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Old 09-09-2002, 12:04 PM   #61
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that was a really good post george!
a UN inspector said recently that ther eis no hard proof that there are weapons of mass destruction.

It is a ridiculous move which could make the States look like fools if they attack and there ends up being nothing there to fear at all.

I'm just glad canada has decided they will not support the action. Making more war has never solved anything!

And I, for one, apologize for anything I may have said. said persons post was just SOOO frustrating. and still very much is,
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Old 09-09-2002, 12:07 PM   #62
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Thanks, but I'm not George. I'm Not George.
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Old 09-09-2002, 12:15 PM   #63
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ahhh...touche
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Old 09-09-2002, 04:25 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally posted by z edge
So? BOOM!
i can honestly say that even after all the crap that has been posted on this forum in the last few months, THIS takes the cake. i have never read something so disgusting. you should be banned. either that or you should take your hatred somewhere else. you make me sick.
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Old 09-09-2002, 04:41 PM   #65
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Quote:
you make me sick.
Now, is that really necessary? You don't know z_edge, and you don't know what he's like. You don't know his character and you have no window into his soul; its a pretty big judgement based on ONE comment.

His comment may make you sick, but that really isn't warranted.

Please, refrain from doing that.

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Old 09-09-2002, 04:46 PM   #66
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Quote:
Originally posted by Anthony


Now, is that really necessary? You don't know z_edge, and you don't know what he's like. You don't know his character and you have no window into his soul; its a pretty big judgement based on ONE comment.

His comment may make you sick, but that really isn't warranted.

Please, refrain from doing that.

Ant.
yes actually i do think it's necessary. and it is certainly warranted. i don't want to know him. i have no desire to see into his soul. it's not ONE comment that is so infuriating to me but his attitude. anyone who can trivialize one of the most horrific attacks in world history deserves that kind of judgement. his comment truly made me sick. i'm not sorry.
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Old 09-09-2002, 04:49 PM   #67
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Quote:
his comment truly made me sick
That's better.

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Old 09-09-2002, 05:02 PM   #68
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I'm sorry I even came in here to look at this.

z edge, I'm with flower on this. I truly hope you didn't mean what you said about those horrific attacks.

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Old 09-09-2002, 05:52 PM   #69
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What z_edge meant to say...

However harsh z_edge's comment seemed, he did want to clarify what he meant. This is his reply, as relayed through me;

I think So? BOOM means that :

We didn't start the war
We reacted
It was war
It ended the war
It was horrible, regrettably

But; STOP bringing it up!!!!
It is the past and irrelevant to our senseless bickering!
You are only bringing it up to further your cause against me and my country.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

I ask the members, again, to try to keep their replies impersonal.

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Old 09-09-2002, 06:48 PM   #70
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Now back to the original subject matter of this thread:

In response to Klaus:

Lets take your list of countries you say would under the conditions I laid out of Behavior PLUS weapons of mass destruction that would constitute a threat requiring regime change.

1. Yemen has NOT invaded 4 countries in the past 20 years and used weapons of mass destruction against its own people and its enemy's. It does not have a large threatening military force either, nor is it using large amounts of national treasure to build weapons of mass destruction. Terrorist have been located in Yemen, but Yemen's government has not supported them and Yemens government has helped the USA capture several members of Al Quada there. Yemen fails to meet the conditions I laid out of a proponderance of bad or threatening behavior PLUS Weapons of Mass destruction. Yemen has very little if any threatening behavior and virtually no weapons of mass destruction to date. So you are incorrect on this point, Yemen is not a country we would do regime change in, they are not even close to having done things Iraq has and is not equiped like Iraq.

2. Sudan is much like Yemen although a little worse because at one time they did allow Bin Laden to stay there. Again though, they have not invaded 4 countries in the past 20 years, used mass destruction against their own people and the military and civilian population of another country, annexed and raped another country like Iraq did to Kuwait. Again Behavior does not match Iraq's, no real history of Weapons of Mass destruction. So again you are incorrect here.

3. Pakistan does have a military regime that helped the USA to capture and destroy much of Al Quada in the region at great political risk to itself. Pakistan has not invaded any other countries in the past 20 years and has not used weapons of mass destruction against anyone. They may have Weapons of Mass Destruction, but their behavior is not threatening in any way shape or form to the degree that Iraq's behavior is threatening. There is disagreement about the governments true involvement with Kashimer militants and the Taliban, but for the most part their behavior has been good compared to Iraq. So again here, you are incorrect.

You can't stop terrorism completely with war, but you can defend yourself and manage terrorism with war, just like the police force in your local comunity manages but never eliminates various types of crimes. Even police in your local community may be called on to use deadly force to deal with criminals in the area.
But a strike on Iraq goes beyond simple terrorism, but to a State that has failed to comply with ceacefire resolutions that it signed on to end a war that started as a result of ITS aggression against Kuwait. It is the nature of Iraq's violation of international law, the ceacefire agreement, that gives the USA the right to resume offensive operations against Iraq in order to bring Iraq into compliance with UN resolutions.

There has been no unnecessary aggression in this war, there has been targeting mistakes in this war, but they are unavoidable accidents. That is the reality of war. Thankfully with technology, targeting and hitting specific targets is easier than it was in WW II where it usually took a nearly a thousand sorties to destroy one target from the air. This has led to a corresponding decrease in civilian causaulties. If the bombing in Afghanistan had been done with WW II technology, hundreds of thousands of Afghans would if not millions would have been killed.

I understand people become angery when family and friends are killed by mistake but that does not mean they automatically become terrorist. There has been NO corresponding increase in terrorism as a result of the invasion of Afghanistan. In fact it has decreased. I have a friend that is currently stationed in Afghanistan. Most Afghans are thankful that they are free from the terrible grip of the Taliban, and people I know there don't report having problems with the local population. In addition the US military often builds infrastructure and supplies medicine and food to people that have nothing. This has a very powerful effect on their opinions of the USA . Because of the US invasion of Afghanistan, the Taliban has been overthrown, a more democratic and responsible government put in place, freedom for the people, and international aid from around the world has poored in. The net effect of the US invasion of Afghanistan has been enormously positive!

I think you fail to understand that there are conflicts that cannot be solved without war. We are currently spending money to help the people of Kosovo, Bosnia, and Afghanistan, but its not aid alone that will help, following the advise of international economic and government experts is also key and build their new countries. Again, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Italy or for that matter most of the countries in Europe that were reduced to rubble and rebuilt by the USA. We can and are doing this.

By the way, the Daisy cutter is not an internationally outlawed weapon and was used against Taliban and Al Quada troop concentrations in area's away from cities. The use of this weapon helped to bring down the Taliban quicker, and the sooner the major fighting is over, the more civilian lives are saved. So in that sense, the use of Daisy Cutters saved lives!

Klaus, the reason we started a war against Afghanistan is because the ruling Taliban DID NOT sieze and take and turn over Bin Laden and his thousands of Al Quada supporters. France, Canada and are other friends including those in the middle east have helped the USA capture Al Quada in their countries. With Iraq, they are in violation of the ceacefire agreement, that stopped the 1991 Gulf War, that is why they are a candidate for regime change! US offensive operations would have taken over Iraq in 1991 if Iraq had not signed the ceacefire agreement, their failure to comply to the agreement they signed gives the USA the right to resume the very offensive operations that we stopped in 1991 because of the ceacefire agreement!

Comparing Vietnamn War to the war on terrorism is like comparing apples and oranges. I don't think the term winning can be applied to the general war on terrorism. Better terms are the "successfully defending one from terrorism" and the management of terrorism, much the same way one would speak of crime in your local community.

The specific action against the Iraq is a different case and is something that can be won.
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Old 09-09-2002, 07:19 PM   #71
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In response to NOT George Lucas:

1. No one ever said that the USA had been given the position of world police. It is are right and duty to intefere with the affairs of others when their affairs effect the safety and security of US citizens!!!!!!!!!

2. The US does decide which countries behavior PLUS weapons of mass destruction does threaten Its security and because of that are candidates for possible regime change. It is are right because their behavior PLUS certain weapons threatens are security and endangers are freedom and prosperity. Again we have the right to interfere with any country that interfere's with are affairs in a threatening way first, anywhere in the world.

3. Any attack on Iraq is NOT unprovoked! In 1991 Iraq signed a UN ceacefire agreement with the USA that called for among other things the complete unrestricted inspection and destruction of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Iraq has failed to comply with this UN resolution among others that led to the ceacefire agreement which put on pause US offensive operations against Iraq. Iraq's failure to comply with the UN ceasefire agreement allows the USA to resume offensive military operations against Baghdad that were put on hold in 1991 on the condition that Iraq complied with conditions in the ceacefire agreement. Rather than being in violation of international law like Iraq, the USA seems to be the only country willing to comply with the international law. The USA is the only country willing to enforce the UN ceacefire agreement that put on hold indefinitely the 1991 Gulf war. To sum up, a US invasion of Iraq is not only sanctioned by international law, but it is mandated, under the UN ceacefire agreement of 1991!

4. The reason for a possible US invasion and regime change in Iraq have nothing to do with the actual events of 911. Again its Iraq's non-compliance with the condititions of the UN ceacefire agreement which allows the USA to resume offensive operations against Baghdad. This is about Iraq's behavior and weapons program, both in violation of the UN ceacefire agreement. It is about how Iraq's non-compliance with the conditions of the 1991 ceacefire agreement threaten the world. Iraq's unwillingness to cooperate over the past few years on such a serious matter makes their government a candidate for regime change.
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Old 09-09-2002, 07:43 PM   #72
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With the BEAAAATLES !!!!!!

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Thanks, but I'm not George. I'm Not George.
ofcourse he's not , he's Ringo , I'm George !!
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Old 09-09-2002, 09:09 PM   #73
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You say this as if it is a bad thing.

Just because the US has something to gain from toppling Saddam Hussein does *not* automatically make it immoral.
-Speed Racer


Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..... That statement was very contradicting......
I for one don't support any war, wether it means that US gets some extra oil for itself or b/c we got rid of one of the many evil men ....
US has to learn to be more careful in what it does..... We tend to react to certain situations for the base cause of gaining... The US or any other 1rst World countries could care less for 3rd World countries... As long as we remain rich, we don't care for anyone else....
Fine, let that be the mantality... But the least the Super Powers can do is not try and hide or cover up the truth... Most of the times I feel lost in what the US does.... The US can seem so nice and caring, but at the same time it can be soooo decieving, self-centered, and careless....
It makes me feel uneasy when the US jumps to war on things we are unsure about.... Toppling Saddam Hussein isn't just toppling him, but the whole country is at risk..... Though I don't like Saddam one bit, the country does depend on him for certain economical reasons... And if we barge in w/o any proof and topple over his government just for the sake of possible protection but mostly b/c of oil and power..... Then I think it is fair to say that this is immoral.....

Side note, I also think that it was immoral for the US to get involved with Iran..... I'm proud that Iran had its revolution, it is a developing country..... It is a country of its own, and does not need the interference of US policy.... The US was doing a good job in crumbling the country... On the same note, I did not agree with all the actions Khomeini had commited.... But, it was not the US business to interfere in the first place......

I could go on forever with this, but I'm not going to do it....


NOT GOING TO DO IT....
NO, NOT GOING TO DO IT....

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Old 09-09-2002, 11:12 PM   #74
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In November, 1941, Goober #1, pictured below, assured mufti Haj Amin Husseini that he would "liberate" the Arab world by annihilating ALL of the Jews living under British rule in Arab lands.



Two months later, Goober #1 decreed: "And we say that the war will not end as the Jews imagine it will, namely with the uprooting of the Aryans, but the result of this war will be the complete annihilation of the Jews."

Then, 50 years later, during a battle with the "Great Satan of the West," (the United States), Goober #2, pictured below, decides to launch a few scud missiles into civilian neighborhoods in Isreal.

In March of 2001, Goober #2 ended a speech to a group of Middle Eastern leaders with the prayerful request of "God damn the Jews."



It seems that Goober #2 wants to grant Goober #1 a posthumous fulfillment of Goober #1's pledge. When Goober #2 speaks of the "elimination of the Zionists from all of Palestine," he is not talking of removing Jewish settlers from occupied territories taken since 1967; he is DEMANDING that ALL JEWISH PEOPLE be removed from the area of Palestine AND Isreal. Both goobers initially came to power with secularist ideals, but soon realized that religious fervor could correspond with their racial supremacist views and galvanize a strong following.

Are his chemical weapons/weapons of mass destruction a threat to the U.S.? Maybe not. Are they a threat to the Jewish population of Israel? More than likely. How many anti-semitic tyrants must we appease in their racist quests to force Jews out of any given region?

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Old 09-09-2002, 11:34 PM   #75
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In response to STING2

Quote:
Originally posted by STING 2
The primary goal of US foreign Policy since 1945 in a very narrowly defined way, was to deter, but if necessary defeat a Soviet/Warsaw Pact invasion of Western Europe. The vast majority of aid, that did not end with just the Marshall Plan, went to Western Europe to rebuild and strengthen it not only so it did not fall into the Soviet Orbit, but to restore one of our biggest trading partners, vital, long term wise to the US economy, and the part of the world that America has its deepest cultural and historical ties to.
We agree, the effort of preventing them from being sucked into the Soviet orbit responded mainly to economic reasons.

Quote:
You speak of all these other places in the world, but when compiling US foreign Policy over the past 60 years, they are a mere footnote compared to US involvment in Europe. In terms of the number of US troops, the annual budget of NATO, the constant and yearly Reforger exercises, US weapons technology, the bulk of it built with war in Europe the top priority, how do you defeat a Soviet/Warsaw Pact military force capable on mobilization of fielding over 250 Armored and mechanized divisions(one of the many questions diplomats, NSC officers, Think Tanks, and military officers spent much of their time debating and arguing over the best course of action).
Of course they were a footnote in terms of actual budget! Many times interventionist policies were not carried out by the actual US troops but were CIA organised operations which made use of local manpower. When actual US interventions took place (no less than 250 actual military interventions since 1947/48) except in the cases of Vietnam and the Gulf War mainly, it wasn't necessary to spend an extraordinary amount of money to put them into practice since they weren't full scale operations against an equally armed "enemy", nor there was the need to develop specific new technology for them. This fact however doesn't mean that these interventions weren't in many cases devastating for the local populations and weren't most of the time highly beneficial to the US. In addition since actual aid was not sent into these countries there was still a lower toll on US budget .

Quote:
But I'll just say briefly that my main point is that there were 20 West European countries that the USA spent the lion share of its money the past 60 years supplying and helping defend and deter an attack that could come at any time...With the exception of the hot wars, the real history of the Cold War is the constantly changing military balances between NATO and the Warsaw Pact Forces in Europe. Thats where the vast majority of the men, material, and money went over 50 years.
There's absolutely no doubt about this. My point, as stated before does not rest on the actual amount of money the US spent on interventions, which is irrelevant here and basically of sole concern to US taxpayers in any case, but rather on the motivation underlying those interventions and the effect such policy has had on the actual nations affected by it.

Quote:
What you would call the normal rule of US intervention, I clearly see as the exception
The fact that the toll of extra-European interventionist policy on US budget was significantly lower than what was invested in Europe itself doesn't mean that "what I call" the normal rule of US intervention wasn't such. In fact the aid policy you mention in reference to Europe was not applied in a similar fashion anywhere else, except perhaps Israel. Everywhere else there was no actual aid but rather behind-the-scenes (or not so) string-pulling to favour US interests in the area rather than helping to build prosperous nations as you claim.

Quote:
and in those exceptions, it is simply making the best of a bad situation or supporting the lesser of two evils.The fact is, it was simply either Soviet interest or US interest prevailing. To not be involved at all, would be letting the Soviets possibly have a free hand, which would be foolish strategically for the US and its allies considering the long term global bipolar struggle that the world was locked into that could erupt in major world war at any given moment. The USA also does not have infinite resources for a marshall plan everywhere, if it did, it would have enacted one, because just as in the case of Europe, building up and developing a countries economy and democratic government, was one of the best ways to hedge against communism and Soviet expansion.
The best for who? Not certainly for the actual nation in most cases. It would be interesting to spell out what parameters are taken into account to define which is "the lesser of the two evils" and more important still what right has any leading nation to decide which is the lesser of two evils when the situation in the country to be intervened directly or indirectly doesn't pose any proven or even likely threat to the power's own security and when it is possible that one of the two "evils" isn't even as strong as to ever install itself as such. In fact there were quite a few cases in which the chance of a Soviet takeover wasn't remotely likely, but the threat was overtly magnified to justify the intervention. See some Latin American particular cases in the 70s.

I'm sure that the US doesn't have infinite resources to grant Marshall style Plans everywhere, nor I'm saying that it should. My point is that in most places it set foot abusively local situations not only did not improve, but became worse. I mean that if to defend selfish interests through imperialist policies (this goes both for the US and the former USSR or any other who is guilty of this) wasn't detrimental to other nations' people there would be little wrong with it. However this is an utopic scenario for the most part.

Allow me to doubt that if the US had more resources to enact Marshall Plans it would, in fact alongside their partners in G7 they've been reluctant to grant real aid money to African countries in a quantity way smaller than a Marshall style Plan or even agree to cancel their debt, which in most part was illegally contracted and provided the West with a generous slice of its well-being in the last 25 or so years result of the outrageous interest rates it perceived from the money loaned.

Building up and developing a country's economy and democratic government, was ONE of the ways to hedge against communism and Soviet expansion but certainly NOT the one applied in countries other than European ones and a couple of other exceptions. Support of right-wing and/or fanatical religious dictatorships which had carte blanche to wipe out left-wing elements or other ideological subvertors has also proved to be an effective way to contain communism as examples around the world depict.

Quote:
The US provided 1/3 of the supplies which only amounted to a few Billion dollars, pocket change in military terms, to what ever fighters were available. Islamic fundamentalism in the rural area's of Afghanistan is almost universal. The fact is the only fighters available were ones that would be labled fundamentalist. The more secular groups of people lived in the cities where the government still ran and controlled things with Soviet help.
Again the actual amount of the expenditure is irrelevant. It was not sophisticated warfare but guerrilla style which didn't require more than what you call "pocket change" in military terms. What is relevant here is that the US actually provided support to groups in the most part fundamentalist to oppose the Soviet invasion. Maybe they applied the policy you were talking about of the "lesser of two evils". Whatever the case aid went to such a group - another example of the use of extreme Islamic groups to counterfeit communism.

Quote:
Your assertion that the USA used Islam as a bulwark against Communism and revolution falls flat in the middle east. Most US support in the Middle East went to Israel to fight SOVIET supported Islamic countries like Egypt, Syria, Jordon and Iraq. The massive numbers of Soviet Tanks, APC's, Artillery, Jets, shipped to these countries testifies to this point. So does the glarring lack of Western European weapons in most of the above named countries arsonals during the ARab Israeli wars. Only the secular dictatorship of the Shah recieved anything substantial and this was comparitively a tiny fraction of what the Soviets sent to the region.
I don't see how your argument relates to my point. The Soviet-supported Islamic countries you mention NEVER fell under the Soviet Union's orbit, they merely were supplied of armament in the same way the US supplied Iran during its conflict against Iraq. In this line of reasoning Iran should have been considered a US ally which is plainly ridiculous in view of the American historical antagonism to the post-Shah regime, not to mention that the US was technically neutral in the Iran-Iraq conflict.

On another account, Israel was supported against its Islamic neighbours in general and not in particular to fend off the risk of Soviet penetration over there, in particular since none of the countries you mentioned was politically pro-Soviet or was antagonising Israel because of a capitalist vs. communist controversy. In fact their ties with the Soviet Union ended with the mutual interest in arm trade which was natural since the US was supplying and openly supporting their enemy. To illustrate the extent of Soviet influence in the countries mentioned Iraq's a good example. If Iraq had really been a Soviet satellite state it wouldn't have been willing or able to receive US aid during the second part of its conflict against Iran back in the 80s. In addition if such had been the case, Hussein would have collapsed readily after the Soviet Union's demise.

Islamic fundamentalist rules/groups have indeed proved useful against Soviet penetration. Iran is a clear example and its case seems to have been attentively watched. Iran was even helped out with armament supply during the first part of its conflict against Iraq. It must be noted that the rooted anti-American sentiment widespread in the Islamic Middle East which stems from various reasons such as specific US policies in the region (backing Israeli oppression of Palestinians, enforcing devastating sanctions on the civilian population of Iraq, supporting authoritarian governments, often by deploying U.S. troops on land considered holy by Muslims), resentment of Washington's economic and political arrogance more generally and in some cases from religious opposition to the secular world, of which the United States is seen to be the leading power, must be necessarily represented by some ideological force. Such a force could have easily been pro-communist in the Cold War era even if it couldn't adequately represent the religious issues. As fundamentalism could too with the addition that it was inherently anti-communist, it was probably seen as a "lesser or more manageable evil" enhanced by the fact that it could become an useful asset to prevent communist spread. In fact it is interesting to see that in the areas where fundamentalism is solidly based there's not a trace of communism, since it is fact that left-oriented groups have been crushed or at least discredited where the ascendant of virulent Islamism is strong.

Quote:
The friendly relations between the USA, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan does not translate into support for the Taliban. Thats a gross overgeneralization in my view. Again the USA pulled out of Afghanistan militarily, economically and politically, in 1989. It was certainly a mistake to have done so.
Well "friendly relations" is rather an euphemistical way to put it. It is well known that the Saudi government in particular has been willing to comply to every American request, demand, etc for quite a few years. This is true to lesser extent of the Pakistanis, but yet they certainly aren't willing to put at stake their amicable relationship with the US. While it may look as a gross overgeneralisation, there's some reading between the lines to be made: it is very unlikely that both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan should have decided to organise and fund the Taleban without Washington's consent and much less still with its opposition. Anyway.

Quote:
The Northern Alliance was basically the remain core of the Mujahadeen. Their leader, killed on Sept. 10, 2001, was probably the biggest player in the Mujahadeen's drive to survive and continue to resist Soviet Occupation. Both the Russians and the USA see their interest with the Northern Alliance because they are the more secular of the two groups. By the way, in 1995/1996, Russia is a developing democratic country, starting to privatise whole sections of its economy. They are much more interested in seeing Afghanistan develop into a capitalist country rather than something from their failed past.
True but there were other elements too, pro-communist but not in the Soviet pattern, I mean a more populist left which also saw in Soviet occupation another form of imperialism. The fact that the Northern Alliance is more secular doesn't mean a thing regarding the fact that the US or Russia should be more interested in their rule. They could very well turn out to be populist or strongly nationalistically slanted which could easily put at stake foreign interests.
I'm aware of of Russia's current status of ex Soviet Republic, how does it relate to what I said in my previous post?

Quote:
I think your seeing only what you want to see. Your view on the main form of US intervention in my opinion is the exception not the rule. My reasons are stated above.
This statement is unjust since I did not fail to acknowledge the positive influence US post war aid has had in Europe. I simply pointed out that in my opinion it is the exception to the rule and I've also given my reasons why. Conversely you ignored every other US intervention and doubted its negative influence in many countries which is proven fact.

Quote:
South Korea has seen some of the most rapid economic development in the past 50 years that many economist have called it a miracle. Per capita GDP is now higher than some Western European countries. South Korea does several hundred Billion dollars worth of trade every year with the international community. I can produce annual export and import statistics if needed as well as GDP and per capita GDP figures. My father has been to South Korea twice during his military career, each time for a year. My best friend in the US Marine Corp was just there in the Spring. They can both testify to what I'm saying if you disregard national statistics.
GDP is an economic figure which does not reflect in any way accurately the well-being of a nation. There may be a high GDP figure due to massive exports because of low costs of manufacture which may range from an underpaid working force result of generalised unemployment to tax exemptions or cutbacks to favour production but which generate less fiscal revenues and thus less benefits to the population and tends to future budget imbalances, it may also originate from an inverse phenomenon of extremely high costs of manufacture due to unreal (overvalued) parities of local currencies against the US dollar which encourage massive imports or directly dumping scenarios. In these cases there is generally an initially euphoric market which has buying power in the guise of virtual money (credit cards, easy access to credit, etc), but which dramatically shrinks in a short period since this sort of policy encourages the close-down of industrial facilities and hence creates unemployment and subsequent recession. Also short-term foreign investments which most of the time are more akin to financial speculation than to true economic growth can be taken into account in the calculation of GDP. I'm not saying that any of this is the case of South Korea, but some of it may very well be in view of the heavy emigration I mentioned in my previois entry. To illustrate how misleading GDP figures may be, the analysis of some South American figures during the 90s can be useful. They will show for a country like Argentina a dramatic increase in GDP but which didn't reflect in the same way but rather inversely in the population's well-being. As for your father and friend, I certainly am not doubting their testimony, but it has to be observed that US military personnel isn't probably in contact with the day-to-day problems of the standard Korean. I can tell you that I know of foreign people (consulate attaches, high echelon personnel of multinational corporations, etc) who have lived in South American countries during the 90s who have reported realities diametrically different to what the day-to-day life of an average local is. And this has nothing to do with wanting to distort facts or not being in good faith but rather that they were in contact with a reality (the rich minority's) way too different from what the rest (and not necessarily the the poorest strata) have to go through.

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Why would it be as you seem to suggest, in the USA's interest not to develop a democracy like they did in Germany and Japan to prevent a threatening dictatorship like Saddam from rising again? Far better in my view to have a democracy focused on the people rather than military invasions of its neighbors and the raw accumulation of wealth for one person and his followers. That will enhance the security of mideast oil, and may even bring the price down.
Maybe, maybe not. I wholeheartedly hope that you are right. I'm just saying that your statement can't be considered as the only possible logic since another dicatorship could also deliver, as it has been profusely demonstrated in the past (and present): Musharraf runs a capitalist-oriented dictatorship in Pakistan, all Latin American dictators applied ultra-orthodox capitalist policies in the past, etc.

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It does not take a genious to realize that if the USA commits the resources after invading and taking over Iraq, that Iraq will become a proserperous democratic country. Unlike most other countries that go through nation building, Iraq sits on the worlds second largest oil reserves. That type of wealth properly distributed has a way of smoothing out problems and rough edges that other third world countries come up against.
Of course it doesn't take a genius! But you still support my point: IF and ONLY the US commits the resources for such an end. I hope it will, but no one can be certain.

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The evidence produced by the fine men and women of our armed forces and intelligence services is proof enough for me. Plus, this is really about pre-emption...
Well this "evidence" doesn't seem to be enough for the international community. Yes it's obviously a pre-emptive attack. The non-compliance of the cease-fire agreement is the excuse used.

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How many true monopolies exist today. Where in our free market do you NOT see competition? In regards to oil prices, the price of oil is dirt cheap! Adjusted for inflation its less now than it was 40 years ago. Its only half of what it was in 1982, adjusting for inflation. Monopolies create high price's for the consumer, low prices is a clear sign of a healthy competitive market.
There are many more monopolies than what you care to acknowledge. For example outside the US it is virtually impossible to choose in most countries what phone/gas/electricity company you want. This is undoubtedly a case of monopoly, which reflects in outrageous fees for average quality services only stopped short from indecency by state-controlled organisations. Globalisation paves the way for monopoly, since the tendency is undoubtedly more power in less hands - lesser and larger consortiums controlling more companies. However I did not say that there is an oil monopoly NOW, but that the concentration of oil in US hands or US controlled hands will generate a monopoly in the case of which there will NOT be a free market.

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Please explain to me this establishment that detains real global power.
Do I have to? Groups who hold economic and financial power in the world which are becoming with globalisation lesser and more powerful. Who are they in particular? They're not visible to the general public of which I'm part of, though their influence is quite obvious in day-to-day life.

Lastly, I'd like to say that I appreciate the degree of civility with which our debate is taking place. Even if our views are quite different I really enjoy this exchange and I find it truly enriching. It isn't often that a debate regarding this sort of issue can be held in such a civil way. Thank you.
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