View Full Version : More News Media Propaganda

Mark Heide
02-05-2003, 12:17 AM
After I got home from the dentist today, I turned on the tube and watched ABC and BBC news. Today on ABC they broadcast the interview done by a british journalist with Saddam Hussain. Saddam clearly stated that he has no weapons of mass distruction and no ties to Al Qaeda. That was expected. The same interview was broadcast on BBC. What ABC did today was go to the Pentagon and ask Rumsfeld his reaction. Rumsfeld stated that Saddam has stated that the evidence Powell will present tomorrow is false. What surprises me is that Saddam did not mention any of this in the interview. So, is Rumsfeld already putting words in Saddam's mouth. Anyway, the whole point here is our government using the press to influence opinion. Even if Saddam had some weapons of mass destruction, the inspectors would find it and have most of it destroyed like in the past. But, is that a reason for a super power like the US to destroy a nation. Other countries have weapons of mass distruction like China. But, are we going to fight a war with them?

There are other reasons why the US wants this war and it has not much to do with weapons of mass distruction. Like Bush has already said he wants regime change, and I believe that it could only be for economic reasons, not to give Iraqis freedom from Saddam. This has always been the policy of the US in the past, so you only have to look at what went on in Vietnam.

Anyway, my prediction is that the US will start this war with public support from its citizens. I'm sure that Powell's presentation will be carefully crafted to influence additional public support for the war.

If the US succeeds in ousting Saddam and his regime, who will be their to take its place? Are we going in the same direction again like we did with Iran?

All comments welcome.


02-05-2003, 08:54 AM
/forums/images/icons/wink.gif gooood points mark...root canal???lol....anyway..maybe the u.s. will install the shah jr. boss in iraq...make an alliance with the kurds up north...then take over iran in holy unification award..and supply u.s, with cheap oil....????just a suggestion..lol..gl /forums/images/icons/smirk.gif /forums/images/icons/heart.gif

02-05-2003, 12:36 PM
Mark wrote "Rumsfeld stated that Saddam has stated that the evidence Powell will present tomorrow is false."

Have you considered the fact that Rumsfeld may have meant that Saddam said this outside the particular interview you watched? In fact I remember hearing that he or his prime minister said exactly this the same day it was announced that Powell would address the United Nations. This was over a week ago, long before said interview by the British journalist.

John Ho
02-05-2003, 02:33 PM
Saddam and his lieutenants have already stated multiple times in public that they have no WMD and are not hindering the inspection team. So by that rationale they are already calling Powell a liar when he presents contrary evidence.

As for the inspection process, I seriously doubt the ability of inspectors to find WMD if Iraq wishes to hide already existing stockpiles. If you triple the number of inspectors, as France suggested today, it will be far easier for Iraq to have an informant in the group if they don't have one already.

At first I was totally against a war. However, it's clear after watching the UN members this must be seriously considered. I agree in principle with using inspectors to contain Iraq's ability to develop more WMD and hopefully find his existing ones. This is low risk and a lower cost than going to war. However, the UN has ignored Iraq's violations for years. What is to say that if military force is not used in the near future that the UN will be willing to use force in say 3 years if Iraq kicks the inspectors out again? I seriously question the ability of the UN as a whole to make these tough decisions. Remember, they have known Iraq has been violating their resolutions for years and done nothing about it until the Bush administration pushed for it (only after 9/11 mind you).

While the Bush administration may have other motives, it's clear Iraq is different from China or any other non-allied country with WMD. Iraq has been at war with 2 of it's neighbors under Hussein, Iran and Kuwait. Iraq was clearly the aggressor against Kuwait and most of the evidence shows the same for the war with Iran. On the other hand, China has done a great deal of posturing towards Taiwan but so far has not crossed the line into true action against them or any other nation. It is fair to say they, by their actions, are a peaceful nation. North Korea may be a strange and disturbing regime, but they have not made war under their current regime. India and Pakistan fought constantly with each other before they both achieved nuclear capability; But this fighting was restricted to Kashmir and only directed at each other. They have not shown the propensity to invade other countries as a way of achieving regional dominance, which clearly Iraq has done.

Comparing Iraq to other nations with WMD is not credible. I am not sure war is the best option, but certainly history has shown that militiristic regimes should be kept in check rather than allowed to balloon to a world power.

Chris Alger
02-05-2003, 03:59 PM
"it's clear Iraq is different from China or any other non-allied country with WMD"

How? For example, Pakistan is a dictatorship with an appalling human rights record and nuclear weapons. It is haven for Islamic fundamentalism. Its state security services have strong ties to international terrorism, including Al Quaeda, whose leader might be harbored in Pakistan. Terrorists operating in Pakistan have murdered Americans. It was the Taliban's most significant political and economic supporter.

Yet Pakistan is allied with the U.S. Instead of resolutions, threats and sanctions the U.S. has provided uninterrupted support for Pakistani for decades, just as it did when Saddam was "our" guy but invading neighbors, gassing Kurds, developing WMD and all the things that make him such a criminal now. The only real difference is that Saddam no longer serves the interests that dominate U.S. foreign policy, but Pakistan does. For most Americans, the distinction is arbitrary. But because the distinction has been made by the state, the dominant media messages (now) are why Iraq is bad, with very little comparatively about Pakistan or other US-supported countries with comparable and even worse records. Thus, the media passivley broadcasts Bush's sanctimonious nonsense about the primacy of UN resolutions and international law, with hardly a mention that the most flagrant UN resolution violators are U.S. clients Israel and Turkey.

It takes little imagination to consider how the media messages and images would be reversed if the U.S. were courting Saddam to help it topple Pakistan's government. In fact, you don't have to imagine it at all. Just look at the sparse negative coverage of Iraq when it was at war with Iran, despite its flagrant development of WMD, appalling human rights record, cross-border aggression, and even the killing of U.S. sailors abord the USS Stark. Not only was there no discussion about the need to go to war with Iraq, policy makers defended their support for Saddam.

That media's near-exlusive concentration on Iraqi WMD while failing to point out simple, obvious and highly revealing contradictions testifies to the mainstream media's role as a propaganda outlet for the state. The corporate press is no more likely to depart from the official line and script (e.g., the only basic concern of U.S. policiy makers is whether Iraq has WMD in violation of Secuirty Council dictate, and if it does, war is necessary, as in "we've always been at war with Oceania") than it is to address the real questions that almost all Americans have: (1) how can Iraq so directly affect our moral and material interests that slaughtering large numbers of innocent Iraqis is necessary? (2) given the examples of Turkey, Indonesia, Central America, Pakistan and pre-Kuwait Iraq, what guarantees exist that post-war Iraq will be better for its people and the rest of the world than it is now?

This war, which is utterly inevitable, has nothing to do with WMD, terrorism or aggression (except ours), and everything to do with bringing Iraq back under the control of the U.S. in order to project our imperial might and improve our access to and control over the resources and markets of a vital economic region. You know, mass muirder for money and power, like the mafia writ large.

02-05-2003, 05:15 PM

02-05-2003, 05:21 PM

John Ho
02-05-2003, 05:27 PM
There's a big difference between Pakistan and Iraq. Pakistan, except for it's conflict with India, has not fought with any other country under Musharraf. It may be a hotbed of "Islamic" extremism and may have supported the Taliban before 9/11 but that is all irrelevant. They did the right thing in turning on the Taliban after they refused to hand over Bin Laden and the Al Queda leadership.

I do think it's laughable that Powell brought up human rights abuses at the UN. I agree with you that this is not a serious consideration on our part. But you are off base comparing Iraq's regime to Pakistan.

As for Pakistan's links to terrorism - the fact is the leader of Pakistan is clearly doing a great deal to combat the terrorists. He faces tremendous pressure at home since there are quite a number of Taliban and Al Quaeda supporters in his country - including people in the military and government.

But what is your alternative? Overthrow Pakistan as well? That will do nothing to change the minds of the people of Pakistan. If anything, it will inflame the already tense situation further. Even a military occupation would probably not work.

On the other hand, if you do nothing about Iraq and pretend they are not a threat we will walk down the same path Europe did with Hitler. Imagine Hitler with nuclear weapons or bio weapons with long range missiles. With all due respect, this is the great problem with your way of thinking. Like all people, you do not like war or conflict. We all agree on this. However, if you leave a problem like this to fester you will be confronted with a greater danger down the road. So the question is, do we consider taking action now at a smaller cost or run the risk of a huge conflict 5-10 years from now? You want to close your eyes and hope this problem goes away. It won't. If Clinton or the 1st Bush had handled this problem we would not be where we are now.

02-05-2003, 07:53 PM
I think that what the hurry is, is that we want the oil fields and we need to get rid of him before he gets nuclear capability. Imagine how we'd be treating him now if he had nukes. Probably more along the lines of the way we're dealing with North Korea--diplomacy. Having the U.S. exposed as the prototypical bully, willing to "stand up" to the weak sisters of the world while we give nations like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia a free pass would be quite embarrassing. Better stomp this fire out before it turns into an inferno.

02-05-2003, 11:53 PM
"Imagine Hitler with nuclear weapons or bio weapons with long range missiles. . .if you leave a problem like this to fester you will be confronted with a greater danger down the road."

Sometimes I think as much damage may have been done by Munich being used as an exemplar than was actually done by what happened there. So many times in my life I've heard the example of Hitler used is situations where the comparison had little relevance. The situation in the 1930s and Germany's place in the world then is scarcely related to the world of 2002 and Iraq's place in that world.

War is not the answer to the question of what to do about every tyrant. We did not invade the Soviet Union when it was run by Stalin, even when we had an overwhelming preponderance of power and when tensions were at their highest in the late 1940s. We do not propose to invade North Korea now. Not all people who oppose war are closing their eyes and wishing the problem will go away.

Ray Zee
02-06-2003, 12:00 AM
well i think we need to contain him by any means possible. we cant let him grow. the question that needs to be answered is what means do we use. war should be the last resort and used if thats all that will accomplish the task.
basically-- whats the hurry. he cant do any real damage right now.

John Ho
02-06-2003, 01:39 AM
North Korea has not invaded another country under the current regime. That's really the issue here with Iraq. You have the same leader who authorized the Kuwait invasion and is looking to get even more powerful weaponry.

With all due respect, how you can't see this in relation to Germany is amazing. Germany was restricted in it's military buildup after World War I by Versailles. When Hitler came to power they defied the treaty and rearmed. The world did nothing. Doesn't this sound exactly like Saddam Hussein and the rest of the world?

I'm not saying war is necessarily the answer right now, but passing endless resolutions and using endless years of diplomacy without at least the credible threat of force sets a poor long term precedent. Part of the reason for invading Iraq now is to dissuade other nations from similar actions in the future.

Imagine in 10 yearsKim Jong Il in North Korea decides he wants to annex South Korea and the U.S. military no longer has a presence there. If Saddam or one of his sons is still in power, Kim Jong Il will know that if he is successful militarily either 1) he will retain control of South Korea or 2) a multinational force will drive his troops back (like Bush I in Desert Storm). Option 1 is good for him. Option #2 is neutral for almost everyone involved (except South Korea will be in shambles). Kim will know that the world community does not have the strength of will to overthrow his regime despite his aggression. So basically he is freerolling; Can't lose, might win. Either he doubles his country's size or things remain as is. Does he care about sanctions? He will live like a King either way.

To go back to Saddam, if we are seriously going to do nothing let's save ourselves the trouble and ask him to sign a contract that he won't invade anyone else or develop WMD but also put in the contract if he does we won't do anything militarily. That's basically what we are doing if we don't credibly threaten him with force. If the UN fails to act it will quickly lose what little relevance it has.

However, if the UN authorizes force and drives Saddam out of power or forces him to disarm openly then it's power and relevance are increased dramatically. And that would be a good thing. That would hopefully set a precedent that no country gets invaded without UN approval. Otherwise, the invading country will have it's government removed from power. This will never happen unless the UN shows it can take decisive actions if this precedent is proken.

02-06-2003, 01:43 AM
"Other countries...Pakistan, China...economics". Not realistic arguments for or against this war. Its about a megalomaniac-psychopath-dictatorship that needs to give up the goods or get out of the way so we can contain the weapons-- not him. Oh, N. Korea?- same deal...we'll get to them too. But S.H. keeps hiding the weapons and naughty stuff and everyone knows it. Today's Powell-address didn't reveal that. He (S.H.)- won't use these weapons on the US any time soon (or Israel for that matter or he'll get dead fast.) The real threat (if anyone has been listening) is these weapons getting into worse hands! They may already be, in which case with the death and mayhem to come, you leftist-pacifist-hippie-pansies will celebrate the world's over-population problem solved!! Rejoice!!-- if you're alive at all. Then you'll stop and lament at the utter devastation and all say together- "Why didn't the President do anything about if he knew these things in advance?" -yes, sounds familiar.
We want the weapons and their components--all of them; not the oil, or his head on a platter-- the weapons! Then we will have some measure of peace for a while. Asking him nicely to: "Hand them over or you'll get a time-out!", hasn't worked for 12 years--now he needs a spanking. IMHO

02-06-2003, 01:46 AM
'and ask him to sign a contract that he won't invade anyone else or develop WMD but also put in the contract if he does we won't do anything militarily. '

well he asked permission to invade kuwait and we gave it to him. (april gladsby or however spell it. US ambassador)

UN is all crap ask mcarthur who the only reason his amphibiuos landing in korea during korean war was successful is because he bypassed UN chain command which he knew was giving his plans to communist north korea as soon as he formulated them.

if you dont realize at least the possibility that what youre parroting is propaganda then i hope youre young enough to be drafted and go get screwed up.

02-06-2003, 03:09 AM
Mr. Alger, this is the start of the fourth paragraph of your post:

"That media's near-exlusive concentration on Iraqi WMD while failing to point out simple, obvious and highly revealing contradictions testifies to the mainstream media's role as a propaganda outlet for the state."

A few sentences later in the same paragraph you make this statement (Italics are mine):

" (1) how can Iraq so directly affect our moral and material interests that slaughtering large numbers of innocent Iraqis is necessary?"

Who is engaging in propaganda now. You condem it in the first part of your paragraph and use it (to good effect, I must add) a few sentences later in the same paragraph.

This does not undermine your overall thesis, but there is the hint of a conflicting bias and moral tone to your post.

The flavor of your propaganda statement is that the war will be fought human vs human with one side completely innocent, the other completely gulity and bent only on one thing. Slaughter. What image does this invoke? A marine shooting at an Iraq soldier that is shooting back; or a marine gunning down a innocent child? I don't think I need to go into other details as you can deduce them on your own.

In addition, your last paragraph is full of very simplistic black and white statements. It is this or nothing etc. Period. Kind of like: It is either us or them or, your either for us or against us. Sound familiar?


John Ho
02-06-2003, 03:19 AM
There's a lot of propaganda out there. I'm under no illusion our government doesn't spin things to their advantage. It's laughable we are talking about human rights violations as a reason to go after Iraq. But that doesn't change the fact the threat of force must be credible and Saddam's actions warrant such a threat. It's that simple.

02-06-2003, 03:22 AM
madeline albright stated on 60 minutes that 1/2 million dead iraqi children was an 'acceptable price to pay for stability in the region'.

lack of potable water, etc. , no medicine, etc. (ie, we bombed all their water treatment plants and then banned import of medicine and stuff).

so its not like we killed the kids. they probably wouldve turned into terrorists anyway. just like those evil jews in concentration camps probably woulve turned into pimps and usurous bankers anyway.

02-06-2003, 03:33 AM
Ray, I'm not going to seriously get involved in these threads right now, and I've always respected your posts and broad knowledge. But more I read, the more I become convinced that the threats posed by Iraq are very serious and rapidly growing. If nothing is actively done, soon organized terrorists will possess biological WMD along with the means to deliver them on our soil (and much of this will be courtesy of Iraq).

Containing Iraq is a great idea but Saddam is developing and producing these weapons even as inspections are going on. It's just a matter of time before the inevitable face-off must occur and the less WMD he possesses when this happens the better off everyone will be.

A NOTE TO OTHERS who are concerned about "media propaganda": you can read the WORLD on the Internet. Search, read, sift...rinse and repeat, and bookmark the most informative sites. You can't claim all you are exposed to is US propaganda when you can read from all over the world. And if all you guys read is just a few main outlets then that's your fault.

02-06-2003, 03:37 AM
'If nothing is actively done, soon organized terrorists will possess biological WMD along with the means to deliver them on our soil (and much of this will be courtesy of Iraq). '

i think i posted the australian article where a guy researching aging on mice changed a mousepox gene and it was like 100% lethal in 2 days or something.

gist of article was like it was so easy a high school class could do it.

whatever you think of it the biological weapons genie is out of the bottle. we'll have to see what happens.

Chris Alger
02-06-2003, 04:50 AM
"The flavor of your propaganda statement is that the war will be fought human vs human with one side completely innocent, the other completely gulity and bent only on one thing. Slaughter. A marine shooting at an Iraq soldier that is shooting back; or a marine gunning down a innocent child?"

What image does the following evoke for you?

"One day in March the Air Force and Navy will launch between 300 and 400 cruise missiles at targets in Iraq. ... this is more than number that were launched during the entire 40 days of the first Gulf War.

On the second day, the plan calls for launching another 300 to 400 cruise missiles.

'There will not be a safe place in Baghdad,' said one Pentagon official who has been briefed on the plan. 'The sheer size of this has never been seen before, never been contemplated before,' the official said."

CBS News, 1/24/3

So the war in Iraq means making Baghdad a city of 4.8 million people without "a safe place" because the U.S. will drop between 600 to 800 cruise missiles on it in the first two days of the war. The report also refers to the obvious precendent, quoting Pentagon planner: "So that you have this simultaneous effect, rather like the nuclear weapons at Hiroshima, not taking days or weeks but in minutes."

According to a UN report I cited earlier, casualty estimates include hundreds of thousands of civilians.

Of course, the CBS report makes no reference to the estimated magnitude of civilian casualties and characteristically fails to include reactions from anti-war representatives. Instead, the report is typically confined within the morally neutral category of efficacy: the issue is whether it will work, not whether it can be justified from an elementary moral perspective. If CBS reported that "large numbers of Iraqi civilians will inevitably be slaughtered if the U.S. launches its war," I take it that you would find this to be unjustified propaganda.

If you seriously take issue with my prediction that the war means "slaughtering large numbers of innocent Iraqis," then maybe you can describe how the U.S. can invade and conquer Iraq as planned without doing so.

Or maybe it's my black-and-white description of what will happen that you're quibbling with, and would prefer some phrase like "signifant collateral effects adversely impacting non-military personnel?"

Chris Alger
02-06-2003, 05:47 AM
"Pakistan, except for it's conflict with India, has not fought with any other country under Musharraf."

Then how can you explain US support for Turkey when it invaded Cyprus, Indonesia while it invaded Timor, South Africa while it invaded Namibia, Israel when it invaded and colonized the West Bank? How can you explain support for Iraq while it engaged in its most flagrant act of aggression, the war against Iran? All of these incidents were grotesque violations of international law, roundly condemned by the UN, but supported, sometimes almost exclusively, by the US. (The Timor invasion occurred while President "This Will Not Stand" Bush was director of the CIA).

"But what is your alternative? Overthrow Pakistan as well?"

No. My alternative is for the U.S. to embrace a consistent policy of non-aggression enforced multilaterally with military force being used as a last resort and only to accomplish particular, specific objectives, rather than a blank-check "regime change."

"On the other hand, if you do nothing about Iraq and pretend they are not a threat we will walk down the same path Europe did with Hitler."

Oh, please. Every time someone wants to justify war, they bring up Hitler and the Munich analogy. One size fits all: you just need a dictator and the prospect of war and, voila!, instant justification. Never mind that Hitler couldn't have been deterred by a nuclear superpower with more than a hundred times the amount of military might. Never mind that Iraq has less than 150 seviceable aircraft and a navy that consists of, according to the Center for Strartegic and International Studies, of "six obsolete Osa and Bogomol guided missile patrol craft and three obsolete Soviet inshore minesweepers." Get real.

Saddam doesn't have nuclear weapons. Means exist short of war to prevent him from getting them. There is no dispute that many of his other weapons and facilities have been destroyed or deactivated. His potential remaining stockpiles of CBW's are a genuine issue, but that obviously is not what's driving US policy. Indeed, the US and US firms were instrumental in providing Iraq with the technology used to acquire them, but you don't see the political leadership or the media trying to hold anyone accountable for that Moreover, by using WMD as a pretext for invasion, every other country in the world with resources of value to the US would be well-advised to follow N. Korea's example and devleop them as fast as possible, which means that the proposed war with Iraq is actually counterproductive to the cause of limiting the development of WMD.

Do you seriously think Saddam is a threat to the US? If so, then why can't it he even shake off his "no-fly" zone? How can he threaten to invade his neighbors without air support? If he were to invade anyone, how could he avoid having his military and himself being eradicated instantly by the US? If he's such a threat to his neighbors, then why didn't they initiate the call for regime change? Indeed, why do his neighbors have to be brought kicking and screaming (and bribed) into a war process conceived by elite planners in the US? Why was overthrowing Iraq not even a debating point before 9/11, even though Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11?

These are simple questions. If instead of demanding good answers to them you choose to accept the official justification that the US seeks no more than to defend itself and its worthy allies from hypothetical future aggression, then you are the one who's being naive.

02-06-2003, 07:48 AM
-Yes the media is manipulated IMO but I don't see them as willing partners in deception that often.

-I think appeasement is a valid concept.

- As I've posted before this situation with Iraq isn't just about WMD, there are economic and military ramifications IMO. Iraq has too much oil and military bases in Iraq are very inviting strategic alternatives. I'm not using the strategic reasons as a justification. What happens after Saddam is deposed is a question that the administration has not addressed adequately IMO.

- Saddam might abdicate in the face of certain death. I have no idea as to the odds of Saddam abdicating but it's something to consider.

02-06-2003, 10:40 AM
the "genie" isn't what's so important now: it's the mass production of these toxins, and the refinement into weaponized form (remember the very fine light anthrax spores in the letters which were made especially so as to become easily airborne and inhaled?), and the continuing Iraqi development of dispersal technologies for these weapons, which pose the growing dangers.

John Ho
02-06-2003, 04:08 PM
I agree with you in part. The topic of removing Saddam should never have happened. The world should have overthrown his regime during the Gulf War.

But you can see how a lack of action leads to bigger problems in the future. Unless you don't believe the US position regarding the aluminum tubing made to high specifications, you are wrong to believe Saddam is not trying to develop nukes. It is certainly true he tried to develop them before. So the question is again, do you want to take the risk he develops them under the radar or do you remove the threat now?

02-06-2003, 04:12 PM
From the first line of the CBS propaganda piece you cited:

"(CBS) They're calling it "A-Day," A as in airstrikes so devastating they would leave Saddam's soldiers unable or unwilling to fight. "

NO safe place for soldiers, military hardware, militay infrastructure etc. The image this invokes for me is the targeting of miltary warehouses, ammo depots, troop concentrations, military communications and transportation centers etc.

Can all this be done without killing Civilians? No it cannot. So Iraqi Civilians will be killed. Not slaughtered. Killed. You insist on using a very loaded and emotionally charged word for your own propaganda purposes.

In addition, to me, you are still engage in propaganda by implying that the US/British forces will deliberately target civilians. The gulf and afgan war show clearly that this is not the policy followed by these military forces. As in any conflict there are accidents, misshaps and yes, also deliberate atrocities, usually done by both sides but very seldom done on orders from superiors.

To me, your world view is very similar to that of Mr. Bush, it just differs on the political spectrum.


02-06-2003, 05:55 PM
"...still engage in propaganda by implying that the US/British forces will deliberately target civilians."

I don't think anyone's implying that the US deliberately kills civilians during wartime, but certainly there is a grave lack of regard for Iraqi lives as demonstrated by our military tactics. We fight from a distance using missiles in highly populated areas to save US soldiers at the expense of Iraqi civilians.

"So Iraqi Civilians will be killed. Not slaughtered. Killed."

Semantics. How many Iraqis must be killed in order for the term "slaughter" to apply? Thousands? Tens of thousands?

02-06-2003, 06:04 PM
Saddam is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. China and Pakistan are not.

02-06-2003, 06:14 PM
He is certainly not naive. He is biased and favors any Islamic interest over the interests of the West, but he is not naive.

02-06-2003, 07:48 PM
Jen asked "Semantics. How many Iraqis must be killed in order for the term "slaughter" to apply? Thousands? Tens of thousands?" I would answer all of them, any left and they were simply innocent bystanders or collateral damage. Take your pick, after all it is semantics.

Chris Alger
02-06-2003, 08:18 PM
You can quibble over whether civilian deaths caused by deliberate US acts will be "slaughtered" or merely "killed." The entire rest of the world watching the satellite feed from Aljazeera will know that the US devastated a yet another country without any credible pretext of self-defense in order to enlarge its political and economic might. They will properly view it as mass murder, and we should do the same.

02-06-2003, 11:34 PM
Chris Alger said You can quibble over whether civilian deaths caused by deliberate US acts will be "slaughtered" or merely "killed." The entire rest of the world watching the satellite feed from Aljazeera will know that the US devastated a yet another country without any credible pretext of self-defense in order to enlarge its political and economic might. They will properly view it as mass murder, and we should do the same. Yes they will view it in that manner and perhaps they will think twice before sending more of their terrrorist brethern if they fear retaliation on them and/or their friends and relatives. How can this be a bad thing Chris?

02-07-2003, 02:10 AM
"perhaps they will think twice before sending more of their terrorist bretheren if they fear retaliation"

I sure doubt this. The terrorists who struck on 9/11 didn't fear retaliation. I think we'll face more danger from would-be terrorists during and after the war, not less. Wouldn't doing something that others see as mass murder creates more terrorists?

02-07-2003, 02:20 AM
That was a damn fine post.

Chris Alger
02-07-2003, 03:57 AM
And after thinking twice a few of them will do something to try to make us think twice....

Oops! They already did!

Thinking twice is harder than it ought to be.

nicky g
02-07-2003, 10:35 AM
"remember the very fine light anthrax spores in the letters which were made especially so as to become easily airborne and inhaled?"

Yeah I do. Noone else seems to though, probably because their most likely origin was the US military. Funny how nothing seems to have happened about it.
If terrorists really want nuclear, chemical or biological weapons they are going to either produce them themselves (AunShinRyKyo or whatever they were called managed to produce sarin, for example), or where that's not possible obtain them from decrepit ex-Soviet laboratories adn the like. What possible gain Iraq could get from passing such things to their enemies in al-Qaida is beyond me.

Good to see you back MMMMMM, I think you should stay around.

02-07-2003, 10:46 AM
I like it here, but I just don't have time for a lot of posting anymore. I'll probably post only occasionally and more selectively. Thanks nicky;-)

Saddam and al Qaeda may indeed once have been enemies, but I believe their relationship has evolved significantly over the years.

nicky g
02-07-2003, 02:07 PM
I agree that the relationship is fluid. But the recently leaked intelligence reports suggested that it has now deteriorated to out and out enmity, even if there were ever contacts/explorations of collaboration. Indeed all the intelligence reports that actually come from intelligence agencies (CIA, MI6) and not directly from the White House, no 10 etc, seem to suggest that the war is a bad idea, counterproductive, and based on largely groundless that would only genuinely come into being by going to war. I'm not particularly confortable with CIA and MI6 assessments, but even less so with 100% politcically motivated reports from Bush and Blair.

02-07-2003, 02:22 PM
"I think we'll face more danger from would-be terrorists during and after the war, not less. Wouldn't doing something that others see as mass murder creates more terrorists? "

The terrorists want us to fear being attacked so that we go we accept their adgenda. The apparently have accoplished exactly what they want to with regards to your thinking. You're saying we shouldn't do something because they'll get mad. I say f them, I don't care what they think, and I'm not going to change my thinking because I am am afraid they will blow me up. There may be reasons to oppose a war, but this is not one of them. Even if we don't attack, they will hate us unless we are dead or Muslim. Period.

nicky g
02-07-2003, 02:35 PM
No. The reason to avert war isn't because it will annoy the terrorists. It's because it will vastly increase their support amongst arabs, and creat many more new terrorists.

02-07-2003, 02:46 PM
Hi Chris,

As always your arguements are well thought out, but I think you are making two mistakes.

1. Just because we have supported bad regimes in the past does not make this war wrong. The arguement that we used to support Saddam is not valid. Even if everything else we have ever done is wrong, and our treatment of every other country is wrong, it is completely irrelevant to this case. In Saddam's case the USA wrongly supported him when he used chemical weapons against Iran. Now we say that he shouldn't use chemical weapons. I would venture to say that we are now correct. This mean we should now act upon our correct stance. If there were two terrorists that blew up a bunch of stuff and right before they blew something else up terrorist A realized it was wrong and shot terrorist B, is that wrong of him? Should he let terrorist B carry out his action because of his previously guilty actions? (Note: I am not implying anything about terrorism, I just need an example of people who do "bad" things)

2. The arguement that other countries have done things wrong and have not faced war is of course quite common. The difference is that with Saddam we have exhausted diplomatic means. Everyone says we are rushing to war, but he has been doing this for 10 + years. He kicked the inspectors out years back. Why? Maybe they smell bad. Or maybe he wanted to continue his weapons programs. And why would he want to make these weapons and face embargos etc...? So his people would have better lives? No, so he could terrorize and threaten neighbooring countries. Now we went back and he is of course screwing us around again. Isn't 10 years enough? How much longer should we wait? How do UN resolutions and diplomacy have any validity if you do not eventually back them up? It is like a child whose parents keep threatening to ground him but never do. Eventually, he will just ignore them and do what he wants. Nations are the same way. We need to back up our words with action or they have no validity. We have said for years, do this or we will eventually attack. The UN has supported this. It is time to call him out. People will die and it will be sad. But more people will die if every rouge nation believes that we and our allies are just a lot of talk. War sucks, but without a fear of war, there will be eventually be more war.

Is Saddam going to invade the US? No. Would he give weapons to terrorists? Probably. Is he a threat to his neighbors? Yes. Does this warrant war? Not immediately, but after 10+ years of trying to solve it other ways, it is time for him to go.

I am curious what alternatives you think there are (I don't think you'll say inspections but someone might...so here's a hint...inspections are a ridiculous idea)? That is what is the plan of action if we are not going to attack, and why will countries like Iraq listen to the UN or the US in the future if they see it is all talk?

02-07-2003, 04:00 PM
Well then it apears that we are damned if we do and damned if we don't.

Since we are going to be damned anyway, I'll just say that I'd rather be damned than let a bunch of aggressive, fanatical morons succeed in acquiring the means to blow us all up.

In other words, there are lots of fanatics and haters of the West in the Muslim world already. Iraq isn't going to be the main thing on their minds when they decide whether or not to hate us.

02-07-2003, 06:55 PM
The biggest problem isn't that there might be more irrationally fanatical terrorists spawned--the biggest problem is that there are too many already (and they are acquiring greater and greater destructive powers as time goes on).

I don't believe appeasement ever works when facing a totalitarian mindset.

02-07-2003, 07:42 PM
You say the fact that terrorists will "get mad" is not a reason to not go to war. I'm saying that I'm disagreeing that they will think twice about attacking if we do go to war. There may be plenty of valid reasons for warring on Iraq. Making us safe from terrorism seems an unlikely one to me.

02-07-2003, 07:50 PM
Fair enough...after rereading my respose to you, I realized my post was so incomplete and contained so many typos that I'm surprised that you even bothered to respond /forums/images/icons/smile.gif

John Ho
02-07-2003, 08:14 PM
I think you miss the point of Chris' post. He is talking more about the common person in the Middle East rather than the extremists who will hate the US no matter what. If we invade and many civilians are killed, it may take decades if not longer for the average person in that region to believe the US values their lives. The terrorists really don't care one way or another whether they might trigger a war. If anything they relish the prospect.

The question for us is whether that risk is worth it. I'm still on the fence but certainly don't want to arbitrarily rule out an invasion.

02-07-2003, 08:39 PM
The difference is that with Saddam we have exhausted diplomatic means. Everyone says we are rushing to war, but he has been doing this for 10 + years.
Has been doing what exactly? Seems to me he hasn't done much of anything noteworthy in a few years at least. If anything, he's done less now that before when he was busy slaughtering...ooops....I mean killing his own people.

If you step back and look at it objectively, Iraq is far less of a threat than at least a half-dozen other countries. Of course, they'll be far, far easier to invade and control than the others.

Chris Alger
02-08-2003, 01:58 AM
U.S. support for Iraqi and other aggression is relevant to two things: (a) it undermines the the argument that Iraq's history of aggression renders it a threat to the U.S.; (b) it demonstrates the propagada effect of media attention on Iraq's aggression and U.S. opposition to it, stripped of any context of U.S. support for prior aggression by Iraq and others.

You are correct to say that prior U.S. support for Iraq and other bad regimes does not make the war wrong. The war is wrong because it cannot be justified as a necessary act of self-defense or collective defense. If you look at the history of the major war proponents and the decision-making process leading to this war, I believe you'll have to conclude that we're going to war with Iraq because (1) Iraq is a tempting but essentially defenseless target for U.S. aggression and (2) 9/11 created a fearful political climate that policy-makers have exploited to pursue unrelated ends. Iraq's history of aggression and tyranny, of anti-U.S. and anti-Israel rhetoric, and even its development of WMD's are mere pretexts for what amounts to a criminal act of imperialist aggression.

Diplomatic means As for Iraq by As a resultIraqi aggression to the exclusion of U.S. support for Iraqi and other aggression. amounts to propagada by 's aggressive nature amounts to propaganda. U.S. support for or indifference to aggressive acts by Iraq and other or states

02-08-2003, 02:32 AM
Based on your general outlines, Chris, I can't help but wonder what was the pretext for U.S. "aggression and imperialism" in the Serbian/Bosnian affair. If you'd care to elaborate on how we furthered our imperialist goals by that war, I'm sure it would be illuminating.

I also can't help but wonder why the liberals didn't protest so loudly over that war. Maybe Serbian genocide somehow "felt" worse than Saddam's murdering of a million of his own countrymen over time. Maybe, too, the Serbs somehow posed more of a threat to us than does Saddam.

Can you say disconnect?

Chris Alger
02-08-2003, 02:48 AM
Sorry, but I hit the wrong button while editing. I really didn't mean to end with the phrase "criminal act of imperialist aggression" followed by gobbledygook.

The notion that we have exhaused diplomatic alternatives is an interesting one because outside the U.S. hardly anyone believes it.

First, consider the effects of non-diplomatic efforts. The war with Kuwait and 10 years of low intensity conflict with the U.S. and G. Britain have left the Iraq military a shell of its fomer self. It's military forces, about 350,000 strong, are about a third of their former size. Half of its tiny airfoce is unusable, its troops are undertrained and unmotivated, its armor antiquated, its command, control and communication system is in tatters. It can't even launch the training exercises necessary for it to become a regional threat. I have never seen anyone here or elsewhere in the mainstream media ask the obvious: if Iraq is a military threat to the U.S. or at least the middle east, why can't it even unburden itself of the "no-fly" zone?

As for diplomacy, no country in world history has even been as thoroughly and instrusively inspected. These efforts have prevented Iraq from even coming close to developing nuclear weapons or delivery systems and have led to the destruction of 90-95% of Iraq's chemical stockpiles, with the remaining amount being in dispute but subject to active negotiation. Any rational observer would conclude that the diplomatic process has accomplished real results and is likely to accomplish more.

It is nevertheless a staple of U.S. propaganda that "time has run out," our patience has been exhausted, Iraq has blown its last chance to avoid war, etc. As a result, instead of taking solace in the actual results of the inspections process, 77% the U.S. public believes that Iraq is "likely" or "certain" to have nuclear weapons, according to a recent Gallup poll. Moreover, despite Powell making it clear that the U.S. has no hard evidence linking Saddam to Al Quaeda, 87% percent of the public now believes that such links are likely or certain. The only thing that can explain these attitudes, which are unique to the U.S. and unshared by the entire rest of the world, even G. Britain, is the widespread dissemenation of propganda for domestic U.S. consumption. And I don't mean a delberate, conspiratorial disinformation, I mean the tendency to broadcast government statements at face value devoid of any critical or skeptical context, together with a tendency to for the profit-oriented media to capitalize on the public's deep-seated fears and resentments toward the rest of the world while harboring a corresponding love of their own country, often confused with the state.

As for Iraq "kicking out" the inspectors in '98, you will recall the reports at the time indicating that the inspectors were withdrawn at the request of the U.S., which made no effort in subsequent years to send them back. The current process is taking place over the initial objections of Bush administration and media hawks only because the public won't tolerate war without it. Accordingly, U.S. officials have embraced diplomacy more grudgingly than even Iraq, demonstrating again that they actively want war regardless. It is the possibility that diplomacy will work, rather than any solid evidence of its failure, that best explains the continuous stream of statements in the news seeking to minimize its results and prospects.

Chris Alger
02-08-2003, 03:04 AM
I believe that U.S. spokesman made it clear that the fundmental reason for intervening in Kosova (not Bosnia or Rwanda or Timor or other places were innocents were being killed en masse) was to demonstrate NATO's credibility and usefulness in the post-Cold War era. The U.S. very much wants to maintain the U.S.-dominated military system despite its having outlived its raison d'etre. We intervened even though the worst atrocities occurred after and not before our intervention, probably partly as a result. I think the support of some liberals for it was a mistake (Chomsky being the notable exception), although I admit that it's a closer case than Iraq or Vietnam.

02-08-2003, 03:43 AM
the whole serbian genocide thing was propaganda. look it up.

02-08-2003, 10:24 AM
What I'm taking exception to is the notion that we get involved in wars for aggressive, imperialist reasons (and I'm also noting the apparent inconsistency of many liberals' thoughts in this vein regarding the war in Serbia).

If we were imperialist, would we have simply tried to stalemate our opponents in the Vietnam and Korean wars? Would we not have tried to actually take over the enemy, instead of merely using a strategy of trying to prevent them from taking over those whom we were sympathetic towards (in hindsight, it appears such strategy was fatally flawed and could not be maintained indefinitely).

As imperialists, mightn't we have taken over Iraq 11 years ago when it was right there for the taking?

As imperialists, mightn't we have taken over Japan after winning the war? Instead we paid to help reconstruct their nation and helped them rebuild a better, more democratic, more progressive, more enterprising country.

We aren't imperialist. The former USSR was imperialist. Well, good riddance--and soon, good riddance to another expansionist totalitarian regime: Saddam Hussein and his gang.

02-08-2003, 11:45 AM
the notion that we get involved in wars for aggressive, imperialist reasons
Of course not. We kill people in order to make the world a better place.

would we have simply tried to stalemate our opponents in the Vietnam and Korean wars
Just because that was sort of the conclusion of both military ventures doesn't mean that was the goal. It's like saying we "tried to stalemate Hussein" in the first Gulf War. No...we fully intended to take him out, but public support sort of fell by the wayside once we achieved our "public" goal (the liberation of Kuwait).

mightn't we have taken over Japan after winning the war?
We pretty much did - that's what an "unconditional surrender" means. We decided that it was in our best interests to let them govern themselves under some extremely restrictive constraints and then set up a pile of military bases in the region to make sure they were doing the right thing (for us).

Just because we recognized that British imperialism wouldn't work real well anymore in the modern age doesn't mean we don't manipulate and control the activities and policies of many other governments. Or you were thinking there's another reason we have US military bases all over the globe? The military is at least semi-honest about it - we generally admit that our bases are there to protect American interests. The fact that those interests may or may not be legitimate is another matter entirely.

We aren't imperialist. The former USSR was imperialist.
I have a tough time differentiating between the foreign policies of the two superpowers referred to. They both believe(d) that their way of thinking and their form of government was the best one, and they both made liberal use of their militaries to encourage other nations to share their views. Certainly, there were some differences - but I'd argue those are attributable more to the level of freedom each government had to do what it wanted relative to the will of the people. (The Soviet Union had a lot more latitide in that respect than the US, certainly.)

02-08-2003, 01:41 PM
You just corroborated what I said. We didn't take over those countries. Now you're ascribing our not so doing to pragmatic reasons but impugning our motives without evidence. If that's your basis for calling us imperialist, I'd suggest you re-examine your thinking--ascribing to us "motives" which weren't carried out, and then using that as a basis for calling us imperialists, is absurd IMO--especially given the fact that we in fact did not take over these countries.

nicky g
02-08-2003, 02:05 PM
I don't think that when people describe the US as imperialist they mean that it literally occupies and runs countries that fall out of line with its policies; rather, they mean it installs regimes that will comply either its economic policies and generally act in ts favour, and tries to undermine left-wing or othrwise inconvenient governments through various means, sometomes overtly and sometimes covertly. The Soviets also didn't physically occupy most of the Eastern block countries either, although the threat of force was much more overt(eg Czechoslovkia). I don't think anyone could reasonably dispute that the US did that in the 1980s in Latin America or earlier in Indonesia for example. Whether it still acts that way now the Cold War is over is more open to argument, though clearly many would argue thatpost 9/11 policyo n Iraq is a symptom of a similar but new kind of US imperialism emerging.

I think pre-Castro Cuba is one of the best examples of what people mean by US imperialism. (Post-Batista Cuba is of course a compicated example of Soviet imperialism, but that wasn't true of countries such as Allende's Chile, Sokarno's Indonesia or Lumumba's Congo, all of which were democratically governed nations that were toppled into brutal dictatorships by US "imperialist" policy. I really don't think that the way Vietnam ended was what the US intended; to all extents and purposes, they lost and got booted out.

Where do you get the figure of Saddam killing 1,000,000 of his countrymen? I'm not informed enough to dipute it but I'd be interested to see a source.

02-08-2003, 02:31 PM
I don't recall where I got that figure but I do recall reading it recently from a source I respected. I spend a lot of time reading on the internet and have about 30 sites bookmarked which report on these sorts of issues or on various intelligence informations gathered around the world. I now wish I had noted the source for this figure when I read it. I didn't note the source because I assumed it was probably reasonably accurate--it wouldn't surprise me at all since Saddam is like a mini-Stalin--and I wasn't planning on using it in a popst or anywhere else until now. I'll try (briefly) to locate the source, but cut the figure in half or more and the argument still stands, doesn't it?

nicky g
02-08-2003, 02:39 PM
"I'll try (briefly) to locate the source, but cut the figure in half or more and the argument still stands, doesn't it? "

Certainly. There is no questio he's a mass murdering despot, and I wasn't trying to make a point, I was just interested because I couldn't come close to putting a figure on how many people he's killed. I bought a book on him over Christmas which I'v not read yet so I'll see if that has any more info.

But, to sneak a point in, the UN estimated that sanctions have killed half-a-million Iraqi chidren. Depleted uranium from teh first Gulf war that sanctions prevent being cleaned up have killed many more people. Those figures are under dispute, but cut them in half and it's still pretty awful, no?

02-08-2003, 06:19 PM
yes...and as I've argued before, the sanctions...and the needless deaths of his citizens...were cynically manipulated by Saddam for the express purpose of scoring political points on the world stage. Saddam continued to spend massive amounts of money on his overt and clandestine weapons programs while letting the children perish--which he blamed it on the sanctions. Yet he somehow had billions to spend on his military and WMD projects. In other words, Saddam used the sanctions to kill his people--for political points--rather than helping them. Now: if I too may sneak a point in, let's add that figure (or half of it) that to whatever number he actually had executed, raped, tortured, gassed, etc.

nicky g
02-08-2003, 06:40 PM
2 things:
1. whether he spent that money on developping WMDs is what's currently under investigation and has yet to be ascertained.

2. Certainly he has no interest in the welfare of his people. But the sanctions-related deaths weren't caused by lack of money, as I understand it; they were caused by the blockade of items such as medicine, various foodstuffs, decontamination equipment (as I mentioned), technical and medical equipment and so on.
You are right that Saddam is ultimately the main person at fault, but the cynical continuation of the sanctions for over a decade by the West despite the obvious fact that they weren't working and weren't weakening Saddam but were killing 1000s of innocent Iraqis leaves them with a lot of needless blood on their hands. Remember, when Albright said that the 500,000 deaths were a price worth paying even she wasn't disputing that it was the sanctions that were killing children.
(yes, if both figures are true then clearly Saddam is worse; I'm not arguing that he is not, just that the so-called allies needlessly kill Iraqi civilains as well. All the solutions to Saddam's regime, allegedly in order to liberate his long-suffering people, seem to involve killing a vast number of them. I doubt they are particularly grateful).

02-08-2003, 07:21 PM
I'm not sure why Albright said that but at any rate it doesn't mean that the sanctions killed those children just because Albright said it was a price worth paying.

Saddam could import damn near anything he wants into the country with his megabillions of oil revenue--he could have smuggled in heroin if he wanted, and he did smuggle in elite prohibited technologies on multiple occasions--I find it very hard to believe that he couldn't have gotten basic supplies if he really tried to.

02-09-2003, 01:08 AM
Patrice Lumumba was a democratic governor? ROFL

nicky g
02-10-2003, 06:53 AM
er... yes. he was elected. in fact, thanks to foreign interfeence, he was the first and only elected Prime Minister of Congo. and he certainly wasn't in power anywhere near long enough to turn into a mobutu or what have you, whom the cia and belgians kindly put in his place, to the eternal gratitude of oh, just about noone.
what makes you say otherwise?

nicky g
02-10-2003, 09:24 AM
"Saddam could import damn near anything he wants into the country with his megabillions of oil revenue--he could have smuggled in heroin if he wanted, and he did smuggle in elite prohibited technologies on multiple occasions--I find it very hard to believe that he couldn't have gotten basic supplies if he really tried to. "

I'm getting confused (what a surprise); surely his megabillions of oil revenue have completely dried up because the only oil he's allowed to sell any more is under theoil for food programme, and even under that much of the food and medicine is blocked or endlessly delayed.

So, as I see it: it would be true that if Iraq could export oil normally it would find ways rund the embargoes on technology, certain drugs etc. And it would be true that even with an oil embargo people wouldn't necesarily start dying in large numbers, it would just destroy the economy. But with both an oil embargo and an embargo on various things necessary to daily survival in place, people start dying. Or have I missed something?

02-10-2003, 11:40 AM
1. Saddam illegally and surreptitiously diverted revenues from the oil-for-food program to his military programs

2. Saddam obviously had enough money to keep building palaces, and statues of himself at every major traffic intersection

3. Saddam spent billions on his WMD programs. Where did that money come from??? Who cares? The point is that he had the money to spend and he didn't spend even a modest amount of it to help his suffering people, preferring instead to let them perish so he could gain political points towards getting the sanctions lifted and portraying the USA as callous and inhumane in its insistence that the sanctions remain in place. This cynical tactic displayed his true nature as clearly as anything else he has ever done.

4. No I don't have the sources, as I formed these opinions quite some time ago based on my readings at the time. I read enough to feel that the above is generally true with perhaps a 90% certainty. That's my assessment of it, anyway.

nicky g
02-10-2003, 12:11 PM
Didn't a lot of the things you're talking about happen BEFORE the sanctions came into place? Eg the WMD programmes; while they may still be running, which is what the inspectors are supposed to be investigating, it's totally apparent that they aren't on anything like the scale they were pre-91, or they'd be pretty damn easy to find. The money for them back then as for everythign else came from quantities of oil which have not been sold in a long time, and, er... shall we say, "external sources."
I agree that there is no question he diverts money for self-aggrandizement and military spending, but as I said, money isn't the only issue. It's pretty hard to turn penecillin and baby incubators into statues and nuclear bombs. Furthermore, don't you think the UN report took any of this into account?

PS Where is it that also spend billions (if not trillions) of dollars on WMDs, including chemical and biological weapons, while 1/6 of its children live in poverty and people die for want of basic health insurance? Could it be... the US? /forums/images/icons/shocked.gif

02-10-2003, 02:55 PM
er yes he was elected (by Parliment) but unfortunately an election does not guarantee a democratic government (as with Sandanistas and Hitler). The massacre of the Baluba tribespeople speaks all that needs be spoken of the democratic tendencies of the Lumumba government and the famed directive of Lumumba to his provincial governors ("use terrorism to subdue the population)") documents that.
The tragedy of the Congo is not relieved by revisionist history from the left or the right. Much transpired between the governments of Lumumba and Mobuto, two other governments rose and fell in between (Adoula and Kasavubu) all horrid, and Mobuto for all his evil, did eventually win out with his superior military advantage in the midst of total chaos.
Add Moise Tshombe to the mix and the Congo is seen as a Cold War battleground. So we are going to have differing viewpoints between graduates of Penn State and graduates of Patrice Lumumba Friendship University in Moscow, but Lumumba did announce early on that his objectives were to realign the Congo with the 'socialist' (read Communist) world and redistribute the wealth of the nation. That's good, or that's bad, depending on your point of view, but in a country at the developed level of the Congo of that time, the redistribution of wealth could be accomplished only at gun point (commonly known in the law as theft) and Lumumbas' removal from office and subsequent death were not the products of USSR or UN or USA manlipulations, but simply a normal Congolese response to an armed robber.

Mark Heide
02-10-2003, 02:59 PM

I think you got it. The root canal gets finished tomorrow. I tried to avoid having one just prove that Ray was wrong. How does he know this stuff?

Good Luck


nicky g
02-11-2003, 07:48 AM
"Lumumbas' removal from office and subsequent death were not the products of USSR or UN or USA manlipulations, but simply a normal Congolese response to an armed robber"

Except for the inconvenient facts that the CIA tried to assassinate him on several occasions, before the crisis even began, as they themsleves have admitted; that a Belgian officer presided over his execution; and that the entire secesionist crisis was deliberately provoked byBelgium with the support of the French, the US and the United Nations.
Lumumba was elected by a parliament that was in turn elected by the people; that's a perfectly normal democratic process. There is no question he was the most popular figure to lead the Congo post-independence, or that his removal and assassination were massively unpopular.

How in God's name can you call him an armed robber? Have you any idea the state the Congo was in at the time of independence, or what the Belgians did to it? It was one of the most mineral-rich countries in the world with one of the poorest populations in the world and could not possibly have made any progress without redistribution of wealth, which was at the time almost entirely in the hands of Belgian mining companies, given that there were only 17 congolese graduates in the whole country. He was prevented from doing that, killed, and you can see the state of what was the Congo for yourself in 2003, following Mobutu's theivery. Regardless of the fact that Mobutu did not come immediately after Lumumba, he was an unelected dictator who was unquestionably supported by the West, and could not have survived for 30 years without that support, while Lumumba's rule was unquestionably deliberately undermined by Belgium, the US and the UN.

Lumumba only turned towards the Soviets after the Belgians (who had deliberately provoked the entire crisis) and the UN refused to intervene to help the elected government; it was a classic example of a post-colonial nationalist leader being forced into the arms of the soviets by short-sighted westerners. Facing the complete collapse of the country with noone else to turn to, Lumumba simply had no choice but to accept any help that was offered. Previously he had been a socialist and a congolese nationalist but not by any means a communist, and you and a lot of other people on this forum would do well to learn the difference.

The massacre of the Baluba tribesmen was indeed an outrage, but it was one of many atrocities committed by poorly disciplined troops on both sides during the crisis, and pales into insignificance compared to what subsequently happened.

Tell me this: do you really think the Belgian mining companies and other vested interests in the Congo had a right to the vast properties they held in the Congo? Do you really think that the property and mining rights granted to foreign corporations during the colonisation and systematic rape of the Congo by the Belgians should have been allowed to stand following independence, regardless of how that property was taken (I think your "armed robbery" would be the best description, while Lumumba had a democatic mandate to redistribute Congolese wealth) and the state of the country?

nicky g
02-11-2003, 08:00 AM
For anyone interested, this is a concise summary of the history of the Congo and the post-independence crisis and subsequent wars, though its based around an interest in military aircraft. /forums/images/icons/crazy.gif
As it puts it:
"The madness that was the Democratic Republic of Congo during the period 1960-1997 sprang in large part from massive, clandestine intervention by the western powers. France, Britain, Belgium, and the United States would not let the Congolese decide their future for themselves, because these nations feared that a rival—another Western power or the USSR—would gain an undue say in the outcome and that foreign investors would lose money. But none of these countries thought that its motives and actions could stand much public scrutiny, either at home or abroad."


02-11-2003, 03:10 PM
Even Fidel Castro went through with a pretense of promising payment later for expropriated properties, his bow to the rule of law. It makes no difference what I think: the right to private property is fundamental to democracy, due process is essential to human rights and those who would violate must suffer the consequences, sometimes death and rightly so.
IMO generations of Belgians (and English, says this Irishwoman) should burn in Hell for their colonialism and colonial policies of those times but if Belgian property rights are not respected then no property rights are safe and those who live by the sword must die by the sword.
The county in which I live took my real property through a court proceeding (right-of-way condemnation) and paid me less than I wanted but the amount ordered by the court and later some slick took my poker bankroll but it was all legal so I took those hits without recourse to violence.
I have no idea what was in the mind of Lumumba and no clue of what 'difference' you would have us learn. If a Belgian pulled the trigger on Lumumba, ok. I would have done the same.

nicky g
02-11-2003, 06:32 PM
You would have killed the democratially elected leader of a newly independent postcolonial nation because he wanted to redisribute that country's wealth which was almost entirely in the hands of several foreign mining corporations that had killed literally millions of his county men to get their wealth, while the people starved, and despite the fact he was voted in on that platform. At least we know where we stand. Given that that's precisely what happened, I hope you're happy with how things turned out.
As it happened Lumumba was not in power long enough to put any redistribution programmes into practice, its pure conjeecture to say how it would have happened and what compensation procedures would or would not have been put in place. It's completely absurd to say that people who stole property in the first place have 'rights' to that property. As a fellow Irish person I would have hoped you'd have more humananity. Your post genuinely depresses me more than you can imagine.

02-12-2003, 02:31 AM
nicky, I'm sorry you're depressed but life does that. It struck me that you described the Nazi regime to a tee - democratically elected, voted in on that platform - and Germany was suffering under the heels of the allied land grabs and reparations - none of which justified the robbery of Jewish property and mass theft from other peoples for redistribution to the German people - nothing ever justifies the robbery of property or the taking of human life except in self defence or the defence of one's human rights (tough lesson the commies had to learn the hard way, that the right to the safe possession of property is a human right - until we see plants and animals owning property) or in the defence of others. The only difference between Hitler and Lumumba was that Hitler survived longer.
The most massive redistribution of wealth in history was accomplished and continues in the United States with the advent of the Federal Income Tax and not a shot was fired because it was accomplished with the consent of the governed.
nicky I don't know what your credentials are as a freedom fighter for the oppressed, but mine were earned during the 30 months I spent in the United States Correctional Facility for Women in Alderson, West Virginia, for my illegal activities on United States soil on behalf of the Republican Army and I'm working out 20 years unsupervised probation with frequent social calls from the FBI. So life is tough: I had to put up with those socialistic idiots in the SF and the IRA and now I have to put up with the FBI and the Department of JustUs but I've learned a good healthy respect for the law and due process.
So I wave the flag of Texas (Don't Tread on Me!) and if some 'savior' of the people shows up with cannons demanding my property in the name of 50 million Congolese or 50 thousand Congolese or 50 Congolese or 1 Congolese, I say take it if you can, bastard, but be prepared to die.

nicky g
02-12-2003, 06:46 AM
"It struck me that you described the Nazi regime to a tee - democratically elected, voted in on that platform": right, so all democratically elected governments that act on their mandates are Nazis. Lucky for you Bush wasn't democratically elected, I suppose.

The difference between Lumumba and the Nazis was that the Jews hadn't been ruling Germany for 80 years, hadn't killed tens of millions of people and weren't in ownership of all the country's national resources. They were an entirely innocent scapegoat of Nazi racism. The Belgians in the Congo on the other hand were guilty of all those things and what's more they now admit it and have apologised for it. Furthermore, Lumuba didn't even kill any Belgians - his only revenge consisted of slightly insulting King Baudoin (who was complicit in his assassination); the killings came after independence, which was a shaky but largely peaceful matter, and the people who died were Congolese in the Western-fomented war, and those who suffered under the post-Lumuba regimes.
You continue to insist that redistribution of property would have taken the form of violent theft, when you have no way of knowing that as such a programme was never implemented, because the Belgians fomented the war and the succession of coups that put Mobutu in power for 30 years, who redistributed a lot of property to himself, and let the Belgians and the rest get on with it. You make no sense: the Nazis invaded most of Europe and killed 10 million people in concentration camps becaus of a bizarre extreme right wing social theory. Lumumba was a left-winger who wanted to redistribute wealth in the Congo. His opponents killed tens of thousands of his supporters after his death. Forgive me if I don't see the similarity.

Futrhermore the Nazis regime wasn't democratically elected; Hitler and 2 other s were given posts as a minority partner in a coalition government and Hindenburg was somehow persuaded to make Hitler chancellor. They then proceeded to grab power, and their only mandate came from referendums they ran once their totalitarian power had been consolidated.

I make no claims to any status as a freedom fighter. I hope you're proud of what the IRA did with the money you raised for them, blowing up people out doing their shopping, having a drink, killing Protestant workers on their way home and so forth, and keeping a pointless war that both sides suffered needlessly under running for 30 years.

02-12-2003, 12:27 PM
Along with the much greater tragedies of the war for the liberation of Ulster was that I was betrayed by my own people and turned over to the US authorities because I continued to demand an end to the attacks on the Prots and the civilian population and denounced those assaults in Army councils. The Brit military and the RUC offer ample targets for those who wish to destroy an enemy but 'leaders' sometimes prefer to set up scapegoats, easy targets, people of other faiths, Jews or mining interests, distractions from the facts of our own failures to set liberating agendas on behalf of those we seek to liberate, forgetting that you can establish tyranny in the name of liberation.
Hitler had supporters and Lumumba had supporters and the Jews were not entirely innocent and the mining interests were not entirely innocent but it goes nowhere to play armchair liberator with smoke and mirrors - to say that some dictator or two was elected is not to say that all elected officials are dictators.
You are a true believer with no knowledge of the evil that exists in real politics, on all sides. You would make a hero of a man who accomplished nothing because he was stopped from doing what he said he would do, and if he had accomplished it he would have stolen an industrial enterprise from those capable of running it and handed it over to those incapable of running a dairy farm. Edward R. Murrow reported a sign of those times on the wall at the Leopoldville airport - "Will the last European to leave please turn out the lights."

nicky g
02-13-2003, 08:55 AM
This is absurd. The 2 cases just aren't comparable. How exactly were the Jews "not entirely innocent"? And how were those incapapble of running a diary farm to become competent in running anything (eg an independent nation) without some sort of wealth rdistribution neccessary to improving their lot and offering any kind of universal education? Why don't you address the point that the Belgians stole the wealth in the first place, not only at gunpoint but by killing an estimated minimum of 10 million Congolese? And given that the foreign intervention in the Congo has resulted in a historythat simply put, couldn't be any worse, with millions still dying each year, wouldn't Lumumba's mandated programme have been better than what happened instead, however much importance you attach to (stolen) property "rights"?
If what you say about your involvement is in republicanism is true, then respect to your efforts to keep civilians out of the line of fire. That said, even a campaing against only the British military infrastructure would have kept a war which civilians on both sides suffered under needlessly going, and delayed any political solution.