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Saturday, March 04, 2017

Saturday Puzzler

Ignore this NYT Op-Ed for the moment*, there is something very striking about the picture accompanying the piece.

(Don't know why I didn't do a screen grab the first time.)



* Aside from reflexive virtue signaling, and a conclusion without an argument, this Op-Ed actually gets perilously close to actual awareness.

172 comments:

erp said...

... Do you mean that the sainted martyr is larger than life?

Hey Skipper said...

Nope.

erp said...

Nobody's wearing sneakers?

Hey Skipper said...

It is hiding in very plain sight.

Or maybe a better hint would be that its absence is evident throughout the photo.

erp said...

Absent from view: security, placards, bulging bellies, tattoos. Is the boy bottom right holding a gun to his mouth????

Hey Skipper said...

Absent from view: security, placards, bulging bellies, tattoos ...

Wow, erp. Sharp eye. Of all the things glaring in their absence, I only noticed the complete absence of avoirdupois.

Aside from the other things, what the hell happened?

Bret said...

The lack of secret service everywhere caught my eye. Not many cars either.

erp said...

The FDA.

Hey Skipper said...

[erp:] Is the boy bottom right holding a gun to his mouth????

I think that is one of the bitter clingers Obama was talking about.

The FDA.

I would have guessed the Dept of Agriculture, for subsidizing high fructose corn syrup.

erp said...

The FDA demonized fat and praised carbs when the opposite was correct. Natural fats are the fuel of the body and carbs, especially wheat, corn and sugar are addictive and produce fat people. Fast food and prepared foods are the biggest culprits guaranteed to add weight and drain off energy -- starting at a very young age with fat-free everything.

Some people are catching on.

Paul Jaminet, whose moniker was PJ at the Bros and his wife, both scientists, have developed a wonderful program called the Perfect Health Diet that is quite successful. Paul is a great guy.

Harry Eagar said...

'wheat, corn and sugar are addictive and produce fat people'

Oh, really? i guess that explains all those fat Haitians

erp said...

Haitians keep in shape by following the Clinton Victims Starvation Diet.

Clovis e Adri said...

Wheat and corn has long been the diet of whole populations without ever creating an obesity epidemics.

Bread is sacred, Erp, stop with the sacrilege.

Clovis e Adri said...

----
[Bret] The lack of secret service everywhere caught my eye.
----
Yeah, wasn't it easy to kill a president back then?

Good ole times... gotta agree Erp has reasons to miss that bygone era.

erp said...

Clovis,

That president wasn't killed by people like those in the picture. He was killed by a commie nutcase goaded by lefties in government who wanted to reverse the peaceful evolution going on in the country and they succeeded in dividing us into pockets of diversity actively fighting each other. The SS were on the scene, but there was no need to surround Kennedy who didn't need to wear a bullet-proof vest.

Mazel tov.

Populations around the world were engaged in heavy labor and not sitting around eating junk food in copious amounts and washing it down with soda and/or beer.

Read Paul's book before making snarky remarks. BTW - he's a physicist who was at Harvard before he got into his diet research.

Clovis e Adri said...

You and Skipper have been throwing that accusation of delivering 'snarky remarks' a lot at me lately.

Merrian-Webster:

Definition of snarky
1
: crotchety, snappish
2
: sarcastic, impertinent, or irreverent in tone or manner snarky lyrics


Urbandictionary.com:

snarky
A word that should be googled to find the definition as per direction from Dane Cook. It means short tempered or irritable.
"He was being very snarky with me. Yeah, snarky. Its a word, google it." -Dane Cook



The way I read it, it is intended as a mild offense to myself, like I am losing my temper or something. Is it the way you and Skipper use it?

erp said...
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erp said...

I don't speak for Skipper, but I use snark to mean that instead of dealing with an issue, one attacks the person in a way that may not be as offensive as direct ad hominem and could be taken for sarcasm or even joking around.

Your making light/deriding of my memories of how things really were back when is a good example. It could mean I'm mis-remembering my youth wistfully as a better time or could mean I am deliberately misstating the facts to comply with an ideology. I assure you I am not romanticizing the past only reporting from a "boots on the ground" position, not the left's narrative enhancement version.

Here are two articles link 1 and link 2 that explain the left's use of violence, the ultimate, snark throughout the last 100+ years and continuing unabated up to the present moment.

Clovis e Adri said...

Gee, and I thought my snarky remark was about bread being sacred and defending wheat and corn. (I do love bread!)



erp said...

... making my point for me. If you are defending your dietary habits as being sacred, say that or put in a smiley face.

Clovis e Adri said...

It is sort of an ancient popular dictum (AFAIK, in many countries) that one about bread.

Furthermore, the fact I may use sarcasm does not mean I am losing my temper - it is a low punch.

Bret said...

To me snark, is biting and funny sarcasm and is actually a compliment. The instapundit used to be impressively good with snark.

Clovis e Adri said...

It is funny how, even after so many years studying a foreign language, you can still get so lost.

I confess another one: in that discussion with Skipper, where I defended Trump attacked that woman he took to furniture shopping. Trump says "I moved on her like a bitch" -- which I thought could only mean he physically moved on her. Only after Skipper offered other options I understood it could mean a non-physical move too.

erp said...

Clovis, I didn’t say anything about losing your temper and am hardly responsible for definitions in online dictionaries.

However, should the occasion arise, it would be a simple matter for me to eviscerate someone without losing my temper or even raising my voice -- two things I rarely, if ever, do.

😊

You do very well communicating, save the sarcasm until your ear is more attuned to it.

Bret said...

This is actually a good environment for Clovis to practice sarcasm and humor. It's safe and no doubt we'll sarcastically criticize his attempts at snark and sarcasm that fail so he'll get the hang of it even quicker! :-) After all, how can one learn such subtleties without giving it a try?

erp said...

So true Bret, so go for it Clovis. We have your back. :-)

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] You and Skipper have been throwing that accusation of delivering 'snarky remarks' a lot at me lately.

...

The way I read it, it is intended as a mild offense to myself, like I am losing my temper or something. Is it the way you and Skipper use it?


That's exactly the way I used it, and this is why:

Actually, your ignorance makes for a pretty interesting study in case.

Even though you were once in a relatively high position in the USAF, and dealt with classified information at Pentagon level -- and did I mention you even fought a war in the Middle East!? -- you look to be pretty clueless about the role the USA has - overt and covert - there.

And I know your intelligence is way above average. Which means that such ignorance can only be by design. No wonder your ME interventions are such a mess of pitiful results.


In turns I'm ignorant, except that I can't be ignorant, which makes me stupid, and therefore responsible for US interventions in the ME: I have become a synecdoche*, without so much as one appeal to either logic or reason.

Had you led with ascertainable facts to which I was immune, or failed to take into account then, perhaps, snark might have been called for. But you didn't, so I intended the word as criticism of your comments' (in my view) unwarranted tone.

No worries, though. As far as the internets go, your conduct is positively civilized.

(*synecdoche |səˈnekdəkē| noun a figure of speech in which a part is made to represent the whole or vice versa, as in Cleveland won by six runs (meaning “Cleveland's baseball team”

Great word, unknown to most native English speakers.)

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] 'wheat, corn and sugar are addictive and produce fat people'

Oh, really? i guess that explains all those fat Haitians


In contrast, Clovis, snark is as good as Harry ever gets.

Clovis e Adri said...
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Clovis e Adri said...
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Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

----
In turns I'm ignorant, except that I can't be ignorant, which makes me stupid, and therefore responsible for US interventions in the ME: I have become a synecdoche*, without so much as one appeal to either logic or reason.
[...]
Had you led with ascertainable facts to which I was immune, or failed to take into account then, perhaps, snark might have been called for. But you didn't, so I intended the word as criticism of your comments' (in my view) unwarranted tone.
----

It turns out you are ignorant, but it is not your fault - I even conceded you are pretty smart, didn't I?


One of the reasons I did not try to appeal to "logic or reason" to prove your ignorance is, well, I can't prove it. I can only infer it from the greater landscape.

Meaning, I do believe a great deal of the 'Arab Spring' was induced by a greater social engineering enabled by the newer technologies. Facebook, whatsapp, twitter - they all have been more effective than your entire nuclear arsenal. And they have been used by US intel agencies in order to feed those 'springs'.

Though it is too easy to dismiss the above idea as cheap conspiration theory, I think you only need to connect the dots. Some are already connected for you.

Guess what were the hot words in each of those three vanilla articles purpoted to explain Syria's civil war? Arab spring, Arab spring, Arab spring...

Now you see: I did not refer to your past life reading Pentagon's classified junk just to troll you. I had the above in mind.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] It turns out you are ignorant, but it is not your fault - I even conceded you are pretty smart, didn't I?

You aren't a native English speaker, although you have gotten so good at it that the casual reader (and I, if this thread had been your first appearance here) would be entirely fooled.

But still.

I picked the last comment on that thread, because it was the easiest to directly quote (Harry! Behold the power of quoting people, instead of telling us what they said!). It isn't the most glaring example.

Ignorance, in and of itself, is no crime. After all, all of us are completely ignorant of almost everything. But ignorance in the face of information implies either of two things: stupidity, or willful blindness. Relying upon English as a native speaker, you left no other alternative. Conceding I am smart doesn't make matters any better, because you have merely narrowed the options down to willful (and therefore evil) blindness.

However ...

One of the reasons I did not try to appeal to "logic or reason" to prove your ignorance is, well, I can't prove it. I can only infer it from the greater landscape.

Meaning, I do believe a great deal of the 'Arab Spring' was induced by a greater social engineering enabled by the newer technologies.


I believe I am entirely justified in concluding your remarks to this point were pointed specifically at US policies in the ME that, in their absence, would have left the ME a far better place.

As it happens, I completely agree (provisionally) with what you say here (Harry! Behold the power of the direct quote!).

By provisionally, I am not being condescending, but rather objecting to the phrase "social engineering". It implies, no explicitly requires, some organized effort towards a specific goal.

About those dots. If you think the US is the only, or even the primary, digital intruder, you are sorely mistaken. Not only that, you leave yourself open to the counterfactual. Assume that the CIA never had those hacks, or that the US, completely unlike every other government ever, decided to forego spying as much as it could on every other government.

What changes?

If you cannot, with some degree of specificity, answer that question, then you run afoul of Popper: your statements are worthless because they aren't falsifiable.

This is where my "provisional" comes in. Speaking phenomenologically, the consequences of the Enlightenment are an existential threat to Islam and, as such, is bound to provoke a violent response. In that regard, the US, foremost amongst the rest of the west, has created conditions which spurred the backlash in the Islamic world.

But that leaves intent, for good or evil, right off the table.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
As it happens, I completely agree (provisionally) with what you say here
---

Wow! That's some tremendous progress - even if a provisional one. I am dumbfounded you could half agree with me up to here.

---
It implies, no explicitly requires, some organized effort towards a specific goal.
---
Yes, and I did make it explicit with my phrasing: "they have been used by US intel agencies in order to feed those 'springs'."

---
Assume that the CIA never had those hacks, or that the US, completely unlike every other government ever, decided to forego spying as much as it could on every other government.

What changes?

If you cannot, with some degree of specificity, answer that question, then you run afoul of Popper: your statements are worthless because they aren't falsifiable.
---

I am not sure what you intend to gain by conflating 'spying' and 'actively directing policy and entire populations', being the latter what I mean by social engineering.

As for Popper, I beforehand granted I can not prove much of what I am saying. I am only an ignorant physicist trying to understand the world with whatever information I can get, so I can only infer things, by selecting the most reasonable explanations for the facts I gather.

I may well be wrong. I most probably will be wrong on many details, but I am reasonably sure about the great picture - 'sure' at a personal level, I am aware I can not sell it to anyone demanding proof, so I didn't and stopped arguing the subject last time.


Now I will rephrase your question - 'What changes?' - but making it to refer to my point instead of mere 'spying'.

What changes is that we would have 5 million less refugees from Syria today, and no 13.5 million Syrians (still inside the country) suffering humanitarian emergency.

Also, 600.000 to 1 million less refugees from Lybia, not counting the chaos inside that country.

Yes, I believe absent US influence over many channels, but mainly through social engineering coupled to military action, the situation would be that better.

----
But that leaves intent, for good or evil, right off the table.
----
Get back to that thread and read my answer to Bret, when he asked what I meant by 'direct function'.

Though I am cynical enough to believe some actors are pretty happy with the results, I don't think most US players intended to completely destroy Syria and induce all this suffering.

In the same way most planners inside communist economies never intended to make their populations to starve.

What both examples above have in common is what Hayek best summarized as the "pretense of knowledge" - the idea that anyone could know enough to engineer society successfully.

erp said...

... with this I whole-heartedly agree: that anyone could know enough to engineer society successfully.

Hey Skipper said...

[Hey Skipper:] It implies, no explicitly requires, some organized effort towards a specific goal.

---

[Clovis:] Yes, and I did make it explicit with my phrasing: "they have been used by US intel agencies in order to feed those 'springs'."


Sorry, that isn't nearly half sufficient. First, you assert without any corroborating evidence any details as to what — not how (means and ends are two entirely different things) — US intel agencies did to feed those springs; further, that presumes a degree of omnipotence that history does not support.

When you say "actively directing policy and entire populations" you are making a claim so extraordinary as to farcical on its face. That is Masonic grade conspiracy thinking.

Also, you are clearly guilty of assuming the US is the only actor in the ME, that neither the Russians nor the Chinese have similar spying tools, and that they wouldn't be working full tilt in order to frustrate US goals in the region. This is where your theory goes off the rails: somehow the US is super omnipotent, and socially engineers nearly the entire ME into revolt.

Enquiring minds at this point desperately want to know: to what foreign policy end? And those same enquiring minds are wondering how it is that US intel agencies, omnipotently socially engineer multiple revolts yet are so stupid they can't fathom the obvious potential for a refugee crisis.

And right on the heels of that question another rears its ugly head: presuming socially engineering widespread revolts is possible, and the consequent refugee crisis put severe, and possibly fatal strain on the EU, as well as drove a wedge between Turkey and NATO, on what basis do you exclude the Chinese and Russians — whose intel capabilities are every bit as sophisticated as the US's — from engineering the Arab Spring?

You have leapt to a number of conclusions relying upon an extremely shaky premise — that engineering the Arab Spring was even possible in the first place — then completely ignore the roles other countries played. Any analysis that ignores China, Russia, Iran, and Merkel fails at the outset.

Instead of making appeals to shadowy figures with superpowers sufficient to finely engineer simultaneous revolts in a half dozen countries, yet are too stupid to foresee the obvious (kind of like the rap on Bush was always in luny land: so fiendishly brilliant he could mislead all manner of people about Iraqi WMD, yet somehow too stupid to do the easiest thing of all: plant some), how about try this:

Occam's razor.

The post WWII histories of Arab ME countries share many common features: dictatorial government drawn from a minority Islamic sect (Sunni v. Shia in Iraq, Alawites v. Sunni in Syria, etc.). The ME was gas looking for a spark. Some economist somewhere said that, without border enforcement, generous welfare countries cannot long exist next to crap fests with borders; Merkel was either too driven by German collective guilt, or too stupid, to foresee the consequences of waving all comers through.

That's it, right there. No need for super duper social engineering powers wielded to some completely undefined end by idiots. In particular, it requires the US operate in a complete vacuum, which is so contrary to obvious fact as to warrant excluding your version of reality from the outset.

erp said...

Skipper, exactly what I cannot understand when lefties accuse us of interfering in the ME. To what end???? Bush had revenge for 911 as a motive and he was widely backed for his actions worldwide, but lefties think we deserved being attacked for previous transgressions -- IMO that translates into our alliance with Israel .

Clovis may be too young to remember the hoopla about WMD and Saddam's alleged 80' foot deep bunker in the desert where the weapons are stored ... Then there was the hoopla about a caravan of 60 trucks moving the weapons into Jordan ...

The refugee crisis is nonsense. Since when are refugees mostly young men under middle age? Where are the families, children, grandparents, etc. We are being played and the idiots on the left can't understand that they will be the first to go when Allah takes over.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
When you say "actively directing policy and entire populations" you are making a claim so extraordinary as to farcical on its face. That is Masonic grade conspiracy thinking.
---

Yeah, yeah, such things do not happen.

Unthinkable.

And no connection whatsoever to the US is possible, is it?


---
Enquiring minds at this point desperately want to know: to what foreign policy end? And those same enquiring minds are wondering how it is that US intel agencies, omnipotently socially engineer multiple revolts yet are so stupid they can't fathom the obvious potential for a refugee crisis.
---

Having powerful tools has never been a guarantee of wisdom - more often the contrary.

But those enquiring minds have shown very little actual curiosity up to now, I'd say. So instead of answering your questions for you, I would like to see you trying for yourself, something you showed too little effort at up to now.

You may get back to my Wikileaks link and start with the following question: assuming all the capabilities implied there, what would be possible to do?

Would a foreign power be able to influence the whole structures of power of a country in order to promote their champions and demote their undesired?

Would it be able to do it virtually undetected and with minimal political costs?

If yes, would it forego to do so?


Of course, all those questions can only be asked by little minds locked in "Masonic grade conspiracy thinking". So don't bother, nothing to see here.

What renders all this exercise futile is not really the answers we may find, but the lenses you use to see them. As proved time and again, you won't ever be able to judge the pros and cons objectively, for beforehand you greatly feel the need to justify any action as necessary - there will be always the Ruskiesd, the Chinese, or the highly constructed alternative future where present mistakes will be absolutely justified.


I've seen blind and dumb faith too many times in my life, Skipper. I can easily recognize it from thousands of miles of distance.

erp said...

Clovis, you do know that the word, "Albanian," is a code word for Moslem in that part of the world and the Republican in the IRI has nothing to do with the Republican party in the U.S.

I ask again, to what end do you think we, as in We, the People, not lefties in control of the US government are doing all the dastardly things you think we are doing.

Why do you think we give a tinker's damn who is in control in any country anywhere? We want/need nothing from anyone. We have all we need right here and if we lack something, one of our geniuses will figure out an alternative as we did when rubber was no longer available during WWII.

The left want one world government with them in charge and the narrative is in place to promote that agenda.

That's what you don't get, but I hold out great hope you will be able to see what you learned in school and from the media was/is propaganda slanted toward that end.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
I ask again, to what end do you think we, as in We, the People, not lefties in control of the US government are doing all the dastardly things you think we are doing.
---

As is clear from the present exchange with Skipper, You, The People, have awful little idea of what You, The State is doing, both in and out of your country.

So good old ladies like you, and true believers like Skipper, believe whatever those many things be, they surely are being done in the good name of God, Country and Democracy.

I think that comes right after "It is For the Children!" in the list of dumb excuses people blindly believe in.

erp said...

Clovis, Skipper and I and lots of others like like us decry and despise what the left has done and is still doing.

Certainly not I, BTW I wasn't always a good old lady, I usta be a contenda, and to my knowledge Skipper have never believed one worlders are doing anything in the name of God, Country and Democracy. They are doing it for money and power just like all the other demigod wannabes.

Unfortunately, they play the long game as I've said repeatedly and at this point in time have poisoned the minds of at least the past two generations since the teachers' unions took over the schools and the media for much longer than that.

erp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
erp said...

Preview -- working again.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

Either you definition of Left is way out of the standard meaning, or you delude yourself thinking it is only Democrats who do it (though they probably are worse at it indeed).

erp said...

Clovis, In my lifetime, only Eisenhower (kinda), Ford, Reagan and GWBush were not of the left. All the others were in the left spectrum from flaming red (FDR) to pink (Bush pêre).

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] Yeah, yeah, such things do not happen.

Unthinkable.

And no connection whatsoever to the US is possible, is it?


You have made an extraordinary claim — US actions were both necessary and sufficient to cause the refugee crisis — those links are far from extraordinary evidence.

From the NYT link: a small core of American government-financed organizations were promoting democracy in authoritarian Arab states.

The money spent on these programs was minute compared with efforts led by the Pentagon.


According to you, for this article to constitute persuasive evidence, this is the sort of action without which the Arab Spring would never have happened. As opposed to, say, the straw that broke the camel's back, if it did even that much:

No one doubts that the Arab uprisings are home grown, rather than resulting from “foreign influence,” as alleged by some Middle Eastern leaders.

Perhaps you didn't read that far into your source, but that's not my fault. Since you can't be fussed with contrary evidence coming from your own sources, I don't know why I should continue further.

But some members of the activist groups complained in interviews that the United States was hypocritical for helping them at the same time that it was supporting the governments [e.g. $1.5B/yr to the Egyptian gov't] they sought to change.

So which is it, did we minutely help, or preponderantly hinder, the Arab Spring?

In addition, you refer us to the awesome, societal engineering power of Twitter. (And your source would make the NYT, WaPo, and Rachel Maddow look like paragons of objectivity.) I would quote from it, but the entire article strikingly lacks even one word of any measurable effect on anything anywhere. I am completely mystified as to why you wasted my time with this.

But not nearly as much a waste of my time as this. Such activity as may have happened, wasn't even in the middle east.

But those enquiring minds have shown very little actual curiosity up to now, I'd say. So instead of answering your questions for you, I would like to see you trying for yourself, something you showed too little effort at up to now.

You haven't answered a question yet. You haven't provided evidence amounting to a bee fart in a hurricane; indeed, every bit of what you have provided either contradicts your position, or has nothing to do with it.

So far you have somehow managed to ignore Iran, Syria, Turkey, Russia, China, European welfare states in general and Merkel in particular.

Your lack of responsiveness to obvious objections, and relentless ignoring of everything contrary to your pet theory is starting to remind me of this guy.

It isn't a good look on you.

Speaking of unattractive looks: I've seen blind and dumb faith too many times in my life, Skipper. I can easily recognize it from thousands of miles of distance.

That is exactly the sort of thing you should type to get out of your system, then resolutely delete before hitting Publish.

Clovis e Adri said...

IOW, Erp, you mean most of the time your government is on the hands of what you call "one worlders", and yet I am wrong when complaining the US meddles too much with other peoples affairs?

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,


You put yourself in a too easy position, demanding proofs I will never give to you - for beforehand I conceded I don't have them.

My links above were then, obviously, no *proof* of anything. If you are unable to read anything beyond the information they provide, what can I say?

I am quite clearly dealing with speculations here. You take them as you wish. Did I warn you it would be a fruitless discussion? Oh, I did.

Hey Skipper said...

Clovis, you made a direct assertion -- US activities in the ME were directly responsible for the refugee crisis:

I may well be wrong. I most probably will be wrong on many details, but I am reasonably sure about the great picture - 'sure' at a personal level, I am aware I can not sell it to anyone demanding proof, so I didn't and stopped arguing the subject last time.


Now I will rephrase your question - 'What changes?' - but making it to refer to my point instead of mere 'spying'.

What changes is that we would have 5 million less refugees from Syria today, and no 13.5 million Syrians (still inside the country) suffering humanitarian emergency.

Also, 600.000 to 1 million less refugees from Lybia, not counting the chaos inside that country.

Yes, I believe absent US influence over many channels, but mainly through social engineering coupled to military action, the situation would be that better.


In order to convince me that is remotely true, you must provide substantial concrete evidence that US actions were both necessary and sufficient. Unfortunately, even if your assertion was merely that US actions made a meaningful contribution, you would still have fallen well short.

So, instead of accusing me of being blind and dumb, when what little evidence there is doesn't help you at all, then perhaps you should change your theory to fit the facts: that, far from being necessary, never mind sufficient, US actions were completely irrelevant to the outcome -- IOW, the refugee crisis was going to happen no matter what the US did, or didn't do.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
In order to convince me that is remotely true, you must provide substantial concrete evidence that US actions were both necessary and sufficient.
---

What part of "I have no proof" you did not understand, from the very begin?


Clovis e Adri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
So, instead of accusing me of being blind and dumb, when what little evidence there is doesn't help you at all, then perhaps you should change your theory to fit the facts: that, far from being necessary, never mind sufficient, US actions were completely irrelevant to the outcome -- IOW, the refugee crisis was going to happen no matter what the US did, or didn't do.
---

Just for the record, none of the links, and the information therein, contradicts me anyhow. You think they do either because you misunderstand me - which is understandable, given I do not want to explain any further either - or because you did not do your homework.


I wonder, in an alternative universe were Trump opened up the NSA and CIA archives, and it showed me right, what difference would it make to you?

I did ask you a similar question before, and the reason I keep calling you blind is the answer you gave me to that one.


erp said...

Here it is:

We are obligated by the Monroe Doctrine to keep foreign forces out of the Western Hemisphere (lefty presidents ignored that and we are all still paying the price); we allied with Israel to help protect it from the overwhelming forces aligned against it, but forced them to fight only a defensive war and not knock out the forces against them completely (and we are still paying the price for that as well); in Vietnam we were obligated by SEATO to protect South Vietnam when North Vietnam invaded it and when congress refused to fund it before it was won, left the area to the atrocities of the commies (the Vietnamese recovered nicely and are now enjoying capitalism and prosperity); then there were NATO obligations in the Balkans where we were on the wrong side and bubba armed the moslems who were referred to as Albanians in the media (now there is conflict in the country of Albania between Moslems and Christians, something that didn't exist in past) ... and 911 which you believe was justified because it was in retaliation for our past unnamed transgressions, but you don't believe that Bush was justified in pursuing Desert Storm -- full disclosure, I believe he should have been much more aggressive.

Wouldn't it be easier for you to tell us where we meddled unnecessarily.

Harry Eagar said...

'US activities in the ME were directly responsible for the refugee crisis:'

Set the table.

There are, as we Catholics parse it, sins of commission and of omission. The US destroyed the government in Iraq but it neglected to replace it. Hence anarchy, collapse, turmoil, refugees.

erp said...

... have you forgotten the Iraqi's had elections to choose their new government. We took down the dictator to allow them the freedom to set their own future. Should we have hung around to make sure they could handle it? Probably, but then we would be accused of being imperialists.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
and 911 which you believe was justified because it was in retaliation for our past unnamed transgressions, but you don't believe that Bush was justified in pursuing Desert Storm -- full disclosure, I believe he should have been much more aggressive.
---

I take offense on that one. You won't find me arguing 9/11 was justified.

And I believe you mistype. Desert Storm was the first Iraq War. You won't find a quote where I argued against it either.

erp said...

Sorry, I used Desert Storm from memory without checking the nomenclature.

I was sure from your comments that you felt Bush over-reacted after 911. If I was mistaken, please accept my apology. 911 is personal with me. At the time, my brother worked in the building next door which wasn't damaged, but we couldn't get through for a very long time and nobody knew the extent of the damage and as it turned out, he was on a field trip on Long Island that day, but it delayed his retirement for over a year as his firm of forensic engineers was called upon for their expertise.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

Well yes, Bush did over-react, but his mistake was Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, not in 2001 with Afghanistan, nor his father's war in 1990.

There is absolutely no correlation between 9/11 and Iraq, but the fact you still, to this day, mistake one thing as connected to the other tells much of what is wrong with the American mindset since then.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

By the way, enquiring minds want to know: if the President you voted for can talk openly about wiretaps and conspiration theories against him, why the heck you take offense with my own conspiration theories?

You ought to vote for me!

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] What part of "I have no proof" you did not understand, from the very begin?

Pro-tip: evidence < > proof

What part of I never asked for proof in the first place do you not understand? All I asked for was any evidence to substantiate your assertion, and to place that evidence within the context of Iran, Russia, et al.

You never did either; you never gave me one reason to take your claim as anything other than vacuous.

Just for the record, none of the links, and the information therein, contradicts me anyhow.

The heck it doesn't. I quoted (Harry, behold the power of the direct quote!) your direct claim, and exactly where your own evidence either contradicted it, or was wholly irrelevant. I did your homework for you.

I wonder, in an alternative universe were Trump opened up the NSA and CIA archives, and it showed me right, what difference would it make to you?

You seem to assume, on the basis of precisely zero evidence, that I don't think the government does all manner of things it won't acknowledge to advance what it perceives are in the US's national interests. You seem to think that despite working with NATO while in the Pentagon that I didn't see all countries doing that. You impose upon me gob-smacked surprise that is, in fact, impossible.

Now, where surprise would indeed have been possible, is that with regard to the refugee crisis, all that stuff I either already knew, or assume, was going on had any material effect at all on the refugee crisis.

(NB: In 2002, there was a coup attempt the US abetted. As it turns out, it would have been greatly to the Venezuelans' benefit had it succeeded. It didn't. If the US can't engineer a society sufficiently to force an outcome in one country, in what universe does it make sense to insist it could do so in a whole region? For pete's sake man, that was in your own backyard. One would think a failure in the minor case would pretty much put paid to the major case, but apparently not in Conspiracy Ville.)

Of course, it isn't impossible that the US was doing so much more than anyone noticed, and doing it so much more effectively than history would suggest, and therefore really was responsible for the refugee crisis.

My flabber would be entirely gasted; I would have to admit that my knowledge and imagination were entirely insufficient.

Until then, however, it is your fantastical musings that belong in that alternate universe.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] There are, as we Catholics parse it, sins of commission and of omission. The US destroyed the government in Iraq but it neglected to replace it. Hence anarchy, collapse, turmoil, refugees.

Oh please keep up. Until you demonstrate how getting rid of Saddam was both necessary and sufficient to the Syrian civil war and Ghaddafi's fall, then all you are succeeding in doing is proving your continued flight from reason.

Please stop. It's embarrassing.

erp said...

Clovis, I think you are confused. GWBush was not involved in his father's war which was a continuation of the struggle between the Soviets and us. The War on Terror was Bush's effort and it was justified. The only confusion was my use of Desert Storm.

Hey Skipper said...

[erp:] ... have you forgotten the Iraqi's had elections to choose their new government. We took down the dictator to allow them the freedom to set their own future. Should we have hung around to make sure they could handle it? Probably, but then we would be accused of being imperialists.

What progs continually prove, but never understand, is that in the lead up to Iraqi Freedom, there were no good alternatives. We — and by that I mean almost everyone in the West, post-religionists all — were incapable of understanding how toxic Islam is. (Questions for another day: 1) why should the West ever allow any pious Muslim immigrants? 2) A long standing tenet of 1A law is that the government isn't in a position to decide religious belief; IOW, since the government really can't separate degrees of piety. Why should we allow any Muslim immigration?)

After all, the collapse of that ideology Harry has always said he is so fond of, communism, went more than peacefully enough. The US intervention in the Former Yugoslavia saved untold thousands of lives, and prevented a refugee crisis. Consequently, I think it entirely forgivable to expect that ridding Iraqis of a hideous dictator would thereby allow the development of civil society.

Thanks to Islam, it didn't work out that way. But even had we known that in advance, the situation leading up to the war was so bad that the eventual outcome is at least arguably no worse than any other realistic* option.

*Harry, pay attention to that word.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] By the way, enquiring minds want to know: if the President you voted for can talk openly about wiretaps and conspiration theories against him, why the heck you take offense with my own conspiration theories?

Are you familiar with non sequitur?

In everyday speech, a non sequitur is a statement in which the final part is totally unrelated to the first part, for example:

Life is life and fun is fun, but it's all so quiet when the goldfish die.

— West with the Night, Beryl Markham[2]

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
All I asked for was any evidence to substantiate your assertion, and to place that evidence within the context of Iran, Russia, et al.
---
I can only prove my assertion if I can either identify all the players under American direction in each of the affected regimes, or if I can show within the relevant agencies the directives that point to the actions I described. Maybe, a few years from now, someone may leak some of it to Assange and I can throw it at your face. Until then, what you are asking is for me to shut up.


---
I quoted (Harry, behold the power of the direct quote!) your direct claim, and exactly where your own evidence either contradicted it, or was wholly irrelevant.
---
Only because you show very little imagination at your scenarios.


---
(NB: In 2002, there was a coup attempt the US abetted. As it turns out, it would have been greatly to the Venezuelans' benefit had it succeeded. It didn't. If the US can't engineer a society sufficiently to force an outcome in one country, in what universe does it make sense to insist it could do so in a whole region? For pete's sake man, that was in your own backyard. One would think a failure in the minor case would pretty much put paid to the major case, but apparently not in Conspiracy Ville.)
---
They say Practice Makes Perfect, don't they?

Though it is more than practice, it is technological evolution. What changed in between Venezuela 2002 and Arab Spring 2011?

You make fun of my reference to twitter. Ridiculous as it may sound, the advent of the social networks made for a phase change in societies. In most physical systems, if you greatly change the connection between the elements of a material, adding many more links, it will go trough a phase change - its whole behavior will be something entirely different. Societies aren't much different at that.

When you couple that to the right external conditions - such as that of brutal societies ruled by autocrats - it is pretty easy to spark a revolution. So no, you don't need "super omnipotent" US intel operators to do any of that, the usual stupid ones may well suffice. And afterwards it will be easily taken as "home grown" uprisings, for that's what they end up being.


---
Of course, it isn't impossible that the US was doing so much more than anyone noticed, and doing it so much more effectively than history would suggest, and therefore really was responsible for the refugee crisis.

My flabber would be entirely gasted; I would have to admit that my knowledge and imagination were entirely insufficient.
---
You fail to recognize that all the productivity gains you had in the last 20 years, thanks to computers, internet, smartphones and so on, can be equally translated to much greater efficiency to all the intel operations you may have been aware of in your good old days.

I ask you again: read that Wikileaks link and try to picture what those capabilities can possibly lead to. Then try to explain why, among all the new possibilities, any great power would refrain to use it all.

Unless you do come up with an explanation of why your country would abstain from getting 10 times more influence for 10 times less effort, you'll be lacking more than imagination.


---
Are you familiar with non sequitur?
---
Sure, it usually means someone didn't get your joke.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
[On Iraq and alternative futures] But even had we known that in advance, the situation leading up to the war was so bad that the eventual outcome is at least arguably no worse than any other realistic* option.
---
Sigh.

Really? What in the ME of 2002, for example, was worse than the Middle East of today?

In which way the last 16 years of post-9/11 US external policy made it any better?

What developments, absent US intervention, would need to happen for things to be as messy as they are now?

Harry Eagar said...

When a conquering power takes over a country, restoring civil society isn't just the law, it's a good idea.

At a minimum, you would think the conquerers would have sequestered the ammunition dumps, just to protect themselves, but we didn't.

erp said...

Harry, whose law is it that conquerors restore civil society? Also, Soros et al. didn't want us to protect ourselves or anyone else, his instructions to Jarrett were to orchestrate all hell to break loose and as usual they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

Clovis, when Obama was elected, Bush's policies were reversed. Had they been left in place, the ME would be a different and better place now. The bad guys were given an opening and they rushed into it and now we have millions of "refugees" almost all of whom are unattached young men with lots of our money in their pockets looking for trouble.

BTW - Still waiting to learn where we meddled.

Harry Eagar said...

Fourth Geneva Convention

erp said...

Fourth Geneva Convention

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
Clovis, when Obama was elected, Bush's policies were reversed. Had they been left in place, the ME would be a different and better place now. The bad guys were given an opening and they rushed into it and now we have millions of "refugees" almost all of whom are unattached young men with lots of our money in their pockets looking for trouble.
---
As it happens, I agree with you, Erp. Bush's policies were bad, but to go half way through them was even worse.

The best word I can find to describe Obama's foreign policies is "self-defeating".

The second best world is "schizophrenic".

Which explains why it is hard for Skipper to see that in Egypt, US actions was at some points in favor of both sides (Mubarak's and the Arab Spring/Muslim Brotherhood). After a while, the US decided to go back to its standard mode, hence the new military dictatorship and the Brotherhood being decapitated. He thinks this is a hole in my theory, instead of recognizing the schizophrenia in his own government.

---
BTW - Still waiting to learn where we meddled.
---
There is little going on in the World today without a hint of US hands behind. Very little. Place your finger in the map and go get the facts yourself.


erp said...

Place your finger in the map and go get the facts yourself. Nice try, but no cigar.

Obama is a stooge and a dumb one at that. Soros is running things with Valerie Jarrett as Obama's handler. She lived with them in the White House and is living in their Washington DC rental as well. She's always with Obama everywhere. I don't know if she's in Tahiti with Obama now or not, but I'd bet she's around there someplace to keep an eye on him.

If you knew everything about the relationships between and among the characters in Obama's life, you wouldn't believe it, but be assured the truth bears little resemblance to his official bio.

Your first description of policies of the past 8 years as self-defeating is correct, but it's not they who are being defeated, they hate us, it's we who are being defeated and destroyed and that's why when Trump was elected the reaction was so rabid and psychotic.

They forgot that while man proposes, god aka fate aka cosmic convergence aka whatever -- disposes.

We either dodged the bullet or we'll go out in a blaze of glory, either way is better than slowly deteriorating into a socialist paradise.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] I can only prove my assertion if I can either identify all the players under American direction in each of the affected regimes, or if I can show within the relevant agencies the directives that point to the actions I described. Maybe, a few years from now, someone may leak some of it to Assange and I can throw it at your face. Until then, what you are asking is for me to shut up.

No, I'm not asking you to do any such thing.

I shall take the risk of argument by analogy. I insist that the Theory of Relativity is rubbish, invoke vague insinuations, and call you dumb and blind for failing to agree with me.

Which is what you have done here. You might be right, but you have given me absolutely no reason to think your assertion has any credence whatsoever; moreover, the extremely limited evidence you have provided contradicts you. Until, that is, some undefined future when Wikileaks releases evidence you are certain exists.

I am not the least worried, for what should be a very obvious reason: the plainly obvious evidence is wholly sufficient to demonstrate that the Arab Spring and the refugee crisis happened without any need for US action, or inaction. I have read a great deal on this subject, and it is striking how rarely the US is mentioned at all.

Since the obvious facts suffice, then it is surpassingly difficult to imagine how sub rosa actions — to the extent they even exist — would have been anything other than utterly pointless.

Only because you show very little imagination at your scenarios.

Along with suggesting you go ahead and vent all you want accusing me of being dumb and blind, then deleting before hitting send, you should have done so with this. I didn't create unimaginative "scenarios" — what I did was to attempt to accurately convey to you the things that happened, and demonstrate that the US was irrelevant to the outcome. Unless I left some important considerations out — you haven't suggested any — then the word you are looking for isn't "scenarios", but rather "précis".

You make fun of my reference to twitter.

Yes, I do, and well I should. Twitter isn't an action, and it certainly isn't a US action. It is a thing, a social network, and it isn't the only one of its kind. If you want to make the case that Western technical superiority and individualism, with the US as a particular exemplar of both those, presents an existential threat to Islam, then I think you could make a case. But that isn't a discreet US action with any goal whatsoever with regard to the Middle East or Islam, nor is it particularly controversial.

You fail to recognize that all the productivity gains you had in the last 20 years, thanks to computers, internet, smartphones and so on, can be equally translated to much greater efficiency to all the intel operations you may have been aware of in your good old days.

Nonsense. Above you asserted that the US had engaged in societal engineering, without even remotely explaining how such a thing would have been contributory, never mind necessary. Occam's razor defeats you at every turn: you invoke shadowy entities that add absolutely no explanatory power.

I ask you again: read that Wikileaks link and try to picture what those capabilities can possibly lead to. Then try to explain why, among all the new possibilities, any great power would refrain to use it all.

Okay, let's take that as read. That means you have to also include the Russians and Iranians, perhaps the Chinese. And why not Israel?

Sure, it usually means someone didn't get your joke.

Or means that your joke, being resolutely unfunny, wasn't recognizable as one.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] When a conquering power takes over a country, restoring civil society isn't just the law, it's a good idea.

To the extent we didn't, the blame lies with the Iraqis and Iranians. Unless it was the US that blew up the Golden Mosque.

Harry Eagar said...

The law does not provide exceptions for difficult situations, but, anyway, the US had no plan -- and as far as evidence shows no intention -- of complying with the convention.

As I have noted many times, the Americans had insufficient infantry to control the country; they never even controlled the road between the airport and their hidey-hole; and no effort was ever made to sequester munitions.



Harry Eagar said...

Since most Americans don't know their own history, maybe this is the place to note that the US has a history of creating refugees by lunatic and incompetent militsry adventures, then leaving them to their fate: Khe Sanh

erp said...

Johnson didn't want to win the war.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] The law does not provide exceptions for difficult situations, but, anyway, the US had no plan -- and as far as evidence shows no intention -- of complying with the convention.

Harry, you say a great many stupid things, but this is right up there. You have noted, foolishly, that the US had insufficient infantry to control Iraq.

Against whom?

This is a good place to stop. Harry, please quote for us, chapter and verse, the applicable Geneva Convention(s) and in precisely what ways the US was in violation.

Since most Americans don't know their own history, maybe this is the place to note that the US has a history of creating refugees by lunatic and incompetent militsry adventures, then leaving them to their fate: Khe Sanh

Harry, who, exactly, created those refugees?

Since you are a communist, I'm sure you have no problems with victim blaming.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
I shall take the risk of argument by analogy. I insist that the Theory of Relativity is rubbish, invoke vague insinuations, and call you dumb and blind for failing to agree with me. Which is what you have done here.
---
The analogy is awful.

All the evidence you can mount against, or for, the Theory of Relativity is in public domain.

Contrast that with the secret activities of powerful governments such as yours, that are, well, secret.

What I have been telling is that, upon the little publicly diclosed information about those secret activities, I can infer that *it is possible* for such a powerful government (PG) to engage in social engineering of entire societies. Moreover, given the great advantadges in comparison with previous times, it is highly unlikely that some PG is not doing so right now. Furthermore, I presented very lateral and weak evidence that some PGs are using social networks among their tools (which is only an invitation to the question: why would they stop there?).

There again, I can prove nothing, and any evidence I can show will be weak and amenable to multiple interpretation (if not outright ridicule, as you did), yet the basic logic remains: if a tool can in principle be used in a (game theory-like competition among multiple players) to advance your position, it *will be used*.


---
Occam's razor defeats you at every turn: you invoke shadowy entities that add absolutely no explanatory power.
---
I disagree. It easily explains why the Arab Spring wreaked havoc only among countries not aligned with US Middle East policy, where the only possible exception (Egypt) is explained as a mix of experiment and vacillation by Obama.


---
[Clovis] ask you again: read that Wikileaks link and try to picture what those capabilities can possibly lead to. Then try to explain why, among all the new possibilities, any great power would refrain to use it all.

[Skipper] Okay, let's take that as read. That means you have to also include the Russians and Iranians, perhaps the Chinese. And why not Israel?
---
I could, if they were relevant at that. Russia and China are trying hard, but they are still way behind the US in this regard. And I assume you cite the Iranians as a joke, right?

As for Israel, you only show time and again your ignorance of the facts on the ground.


erp said...

The Guardian Clovis? Really?

Bret said...

erp,

I've actually been finding the Guardian to be one of the MORE balanced main stream media outlets over the last year or so. I'm finding U.S. based media to be frothing-at-the-mouth psychotically delusional regarding Trump and the state of the world, whereas the Guardian is simply a somewhat left-wing rag that's doing its best to report on things.

Clovis's link is neither particularly surprising nor damning in my opinion. I have no doubt that Israel spies on the Palestinians and little doubt that the push the limits of what's moral and ethical. Extremely desperate peoples do extremely desperate things and even if true (the fact that the sources were anonymous was clearly marked) may that be the worse thing Israel ever does.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

If you give yourself the trouble of 15 seconds at Google, you can easily find this incident in hundreds of links to other news outlets, so you can click only on that pristine source news you imagine to exist out there to serve your need for ideologically selected information.


Bret,

Please notice I am not discussing what is moral or ethical, though you can find the topic in some news about the matter (can you do BBC, Erp?):

---
"Several told Israeli media that hey had been tasked with gathering private information - including sexual preferences and health problems - that could be "used to extort people into becoming informants".
They also claimed that some intelligence was collected in pursuit of the "agendas" of individual Israeli politicians.
---

My point is entirely about present capabilities and their actual use for purposes of social engineering. Skipper looks to think I am a lunatic in pursue of conspiration theories. But as they say: a paranoid is a guy who just found out what’s going on.

erp said...

Clovis, spies spy. That's their function. If they're your spies and are spying on your enemies, they are the "good guys," if they're your enemy's spies who are spying on you, they are the "bad guys."

FYI -- It is my need for non-ideologically "selected information" that I eschew the worst and most notorious narrative propagandists which sadly include almost every outlet, sorry to say even Drudge seems to be among them now.

BBC? I rarely see any of my feeds linked to them and haven't sought them out particularly.

Bret, I dare say even the old "Pravda" was more even-handed in reporting the news than as you so eloquently put it, frothing-at-the-mouth psychotically delusional left wing rags. They've descended past all of Dante's levels to vile remarks about a new Trump grandchild and totally refutable bareface lies about Trump refusing to shake hands with Merkel.

erp said...

I'm starting to get really scared now. This is another in a weird bunch of computer happenings.

Link for pictures above.

Hey Skipper said...

[Hey Skipper:] I shall take the risk of argument by analogy. I insist that the Theory of Relativity is rubbish, invoke vague insinuations, and call you dumb and blind for failing to agree with me. Which is what you have done here.
---
[Clovis:] The analogy is awful.

All the evidence you can mount against, or for, the Theory of Relativity is in public domain.


No, the analogy is exactly on point: NB "vague insinuations", which by definition insists upon the acceptance of undisclosed evidence.

Which is exactly what you are doing here. You put me in the position of having to prove a negative, when you haven't made a step in the easy direction of proving the positive. That is what devotees of conspiracy theories do. You are right until I prove the evidence you haven't provided and can't find doesn't exist.

What I have been telling is that, upon the little publicly diclosed information about those secret activities, I can infer that *it is possible* for such a powerful government (PG) to engage in social engineering of entire societies.

First off, you assserted the US was directly responsible for the refugee crisis, through social engineering technologies. That isn't merely it is possible, that was a declaration that US actions were both necessary and sufficient. There is a very real difficulty you refuse to face: how in Lord's name can social engineering capable of causing something like the Arab Spring not leave any traces? If it happened, there should be evidence laying everywhere, plain as day.

But there isn't, not even a tiny bit. Meaning that thing no one an observe had superpowerful affects.

I disagree. It easily explains why the Arab Spring wreaked havoc only among countries not aligned with US Middle East policy, where the only possible exception (Egypt) is explained as a mix of experiment and vacillation by Obama.

Here is yet another source that provides all manner of causes, with scarcely a word about the US. Oh, and note that the Arab Spring also occurred in US allies, and countries that have little to do with US ME policy one way or another. But they all largely shared common characteristics to very similar degrees.

Hey Skipper said...

[Skipper] Okay, let's take that as read. That means you have to also include the Russians and Iranians, perhaps the Chinese. And why not Israel?
---
I could, if they were relevant at that. Russia and China are trying hard, but they are still way behind the US in this regard. And I assume you cite the Iranians as a joke, right?


Your continued refusal to consider, even to disregard the actions of Russia, China, Turkey, Iran and the EU/Merkel gives the very strong impression that you think the US, whatever it may have been doing, was operating in a vacuum.

Wrong. Iran has heavily involved itself. So have the Gulf States. And don't forget Turkey and Russia.

Yet somehow I am blind and dumb for treating any theory that has nothing going for it other than hand waving.

(Oh, and you have no idea how advanced Russia's and China's cyber capabilities are WRT to the US.)

As for Israel, you only show time and again your ignorance of the facts on the ground.

Okay, let me get this straight. Some Israeli intel people who decided they had moral qualms about spying on Palestinians is pertinent to this discussion, well, how exactly? That is a real poser, on account of these "facts on the ground" haven't been able to socially engineer a Palestinian revolution, no matter how much that might be in the interests of the US.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] Skipper looks to think I am a lunatic in pursue of conspiration theories.

I'm not having to look very hard.

erp said...

U.S. meddling aka U.S. Imperialism explained:

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there.
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away.

When I came home last night at three,
The man was waiting there for me,
But when I looked around the hall
I couldn’t see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door. (slam!)

Last night I saw upon the stair
A little man who wasn’t there.
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away.


Hughes Mearns

Harry Eagar said...

'Harry, who, exactly, created those refugees?'

MACV and USAF

Hey Skipper said...

Wow, and all this time I thought it was three NVA divisions attacking Khe Sanh.

You can't even get cause and effect straight.

Harry Eagar said...

And why were they attacking Khe Sanh? Because the MACV wanted to draw them into a non-combat zone; the locals were fleeing the indiscriminate bombing of the Air Force.

Hey Skipper said...

Harry, you fail to comprehend either the trees, or the forest.

What the heck was the NVA doing in South Vietnam in the first place? Oh, wait. As a thoroughgoing Stalinist, you think it is just fine for communist forces to invade their neighbors, but an affront against morality for those neighbors to defend themselves.

How quickly you forget the real Vietnamese refugee crisis.

Assuming, of course, you ever knew about it in the first place. You are awfully weak on history that doesn't fluff your Stalinist narrative.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
Which is exactly what you are doing here. You put me in the position of having to prove a negative, when you haven't made a step in the easy direction of proving the positive. That is what devotees of conspiracy theories do. You are right until I prove the evidence you haven't provided and can't find doesn't exist.
---
Only in your mind this is the discussion we are having.

In my mind, I have agreed upfront I could not prove any of my assertions, and I was explicitly indulging in hypotheticals I believed as reasonable.

You were never challenged to prove me wrong, nor did I ask you to accept my points by faith.

---
First off, you assserted the US was directly responsible for the refugee crisis, through social engineering technologies.
---
No, Sir. First off, I asserted the US was (one of the actors) directly responsible for the refugee crisis for its direct role in Iraq and Libya, and initially indirect one in Syria - all easily argued by facts on the ground.

Then you pressed for more, and I - after many warnings about the dubious nature of my own claims - gave you more.

I never asked you to believe the extended version. I only asked for you to answer a simple question: were it true, what would it change for you? You take offense at my assertion of your "blind and dumb faith" as if I were deriding you for not believing me, but it was never the case.

---
Oh, and note that the Arab Spring also occurred in US allies, and countries that have little to do with US ME policy one way or another. But they all largely shared common characteristics to very similar degrees.
---
It was easily crushed in countries allied with US policy. And not because those countries are paradises of democracies with no need for a bit of freedom...

----
Your continued refusal to consider, even to disregard the actions of Russia, China, Turkey, Iran and the EU/Merkel gives the very strong impression that you think the US, whatever it may have been doing, was operating in a vacuum.
----
Your continued practice of conflating my answers is the source of the problem - in this case I was quite clearly referring to cyber capabilities, not to physical actions and presence in the conflict.

I conceded in the very begin the US was not the lone actor - and when I say A has a causal relationship to F, it in no way excludes other B, C, D and E links in between.


---
(Oh, and you have no idea how advanced Russia's and China's cyber capabilities are WRT to the US.)
---
No idea? I may have very little idea, but not zero idea.

Two points are relevant here:

1) The US has a large, almost unsurmountable advantadge, in that it is the main source of the technology behind much of our computers and networks. The backdoors placed in so much of the most used hardware and softwares, both with and without knowledge of US companies, make for a big lead in that competition. It speaks volumes that the US has been placing restrictions for the use of Chinese hardware in their more sensitive networks.

2) In terms of social engineering, mostly for reasons of culture, language and global influence, the US is in a unique position to manipulate the right levers in the right ways, while the Russians and Chinese are able to successfully do so only in their regions of influence, where they need it the least.

---
Okay, let me get this straight. Some Israeli intel people who decided they had moral qualms about spying on Palestinians is pertinent to this discussion, well, how exactly?
---
Sigh... Boy, if I need to explain how that piece of information is relevant to our discussion, I better just give up.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "...if I need to explain how that piece of information is relevant to our discussion, I better just give up."

I find that Hey Skipper has a tendency to expand the boundaries of discussion, so I'm finding it pretty complicated and somewhat hard to follow. Unfortunately, that means that I too am not sure how Israeli spying is linked to the rest of this. But if you don't want to explain it, I surely won't hold it against you. :-)

Clovis e Adri said...

Et tu, Bret?

Israely spying is no mere spying. It is an example of social engineering (greatly facilitated by present technologies) in progress.

They are not attempting to "socially engineer a Palestinian revolution", but quite the contrary - keeping one at bay by selecting who goes up and who goes down.

Hey Skipper said...

[Hey Skipper:] First off, you assserted the US was directly responsible for the refugee crisis, through social engineering technologies.

---

No, Sir. First off, I asserted the US was (one of the actors) directly responsible for the refugee crisis for its direct role in Iraq and Libya, and initially indirect one in Syria - all easily argued by facts on the ground.


Behold the power of direct quotation: The last tsunami of refugees over Europe is a direct function of the US geopolitical choices and doings. (emphasis added)

And more on that same vein here.

You have completely failed to demonstrate, in any regard, how the US was even peripherally responsible for the refugee crisis. You haven't provided one source that makes that claim. You have completely ignored Iran, Russia, Turkey and the EU. So not only have you not easily argued anything by the "facts" on the ground, you have strenuously ignored the facts that are staring you in the face. Instead, you rely upon shadowy to the point of invisibility social engineering powers that are as potent as they are impossible to detect.

Your claims aren't merely dubious, they are groundless.

I only asked for you to answer a simple question: were it true, what would it change for you?

If pigs were to fly, then I'd get a patent on steel umbrellas.

It was easily crushed in countries allied with US policy. And not because those countries are paradises of democracies with no need for a bit of freedom...

Libya. Explain how Libya was antagonistic to US policy. Same for Tunisia. Morocco. For that matter, in what regard was Syria antagonistic to US policy, compared to, oh, Iran.

And then explain how Iran, which is endlessly antagonistic, did have something of a democratic revival years before the Arab Spring, about which we did nothing, and didn't have its own version of the Arab Spring.

[Hey Skipper:] Okay, let me get this straight. Some Israeli intel people who decided they had moral qualms about spying on Palestinians is pertinent to this discussion, well, how exactly?
---
[Clovis:] Sigh... Boy, if I need to explain how that piece of information is relevant to our discussion, I better just give up.


Yes, you do. Because if you think that kind of spying is unique to Israel, or the US, or that either is particularly proficient at it, you really are clueless. It isn't social engineering, it is age old state craft.

On this I have a certain degree of first hand information.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
[Clovis] No, Sir. First off, I asserted the US was (one of the actors) directly responsible for the refugee crisis for its direct role in Iraq and Libya, and initially indirect one in Syria - all easily argued by facts on the ground.

[Skipper] Behold the power of direct quotation: The last tsunami of refugees over Europe is a direct function of the US geopolitical choices and doings. (emphasis added)
---
It must be my English limitations showing up, but it looks to me I just said A, and you tell me "No, look, what you said is A!".

---
You have completely failed to demonstrate, in any regard, how the US was even peripherally responsible for the refugee crisis.
---
Only because you fail in logic.

Take an anternative universe where Brazil disappeared out of this world in 2002. Would there be 6 million Syrians out of the country today? Most probably no.

Take the US from the World in that same date, and the answer changes.

And there again, because you look unable to read what I write: US actions were not the sole cause of Syria's undoing, but it is in the causality line - together with the many other actors you think I am giving a pass.

---
Libya. Explain how Libya was antagonistic to US policy. [...] For that matter, in what regard was Syria antagonistic to US policy, compared to, oh, Iran.
---
That you are ignorant of most of ME's geopolitical chess we already knew. But that you are ignorant of your own govt's policy comes as a surprise, I confess.

I suggest you take that issue up to your then under-Secretary of State, for I also used to think that "axis of evil" stuff was a bit lame...

---
And then explain how Iran, which is endlessly antagonistic, did have something of a democratic revival years before the Arab Spring, about which we did nothing, and didn't have its own version of the Arab Spring.
---
As a good conspirationist, I obviously believe the Green Movement was fomented by the USA too, in the same fashion the Arab Spring was: meaning, the seed came from outside, taking root and expanding by local forces.


---
Because if you think that kind of spying is unique to Israel, or the US, or that either is particularly proficient at it, you really are clueless. It isn't social engineering, it is age old state craft.
On this I have a certain degree of first hand information.
---
It is not. Age old state craft would not make 43 experienced operators to renounce their positions. They know what they were doing was something else.

Clovis e Adri said...

A mistake in writing. Correction:

---
Take an anternative universe where Brazil disappeared out of this world in 2002. Would there be 6 million Syrians out of the country today? Most probably *yes*.

Take the US from the World in that same date, and the answer changes.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "It must be my English limitations showing up..."

Yes and no. There's nothing inherently wrong with your English in either statement. And indeed, they could be interpreted to mean the same thing, depending on context. And furthermore, I can't possibly speak for all English speakers.

However, and with those caveats, those statements mean different things to me. Yes, you explained what you meant by the first statement towards the beginning of thread and I let it go. I personally interpret "direct function" in such a statement to mean that it is the only meaningful/material input to the function and it didn't matter what anyone else did - the US did what it did and SOLELY because of those actions, and no matter what anyone and everyone else in the world did, the outcome was decided. You pointed out that wasn't what you actually meant and I let it go.

However, the alternative is to interpret it as the US did what it did, everybody else did what they did, and here we are, tough luck for the refugees and tough luck for the US and tough luck for the world. That's unarguable but not terribly meaningful, but we apparently disagree even here since you wrote:

"Take an alternative universe where Brazil disappeared out of this world in 2002. Would there be 6 million Syrians out of the country today? Most probably *yes*."

I would say, almost certainly NOT. Taking one of the largest economies in the world and hundreds of millions of people out of the picture would, in my opinion, change things so much, that the current state of affairs would have no resemblance in any way to the alternate universe.

Look, I've read countless articles, books, papers, etc. and talked with countless people of all ideologies since 9/11 so I fully understand your perspective (even if I'm somewhat misinterpreting what you write). And I agree that the US could have done things better and is not blameless.

On the other hand, the US could have done things much, much, much, much worse. I live in a fairly military town, and if hotter heads had prevailed after 9/11, we would've nuked everything from Libya to Pakistan (except, perhaps for Israel), with nothing left alive across the entire middle east. George W. Bush's gift to the world was to prevent that (or even a subset of that) from happening. He said "Islam is the religion of peace" dozens if not hundreds or even thousands of times to calm the country down.

The price paid is that it set the path where we now have refugees (I think you'd agree that if we had killed everybody in the middle east there wouldn't be any Syrian refugees?).

In the end, I have no problem with you and others placing a high degree of blame on the US. I understand it. From where I stand, it simply looks much different, and so I don't agree. And perhaps it is the blind bias that you mentioned. If so, that's what it is and there's nothing to be done about it. This is one of those situations where I've read millions of conflicting words on the subject so a few more paragraphs one way or another are not probably going to get me to overcome my blind bias.

erp said...

Bret,

Wouldn't change a word. The world is very lucky Bush was president because he followed the rules and tried to solve the problem, not seek revenge.

Had he done what I thought he should have - bombed every country in the ME except Israel to rubble, none of what's happened since 911 would have happened ... and possibly even though a lot of people would have been killed, that area would be a lot more peaceful now.

Harry Eagar said...

Auferre, trucidare, rapere, falsis nominibus imperium; atque, ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant.

erp said...

Harry, you are confused as to who are the wasteland makers. Hint: it's not us.

Harry Eagar said...

Oh yes, it is us. Earlier I mentioned Khe Sanh and indiscriminate bombing of peaceful populations. Skipper was in the Air Force and he knows enough to avoid that issue, but let's reduce it to figures even you can comprehend:

At Khe Sanh, the US dropped 400,000 bombs and fired 106,000 shells. Over 500,000 of these were not aimed at any military target as proven by the fact they didn't hit any military target.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
I personally interpret "direct function" in such a statement to mean that it is the only meaningful/material input to the function and it didn't matter what anyone else did - the US did what it did and SOLELY because of those actions, and no matter what anyone and everyone else in the world did, the outcome was decided
---

It is particularly troubling to hear it from someone mathematically literate, Bret.

A direct function, as I mentioned before, is an explicit function of a variable, but not necessarily a function of ONE variable. Any function F(X1, X2, ..., Xn) is a direct function of X1, X2, ..., Xn variables.

---
I would say, almost certainly NOT. Taking one of the largest economies in the world and hundreds of millions of people out of the picture would, in my opinion, change things so much, that the current state of affairs would have no resemblance in any way to the alternate universe.
---
Any such alternate universe experiment, in Economics, assume all other things remain equal.

It is not a terrible stretch. Brazil is not a direct function of almost anything Middle East related, so I stand by my statement - not because I do believe it would be the case were it to REALLY happen (like an alien force destroying most of South America would change nothing else in the world), but in the restricted sense such economics hypotheses work on.


---
I understand it. From where I stand, it simply looks much different, and so I don't agree. And perhaps it is the blind bias that you mentioned. If so, that's what it is and there's nothing to be done about it. This is one of those situations where I've read millions of conflicting words on the subject so a few more paragraphs one way or another are not probably going to get me to overcome my blind bias.
---

Thank you very much for your honesty. I have no problem understanding your position - which I get as a "I don't care and they are lucky enough we didn't kill them all".

I don't think it makes you much different from the Islamists you wish to kill, but that's only my - honest - opinion.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "It is particularly troubling to hear it from someone mathematically literate..."

I'm just suggesting that when writing in English (as opposed to writing a mathematical paper), be careful with the word "direct" and the phrase "direct function." In non-mathematical contexts, I think most English speakers take them to have stronger meaning than you intended. Both Skipper and I certainly did.

Clovis wrote: "I don't think it makes you much different from the Islamists you wish to kill..."

Oh? Do I wish to kill them? No, not really. Or perhaps by "you" you're referring to the "hotter heads" I mentioned?

But let me ask you this: if the choice was between a million people like me or a million folks from the mid-east immigrating to Brazil, would you really just as soon take the latter? And if so, why doesn't Brazil volunteer?

erp said...

Clovis, again I ask. Why do we wish to kill Islamists? I also ask, do you believe we are obligated somehow to welcome and fund everyone who wants to come here, not to assimilate and become one of We, the People, but to destroy us and inflict their way of life, the one they just left, on us.

Harry, why did we drop all those munitions on defenseless people?

Harry Eagar said...

Because our policy in Vietnam from 1954 on was to create as many refugees as possible.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] Oh yes, it is us. Earlier I mentioned Khe Sanh and indiscriminate bombing of peaceful populations.

What the heck is it with you and uncaused effects?

To avoid retyping what I said above, but you can't seem to take on board:

What the heck was the NVA doing in South Vietnam in the first place? Oh, wait. As a thoroughgoing Stalinist, you think it is just fine for communist forces to invade their neighbors, but an affront against morality for those neighbors to defend themselves.


Without the NVA, Khe Sanh is not attacked, and the AF -- forced by technology and exigency into an unwanted response -- doesn't use any of that ordnance.

I hope you do not wonder why I think you a spittle-flecked zealot.

Oh, check your math.

erp said...

Harry, what did we have to gain by a policy in Vietnam to create as many refugees as possible?

Have you met any Vietnamese refugees? I have.

There were quite a few in the little town where we lived in Vermont brought there by a coalition of churches and synagogues. They were industrious and adjusted to life here very well. Their kids did well in school ... They weren't a burden on the tax payer and although some may have been on some sort of public assistance, I never heard about it if that was the case.

Tens of millions of refugees like these would be welcome. I bet most of them are proud citizens now.

Hey Skipper said...

Harry seems completely ignorant of the Boat People. No surprise, considering how little history gets through his filters.

Harry Eagar said...

In 1954, we thought it would give us a PR victory over communism if we could show a million people fleeing the North. Later, in the Strategic Hamlets policy, it was supposed to deprive the Vietcong of local support.

The free fire zones, reconnaissance by fire, indiscriminate bombing and zippo raids were just a dying empire lashing out at the weakest, most defenseless people.

Unfortunately for the refugees we made, things didn't work so well.

It is not so clear that the Vietnamese refugees we took in supported American political values.

http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-ln-viet-refugees-20170219-story.html

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-me-ln-janet-nguyen-speech-adv-20170313-story.html

Harry Eagar said...

Skipper seems completely ignorant of the Strategic Hamlets atrocity, zippo raids, bombing of Cambodian farmers, destruction of the non-combatants around Khe Sanh.

It's hard to see helpless peasants from 30,000 feet

erp said...

Your comment above is waaaaaaaaaaay beyond the pale.

There's one reason we were in Vietnam and that is we were signatories to SEATO.

I couldn't find a consensus number for Vietnamese refugee families, so let's say two million (that was the largest number I found). During the last 40 years (about two generations), there have not been, to my knowledge, any riots or other violence perpetrated by this cohort. They are, in fact, among the most law abiding and resourceful members of the American community and what I find most amusing, Vietnam is a de facto capitalist country now and doing very nicely -- thanks for asking.

BTW - the LATimes isn't a credible source

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] In 1954, we thought it would give us a PR victory over communism if we could show a million people fleeing the North.

I don't believe you. Indeed, quite the opposite: either you made that up out of whole cloth, or are delusional.

I am standing by for you to prove me wrong.

It is not so clear that the Vietnamese refugees we took in supported American political values.

What is clear is that you really don't have a clue what you are talking about. Communists invaded their country, and brought with them all the horrors for which communism is so justifiably famous. Further, I know you don't read newspapers or history, so it might come as a surprise to you that it is entirely consistent with American values to exclude those — communists — who wish to overthrow the American way of life and government.

So — and please hang with me here — how could it those Vietnamese refugees not be supporting the same American political values that Americans (save for spittle flecked Stalinists such as your) themselves support?

Oh, and one more thing: what the hell was the NVA doing in South Vietnam?

Hey Skipper said...

[erp:] BTW - the LATimes isn't a credible source

I agree that the LAT is probably the worst major market newspaper going. But that isn't justification for a variant on the ad hominem attack.

The two stories -- which demonstrate why Harry is so loathe to link to sources -- are probably reasonably accurately reported, including the parts where the Vietnamese community explains why they hate communism so much. I doubt Harry read those parts.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] It must be my English limitations showing up, but it looks to me I just said A, and you tell me "No, look, what you said is A!".

I blame your reading skills. Right from the very moment you typed that, I directly and emphatically interpreted that to mean "necessary and sufficient", not peripheral and dispensable.

[Hey Skipper:}You have completely failed to demonstrate, in any regard, how the US was even peripherally responsible for the refugee crisis.
---
[Clovis:] Only because you fail in logic.

Take an anternative universe where Brazil disappeared out of this world in 2002. Would there be 6 million Syrians out of the country today? Most probably no.

Take the US from the World in that same date, and the answer changes.


That is exactly where you go off the rails: you provide a conclusion devoid of argument. And not just a little devoid, either.

To be perfectly clear, I assert that, with respect to the refugee crisis, American actions were, far from having any direct impact, were practically irrelevant. I made the case a couple threads ago, which you never answered, or even acknowledged, so I must now go to the bother of repeating myself again:

- A great deal of explanation is required as to how the US invasion of Iraq provoked a Syrian civil war more than a decade later

- Even more explanation is required to demonstrate how Saddam's regime would have peacefully relinquished power. Indeed, even one example of such a thing happening in that part of the world would be a great help. If the Saddam regime would eventually have collapsed in the same bloody violence as such regimes always do, than the most you can blame the US for is the timing of its collapse.

- The US provided an opportunity for the Iraqis to create a civil society. They chose not to, and the Iranians greatly supported that choice.

- The Syrian civil war is the proximate cause of the refugee crisis. The US didn't instigate it, and until very recently, has done very little one way or the other.

- The entire region was hobbled by essentially the same social and cultural pathologies, none of which was the US.

- You can't name a single action that the US did to precipitate the crisis.

- You haven't found a single source that points at the US as being a significant contributor to the crisis.

- You resolutely ignore all the other parties who have, without question, contributed greatly to it.

And when faced with questions, your replies are insulting nonsense. For example: That you are ignorant of most of ME's geopolitical chess we already knew. The answer to ignorance is not accusations of ignorance, but rather information to relieve the ignorance. When I insist you explain how Libya, for instance, was antagonistic to US policy, I expect something of a detailed explanation. Instead, I get empty insults. Which makes me think you are getting ready to go full Harry.

Do Not Go Full Harry.

It is not. Age old state craft would not make 43 experienced operators to renounce their positions.

Did you read your own link? Age old state craft is exactly what they were talking about. Please tell me you know what a "honey trap" is.

Hey Skipper said...

Take the US from the World in [2002], and the answer changes.

That is where you go off the rails. The US invaded Iraq. Iraq was not the source of the refugee crisis. Absent your conspiratorial fever dreams, you have no reason to believe the Syrian civil war was not going to happen; that Ghaddafi wasn't going to fall, that the EU wasn't going to help, that Merkel wasn't going to be a fool, that the European welfare states wouldn't serve as free-stuff magnets to Muslims living in moribund countries, that Turkey would have no effect, that Iran wasn't going to stoke the Syrian civil war, that other Arab countries would refuse to accept any refugees. And so on. And so on.

Hey, I have an idea: find for me a reputable source — and since I cite Al Jazeera, my boundaries for reputable are pretty wide — that makes a serious, logically coherent argument for US actions directly contributing to the refugee crisis.

And by direct, I mean direct: without the specified US actions, the refugee crisis would not have happened, or would not have reached crisis proportions.

Because so far you are offering nothing more than conspiratorial nonsense and the kind of insults that warrant much less restraint than I have shown.

Hey Skipper said...


[Clovis:] It is particularly troubling to hear it from someone mathematically literate, Bret.

A direct function, as I mentioned before, is an explicit function of a variable, but not necessarily a function of ONE variable. Any function F(X1, X2, ..., Xn) is a direct function of X1, X2, ..., Xn variables.


Pro-tip: the Syrian refugee crisis isn't math.

Second tip: you defeat yourself. Let's say Y, the refugee crisis is a function F of n variables. Y = F(X1, … ,Xn)

Let's further say that n =1, and that X is the US. To say that would mean what the US did was completely sufficient to explain the refugee crisis, and all other factors were irrelevant.

Okay, let's say n > 1. Moreover, lets say n >> 1, that there are 100 different factors X that combined led to the refugee crisis. Clearly, removing one of those factors isn't likely to change the outcome.

Yet that is the claim you are making. There are clearly many, many factors that led to the crisis. It is an extraordinary claim to pick one of them and say That's The One. And that is exactly what you are doing, while simultaneously giving not one — and that is being generous — shred of evidence why that should be so.

Either the US is the only important factor — go ahead, try to make that argument — or there are a great many factors, some of which greatly outweigh whatever the US does, in which case you are merely trotting out a trivial truism: everything affects everything.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,


---
I blame your reading skills. Right from the very moment you typed that, I directly and emphatically interpreted that to mean "necessary and sufficient", not peripheral and dispensable.
[...]
Either the US is the only important factor — go ahead, try to make that argument — or there are a great many factors, some of which greatly outweigh whatever the US does, in which case you are merely trotting out a trivial truism: everything affects everything.
---

It was necessary, but not sufficient. And it was not peripheral and dispensable. The US is a strong and explicit variable, as opposed to any aleatory variable in an "everything affects everything" fashion.

I thought to have been very explicit that "there are great many factors", so maybe my reading skills are not the only one impaired here.

Any study of complex phenomena needs to deal with great many variables. It does not renders you unable to ever assert the importance of some variables over others.

Hence my example back to 2002: take US actions prior to 2003, like invading Iraq, and the future changes greatly. I am not able to foresee all the other paths it could follow, but I can say this particular path it has taken is no longer relevant.

I answer your other points later, but I wanted to make the above points again (for I did them before too!).

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
In non-mathematical contexts, I think most English speakers take them to have stronger meaning than you intended. Both Skipper and I certainly did.
---
I am under the impression both you and Skipper still didn't get it. You are both working under a binary mindset, instead of thinking it all in terms of stronger or weaker correlation of one variable (among very many) with the observable outcomes.


---
Oh? Do I wish to kill them? No, not really. Or perhaps by "you" you're referring to the "hotter heads" I mentioned?


But let me ask you this: if the choice was between a million people like me or a million folks from the mid-east immigrating to Brazil, would you really just as soon take the latter? And if so, why doesn't Brazil volunteer?
---

I truly don't get how you started with a wish to mass murder millions of people because they somehow share something in common (whatever that is) with the crazies who did 9/11, to now a question on accepting massive amounts of refugees. Whatever reasoning you used to get there is beyond my mind, but I will answer anyway:

I can't take a million Brets at my home, but you are a friend (even if only a virtual one), and I would take you home any day of the week. And surely I would prefer someone I know, like you, than a million unknowns.

Though I guess your question was not only personal, so were I to set my country's policies, I would open the gates to both 1 million Brets and one Million ME people, happily.

And I would do so out of pure self interest. Brazil is way too big, with way too much vacant space and unused potential, and our economy in the long run would greatly benefit from that immigration. As it did from past ones - we already run that experiment in past, and absorbed many people from both European background (like you) and ME - lebanese and syrians included - and it was sure a net benefit in the long run.

And by the way, we have an open policy for Syrian refugees since 2014. Up to the begin of 2016 we had received more of them than the US. Unfortunately, I don't think too many of them wish to come here, when they can choose among the richer economies of Europe and North America, so only some ten thousand came up to now.


erp said...

Clovis, if it's more immigrants you want, the solution requires no advanced mathematics, merely more inducements. How about a modern equivalent of our opening up the west. Put all that muscle to work building communities in the wilderness, instead of using it to collect from the labor of others. We can help by cutting off all welfare here and rerouting the refugees your way.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "... binary mindset ..."

To me, in lay-English, the word direct implies the binary on of a "binary mindset."

Clovis wrote: "Brazil is way too big, with way too much vacant space and unused potential..."

That's very interesting. Up here, we're told that all of the vacant space in Brazil is critically endangered rainforest and we must do everything we can to limit population and economic growth in Brazil to save the planet!!!!

But that's great that y'all are willing to take refugees. It's surprising that they don't go where they are at least somewhat more welcome...

erp said...

Bret, thanks for the laugh. I'd forgotten about our obligation to Gaia to never encroach on the rain forests for fear of .... too horrible to contemplate.

This really could be a brave new world if only the koolaid drinkers hadn't been allowed to grab power.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
Up here, we're told that all of the vacant space in Brazil is critically endangered rainforest and we must do everything we can to limit population and economic growth in Brazil to save the planet!!!!
---
I would advise you to apply ten times more skepticism to that phrase than you ever did wrt global warming.

Take a look at this google map angle. You can clearly see the Amazon forest - the greener region - beginning right above the "Mato Grosso" letters (or where "Brasil" is written). Though it is a bit over 1/3 of our total territory, it keeps 15 million people out of our total of 200.

Most of our population are, literally, at the beach.

To drive through much of Brazil (and I mean the non-forest places, for the forest has almost no highways) is, above all, an experience into the emptiness. And I do not mean the emptiness-like of your deserted areas in the western USA, where water and grass comes by hardly, but green and habitable emptiness.

Bret said...

Clovis,

Thanks for the geography lesson on Brazil. I have to admit, I ignorantly thought that pretty much all of your country was rainforest. I'm glad you set me straight.

I am intending to visit Brazil (and you) someday, maybe 2018 or 2019. Would it be foolish for me to travel there alone?

erp said...

Bret, Fitzcarraldo is a German (dubbed into English) cult film about bringing opera to the Brazilian jungle. It's quite interesting. Not sure if Clovis ever heard of it either, it's a bit before his time.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

I know the movie, it is famous with the cult crowd down here too. I confess I saw 5 minutes of it and zapped to something else :-)

The paradoxical aspect of people thinking of Brazil in terms of a big jungle is, that's absolutely unrelated to the experience of 90% of Brazilians, who never get to know the Amazon forest either. The first time I've been there I was already 25 years old, and it was as much of an alien (and absolutely amazing) place to me as it must be to the usual foreigner.

It must be like an American who lives up his twenties only in Florida, getting to know Alaska for the first time... and how many Americans ever get to know Alaska either?


Harry Eagar said...

The Vietnamese were in Vietnam because -- wait for it -- it was their coutry. Why were the Americans there?

Too bad for facts, erp, the US was supporting the French in Vietnam before there was a SEATO.

I see Skipper is staying far away from the terror bombing of the Indochinese. Wonder why?

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
I am intending to visit Brazil (and you) someday, maybe 2018 or 2019. Would it be foolish for me to travel there alone?
---

Hey, that's some good news!

I would be thrilled to show you around, and Brasilia makes for an excelent stop if you are going to the Amazon, for example - it is right in middle of the path for people coming from Rio or Sao Paulo, and most such flights make a connection here anyway.

As for travelling alone, what do you mean? If it would be dangerous? I don't think so, you just need to follow those very standard precautions: don't use anything too fancy that would atract too much attention (expensive clocks, jewelry and so on).

The only places you would bea dvised to not go alone are favelas, mostly in Rio de Janeiro. There is a large tourism industry, though, dedicated to take gringos there so they can appreciate real poverty for a few minutes. (OK, not only that, they say there are amazing parties in some favelas if you like funk music and almost naked hot girls dancing it).

Clovis e Adri said...

Still about movies.

It is hard to pinpoint any movie I know that would be representative. Fitzcarraldo talks about a reality the vast majority of Brazilians don't know.

Likewise, most Brazilians do not live in Rio de Janeiro, even less in their favelas. Still, with that warning, I recommend this movie - Elite Squad - if you want something with more action and fun than cult movies. It gives some idea about what life in Rio's favelas are (or used to be, the movie is based on things of the end of the 90's) from the point of view of law enforcement troops.

erp said...

Clovis, I suggested Fitz because the film is so outré, not because it was representative of Brazil -- few subjects about which I know less. I saw it with the German faculty at the college where I worked during the period when Klaus Kinski was the rage. It was in German with no subtitles, so it was translated by my hosts. I'm guessing not entirely accurately. :-) Any way it was a lot of fun.

Harry, define supporting the French in Vietnam.

Bret, here's the advice we got from a very knowledgeable guide we had when we were in Mexico City. Don't bring anything expensive, as Clovis said, watches, but our guide especially emphasized sun glasses and footwear. That's how thieves size up their victims.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] The Vietnamese were in Vietnam because -- wait for it -- it was their coutry. Why were the Americans there?

You really are an idiot. Although that would be an insult to idiots the world over.

There was a border between North and South Vietnam. They were both states recognized by the UN. The NVA had no more business south of the border than the South Vietnamese army would have had north of it.

Had they ever gone there. Which they didn't.

Your response makes your Stalinist freak flag fly. Your beloved communists are entitled to do whatever they please, and all resistance is immoral. You have no concept of cause and effect: had the NVA stayed in North Vietnam, Khe Sanh never happens.

The South Vietnamese, as a sovereign country, asked for US aid. Which, as a sovereign country, they were entitled to do.

Unfortunately, it came to this:

Despite a peace treaty concluded in January 1973, fighting continued until the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong armies overran Saigon on 30 April 1975, marking the end of the South Vietnamese state.

Which means a UN recognized country wiped out another UN recognized country. And then there was a real refugee crisis.

You do remember the Boat People, don't you? All two million of them who fled South Korea because communism, of which you are so enamored, was extra special super wonderful.

Clovis e Adri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

-----
I made the case a couple threads ago, which you never answered, or even acknowledged, so I must now go to the bother of repeating myself again: [Followed by many questions]
[...]
Hey, I have an idea: find for me a reputable source — and since I cite Al Jazeera, my boundaries for reputable are pretty wide — that makes a serious, logically coherent argument for US actions directly contributing to the refugee crisis.
-----
Trying to answer both the big picture questions and the request for a source, I will offer this one.



---
And when faced with questions, your replies are insulting nonsense. For example: That you are ignorant of most of ME's geopolitical chess we already knew. The answer to ignorance is not accusations of ignorance, but rather information to relieve the ignorance. When I insist you explain how Libya, for instance, was antagonistic to US policy, I expect something of a detailed explanation. Instead, I get empty insults. Which makes me think you are getting ready to go full Harry.

Do Not Go Full Harry.
---
I did not go full Harry. Not even one-tenth Harry.

Harry often points out relatively obscure historical points and authors, assuming anyone ought to know that.

I spent 8 years listening to your foreign policy establishment and their neocon hawks, John Bolton (your former UN ambassador, no less) notably among them - hence my link - speaking of Syria and Lybia as members of some imaginary axis of evil.

Now, when you ask *me* to explain why they were countries antagonists to US policy, I can only wonder why the heck I am trying to argue US' ME policy with someone who apparently spent all the Bush years sleeping in Alaska. No, Skipper, you really ought to know that.

erp said...

Clovis: ... I did not go full Harry. Not even one-tenth Harry. ... and we appreciate that, however the big question you haven't answered is why did Bush want to antagonize Syria, Lybia, etc. and I don't remember them mentioning any axis of evil and I assure I wasn't sleeping in Alaska all that time -- I wasn't even sleeping in Florida. As usual, I was fully engaged in my hobby of political junkiness.

Harry Eagar said...

'Harry, define supporting the French in Vietnam.'

Paying for their colonial army

Harry Eagar said...

'You do remember the Boat People, don't you? All two million of them who fled South Korea'

I don't remember them fleeing South Korea.

I do recall that following the Vietnamese civil war, the nationalists won and the adherents of the corrupt faction in the South -- the ones who had allied themselves with foreign imperialists -- left. Very like what the Loyalists in America did after 1781. Since there were then around 70 million Vietnamese, it is not so hard to understand why the neocolonialists lost.

I also know the history of Vietnam; and I well remember the lame justification for the division at the country at the 17th parallel: that northern Vietnam was really not associated with southern Vietnam but was a country called Annam. That was typical of the lies the US government told to justify intervening in the civil war.

I also know who did not ratify the peace treaty in 1973. Do you?

erp said...

Harry, you know very well that all of the above that is remotely accurate was part of the cold war and our struggle to contain the Soviets and the Chicoms. Funny that. Had we pushed harder, they both would have crumbled so bereft were they of funds.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] I do recall that following the Vietnamese civil war, the [communists, aided by significant assistance from the USSR, with the intent of spreading communism through Southeast Asia] won and the adherents of the [corrupt faction which somehow never managed to create millions of refugees, or execute tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of people] in the South.

Fixed it for you.

It's amazing that, decades after the thoroughgoing moral bankruptcy of communism became obvious to almost all of those to whom it wasn't already obvious, that you continue to be an apologist.

I also know the history of Vietnam; and I well remember the lame justification for the division at the country at the 17th parallel: that northern Vietnam was really not associated with southern Vietnam but was a country called Annam. That was typical of the lies the US government told to justify intervening in the civil war.

If you can't be bothered to take a few seconds to provide evidence, it will take me far less time to disregard it all.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] Trying to answer both the big picture questions and the request for a source, I will offer this one

I read the link, top to bottom. While a great deal of it was plausible in a general sense, it had a pervasive whiff of conspiracy theorist about it: I am right, everyone who disagrees is a fool. But more on that later.

In 2003, the United States decapitated and destabilized Iraq, erasing inhibitions to sectarian strife there and, ultimately, in Syria as well.

This set off alarm bells. Loud ones. Inhibitions to sectarian strife erased? How is it possible to erase that which never existed in the first place? He apparently hasn't heard of the Lebanese civil war, or Syrian sectarian conflict long predating 2003, among other prominent examples. And, as is common with sort of writing, there is an unbridged gap between cause and effect.

Yes, the US decapitated and destabilized Iraq.

One would think that, all other things being equal, that would have united the sects against the common enemy. That exactly the opposite happened strongly suggests — as I said several threads ago — that the underlying conditions were only waiting for the collapse of the Saddam regime, no matter how it happened. That the US was the catalyst provided Iraqis with an opportunity to create a civil society that they (with a great deal of help from Iran) firmly and bloodily refused.

Absent any theory as to how the Saddam regime would have peacefully collapse, then an entirely likely direct consequence of Operation Iraqi Freedom was that the inevitable was less awful than it would have been otherwise.

This isn't a reasoned conclusion, it is a rant.

For almost five decades, the United States aided and abetted a fraudulent “peace process” and the institutionalization of intolerable injustice for the Arabs of the Holy Land. This enabled Israel to keep expanding but eroded the Jewish state’s democracy, alienated the majority of the world’s Jews from it, delegitimized it in the eyes of the international community, gravely damaged its prospects for domestic tranquility, and placed its long-term survival in doubt.

Now I'm starting to see a possible reason.


The strife we helped kindle in Syria (and Iraq) continues to have unforeseen knock-on effects, like the incubation of Da’esh, the destabilization of the European Union by overwhelming refugee flows, and the reappearance of Russian power in the Middle East.

He has provided precisely no evidence, not a scintilla, how invading Iraq in 2003 contributed in any way to the Syrian civil war, and any investigation the history of it will provide a dumpster load of causes having nothing to do with the US.

I'm not the only one: The Washington Post thinks him a conspiracy theorist.

It is at that point I noticed the site itself: rightweb. More alarm bells. An item flagged on the left side bar, Trump's EO an Existential Threat to America sounded truly unhinged; as indeed it turned out to be.

All sources need to be treated with some degree of awareness, if not outright suspicion. I would steer clear of StormFront just as much as Socialist Workers' Weekly, for instance. Based on my limited exposure, I'll put rightweb in that pile.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] I did not go full Harry. Not even one-tenth Harry.

Do not flatter yourself.

In the first thread on this subject, the entirety of your responses amounted to almost nothing but snark. In this thread, you have done the same. Repeated from your quotation of me: The answer to ignorance is not accusations of ignorance, but rather information to relieve the ignorance. When I insist you explain how Libya, for instance, was antagonistic to US policy, I expect something of a detailed explanation. Instead, I get empty insults.

And here we go again: Now, when you ask *me* to explain why they were countries antagonists to US policy, I can only wonder why the heck I am trying to argue US' ME policy with someone who apparently spent all the Bush years sleeping in Alaska. No, Skipper, you really ought to know that.

Indeed, I am asking you. You made an assertion that — on account of US machinations — the Arab Spring went particularly badly for countries antagonistic to US policy.

I remain unaware in exactly what regards Syria or Libya were in any significant particular antagonistic to US policy. Yes, they are anti-Israel, but then so is every Arab country. There is nothing new there, and certainly nothing new since 1947.

So as before, I scan your responses hoping for some facts tied together to create an argument. I search in vain (and God knows your link was no help). Instead, you once again go full Harry. Once again, I deeply hope — but so far in vain — that you will vent your spleen, then Ctrl-A Delete.

Harry often points out relatively obscure historical points and authors, assuming anyone ought to know that.

And it often happens that Harry's name dropping in place of an argument is completely unverifiable. And when it is, it frequently happens that either the source said nothing on the subject, or, indeed, exactly the opposite of what Harry alleged.

Proving beyond any hope of contradiction that there is no substitute for direct quotes.

Harry Eagar said...

Skipper never heard of the Phoenix Program, obviously. The one we ran that killed tens of thousands of people in the South.

Nor has he heard of the Viet Minh, the nationalists who fought to force the Japanese, then the French out of Vietnam, without any help from the USSR or the Chinese. Without any help from anybody.

As for creating refugees, nobody created more than the US did; we dropped more bombs on Laos than the US and UK did on Europe during WW2. Almost none of them hit a communist, but they all hit something.

It turned out, nobody felt it was worth dying for Madame Thieu's racehorses. Sensible people would have drawn conclusions from that experience and applied them to, say, Afghanistan or Iraq. But sensible people were not in charge.





erp said...

Sensible people? Nixon and the Phoenix Program and Trump and the Phoenix Program.

It doesn't get better than that does it Harry?

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

----
I'm not the only one: The Washington Post thinks him a conspiracy theorist.
----
I find it interesting how fast you went for the ad hominem on this one.

One might wonder that, given his CV, he may have his reasons to see any conspiracy around, though the views he expressed in the link I posed were all based in open and public information.

The only fault you could pose about his arguments is your old line, on how Iraq could go to hell in a basket even if the US had not invaded it. Which is no error in argument at all, as I see it. AFAIK, you are the only one who believes that - and the only one not able to see the most obvious flaws on such argument.

BTW, on your ad hominem: the most serious allegation I could see about him was that he would be in the pockets of the Saudis. I have no ideia if that's true, but as far as reliability of sources go, you can't complain. Yourself told me above you were accepting Al Jazeera links, and they are certainly in Saudi pockets.

----
It is at that point I noticed the site itself: rightweb. More alarm bells. An item flagged on the left side bar, Trump's EO an Existential Threat to America sounded truly unhinged; as indeed it turned out to be.

All sources need to be treated with some degree of awareness, if not outright suspicion. I would steer clear of StormFront just as much as Socialist Workers' Weekly, for instance. Based on my limited exposure, I'll put rightweb in that pile.
----
You should rest your bells, Skipper, before they get you deaf.

I trust absolutely no media outlet these days, so your comment above is inane. The only thing I ask of an opinion piece is that its author's existence is somehow certifiable - where it is published is irrelevant.

---
I remain unaware in exactly what regards Syria or Libya were in any significant particular antagonistic to US policy.
---
I remain mystified that, given the vast resources the internet provides, you are still asking me that question.

I remain doubly mystified, because I gave you the link to the first speech by a higher official in the Bush admnistration, where Lybia and Syria are explicitly cited together with the detailed accusations that granted their inclusion in that "axis of evil" club.

Apparently, you are all fine with the invasion of Iraq because Saddam supposedly had biological and chemical weapons, pursued a nuclear program, sponsored terrorism and had potential to destabilize nearby countries. You look to agree it rendered Iraq antagonistic to US policy.

All the same points, varying only in shades of gray, were made against Lybia and Syria. Apparently, without that ever registering on your radar.

I guess that's how life goes for the citizens of the Empire. They squash countries as they do flies: without even noticing.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] Skipper never heard of the Phoenix Program, obviously.

Are you too stupid to figure out linking to citations?

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] I find it interesting how fast you went for the ad hominem on this one.

I find it interesting that you don't know what an ad hominem argument is. Had I played the man, instead of the ball, then you would have a point.

However, since I led with specific objections to the very few relevant sentences in the article (speaking of: Why the heck did you make me plow through the whole thing? Would it kill you to copy and paste?), then ad hominem doesn't apply.

In fact, I raised a very specific objection: In 2003, the United States decapitated and destabilized Iraq, erasing inhibitions to sectarian strife there and, ultimately, in Syria as well. That statement is transparent nonsense. Regardless, your citing this article accomplished nothing more than you have done so far: presenting a conclusion absent evidence or argument. I have sharply criticized you for not offering one positive piece of evidence for your assertion, and, finally, your response is to provide a statement offering not one positive piece of evidence for your assertion.

[Hey Skipper:] I remain unaware in exactly what regards Syria or Libya were in any significant particular antagonistic to US policy.
---
[Clovis:] I remain mystified that, given the vast resources the internet provides, you are still asking me that question.


And I remain mystified that, instead of relieving my awareness, you keep providing that same fucking bullshit answer. It is the same obnoxious crap Harry provides when challenged to support one of his noxious accusations.

As with Harry, I remain mystified you waste so many pixels avoiding a direct answer.

And, as with Harry, I am seriously wonder why I'm wasting my time with your vacuous nonsense.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] It turned out, nobody felt it was worth dying for Madame Thieu's racehorses.

Harry, as it turned out, there was no defeating the NVA that was so lavishly backed by the USSR.

And there is no denying that North Vietnam's imposition of communism on the South only expanded the number of people subjected to that soul sucking, life crushing ideology. It is astonishing, and not in a good way, that you are such an unrepentant apologist.

Harry Eagar said...

The ARVN was lavishly backed with arms -- including an air force, which the communists didn't have in the south, but it was unwilling to fight.

I suppose, since you now so little of American history, you do not know that when the Japanese occupying army surrendered in 1945,it was not disarmed. The Americans left it in place "to keep order" (real reason, to exclude the nationalists from political power). That guaranteed that the communists would eventually prevail, as they were the only faction that could claim to have fought for independence.

As for life-crushing ideologies, from the perspective of an Indochinese farmer, that was us with out relentless terror bombing.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
Why the heck did you make me plow through the whole thing?
---
Because you many times asked for a link. I've chosen one that could give you the benefit of a structural vision of the region.

Most observers who think the ME in terms of its entire complexity easily predicted Iraq 2003 would end up in a mess such as we see today -- yet you think it is a stretch of imagination to ever argue so. The present situation was predicted from the outset, vindicated by the experience, and there you are, entirely oblivious of the trivial.

---
And I remain mystified that, instead of relieving my awareness, you keep providing that same fucking bullshit answer.
---
Keep it classy, would you?

You complain both when I give you a link and when I don't - even when I gave you from the outset and you can't take it.

Pray tell me, Skipper, what do you want more than a US State Department detailed score of black list points on each of those countries?

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

Since you are unable to follow a link and read it, I will select for you the specific passages that defined US policy towards Lybia and Syria from 2002 on.
---------
First, Libya. There is no doubt that Libya continues its longstanding pursuit of nuclear weapons. We believe that since the suspension of UN sanctions against Libya in 1999, Libya has been able to increase its access to dual use nuclear technologies. Although Libya would need significant foreign assistance to acquire a nuclear weapon, Tripoli's nuclear infrastructure enhancement remains of concern. Qaddafi hinted at this in a recent (25 March) interview with Al-Jazirah when he said, "We demanded the dismantling of the weapons of mass destruction that the Israelis have; we must continue to demand that. Otherwise, the Arabs will have the right to possess that weapon."

Among its weapons of mass destruction programs, Libya--which is not a party to the CWC--continues its goal of reestablishing its offensive chemical weapons ability, as well as pursuing an indigenous chemical warfare production capability. Libya has produced at least 100 tons of different kinds of chemical weapons, using its Rabta facility. That facility closed down after it was subject to media scrutiny, but then reopened as a pharmaceutical plant in 1995. Although production of chemical agents reportedly has been halted, CW production at Rabta cannot be ruled out. It remains heavily dependent on foreign suppliers for precursor chemicals, technical expertise, and other key chemical warfare-related equipment. Following the suspension of UN sanctions in April 1999, Libya has reestablished contacts with illicit foreign sources of expertise, parts, and precursor chemicals in the Middle East, Asia, and Western Europe.

Conversely, Libya has publicly indicated its intent to join the CWC. While our perceptions of Libya would not change overnight, such a move could be positive. Under the CWC, Libya would be required to declare and destroy all chemical weapons production facilities and stockpiles, make declarations about any dual use chemical industry, undertake not to research or produce any chemical weapons, and not to export certain chemicals to countries that have not signed the CWC. Libya would also be subject to challenge inspections of any facility, declared or not.

Significantly for predictive purposes, Libya became a State Party to the BWC in January 1982, but the U.S. believes that Libya has continued its biological warfare program. Although its program is in the research and development stage, Libya may be capable of producing small quantities of biological agent. Libya's BW program has been hindered, in part, by the country's poor scientific and technological base, equipment shortages, and a lack of skilled personnel, as well as by UN sanctions in place from 1992 to 1999.


[to be continued...]

Clovis e Adri said...

Still Lybia:

----
Libya is also continuing its efforts to obtain ballistic missile-related equipment, materials, technology, and expertise from foreign sources. Outside assistance--particularly Serbian, Indian, North Korean, and Chinese--is critical to its ballistic missile development programs, and the suspension of UN sanctions in 1999 has allowed Tripoli to expand its procurement effort. Libya's current capability probably remains limited to its SCUD B missiles; but with continued foreign assistance, it may achieve an MRBM capability--a long desired goal--or extended-range SCUD capability.

Although Libya is one of seven countries on the State Department's list of state sponsors of terror,1 the U.S. has noted recent positive steps by the Libyan government that we hope indicate that Tripoli wishes to rejoin the community of civilized states. In 1999, Libya turned over two Libyans wanted in connection with the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, for trial in the Netherlands. In 2001, it condemned the September 11 attacks publicly and signed the 12 terrorist conventions listed in UN Security Council Resolution 1273. And, as I have already mentioned, Libya has also announced its intention to accede to CWC.

However, as I have also said, words are not enough. The key is to see clear, hard evidence that Libya will, in fact, live up to the public standards it has set for itself. Libya can make a positive gesture in this regard by fulfilling its obligations under WMD treaties and becoming a party to the CWC. Moreover, Libya must honor the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions relating to the resolution of Pan Am 103, arguably the worst air terrorist disaster prior to September 11. Libya has yet to comply fully with these resolutions, which include accepting responsibility and paying compensation. It is past time that Libya did this.

Clovis e Adri said...

Now Syria:

----
The United States also knows that Syria has long had a chemical warfare program. It has a stockpile of the nerve agent sarin and is engaged in research and development of the more toxic and persistent nerve agent VX. Although Damascus currently is dependent on foreign sources for key elements of its chemical warfare program, including precursor chemicals and key production equipment, we are concerned about Syrian advances in its indigenous CW infrastructure which would significantly increase the independence of its CW program. We think that Syria has a variety of aerial bombs and SCUD warheads, which are potential means of delivery of deadly agents capable of striking neighboring countries.

Syria, which has signed but not ratified the BWC, is pursuing the development of biological weapons and is able to produce at least small amounts of biological warfare agents. While we believe Syria would need foreign assistance to launch a large-scale biological weapons program right now, it may obtain such assistance by the end of this decade.

Syria has a combined total of several hundred SCUD B, SCUD C and SS-21 SRBMs, It is pursuing both solid- and liquid-propellant missile programs and relies extensively on foreign assistance in these endeavors. North Korean and Russian entities have been involved in aiding Syria's ballistic missile development. All of Syria's missiles are mobile and can reach much of Israel, Jordan, and Turkey from launch sites well within the country.
-----


Where it is useful to remember this is 2002. After that, in 2005, Assad directed the assassination of the Lebanese prime minister together with Hezbollah, as well as initiated a nuclear facility enriching fissile material with the aid of North Korea - destroyed by Israel in 2007, as I indicated in previous discussions.





If you ever ask me again to explain to you why those countries were seen by US foreign policy circles as antagonistic to US interests, I swear I will kick your butt in person the next time I take a flight to Germany.



Harry Eagar said...

If Bush 2 was looking for WMD, maybe he should have invaded some other countries?

erp said...

Harry, The UN was looking WMD - remember. They even had a special investigator -- I forgot his name who later turned out to be some kind of pervert -- scouring the Iraqi landscape for them.

Harry Eagar said...

That misrepresents what the UN was doing.

erp said...

... scouring for baksheesh????

Hey Skipper said...

[Hey Skipper:] Why the heck did you make me plow through the whole thing?
---
[Clovis:] Because you many times asked for a link. I've chosen one that could give you the benefit of a structural vision of the region.


I asked you for something — anything — that provided evidence and an argument for the US directly contributing to the Syrian refugee crisis. That link, in that respect, and practically all others, was merely an assertion, absent evidence or argument, just as you have done, and just as worthless.

Most observers who think the ME in terms of its entire complexity easily predicted Iraq 2003 would end up in a mess such as we see today -- yet you think it is a stretch of imagination to ever argue so.

No, I think it is thoughtless reflex to blame the US (except for the the possibility that had the US remained in Iraq, rather than leaving, it might not have happened) for the refugee crisis. I think it also demands some real thought, rather than just more Harry-level snottiness, to conclude that the region with US intervention is worse than it would have been without it. You are arguing for a null.

Keep it classy, would you?

You complain both when I give you a link and when I don't - even when I gave you from the outset and you can't take it.


Why? You have completely wasted my time, and you continue to do so here.

Since you are unable to follow a link and read it, I will select for you the specific passages that defined US policy towards Lybia and Syria from 2002 on.

Now, either the Heritage Foundation has beaten physicists to time travel, or Weapons of Mass Destruction May 6, 2002 would be a waste of my time. And as irrelevant as it is possible to be. Or can't you read your own link?

First, Libya. There is no doubt that Libya continues its longstanding pursuit of nuclear weapons. As of 2002, that is. A year later, no so much.

If you ever ask me again to explain to you why those countries were seen by US foreign policy circles as antagonistic to US interests, I swear I will kick your butt in person the next time I take a flight to Germany.

Here is what you said: I disagree. It easily explains why the Arab Spring wreaked havoc only among countries not aligned with US Middle East policy, where the only possible exception (Egypt) is explained as a mix of experiment and vacillation by Obama.

There are no countries in the Middle East, aside from Israel, that are "aligned with US policies". Up until the Arab Spring, it was no different, in any particular matter, than it had been for decades. Syria's civil war didn't change that.

You did not go through each ME country, assess it's policies wrt to the US, how they changed, or didn't, and how observable factors did not fully account for the outcome in each.

In other words, you continue to put up bullshit "responses". To change that, you need to present an affirmative factually derived argument that the US materially affected the outcomes of the Arab Spring. Just as you need to do the same to demonstrate that the refugee crisis is a direct function of US policies.

You have done neither. You have, however, done an outstanding job of channeling Harry in particular, and conspiracies nuts in general.

Harry Eagar said...

'There are no countries in the Middle East, aside from Israel, that are "aligned with US policies".'

Whatever those may be. But if your statement is accurate, we are paying a lot of money for no return.

Clovis e Adri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
You have, however, done an outstanding job of channeling Harry in particular, and conspiracies nuts in general.
---
You are being unfair.

For I beforehand accepted the notion that I could be wrong, since I recognized I could not prove any of it. And I did not ask you to believe any of it either.


But I do enjoy the consideration of conspiracy theories in general, for the simple fun of it. So what I asked from you was an imaginary exercise. Were I right, what would change for you?

I don't think you ever tried to answer that question very honestly, though to the extent you did answer, I get nothing at all would change for you. Which means you would be perfectly fine counting all those bodies and refugees on account of US actions.

Exercises about hypotheticals are not only about the object in study. They are also meant to probe the students.

Lois Guinn said...

[Harry:] Whatever those may be. But if your statement is accurate, we are paying a lot of money for no return.

Israel. Freedom of navigation through the straits of Hormuz, through which a significant portion of the world's energy flows. Just to name a couple that are no return.

[Clovis:] You are being unfair.

For I beforehand accepted the notion that I could be wrong, since I recognized I could not prove any of it. And I did not ask you to believe any of it either.


No, you didn't. You directly asserted the US, through social engineering or other obvious, but undetectable means, was directly responsible for the refugee crisis. You scattered snottiness about the place when I found your notions completely unpersuasive.

Pronunciamentos and unearned expressions of intellectual superiority. What isn't Harry about that?

But I do enjoy the consideration of conspiracy theories in general, for the simple fun of it. So what I asked from you was an imaginary exercise. Were I right, what would change for you?

If pigs could fly, we'd need steel umbrellas.

I don't think you ever tried to answer that question very honestly, though to the extent you did answer, I get nothing at all would change for you. Which means you would be perfectly fine counting all those bodies and refugees on account of US actions.

If I ever need to provide a perfect example of a non sequitur, this would be it. There is no plausible chain of reasoning that leads from antecedent to consequent.

Which probably means you desire the consequent so badly you can't be fussed with how you got there.

Oh, and about that consequent: go to hell.

Lois Guinn said...

[Harry:] Whatever those may be. But if your statement is accurate, we are paying a lot of money for no return.

The continued existence of Israel. No nuclear arms race between Iraq and Iran. Freedom of navigation through the Straits of Hormuz, through which a great deal of the earth's energy supplies flow.

Yep, you are right Harry. No return.

Lois Guinn said...

(BTW, blogging from my daughter's computer.)

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
Oh, and about that consequent: go to hell.
---

Well, thanks. We could have ended this topic a few thousand words ago if you were that straightforward before.

erp said...

Skipper, when I saw your comment in my email, I was stopped cold because I remembered when we heard from Duck's sister/daughter - sorry senior moments running into senior long-weekends.

Glad you're in fine fettle, but cut Clovis some slack. He's working from a very slanted set of "facts" and has come a long way, not all the way yet, but I have high hopes the scales will fall from his eyes while I'm still around to see it.

Harry Eagar said...

So they are aligned with our interests. Whatever those may be now.

Tilllerson's statement on Bahrein suggests our interests and antidemocratic interests align well since the last couple months.

Clovis e Adri said...

Harry,

The last couple of months?

Bahrain's crackdown on their Arab Spring folks in 2011 went down unnoticed for the US, while Libya and Syria's were reason enough for much ado - like toppling Gaddafi after thousands of flights and bombs.

Hey Skipper said...

Clovis, Harry's guttural utterances notwithstanding, in the US Bahrain's crack down went very much noticed.

Google [nyt bahrain crackdown].

Harry Eagar said...

Yeah, but now we are for it, or at least our neonazi president is. Egypt, too.

erp said...

Our neonazi president is in Tahiti enjoying the fruits (pun intended) of his labor.

Hey Skipper said...

Yeah, but now we are for it, or at least our neonazi president is. Egypt, too.

We are? Prove it.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

Please notice I wrote it went unnoticed for the US (as opposed to in the US).

Poor people of Bahrain. They must be, to this day, asking why they didn't deserve a few USAF jets crossing their skies to grant them those blessed pro-democracy measures the Lybians were entitled to. They can't figure out what went wrong with their little Spring...

Hey Skipper said...

Maybe their little Spring didn't look like being murderous enough.