Free Thoughts on Iran
Front Page | About FToI | Authors | Archives | Comment Policy | Disclaimer
e-mail

bra.gif Tough Love and Global Adolescents | Main | A Punch ket.gif

January 25, 2004

America's Short-Term Memory Dilemma
Ali Mostashari  [info|posts]

Iraq.png
A recent poll by the International Herald Tribune and the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, reveals disagreements between America and other countries on whether U.S. policies played a significant role in fueling terrorist actions against the United States. Asked if many or most ordinary people consider U.S. policies to be "a major cause" of the Sept. 11 attacks, fewer than 1 in 5 respondents from America said they do. But in the rest of the world, nearly 3 out of 5 agreed that they would. Many people in America have often wondered why there is resentment of the United States in the world, not just in the Middle East, but Europe, Latin America and Asia. Surely there have to be different reasons for people in El Salvador to be resentful of America than Al-Qaeda?

The answer may lie in the fact that America is suffering from a short-term memory problem. People forget the consequences of the cold war and U.S. foreign interventions, that has left open wounds in the entire world.

Aside from Islamic fundamentalists, there are others who protest America's hegemony for different reasons. Not because they "hate our freedom", but because America as a superpower has not projected its domestic democractic values to the world, but has mainly shown its Nuclear bombs, cluster bombs and Napalms. So instead of choosing to be admired as one of the most progressive nation on the earth, America chose to be feared. But most often fear does not result in respect.

Agreed, one can't be the nice guy to stay a superpower. One has to kill, assassinate, support repressive regimes and go to wars. This results in strange and sometimes embaressing situations: Yesterday’s freedom fighting hero Bin Laden (when he was fighting the Soviets), becomes today’s terrorist and “evil one”. Saddam Hussein who received Chemical and Biological weapons from the U.S. in the 1980’s to fight the Iranian threat, became a “ruthless dictator”. Not to mentions Iran-Contra, Noriega and many other scandals yet to be exposed.

It's not just the U.S. From the dawn of human civilization, super-powers have had to do all sorts of dirty things. The Persian Empire for instance that many Iranians are proud of massacred so many people in their paths (refer to non-Iranian textbooks), as did the Islamic empire. This is how empires work.

The U.S. however, faces a more serious challenge than its predecessors: It has a democratic structure domestically, and has to come up with "noble reasons" for its military actions. The American people want a strong leadership that protects American (corporate) interests in the world, but they also like to feel good about it. “Liberation” seems to be a fashionable word.

I have compiled a list of historical "liberation" related events, as a memory refreshment exercise, which may at least partially explain the resentment. The memory of the American public is short, usually less than four years. But sometimes, in older parts of the world , with thousands of years of history, people don't forget that easily. It is hard to forget when people are traumatized. It doesn't seem that further show of strength can actually help solve this issue, nor is it likely that the "Tough Love" solution proposed by the previous posting is the silver bullet. Maybe America should choose to show its democractic sides, and a respect for human dignity of all people, instead of showing off its military might, but that may not be a realistic solution either. The dilemma is "to be or not to be" a superpower.

_________________________________________________________________

1) Official War Civilian Casualties Caused by U.S. Armed Forces

Wars "Collateral damage" incurred by U.S
_________________________________________________
WWII- Hiroshima 135,000
WWII-Nagasaki 64,000
Korean Penninsula War(1950-53) 1,185,000
Vietnam War (1965-1973) 1,300,000
Cambodia (Conflict) (1970-1973) 550,000
Laos (Conflict) (1960-1973) 22,340
Grenada Invasion (1983) 250
Panama Invasion (1989) 332
First Iraq War (1990) (direct deaths) 35,000
Second Iraq War (2003) (Direct deaths) 9,878
_________________________________________________
Total 3,301,800 (rounded)

Source:
Compiled from Death Tolls for the Man-made Megadeaths of the 20th Century (http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstatx.htm). There are different data sources with different set of stats. Only one has been chosen for this article.

2) Indirect U.S. caused civilian casualties (these include minor incidents, U.S. backed death squads and military coups, and casualties of U.S. imposed embargoes. )

Event Civilian Casualties attributable to U.S.
__________________________________________________________________
Coup in Iran (1953) 134
Coup in Chile (September 11,1973-December 1974) 26,000
Civil War Guatemala (1960-) by U.S. backed death squads 135,000
U.S. backed Military government in Indonesia (1965-66) 1,100,000
U.S. backed Contras in Nicaragua (1981-1990) 50,000
Shooting down of Iranian Airliner by U.S. Navy 290
(Note: The Vincennes commander who shot down the airliner was decorated upon return to San Diego. The U.S. government regretted the incident, but never apologized.)* Source: Newsweek, “The Sea of Lies”, 1998

U.S. imposed embargo on Iraq (1990-2000) 1,500,000
(Source: Ret.General Ramsey Clark,UNICEF)
_______________________________________________________________
Total 2,761,400 (rounded)
Source: Death Tolls for the Man-made Megadeaths of the 20th Century (http://users.eols.com/mwhite28/warstatx.htm)There are different data sources with different set of stats. Only one has been chosen for this article.

Grand Total = 6,060,000

Comments
Señor Græd at January 26, 2004 12:24 PM [permalink]:

I'm not going to claim that American foreign policy has been all good. I by no means deny the arrogance Americans exude in the international arena either. Far from it indeed. And I agree with you that the charge "because they (the terrorists, the Muslims, etc.) hate our freedom" is completely absurd. In fact, we do WANT the American freedom! Just ask any normal Iranian.

But the resentment has many other sources. For one thing, a nation's prosperity and power, like a person's intelligence and beauty, is perfectly capable of breeding resentment in the heart of those those who lack these items.

Señor Græd at January 26, 2004 12:33 PM [permalink]:

Sorry about the abrupt truncation...

Like I was saying, the idea of "wanting to remain a superpower" is new to me. (Reason to think more before writing a comment, maybe?) I think America is a superpower just because it is one. As simple as that. I don't think you can raise your chances of keeping the status quo by killing more people around the world, and I don't think anybody would think that way either.

As for the issue of short memory, I don't think it is peculiar to Americans. We Iranians seem to have a similar (in terms of shortness) memory, don't you agree? (What happened to idea of re-locating the Iranian capital?!)

Señor Græd at January 26, 2004 12:56 PM [permalink]:

Also, I would like to object to treating "America" as a monolith, the way our mullahs do. ("America did this", "America did that", "Death to America", as we hear during Tehran's Friday prayer sermons. America is, almost as if by definition, a mosaic, a melting pot, a pool of diversity. It's hard to form a true sentence, aside from Tautologist's favorite kind, with "America" as its subject. You have pointed that out yourself. America has indeed many faces. On the one hand, it is allegedly universal values such as democracy, freedom and on the other hand it is the statistic that you have gathered. America has Wessie, and America has Micheal Moore and many things in between, you know. None of these alone can fairly and fully capture America. My point is this:

If there is going to be a solution to America's negative aspects (warmongering, for example) the chances are that it is going to be found nowhere outside America. The American system, one would hope, possesses the capability of criticizing its flaws and then correcting itself. That's perhaps what is so great about America as a whole.

American policies, I agree, are responsible for the suffering of millions of innocent people around the world, but the American system allows the presence of dissenting voices INSIDE itself that challenge such policies. These voices are also part and parcel of what we know as America.

In other words, America is but an ever-changing dynamical system, if you like big words, or if you don't, a very complicated version of a board game, where although the rules, enshrined in the Constitution, are more-or-less fixed, the players are not banned from showing creativity. It is further claimed that these rules are just, not favoring anybody to others based on race, country of origin, etc (and I am not going to dispute that here, although the just-ness claim can well be challenged), and the participation of citizen can change the board in favor of the public good. (I believe this is what most Iranians, as a minority group in America, fail to appreciate, but that's another story.)

So yes, America has had a bad record, bad, even evil, politicians, and continues to have them, but that's a given. Once again, it must be noted that America, unlike non-democratic regimes, has the potential to correct its wrongs if and when the will of the people demands that. There do exist in-built mechanisms to that end (freedom of speech, for a notorious example), but they're not always ideally taken advatnage of.

Ali Mostashari at January 26, 2004 01:05 PM [permalink]:

Senor Grad, I have to say I agree with you on most issues you covered in your last comment. This is actually the purpose of this article, to show that the face of America people outside the U.S. are seeing is not one which people in the U.S. experience. That is why dissent on U.S. foreign policy, which is often absent from considerations in elections, can be important to a more benevolent role for the U.S. in the world.

Señor Græd at January 26, 2004 01:19 PM [permalink]:

Thanks for writing a prompt comment back, Ali. As for America's current "benevolent" role in the world, I think it is hard to maintain a fair view. My point is once a complex multifaceted notion such as America with all its is simple-mindedly personified (note that in common Iranian political parlance America is treated as an actual person! Otherwise, what would wishing death for a *country* mean?) and reduced to a single word, one is natuarlly inclined to think of "America" either as a good or an evil person.

As it turns out, things are not that simple. Here's an example off the top of my head that may help balance the picture that you put in front of us. Again, I am not denying the wrong-doings of America around the world, but I propose that one should try to go beyond the simplistic narratives.

Here: (and yes, I found the website by using google!) http://www.peacecorps.gov/ And there are probably more instances of this goodwill!

Señor Græd at January 26, 2004 01:21 PM [permalink]:

Correction: "with all its" in the above comment must be deleted. Thanks, and sorry about the over-commenting!

daanaa at January 26, 2004 01:34 PM [permalink]:

I think the numbers you provide somehow shows that US is the best SuperPower that the world has ever experienced.Causing less than 500 death a day in average -when human population exceeds 5000,000,000- is negligible in comparison to what any other superpower had committed in the known and clear history of mankind.

All the way I do admit, it is still far away from being ideal.

Vahid at January 26, 2004 01:43 PM [permalink]:

Senor Grad,

I think Ali's post is in response to Wessie's post. While she knows "Islam" as a whole the source of all terror, Ali is just reminding, that American history has dark corners as well. Their action could have motivated some hatred. It is obviuos that there are a lot of good american people, and most of them think that their goverment attack other countries just for the God's sake. They also back a lot of dictators and suppresive goverments, just for humanterian reasons.
American's are ashamed of what they did to native americans and blacks in the last few centuries, and now they are very kind to minorities, may god forgive them.

I hope Ali's post which is motivated by Wessie's long series of comments and post does not give an anti american imperession. We are not anti American, We do not see the world as black and white, good and bad is mixed and one should be wise and smart to seperate them from eachother.

Señor Græd at January 26, 2004 01:44 PM [permalink]:

I find daanaa's method of calculating how bad or good a superpower is interesting. He may intend some sarcasm though, but I can't really tell.

Señor Græd at January 26, 2004 01:48 PM [permalink]:

Thanks for the clarification, Vahid. I also pray with you that God forgives all our forfathers for whatever sins they committed. May they all rest in peace.

I'm afraid I haven't yet read Wessie's entry, and I'm afraid I do not plan to do so in near future either. Thanks again for emphasizing that Ali's post should be viewed with the previous entry as a background.

Vahid at January 26, 2004 01:50 PM [permalink]:

Daanaa,

Every single human life is very preciuos. I am amased with your comment. I don't know maybe it was sarcastic, and I did not get it. 500 a day is not neglegible. I just remind you that US changed the world after 9/11 for 3000, about six day worth of death in other parts of the world. American's lives are valubale as well as everyone's else.

Ali Mostashari at January 26, 2004 01:53 PM [permalink]:

I think the argument of the article is clear to anyone who has sufficient reading comprehension ability. The intentional uses of words such as "which may at least partially explain", should show any intelligent reader that I do not see the world in black and white. As Senor Grad put it anti-American seems as stupid as Anti-muslim, Anti-Israeli and Anti-Jewish. However, there is always this abstraction in the views of nations and groups of one another. The post doesn't need any defense, given that it has not questioned any contributions of the U.S., but is focusing on the projected image of the U.S. as a military agggressor on the outside. There are no value judgement on American values or the U.S. as a country. Please read the sentences carefully before commenting.

Dan Schmelzer at January 26, 2004 02:01 PM [permalink]:

These divergent figures aren't surprising to me. It's pretty clear to me that world opinion blames the victim.

It's a rather natural response to something that can't easily be explained otherwise, such as what possessed these young men to wantonly murder 3,000 innocents.

Ali Mostashari at January 26, 2004 02:08 PM [permalink]:

Dan,

"Aside from Islamic fundamentalists, there are others who protest America's hegemony for different reasons"

This post was not refering to why fundamentlists bear resentment, but why the rest do. Being totally skeptical of any organized religion, I don't see myself as fit to interpret their motives, although I have basic ideas. This is about people in Latin America who are wondering why their share of U.S. democratic values ended up in mass executions in the Santiago de Chile stadium in the U.S. backed coup.

Dan Schmelzer at January 26, 2004 02:33 PM [permalink]:

Perhaps I don't understand your argument sufficiently well. I don't know of too many Americans who ask the question of why Chileans hate us.

Wellesley Girl at January 26, 2004 02:36 PM [permalink]:

Ok! now I am confused! Aren't you Iranian Senior Grad?

Jahanshah at January 26, 2004 03:12 PM [permalink]:

Ali,

You forgot to mention Afghanistan! To the best of my recollection, the war started early in Fall 2001 and there was a survey done by a group from New Hampshire university which estimated around 15000 civilians were killed up until the end of December of 2001.
As for Iraq “BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Iraqi Health Ministry officials ordered a halt to a count of civilian casualties from the war and told workers not to release figures already compiled, the head of the ministry's statistics department told The Associated Press on Wednesday.”
And here is the link http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-3488889,00.html
There is no real number for Iraq because the CPA has ordered the health ministry not to count the dead bodies anymore!
Well, dear Dan, I guess you are not the only person who counts the number of his dead countrymen! Other people would do the same thing unless someone tries to stop them from doing so.

Azad at January 26, 2004 03:42 PM [permalink]:

Ali,
I wish I would have seen a stand-alone type of article from you here but it looks to me that I need to read a number of Wessie's postings beforehand to have a balanced view. The tone of article sounds to me like a response type of posting rather than an independent article. Am I wrong?

Dan Schmelzer at January 26, 2004 03:50 PM [permalink]:

I guess I don't really understand the point of this post. Somehow we're equating the list of deaths caused by the US with US standing in the world. But the Pew Center poll itself shows that this is as often not the case as otherwise.

The US has some 70% approval in Japan and 80% in Guatemala despite the nukes and death squad support mentioned, respectively. Just 2 years ago the US had 75% approval in Indonesia despite support of the dictatorship mentioned. Likewise 60% in Korea 2 years ago (a special case) despite support of the dictatorship mentioned. The US appears to enjoy some support in Iran despite the coup and airliner events.

Who has a short term memory here? Or perhaps everybody has been counting but in the end the majority come down on the US side?

Bart S. at January 26, 2004 03:57 PM [permalink]:

I don't agree with all of America's foreign policy. This said, I also agree with Dan that one of the reasons that people outside the US think that America's responsible for 9/11 attack is the fact that it's hard when a tragedy is huge to think that the victim was innocent.People always think that they should have done something to deserve it.(kinda like Wessie's arguments that "every" Iranian or middle Easterner for that matter, deserve what their governments ).

Dan Schmelzer at January 26, 2004 04:15 PM [permalink]:

Interestingly, the Pew Center poll shows US favorable ratings at over 70% in Vietnam and 90% in the Philipines.

I think it's clear that the more civilians you kill, the more they like you. Not exactly the conclusion we were expecting! ;-)

JS at January 26, 2004 05:01 PM [permalink]:

Dear Dan,
Could you also give a link to the surveys which you are refering to regarding Guatemala, Korea (I suppose the one in the south!) and the rest of them in your list? I would be good if you mention the timing too,you may know that for example the US favorable rating in the Arab world before the first gulf war was rather high too! Specially because the Arabs then thought that the US was doing a good job to protect their fellow Arab country (Iraq) against the Iranians!

Dan Schmelzer at January 26, 2004 06:02 PM [permalink]:

Japan, Guatemala, Vietnam, Philipines @ Dec '02, pages marked 53-55.

http://people-press.org/reports/pdf/165.pdf

Korea, Indonesia @ 1999/2000, report dated June 3, '03, pages marked 19-20.

http://people-press.org/reports/pdf/185.pdf

The March '03 and June '03 numbers show a lot of opinion in flux -- taking fairly wild swings both positively and negatively. I wouldn't put much stock in the numbers and would wait for them to settle down.

And here are the numbers that Ali referenced in the lead. December '01.

http://people-press.org/reports/print.php3?ReportID=145

Ali at January 27, 2004 01:56 AM [permalink]:

Dan,

I guess the point is that if U.S. military action and foreign intervention has resulted in innocent civilian casualties 2000 times that of 9-11, shouldn't principled people like you be outraged about that too? Or is the value of human life different in different parts of the world? Is there justifiable killing of innocent civilians versus unjustifiable? I am interested to know what you and the others think about the issue.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at January 27, 2004 07:39 AM [permalink]:

America did this! America did that! yeah yeah yeah, heard it at least a million times.
I tell you my problem with this:
You see it has been my experience that when a government tries to be democratic or at least modern, this is being used against it. The US is just the big examples. There is Israel, there was the Shah's regime (which although not democratic, tried to be modern and gradually move towards it, the conditions were more complex than the usually over-simplified picture of either side) and the West in general....
Instead when a regime shows itself and even proclaims to be a total blood thirsty pile of filth as the mullahs in Iran, or that Castro or the idiot N.Korean and the likes, people simply accept that, lower their standards and expect nothing more of it. The slightest misdeeds of the former types is put in horns and blown loudly across the globe, but that of the latter is not even taken note of, indeed any pathetic circus imitation of petty reform such as the one we observed in Iran is heralded with all sorts of over-exaggerations.
Now obviously this can't be right, can it? 'Something's rotten in the state of denmark', isn't it?
The problem, the way I see it, is that people accept that the latter regimes are such inhuman pieces of filth, but DO NOTHING ABOUT IT. They simply accept it. Now there is the rub!
It might be human, Ok, but in any case, unless you have your position tight against such abominations, unless you DO something about it, unless you stop reforming it or being 'pragmatic' in dealing with it, you have NO right of making a fuss of whatever the former type humane or semi-humane regimes are doing. IMHO.
I'm not saying that individual acts of discrimination that one might witness are not be criticized-no- but they should ONLY be criticized as seperate instances, independent of a generlized tread. As Senior Grad has said in one of the very few words of wisdom in his abundance of comments, the US (or others like it) is not a person. It is a complicated structure and any criticism should be directed to the act itself and not to the general structure as a whole.
Now I myself have said many times that the US must not be even compared with such regimes as the one in Iran. That the US must be looked at by higher standards. Is there a contradiction? I don't think so. Because in this I have presupposed that the exceptional 'realisticly seen' goodness of the US for example is given. That we are on its side. Only then does any such upper standard judgment make sense.
Unless of course you are one of those mythical figures who fight the evil of the likes of mullahs day and night and have earned the right of this kind of idealism.
If not, I humbly suggest you and the rest of us refrain a bit in our tones, having the crimes of the mullahs infront of our eyes, especially with all of us here lacking any credible knowledge or experience in Realpolitik. (as I assume)
Finito!

AmericanWoman at January 27, 2004 08:46 AM [permalink]:

AIS, you crack me up!
Anyway, there is no merit to protesting against criticism of the US, especially its foreign policy. --If you can call it a policy (as opposed to a series of reactions). It is well-known and accepted by the staunchest of her defenders that because of the insular geographical position, and the strength of the internal economic market, the majority of the American public is oblivious to what is going on in the rest of the world. CNN is like a little crack in that wall of ignorance, but it is still largely true that most people have no idea what people face in "The Region" or anywhere else. There is England, land of Benny Hill and ridiculous things like Queens and Princes, Australia, cool accents and serious beer drinkers, and the rest are just "poor and huddled masses" trying to get in the door. Like our parents and grandparents, who tell us continually (via movies, books, etc.) how much better it is here than where they came from. This attitude leads to a lot of blundering and exploitative actions, with no thought to the long-term effects on the people who can't be packed up and air-vac'd out when it all falls to hell. Not that there any malice in this most of the time. Iranians are in a good position to change this perception. Maybe the best, aside from Egyptians, because more of them are educated, sophisticated, and still in exile after 25 years, or whatever it has been. Isn't Iran looked to as a leader in the Muslim world? I want to say Iranians are also potentially visible as a community. Aside from talking about politics, what are the other ways to educate the West about what is really going on in the LDC's, Iran in particular? Are there any Community Service organizations presenting a positive public image, like the Sons of Iran, the Iranian Youth League, etc.? Turkey has a great image here, the terms "Young Turks" and "Ataturk" are still used as compliments. On the other hand, everyone in the Mid-East seems to hate their guts. Lebanese are well thought of, mostly because of restaurants and Danny Thomas (famous comedian/actor/philanthropist from the 40's-50's). Anyway, criticism and discussion are the keys to improvement and positive change. AIS is right about the fact that the absence of it is ominous and creepy.

Hamed at January 27, 2004 09:25 AM [permalink]:

Dear Dan,

The body count is an absolute quantity, one means one person is dead.
The case about US approval in other countries is a little bit different. It's not possible to extract some meaningful information only with this. You should present some more statistics like:

1.The approval rate of some not-very-famous countries.
2.The approval rate of some famous (Germany, France, Japan, ...) countries.
3.Some statistics which show the information of voters about US. Like who is the president, who was the last president, about wars, about Hiroshima and ...
4.And finally some question about some actors/actress and singers.

Dan Schmelzer at January 27, 2004 12:03 PM [permalink]:

Hamed: I'm afraid it is harder to extract meaningful information from the body count than from US approval ratings. Each of the situations that led to the entries in the body count listing is at least slightly different and must be discussed separately. To put the body count in a list and to derive conclusions from the list in totality seems like useless sophistry to me.

If US killing civilians led to festering wounds, those suffering from the wounds appear to be remarkably forgiving for whatever reason (maybe they like Eminem). At a minimum, there appears to be little or no correlation between a country where the US killed a lot of civilians and the hate/distrust quotient of the US. It might sound logical that they would hate/distrust the US, but they don't. This fact is demonstrable. And that's where the internal logic of the original post falls apart.

Saeed S at January 27, 2004 12:40 PM [permalink]:

Dear Dan,

Thanks for your informative data. I think you don’t need a whole nation to fuel violence.
As a crazy person who is frustrated by US policies in the Middle East I can start violent movements with say 1 million supporters. I think this study should also see the “amount” of hatred that there exists among the few.

In this sense Ali’s data are much more reliable than yours. It’s an event in space and time which is there forever! Even one guy like Osama or Khoemini with a long memory can fuel a lasting fundamentalist movement. Remember that guy responsible for Bali bombing. He was basically motivated by Osama!

I think statistical studies like the one you refered to will not catch the spirit of a Dirac Delata function!
(http://mathworld.wolfram.com/DeltaFunction.html)

Saeed S at January 27, 2004 12:46 PM [permalink]:

Dear Dan,

Thanks for your informative data. I think you don’t need a whole nation to fuel violence.
As a crazy person who is frustrated by US policies in the Middle East I can start violent movements with say 1 million supporters. I think this study should also see the “amount” of hatred that there exists among the few.

In this sense Ali’s data are much more reliable than yours. It’s an event in space and time which is there forever! Even one guy like Osama or Khomeini with a long memory can fuel a lasting fundamentalist movement. Remember that guy responsible for Bali bombing. He was basically motivated by Osama!

I think statistical studies like the one you refered to will not catch the spirit of a Dirac Delta function!
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirac_delta_function)

Dan Schmelzer at January 27, 2004 12:53 PM [permalink]:

Ali: No, I'm not outraged at the long list of US military actions causing civilian deaths. The original post mentioned the need for a rationale for war in our democracy, but left a lot unstated, such as the fact that our democracy post-Vietnam has increasingly impacted the way we fight wars. Precision weapons, good training, and effective military and civilian leadership are the direct result of the American people's desire to minimize all casualties, especially the civilian casualties of our opponents. The US has spent trillions of dollars to have these capabilities. Isn't this principled?

Wessie at January 27, 2004 01:00 PM [permalink]:

No time to make a substantive posts now, folks. However, could we include the rest of the West as well as the former Soviet Union, Russia and Japan in that "selective" memory problem. After all, they are all culpable in supporting dictators as well as selling of arms.

Why only pick on the U.S. who, while not perfect, have saved the world's bacon several times in the last century.

Wessie

Wessie at January 27, 2004 01:02 PM [permalink]:

Oh, regarding the photo of the poor Iraqi boy who was a war victim and is now being rehabed in the West and not in any Muslim country. How about if we post some limb amputations, etc. from the Islamic world. There are far more of those. . .

No Name Thanks Much at January 27, 2004 01:13 PM [permalink]:

" ... U.S. who, while not perfect, have saved the world's bacon ..."

Who have saved the world's ham?

Saeed S at January 27, 2004 01:23 PM [permalink]:

The US has also spent huge resources to influence the governments in the Middle East. It's not just killing people, Dan! Many people in the region especially the more educated ones are outraged by such policies. Unfortunately it's difficult to come up with NUMBERS to show that.

The thing is people can SEE that for the US democracy is just a card to play the game. Khomeini took advantage of that observation of Iranians (US support of Shah) to radicalize Iranian movements.

I think the new adjustments like precision weapons is for the needs in the 21st century. I firmly beleive that if there was not istant communication like the interent, US would not have spent this much money for precision weapons.
They know how destructive is to kill so many people at the time that everybody will get the news and analysis instantly.

They spend money because they know that they get it back! This is how your capitalism works as far as I know.

Dan Schmelzer at January 27, 2004 01:34 PM [permalink]:

Saeed: I will consider the Dirac Delta Function as it relates to this discussion.

As to precision weapons, we began to develop them well before the web and even before satellite news stations. I think your firm belief is in error.

Saeed S at January 27, 2004 01:58 PM [permalink]:

It's not a matter of error Dan. I am from Iran and I have SEEN your monsterous footsteps in my country. I think my beleif is just a reflection of my observations. Your new attitude ,which is to be seen, will change that; not new NUMBERS or speeches!

Precision weapons penetrate more in "hearts and minds" ,as your politician calls it. As for now, this is how I interpret it. You might have interpreted it like mine if you were from Middle East. After all this issue is a matter of perspective not right or wrong.

Ali at January 27, 2004 02:11 PM [permalink]:

Dan, I didn't get it.Why did the 290 passengers on the Iran Air flight have to die for democracy to be furthered? Or the people in El Salvador, or Chile? In what way is that different from the people dying on the planes in 9/11? Aren't both of these a disrespect for human life for achieving a ruthless political goal? This is always a question I have for my Neo-Con friends. Their definition of morality is not universal :)

Wessie, why did the "poor boy" have to be mutilated first to be put back together later. Would you be happy if someone initially did that to you and then tried to put you together ? :) Isn't it sad that you are comparing the U.S. with democratic institutions that have evolved for 228 years with fundamentalist Islam in Saudi Arabia or Iran? Is that how low the U.S. has sunk? If so, I can accept your point: Between Khomeini, Hitler, Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush, I prefer Mr. Bush to the rest. Point well taken Maybe I set too high a standard for my comparison.

Dan Schmelzer at January 27, 2004 02:32 PM [permalink]:

Saeed: I made a narrow comment on "I firmly beleive that if there was not istant communication like the interent, US would not have spent this much money for precision weapons." This firm belief is clearly in error. The money was in the funding train well before instant communication (besides phones) was a reality or even planned. The reason for that funding was internal politics related to the ghosts of Vietnam.

Saeed S at January 27, 2004 03:13 PM [permalink]:

I take that sentence back, Dan :) What I was trying to say is that the MONEY rules here not the values like bringing democracy to the Middle East. You have shown this pattern constantly in the Middle East.

Wessie at January 27, 2004 09:30 PM [permalink]:

"The US has also spent huge resources to influence the governments in the Middle East."

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Saeed. And the Saudis have spent BILLIONS of $$$ funding Islamic terror world wide. I'd rather have the influence of the U.S., no matter how bad, than Wahhabi Islam across the world.

"They spend money because they know that they get it back! This is how your capitalism works as far as I know."

The U.S. now has a 1 TRILLION dollar deficit to date. I doubt very much that we shall get it back—EVER. I also don't believe it was worth spending these funds on Muslims who are clueless (as evidenced on these pages) as to what democracy really is and how these function or whether they actually want any democracy.

"I am from Iran and I have SEEN your monsterous footsteps in my country."

Yes, and we have seen the monstrous steps of Islam in ours. Are we even yet?

"Wessie, why did the "poor boy" have to be mutilated first to be put back together later. Would you be happy if someone initially did that to you and then tried to put you together ? :)"

Look Ali, I am not justifying the war. I told you I was against it. However, you can look at it this way. Saddam murdered about 2 million of his own people and many millions more of other Arabs and Iranians. So, if this child had grown up in Iraq he might have become a victim of Saddam and ended up feet first in a paper shredder. Neither option is a good one.

Stop comparing the atrocities of the Islamic regimes with war. They don't compare! neither do the atrocities of the mullahtocracy, the Taliban or the Wahhabists. Like I said, perhaps you all could post some amputations or eyeball gougings, etc. There are plenty more of those from Muslims "justice" than this poor child who is a war victim. As to his rehab—at least he is being rehabbed which is more than one can say for the victims of the theocracies of Islam!

"What I was trying to say is that the MONEY rules here not the values like bringing democracy to the Middle East. You have shown this pattern constantly in the Middle East.

What do you say about the Muslims who got MILLIONS for selling the stolen nuke secrets? Guess they weren't really doing it for Islam but for the almighty dollar.

Scientists 'got millions for nuclear secrets'

http://news.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/01/27/wpak27.xml

At least the West admits it "loves" capitalism. But, for the Islamic states to pretend that they do everything for allah and that they are "above" such money grubbing is utter nonsense! Everyday of the week one can hear some mufti, mullah, ayatollah or imam screeching how Muslims must "get power" in order to take their "rightful" place in the world again. Well, folks, power = $$$!

Here is a nice lists of Alleged Saddam Oil Bribes

". . .The list includes members of Arab ruling families, religious organizations, politicians and political parties from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Sudan, China, Austria, France and other countries. . .


Organizations named include the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Communist Party, India's Congress Party and the Palestinian Liberation Organization. . . ."

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&u=/nm/20040127/wl_nm/energy_iraq_corruption_dc

Don't think that any Muslims are going to come out clean in this. Humanity is what it is. Money makes the world go round—and without it people starve!

Wessie

Wessie at February 15, 2004 11:23 AM [permalink]:

Iranian "holy warriors" in Iraq!

People here keep saying it isn't all about Islam—but, it appears that it is. This was one of the bloodiest weeks ever in Iraq—over 100 people killed in the name of allah. . . The "insurgents," as they are erroneously called, are often foreign Islamic terrorists. There are plenty from Iran, who it appears is not interested in the Iraqis having "free thoughts" or anything else that is free. Quelle surprise!

The Islamic terrorists clearly want to foment civil war and plunge Iraq into anarchy—after that they plan to do the same to the rest of the world—with a little help from the atomic genie.

While out memories are not as long as those of Muslims who remember EVERY affront to Islam—except that they started the religious wars between Islam and the rest of the world— from the first one attacking a camel caravan. We do, however, remember 9/11 and all the Islamic atrocities since. . .

Wessie

25 Slain and 40 Wounded in Iraq as Raid on Police Frees Prisoners

FALLUJA, Iraq, Feb. 14 — Guerrillas shouting "God is great" staged a brazen assault on the main police station here on Saturday, blasting their way inside, killing at least 15 police officers and freeing dozens of prisoners.

Four of the attackers were killed as well as several Iraqi civilians, bringing the number of dead to 25. At least 40 people were wounded

. . . Documents found on the four dead attackers indicated that two were Lebanese and that one was Iranian, the Americans said. The presence of fighters from those countries could be disturbing to Iraqis. . .

"The apparent nationalities of the attackers lent credence to claims by Iraqi officers that the attackers were trying to free a group of Iranians captured last week.

". . . "We knew they were Iranians because they could not speak Arabic, only Persian," . . .

". . .If proved, the presence of Iranian agents inside Iraq would be potentially explosive here. Falluja is an Sunni Muslim city, where people are acutely sensitive to the growing political power of the country's Shiite majority. They are also wary of Iran, a Shiite country.

Full article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/15/international/middleeast/15IRAQ.html?th