would want to deal with enemy combatants in military courts, where rules are not as tight as U.S. civilian courts. (As an example, U.S. civilian law requires that a person be proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. This high standard does not exist in the UCMJ. One must only convince the jury that the preponderance of the evidence against the defendant would cause a reasonable person to believe he or she is guilty.)

However, because they are terrorists, the United States, at least since the Reagan Administration, does not bestow upon them the honorable title of “soldier.” So if you don’t want to prosecute them in civilian courts, but don’t consider them soldiers and therefore cannot prosecute them in traditional military courts, what other outlet is there?

Roosevelt set a precedent in World War II when he used secret military tribunals to prosecute German saboteurs captured on U.S. soil. As I recall all but one or two were executed by electrocution. (The other(s) cooperated with the FBI.)

However, I do believe that this precedent was superseded by the ratification of the Geneva Conventions after World War II.

I seem to have rambled, but in short I disagree with the Bush Administration on the point of prosecution. However I would not classify any of them, except maybe Taliban members, as POWs. If I were President this would place me in a position that would really tick me off, for I’d have no choice but to prosecute them in civilian courts. President Bush grasped at straws using Roosevelt as precedent to get an out. I couldn’t do that in good conscience, but thus far it’s worked for him

To be honest I’d be very tempted to classify them all as POWs, not because I think their entitled, but because I could charge them in military courts with Geneva Convention violations and have a better chance of getting death sentences than I would in civilian courts. Although this would turn my stomach to call terrorists POWs, the honor bestowed upon them with such a title would disappear with a dishonorable execution method. I must admit though, I’m not sure what Muslims would consider an honorable execution. (Sword?)

The difference between President Bush and me is not simply a legal one. I honestly believe that the Bush Administration’s primary concern is protecting U.S. citizens from another domestic attack. Thus gaining timely information from captured terrorists is a high priority, a priority that often causes a person or groups of people to twist the rules.

My priority would not be defensive, but offensive. I’d sacrifice domestic security in order to prosecute the war. That means that I’d act very cautiously and choose the highest road possible within my sense of justice when dealing with captured combatants, not simply because I think it right and in the best spirit of the GCs, but because that would be the best route to maintain support in foreign nations, support that I’d need to prosecute the war overseas. The U.S. possesses the best military in the world, but it’s neither omniscient nor omnipotent.

And to be honest, I firmly believe that treating war prisoners honorably gets more reliable information than harsh interrogation methods.

Bikerman wrote:
I know you well enough to be fairly sure you are familiar with the GCs (or honest enough to check them out if unsure). I would draw your attention to the 4th GC - particularly the commentary:
Quote:
Every person in enemy hands must have some status under international law: he is either a prisoner of war and, as such, covered by the Third Convention, a civilian covered by the Fourth Convention, or again, a member of the medical personnel of the armed forces who is covered by the First Convention. There is no intermediate status; nobody in enemy hands can be outside the law. We feel that this is a satisfactory solution – not only satisfying to the mind, but also, and above all, satisfactory from the humanitarian point of view."
Jean Pictet - commentary to the 4th Geneva Convention
Also, the ICRC commentary on the GCs:
Quote:
"If civilians directly engage in hostilities, they are considered "unlawful" or "unprivileged" combatants or belligerents (the treaties of humanitarian law do not expressly contain these terms). They may be prosecuted under the domestic law of the detaining state for such action. Both lawful and unlawful combatants may be interned in wartime, may be interrogated and may be prosecuted for war crimes. Both are entitled to humane treatment in the hands of the enemy."
International Committee of the Red Cross
I ask you, honestly, to say whether you think this has been respected in the case of Guantanamo? The correct action would have been to prosecute these people under US law on the US mainland. The US has deliberately attempted to muddy the waters in order to avoid such an outcome.


III Convention, Article 4 wrote:
A. Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy:
(2) Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions: (a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates; (b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance; (c) that of carrying arms openly; (d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.


I didn’t quote the whole article, but I see nothing that would classify Al-Qaeda operatives or even the insurgents we’ve encountered as POWs. Arguably Taliban members are, and I probably would have granted them such status, erring on the side of caution. However the U.S. position is that the Taliban do not qualify either because they did not and do not meet the requirements I quoted above. Based upon Article 4 I believe the United States has a legal argument not to classify even captured Taliban members as POWs.

I won’t go further since I spoke on the rest above, I think.

Bikerman wrote:
I PS - I don't understand why it is relevant that the 'opposition' do not, or might not, abide by the GCs. Surely the signatories are bound by the conventions, regardless of the status of the 'enemy'?


The conventions are not just about how captured personnel should be treated, it governs how wars are to be waged, the rules of the game, if you will. I know war isn’t a game of cricket, to paraphrase the character of Col. Saito in Bridge on the River Kwai, Wink but would it be right to give a baseball pitcher caught cheating in the World Series the Most Valuable Play award? A POW is a title earned by fighting honorably in accordance with the rules lain down in the GCs.

But I believe you’re correct otherwise, as I said above. If I don’t choose to classify a captured combatant a POW, I have no choice but try him in civilian courts. (As much as I detest the idea.)

Forgive me for speaking out of both sides of my mouth. Civil servants, even part-timers like me, tend to suffer a little from multiple personality disorder, defending their government’s position even when it disagrees with their own. Smile

Lord knows that if I worked for the State Department or directly for the administration, I’d have no choice but to publicly speak in favor of and defend U.S. policies, even if I disagree with them.


handfleisch wrote:
Moonspider wrote:

Yes, I know. Which is why I replied, “…comparing Republicans to fascists in even the remotest of terms…” (emphasis added). How can you even begin to believe that Republicans are any where “close” to fascists? Is there anything in the party’s platform or behavior since Lincoln that comes “close” to the definition of “fascism?” Other than Lincoln’s behavior when in office, I cannot think of any.


Don't look at the platform, look at their policies and actions, as I have mentioned.


Like I said, "platform or behavior." I still see nothing even remotely comparable to fascism, aside from my favorite president, Lincoln. Smile

handfleisch wrote:
Moonspider wrote:
I agree that not all Republicans in office are as fiscally conservative as others. But on the whole, as a philosophical belief in government’s role, the party is fiscally conservative (lower taxes, fewer government programs, less spending). If I were to do an analysis of the last two decades (G.H.W. Bush, Clinton, and G.W. Bush) I’d have to break it out in order to compare apples to apples. One couldn’t include war expenditures in the argument, for example.


WHOA. Not counting war expenditures? Why not? Fiscal conservative is fiscal conservative, and especially with the elective wars of the Bushes and Reagans, war spending sure does count.


Most of the expenditures during the Reagan administration were due to the Cold War. I don’t think he started that one. G.H.W. Bush did choose to invade Panama and depose General Noriega. I believe that was justified but would be the subject of another debate. And I doubt anyone could call Gulf War I a war started by George H. W. Bush. Likewise, I wouldn’t count the Kosovo War during the Clinton administration, or continue to count its expenditures today in the second Bush administration. And finally, the Afghan War started on 9/11. (Personally, during the Clinton administration I wanted Clinton to invade Afghanistan since Al Qaeda started the war at that time, with the attack on the World Trade Center, U.S. embassies in Africa, the Kobar Towers, and the attack on the USS Cole. I counted that a gross failure of the Clinton Administration, not prosecuting a war once a determined enemy started it. 9/11 was simply a battle in a war that started several years prior.

But not all defense expenditures are for the support of a war, so other defense programs would be debatable. The reason I would not count war spending is because one plays to win wars, not lose them. Thus war expenditures are in part dictated by the enemy, and certainly dictated by the operational tempo and progress of the war. One can’t simply say, “The war costs too much. Let’s quit,” unless one is willing to sacrifice the strategic objectives of the war. Sure a government can decide to do that, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless the war was literally driving the country to its own financial or civil ruin.

handfleisch wrote:
I am surprised you don't know that Clinton balanced the budget that had been warped by the spendthrift spending of Reagan and Bush Sr. and now has been agan by Bush jr. Clinton was hands-down more of a fiscal conservative than any president since maybe Ford I believe, in other words, back in the days when Republicans were conservatives and not Neocons.


There are many reasons the budget was balanced during the Clinton administration. I personally don’t think Clinton deserves a huge amount of credit, some but not a majority. He raised taxes dramatically, that helped a little. The Republican congress of the 1990s controlled spending slightly. That too had a small effect. A significant portion of the credit goes to the booming economy of the 1990s, dramatically increasing tax revenue. (The government did have a part in this by not hamstringing businesses and industry with a lot of regulations during this period.) And you may think me mad, but I believe Reagan, more than anyone else deserves a significant amount of the credit for the balanced budget of the Clinton administration. He helped bring a faster end to the Soviet Union, ending the Cold War with a NATO victory that delivered a very large peace dividend in the 1990s. And the economy which spawned all that revenue was a product of Reaganomics. The bullish economy began in about ‘82 or ‘83 as I recall and continued until the tech bubble burst. And speaking of which, the soaring tech market also contributed heavily to the economy, resulting tax revenue, and thus the ability to balance the federal budget. Clinton, like all presidents IMHO, inherited the U.S. economy under him during his service. He was no more responsible for it being good than FDR (or even Hoover) was responsible for the Great Depression.

handfleisch wrote:
Moonspider wrote:

I disagree on protection of individual rights wholeheartedly. “Liberals” tend to be more likely to infringe on individual rights. It’s simply a function of their paradigm regarding the role of government. They believe in a larger, more invasive role. This by its nature infringes upon individual rights. Higher taxes infringe upon my right to do with my money as I please. Social security forces me to buy into a government retirement plan instead of allowing me the freedom to use that money on my own retirement plan or blow it in Las Vegas. Gun control. Environmental regulations. Social health care. Etc. Such plans, whether I agree with them or not, by their nature limit the liberty with which one is able to live. I’ve seen little to nothing from the Republican party that limits my freedom. Privacy yes, of course I see that. But freedom and liberty, no. I have no fewer liberties today than I had in 1991. (Except for the fact that I live in California now rather than Tennessee. Wink So in that regard I have many fewer freedoms and liberties! But I have more social programs available to me.)


Here you range far afield.


I don’t think I did. You cited “protection of individual rights over gov’t power” as an example of how the GOP has abandoned conservatism. I disagree and therefore offered arguments against it.

handfleisch wrote:
We were initially discussing how the Republican party falls on a more international spectrum. To just start in with the statement " “Liberals” tend to be more likely to infringe on individual rights. It’s simply a function of their paradigm regarding the role of government. They believe in a larger, more invasive role" is both a change a subject and a glaring absurdity in the age when Republican (neo)conservatives are implementing all sorts of invasive procedures and enlargements of government (Homeland Security etc) and when the forces trying to work against such things as increased domestic surveillance are "liberals".


Do you not believe creating the Department of Homeland Security was necessary? Perhaps you would have preferred that president Bush simply shrugged after 9/11 fired a couple of tomahawks into Afghanistan, and left it at that. It was certainly an option. Lord knows it had been done before in this war.

I personally feel that our surveillance policies strike a good balance. They’re certainly less pervasive than that of the United Kingdom, for example. I’m personally glad the airline bombing plot foiled recently occurred in the UK. With our system I don’t think we’d have been able to catch it, let alone stop it.

handfleisch wrote:
About the liberty thing, it seems you mainly define it as lower taxes.


Not at all. I define it simply as what it means.

lib-er-ty:

  1. freedom from arbitrary or despotic government or control.
  2. freedom from external or foreign rule; independence
  3. freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice.


But yes, a “larger more invasive role” does include taxes. And as you can see, taxes are an infringement of liberty. I’m not saying they’re wrong, just calling it what it is.

handfleisch wrote:
I don’t. I think that's a mean and petty, not to mention archaic, way to define freedom I don't know if you were kidding when you say "I have many fewer freedoms and liberties! But I have more social programs available to me", forgive me if I am somewhat humorless online. I don't feel less free because my taxes are 30% and not 25%; I do feel a lot more free if I live in a society that ensures there is urban public transit and health care available to all its citizens, and gladly pay the extra tax for that. Ironically we wouldn't need any tax increase to implement the help that the US needs, we would just need the 3 trillion dollars the Iraq War is costing.


Okay. By definition as I see it, the freest society, the society in which people would enjoy more liberty than any other, is an absolutely lawless one. A person can do anything they wish without fear of prosecution or civil structure interference. Any evil, any good they are free to commit. Of course, people in this society would also bear the greatest responsibility, since they’d be responsible for their own survival, safety, shelter, food, health, etc.

Most laws restrict freedom of action and force obligations, the exception being laws that guarantee liberties.

How you feel is moot. You said, “I do feel a lot more free if I live in a society that ensures there is an urban public transit and health care available to all its citizens…” That’s fine and dandy, but you are describing a system set up to take a little liberty and freedom away for the greater good. You sacrificed your freedom to spend your earnings however you wish. Society sacrificed the freedom of private health care or private transportation providers to operate by setting up a government system to either supplant or at least compete with private market alternatives. No government benefit comes without a loss of some liberty to someone.

Let’s compare my example of moving from Tennessee to California. In Tennessee, I paid not a single penny to the state in the form of income taxes. Here in California I do. Thus, California forces a financial obligation upon me and restricts financial liberty. I don’t complain because I have a severely disabled daughter who benefits greatly from some of the social systems here that other states don’t have. (That was not my reason for moving, but a pleasant surprise.) The roads aren’t any better, so that bothers me. Wink In Tennessee I didn’t have to register every single hand gun I own. I do in California and there are greater restrictions on how I can use and transport them. There are also greater restrictions on what types of weapons may be purchased. California also forces me to have my cars’ emissions tested each year before I can renew my registrations. Tennessee did not. Once again, an obligation. I could mention others but I’ll leave it at that.

I’m not saying that any of those things in California is wrong, or that Tennessee is wrong in not having them. I’m simply pointing out that a larger governmental role, even if it makes you feel safer, better, happier, etc., means fewer freedoms and fewer liberties. If not for you directly, certainly for somebody else.

handfleisch wrote:
Moonspider wrote:
Environmental regulations. Social health care. Etc. Such plans, whether I agree with them or not, by their nature limit the liberty with which one is able to live.


This is the part where you are the most wrong, I think. Environmental regulations don't limit my liberty one bit, in fact they give me more liberty to live in a clean place, to breathe unpolluted air. National Health Care doesn't limit anyone's liberty, and it rids the society of a lot of poverty and misery and desperation, and so gives me more freedom to live in an atmosphere with a minimum of well being. Health Care and with it subsidized education also give families more money to spend (instead of on exorbitant doctor bills) and so more societal liberty even by your definition.


I spoke to most of this earlier, but let me simply reiterate that any law or regulation (excepting those that guarantee liberties) restricts the freedom and liberties of someone if not everyone, and/or it forces an obligation upon someone or everyone. I discussed universal health care earlier. Environmental regulations may force obligations upon companies or restrict their freedom of action in territory or facilities that they own. They may not limit yours unless you own a company, but my point is that it limited someone’s for what is hoped to be the greater good. I don’t consider living in a clean place a liberty. It’s a product (a good product) of restricting someone else’s liberty. As the Vulcan proverb goes, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.” However that is not the definition of liberty.

I'm sure the wolves in Franklin's quote in my signature would feel a lot more free if they could just eat lamb at their will. Wink

Respectfully,
M
Bikerman
Moonspider wrote:
I wouldn’t classify Al-Qaeda as insurgents. But I’ll concede others, like those in Iraq, may be classified as so. However they do use terrorist tactics and therefore, in my opinion, may be and should be classified as terrorists. To call them “insurgents” grants them a level of credibility akin to calling a child-porn film director an artist.
I agree that Al-Qaeda members are terrorists when not fighting in their homeland against an occupying force. All insurgents use terrorist tactics - how else are they to fight against an overwhelmingly superior force? There are many examples in history. Consider the French, Dutch, Norwegian, Greek Resistance to the Nazis. Israel uses terror tactics routinely so would you say that Israel, together with Hamas, is a terrorist organisation?
Quote:
I’ll agree to some extent that it is nothing new. However, the Zulu never attempted to overthrow the crown by sending bomb-laden civilian ships to London harbor. And feel free to correct me if I am mistaken, but it was never the IRA’s intention to overthrow the British government, only to secure Northern Ireland’s independence and unify Ireland.
OK, I'll correct that. Check the Brighton Bombing (1984) when the IRA targeted the Tory (gov) conference with the aim of killing Thatcher and as many government ministers as possible. The IRA specifically wanted Thatcher removed because of her hard line on NI.
Quote:
The goal of Muslim extremists is to destroy the United States or at least cause it so much damage that it is removed from the world stage altogether: culturally, militarily, and economically. No?
No - not according to Bin Laden, at least. He wants the removal of US (and other foreign) troops from Muslim lands - specifically SA, but also Iraq and Afghanistan.
Do we believe Bin Laden? I see no reason not to - he may be an evil religious zealot (and I certainly think he is) but I don't think he is a liar in this case. He fought with the US when it suited the same cause.
In this he is not so different to the IRA leadership in years past - they wanted British troops out of NI and were prepared to use terrorism to accomplish that goal.
Quote:
To this end they will use every terrorist tactic and weapon at their disposal. If they obtain a nuclear weapon, will they use it against a military target? Doubtful. Many of them believe that the United States stands in the way of Islam’s ultimate triumph in the world, and therefore it is allah’s will that the U.S. (and Israel) eventually be destroyed in favor of Islam, an almost apocalyptic vision.
It is difficult to generalise. Specific muslim groups have different aims. Some, no doubt, would like to see the US (and the UK) utterly destroyed. Many just want to get on with their lives without being invaded or used by foreign powers.
Quote:
Bikerman wrote:
Terrorists are civilian criminals and should be dealt with via civilian criminal law. Insurgents are (often) combatants and should be dealt with under military codes (including Geneva).

...And to be honest, I firmly believe that treating war prisoners honorably gets more reliable information than harsh interrogation methods.
I agree with your assessment and conclusions on this issue.
Moonspider
Bikerman wrote:
I agree that Al-Qaeda members are terrorists when not fighting in their homeland against an occupying force. All insurgents use terrorist tactics - how else are they to fight against an overwhelmingly superior force? There are many examples in history. Consider the French, Dutch, Norwegian, Greek Resistance to the Nazis.


Did these resistance groups attack German civilians in an effort to demoralize them into giving up their occupation? Tactics used against military targets, even suicide bombings, are legitimate in my opinion. I have no problem with IEDs in Iraq. That’s a legitimate tactic. I don’t even have a problem with someone driving a bomb-laden vehicle into a military convoy and blowing themselves up. Now, if they hijack a civilian vehicle with passengers onboard and fly it into a military target, I’d consider that a terrorist attack. Stealing a 747 with no passengers aboard and flying it into the Pentagon…I’d call that creative. Stealing one full of passengers and flying it into the Sears Tower…a terrorist act.

Insurgents, unless they are fighting in an organized military with uniforms should expect to be treated as criminals. If I was rebelling against the United States I’d expect no different treatment. If I was in the French resistance in World War II I would have assumed that, if captured, I’d probably be shot after interrogation.

But as long as the insurgents are engaging military targets, I do not consider them terrorists, no matter what tactics they use (unless they are forcing children to strap bombs to themselves to attack military targets, or something else of the like). The moment they make attacks upon civilians a part of their strategy, they become terrorists.

Some would counter that nations intentionally targeted civilians in World War II, was that terrorism? Emotionally and philosophically, yes. The objective was not only to kill the worker pool for war industries (if at all), but to try and demoralize the civilian populace and reduce the domestic support for the war. In the case of Hiroshima and Nagasaki it worked, bringing an end to the war without a military conquest. In the cases of Hamburg and Dresden it did not. However these were total wars, wars of national survival. Therefore I would not classify them as “terrorism” in the same context as an organization like Al Qaeda. Furthermore, they were carried out by uniformed, formal military organizations. War crimes? Debatable. But terrorism, no.

Bikerman wrote:
Israel uses terror tactics routinely so would you say that Israel, together with Hamas, is a terrorist organisation?


You would have to give me specific examples of Israeli action that you consider terrorism in order for me to adequately debate it. In general terms, any act you consider terrorism I’d probably classify at worst a war crime. In my opinion, a uniformed, professional military organization is incapable of committing terrorist attacks only because they don’t fit my definition of terrorists or a terrorist organization. Splitting hairs perhaps, but the legal line has to be drawn somewhere.

Respectfully,
M
liljp617
What definition of "terrorist" are we using?
Bikerman
Moonspider wrote:
You would have to give me specific examples of Israeli action that you consider terrorism in order for me to adequately debate it. In general terms, any act you consider terrorism I’d probably classify at worst a war crime. In my opinion, a uniformed, professional military organization is incapable of committing terrorist attacks only because they don’t fit my definition of terrorists or a terrorist organization. Splitting hairs perhaps, but the legal line has to be drawn somewhere.
Respectfully,
M

OK. Three examples to ponder;
a) Assassinations of senior Palestinian leaders.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1258187.stm
http://www.counterpunch.org/ruether06032006.html
b) Use of air-strikes, rockets and artillery against civilian homes
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4580139.stm
c) Bulldozing Palestinian homes.
http://www.spectacle.org/195/bulldoze.html

Now if you say that these are, at worst, war crimes then you surely acknowledge there is a war taking place? If there is a war taking place then who are the combatants? Perhaps you buy into Bush's nonsensical proposition of a 'war on terror'?
I find the idea that uniformed military personnel are, de facto, not terrorists deeply troubling. I understand that war-crimes can be regarded as just as bad, or even worse, than terrorist acts, but I think that an arbitrary distinction based on uniforms is dangerous.

I would define terrorism in the terms of Alex Shmid (Dutch scholar on terrorism).
Schmid wrote:
"Terrorism is an anxiety-inspiring method of repeated violent action, employed by (semi-)clandestine individual, group or state actors, for idiosyncratic, criminal or political reasons, whereby - in contrast to assassination - the direct targets of violence are not the main targets. The immediate human victims of violence are generally chosen randomly (targets of opportunity) or selectively (representative or symbolic targets) from a target population, and serve as message generators. Threat- and violence-based communication processes between terrorist (organization), (imperilled) victims, and main targets are used to manipulate the main target (audience(s)), turning it into a target of terror, a target of demands, or a target of attention, depending on whether intimidation, coercion, or propaganda is primarily sought"

Under that definition, military personnel are clearly not exempt.

Schmid also offers a short and pointed summary of this legal definition:
Schmid wrote:
Act of Terrorism = Peacetime Equivalent of War Crime
TomGrey
Chris, I can't believe you're not reading your own quote:

Quote:
employed by (semi-)clandestine individual, group or state actors


Military in uniform is not clandestine nor hidden.
If it is Zimbabwe police in civilian clothes, they become terrorists.
If it was Mossad (did you see Don't mess with The Zohan?) in civilian clothes, targeting civilians, then terrorists. Targeting the military, or the military leaders, not terrorist -- but war.


And how is this relevant to Obama? Oh yeah, I remember. We can't make fun of him -- even if he thinks there are 57 states. Or if he thinks there is no 'liberal or conservative America'.

We surely can't mention that he supports late term abortions -- sucking the brains out of an unborn 6 month old human looking fetus, while it's still in the womb, and then taking it out.

I'm joking -- of course we can make fun of him. And we should. And probably make fun of McCain, too -- although his living 93 year old mother doesn't think he's too old. Obama's mother has been dead for awhile, I think of natural causes; his father died in a car accident. I don't know how long McCain's admiral father has been dead.


Freedom to criticize is becoming lost in some places in America. Lost because Political Correctness, Democrats, are actively persecuting those who express opinions that are 'incorrect'. Just recently a founding member and CEO of a gay website, Manhunt, was forced to leave -- because he donated to McCain. The intolerance is increasing by the Democrats.

And the thread title here 'Stop it' fits within this PC-fascist anti-freedom thinking.
Moonspider
Bikerman wrote:

OK. Three examples to ponder;
a) Assassinations of senior Palestinian leaders.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1258187.stm
http://www.counterpunch.org/ruether06032006.html


Although one may debate whether or not it is moral, assassination has long been an instrument of state politics and military conflict, one even advocated by some of the greatest military and political philosophers in history. I do not consider it terrorism, because it is aimed at killing specific individuals or groups of individuals who are political or military leaders. In a war I believe leaders, whether civilian or military, to be legitimate targets, no different than an officer amidst a group of enlisted personnel.

And a de facto war exists between Israel and many Palestinian organizations such as Hamas.

Bikerman wrote:

b) Use of air-strikes, rockets and artillery against civilian homes
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4580139.stm


If Israeli forces intentionally target civilians and civilian structures for the sake of killing civilians and destroying said structures, then that is obviously illegal. However, if the target areas are being used as a base for military operations by Israel’s enemies, those are legitimate targets and in keeping with the rules of Geneva and other conventions, provided the military value outweighs the potential civilian casualties and the attacker (in this case Israel) takes precautions (e.g. weapon selection) to minimize civilian casualties as much as practical.

The very nature of the Palestinian/Israeli war makes it difficult to clearly delineate legitimate military objectives from protected structures and areas. Furthermore, civilian casualties, even if they are justifiable albeit regrettable collateral damage, make very effective propaganda tools for the Palestinians. This is an instrumental tool in Fourth Generation warfare, making civilian death and suffering at the hands of Israelis just as important (I’d argue actually more important) than damaging/killing Israeli military targets.

Thus, as cold as it may sound, the Palestinians need to launch attacks from civilian areas in order to not only protect their military assets as much as possible, but also maximize the propaganda opportunity gained by an Israeli military response that kills civilians and/or destroys civilian structures. Like I said, I believe the latter to be far more important than the military strike that precedes the Israeli response. So, I reiterate, it is in the Palestinians’ best interest to not protect their populace from military action, to actually expose them to it.

But, as I mentioned before, any Israeli attack that intentionally targets civilians or civilian structures would be illegal, as would an excessive attack that needlessly resulted in civilian casualties.

That being said, I tend to give Israel the benefit of a doubt more so than others. I’ve never seen a reported Israeli military strike that did not have (or at least that the Israelis claimed it had) a military objective. I may think the Israelis went too far in prosecuting a military target, but at least it had a military element.

On the other hand, Palestinian terrorists intentionally target civilians or fire unguided munitions into civilian areas with no military significance.

Bikerman wrote:

c) Bulldozing Palestinian homes.
http://www.spectacle.org/195/bulldoze.html


I wouldn’t call it terrorism. Illegal, arguably so. But not terrorism. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the purpose is to forcibly relocate or create buffer zones (the latter due to indiscriminate rocket attacks). I don’t think the purpose is to terrorize Palestinians.

Bikerman wrote:

Now if you say that these are, at worst, war crimes then you surely acknowledge there is a war taking place?


Absolutely.

Bikerman wrote:

If there is a war taking place then who are the combatants? Perhaps you buy into Bush's nonsensical proposition of a 'war on terror'?


I’m old fashioned.

  • If you’re part of a uniformed military unit carrying out orders that violate conventions or even traditional warfare decorum (which of course has been codified into many treaties over the centuries) then war crimes have been committed.
  • If you are wearing a uniform but obey obviously illegal orders or act illegally of your own accord or in a small group, then you are guilty of criminal acts and should be prosecuted under military law of your state.
  • If you are a rebel or insurgent fighting against a government and you serve in a loosely organized, non-uniformed unit that hides out in civilian areas but attacks only military targets, I give you credit but I don’t think you have any legal protection as a combatant under the Geneva Conventions. You will be prosecuted under civil law if captured and/or executed for your actions.
  • If you are an insurgent who meets the former criteria but launch attacks from the protection of civilian structures and areas, attack non-military targets like civilians and civilian structures/infrastructure, than you are a terrorist. You are also subject to civil laws and enjoy no protections under the GCs as a combatant.


Bikerman wrote:

I find the idea that uniformed military personnel are, de facto, not terrorists deeply troubling. I understand that war-crimes can be regarded as just as bad, or even worse, than terrorist acts, but I think that an arbitrary distinction based on uniforms is dangerous.


I don’t find it troubling at all. In fact I think it necessary. If you say that a uniformed, state military organization can commit acts of terrorism, you are implying that terrorism is an illegal but military tactic and therefore prosecutable as a war crime. This definition, by its nature, could potentially legitimize terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda as legitimate military field units, not common civilian criminals. I don’t support any definition that bestows upon such people anything akin to the title of “soldier.” Terrorists are no different than (and I believe worse than) common murderers and, IMHO, deserve even less respect.

Bikerman wrote:

I would define terrorism in the terms of Alex Shmid (Dutch scholar on terrorism).
Schmid wrote:
"Terrorism is an anxiety-inspiring method of repeated violent action, employed by (semi-)clandestine individual, group or state actors, for idiosyncratic, criminal or political reasons, whereby - in contrast to assassination - the direct targets of violence are not the main targets. The immediate human victims of violence are generally chosen randomly (targets of opportunity) or selectively (representative or symbolic targets) from a target population, and serve as message generators. Threat- and violence-based communication processes between terrorist (organization), (imperilled) victims, and main targets are used to manipulate the main target (audience(s)), turning it into a target of terror, a target of demands, or a target of attention, depending on whether intimidation, coercion, or propaganda is primarily sought"

Under that definition, military personnel are clearly not exempt.


True, and I agree with that definition and it matches closely with the U.S. Law Code definition. Furthermore, I agree that it does not exempt military personnel as individuals, who if they committed terrorist acts should be prosecuted under their nation’s military laws.

But military organizations are exempt in my opinion. As U.S. Code Title 22 defines it, terrorism is committed by “subnational groups or clandestine agents.” (Ref: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=browse_usc&docid=Cite:+22USC2656f)

Bikerman wrote:

Schmid also offers a short and pointed summary of this legal definition:
Schmid wrote:
Act of Terrorism = Peacetime Equivalent of War Crime


No. Terrorism is not a war crime, not ever. It is cowardly, cold-blooded mass murder committed by criminal thugs with no honor. Equating it to a war crime elevates those who commit it to a higher level than they deserve. So I guess I'm saying that I have more respect for Field Marshal Hermann Göring than I do for terrorists.

Respectfully,
M
Bikerman
Well Moonspider,
I don't think we will reach agreement on this anytime soon. I do (as I hope you know) respect your opinions, I just differ on some issues. We have, however, hijacked this thread I suspect and perhaps we should return to this particular debate in another thread as and when it arises?
Moonspider
Bikerman wrote:
Well Moonspider,
I don't think we will reach agreement on this anytime soon. I do (as I hope you know) respect your opinions, I just differ on some issues. We have, however, hijacked this thread I suspect and perhaps we should return to this particular debate in another thread as and when it arises?


Sounds good, my friend. Always a pleasure.

Respectfully,
M
Related topics
Reply to topic    Frihost Forum Index -> Lifestyle and News -> Politics

FRIHOST HOME | FAQ | TOS | ABOUT US | CONTACT US | SITE MAP
© 2005-2011 Frihost, forums powered by phpBB.