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Wednesday, May 07, 2003


I was over at Dave Appell's blog the other day, Quark Soup, and I found myself debating the war. The following debate kind of sums up how I've felt about the horrorshow that is the occupation. I noted once that this would make us into the worst of the Israelis. Looks like I wasn't that far off the mark. Let me recommend Quark Soup by the way if you're looking for a guy into science who not only isn't a Machiavellian fascist, but thinks global warming is real. He's also on record as destroying, and I mean complete obliteration, comics guy/warblogger James "Harsh Realm" Hudnall and Andy Sullivan over global warming. (Scroll down.) And why won't the anonymous Dean let me "liberate" his house and have his wife's naughty bits placed under my supervised trust fund so that I can plunder said bits over and over again? Anonymous Dean: He hates America.

Why do you hate America Dave Appell? Whyyyyyyy moaned the reactionary and dull simulacrum of a drear Pro Bush administration droid with blood...

I'm just kidding of course. I'm actually jealous of a lot of things the Iraqis will get. Sure would like that universal healthcare and a commitment away from fundamentalism in our public sectors. Yep. Sure would be nice.

Philip Shropshire

PS: What's your take on the Discover Story about the Miracle Waste converter that can end our energy problems. I think its cool but I'm not a scientist. Steven Den Beste, who is a scientist, thinks its poppycock, but he is an ideologue. What's your take? Remember: there is a working prototype. It's so unlike my cold fusion powered time machine as I mentioned at one of my sites...

Steelydan said @ 04/25/2003 03:24 PM EST

Actually in many cases, the American public does own it. In fact, the government has regular auctions where leases for oil rights are sold. (Do a google for "oil lease auctions.") A minor detail, but mineral rights do not automatically belong to the person who owns the land above it. I don't know the exact percentage, but I believe most people don't own the mineral rights below their land. Which frequently comes as a surprise to the land owners when some company wants drill for the oil beneath the land. The owners have to provide access.

In any case, Bush's statement was more about convincing the world that the US wasn't going to steal Iraqi oil. As I understand it, significant portions of Iraqi oil fields are already under lease to French and Russian oil companies. Since the US claims that these leases were made under ruinous terms for the Iraqi people, I expect that these leases will be cancelled by the new Iraqi government.

Dean said @ 04/25/2003 03:53 PM EST

Welp, when Bush says it--and I'm sure that you're cognizant that Bush is a lying sack of manure, in my oh so humble objective opinion--he makes it sound like more than the Iraqi people own their oil in some theoretical land lease sense, but more in The Iraqi people just went out and bought 22 million time share condos on the Riviera kind of sense. By the way, that's the way I'd like to own my American oil, enough so that my rent is paid for life. That would be different than my current American reality where corporate monopolists pay bribery money to my elected officials so that they can legally rape me. But that's just me. I have been known to hate America, especially when the policies of my country are transparently vile and evil and have that ominous Doc Doom flavor to them.

But I like what you're saying as a potential GOP talking point, no doubt to be echoed spontaneously on many a Clear Channel radio station. (See today's Prospect blog.) We tell the world it's their oil and then we procedurely take it away from them so that they don't get a cent, unless it's heavily leveraged by some IMF top down loan sharking like agreement...And after that's done, the Iraqi people will own their own oil, much in the way that I benefit from Texas crude, which is to say very very little at all...

Steelydan said @ 04/25/2003 04:19 PM EST

My, my Steely Dan. I must have hit a sore spot. David, remember how you recently mentioned the outright hostility of the blog world. I think this is a perfect example of the problem. Let's not have rationale discourse, its far better to fling insults.

Steely Dan if you would like to actually discuss the issue. We can try. But before we do (and before you fling insults), maybe you would like to actually learn my opinion of Bush. Did I vote him? No. Do I think he is a good president? No. Do I think his domestic policy sucks? Yes. And the left wonders how they alienate so many people.

Dean said @ 04/25/2003 05:33 PM EST

Did you support the war? I think that's the important question. Do you think that we're going to create anything that looks like democracy in your alleged "iraqi government"? I mean, hey, I'll play along. Feel free to discourse rationally. You haven't done it so far. By the way, I actually like the free for all style of net debate. I feel that I actually learn something when people aren't being nice to each other...But in the spirit of your Oxford debating style lineage, please tell me how the Bush regime is helping the Iraqi people or why it simply isn't, as Kofi Annan accurately called it, an occupation?

Steelydan said @ 04/25/2003 06:50 PM EST

Did I support the war?...

In Iraq, I felt that we had basically three options:

1) Go to war and people die.

2) Continue the sanctions and inspections, and according to the UN and other groups, thousands of children would continue to die from the lack medical supplies and food. Plus those who die from Saddam's torture chambers. So people die.

3) Say we've done all we can, and end the sanctions and inspections. Based on Saddam's history in Kuwait and Iran and against the Kurds and Shiites, people will die.

So anyway you looked at it, people would die. The question was how could we minimize the death and suffering. I voted for war. Based on the reactions of the Iraqis, I voted right.

Yes, I know about the relatively small demostrations against the US. But that is overwhelmed by the support we have received in the North, the cooperation we've received, and the lack suicide bombers or other attacks on our troops.

Dean said @ 04/25/2003 07:25 PM EST

I see that you've answered the pertinent question: do you support the war. And as I've guessed that's really the important one. By the way, I'm glad you weren't around when we were making these same kinds of calculation during the cold war and Stalin. I was under the odd impression that we were able to liberate the Soviet Union and South Africa without having to "liberate" anybody. And frankly, I would've liked us to have tried your option number 3. But as I've argued in my policy (i.e. yelling match) stomping grounds American Samizdat and Warblogger Watch, that would mean nothing without a US that doesn't commit itself to a world community. That means a commitment to the UN, a commitment to the concept that global warming might be real and it would be nice to enthusiastically join the world court, with the possible caveat that American citizens be tried under American judicial rules. Our fuck you attitude about the world is frankly contrary to what I think would be far wiser and far smarter actions than unilateral invasion (plus one). We essentially changed South Africa by way of a massive organized shunning. It was slower. It took longer. It took intelligent leadership. But it's result has and probably will last longer and is seen with more legitimacy than anything that comes out of Iraq under this particular wretched crew. By the way, there is a right wing argument in support of evolution of Saddam's authoritarian regime, and that's Jeanne Kirkpatrick's classic essay comparing Authoritarianism vs. Totalitarianism. I never bought the crux of it, but I think it's right in this case. I think that Iraq would've evolved into something better...just like Cuba would if the sanctions were lifted.

As far as the stuff about our glorious victory in Iraq, I feel like Al Pacino in the Godfather asking Diane Keaton "Are you that naive?" The rallies attended by those against us and who rightly and correctly ask us to leave their country--oddly bereft of weapons of mass destruction and which haven't been found so far unless you're a propagandist and/or Fox News employee--have been massive and in full swing. And they're right. It's not our stuff. Liberation has just become another word for theft...It deeply shames me as an American. Actually, if the Bush administration and if their crony like greed about that Trillion in crude wasn't so overwhelming, and they were smart (ha!), they would leave immediately and let the international teams take over. The war isn't over by the way. In fact, now the Iraqi people, who still have a lot of their arms, will be fighting not for Saddam (an immediately depressing motivation for anybody) but for a free and democratic Iraq or more likely a closed off and theocratic Iraq if they get anything like majority rule...but this time they'll be fighting for themselves. It's a horrifying spector. This is why the reporting about the region has slowed to a crawl from the usual jingoistic Instapundits. This is something we, the anti war side, predicted by the way. The horror of the "peace". Take a very close look at what's happening in the north by the way. Which side do we choose between the Turks and the Kurds? I'm sure you've thought this out. Perhaps we should just kill them and let...well, you know the rest.

Philip Shropshire

PS: You do admit this is an occupation right? This is something that civil people don't do, right? If not, then I will be happy to come over to your house, Dean, and "liberate" you. You'll own your own stuff, but won't profit from it in any way. You might live worse than you did under the old ruler, but that's "American Democracy" for you. Fox news and Clear Channel will tell you it's all right as I rape your nubile young wife, all for America of course. I will be shocked, just shocked by your terrorist actions to remove me from your house...

Steelydan said @ 04/25/2003 08:16 PM EST

Steelydan, what I find amazing is how much you think you know everything about me, and at the same time how totally wrong you are. I don't watch Foxnews. Rarely listen to the radio, certainly no Clear Channel stations. The few times I've watch Fox, I've found them to be so over the top, to be ridiculous. My primary news sources are the BBC, The Guardian (England), and NPR, along with reading on a regular basis about twenty to thirty foreign newspapers.

You wrongly assume because I supported one war that I support them all. If Bush tried to start another war now, I would be the first one in the street protesting. I pray for his defeat in the next election. And sincerely hope that the first act of his successor is to "repeal" Bush's preemptive strike doctrine. The stupidest concept in modern American history.

The biggest problem with someone like you is that you are a bigot but won't admit it. You fit everyone into a stereotype, and refuse to acknowledge any other possibility. But with that I will end my last conversation with you. I'll wait to debate someone who is actually mentally-equipped for it.

Dean said @ 04/25/2003 09:04 PM EST

Quite frankly, if you supported this war you're not much of a leftist to begin with. And if you've been reading John Pilger or Robert Fisk and the BBC I have a hard time imagining that you think that we've won this war. Either that, or you simply can't read. And you have the gall to question my admittedly modest intellectual capacities.

And could you cease with the name calling stuff and address a point? Or are you conceding that this administration has failed to learn the lessons of the cold war and our involvement in South Africa? Are you conceding that you don't understand the Kirkpatrick argument? Are you conceding that the situation in the North is unstable and nightmarish? Are you conceding that the Iraqi people, theocratic zealots that they may be, have a right to ask the US to leave their country? Are you conceding that I can "liberate" the Dean household and put your wife in a benevolent trust fund where I frell her repeatedly? (Please email me your address so that I can begin my liberation...I find you vaguely threatening and your wife to be very hot...)And finally, and this is the weakest point on your behalf, why are you not willing to admit that this is an occupation and just plain've failed to answer this point in two consecutive posts. It's kinda glaring out here...

Steelydan said @ 04/25/2003 09:17 PM E

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