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A Liberal Argument for Iraqi Regime Change from Salman Rushdie
November 1, 2002 4:40 AM   Subscribe

A Liberal Argument for Iraqi Regime Change from Salman Rushdie Such a pleasure to read a well-written op-ed piece for a change.
posted by tommyspoon (47 comments total)

 
His position in a nutshell seems to be "Be sure you get rid of Saddam Hussein - or I'll have misgivings." It doesn't read as a liberal argument at all. In fact, it sounds like hawkish blackmail. Who can blame the man, with that fatwah hanging over his head? There was no love lost before it and there's certainly none left now. But...bah, humbug!

British or other European citizens writing op-eds in the WP or the NYT, telling the U.S. what to to do, always make me long to read an American Republicam writer (say, Tom Clancy) in Le Monde, El País or The Guardian telling Chirac, Aznar or Blair to lay off the social security and the taxes.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:44 AM on November 1, 2002


Admittedly Saddam is a terrible person and there is much suffering going on in Iraq. But the Rushdie arguement implies that we ought to change regimes in North Korea, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Cuba and wherever else leadership is not to our liking. Why select but one regime among so many that need a change from our point of view?
posted by Postroad at 5:55 AM on November 1, 2002


We have maggie thatcher to ram that down our throats miguel. I am pretty sure that she does not require any assistance.
posted by johnnyboy at 5:56 AM on November 1, 2002


the Rushdie arguement implies that we ought to change regimes in North Korea, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Cuba and wherever else leadership is not to our liking. Why select but one regime among so many that need a change from our point of view?

Gotta start somewhere...
posted by dagny at 6:02 AM on November 1, 2002


**cough**

**cough** **cough**
posted by i_cola at 6:09 AM on November 1, 2002


Why select but one regime among so many that need a change from our point of view?

Opportunity, plus the fact that Saddam is the worst one on your list by far, not withstanding N. Korea's efforts to starve its people and build nukes themselves. This is a guy who gives new meaning to the word despot. Talk to any Iraqi exile you meet.

He has made the mistake of being a 1) brutal fascist dictator who 2) threatens the US and 3) is vulnerable. Take away any one of the three and the US probably wouldn't act, and would be damned for not acting. Instead, the US will be damned for ridding the world of this brutal, dangerous SOB.

I say invade, defeat, and hang him as the war criminal that he is. Iraqis would line up around the block to spit on his corpse.
posted by ednopantz at 6:11 AM on November 1, 2002


I say invade, defeat, and hang him as the war criminal that he is. Iraqis would line up around the block to spit on his corpse.

But only after spitting on the Americans 'liberating' them.
posted by dogmatic at 6:29 AM on November 1, 2002


true
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 6:39 AM on November 1, 2002


2) threatens the US
Do you really believe this?

and Miguel, I mean cm'on, Tom Clancy is hardly the literary equivalent of Salman Rushdie, and Rushdie is not talking about the future of US social security but about a global issue, that concerns and will effect the lives of all, and certainly the Europeans (not to mention the Iraqis themselves).
All in all, Rushdie at least avoids confusing his (valid IMO reasons for disliking Saddam with the US government's (as Hitchens has been recently doing all over the place).
posted by talos at 6:44 AM on November 1, 2002


But only after spitting on the Americans 'liberating' them.

No, dogmatic, you may want to believe that, but you have that one backwards.

Every Iraqi I have ever met distrusted the US and hated Saddam. I know Tikritis who want this guy dead.

Besides, given the minimal Arabic competence of US personnel, any occupation government is going to be 80% Iraqis, 7% Romanians trying to curry favor with the US, 6% Germans trying to make amends to pissing off the US, 3% British, and 4% US personnel. The US is too cheap to pay for a heavy occupation presence.

Plus if you carefully read the news reports, every time the official minders disappear, ordinary folks seem to tell western reporters that they hate Saddam and wouldn't support him in any war. Are they telling reporters what they think they want to hear? Maybe, but this is a country where dissidents are arrested and tortured to death. Why risk your skin to please a reporter?
posted by ednopantz at 6:46 AM on November 1, 2002



2) threatens the US
Do you really believe this?

Sorry, I should have said, "is perceived as a threat in Washington", which is definitely the case, whether or not one agrees with the threat assesment.
posted by ednopantz at 6:50 AM on November 1, 2002


But the Rushdie arguement implies that we ought to change regimes in North Korea, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Cuba

North Korea springs to mind as a notorious repeat offender.

There are countless regimes which morally require change according to the tenets of western society.

I would not like to see precious resources w

Let civilization reign.
posted by hama7 at 6:57 AM on November 1, 2002


w-asted
posted by hama7 at 6:57 AM on November 1, 2002


2) threatens the US
Do you really believe this?


Depending on what you mean by "threat," I certainly believe that. Do you think Saddam's relentless pursuit of WMD is just so he can get in on the mutually-assured-destruction game? No, he wants to use them -- not in the context of an all-out war, but here-and-there, terror-style. If you don't believe that, I'd argue you're the one that's naive.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:59 AM on November 1, 2002


Wait … this was an article supporting an invasion of Iraq? Rushdie lists major arguments against the United States’ preemptive, unilateralist policy: it alienates our allies; provokes our enemies; distracts us from the fight against terrorism; illustrates the self-interest of US foreign policy; and even if successful, invites a host of problems in setting up a new Iraqi nation. But I’ll agree that Rushdie has a point about Saddam Hussein being a terrible leader for the Iraqi people. And even though I joined 100,000 “lily-livered” lefties last Saturday in protesting against war, I stopped to listen to the 100 counter-protestors—many of whom were Iraqis—as they pleaded for regime change in Iraq. They know better than I whether regime change is really needed. But it’s how we go about it that makes the difference. Saddam Hussein and his government are not the only ones in the world that those of us who support human rights would like to see change. Are we going to invade them all? (Not only Pakistan and North Korea, but Burma? Saudi Arabia?) And is invasion the only way to accomplish it? (Maoist China? Stalinist Russia? Zaire under Mobutu Sese Seko? South Africa?)

Articles like this, and the rhetoric from our US leaders, gloss over not only the risks involved in attacking Iraq but also the non-violent options that we might try. Take North Korea—North Korea has begun to cooperate with Japan because Japan has held out the carrot of normalizing relations, and US talks with North Korea include trade relationships like the heating oil we deliver. No one sees a need to invade North Korea—instead we negotiate. Does that mean Kim Chong-Il is a leader we admire? Heck no. It means that we’ve chosen to try non-violent forms of pressure and relationship-building to bring about change. Of course, we have to take into account that each country requires unique efforts. But invasion isn’t the only way to go. For example, US/UN military force in Somalia failed to produce a democratic government there.

ot: Has anyone noticed other Washington Post articles that emphasize one point of view in the first half and postpone considerable counterpoints until the second half? It’s a neat trick to mislead readers who don’t complete articles. I saw it last week in a front-page political analysis of ballot initiatives.
posted by win_k at 7:11 AM on November 1, 2002


Proposed MetaFilter Redesign
and yes I know I've done more than my fair share of it. But I'm stopping now.
posted by ook at 7:19 AM on November 1, 2002


the non-violent options that we might try

You mean like economic sanctions that devestated the people and left the regime intact?

Really, do you have any ideas for non-violent means of getting Iraq to stop torturing people, attempting genoide, building nuclear and chemical weapons, and assasinating dissidents abroad?

I certainly can't think of any way to stop this regime short of the use or threat of violence. I hate the sanctions, which is one reason why I think war is, counterintuitively, the most humane option.
posted by ednopantz at 7:28 AM on November 1, 2002


ook, I think that idea's tremendous. mathowie should enforce posting in Latin only, immediately.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 7:32 AM on November 1, 2002


From Rushdie's concluding paragraph:

But as I listen to Iraqi voices describing the numberless atrocities of the Hussein years, then I am bound to say that if, as now seems possible, the United States and the United Nations do agree on a new Iraq resolution; and if inspectors do return, and, as is probable, Hussein gets up to his old obstructionist tricks again; or if Iraq refuses to accept the new U.N. resolution; then the rest of the world must stop sitting on its hands and join the Americans and British in ridding the world of this vile despot and his cohorts. It should, however, be said and said loudly that the primary justification for regime change in Iraq is the dreadful and prolonged suffering of the Iraqi people, and that the remote possibility of a future attack on America by Iraqi weapons is of secondary importance

Actually, I don't think that particular scenario, stressing UN resolutions, is distasteful at all to U.S. liberals. It's the US unilateral part that liberals find distressing.
posted by tippiedog at 7:47 AM on November 1, 2002


Besides, given the minimal Arabic competence of US personnel, any occupation government is going to be 80% Iraqis, 7% Romanians trying to curry favor with the US, 6% Germans trying to make amends to pissing off the US, 3% British, and 4% US personnel. The US is too cheap to pay for a heavy occupation presence.

It's more like this: given the Bush contempt for "nation building" and his tendency to lose interest and move on to the next war once the excuse to drop bombs has passed, any "occupation government" will consist of one weak stooge of ours with no connections or base of support trying to hold power using only the payroll allowance we give him. He might hold part of Baghdad for a while.

Yeah, the Bush approach to regime change is a great idea. For terrorists. He'd take a country that does not tolerate organized radical Islamists and may or may not harbor particular terrorists as Saddam dares, and turn it into a country run by whichever faction has the muscle and the money, where al-Qaeda and former Taliban can come and go as they please and which would provide yet another massive source of terrorist recruits. Ingenious.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:17 AM on November 1, 2002


Take North Korea—North Korea has begun to cooperate with Japan because Japan has held out the carrot of normalizing relations, and US talks with North Korea include trade relationships like the heating oil we deliver.

Cooperate?!? Excuse me, but this is the exact same thing North Korea has been doing for the last 15 years. Announce that they have some weapon or are working on a weapon and use that to get what they want from the west. They PRETEND to go along with their end of the bargain because they know that everyone is too scared to do anything else.

What a complete and total joke. The population starves, they are put in work camps and treated as slave labor for the slightest infraction, and you blithely go on, ignoring the human cost. The only ones properly fed and clothed are the government and the military leaders, and that is thanks to the "humanitarian" food, medicine and clothing supplied by the west. Way to go! You've helped keep a dictatorial regime in power longer while the population strips the bark from trees for some slight nourishment.

People spout that drivel about war being too costly to the citizens of the country and the dollar cost of it being too high. Instead a far far worse travesty is allowed to go on and MILLIONS suffer and die from the inaction of those who could have stopped it.

A pox on them all.
posted by Baesen at 8:18 AM on November 1, 2002


ook and Slithy_Tove, try here.
posted by win_k at 8:21 AM on November 1, 2002


Ah, sod it...
MetaTalk
posted by i_cola at 8:23 AM on November 1, 2002


ednopantz, I agree with you about the horror caused by sanctions. Since they don't work, and they isolate Iraq (thereby making it harder for the international community to pressure it), and they provide opportunities for nations (Yugoslavia this week; North Korea and others before) to profit by slipping Iraq forbidden goods, maybe we should consider reversing sanctions. (Sanctions didn't work against South Africa either, if I remember correctly.) But ending sanctions appears not to be on the table. Maybe you already know that among sanctions' impact has been the decimation of the Iraqi school system and middle class, two things that are essential components of establishing any non-Saddam, democratic government. We know Saddam wants the sanctions to end. Have we thought about using that as a carrot to lure him to allow the reestablishment of schools, freer markets that allow democratic culture to seep in (think China & capitalism), a freer press, more international observers? I don't know if these things would work, but I think they should be at least discussed. I don't think sanctions are the only non-violent tool we have. I wonder about the power of increased humanitarian aid, education, and free trade.

Baesen, from an earlier post I know you probably know more about the Koreas than I do, but my understanding was that North Korea’s release of the Japanese kidnapping victims preceded and was unrelated to the US’s WMD announcement. I thought it was caused by increasing normalization and economic aid talks with Japan. That was the main improvement I was thinking of, and I agree it’s small and incomplete. Are you saying that the diplomatic improvements are an illusion, and North Korea probably needs to be invaded too? I'd also like to know more about why humanitarian aid is a lie, and if your answer doesn't belong here (still learning my etiquette) would you use email?
posted by win_k at 8:31 AM on November 1, 2002


ook and Slithy_Tove, try here.

You're right, that's a much better tagline.
posted by ook at 8:36 AM on November 1, 2002


What Baesen said.
posted by semmi at 8:41 AM on November 1, 2002


So if Iraq is incorporated into existing institutions, it will cease to be a brutal dictatorship? The track record of the 1980s in Iraq, as well as the more recent experience with N. Korea building nukes while melting tensions would tend to indicate otherwise.

Given that the Iraqi regime spent the entire 1990s starving its people and destroying its economy to thwart limits on Saddam's authority, it seems very unlikely that the regime would suddenly respond to a handful of trade incentives. These guys ran their country into the ground rather than give an inch.

This is also rendered problematic by Iraq's single export economy. A sanctionless Iraq still wouldn't have a diversified economy, it would be a rentier state. Oil exports shipped by a national oil company tend to strengthen the regime and render it more distant from the need to keep people less disgruntled. In the Gulf region, it is no accident that the country that is most autocratic (save Iraq), Saudi Arabia, has the most oil, and the one that is democratizing the fastest, Bahrain, has the least.

If Saddam is a brutal thug without a lot of oil money, I shudder to think what his regime would look like with more resources.
posted by ednopantz at 9:29 AM on November 1, 2002


The whole issue of "regime change" is dodgy.
I support bringing tremendous political pressure to bear on monsterous dictatorial regimes. I support empowering humanitarian organizations to gain protected access these nations, report on the extent of damage to its population and arrange for aid to those in need. And I support working with local groups who're trying to mobilize peaceful democratic reforms from within. If those innocuous activities inspire dangerous regimes to seek direct military conflict with the U.S.--then so be it.

But we have got to stop fueling groups that "destabilize" these regimes with violence. We only encourage the madness to continue.
We must absolutely never, ever bringing in our CIA or SpecOps people in to give these groups 'internal defense and counter-insurgency advanced military training'--and I do mean Never, Ever!. We've got to stop "working with" paragons of virtue and sanity like the Atlacatl and the Kopassus. Rotten bastards like these are no better than the fecking regime we're trying to rid the people of. And now we're directly complicit in such sorry events like East Timorese children having their arms hacked off in the streets. Our misjudged efforts at jerking around with internal politics of other nations more often than not, unfortuntely, pave the way to more efficient and effective terrorizing, torture and killings of peaceful dissidents and powerless citizens of all shapes, sexes and sizes. And all of it with the tacit blessing of the United States of America, no less.

We have an almost uncanny knack of tripping the law of unintended consequences and an abysmal track record of complicity and collusion with brutal insurgent forces by way of this nonsensical policy of regimentus interruptus. And yet, in May, the decision was made to balloon the SOF operating budget to $4.9 billion dollars in 2003, so that we can expand the list of insurgent forces we'll train--regardless of the fact that our State Department has identified 14 of the 19 new recipients as nations frought with serious human rights violations.

I believe you're all familiar with the term "blowback"; let's see if we can guess which of these operations will do just that, down the road: Algeria, Angola, Camaroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo Dem. Republic, Djbouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea, Kenya, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Fiji, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Phillipines, Tonga, Albania, Armenia, Azerbiajan, Bosnia-Herzergovenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukrain, Uzbekistan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Columbia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Venezuela.

So while it isn't specifically Iraq related, it certainly adds another facet to the discussion about whether or not we're in the best position to determine what's best for people outside of our own borders. For insight into what Iraqi citizens have to say about the matter, see CS Monitor: Unsanctioned Voices, By Cameron W. Barr. It doesn't offer any real solution, but it's critical interms of appreciating both thee desire to free themselves and be truly autonomous (from Hussein or US control).
Excerpt:
"We want change but we want it a different way." He is skeptical about the aftermath – the prospect of a US occupation followed by the imposition of a leadership made up of members of the exiled Iraqi opposition, many of whom are regarded as cowards and opportunists by those inside the country.


Sorry for the cranky diatribe, but I've seen about all I can stand of this incredibly unwise policy in action. We need a fresh perspective and approach--and we need it a priori!
posted by Tiger_Lily at 9:58 AM on November 1, 2002


Republicam

That neologism has gads of potential, Miguel!

Sorry, I should have said, "is perceived as a threat in Washington", which is definitely the case

Change "perceived" to "purported" and we can all agree.
posted by rushmc at 11:43 AM on November 1, 2002


Why select but one regime among so many that need a change from our point of view?

Do you mean what are the good reasons for doing this, or what are the, um, less-pure reasons?

Good:

(1) There really is a case to be made for the especial brutality and longevity of this particular regime over others
(2) The middle east is a particular problem to U.S. security right now. Radical Islam is sufficiently popular as an ideaology and terrorism is popular enough as its tool and America enough of a target that we're threatened. If we could somehow create a democratic, rule-of-law, human rights respecting state in the middle east, where people who live there have more to gain by trying to build a life for themselves than take the lives of others, that'd be a powerful distraction from flying a plane into a building. That's strategic interest. We knew this somehow after WWII... beats the hell outa me why it's not obvious now.
(3) America helped create this monster. It oughta clean up the mess.

Less Pure:
(1) Man, look at all that oil
(2) Man, look at this chance to take our place as the pre-eminant and only superpower in the modern world. Hail, caesar.
posted by namespan at 11:56 AM on November 1, 2002


mathowie should enforce posting in Latin only, immediately

Attic Greek is more elegant, I'd say
posted by matteo at 12:12 PM on November 1, 2002


Tiger_Lily: well put.

Miguel: It doesn't read as a liberal argument at all....

It's hawkish in consequence: remove Saddam. What makes it a liberal argument is the values it's driven by: humanitarian concerns and democratic ideals (vs power-driven realpolitik, military might based security, and economic incentives). It's very much like our friend Thomas von der Osten-Sacken's argument discussion.

There's a very real case to be made for changing regimes that has everything to do with the ideals America is supposed to stand for, and little to do with what the world dislikes about us. There's plenty of enlightened self-interest to be had in creating the best Iraq possible, too. The fact that, as Rushdie says "One may suspect the commitment of the Wolfowitz-Cheney-Rumsfeld axis to the creation and support of a free, democratic Iraq" -- and I do, oh, I do -- doesn't change the equal fact that "it remains the most desirable of goals."

So, like Rushdie, perhaps, I'm somewhat hawkish, for liberal reasons. And I think that the Bush administration could have gotten most of America and the world instantly on their side if they'd been able to make the arguments from this standpoint -- and MiguelC, in response to your Tom-Clancy-Instructing-Chirac (funny!) point, I think Rushdie was trying to tell the administration they could make their point this way and be more convincing. But the thing is, I think the hawks in the administration don't have a liberal motive in their body, and so they can't even really concieve of doing this for the right reason. That's why they're so inept at making a good case. Brigham Young apparently used to say "You can't hide the heart when the mouth is open." Yep.
posted by namespan at 12:15 PM on November 1, 2002


Who can blame the man, with that fatwah hanging over his head? There was no love lost before it and there's certainly none left now.

Er, Miguel... that fatwa was from Iran. This is Iraq. Iran is the one with the fatwas. Iraq is the one with the poison gas and the megalomaniac dictator.
posted by languagehat at 12:19 PM on November 1, 2002


namespan, your #s 1 and 3 are only true (or uniquely true, as you present them) if one refuses to look at the rest of the world. There are and long have been some very ugly scenarios out there, and the "Butcher of Bagdad" has a relatively low body count compared to some. Your #2, on the other hand, may describe quite desirable results, but neither you nor anyone else has presented a compelling argument establishing our RIGHT to undertake such actions necessary to achieve them.
posted by rushmc at 2:30 PM on November 1, 2002


As long as we're posting WaPo op-eds: In the Fog of War, a Greater Threat.
posted by homunculus at 3:37 PM on November 1, 2002


OK, rushmc, I cheated a little... on #1, I wasn't sure, I just seemed to recall that Hussein's had more longevity than a Somoza or Suharto or Noriega etc... but poking around, Suharto may have been in power as early as 1965. Hmm. #3 follows #1, too.

#2, though... maybe this is a little crude, but if we're talking about the right to do it, I'm not sure we need an argument more compelling than a defensible case that things will be better than they are with Hussein essentially playing the same roll right now in Iraq. Someone will be using a heavy hand of power to create an Iraq to their liking. Isn't it better the U.S. than Hussein? (Assuming we're there to do the good things I described, rather than creating another Guatemala circa 1960s)

If not, perhaps we could see what a watery tart handing out swords thinks : ) .... or discuss other philosophical bases for justifying use of power to shape a state...
posted by namespan at 3:45 PM on November 1, 2002


So, what then, might makes right? Or some variation on manifest destiny? Who gets to determine at what point our disputes with other soverign nations justify military intervention and when they don't? Do we claim that right? Today our criteria might be that the evildoer nation must be responsible for X number of deaths and Y perceived threat level to others; tomorrow, perhaps it will be sufficient that we do not like their trading practices or the restrictions they place upon our McDonald's franchises or the success of their economy. They may possess natural resources that we covet, so we term it an issue of "national security." The criteria may vary with which party is in power and/or the personality of the politican currently holding office.

In addition, if we claim these rights for ourselves, do we permit them to other nations, or disallow them from their own intercessions? And if one of them decides that WE have crossed a line of their drawing and that they should come here to enforce their vision, then where does that leave us? Every act establishes precedent, and even the best-intentioned may have far-reaching consequences undreamed of who ignore the implications of their actions.
posted by rushmc at 5:14 PM on November 1, 2002


So, what then, might makes right? Or some variation on manifest destiny? Who gets to determine at what point our disputes with other soverign nations justify military intervention and when they don't? Do we claim that right?

Whooaa. The claim I made wasn't even close to "might makes right". The claim I made was that military might WILL be used by someone to shape the future of Iraq -- there's no "will of the people" or anything else resembling self-determination right now. The party who can make the most defensible claim to a demonstrably moral goal can claim to be right. So which is better? The vision of the Ba'ath party and Hussein, or the vision I layed out above?

I think that's the important question to argue, and I think the answer is pretty clear. I do see your points about not liking trading practices and natural resources -- I know the history the U.S. has, I know that we helped destroy a progressive democratic government in Guatemala in the 1950s because the United Fruit Company whispered "communism" in the government's ear, I know that there are American interests with their mouths watering over that oil. If you want to compare what sort of system that government will be setting up in Iraq, I can agree with you -- we need to be wary. But by doing this right -- by going in with the long term in mind, by actually establishing an indepndent democratic free Iraqi state -- the precedent we'd be setting would be that it's OK to use military might to move a country from a regime routinely murders and tortures large amounts of its citizens to a democratic free state that offers economic opportunity. Is there a problem with that precedent? Hey, I'd be OK with it if the Dutch invaded and set things up that way here in the U.S. : )

Of course, what I'm talking about and what our friends in the Bush administration have in mind are almost certainly totally different things, yes? That's the thing to worry about, to go back to the point of this post. Might will be used in Iraq -- IS being used in Iraq -- by Saddam if not by the U.S. The real question is what the might will be used for. The ends rarely justifies the means, but since the employment of terrible means is already a given, the only remaining question is the moral end.
posted by namespan at 5:54 PM on November 1, 2002


[derail] Hey Latin Literates--there's this incredibly tricked out Victorian house near me that has the motto Quo Amplius Eo Amplius on a turret--whazzit mean?[/derail]

Ooh, Tiger_Lily, I hear ya. Unintended consequences are what keeps me awake in the wee hours.
posted by y2karl at 7:20 PM on November 1, 2002


there's no "will of the people" or anything else resembling self-determination right now.

So military occupation and overthrow of soverign governments is only acceptable in countries that don't happen to be democracies?

(Not ignoring your other points, just trying to follow your logic through to it's bitter conclusion.)
posted by rushmc at 9:54 PM on November 1, 2002


And while we're posting op-eds, there's a new Ambrose Bierce over at the Moscow Times who doesn't want America to flush out the terrorists by sinking to their level and attempting to provoke attacks.
posted by sheauga at 10:42 PM on November 1, 2002


So military occupation and overthrow of soverign governments is only acceptable in countries that don't happen to be democracies?

Given the situation I've described, the state in question almost certainly wouldn't be a democracy, so it's a moot point. It's not an axiom, it's a consequence.

Besides, as I said, I for one would welcome our new Dutch overlords.

The crux of the argument really goes back to the question: what makes a state and its associated government legitimate?
posted by namespan at 12:24 AM on November 2, 2002


The crux of the argument really goes back to the question: what makes a state and its associated government legitimate?

And who shall be empowered to answer this question for anyone but themselves?
posted by rushmc at 7:59 AM on November 2, 2002


y2karl: My Latin is rusty, but I'll give it a go: amplius means 'more, further, in addition'; eo amplius means 'more than that' (often used as 'besides, moreover'). So it's literally 'more than which, more than that'; I'm guessing from the "incredibly tricked-out" context that it's something like "the more the merrier, we love wretched excess."

*waits for actual Latinist to show up and Explain It All*
posted by languagehat at 8:37 AM on November 2, 2002


And who shall be empowered to answer this question for anyone but themselves?

Which is exactly what I am proposing the U.S. should do, since the people of the state of Iraq are currently not thus empowered.
posted by namespan at 2:01 PM on November 2, 2002


Thanks for the link, sheauga. Arkin's article is interesting and unsettling.
Rumsfeld's influential Defense Science Board 2002 Summer Study on Special Operations and Joint Forces in Support of Countering Terrorism says in its classified "outbrief" -- a briefing drafted to guide other Pentagon agencies -- that the global war on terrorism "requires new strategies, postures and organization."
The board recommends creation of a super-Intelligence Support Activity, an organization it dubs the Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group, (P2OG), to bring together CIA and military covert action, information warfare, intelligence, and cover and deception.
Among other things, this body would launch secret operations aimed at "stimulating reactions" among terrorists and states possessing weapons of mass destruction -- that is, for instance, prodding terrorist cells into action and exposing themselves to "quick-response" attacks by U.S. forces.
Stimulating reactions?! That doesn't sound wise.
posted by homunculus at 4:30 PM on November 2, 2002


Which is exactly what I am proposing the U.S. should do

On whose authority? (See how we can go round and round with this?)
posted by rushmc at 10:55 PM on November 2, 2002


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