How to flush $2 BILLION

11 May, '06

egyptprotest1.jpgGive it to the Egyptian government in order to help them continue to be the voice of the Arab Nation, the voice of Arab Democracy and the voice of Arab Modernity.

egyptprotest4.jpgThat’s what was on the brochure that sold the story to donors, the reality of course is much different. What Egypt is, is simply a police state headed by an octogenarian refusing to give up power, still deep in the belief that He is doing his country good, and to hell with the people.

Not really that much different from the other 22 Arab countries. We’re just thankful that in Bahrain demonstrations no longer look like the following pictures.. at least, not yet.

Have a look at these lovely posters of a democratic Egypt that deserves over $2 billion in aid from the USA alone.

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  1. Mubarak’s Police State : my occupied territory | 31 Jan, '07
  1. Ingrid says:

    Mahmoud, do not most of the 2 billion go towards arms? (as in arms to surpress the egyptian people themselves? I seem to remember reading this years and years ago. And that pediatrician guy, Bin Laden’s number two (sorry, don’t have time to check for names), isn’t he an Egyptian who imprisoned and tortured by the Egyptian police or CIA equivalent vowed to avenge himself on the US? When Palestinians saw that the weapons the Israelis fought them with were American made, they were naturally angered by that. This is the thing with the military industrial complex; don’t commit violence but if you really want to, here are some of our products…
    Ingrid

  2. Anonymous says:

    As an American, it is especially frustrating that Corp. U.S. pays $2,000,000,000 per annum to Egypt. I have lamented this many times on the Internet. Also, my senator and representative, whom I have contacted a number of times, simply do not care.

    It has become obvious to me that Corp. U.S., which has usurped the government of the United States of America, is an adjunct of the International Monetary Fund/United Nations and is interested in running up debt and empowering dictators world wide.

    It would be interesting to see how long the government of Egypt would last without this money.

  3. Sally says:

    The sad truth is that this $2 bil is just a drop in the bucket in terms of US arms sales to repressive governments throughout the world, in addition to being a very very old story. My suspicion is that has very little to do with a thought-out foreign policy (well, or not), rather with the need to feed lotsa wasta to US arms makers.

    I am not so forgetful to have forgotten the sale of arms to Saddam, for intstance. How about Pakistan, where President Mushareff came to power in a coup d’etat! And let’s not even start on Saudi Arabia.

  4. Aliandra says:

    Sally;

    The US gave intelligence to Saddam, but did not sell him any arms. The French gave him weapons and loans, and the Russians provided him with tanks. Several mid-east countries also provided Saddam with loans.

    The 2 billion given to Egypt came about from the Camp David accords during the Carter era. The US agreed to give several billion bucks of aid to both Egypt and Israel, a situation which still exists. Among other things, the two sides would maintain peace.

  5. Anonymous says:

    …And $50,000,000 to Hamas.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Aliandra:

    That is true. Yet it was only camoflauge. There was no reason to pay Egypt not to attack Israel. Everytime Egypt attacked Israel, Israel handed them their asses back in a body bag.

    By giving Egypt $2,000,000,000, the ideology that attacked Israel is merely being enabled. NOW, Egypt attacks its own people.

  7. Aliandra says:

    It should be cut, I agree. Israel’s allowance shoudl also be cut until they stop building settlements.

  8. Sally says:

    Aliandra – while the US was not a major supplier (no need, the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact were on the job), the US did supply weapons between 1983 and 1988. Particularly in 1988. And yes, as you say, lots of intelligence. The enemy of our enemy (Iran) was our friend. Unfortunately, the Iran-Iraq war provided the mullahs with the patriotic cover to solidify their power, which was far from certain in the early 80s, as their draconian manner of governance was not welcomed by the majority of Iranians, who were hoping for MORE freedom with the overthrow of the Shah.

    And completely I agree about the Israeli settlements.

  9. Jared in NYC says:

    I agree with Sally regarding the near absence of foreign policy review in arms sales (there is some, but not nearly enough). It’s a very nasty business, and the US, many European countries, Brazil, Russia, and China all compete to sell (or ironically, provide as a form of aid) as much profitable lethality as possible to many unsavory governments.

    Thanks Alliandra for your clarification regarding US aid to Eqypt and Isreal. That’s my understanding as well. I support US aid to Israel and Egypt, but agree that aid to Israel ought to be under pressure tied to the Settlement issue, and aid to Egypt tied to appropriate human rights initiatives.

    Jared

  10. Steve The American says:

    Sally: “I am not so forgetful to have forgotten the sale of arms to Saddam, for intstance.”

    BS, Sally. The US did not sell arms to Saddam, contrary to the goofy fantasies of the Left. Before Saddam, Iraq bought 90+% of its arms from the Soviet Union. After Saddam, he diversified the Iraqi arms portfolio by buying 60% of his arms from the Soviet Union, 30% from Europe.

    If lefties could tell the difference between weapons and their butts, they could turn on the television and see Iraqis riding Soviet T-72 tanks, not American M-1 tanks; carrying Soviet AK-47s, not American M-16s; and flying MiGs, not Lockheeds. Even now,when the Iraqi army is our client, we are not supplying them with meaningful arms. They’re still using AK-47s, riding pickup trucks instead of Humvees. We haven’t given them heavy weapons like tanks, APCs, or artillery.

    I challenge you to back up your wildly ignorant lefty propaganda with any reference to any weapons system sold by America to Iraq. Then when you discover that you don’t know what you’re talking about, I challenge you to debrief yourself on how and why you came to believe so smugly and so certainly in something that is so completely false.

    Here is a link to help bring you up to speed on this issue:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction

    The bottom line is that the US contributed less than one percent to the military capability of Iraq and virtually all of that was dual-use materials. Basically, Saddam negotiated for materials and products for commercial use and diverted them to military use. For example, civilian helicopters converted to military use and veterinary cultures diverted to biological weapons research.

    Steve

  11. Sally says:

    I don’t think anyone is speaking of WMD in this context. Obviously the US is not selling WMD to Egypt either. The topic is conventional weapons.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arms_sales_to_Iraq_1973-1990.

    The United States did not supply any arms to Iraq until 1982, when Iran’s growing military success alarmed American policymakers. It then did so every year until 1988. In 1996 the Scott Report in the UK investigated arms sales to Iraq in the 1980s by Matrix Churchill in what became known as the Arms-to-Iraq scandal.

  12. Sally says:

    Here is a link a copy of a Senate Report supplied by the website of the Gulf War (I) Veterans: http://www.gulfweb.org/bigdoc/report/riegle1.html.

    And here is a link to an article detailing the Reagan administration’s overtures to Saddam along with the infamous photo of then special envoy Donald Rumsfeld shaking Saddam’s hand in Baghdad. http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/

    Of course you are free to think as you please.

    And Steve, I think you are in dire need a huge hug today, because I have not attacked you personally and you insist on dumping the worst insults you can dream up on me. I mean what can be worse than a goofy leftist? 🙂

    So here it is! (I have been told that I am good hugger!)

  13. Steve The American says:

    Sally,

    Your Wikipedia link cites the same Swedish peacenik report that mine does. The best they can say is that we sold the Iraqis half a percent of their military equipment. That’s the same thing I said. What that means is that we did not supply any meaningful amount of military equipment to the Iraqis, as you falsely claimed.

    Let me explain it again: We sold stuff with the approval of the Commerce department that was dual-use stuff. For example, the Iraqis bought computers from us claiming to need it for business use, then diverted them to figuring out artillery tables. You are trying to inflate this half a percent into some sort of indictment against America, which sold this stuff in good faith to Saddam who used it in bad faith. It is flatly a false accusation.

    If you read your own Rumsfeld link, you will find it says that Iraq’s arsenal was supplied by the Soviets, not America. And really, you’re being very naive if you think that we only should send envoys to nice countries. In the real world, you have to deal with everyone, including the Saddam’s of the world. FDR had to deal with Stalin. Bush had to deal with Saddam. There are many pix of FDR sitting and laughing with Stalin. Does that make FDR responsible for the gulags?

    It doesn’t matter whether you are talking about conventional weapons nor WMDs, we didn’t supply either to Saddam. As I pointed out before, there was no American weapons system sold to Saddam. None. That means zero. Nada. Zilch. Ixnay. It’s just that freaking simple.

    As for unconventional weapons, it appears that Saddam’s boys took some of the veterinary cultures sold via the Commerce Dept channel and used them to develop biological weapons, but they were never used.

    As for chemical weapons, Saddam’s program was entirely covert. Iraq discovered deposits of phosphate in the western desert, which is the basic ingredient of many chemical weapons and pesticides. Saddam convinced the Germans that he was building pesticide plants to support increased agricultural production. However, those pesticide plants were essentially identical to chemical weapons plants. They could be used to make either. They were dual-use.

    The only involvment of Americans with the chemical weapons program came when Saddam approached an American pesticide maker about plans to make a production facility. During the initial negotiations they discussed plans to make a small model pesticide plant in advance of making one capable of mass production. Something didn’t feel right to the Americans after those initial discussions and they pulled out. However, the Iraqis had the plans for the model plant and subsequently built it to produce chemical weapons.

    Your insane accusation that the US armed Iraq is false, even though all of your lefty friends parrot it endlessly. It is simply a lie which the Left is trying to repeat enough to convince everyone it is true.

    Steve

  14. ByronB says:

    This is probably going to sound incredibly naive, but is it not possible to identify the policemen from these photographs, and then conduct a poster campaign using these photos with names attached to try to shame some action out of the Egyptian government?

  15. Sally says:

    U.S. Had Key Role in Iraq Buildup: Trade in Chemical Arms Allowed Despite Their Use on Iranians, Kurds

    By Michael Dobbs
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Monday, December 30, 2002

    Excerpts:

    Among the people instrumental in tilting U.S. policy toward Baghdad during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war was Donald H. Rumsfeld, now defense secretary, whose December 1983 meeting with Hussein as a special presidential envoy paved the way for normalization of U.S.-Iraqi relations. Declassified documents show that Rumsfeld traveled to Baghdad at a time when Iraq was using chemical weapons on an “almost daily” basis in defiance of international conventions.

    The story of U.S. involvement with Saddam Hussein in the years before his 1990 attack on Kuwait — which included large-scale intelligence sharing, supply of cluster bombs through a Chilean front company, and facilitating Iraq’s acquisition of chemical and biological precursors — is a topical example of the underside of U.S. foreign policy. It is a world in which deals can be struck with dictators, human rights violations sometimes overlooked, and accommodations made with arms proliferators, all on the principle that the “enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

    Throughout the 1980s, Hussein’s Iraq was the sworn enemy of Iran, then still in the throes of an Islamic revolution. U.S. officials saw Baghdad as a bulwark against militant Shiite extremism and the fall of pro-American states such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and even Jordan — a Middle East version of the “domino theory” in Southeast Asia. That was enough to turn Hussein into a strategic partner and for U.S. diplomats in Baghdad to routinely refer to Iraqi forces as “the good guys,” in contrast to the Iranians, who were depicted as “the bad guys.”

    A review of thousands of declassified government documents and interviews with former policymakers shows that U.S. intelligence and logistical support played a crucial role in shoring up Iraqi defenses against the “human wave” attacks by suicidal Iranian troops. The administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush authorized the sale to Iraq of numerous items that had both military and civilian applications, including poisonous chemicals and deadly biological viruses, such as anthrax and bubonic plague.

    Opinions differ among Middle East experts and former government officials about the pre-Iraqi tilt, and whether Washington could have done more to stop the flow to Baghdad of technology for building weapons of mass destruction.

    “It was a horrible mistake then, but we have got it right now,” says Kenneth M. Pollack, a former CIA military analyst and author of “The Threatening Storm,” which makes the case for war with Iraq. “My fellow [CIA] analysts and I were warning at the time that Hussein was a very nasty character. We were constantly fighting the State Department.” (my emphasis)

    “Fundamentally, the policy was justified,” argues David Newton, a former U.S. ambassador to Baghdad, who runs an anti-Hussein radio station in Prague. “We were concerned that Iraq should not lose the war with Iran, because that would have threatened Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. Our long-term hope was that Hussein’s government would become less repressive and more responsible.”

    [snip]

    “You have to understand the geostrategic context, which was very different from where we are now,” said Howard Teicher, a former National Security Council official, who worked on Iraqi policy during the Reagan administration. “Realpolitik dictated that we act to prevent the situation from getting worse.”

    To prevent an Iraqi collapse, the Reagan administration supplied battlefield intelligence on Iranian troop buildups to the Iraqis, sometimes through third parties such as Saudi Arabia. The U.S. tilt toward Iraq was enshrined in National Security Decision Directive 114 of Nov. 26, 1983, one of the few important Reagan era foreign policy decisions that still remains classified. According to former U.S. officials, the directive stated that the United States would do “whatever was necessary and legal” to prevent Iraq from losing the war with Iran.

    The presidential directive was issued amid a flurry of reports that Iraqi forces were using chemical weapons in their attempts to hold back the Iranians. In principle, Washington was strongly opposed to chemical warfare, a practice outlawed by the 1925 Geneva Protocol. In practice, U.S. condemnation of Iraqi use of chemical weapons ranked relatively low on the scale of administration priorities, particularly compared with the all-important goal of preventing an Iranian victory.

    Thus, on Nov. 1, 1983, a senior State Department official, Jonathan T. Howe, told Secretary of State George P. Shultz that intelligence reports showed that Iraqi troops were resorting to “almost daily use of CW” against the Iranians. But the Reagan administration had already committed itself to a large-scale diplomatic and political overture to Baghdad, culminating in several visits by the president’s recently appointed special envoy to the Middle East, Donald H. Rumsfeld.

    [snip]

    A 1994 investigation by the Senate Banking Committee turned up dozens of biological agents shipped to Iraq during the mid-’80s under license from the Commerce Department, including various strains of anthrax, subsequently identified by the Pentagon as a key component of the Iraqi biological warfare program. The Commerce Department also approved the export of insecticides to Iraq, despite widespread suspicions that they were being used for chemical warfare.

    The fact that Iraq was using chemical weapons was hardly a secret. In February 1984, an Iraqi military spokesman effectively acknowledged their use by issuing a chilling warning to Iran. “The invaders should know that for every harmful insect, there is an insecticide capable of annihilating it . . . and Iraq possesses this annihilation insecticide.” READ MORE

    Note that all of those quoted in this article were and are Republicans.

  16. Ingrid says:

    Steve, I think Sally got you trumped. I am with Sally. By all means agree to discuss and disagree but buddy, don’t get all over excited and start spewing things like, those lefties and those fun general derogatory terms. As a politically independent, I find myself sometimes on the left, in the middle or on the right of different issues. Let’s talk about the issues and exchange info and facts, not personalized attacks.
    Sally, you are a GREAT hugger, I think James though might be in need of more than one so if you like, I’ll join you and perhaps we can even touch hands!
    (kiiiding)
    Ingrid

  17. mahmood says:

    This is probably going to sound incredibly naive, but is it not possible to identify the policemen from these photographs, and then conduct a poster campaign using these photos with names attached to try to shame some action out of the Egyptian government?

    ByronB, in “the real world” that might actually work, in Egypt and most of the third world these pictures would probably get them a promotion as they show “their ardour” in executing their job! Oh, and get a huge gong as well!

    Put their pictures in posters and they most probably use those for their election campaigns as demonstrations and proof of executing their civic duty selflessly!

  18. MoClippa says:

    Ingrid – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sayed_Qutb – I’m not sure this is what you were looking for but Sayed Qutb is often called the brainchild of much of todays current Sunni Islamic radical fundementalist actions. Though I do not believe he advocated entirely violent actions, he did discuss the foundations of an Islamic state, why it should exist, and why it should oppose the West (illegitimate states). He was executed (martyered to some/many) in an Egyptian prison.

    If I recall correctly, he used to write novels including several erotic books which were often censored in Egypt. His dive into radical fundementalisim occured following a trip two year trip to the U.S. where he decided that (don’t quote me on this) capitalisim and liberalisim in Western societies held the seeds to their own destruction. They promoted lax attitudes, irreligousness among several other things which would inevitably cause the society to either collapse under its own weight or be evil and illegitimate.

    His student – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayman_Zawahiri – Ayman Zawahri later was then to go on and be arrested in connection with the assasination of the former Egyptian president Sadat. (theres one video the BBC quite often plays of him in a jail cell with several other members of the Muslim Brotherhood. He was distinctly the loudest of the group, very much a leader even then, but for the life of me I can’t remember what he was shouting out)

    Anyways he moved to Afghanistan where he met the big Bin and brought along his modified views of Sayed Qutubs theories, which pushed for violent Jihad against the illegitimate West (or if I’m right, pretty much everyone that is not a muslim state).

    Dunno, if thats what you were refering too?

  19. Steve The American says:

    Sally,

    This article states a lot of partisan leftist propaganda as fact.

    For example, this article states as FACT that the US sold cluster bombs to Iraq via Chile. This relies on a not very convincing conspiracy theory that America somehow created this cluster bomb factory in Chile as a surrogate. In fact, the facts that are known for sure is that this company in Chile had some sort of informal relationship with the maker of cluster bombs in the US. Some of that technology was transferred under the radar and some fabrication equipment was sold to this company as scrap. I have yet to see any evidence that the US government had a hand in this. It looks like a gray market transaction to me, not quite legal but not quite illegal. Yet this article states that the US government facilitated this arrangement as if it had proven it. It has not done so, nor even tried. It relies on the fallacious reasoning of simply assuming its point has been proven to move to a conclusion.

    Likewise, the phrase “facilitating Iraq’s acquisition of chemical and biological precursors” is a very slippery one indeed. Iraq already had all the raw materials for chemical weapons, as I noted earlier. It only needed the manufacturing capabilities.

    Likewise, the “biological percursors” and “biological agents” the lefties claim helped build Iraq’s biological weapons were strains from the American Type Culture in Virginia, which maintains sample strains of various biological material. These are not used to make WMD but rather commonly used in agricultural research and business. Any research center can order them here. They have distributors all around the world selling to universities. They are not exactly secret nor inaccessible, but rather common in research labs all over the planet. If you majored in biology in an American university, you probably used some of them in your lab projects.

    Claiming that strains from the ATC are “biological percursors” to chemical weapons is akin to claiming that sheet metal sold to Iraq and bent to cover Scud missiles were “metal percursors” to ballistic missiles. I suppose if we sold Iraq some tires and they mounted them on some jeeps, that would be “rubber percursors” to conventional warfare.

    What you have in this article by the left of center Washington Post is a few liberal propaganda points stated forcefully as fact and supported by some friendly liberal voices.

    The true story is that we opened up a commercial relationship with Iraq, sold them stuff, some of it which could be used for both commercial and military purposes, and Saddam lied about what he was ordering some of it for. Now the lefties are trying to shift the dishonesty from Saddam to the US. This is the kind of distortion and bias that irks conservatives so much and compels me to label lefties as such.

    Steve

    PS. Bottoms up on that grappa.

  20. Will says:

    Spin this one up Steve,

    “U.S.-origin weapons find their way into conflicts the world over. The United States supplied arms or military technology to more than 92% of the conflicts under way in 1999.[3] The costs to the families and communities afflicted by this violence is immeasurable. But to most arms dealers, the profit accumulated outweighs the lives lost. In the period from 1998-2001, over 68% of world arms deliveries were sold or given to developing nations, where lingering conflicts or societal violence can scare away potential investors.[4] “

  21. Steve The American says:

    First, the logic is sloppy. Your quote says that US weapons “find their way” into war the world over. Then it makes an assumption that arms dealers sell those weapons directly to all those parties. Yet, the truth of it is that these weapons don’t stop at their first purchaser but rather are often resold or traded. For example, in the first Gulf War, our troops found unopened crates of US weapons in Iraq that had been sold to Jordan, our “ally.” The Jordanians supported Saddam in that war because of their close economic ties and had passed on to them some of the weapons we had sold them. Using the slippery logic of this quote, it would have you believe that America sold Iraq weapons to shoot at our own soldiers.

    This cite goes on to make another slippery transition in attributing, through oily transitive logic, the harm caused by the world’s wars exclusively to the US. That’s the kind of faulty argument which plays well to America haters. It also makes another slippery shift in implying that America is supplying the Third World with all its arms. The fact is that once the US sells some weapons to a legitimate ally, those weapons begin their long journey. Most firearms can function for a century or more. It’s not surprising that they can pass through many hands during their lives.

    Second, it lacks context. The biggest and most promiscuous arms dealers in the world are the former and current Communist countries like Russia, China, and North Korea. For example, Iraq is awash in Soviet weaponry. In a country the size of California and a population one-eleventh that of America, it has two-thirds the inventory of conventional weapons of the US. That is far in excess of any defensive need and probably too much to be used in any but the most protracted war. It’s obviously meant for aggression. In such a case, it saves lives to provide our allies who border Iraq with the weapons to defend themselves.

    China is the world’s biggest suppliers of land mines and they sell them cheap. For two bucks each, Third World nations buy “toe-popper” mines which maim anyone who trods on them. Where ever you hear complaints of promiscuously planted minefields in Vietnam, Cambodia, the Balkans, etc, you can be sure that they are cheap Chinese mines. Your quote ignores all this, attributing all such weapons to American arms dealers. Why?

    Any casual observer of the news may have noticed that the Soviet AK-47 is the symbol of revolution. That’s because the Soviet Union has dumped millions of them in the Third World to promote revolution. Somalis can buy an AK-47 on the street for $150. Bullets for them are plentiful and cheap. In places like Darfur, that leads to tremendous violence. Not supplying the victims of Darfur with weapons to defend themselves leads to more violence, not less.

    Refusing to supply people with weapons often leads to greater bloodshed. For example, during the war in Kosovo, the Serbs conducted ethnic cleansing against defenseless populations. Had we supplied these victims with the small arms to protect themselves, the violence would have been less, not more. The Serbs would not have been able to go from house to house, killing everyone and setting their homes on fire.

    The violence is greatest where the imbalance of arms is the greatest. During the back half of the 20th century, the Soviet Union and China scattered boatloads of weapons all over the world to give their side an advantage in violence, with the worst effect on the world. Now that the Soviet Union is bankrupt, arms sales are one of its few profitable exports. It is still pouring weapons to its former clients. Most of America’s arms sales are basically countering those Soviet arms and its promotion of violence.

    It would be a better world if there were no weapons. The worst of all possible worlds is where the bad guys are heavily armed and the good guys unarmed. The best you can make of such a bad situation is arm the good guys enough to counter the bad guys.

    However, in the simple-minded Lefty Universe, all guns are bad, even the ones you need to save lives. In this Universe, the US just spreads weapons around to do evil, not to stop evil from being done. This Universe ignores any threats made and energetically pursued by other countries which want to snuff freedom out. The Lefties assume all wrong things are due to America. If other countries do bad things, they did them because America forced them. This quote is but one tile from that vast mosaic of anti-Americanism.

    Steve

  22. Will says:

    Steve

    First, the logic is sloppy. Your quote says that US weapons “find their way” into war the world over.

    Second, it lacks context. The biggest and most promiscuous arms dealers in the world are the former and current Communist countries like Russia, China, and North Korea.


    “In 2001, Israel ranked first in the value of arms transfer agreements among all developing nations weapons purchasers, concluding $2.5 billion in such agreements. China ranked second with $2.1 billion in such agreements. Egypt ranked third with $2 billion.”

    “In 2001, total world arms transfer agreements were worth nearly $26.4 billion.[5] The United States led the world with 45.8% of all such agreements

    The U.S. dominates this international arms market, supplying just under half of all arms exports in 2001, roughly two and a half times more than the second and third largest suppliers.

    This was roughly than 2.5 times the value of exports by the second (United Kingdom) and third (Russia) largest exporters, 9.7 times the level of exports registered by France, and 19 times the level of exports registered by China.”

    The meat of it is that the US is selling or giving guns to all kinds of nations. Left, right, near and far. I agree that there are others at fault around the world with much more to be ashamed of than the US. I am not dismissing this and I agree that you cannot take the US behaviour out of context.

    Steve
    It would be a better world if there were no weapons. The worst of all possible worlds is where the bad guys are heavily armed and the good guys unarmed.

    I completely agree.


    The best you can make of such a bad situation is arm the good guys enough to counter the bad guys.

    Thats defeatist and frightening but fear sells doesnt it.

    The worst part of the whole thing is that,

    “The International Red Cross has estimated that one out of every two casualties of war is a civilian caught in the crossfire.”


    This quote is but one tile from that vast mosaic of anti-Americanism.

    When I tell my children that they are doing something wrong it doesnt mean that I am against them. I have met alot of Americans and 98% of them are good, moral, generous, kind, law abiding people who view their government with a healthy dose of both respect and mistrust. This is the true beauty and strength of the free world. You can preserve the structure while changing the componants. To quote Winston Churchill, “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all the rest.” To paraphrase Winston Churchill, “Looking at somethiing is not the same as seeing what you are looking at.”

    My gut tells me that there must be a better way of dealing with aggression around the world than to give out lots of guns. If the US cant lead the way then who will?

    All quotes are from the Federation of American Scientists http://www.fas.org

  23. Steve The American says:

    Steve: “The best you can make of such a bad situation is arm the good guys enough to counter the bad guys.

    Will: “Thats defeatist and frightening but fear sells doesnt it. The worst part of the whole thing is that, “The International Red Cross has estimated that one out of every two casualties of war is a civilian caught in the crossfire.”

    Actually, it’s worse than that. Civilians bear the brunt of casualties of any war. Their fate is captured by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War, Famine, Disease, and Death. War disrupts the infrastructure which carries food and medicine. The civilians starve. As their bodies consume themselves, their immune systems break down. Rendered vulnerable to disease, they get sick and die. Civilian deaths are usually multiples of military deaths in combat.

    However, that is not the worse thing that can happen. They could be rounded up without a fight and slaughtered. As hard as war is on civilians, there are harder things. For example, it’s better to go to war in the Warsaw ghetto against the Nazis than be shipped off to Auschwitz, even though innocent civilians are caught in the crossfire.

    Arming the defenseless is hardly a defeatist sentiment. Refusing to arm them is. When your pal Winston was under siege by the Nazis, he thought it a splendid idea that America arm him to the teeth and then some.

    Will: “My gut tells me that there must be a better way of dealing with aggression around the world than to give out lots of guns. If the US cant lead the way then who will?”

    When you figure out what is better than arming the defenseless against predators, please let us know. By all means, don’t let the lack of a better alternative interfere with your criticism of America.

    Steve

  24. Will says:

    Since 2000 the US has sold to

    Egypt 7.2 billion
    Isreal 8.7 billion
    KSA 7.4 billion

    worth of military hardware and know how. Which ones are the defenseless?

    The US spent nearly one Trillion $ on the military in 2003. Listed in the sales figures from 1992 – 2006, I notice the gift of two C130B cargo planes to Ethiopia. The fact that you cant imagine a better solution is defeatist unless your goal is something other than a better standard of living for everybody. Realizing that you have a problem is the first step.

    The leaders of the free world are entrusted with enormous tasks of vast complexity,range and consequence. For the most part they do a good job but occasionally make mistakes. When they do we shouldnt be so blinded by prejudice, nationalism and fear that we cant speak against it.

    Entrenched military economies in this range roll over alot of details (read lives) and it is not getting any easier to reverse.

  25. Will says:

    PS The KSA sales strike me as really odd but I can only begin to imagine the intricacies involved.

  26. Steve The American says:

    Will: “The US spent nearly one Trillion $ on the military in 2003.”

    Wikipedia: “According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, in 2003 the United States spent approximately 47% of the world’s total military spending of US$956,000,000,000.”

    So, according to the Swedish peaceniks, the whole world spent a trillion on military expenses. You say the US spent a trillion, doubling the actual amount.

    Will: “I notice the gift of two C130B cargo planes to Ethiopia.”

    The B model came out in 1959. The C-130 is up to the H model now. My guess is that these are old aircraft obsoleted out of the USAF inventory, rehabbed, and given to the Ethiopians. A C-130 is something like a flying eighteen-wheel semi truck. It’s not a weapons platform. It’s probably going to be used to move construction equipment around the country, maybe even drop food to its people. The only odd thing here is that you seem to think that these C-130s are part of some sort of sinister plot by America to sow violence throughout the world.

    Will: “The fact that you cant imagine a better solution is defeatist unless your goal is something other than a better standard of living for everybody. Realizing that you have a problem is the first step.”

    I’m still waiting for that better solution of yours, the one where you oppose aggressors with something other than arms.

    Will: “Entrenched military economies in this range roll over alot of details (read lives) and it is not getting any easier to reverse.”

    The entrenched military economies exist in states like North Korea, not the US. Why isn’t any of your criticism extended to them?

    Steve

  27. Steve The American says:

    Will: “Egypt 7.2 billion, Isreal 8.7 billion, KSA 7.4 billion worth of military hardware and know how. Which ones are the defenseless?”

    Certainly Israel and Saudi Arabia are in a precarious situation with respect to their defense. Egypt is in a better situation, though it has had problems with Libya on its borders.

    Just to put some perspective on those numbers, seven or eight billion is about the total cost of fielding a wing of F-16s, ie one base full of fighters. It doesn’t go as far as you would think, considering how much the best technology costs.

    Steve

  28. Will says:

    Thanks for the correction on the numbers.

    My point about the C130’s is that if the US is out to defend the defenseless perhaps they could have done a little more than give the Ethiopians 2 CARGO planes while they sold billions worth of military equipment to places like Egypt and the KSA. The food that those planes drop will probably come from the US.

    How does a wing of F-16s help to defend the wrongfully imprisoned in Egypt. Are the sales to KSA an effort to defend all the foreign nationals from the Wahabbis?

    It is an industry Steve that has more to do with US interests than it does with helping the needy. If you could just part the curtains of your prejudice you would see that I hold the US and her institutions with much respect. I am not criticizing North Korea because everyone knows they are led by an egomaniacal despot while her people wollow in poverty.

    Perhaps we could discuss possible alternatives to arming the world with ever more efficient weapons instead of counting our money and saying its all good. Aim high, right?

  29. Steve The American says:

    Will: “My point about the C130’s is that if the US is out to defend the defenseless perhaps they could have done a little more than give the Ethiopians 2 CARGO planes while they sold billions worth of military equipment to places like Egypt and the KSA. The food that those planes drop will probably come from the US.”

    So now, in your view, America is wrong for giving Ethiopia some cargo planes because they didn’t do more, huh? And probably food to boot. Forgive me if I don’t see much harm in that transaction, but only good. I think your anti-American mindset is so entrenched that you are mindlessly critical of every American effort. In this case, it’s equivalent to criticizing Santa Claus for giving you a car when he could have done so much more.

    Will: “How does a wing of F-16s help to defend the wrongfully imprisoned in Egypt.”

    Non sequitur. Egyptian F-16s don’t help wrongfully imprisoned in Egypt nor do they cure cancer nor do they help fisherman catch more fish. But then, they are not meant to do any of those. They are meant to defend the country and keep relations stable in the region.

    I might point out that such prisoners tend to be overlooked during wartime. Their plight is only highlighted when more dramatic news, like war, is absent, due to strong defenses aided by F-16s. The absence of external strife lends itself to resolving domestic strife.

    Will: “Are the sales to KSA an effort to defend all the foreign nationals from the Wahabbis?

    Saudi Arabia is a pathetically weak country that could be invaded and toppled by a troop of Boy Scouts. What’s worse, their military doesn’t seem too interested in actually defending the country. It’s a repository for second sons who couldn’t find a job and are not much interested in fighting or their men or anything but their own pleasure. It doesn’t matter how many jets and tanks we sell them, they lack the will to stand and fight for their country because it’s not their country, it’s Saudi Arabia. When America leaves Saudi Arabia to defend itself, it will fall to the first foreign invader. Heck, when fanatics took over the Great Mosque in Mecca, Saudis could not be induced to fight to take it back and supposedly they hold that sacred. They had to hire French commandoes to clean out the rebels.

    Will: “It is an industry Steve that has more to do with US interests than it does with helping the needy.”

    Why exactly do you think the goal of any business is to help the needy? Businesses exist to make a profit by providing goods and services that people want, not to provide charity. Your complaint that businesses don’t make good charities is as obtuse as if I complained that the Red Cross doesn’t make a decent profit.

    I know that for you saying that an industry serves US interests is meant to be a damning statement but it sounds like a compliment to me. What exactly is wrong with Americans serving US interests, Will?

    Will: “If you could just part the curtains of your prejudice you would see that I hold the US and her institutions with much respect. I am not criticizing North Korea because everyone knows they are led by an egomaniacal despot while her people wollow in poverty.”

    I have seen little evidence in your argument that you have much respect for the US. If you damn companies because they serve US interests, that pretty much infers that you think US interests are bad by definition.

    You are very casual in your dismissal of criticism of North Korea while determined in your criticism of America. North Korea is selling Scud missiles to any bad guy with cash and the technology to make nukes as well. Why is it that you, who claim to be aghast at the sale of weapons, make no complaint about North Korea teaching the worst people on the planet how to make nukes and selling them the missiles to loft them on their neighbors while at the same time you are railing about America’s gift of a couple cargo planes to Ethiopia?

    Will, if you want a good look at prejudice, look in the mirror. You are steeped in an unexamined anti-American mindset. You might just sit back and meditate on why the negative position against America on any topic is your default position.

    Will: “Perhaps we could discuss possible alternatives to arming the world with ever more efficient weapons instead of counting our money and saying its all good. Aim high, right?”

    I’m still waiting to hear you lay out what exactly those better alternatives are to confronting predators with arms.

    It’s almost as if we were camped out in the woods at night and heard bears in the forest. I get out the biggest gun I’ve got to keep the bears at bay while you are saying, “Maybe we can just talk to the bears peacefully and convince them to go away because violence is not the answer.” Quite frankly, I’ll stay close to the campfire with my rifle close by and you can go out in the woods and sing Kumbaya with the bears.

    Steve

  30. Will says:

    Steve, you ever notice that as your arguments get weaker your personal attacks take up the slack.

    Hope you get over your fear of bears and thanks for the chuckles.

  31. billT says:

    Steve you will forgive me if I find it hard to believe much of what you say anymore. You work for the — and the first priority of the — is to stop — —. Tell me again about priorities.

    ed: edited out place of work in order to keep the peace! Sorry Bill.

  32. Steve The American says:

    Will: “Steve, you ever notice that as your arguments get weaker your personal attacks take up the slack.”

    Will, have you ever noticed that your arguments tend to be ill-informed liberal myths?

    Steve

  33. Steve The American says:

    billT,

    What a nasty little piece of work you are.

    As I have argued before, the drug problem is not the paramount problem in Afghanistan. Forming a government and securing it is the first and foremost problem. A central government is the proper tool to pursue the drug problem in Afghanistan. The military is not. Using the military to enforce the law is a very bad idea and a bad precedent for a young government. If you pursue a war against drugs before you establish the government, you will not succeed in either.

    The difference between our positions is that you want a quick fix and a big show of making war on drugs, while I believe eradicating the poppy fields is a long term problem that requires a long term and comprehensive strategy. Otherwise, you’re just playing whack-a-mole with the poppy fields.

    Steve

  34. Steve The American says:

    Jared,

    Yes, it is the conceit of lefties everywhere that conservatives are partisan extremists while liberals are just mainstream middle-of-the-road reasonable centrists. Have you examined your prejudices, Jared?

    Steve

  35. Jared in NYC says:

    Yep, I have, I think you have not… or maybe you’re comfortable with them. You’re the only one here tossing labels and being consistently nasty Steve. Maybe you’re a better person than you appear to be in print, and maybe not.

  36. Sally says:

    Steve still has not ment his ways?

    I am sooo dissapointed.

    Steve, you are such an intelligent and articulate guy – I know you has the capacity to make his arguments without resorting to insulting non-sequitors. And I can’t believe that you really want to be seen as guilty of the very same behavior of which you accuse the “lefties.”

    Everyone, I can only conclude that Steve is in particular need of some real love…ok everyone. Give him some real love – in the form or a [virtual – its the intent which matters after all!]

    BIG
    GROUP
    HUG!!!!

  37. Will says:

    Jared, interesting study. probably sheds some light on why ppl have so much trouble getting along with each other even when their beliefs are not that divergent.

    Steve, my arguements may be ill informed. That is why I spend time here in search of good information. I think that the critical difference is that I want to know what the right answers are and you want the right answers to be yours. It is a subtle difference with far reaching implications.

    I would like to continue our discussion about US arms sales if there is anything to be gained. Assume, if you can, that if I am critical of some aspect of US policy it does not mean that I am a granola eating, tree hugging, terrorist loving, America hating, left wing lunatic fringe moonbat with designs for turning the free world into a communist utopia.

    You argued that the US arms industry was a champion of the defenseless. You later argued that it was an industry out to make a profit. Could you please clarify your position so that I might climb the ladder of your wisdom out of this quagmire of dillusional leftistist mythology.

  38. billT says:

    Steve you forgot. I’m a nasty little ‘liberal’ piece of work. Your problem is that you have been working for the government for your whole life and don’t see many of the problems facing us first hand. You just go right on like a good little neocon and ignore problems like global warming, the fact that the number of people living in poverty is increasing, the need for medical coverage for every American and the list just goes on and on. This nasty little ‘liberal’ piece of work will continue to call a spade a spade.

    billT

  39. Steve The American says:

    Will, Will, Will: “You argued that the US arms industry was a champion of the defenseless. You later argued that it was an industry out to make a profit. Could you please clarify your position so that I might climb the ladder of your wisdom out of this quagmire of dillusional leftistist mythology.”

    Why would helping the defenseless and making a profit be mutually exclusive, unless you were mired in delusional leftist mythology? The unconscious assumption that profit is evil, that anything profitable must be bad, that Profit & Good can not coexist, is buried deep down in the lefty cortex with the breathing and sleep functions. It’s false. Most profitable things serve the public good while most unprofitable things undermine it.

    May I point out all the US military hardware, built for a profit, that rushed to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims? Those American profit-made aircraft carriers and helicopters were among the first to reach the survivors and deliver the food and medicine they needed to remain alive. Most of the hundreds of special ops detachments posted around the world are the sole source of health care to the locals, sometimes curing them of multiple health issues with a single dose of antibiotics. US arms makers make the guns which are carried by the Green Berets who guard the clinics where the special forces doctors work against guerrillas. Otherwise those long lines of patients would be helpless against ambush.

    You may recall the first Gulf War, where defenseless Kuwait was freed from an orgy of slaughter and rape by the US military armed with those profit-made American weapons. Of course, there is also WWII, where US arms makers made fortunes providing the tools to defeat two racist tyrannies who slaughtered millions of defenseless people.

    OK, I’m pulling the ladder up now.

    Steve

  40. Jared in NYC says:

    Will,

    Here’s a very interesting article from 3 or 4 years ago (multiples actually – each topic summarized and linked to a more in-depth review) from a site supported by the Rockefeller, Tides, and Compton foundations. It seems to encompass all the subjects under discussion in this thread, though it doesn’t support or criticise policy decisions made by current and previous administrations.

    Instead, it attempts to quantify American public opinion on these issues:

    http://www.americans-world.org/digest/regional_issues/IsraelPalestinians/summary_ME.cfm

    For more complete context, here’s their mission statement:

    The Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) offers this website, Americans and the World . This website will report on US public opinion on a broad range of international policy issues, integrating all publicly available polling data. It will be continually updated as new data become available, so that users are assured of getting a ‘state of the art’ analysis.

    Jared

  41. Steve The American says:

    Bill: “Steve you forgot. I’m a nasty little ‘liberal’ piece of work.”

    You are nasty because you are trying to expose me to attacks at work, a contemptible tactic, yet typical of unprincipled liberals who seek to suppress dissenting opinions with thug threats. Threatening my livelihood makes you an asshole.

    Bill: “Your problem is that you have been working for the government for your whole life and don’t see many of the problems facing us first hand.”

    Your problem is that you don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve worked for the government about a third of my working life. I’ve also worked in commercial business and taught college. So this comment of yours is based on ignorance, as usual.

    Bill: “You just go right on like a good little neocon and ignore problems like global warming, the fact that the number of people living in poverty is increasing, the need for medical coverage for every American and the list just goes on and on. This nasty little ‘liberal’ piece of work will continue to call a spade a spade.”

    What a list of bogus topics. The Earth will warm or cool irrespective of anything we puny humans do. It’s been warming up for the last four centuries without our help.

    Every American doesn’t need medical coverage. Most healthy twenty-somethings don’t need to see a doctor. They are the bulk of the Americans not covered. And by the way, if you have ever known any poor people in America, they would tell you that they can go to the nearest public hospital and get free treatment by law. They may have to sit in the emergency ward a few hours, but they get treated.

    If you are poor in America, it’s because of the bad decisions you made in your life. If you finish high school, get any job that pays, and wait until marriage to have children, you won’t be poor for long in America. The facts are that 98% of those in the lowest quintile of income in America move up into the middle class.

    The problem is not that you are calling a spade a spade but rather that you call everything a spade.

    Steve

  42. billT says:

    The only reason I got on your case Steve is that I got tired of your the only one who is right, insulting remarks to me. You really need to change your tactics in discussions. Every time you make a good point you go ruin it with some snide remark.

    As far as wanting or trying to get you fired thats bs. Id feel real bad if you lost your job for any reason. Your the one that logs on to websites from work not me. If you had logged on from home I wouldnt even know who you worked for. Blame it on the right person yourself.

    Dont call me names and insult me and I wont do the same to you. Deal?

    billT

  43. Steve The American says:

    I will call you an asshole as long as you violate my privacy by directing people to harass me at my job. You are absolute scum for this reprehensible tactic, you low life thug piece of shit. And if harm comes to me, I will hunt you down and take legal action against you, you contemptible asswipe.

    Steve

  44. billT says:

    Mahmood I tried to defuse it.

  45. billT says:

    Do what ever you like Steve.

  46. Steve The American says:

    Attacking me at my place of work is not defusing it, you asshole, it’s inflaming the situation. You were not content with trading words but like the enemy of free speech that you contemptible lefties are, you seek to attack me outside this forum by threatening my livelihood, you lowlife scum.

    I guarantee that if you continue this line of attack I will bring a lawsuit against you and whatever else the lawyers can think up to do you harm. If any harm comes to me, you will come to regret it in a court of law, you punk Stalinist piece of shit.

    I note that you make absolutely no apology for your inexcusable aggression because you have the character of slime, you low life son of a bitch.

    These slimeball tactics are why I have such contempt for you lefty scumbugs, the lowest form of life on the earth. I guarantee that if you attack me in my place of work, I will have lawyers attack you in your place of work, you slime.

    Steve

  47. billT says:

    You know Steve I am very sorry I mentioned where you work. This is Mahmoods Den not your place of work and I have never attack you at your place of work and have no desire to do so. I don’t even know what the hell your talking about with this continuing attack at your place of work. Feel free to bring the FBI in if you want. I’m not directing anyone to do anything and have nothing to hide.

    billT

  48. Jared in NYC says:

    Here’s another informative link on the foreign aid issue in general. It’s very rich in statistics and appears somewhat technical, but is quite readable. Most interesting on this topic are the graphs/charts showing ratios of aid given by sheer volume, and by percentage GNP from wealthy countries and who has received it:

    http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Debt/USAid.asp

    The site is very comprehensive, and offers information and commentary on poverty, energy security, and global warming as well. I especially like the quote at the head of their home page:

    “If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence.” — Bertrand Russell, Roads to Freedom

    Jared

  49. Will says:

    Thanks for the link Jared. Looks like a valueable resource in general. The apparent thing to me is that Americans are good and decent people and are really a cross section of the world. Polling is an incredibly powerful and under utilized tool. It is the only true mechanisim of democracy. One function of government is to lead and the other is to follow. The mind is not seperate from the body. It is amusing in a sad sort of way to hear politicians say that they pay no attention to the polls. The opportunities for manipulation are large and the process needs standards of objectivity.

    Steve, be patient with me as I am ignorant and only wish to bath in the light of your knowledge (bowing and scraping). I am not saying that helping people and making a profit are mutually exclusive. I am taking no issue with many of the US arms sales beyond a general disgust for the machinery of war. A general disgust for war does not mean that I believe that there are no wars left to be fought. As a former serviceman I would hope that you agree.

    Would you say that there are no examples of US companies selling arms, with government approval, to repressive states, and thereby aiding in that repression, with the focus being more on profits than human rights?

  50. mahmood says:

    whoa… I need a couple of hours to read this thread, it’s way beyond what it started as!

    May I ask everyone to take a deep breath and calm down please?

  51. AGA says:

    The “group hug” is a great idea. Reminds me of why I married a “lefty” (she even voted for Jessie) despite my conservative “instincts”.

  52. mahmood says:

    Steve, BillT, I’m sorry that it has got to this level of animosity between you. Please calm down and find ways to respect each others’ space without resorting to profanity.

    Steve, my friend, you need to take a break. Let someone else fight to save America for a while.

    I do not see in the thread above an address to your work, just (I assume) the three-letter acronym which has offices all over the world, let alone the United States, so that does not constitute the heavy response you have created.

    I will delete that acronym from billT’s comment to keep the peace.

    But please, calm down, pass the baton on… I’m sure you don’t want to count your success by the number of enemies you create in life; first it was the Muslims in the Arab world who have ceased to visit or at least completely ignore you, now you have done the same it seems with your fellow Americans.

    Think about your next actions please Steve, this is advice from a friend…

  53. Lujayn says:

    Steve, I remember you saying that me not stooping to name-calling had been a point in my favor, yet you just let loose. Regardless of billT’s slipup, I dont think it warranted that reaction, as he certainly didnt call for anyone to attack you in any which way. Mahmood is quite public with his personal information and I dont think anyone has attacked him. I would think most of us are here for civilized debate, not for the possibility that someone might slip and give a reference to someone else’s workplace. No need for the paranoia.

    Hell, most of us probably figured you worked for a far more menacing department. I sure did. Relax 🙂

  54. Jared in NYC says:

    Will:

    …The apparent thing to me is that Americans are good and decent people and are really a cross section of the world. Polling is an incredibly powerful and under utilized tool. It is the only true mechanisim of democracy. One function of government is to lead and the other is to follow. The mind is not seperate from the body…

    Thanks for that great observation Will – the data from the globalissues site provides information on aid provided exclusively by governments. Americans as a group are extremely generous with individual donations, but I haven’t looked yet for a collection of that info.

    I’ve been looking for viewpoints on weapons sales from respectable left, right, and centrist sources (Bill Kristol, WF Buckley, George Soros, Friedman, etc), and nearly all the articles I’ve found focus on the US-China-Taiwan issue. Wish I could spend more time on it, but I’m just too busy lately.

    Jared

  55. Steve The American says:

    Mahmood: “Steve, my friend, you need to take a break. Let someone else fight to save America for a while.”

    What good advice, Mahmood. I think I will take it.

    Steve

  56. mahmood says:

    Come back when you’re ready Steve, take it easy.

  57. Jared in NYC says:

    I realize this is only tangentially on-topic, but it does address foreign aid and human rights.

    Five members of the US congress were arrested a few weeks ago outside the Sudanese embassy while protesting the genocide in Darfur:

    http://usinfo.state.gov/xarchives/display.html?p=washfile-english&y=2006&m=April&x=20060502174507IHecuoR0.4247553&t=dhr/hr-latest.html

    Individual Americans have done a lot, but our government hasn’t. The Bush administration has done very little. So far, about the same level of support provided by the Clinton administration during the horror in Rwanda.

    Is the Darfur crises an issue that’s discussed in the Gulf? Are there foreign aid contributions being proposed or delivered from Gulf countries, or debates about the nature of the conflict? There are many western charities and journalists doing what they can, though many have been denied entry, or are finding it too dangerous to deploy their resources.

    I know of one Islamic charity active in this area:

    http://irw.org/sudan/

    Are there more? I would think muslim based charities and governments could be especially effective in Sudan.

    Jared

  58. M says:

    Well what is it that you would advocate America do about the Sudan, Jared?

    Besides with Bahrain and Saudi on the UN Human Rights commission, I’m figuring the situation will be resolved quickly.

  59. Jared in NYC says:

    That’s fair question M. At a minimum, I’d like my government to use more of its influence in foreign affairs to raise the profile of the crises. Currently, it’s barely on the radar.

    http://www.state.gov/

    For example, if you look at the official website of the U.S. Department of State, Darfur is not on the Front page. It’s also not found within any of the tabbed subjects, nor does it appear in the subject index.

    The situation there hasn’t improved since the peace agreement of May 5th. If there’s a window of opportunity to apply diplomatic pressure to get aid delivered and increase effective peacekeeping capabilities, it’s surely now, if ever.

    Competition for energy source diversity seems to be the reason China obstructs within the UN security council on this issue. Gulf countries might be in a position to apply diplomatic clout because of their energy exporter status. I don’t think it’s on their radar either though.

    Jared

    Jared

  60. billT says:

    Mahmood Just back from a few days vacation on the mainland. I’ll say it again for Steve. I’m sorry I mentioned where you work. If I had thought it out I wouldn’t have brought it up the way I did. My apologies to you also Mahmood. I’m sorry this reached the level it did.

    billT

  61. Will says:

    Jared

    Do you think that it makes sense to channel alot more of existing humanitarian aid through the UN. Whats the deal with US funding to the UN? Is it an ineffective body?

  62. Steve The American says:

    I accept your apology, billT. I’m not much impressed by my own blowup either. I need to get a grip.

    The background on this is that I have worked in politically charged offices before where the liberals will rather viciously slander and attack, behind closed doors, conservative people like me. It doesn’t happen often, but it is very frustrating when it does happen, especially when everything seems OK on the surface with no disputes and everyone seems friendly. And I have seen where radical leftists publish personal information on conservatives they don’t like to harass and suppress them.

    I work as a contractor, which means that I can be fired at the drop of a hat. They don’t have to give cause, like they would with an employee. And contractors are fired all the time for no more reason that the government supervisor just doesn’t like them. Managers get promoted by avoiding risk. Even a bit of stink on a contractor is risk enough for the government supervisor to show him/her the door.

    Getting laid off costs me on average around $5000 in lost salary and depleted savings. It can cost a lot more in a sour market. A new job could force me to move my household and eat the cost of that. It could cost me the vesting for my benefits. I’m not fond of other people jerking my life around, either. Losing that control over your life is almost as bad as losing the money. So I have a strong reaction when something threatens my job.

    Steve

  63. Aliandra says:

    The Bush administration has done very little. So far, about the same level of support provided by the Clinton administration during the horror in Rwanda.

    Jared;

    The US cannot be the global policeman. We’re doing all we can diplomatically. Colin Powell started yelling about Darfur about 4 years ago. He tried to convince the UN it was a genocide. They weren’t too concerned.

    The multilateral approach just isn’t very effective.

    Will;

    The UN does very well when it comes to humanitarian rescues. It sucks at everything else. Bolton is trying to reform it but I’m not too optimistic. I’d rather see the whole thing dissolved and US money be used for something that actually serves our citizens.

  64. Jared in NYC says:

    Will,

    There’s certainly a lot of legitimate criticism to levy at the UN, but in many instances, it’s the only available vehicle, flawed as it is.

    I personally know (am closely related to actually), two people who specialize in public health policy at the UN. They lived for many years in India and Africa, and saved thousands of lives through HIV prevention and medical education, clean water infrastructure development efforts, and similar projects.

    I’ve first hand accounts from them of negative and positive aspects of the UN. I suppose one could ask if the good outweighs the bad, but I would also ask what the alternatives are. Not that I think there aren’t any, but with 500,000 dead so far, I’m in favor of working with what we’ve got. Ultimately, I suppose the UN can’t be extremely transparent or effective when many members are corrupt and incompetent. Many are not, but it’s often not enough.

    The Clinton and Bush administrations said the right things about Rwanda and Darfur, respectively, but neither did anything meaningful…at least the Bush administration hasn’t so far – I’m hoping for a change in focus.

    I’m also hoping to hear more from the muslim world on this. Egypt used to run the place some 130 years ago, and it seems to me that muslims would want to speak out about the genocide – certainly it’s something to be more upset about than disrespectful cartoons.

    Jared

  65. Jared in NYC says:

    Aliandra: “The US cannot be the global policeman. We’re doing all we can diplomatically. Colin Powell started yelling about Darfur about 4 years ago. He tried to convince the UN it was a genocide. They weren’t too concerned. “

    I agree with your statement Aliandra, but I do think we can do more than we have. It certainly isn’t as high as it could be on our foreign policy agenda, and from a purely pragmatic viewpoint, I think it’s a good thing to focus on in making moral arguments. There’s some hope that we’re actually starting to do this, so I’d like to see more of it. The silence from the muslim world is troubling, and it ought to be brought into high profile.

    Jared

  66. Aliandra says:

    The Clinton and Bush administrations said the right things about Rwanda and Darfur, respectively, but neither did anything meaningful…at least the Bush administration hasn’t so far – I’m hoping for a change in focus.

    Jared;

    The only thing that’s going to solve Darfur is a military intervention, as was done in the Balkans. Some atrocities have no other solution than a military one. By the looks of Iraq and by what happened in Mogadishu, we’re not too interested in leading the charge this time. It’s someone else’s turn to do something and the US should make that point forcefully to the international community. We have our hands full with Iraq.

    I agree competely with your point about the middle-east and Darfur. It’s an Arab government in Sudan and it’s the Arab League and the Arab people who should be most outraged (maybe they are and it just didn’t make the news like the cartoons)

  67. M says:

    Jared,

    Sorry, I wasn’t avoiding you; I have been away for a few days. I think Aliandra is right when she says we have brought the issue up repeatedly, and it has fallen on deaf ears. Perhaps other nations have made this a priority, and we have failed to hear about it in the news because we only get politically biased agenda driven American “news” these days.

    There is no doubt in my mind that if W or Condi said get serious or else, we’d start to hear that God has been talking to W again and the protests would start about being a warmonger blah, blah, blah. Makes you wonder why people are not out in the streets protesting for the UN to do something about it. Imagine if Saddam seriously realized what the world was going to do to him a dozen years ago; imagine if the world seriously did all they could to help Iraqis after the invasion? Sorry, I’m just dreaming again that all that talk about humanity and doing what’s right is real. Used to believe in the tooth fairy too. Oh well.

  68. billT says:

    Steve I take it that “I need to get a grip” is an apology for threatening me in public and calling my mother a bitch. Apology accepted.

    billT

  69. billT says:

    Its a shame that the Muslim world can’t seem to handle the problems in the Sudan. Its one of the few chances they are going to get to show the world that they belong in the world community. Maybe they should hire a good PR agency. Just not the one the Bush administration hired or maybe they already are a client.

    billT

  70. Jared in NYC says:

    billT and M,

    I guess we’re all circling around this point with a few common observations. The Muslim world ought to be, at a bare minimum very vocal and active on the Darfur genocide, but I haven’t heard a peep. Maybe, as Aliandra speculated, there has been at least some of this, but it hasn’t reached us. I read news from a lot of sources and haven’t seen anything, but I may have missed it.

    The US and Europe have been making noise, but not an enormous amount, and nothing more than that, though I’m happy to see Secretry Rice speak out recently. China and Russia are of no help, but none expected… worse though, they obstruct, especially China, probably because of their energy interests there.

    A very few journalists have worked very hard to get the story out, notably Nicholas Kristof, at significant risk to his life.

    Best I can do is write a few letters and make some contributions, but the general silence, especially from Sudans neighbors and coreligionists is especially depressing.

    Jared

  71. M says:

    You got the depressing part right, but I have the solution. We take billT’s suggestion and get the UN to hire a good PR firm for the rebels and spread the word that they are designing a new set of cartoon pictures about Islam. Won’t be long before the Muslim world is beating a path to their doorstep and chasing their butts out of Sudan, and presto, no more genocide. We could try dumping on Jesus, but that already seems overdone and won’t get as much play. Just a thought.

  72. Will says:

    I think that you have to remember that the US gnp is equal to the combined gnp of Japan, Germany, Britain, France and China. Roughly 32% of the worlds wealth belongs to the US with less than 5% of the worlds population. In other terms the US economy is about 10 Trillion while the entire Arab league produces about 650 Billion.

  73. Jared in NYC says:

    I take your point Will, and economics weighs heavily here. It’s not the only factor though, and talk, though cheap, can sometimes have an effect. More of it on this topic, especially in a moral context, is surely needed, and most definitely from countries and people who share their religion and customs.

  74. Will says:

    Yes, there is no question that the Muslim world should be front and center with condemnation for the killing of 400,000 of their kin.

    However, as you said, talk is cheap. What is the on the ground solution. From what I have gathered it seems to be a conflict centered around wealth (meager as it is, relativly speaking) and security. Have there ever been any large scale conflicts that didnt revolve around wealth at their core? Overwhelming force to stop the killing and then build the infrastructure to support the population. Too many people is a big part of the problem.

    @ Aliandra

    The world needs a policeman. Who should it be?

    The disparagy between the rich and poor is unsustainable

  75. Will says:

    I guess what I am suggesting is a UN that has some real teeth. Some nearly omnipotent global entity that has the mandate and means to ensure the installation of the very basic grid works of a sustainable society.

  76. billT says:

    Will. Since I don’t want the US to be your omnipotent global entity I have to agree that we need a strong UN. Unfortunately the one we have is limited by the veto of permanent seats.

    “Decisions in the 15-member Security Council on all substantive matters—for example, a decision calling for direct measures related to the settlement of a dispute—require the affirmative votes of nine members. A negative vote—a veto—by a permanent member prevents adoption of a proposal, even if it has received the required number of affirmative votes. Abstention is not regarded as a veto. Since the Security Council’s inception, China (ROC/PRC) has used 5 vetoes; France, 18; Russia/USSR, 122; the United Kingdom, 32; and the United States, 80. The majority of the USSR vetoes were in the first ten years of the Council’s existence, and the numbers since 1984 have been: China, 2; France, 3; Russia/USSR, 4; the United Kingdom, 10; and the United States, 42.”

    billT

  77. Aliandra says:

    Will;

    The world needs a policeman. Who should it be?

    A UN with some real power. My country isn’t interested in being that omnipotent global entity (we’re not omnipotent anyway).

    The disparagy between the rich and poor is unsustainable.

    Poverty isn’t driving most of the world’s conflicts. It’s ethnic, political and territorial differences. A good portion of Africa’s poverty is due to wars, which destroy infrastructure. The rich countries have already pumped in the equivalent of several Marshall Plans to Africa with little or no improvement. Africa needs basic reform which only Africa can accomplish. They need to cease their wars, eliminate their corruption, get rid of their dictators, and build sustainable economies. Until then, the rich countries should find better uses for their cash.

    Here’s a wikipedia link on the Darfur situation. It started as a rebellion against the central government for oppressing people in the south. It gives 80,000 as the casualty number, but more recently I’ve heard 200,000.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darfur#The_present_Darfur_crisis

  78. Sal says:

    ” cease their wars, eliminate their corruption, get rid of their dictators ”
    You like Iraq ? Iraq has always been about Peace and Love and Brotherhood .
    They only slaughter each other day after day , year after year decade after decade because those nasty Americans ” force ” them to .
    Logic problem – America is a young country , America did not exist when Allah and the European Overlords were slaughtering , enslaving and stealing from people .
    Blame Israel and America .

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