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February 22, 2009 1:09 PM   Subscribe

Binyam Mohamed will shortly be released from Guantanamo, where hunger strikes and beatings still continue.
TPM attempts to assesses the level of President Obama's apparent commitment to transparency, accountability for Bush administration officials who may have committed crimes, and adhering to the rule of law. It highlights Glenn Greenwald's recent article:
There is simply no way to argue that our leaders should be immunized from criminal investigations for torture and other war crimes without believing that (a) the U.S. is and should be immune from the principles we've long demanded other nations obey and (b) we are free to ignore our treaty obligations any time it suits us.
posted by adamvasco (43 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
.......the Bush administration threatened Britain that they would no longer give British authorities information about terrorist threats if Britian revealed to the world the details of Mohamed's torture. And this was a threat that the Obama administration clearly affirmed and even continued, as it actually thanked Britain for continuing to conceal this information and affirmed that Britain, as a result of its complicity in the concealment, could continue to receive intelligence from the U.S.
posted by adamvasco at 1:13 PM on February 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Man, when that presidential blog we can comment on finally starts up, there's some pointed questions to be asked....
posted by JHarris at 1:23 PM on February 22, 2009


There is simply no way to argue that our leaders should be immunized from criminal investigations for torture and other war crimes without believing that (a) the U.S. is and should be immune from the principles we've long demanded other nations obey and (b) we are free to ignore our treaty obligations any time it suits us.

I can't think of a single instance of the U.S. acting against its own interests in favour of honoring a treaty.
posted by srboisvert at 1:24 PM on February 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


Criminal investigations would go a loooooong way to making amends to the world.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:28 PM on February 22, 2009


Criminal investigations into all the fraud and human rights abuses. There is a rotten core to America that needs to be cut out of the fruit. From soldiers and agents committing crimes against humanity in their treatment of prisoners, to corporateers who absconded billions of dollars through "War" on "Terror" contracts, to the pirates of Wall Street who engaged in blatant securities fraud, these people have behaved criminally, causing incredible damage to the world economy, politics, and trust.

Put the fuckers up against the wall, for the good of all of us.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:33 PM on February 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


JHarris: - I'm a European, please try and remember that there is a world outside GA. This mess, like so many, is of America's making. Please sort it. As fff says^
posted by adamvasco at 1:37 PM on February 22, 2009


What do you mean? I'm as appalled as you are.
posted by JHarris at 1:43 PM on February 22, 2009


apologies - *adjusts sarcasm meter*
posted by adamvasco at 1:46 PM on February 22, 2009


I can't think of a single instance of the U.S. acting against its own interests in favour of honoring a treaty.
We honored the treaty wherein we were to relinquish control of the Panama Canal in 1999.

I'm sure an argument can be made that it was within our own interests to do so, but I think it would be harder to make such an argument assuming the mindframe that is often used to describe the foreign policy actions of the United States (e.g. that the negatives associated with military deployment or action are often viewed as inconsequential relative to what they can be used to gain).
posted by Flunkie at 1:55 PM on February 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


My idea: Set up webcams all over Guantanimo, and let the Red Cross access the stream at any time and allow them to easily download recordings of those webcams as evidence. No audio, so less chance of an intel leak. Keep it low res to prevent documents from leaking as well. Also, keep the cameras out of the places where the inmates need privacy, obviously. I'm almost certain they already have security cameras all over the place, so all they'd need to do is set up a server with a video capture card, and they're now 100% accountable.

Temple Grandin established this as the way to ensure slaughterhouses and feedlots properly treat animals (ie no beatings/arbitrary cruelness/rough handling), and she say's it's been effective. Thus, I think it would work for prisons as well, and clear a lot of issues. Right now, almost all the information we get from Guantanimo is second hand, either from the military or the prisoners. Both parties have motivations to lie/exaggerate, but hard, video evidence would help Americans see the reality as it is.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:23 PM on February 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


apologies - *adjusts sarcasm meter*

Heh. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has trouble telling sometimes.
posted by JHarris at 2:40 PM on February 22, 2009


Heh. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has trouble telling sometimes.

That's not funny, JHarris.

What. What?
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:52 PM on February 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


You all seem to be under the impression that the Obama administration are the "good guys," and, wondering when they're gonna get around to cleaning up this town, like they promised. But in fact, they aren't really the good guys. They're just the "other guys." And the town goes on as always.
posted by Faze at 3:01 PM on February 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


they aren't really the good guys

In my view they're just the semi-good, not mind-numbingly corrupt and evil guys, which in today's world makes all the difference.
posted by ornate insect at 3:14 PM on February 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Man, when that presidential blog we can comment on finally starts up, there's some pointed questions to be asked....

If it's run in the same way change.gov was, any inconvenient questions will basically be ignored.
posted by delmoi at 3:14 PM on February 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


The TPM link is just a user diary, anyone can post those.
posted by delmoi at 3:18 PM on February 22, 2009


You all seem to be under the impression that the Obama administration are the "good guys," and, wondering when they're gonna get around to cleaning up this town, like they promised. But in fact, they aren't really the good guys. They're just the "other guys." And the town goes on as always.
Say what you will about Obama being less than perfect, but an equivalency so false as "Obama = Bush" seems, frankly, utterly removed from reality.
posted by Flunkie at 3:22 PM on February 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


We need a truth commission to uncover Bush-era wrongdoing: As Latin America's experience shows, there's great value in confronting official misdeeds.
posted by homunculus at 3:45 PM on February 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


We honored the treaty wherein we were to relinquish control of the Panama Canal in 1999.

I'm sure an argument can be made that it was within our own interests to do so, but I think it would be harder to make such an argument assuming the mindframe that is often used to describe the foreign policy actions of the United States (e.g. that the negatives associated with military deployment or action are often viewed as inconsequential relative to what they can be used to gain).


Panama? In the time in between the signing of the treaty and the relinquishing of control of the canal America invaded, captured and imprisoned the puppet dictator it had previously promoted. So yeah. America honoured a treaty. In typical fashion.

I am sorry for all the Obama fans but the reality is that America is, and always has been, an aggressive belligerent instigating nation. Under Bush it was dumb and openly belligerent. Under other presidents it is slightly smarter and less openly belligerent but it still belligerent. Trials to punish wrongdoers in the Bush admin may or may not happen. But whether they do or not won't cure any cancer in American government because it isn't cancer. It is the nature of the beast. Before Iraq there was Panama. Before Panama there was central america. Before central america there was vietnam. Before Vietnam there was Cuba.

Since WWII no other country has been as busy firing guns than Peace Loving America and that is not even counting all the proxy wars.

So will Obama betray the principles that the United States insists other countries abide by? Of course! You get to do that when you're holding the gun. Will he be more diplomatic and hold the gun under the table rather than shoving it in other countries' mouths? I hope, and expect, so but I am under no illusion that the gun is going to be holstered.
posted by srboisvert at 4:16 PM on February 22, 2009


I'm a bit worried about this "truth and reconciliation" idea that's been floating around. I'm a big fan of truth, but the whole reconciliation thing. That I'm not sure about. For anyone outside of the U.S, it will just look like Americans covering for other Americans. The best way to promote democracy and the rule of law in the world is to apply it here in the U.S.

A lot of people have been saying lately we need to move forward and figure out a way for this never to happen again. But the problem is you can write as many laws as you like, if there's no penalty for breaking them then they're not worth the paper they're printed on. I mean these things happened before, laws were passed and those laws were broken.
posted by delmoi at 4:16 PM on February 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


In my view they're just the semi-good, not mind-numbingly corrupt and evil guys, which in today's world makes all the difference.

So, are you saying you voted for the lesser of two evils? Which is what a typical American feels when they have no real recourse in our modern democracy?

The Establishment and the media that they own is to blame for not letting someone better step into the role of governance.

Business as usual.
posted by captainsohler at 4:34 PM on February 22, 2009


Truth and retribution and reconciliation are all good things.

Speaking metaphorically, I think the rest of the kids would be grateful if the biggest bully on the block only stopped pummelling them.
posted by Artful Codger at 4:37 PM on February 22, 2009


Reading this made me take a pause, and accept that history is shaping, and not in a favorable way. For how long will this reverberate in the American consciousness, I do not know. In fifty years, will this be taught in our schools? Doubtful. I was not taught about Japanese internment in my high school AP history.
posted by captainsohler at 4:52 PM on February 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


are you saying you voted for the lesser of two evils?

Of course. And what precisely is wrong with that? I'm a pragmatist.
posted by ornate insect at 5:18 PM on February 22, 2009


are you saying you voted for the lesser of two evils?

Of course. And what precisely is wrong with that? I'm a pragmatist.

The lesser of 2 evils, is still evil.
posted by mikelieman at 7:02 PM on February 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Set up webcams all over Guantanimo, and let the Red Cross access the stream at any time and allow them to easily download recordings of those webcams as evidence.

... And at Afghanamo.
posted by terranova at 7:03 PM on February 22, 2009


The lesser of 2 evils, is still evil

In a strictly literalist logical positivist Fregean truth calculus, yes, but as I understand the phrase "less of two evils," it's a colloquialism meant to stimulate one's thoughts regarding the realities and frustrations of politics. The phrase might also be read to suggest that some evil (not all evil) is relative. Perhaps far worse than picking a lesser "evil" is becoming a slave to ideological purity. That's why I did not vote Green Party (or Ron Paul, take your pick) back in November.
posted by ornate insect at 7:09 PM on February 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


Set up webcams all over Guantanimo, and let the Red Cross access the stream at any time and allow them to easily download recordings of those webcams as evidence.
I could be wrong, but isn't that against the geneva conventions?
posted by ShadowCrash at 7:43 PM on February 22, 2009


There are many days where I find myself wishing that I could marry Glenn Greenwald. *sigh*
posted by Weebot at 9:00 PM on February 22, 2009


ShadowCrash: "Set up webcams all over Guantanimo, and let the Red Cross access the stream at any time and allow them to easily download recordings of those webcams as evidence.
I could be wrong, but isn't that against the geneva conventions?
"

But isn't it more in disagreement with the letter than the spirit? There's not enough oversight and this would keep the guards on their toes.
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:03 PM on February 22, 2009


There is simply no way to argue that our leaders should be immunized from criminal investigations for torture and other war crimes without believing that (a) the U.S. is and should be immune from the principles we've long demanded other nations obey and (b) we are free to ignore our treaty obligations any time it suits us.

C'mon, now. When and where was there ever a nation that didn't believe that about themselves?
posted by carping demon at 10:17 PM on February 22, 2009


The Establishment and the media that they own is to blame for not letting someone better step into the role of governance.

Well, people need to vote in their party primaries. Americans are so damn lazy when it comes to politics, there is a ton of stuff people could do besides picking between the democratic and republican nominees in November.
posted by delmoi at 11:39 PM on February 22, 2009


Mistake of law is not a defense to torture. It's that simple. It doesn't matter whose advice you were operating under, it doesn't matter what you thought your bosses would let you get away with. The international prohibition against torture is so well-publicized and so long-standing that no reasonable person can argue that they thought they had the right to conduct torture. For that matter, sovereign immunity is also not a defense to torture, not even for a sitting president. Nor is following orders. It disappoints me that Leon Panetta, who is after all an attorney, could sit in front of Congress and simply lie about the appropriate legal standard.

And truth-and-reconciliation commissions are for societies without properly functioning judiciaries, societies which recently emerged from periods of complete upheaval. We don't need that. We need real justice.
posted by 1adam12 at 1:04 AM on February 23, 2009


Eh. And it appears that Binyam Mohamed was severely beaten even in the last few weeks, while the Pentagon was busy, you know, reporting that Guantanamo is hunky-dory, compliant with all the Geneva Convention's articles.
Someone is lying, and i wonder who it is.
posted by vivelame at 3:20 AM on February 23, 2009


carping demon (great name!),

Right, "the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must. " The thing is, lots of strong countries recognize it as being in their interest to have a reputation for faithfulness. Part of the reward is that you get to have faithful allies. An alphabet soup of NATO countries have troops to Afghanistan not because it serves their interests (the Canadian dead) but because they are bound by this:

...an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all...if such an armed attack occurs, each of them...will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith...such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force...

The US had a brigade in West Berlin for decades, and as a result the Germans now have a brigade in Afghanistan (northern Afghanistan, but still, it significantly lightens the load on your army).

As far as broader international treaties go, they tend to be to everyone's long term benefit, including the big countries. In fact, those treaties are usually written to the advantage of the most powerful countries: for example, the nuclear nonproliferation treaty that the US has undermined. Part of the price the US will be paying for the lawless Bush years is this: when you don't follow the rules, you lose your chance to write the rules in future.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 5:19 AM on February 23, 2009


If (y)our children don't learn about American torture in the 21st century, whose fault will that be?
posted by polyhedron at 9:06 AM on February 23, 2009


Tell you what: Bush will be a social pariah for the rest of his life if there is a real truth and reconciliation process. No cush speaking gigs for him and no trips outside the country either.
posted by Freen at 9:30 AM on February 23, 2009


Release The Binyam Photographs
posted by homunculus at 11:37 AM on February 23, 2009


“Since WWII no other country has been as busy firing guns than Peace Loving America and that is not even counting all the proxy wars.”

Yeah, before America showed up world history was an unblemished contiguous era of peace with no nations exploiting each other and - seriously WTF? We were a colony of the British empire that begged the king to stop stomping a mud hole in our asses every time we turned around.
Today, the U.S. is trying, and for the most part I’ll cede, failing, to reconcile some of the grevious policies that have been put in place.
Meanwhile some countries cut the clitoris from women’s vaginas and, what, they get a pass?
China makes no bones about torturing and killing at will, and some folks still cheer them on.
The biggest kid on the block has always used force in its foreign policy since before Rome was founded.

As it is right now, yeah, we’ve got the power. But given the stakes are unlike anything they ever were in human history - given we’ve got the technological potential to annihalate entire cities with nuclear weapons - I’d have to say I’m fairly happy with the fact we haven’t had a major nuclear war and destroyed most of the surface of the Earth, yeah.
Is that enough? No.
But c’mon, no other country has been as busy firing guns as the U.S. since WWII? Do you even look outside the west for what ‘evil’ has been going on?
Hell, the Soviet hard liners almost ended the world on a nice August day when they grabbed for power.
We engaged in proxy wars sure.
But you know what the biggest killer in the 20th century was? Democide. Governments killing their own people (with perhaps the excuse that they’re not ‘really their people’ because of their ethnic origin, religion, etc). And that trend continues this century.

As it is, I’d like to see just about any truth come out of Gitmo. Any shit we hand Bushco from a truth and reconciliation committee to straight up prosecution would give me a boner a mile high. For the most part leaders - astonishingly not just in the evil U.S.A. - who commit even genocides tend to skate.
Hell, even Pol Pot didn’t get so much as a scratch until about 97, and then it was just a show trial. Bastard died in bed before the Khmer Rouge was to hand him over to an international court.

So let’s not pretend this is just a U.S. problem. This type of thing ALWAYS happens and it follows the same pattern. If we pull it off I’ll be estatic. I’ll be mildly appreciative if we even try.

The real flaw here is, and I heard a story on NPR today about it (I’d post it but I don’t have the capacity), how we think of terrorism post-9/11.
The NPR story was mostly about a NYT piece (Indian sounding name writer, name escapes me) about the guy who was released from Gitmo then went to Iraq and suicide bombed and killed a bunch of folks.
And the big question was - how do we prevent that.
Well, the lawyerly woman from the 9/11 truth blah blah said, cogently I thought, that this is the first time in history any country has thought to give rights of review to enemies detained on the battlefield.
It’s a solid argument. Were it properly placed - that is - were we fighting uniformed troops on discrete locations with infantry and so forth protecting or advancing on territory - that would be a valid position.

As it is, it’s not. War has changed. The nature of war has changed. And so too, has counterterrorism.
I’ve written on this before so I’ll brief it up.

Even if war had not changed, even if counterterrorism was best served by military tactics (it isn’t) when we have the time and resources to do a full forensic analysis and allow someone time in court it fully behooves us to do so, not only in the interests of justice, but because it allows for greater protections within society from terrorism when we know the why’s and wherefores.

The physical threat from terrorism is (absent WMDs) minimal. It’s largely symbolic. Even with WMDs, we’re still not talking about the kind of damage and casualties we’d see in a mass mobilized state on state war. And we’re still talking about a strike that is, even given mass casualties, largely symbolic.

Therefore given the nature of terrorism, our best protection from it is conceptual. Not physical. Therefore preventative detention makes little sense. It certainly doesn’t make the kind of sense that it would make in wartime when enemy soldiers would naturally cohere and form a resistance to aid the war effort of their state.

That too, in my mind, is analogous to the situation with the Bush administration.
Prosecution and jail time are not as important as securing against the conceptual threat their actions have created.
We are not in danger (far as I know) from Bush and his cohorts. We are in danger from not knowing the full depth of the damage their policies have done to our Republic.

I would like to know how to undo that damage and to innoculate ourselves from it happening ever again.
If a trade off for no prosecution is necessary for that to happen, I can see the argument for it. I don’t have to like it, but again, it’s about protecting ourselves from the conceptual shifts, not from a real physical danger they pose.
(Dick Cheney’s wild allegations and the goings on at Minot aside).
posted by Smedleyman at 4:27 PM on February 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


You were replying to, which was “Since WWII no other country has been as busy firing guns than Peace Loving America and that is not even counting all the proxy wars.”

Your response is "Yeah, before America showed up world history was an unblemished contiguous era of peace with no nations exploiting each other and - seriously WTF?"

Here's a hint: if your response to criticism is "Oh, well, at least we aren't as bad as X", then you are absolutely failing to address the criticism.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:14 PM on February 23, 2009


“if your response to criticism is "Oh, well, at least we aren't as bad as X", then you are absolutely failing to address the criticism.”

No, my response to criticism is to cogently analyze it as objectively as possible. My response to completely baseless assertions with no grounding in world history is to laughingly dismiss it and brush it off. As it is I had the courtesy here to reply with some allusion to basic history and warfare. Apparently I need to restate the obvious.
All nations throughout history have killed people they have percieved as enemies or impediments to their policies.
In the 20th century - taking the ‘post-WWII’ point - most deaths caused by governments were not by external wars (bu the U.S. or anyone else) but by internal forces. Democide.

But you’ve got people mouthing inanities such as how the U.S. bombed Serbia or some such, meanwhile there’s a genocide going on of epic proportions we tried to stop. Did we ‘invade’ Somalia? Handing food out, that’s an invasion?

There are always genocides and democides going on throughout the world. Right now let’s see, Darfur, Turkey, Congo, that’s just offhand and not getting into the civil wars currently going on (Chad, Somalia, etc).

You want to argue that U.S. foreign policy has directly or indirectly aided those events? I’ll accept that as criticism. Not to mention the amount of arms we ship all over hell.(The U.S. is the top supplier of arms to the developing world - bit more than a third of weapon sales world wide) But that’s condemnation of policy, there’s a discussion to be had there, we can talk about the ‘hows’ and the ‘why’s’ and ‘wherefores.’
I think we should stop selling arms. (In fact, I’m giving money to folks who fight that .)
But this broad brush thinking is ass. It’s as bad as the ‘cops suck’ b.s.

Oh the U.S. is bad. Ok. Sorry. We suck. Don’t let’s think about or talk about actual policy change, we just suck balls because we currently have the hilt of the sword right now.
No other country or civilization in human history other than the U.S. would ever have made the decisions we’ve made or done the kind of damage we’ve done?
Evaluating the U.S. as a whole, I think it’s been fairly benevolent, yeah, looking at it from a historical perspective.
Could it be better? Sure. But let’s talk policy if we’re talking criticism.
And the implicit criticism of hypocrisy doesn’t wash either. The U.S. has never been peace loving. Freedom loving, sure, but I’m pretty sure the “millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute” thing has been around for quite some time.

Pre-WWI we were isolationists. Now were a superpower. Pretty big price tag comes with that. Part of it is having an interventionalist foreign policy. Me, I don’t much care for it.
Far as I know, most folks post WWII have been bitching about the cost of war - any war - we’re in.
Since our inception we’ve only had, what, 8 major wars? 11 if you want to count the two ‘police actions’ and this current middle east undeclared fiasco we’re in.
Every other superpower historically was pretty much kicking ass all over the globe far more, and indeed, with far more interventionalist policies. Hell the British empire was pushing opium on the Chinese.

It’s not this “were not as bad as” thing (although we’re not) it’s that we just happen to be far larger and humans affairs are often rooted in conflict of one kind or another. Often violent.

Did we miss the Chechen, now Second Chechen war?
The Hatian rebellion, oh, yeah, that was us too, that’s why there’s a UN mission there now operating until, what, this October? You’ve still got people blaming UN peacekeepers for not being there, for being there too late, for their families dying, meanwhile they’re shipping them food the U.S. is paying for.
Yeah, what dicks.
The cartels in Mexico and Columbia - we should let them addict folks to cocaine? Dunno, read anything on the Opium wars (I mentioned above).
And the civil war in Chiapas, that was our fault?
The Sri Lankans bombing the crap out of the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) last year displacing about 40,000 people (on top of the 300,000 + people already displaced), the death squads, the deliberate maiming of journalists, summary executions, abductions and use of child soldiers...uh...goddamned Americans!

Theres a guerilla war going on now in the Philippines. The Spanish started all that 500 years ago. I’ll grant the U.S. had a lot to do with that last century, but that’d colonial divisions and such, not modern policy.
After the EDSA revolution against Estrada we recognized Arroyo, so what, our fault? We didn’t instigate the rebellion.

At any given decade there are thousands of small wars going on all over the world. The U.S. by virtue of being a superpower bears some culpability for some of that. And most certainly some are caused directly or indirectly by proxy or by our policies.
But none of them are caused by the U.S. simply being the U.S. being busy firing guns.
(Maybe by selling guns to people that fire them, sure, but again - that’s a (bad) policy, not some special differentiation between the U.S. and any other country that has been a superpower or any other country were it placed in the same position.)

Again, the point is not - at least we aren’t as bad - the point is the world *is* that fucking bad and, really, we’re not. And where we are, at least we've got the means to fix it. Such as with enough people pressuring their representatives to make an issue of Gitmo and prosecuting Bush and/or forming a commission.

To paraphrase: “I've seen much of the rest of the world. It is brutal and cruel and dark.” I won’t say the U.S. is the light. But like Rome, a dream. Perhaps a clearer one.Thanks to the ongoing human rights struggles in the U.S., it is now a dream that transcends borders.
I accept it isn’t perfect. And I’m happy to entertain criticism because when something is wrong people should speak and work to remedy it.
But I don’t accept cynical derogation as valid criticism especially when it’s misleading and occludes a more worthwhile discussion of failed policies. “America is, and always has been, an aggressive belligerent instigating nation” - that’s reasonable criticism? Anywhere near the hint of a reasonable remedy there? Or even the hope of one? So what, I’m supposed to sit in the corner with my thumb up my ass and cry because I’m an American?

As it is now we have a very good chance of remedying the serious errors of the recent past. Yet all I keep hearing is “Obama is the same” or “Just because Obama isn’t as bad, doesn’t mean anything will change.”

Well who the hell asked Obama to change anything for you anyway?
It’s OUR fucking job to put it right. As it is, at the very least, there won’t be a sitting administration actively working hard against our interests.

I think we can make it better. I think we can fix the thing. I think human history so far has been a march toward greater refinement in civilization and lessoning in violence even as we advance, technologically, the capacity for it.

And that has been borne on the backs of countless sacrifices by people who had the same hope for the future and were willing to work for it. And I want to be a part of that.
Some folks don’t. Well, enjoy oblivion.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:49 PM on February 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Well, I hope you feel better soon.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:49 PM on February 23, 2009


Mighty pithy quip there FFF. Got anything of substance?
You don’t think there’s a difference between a reasoned criticism - say of U.S. drug policy which is responsible for draconian laws, failed agriculture programs and militarization of law enforcement worldwide - and saying, essentially, fuck the U.S.?
I don’t think it was a fair comment by srboisvert. Did I call him names or make it personal? Nope, just basically called the comment bullshit. Which, I think, it is.
Felt a bit garrulous so I went on for a while. I wouldn’t much care for a comment like that against, say, France or Italy. Germany has been pretty aggressive since its inception, but that’s a matter of geography and political boundries really, going back to the Holy Roman Empire.
I think casting traits derived from acts that are somehow inherent in a people is a very dangerous attitude. Whether condemnation of those acts are warrented or not.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:06 AM on February 24, 2009


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