Tags:


Bye Bye Saddam. Bye Bye Old Europe.
March 20, 2003 3:34 PM   Subscribe

It is no accident that the core countries of "Old Europe," France and Germany, oppose us. "It is no accident that the core countries of Old Europe, France and Germany, oppose us. Between them, they have been responsible for every major European conflict since the Napoleonic era. Those who now accuse us of aggression bear the weight of hundreds of millions of corpses." What a superb piece of writing.
posted by ParisParamus (90 comments total)

 
I don't think one can safely say that France and Germany are responsible for those European wars. It is impossible to blame any one or two forces for actions such as the First and Second World Wars.

Interesting article though.
posted by dazed_one at 3:42 PM on March 20, 2003


"It is no accident that the core countries of 'the Imperialist West,' Great Britain and the United States oppose us. Between them, they have been responsible for every major conflict since the Napoleonic era." - Old Europe
posted by plemeljr at 3:43 PM on March 20, 2003


ParisParamus, you the radical jew don't mind killing the innocent Palestinians (and stealing their land) and Iraqis (and stealing their oil and their land) but argues that "old europe" who perhaps is learning from their past mistakes is opposing this crazy state sponsored terrorism

that's hypocrisy my friend

aren't you a lawyer ?
posted by bureaustyle at 3:43 PM on March 20, 2003


What a load of old cobblers. If anything, France and Germany's long experience of war up close makes them a pretty good authority on why war should be avoided at all costs. In any case, America can hardly claim the high ground here, since its physical distance from Europe has a lot more to do with its relatively light involvement in those "European wars" than any sort of moral superiority.
posted by Raya at 3:48 PM on March 20, 2003


Yeah, I'm a radical Jew. I go to shul twice a month; dated mostly Christian women until I got married; think there should be a Palestinian state; and read the Web on Saturdays.

You are a radical asshole. Thanks for tainting a potentially interesting thread about a great article with you simpleton being.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:50 PM on March 20, 2003


This seems a slightly less inflammatory way of expressing the gulf between the US and Europe.

From article:

It would be far better for both sides to acknowledge that the US and Europe are two regions with overlapping but frequently different interests and perspectives, and that the divergence is likely to grow rather than diminish.
posted by Sonny Jim at 3:53 PM on March 20, 2003


Our instincts are good, our motives are sound and our standards of behavior are the highest in the history of nations. Who shall lead the way, if we do not?

This piece is fantasy, pure and utter fantasy. Get professional help, ParisP. Get it now, before we see you as a dogmatic, frenzied, manifest-spouting serial killer on America's Most Wanted.
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:54 PM on March 20, 2003


It may be just me, but i take just a slight bit of offense at the use of 'us', as reference to the United States of America. I always liked metafilter because it transcended silly little things like boundaries and governments..
posted by Mijnkopthee at 3:55 PM on March 20, 2003


Quote from the article: "Just as we fought our Civil War to cast off the European legacies of human bondage and political power vested in a landed aristocracy," ...huh?

I assume that our Indian wars were Europe's fault too?
posted by mediaddict at 3:55 PM on March 20, 2003


DONALD RUMSFELD, the US Defence Secretary and one of the most strident critics of Saddam Hussein, met the Iraqi President in 1983 to ease the way for US companies to sell Baghdad biological and chemical weapons components, including anthrax and bubonic plague cultures, according to newly declassified US Government documents.
Mr Rumsfeld’s 90-minute meeting with Saddam, preceded by a warm handshake which was captured on film, heralded a US policy under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr of courting the Iraqi leader as an ally throughout the 1980s.

bureaustyle,
Paris discredits his opinions enough already by faulty logic and sheer thirst of blood. his religion has nothing, nothing, nothing to do with that at all, so lose the "Radical Jew" shit, OK? t/y

a potentially interesting thread about a great article
Well, very marginally interesting -- it's your classic FoxNews/NYPost Murdochian McCarthyite rant
posted by matteo at 3:59 PM on March 20, 2003


Thanks, ParisParamus, for posting a courageous piece of writing that exposes the double-hypocrisy of the French and Germans.

The breeders of Napoleonic ambitions and the Cultural Birthplace of the Holocaust should know better than anyone that appeasing dictators is more disastrous than confronting them.
posted by reality at 3:59 PM on March 20, 2003


give it a rest, paris. get therapy.
posted by donkeyschlong at 4:01 PM on March 20, 2003


I almost read the link, then I noticed it was a NY Post opinion piece. I don't take them any more seriously than NY Times opinion pieces, so why should I waste my time?

It's almost as silly as the "send back the Statue of Liberty" rhetoric.

On an unrelated note, shouldn't all of the moneybag pro-war blowhards be trading in their Benzs and BMWs for Fords and Chevys? Haven't heard of that happening yet.
posted by mark13 at 4:02 PM on March 20, 2003


Well obviously the opinion piece was a load of tripe. Would you have expected PP to post something worth reading?
posted by salmacis at 4:05 PM on March 20, 2003


I just love how people are making generalizations about certain geographic locations labelled as countries as being more warlike than other sections of terra firma.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:10 PM on March 20, 2003


Shouldn't ParisParamus change his username to FreedomParamus?
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:10 PM on March 20, 2003


President Bush has turned away from the murderous logic of European diplomacy, from mechanisms of statecraft that have led only to unchecked aggression and unchallenged genocide.

That's where the writer started to lose credibility in my head. "The murderous logic of European diplomacy"... nice flourish, but over the top rhetoric. And he finished it, too. Unchecked agression? Unchallenged genocide? Hardly. If there were any nation on earth as thoroughly checked, challenged, and watched, it was Iraq. Costa Rica is almost a more credible threat to us.

The Hussein/Ba'ath regime are not nice people. The world will be a better place if they go. Direct military action by the United States acting with the minority that happen to agree with them might not be the best way to do it, or it might. In any case, this essay is definitely not the best defense. Far stronger cases for neo-sovereignty in general or invasion of Iraq in particular have been made.

"The Europeans will never forgive us for spoiling their party"

Riiight. It's just been one unmitigated volley of animosity since the collapse of European Empires. Especially with the ones we fought with initially, like England and Spain.

If I had time, I could go over the rest of the article and destroy him point by point. This is crap.
posted by namespan at 4:17 PM on March 20, 2003


For those who are personally attacking Paris: Get a life. Either you can hold your own in the debate and address the issue at hand or not. Paris put it up for discussion, not to be personally verbally assaulted. MeFi is not your bedroom or wherever you read it from, it is a public forum for debate so get used to opposing views and if you disagree than say why. Paris didn't write the article, no one even mentioned that the article was writen by an Army general. Some of you guys have no debateing skills, personal attacks are basicaly the lowest of the low, in particular about someones religion. No call for that.
posted by stbalbach at 4:20 PM on March 20, 2003


the double-hypocrisy of the French and Germans.

Oh, please. The only way you can call this hypocrisy is by holding current generations responsible for the actions of Napolean- and WWI-era generations.

What's next, conservatives? Holding today's Americans responsible for slavery? I seem to recall conservatives had, er, one or two reservations about that kind of thing.

Paris, this sinks below even your usually low standards for op-ed posting.
posted by mediareport at 4:21 PM on March 20, 2003


From the article:

our president has the vision to see that the old patterns of diplomacy have failed us

It has? Howso?

We have finally accepted that it is no longer enough to wait for enemies to attack first.

Like so many European nation-states in the past.

Those who now accuse us of aggression bear the weight of hundreds of millions of corpses.

Actually, their ancestors do. By this logic, we are all responsible for murdering native americans and keeping slaves.

President Bush has turned away from the murderous logic of European diplomacy, from mechanisms of statecraft that have led only to unchecked aggression and unchallenged genocide.

And turned to the murderous logic of premeditated warfare against suspected future threats.

we are now fighting to cast off an Arab dictator who embodies the European tradition of a tyrant sustained by a bureaucracy of terror.

This idiocy refutes itself.

Our Spanish-American War shattered the inviolable image of European empires.

And set up our own little empire.

Crikey, I could go on, but I don't think it is necessary. Wow, an ex-army man saying that might makes right. The New York Post has the journalistic integrity of the Weekly World News.
posted by moonbiter at 4:26 PM on March 20, 2003


we are all responsible for murdering native americans and keeping slaves.

Well, us modern Americans anyway.
posted by moonbiter at 4:27 PM on March 20, 2003


Freedom Paramus, to pull one random para from that crock of shit you posted:

The new American policy toward which the times have driven us is as radically different as our critics fear. It breaks with a failed and blood-soaked past. We have finally accepted that it is no longer enough to wait for enemies to attack first. We have accepted our unique responsibility to intervene abroad in the cause of global security and human rights.

What precisely is the BREAK from a failed and blood-soaked past? Yeh, of course, we're going to win, not fail, cos Iraq is just about the most militarily bereft entity that chicken hawk strategists could have gone for.

Not forgetting that having been there in 91, we now know (yup) how to differentiate a sand dune from a member of the coalition force

To pull a random sentence from your post:

President Bush has turned away from the murderous logic of European diplomacy

Please explain. I wish you could post more bile today but we must wait till tomorrow alas
posted by skellum at 4:27 PM on March 20, 2003


What a superb piece of writing.

This piece is full of bloviating rhetoric, false analogies, self-aggrandizing posturing, unrepentant prevarication, knee-jerk anti-intellectualism, and just simple outright lying. It is actually an astoundingly good example of the sort of scrofulous political propaganda that so sickened Orwell that he was moved to write Politics and the English Language. I'm keeping this piece in my files in case I ever have to teach a course on logical fallacies in arguments.

So, in that respect, I agree. It is a superb piece of (inflammatory and dishonest propaganda) writing.
posted by monkey.pie.baker at 4:28 PM on March 20, 2003


This is the most laughable post in a long time. The chickenhawk has outdone himself this time.

Next link.


-
posted by sic at 4:34 PM on March 20, 2003


This troll... you feed it?
posted by dash_slot- at 4:34 PM on March 20, 2003


Shouldn't ParisParamus change his username to FreedomParamus?

ROTFLMFAO
posted by jdroth at 4:38 PM on March 20, 2003


Point:
A bit more about Ralph Peters, the writer of the Op-Ed.

Counterpoint:
A bit more about Piers Morgan, the writer of the Mirror.

Both are highly polarised views, by authors of potential bias, in publications of dubious credibility. Superb writing or not, how about at least a little bit of context and perspective on occasion?
posted by DaRiLo at 4:40 PM on March 20, 2003


France and Germany's long experience of war up close makes them a pretty good authority on why war should be avoided at all costs.

Actually, the largest war in history WWII could have been avoided if a small war had been fought. Small wars early on can stop large wars later. It is the pro-peace people who make the situation worse, I can name many examples of peaceniks causing greater death giveing the enemy hope of victory. Only in Vietnam were they right. If the allies had forced Germany to stop re-arming WWII could have been avoided. Throughout the entire 1920s and 30s the world ignored Germany, ignored its violations of treatys, and peace-politics reigned even up to the final hour of the invasion of France Britain was trying to make peace unbelieveing that Germany would attack. The fools. No one wants war, but war is a tool that can be used to stop big wars. It sounds a paradox but controlled fire fights wildfire.
posted by stbalbach at 4:42 PM on March 20, 2003


In an attempt to conserve resources, I've streamlined a good deal of my responses to PP, who should be getting a new flat homepage stiffy every five minutes [now the war has started]. This shouldn't affect logged in users, but if anyone finds any problems, either don't post here or email me. I'm going to do the same with MetaTalk in a few minutes all his future trollings. (",)
posted by dash_slot- at 4:44 PM on March 20, 2003


And Italy and Spain, which of course never caused any problems for the world, are the New Europe, eh? Also, does it count that citizens of the "New" Europe are also opposed to the war, if surveys are at all accurate?
posted by raysmj at 5:03 PM on March 20, 2003


Paris:

Weren't conservatives of, oh, 10-15 years ago making noise about how American culture was losing its connection to the holy traditions of European culture? (Dinesh D'Souza and Alan Bloom spring to mind.) The horror story of the left was college students chanting "Hey! Hey! Ho! Ho! Western culture has to go!" and our return to the profound gifts of European culture were supposed to resurrect our worth, right?

So which is it, now? European tradition is our holy ancestor or Europe is a festering corpse of iniquity?
posted by argybarg at 5:07 PM on March 20, 2003


Or do you just go where the wind blows?
posted by argybarg at 5:09 PM on March 20, 2003


the ad hominum attacks are disappointing in this time when we should all raise our game. heightened tensions require all of us to heighten the level of discourse--otherwise you might as well just pick up guns and shoot the first person who doesn't look and talk like you. if you have an objection to the article, state your reasons and back them up. i'm a classic liberal but i thought this was pretty interesting.

i don't think the "old europe" stuff makes sense; for one, the soviet union was a radical change from the czarist empire that preceded it. dictatorships come as much or more from instinctual tribal politics as they do from a european beaurocratic tradition. but the forward-looking point made me think twice. it is at least arguable that america is one of the most ethical superpowers in the history of the world--for starters, there's not a very high bar when you are talking about true hegemons. i hadn't really thought about until now. please no flames; i'm just saying it's worth considering.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 5:13 PM on March 20, 2003


..appeasing dictators is more disastrous than confronting them.

And containing them is even less disastrous than trying to kill them outright.

Actually, the largest war in history WWII could have been avoided if a small war had been fought...

Here's newsflash for you too the whole friggin mess could have been avoided if we hadn't had the First World War. Please tell me how the what if peaceniks had prevented WW1 we would still have fought WW2...

See this is where the Hawks logic falls on it's face. Yes they love to bring up Hitler (Saddam is no Hitler btw) and how WW2 was some kind of example of the perfect just cause for war. It ALL would have been avoided if the stupid (at the time) Europeans hadn't duked it out in the first place with petty squabbles over land and resources.

Seems to me the Europeans may have indeed learned a lesson last century that they are trying to teach us as well...
posted by aaronscool at 5:20 PM on March 20, 2003


stbalbach>Actually, the largest war in history WWII could have been avoided if a small war had been fought.

And this would have ensured that the outcome would have been the free Germany we have today... how, exactly?

A short war could have simply set them back 20 or 30 years, and perhaps Hitler would have joined with the USSR during the cold war. Imagine what the cold war could have been like with that situation.

Hindsight is 20/20, but long-term outcomes are not bereft the flap of a butterflies wings.

For all we know the result today could have been a Berlin wall built around the entirety of Germany.

I must say I found the article's author should do some soul-searching to find out exactly what it is that makes him so intolerant of "old europe" that he must blame the unborn for "crimes" they could not have possibly been involved in.

If we want peace we must prepare for war; indeed. The question is wether the US has peace or not. The answer from the US President is a resounding "NO!". That the US is not in a state of peace. For the Americans out there, have you feet devoid of peace lately? I haven't.
posted by shepd at 5:25 PM on March 20, 2003


stalbach:

You were perhaps thinking of the War of Jenkins' Ear?

Given the relationship between that most splendid of recent "small wars, " the Gulf War of 1991, to the current unpleasantness in Mesopotamia, your logic is fanciful at best.
posted by rdone at 5:26 PM on March 20, 2003


Mmmm... Belgian waffles. Who wants waffles?
posted by RylandDotNet at 5:34 PM on March 20, 2003


heightened tensions require all of us to heighten the level of discourse--otherwise you might as well just pick up guns and shoot the first person who doesn't look and talk like you.

And so assumption substituted for lack of reason continues ...

I'll apologize to those of you wishing us to take ParisP and his presentation of fantastical militaristic erotica seriously. That is, I apologize that you remain so foolish and unthinking that you don't immediately recognize this shite as, well, shite.
posted by Wulfgar! at 5:44 PM on March 20, 2003


It's too bad that this was Col. Peter's first piece to make an FPP (at least in my time reading Metafilter.) Peter's is a brilliant, unorthodox thinker. He was one of the theorist who during the early 1990s convinced the US military that it needed to focus more on urban combat capabilities, a fact since underscored by Somalia and Grozny, capabilities who's utility will soon be underscored.

Peter's also hold a liberal, progessive world view, and activiley embarces the values often discussed here on Metafilter: This piece is especially worth reading, and will probably surprise many of you.

The personal attacks on PP in this post are ridiculous and embarassing. I'm am so sick of this crap on Metafilter...the main war post is another example. This a serious time, the world we know is changing rapidly and we are all scared shitless, whatever our politics. Anyone who acts supremely confident about their views right now is a fanatic. The best way for us to see, learn, and understand right now is to share and listen to each other like civilized people. Let's discuss ideas, not rhetoric.
posted by pjgulliver at 5:45 PM on March 20, 2003


PP, who should be getting a new flat homepage every five minutes

Ah yes, because you disagree with his politics and point of view, he should have his membership revoked.


I can feel the tolerance.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 5:47 PM on March 20, 2003


Get professional help, ParisP. Get it now, before we see you as a dogmatic, frenzied, manifest-spouting serial killer on America's Most Wanted.

Another liberal self destructs before our very eyes.

Thanks for posting the link Paris.

As long as metafilter is going to be dragged down by these post on Iraq, we might as well hear both sides.
posted by Beholder at 5:59 PM on March 20, 2003


containing [Saddam] is less disastrous than trying to kill him

The amount of human suffering going on in Iraq over the past 12 years is horrific.
posted by stbalbach at 6:03 PM on March 20, 2003


The human suffering caused by the imposition of sanctions that affected the ordinary Iraqi citizen while doing nothing to make life hard for Saddam, stbalbach?
posted by Jimbob at 6:14 PM on March 20, 2003


Steve at Linnwood:

DON'T FUCKING REPLY!
You make me sick...

I can feel the tolerance.

how I missed your drivel...
...go fuck yourself...

I can feel the tolerance.

...being Clinton's bitch
I can feel the tolerance.

Rook, I'm a moron
I can feel the tolerance.
posted by matteo at 6:14 PM on March 20, 2003


Where did all these stalwart Americans come from again?
posted by Hildegarde at 6:20 PM on March 20, 2003


Get professional help, ParisP. Get it now, before we see you as a dogmatic, frenzied, manifest-spouting serial killer on America's Most Wanted.

Another liberal self destructs before our very eyes.


Since you miss the obvious, non-Beholder, part of this thread has been devoted to the simple fact that just because you say a thing doesn't make it true.

Between them, they have been responsible for every major European conflict since the Napoleonic era.

Excuse me? Italy, Spain, and the inhabitants of the Former Soviet Block bear their share of guilt as well. I'm not even going to mention that the discussion of this so called treatese jumps from the global to the regional (Europe) as if the author's point still has meaning in the current enviroment (oh wait, I just did!). Lies, fantasy, deception and foolishness. Don't expect one educated in history to take any of this seriously.
posted by Wulfgar! at 6:39 PM on March 20, 2003


As long as metafilter is going to be dragged down by these post on Iraq, we might as well hear both sides.

And I do agree with you here. We need to be exposed to the lunatic ignorance coming from those who think this is a just war. The better we may be prepared when the time comes to boot their asses out of power.
posted by Wulfgar! at 6:42 PM on March 20, 2003


Personally, I am tired of hearing parallels between Iraq in 2003 and Germany under Hitler. If you want to make the comparison, it should be with Iraq in 1992. Then Saddam had just invaded another country, had one of the world’s largest armies (as measured by number of men), and had all of the ambition and ruthlessness to continue. The world justifiably slapped him down and in the last decade his military has become a shadow of its former self.

If you want to play the game of drawing historical parallels, why not compare Iraq with Cuba under Castro? Both countries are headed by cunning, ruthless men. And both dictators committed numerous crimes against their own people. And we know for sure Cuba has weapons of mass destruction. We don’t need U.N. inspectors to find that out. Somehow, despite all of this, isolation has worked. And I don’t hear Bush itching to invade. Maybe if terrorists from Columbia attack us we might just have to, if we follow this administrations logic.

And speaking of Cuba, the Spanish-American War provides a history lesson I think applies to our current predicament. At the time, the U.S. invaded Cuba and the Philippines to “liberate” them from the tyranny of an oppressive regime. Our stated goal was to bring democracy and “civilization.” The history after the war is illuminating. Relatively speaking, Americans did not find much of economic value in the Philippines. The U.S. mostly took little pieces for ports and military bases, and left the rest alone. As a result, over the last 100 years the Philippines have had some political turmoil, but in general have prospered. In contrast, U.S. merchants found Cuba too good to pass up. Tobacco, sugar cane, and other tropical products were just too profitable. Rather than mess with the gross economic imbalances in Cuba, the U.S. government just turned control over the American hands. This directly led to the conditions of the Cuban revolution and 50 years of tension.

I think these are two possibilities for post-war Iraq. I also have deep suspicions that no matter how good American intentions might be (such as those of Ralph Peters), Iraqi oil will just be too tempting and our history in Iraq will be closer to Cuba than the Philippines.
posted by Tallguy at 6:44 PM on March 20, 2003


...for US companies to sell Baghdad biological and chemical weapons components, including anthrax and bubonic plague cultures
matteo, do you have a link for this? Not because I doubt you, but because I remember reading this in TNR a while back, but now can't find the article online anywhere.
posted by kickingtheground at 6:54 PM on March 20, 2003


kicking

follow my TimesOnline link (click on Rumsfeld's name in my first post)

also this
posted by matteo at 6:58 PM on March 20, 2003


Excuse me? Italy, Spain, and the inhabitants of the Former Soviet Block bear their share of guilt as well.

The difference is one of evolution and expectation. Russia is no longer the Soviet Union; Spain had Franco. France? What's its excuse for being so far behind the curve? For being such an economic supporter of Saddam?

If you had any, ANY doubt about the disgusting state of France, it should have been obviated when, on 60 Minutes, Jacques Chirac refused event to concede that selling France a nuclear reaction was a mistake. Chirac claimed that the reactor was only for "civilian use."

Clearly, France, and to a lesser extent, Germany, can't admit that the Bush Administration is right on this one. They can't do so because broaching the subject of a just war of liberation forces the issue of their not-that-distant collective pasts: of one country which invaded Europe; of another which was, and I believe, still is, too decadent, weak, corrupt and selfish to defend itself, or truly defend anything which requires an effort to defend.

The corruption of government, and the incestual business-government relationship in France is truly beyond belief....anyway...
posted by ParisParamus at 7:02 PM on March 20, 2003


France was sold a nuclear reaction?
posted by raysmj at 7:41 PM on March 20, 2003


The corruption of government, and the incestual business-government relationship in France is truly beyond belief....

Yeah, I'm glad we don't have any of those problems here in the good old USA.
posted by dglynn at 7:47 PM on March 20, 2003


Address the issue of collective current responsibility for the actions of past generations, please, Paris.
posted by mediareport at 8:05 PM on March 20, 2003


Here's a recent interview with Peters.
posted by homunculus at 8:05 PM on March 20, 2003


Interesting article, ParisParamus. Thanks. This one was interesting too:

The Sovereignity Con (also by Ralph Peters)

An excerpt: "Today, claims of territorial sovereignty by dictators and illegitimate regimes amount to the biggest con in history."
posted by hama7 at 8:26 PM on March 20, 2003


Aside from the name-calling and the pro-war / anti-war bandwagons, the thing I find most ridiculous about this thread is that it hasn't really focused on the main point of the article: that Bush's decision to invade Iraq represents an abandonment of the traditions of European statecraft and diplomacy. I disagree that Bush is throwing away 1800's Europe. Rather, I think that Bush is throwing away late 1940's Europe. It is the institutions designed to keep the peace after WWII (UN, Nato) that Bush is throwing away. Whether or not this is a good thing remains to be seen.
posted by Chanther at 8:38 PM on March 20, 2003


European diplomacy brought about WWII, and the killing of millions of innocents. Diplomacy is only successful from a position of power. "Speak softly and carry a big stick." It was true then, and is true today.

France, Germany and Russia have too much vested interest ($$$$) in Iraq, to care at all about the killing of civilians.

Also, of note, France has undertaken the efforts of Regime Change 18 times in the last 50 years, without ever going to the United Nations.
posted by npost at 9:33 PM on March 20, 2003


Also, of note, France has undertaken the efforts of Regime Change 18 times in the last 50 years, without ever going to the United Nations.

Very interesting, npost. I'd love to get a link to some examples of that.
posted by reality at 9:44 PM on March 20, 2003


Now this quote of Peters from homunculus's lik is interesting:

We got into the middle of clan fights that were all about food and power and tribal turf, and because we couldn't stop them, we shouldn't have tried to. We had a Mr. Micawber foreign policy, hoping something would turn up, hoping they’d see the light and there’d be a magic solution. There are never magic solutions in devastated, war-torn states. After the Battle of Mogadishu, which we won overwhelmingly, we made things worse by cutting and running. The failure of nerve of the Clinton administration encouraged our enemies to believe that whenever you kill a few Americans, they’ll run away. Osama bin Laden talked a lot about Somalia.

I find it interesting that Peters mentions Clinton's failure of will and how encouraged Osama--actually Osama was directly involved in Somalia--and yet fails to mention the failure of will of Ronald Reagan in Lebanon.

Let's review our history:

In 1982, Ariel Sharon leads the Israeli invasion of Lebanon to git the PLO and Yasser Arafat and is allowed by us to exile PLO and Yasser Arafat to Tunisia, which keeps a lid on his extracurricular activity.

Some atrocities occur on Sharon's dime. Israel makes friends, occupies southern Lebanon and thereafter Israeli soldiers needlessly die until Ehud Barak finally brings the boys home. Sharon is also midwife at the birth of Hamas and Hezbollah but hey, he meant well! (Like when he visited the Temple mount!)

In 1983, Reagan sends the battleship New Jersey to the shores of Lebanon, to blow up a few goats by which respect is so earned and friends so made all around. With the country invaded by Israel and under threat of Syrian domination, American Marine "Peacekeepers" are shipped to Beirut to prop up a Christian Maronite president. Opposition to their presence leads to the suicide bombing of the barracks. Some 309 Americans are killed, including the CIA's Mideast staff.

Reagan then bails from Lebanon and invades Grenada for strategically important reasons like it's basically a military power equivalent to a trailer court and boy, can our military whip trailer court ass. Attention is taken off Reagan's planless intervention fiasco in Lebanon and America stands proud and victorious, getting over Vietnam.

We lost 43 Rangers in Mogadishu but, as Peters says, won the battle. 309 Americans die in Beirut and Syria still occupies the Bekaa valley.

Let's look at those figures again:

Beirut: 309 American dead, of which 241 are Marines.

Mogadishu: 18 Rangers were killed, 84 more were wounded, and one helicopter pilot became Aidid's prisoner but was returned.

Clinton - 18 dead, Reagan - 309 dead: who's the bigger fuck up? But since we whipped some trailer court ass the next week, Ronald Reagan is the winnah!

So, atrocity, Hamas, Hezbollah and Ariel Sharon's bungled invasion of Lebanon in which the wind is sown and the whirlwind reaped still, are all enabled by the clueless intervention of Ronald Reagan's Lebanon policy of speak softly, carry a big stick, fuck up, bail out and then arrange a happy ending by whipping trailer court island power.... MidasMulligan is right--as owillis has noted--we should never trust the political opinions of actors, let alone let them even get near the levers of power.

Also on Ronald reagan's dime:

In 1986, in retaliation for the terrorist bombing of a Berlin nightclub that killed a U.S. soldier, President Reagan bombs Libya, causing 130 deaths, including civilians near the French embassy. Khadafy's own residence is targeted, killing his adopted infant daughter, in an attempt to assassinate him. Libya is deliberately chosen as the target because it lacks defenses against air bombing. A few months later, the U.S. admits to arms-trading with Iran, a state that the U.S. openly calls an instigator of international terrorism, and one that is an ally of Libya. Arab cynicism about U.S. intentions and trustworthiness could only increase. The bombing of Pan Am 103 is considered revenge for these attacks on Libya.

Conclusion: Ronald Reagan did more to enable terrorism than Bill CLinton.


Statements of Peters which I agree, more or less:

The Portuguese mostly withered on their own too, but sad to say, we apparently gave Indonesia a green light to kick them out of East Timor, which we came to regret less than a quarter of a century later.

I personally feel that we’ve made a grotesque mistake aligning ourselves with the most oppressive of the Arabs, with the Arab world’s Beverly Hillbillies. Other Arabs built Damascus, Córdoba, Baghdad, Cairo. The Saudis never built anything. The fact that they came into their oil wealth was a disaster, not for us but for the Arab world, because it gave these malevolent hicks raw economic power over the populations of poor Islamic states, such as Egypt. The line about Al Qaeda that’s absolutely true is that Saudis supplied the money and Egyptians supplied the brains. So Saudi money, spent to support their grotesquely repressive version of one of the world’s great religions, has been a disaster for the Arab world.

Ten years ago you were far more skeptical about U.S. military intervention in the developing world. Why the change of heart?

I was wrong, and I learned. The key experience was my peripheral—very peripheral—involvement in the first Balkan crisis, in 1992. Yugoslavia was initially a small cancer, but we let it metastasize. At the time, the American armed forces were shrinking. We had a very small military for our global responsibilities. The Europeans were bragging that they didn’t need the United States any more; the Soviet Union was gone, and they could do it themselves. And I thought, great, let the French and the Germans and the Brits do the Balkans. They certainly have the manpower and the money. I still think Europe had the power to do it, but I deluded myself about its will. With the benefit of hindsight, I see that the only hope for avoiding the bloodbath was early and decisive U.S. involvement. I will always be ashamed that I took the Europeans at their word and that I raised my minor voice against the intervention in Yugoslavia back in 1992.


He neglects to give props to the one guy who didn't have a loss of will and who finally ended the wars in the former Yugoslavia and led the way to Milosevic being tried for war crimes in the Hague: President William Jefferson Clinton.

Now do I detect a tilt here?
posted by y2karl at 10:13 PM on March 20, 2003


This piece is full of bloviating rhetoric, false analogies, self-aggrandizing posturing, unrepentant prevarication, knee-jerk anti-intellectualism, and just simple outright lying. It is actually an astoundingly good example of the sort of scrofulous political propaganda that so sickened Orwell that he was moved to write Politics and the English Language. I'm keeping this piece in my files in case I ever have to teach a course on logical fallacies in arguments.

So, in that respect, I agree. It is a superb piece of (inflammatory and dishonest propaganda) writing.


Man, I just thought that was so well written I would quote it again. Nicely put, monkey.pie.baker.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:35 PM on March 20, 2003


homunculus's lik is interesting

Indeed.
posted by homunculus at 10:40 PM on March 20, 2003


Your link, not your lik, buddy. ;)
posted by y2karl at 10:43 PM on March 20, 2003


matteo, you are an asshole. There is just no arguing that. But I have not called for the revoking of your membership.

still, let me reiterate: Shut the Fuck Up.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:05 PM on March 20, 2003


It's been pointed out by others that the fundamental premise of the article is fallacy and fantasy, but just for clarity's sake, I'd like to put a fine point on the nature of those fallacies.

The author of the article seems to be under the impression that in the history of the world, only three European countries have produced governments whose primary goal was to consolidate their own power. Therefore, Saddam Hussain isn't evincing a fundamental flaw in human nature--he's taking a cue from France.

The history of civilization since the beginning of recorded history has been dominated by empire builders. The Greeks, the Romans, the Persians, the Ottomans, Venice, France, Spain, Britain, the United States. Britain was one of the worst offenders in the history of the world, although the author of the article fails to mention that country as a practitioner of old European statecraft. And if anyone has doubts as to the Imperial history of the US, keep in mind that the continent was not empty when "we" found it, that Guam did not give itself to us, and that the only reason we no longer "own" the Philippines is that it was too hard to defend in World War II.

Next, the author of the article can't decide if by France, he means the people of France, or the country itself. If he's referring to the people, then his argument is spurious, because none of the people running the country today were in power during any of the atrocities whose body count h tallies. If he's referring to the country as a whole, then the argument is merely senseless, as countries cannot have goals--only people are possessed of that faculty. If, however, he is merely referring to a Machiavellian form of statecraft, then it is historical misprision, as the Europe of today resembles the Europe of three hundred, two hundred, or even fifty years ago. The concept of nationhood itself is a Renaissance ideal, and did not exist as such beforehand. There was no "Germany" or "France" as we think of them today, but rather kings of various degrees of might competing for natural resources. Nationalism swept Europe during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and is responsible (if indeed a political ethos can be responsible for anything in and of itself) for the majority of endless expansions and border conflicts that tood place during those years. The conflicts of the last century can be seen as the era of Imperialism grinding to a halt in the face of closing frontiers and crumbling returns on empire. The hatreds and conceits that fueled both world wars in Europe were based on centuries-old grudges and the vagaries of the new industrial economy, not the methodology of foreign relations. The challenges faced by the Europe of today have little in common with the problems of the 1910's and 1940's. France and Germany have given up fighting over the Rhine. England no longer lays claim to India. The political face of Europe has changed utterly since then. Are we to believe that Germany, despite its thriving free market economy, is still secretly run by fascists?

The person who wrote this article clearly has no grasp of history or foreign affairs, and lives in a world where a thing is true simply because he wills it to be so. Why anyone would cite this as an example of good political writing is frankly a little scary.
posted by vraxoin at 11:10 PM on March 20, 2003


Shut the Fuck Up.

And once again, laddies and germs, Steve_at_Linwood completely avoids the substantive points left-leaners make in a MeFi thread to focus only on the insults offered in that same thread. Come on, Steve; I challenge you, sans insults: Deal with the substance of the arguments raised against the absurdly one-sided distortions in Paris' ridiculous op-ed post.

You too, Paris. Defend your position.
posted by mediareport at 11:48 PM on March 20, 2003


A major issue in European reaction to this whole thing, as npost nicely pointed out, is the amount of money France, Germany, and Russia have invested in Iraq. "No war for oil?" Well, I suppose these European nations that oppose the war are motivated by their high moral standards alone... I wonder why there is no further comment on this -- is it that many of you simply choose not to acknowledge this fact when you villainize the US?

Personally, I choose to adopt the idea that such a war as this one neither emraces nor abandons so-called "European statesmanship and diplomacy." Most European nations, before and after the 1940's, have a fancy baggage of shite in their internal and foreign affairs, just like the US of A. The degree to which Europe and America differ is debatable, but I don't think it's fair to call them completely in or out of phase with each other.

And lastly, do you suppose it's a coincidence that those here who persist with the ad hominem have nothing of substance to say? "Yeah, uh, Paris is a mother-bleepin' idiot, that sure prove my point, don't it now?" Alas, it doesn't.
posted by Krrrlson at 12:18 AM on March 21, 2003


And once again, laddies and germs, Steve_at_Linwood completely avoids the substantive points left-leaners make in a MeFi thread to focus only on the insults offered in that same thread.

Thin skinned, avoids the question and has a thing about Chelsea's nipples.

Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...
Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...
Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...

posted by y2karl at 12:27 AM on March 21, 2003


A major issue in European reaction to this whole thing, as npost nicely pointed out, is the amount of money France, Germany, and Russia have invested in Iraq.

If German foreign policy was driven by fiscal considerations, they would do the economically "sensible" thing and support the war. As you might know, the United States is Germany's second largest trading partner. (source)

The economically sensible thing to do would be to publicly support the war, maybe offer a token battalion or two, and then trust that the investment would pay off in lucrative post-war contracts for German companies. Risking the wrath of the United States for some relatively meager investments in Iraq makes no sense. To paint this as a "major" reason for European opposition is goofy.
posted by Ljubljana at 1:19 AM on March 21, 2003


The French and Germans have been through many, many wars. In the last 50 years they've seen the wisdom and prosperity that results from not going to war. They've had a lot of time to think about their stupid mistakes, and how much their prior warmongering cost them.

They smartened up. Someday we might. But I doubt it.
posted by Twang at 1:23 AM on March 21, 2003


Will someone please explain to me - and probably every other European - what the fuck the term 'Old Europe' means, as distinct from 'New Europe'? Is it the founding states of the EEC? Signatories of the European Coal and Steel Convention? Treaty of Rome? Maybe they've just been around longer in some way? Is it all EC Members minus the Accession Countries? Is it EC Members with a large elderly population?

Or maybe it's just a new version of the 'Axis of Evil', in that's it's simply a handy way of grouping countries - or rather, staunch allies for decades, in this case - that Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Perle et al don't particularly like? Whatever the hell it's supposed to mean, it's hardly suggestive that the US Administration have any interest in restoring the transatlantic relations that might be necessary for Bush's global 'War on Terrah'
posted by Doozer at 1:34 AM on March 21, 2003


Anyway, thanks for the rhetoric, PP. Always good for a laugh.
posted by Doozer at 1:35 AM on March 21, 2003


Doozer: the term used to be the Old world vs. the New World, as in Europe (yes, including Britain) vs. the US. WW II tipped the balance of power from the old to the new world, after which Europe was sometimes referred to from the US as 'Old Europe', in a mildly affectionate way. 'New Europe' is a recent invention, in the line of axis of evil(tm), but without its stickyness: it hasn't taken off as a phrase AFAIK.

I've seen the terms New and Old Europe used in plenty of essays on Europe - as a term to distinguish between pre and post-iron curtain Europe, or as the EEC before/after 2004. So the term was already taken, but the yanks conquered it anyway! You Bastards!

Now, all EC Members with a large elderly population... that would work!
posted by esha at 2:16 AM on March 21, 2003


It means absolutely nothing Doozer. There was a post a while back saying that France and Germany were the New Europe.

I don't understand how anyone can take this seriously, whether they're on the right or the left. Just because you're a conservative doesn't automatically mean you have to cheerlead any piece of semi-literate right-wing drivel.
posted by Summer at 2:25 AM on March 21, 2003


My point exactly Summer - glad it wasn't just a case of me losing track of all the alleged global divisions that seem to be popping up like mushrooms recently, and which are promoted and relished by some as a matter of fact.

Esha - I've seen the term used often in the past too, but never as an attempt of divide the EC itself into sub-blocs, as implied by Rumsfeld! Kinda makes you question the motives behind it.
posted by Doozer at 3:13 AM on March 21, 2003


Address the issue of collective current responsibility for the actions of past generations, please, Paris.

There is no collective guilt. But there are cultures, which endure from generation to generation. And in evaluating France's position on the war, it's perfectly appropriate to consider French culture, and its blind spots.

Besides, no one is assigning collective guilt here. We're talking about, at worst, telling France and Germany to get on the sidelines, stop supporting a horrid regime, and taisez-vous.

And perhaps, spend some of your six weeks of annual vacation learning about what a sham the Underground and Resistance was during WWII.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:37 AM on March 21, 2003


I find it interesting that Peters mentions Clinton's failure of will and how encouraged Osama--actually Osama was directly involved in Somalia--and yet fails to mention the failure of will of Ronald Reagan in Lebanon.

Frankly, I really don't care about Reagan or Clinton. Now is now. The USSR is gone, and there are the building blocks of WMDs all over the place, and technology, including the Internet, makes terrorism much more dangerous. You have to deal with today's threats today.

Also, how does supposed lack of resolve in Lebanon call for lack of resolve today?

PS: Both Reagan and Clinton were highly odious individually; only the strength of American society and the US constitution saved us from both. And in fact, the two may have to save us from President Bush's flaws, such as his anti-environmental mania.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:43 AM on March 21, 2003


FreedomParamus, maybe the US would like to 'get on the sidelines' and stop supporting a horrid regime in Uzbekistan?

Here is something written by someone who doesn't believe that you can end terrorism by commiting terrorist acts :

'the 'war on terror' is a smokescreen created by the ultimate terrorist ... America itself'
posted by asok at 5:07 AM on March 21, 2003


Germany cannot participate in a war of aggression.

It would be a violation of the German Constitution.

Lesson learned. Attacking and occupying other countries with trumped-up and disingenuous justifications is a bad thing.

Used to be a part of US doctrine too but Duhbya changed all that. The man has never seen a treaty, an agreement or a doctrine he didn't break. All hail the might of the US!

Iraq - our 51st state. More oil than Texas and Alaska combined. An oil man's wet dream.
posted by nofundy at 5:36 AM on March 21, 2003


Come on, Steve; I challenge you, sans insults: Deal with the substance of the arguments raised against the absurdly one-sided distortions in Paris' ridiculous op-ed post.

well, substance requires a little research, and brains, and the knowledge of something more than this week's Republican talking points. Insults are cheap -- therefore the cheap man's perfect weapon.

but maybe Steve was just too busy with his dog's party
(don't worry Steve -- I'm making fun of you, not of your dog. I love dogs -- even Republican ones)


matteo, you are an asshole. There is just no arguing that


why, thank you. Thank goodness I don't need to use this kind of arguments with you. I'll just repeat karl's perfect comment:
Steve, you are preachy, holier than thou, you spin your own comments--and you absolutely have to have the last word when people call you on your spin even if it takes twenty comments a thread. On occasion, like here, you throw tantrums full of a lot of fucks and fuckings in all caps
posted by matteo at 7:20 AM on March 21, 2003


what a sham the Underground and Resistance was during WWII.

Paris,

usually I don't care much about your anger and your constant pro-Likud spin and your disturbing hate of Arabs. But wash your mouth with soap before you slander the Resistance and La Resistenza. Thousands of brave French and Italian men and women have died fighting the Nazis -- show some respect and lose the fucking slander

If you're so gung-ho about killing Arabs, just enlist and go kill some of them yourself.
posted by matteo at 7:38 AM on March 21, 2003


"We have accepted our unique responsibility to intervene abroad in the cause of global security and human rights."

--the piece is a great example of over-the-top hypocrisy and arrogance, so wacky it's hard to read, but plays to America's huge blind spot.
posted by lathrop at 7:48 AM on March 21, 2003


Good comment Chanther
posted by stbalbach at 8:15 AM on March 21, 2003


what raya said...

If anything, France and Germany's long experience of war up close makes them a pretty good authority on why war should be avoided at all costs.

i'll second that.
posted by triv at 8:42 AM on March 21, 2003


Two statements of ParisParamus:

But there are cultures, which endure from generation to generation. And in evaluating France's position on the war, it's perfectly appropriate to consider French culture, and its blind spots.

and:

Frankly, I really don't care about Reagan or Clinton. Now is now.

So the massed sins of European history, viewed telescopically across centuries, are germane but history that is an entire 20 years old has no bearing on the "now"?

That makes no sense.
posted by argybarg at 9:14 AM on March 21, 2003


Of the three countries that were named, Ljub, Germany has the strongest ties to the US. But even though the point is more valid for Russia and France, your statement depends on the willingness of the German government to gamble on the success of the American war and the hazy potentiality of lucrative contracts. Maintaining the status quo almost always seems safer, so your position is as "goofy" as mine.

I really don't see where the idea that France and Germany have learned from their past comes from. Where's the proof? We're in the year 2003, a mere fifty years after the end of WW2, whereas European conflicts have been relatively frequent over the past few centuries. Let's wait a wee while longer before jumping to conclusions, shall we? If anything, the circumstances are more likely to result from the fact that Europe's dominance has been waning for a long time. Place France or Germany in the place of an emerging superpower like China, then see how long it takes before blood is spilled.

And finally, considering that a huge portion of the French population willingly and happily abetted their occupants (among other things, in handing over Jews to the Nazis), I think the achievements of La Resistance are nicely balanced. Matteo, you sure do have a lot of respect for others, given that most of your posts in this thread have served to ridicule other folk here.
posted by Krrrlson at 12:17 PM on March 21, 2003


Two statements of ParisParamus:

But there are cultures, which endure from generation to generation. And in evaluating France's position on the war, it's perfectly appropriate to consider French culture, and its blind spots.

and:

Frankly, I really don't care about Reagan or Clinton. Now is now.

Sure these statements are consistent for the simple reason that neither Presidents Clinton or Reagan did anything terribly wrong; they were perhaps less than competent, but that's qualitatively different than societal traits assignable to countries which have shown their consistency over decades.

By the way, as I've written here before, I give a pass to Germany, constitution or not on this one. But their opposition to the war in progress has been a bit too vocal, nonetheless.

Also, as I've said before, I think the EU is overrun by spoiled, unappreciative young people who can only accept the political, economic and military weakness of their countries by denying the need for a military; and viewing the US as an "undercivilized" country.

Yeah, matteo, Frenchmen died in WWII, but that doesn't negate Vichy, antisemitism (which continues to this day, in academic circles and elsewhere there), and other surrender-monkey evidence.

Many Frenchmen would due themselves, and everyone else a favor by taking a part of those six weeks of vacation, and studying what really happened circa 1935-45.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:51 PM on March 21, 2003


Sure these statements are consistent for the simple reason that neither Presidents Clinton or Reagan did anything terribly wrong; they were perhaps less than competent, but that's qualitatively different than societal traits assignable to countries which have shown their consistency over decades.

Ah, yes. Feigned omniscience is so compelling. Care to provide a detailed summary of the common elements of Brandt and Köhl's political agendas? Compress Mitterand, Chirac and Giscard d'Estaing? Describe how it is that precisely the same 'societal traits' which underpinned De Gaulle's return in 1958 also were responsible for the protests that provoked his retirement in 1969?

The weasel words societal traits assignable to countries give the game away: the polite word is stereotype; the impolite term is race-baiting. Believe it or not, assigning societal traits to, say, the Jews, was the basis of a particularly abhorrent ideology. Which is why it's rather painful to see a Jew so virulently pinning yellow fleurs-de-lys to the French.

Many Frenchmen would due themselves, and everyone else a favor by taking a part of those six weeks of vacation, and studying what really happened circa 1935-45.

And yet you can't take a cranial vacation from your own rectum. Which is strange.

Anyway, what Summer said. There are intelligent conservative voices, and there are moronic trolls. Ralph Peters is the latter. No wonder he takes the shilling of Rupert Murdoch, who has orchestrated his papers in a grand defecation on the French and Germans, perhaps because they don't allow him the same kind of media dominance in their countries that he has in the fighting members of the 'coalition of the willing'. Which means that all the fevered talk about 'pursuing economic interests' is ironic in the extreme. And I suspect that Ralph Peters doesn't get out much.
posted by riviera at 11:09 AM on March 22, 2003


S@L, what the hell are you on about here? The comment of mine you quote is a (poor) parody of a Metatalk post by our benign dictator himself, the analogy/satire meaning that I was streamlining my Mefi experience by 'tuning out' a troll.

How do you get membership revocations & intolerance from that? Mind you, intolerance & effective loss of membership - not to mention a Personal Best in Completely Missing The Point in clear display by your comment here.
posted by dash_slot- at 3:13 PM on March 30, 2003


Well, I always thought it better to explain a mistake, or admit an error, or swallow my pride. I wish that S@L thought so too. I havent had a response on this thread, nor by email, though i raised this with him close on a week ago. Today I sent a reminder, and will refer to this behaviour on MeFi whenever it seems pertinent:
I would appreciate a reply to my earlier email, mainly because you have accused me in this comment of intolerance (something that you find remarkable, and I find inaccurate) and desiring the banning of another MeFi user.

I have pointed out your misunderstanding, and am at a loss to understand why you would not wish to withdraw the remark.
posted by dash_slot- at 8:05 AM on April 5, 2003


« Older You're a pro wrestler (seen here in action figure ...  |  The Moon mating of the coral... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments