Toby A Inkster BSc (Hons) ARCS
Web Page: http://www.goddamn.co.uk/tobyink/
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Here we are in America ... when do we collect unemployment?
"Toby A Inkster" <UseTheAddr...@deadspam.com> wrote in message
I wonder does anyone remember the stated goal? Shortly after the 9/11
attacks the Bush administration made it clear they intend to go after
all countries that harbor or give aid to terrorist groups. Iraq, Iran
and North Korea were named as an "axis of evil", and I believe those
will be the first three of many that will be delt with either by an
act of war or by other means, many people will cry foolishly "war is
never an answer", if all parties can come to an understanding then it
isn't needed, or if the risk are too great (pay close attention to how
the US handles N. Korea for an example of this), but sometimes it IS
needed, sometimes people have to die to make a better world for
tomorrow one only has to look at world history to see examples of
Countries that support terroist should be destroyed and I think that
is the long term goal of the US, and the Bush administration will do
everything it can to begin a journey down that long a bloody path. If
you look at a country such as Iraq that the US claims has biologoical
weapons, and for the sake of argument let's say that they do in fact.
The US and the UK both of evidence of this, evidence that they can't
show to the public and don't feel comfortable sharing with the UN
because it could jeopardize undercover agents working in Iraq. What
kind of biological weapons? Again, it could be anything, most likely
it is something of significance (and again something that can't be put
into public domain because we want to protect those who retrieved it).
There could be a path indicating that these weapons are for sale to
terrorist or the highest bidder, etc.. The point is, I believe there
is quite bit of information that can't be shared, and as responsible
citizens we should respect or leaders decisions not to disclose all
information and respect their decisions on the matter of war, we did
elect them afterall.
I have no idea how the outcome of all this will be, could it lead to
World War III? I'm afraid it could, but which is the better: a
possible World War III or the destruction of free nations by terrorist
organizations? I see no easy way out of this, and both outcomes are
very real possiblities. To do nothing at all is the only sure
Are you suggesting we live in that "better world"? Hmm.
As for the rest of what you say, well no one has evidence one way or the
other. I simply refuse to take my elected (more or less...) leaders at their
word when they obviously have so many other potential vested interests in
the outcome of the situation. Interests that are not necessarily in common
In the end, none of us "common citizens" can really say whether Bush and co.
have evidence in hand they can't share. But can we really allow our leaders
to go to war with our blessings based on a simple trust of their motivations
and intentions, having never met these people personally, and only knowing
their personalities, motivations, intentions, etc. through their own
carefully scripted words in speeches, TV appearances, press conferences and
the like? That seems like a violation of *our* obligations as the true
substance of a nation, the citizens, who logically should really be the
ultimate guides of its direction, even if that is through 3rd party
representatives. These are obligations upon us of oversight, and moral and
practical judgement of our government and its actions and intentions. Surely
you cannot mean that by virtue of their position they are inherently
trustworthy people, and should simply be left to "tend the flock" after
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> you cannot mean that by virtue of their position they are inherently
> trustworthy people, and should simply be left to "tend the flock" after
> - JavaJones
I agree. We should not be asked to defy rationality; we also should not be
asked to follow anyone in blind obedience.
This goes as much for me, as for you, or for anyone else.
I will, however, tend to agree with someone who can supply a reasoned
approach to a given situation. Otherwise, I must naturally disagree.
> I wonder does anyone remember the stated goal? Shortly after the 9/11
> attacks the Bush administration made it clear they intend to go after
> all countries that harbor or give aid to terrorist groups. Iraq, Iran
> and North Korea were named as an "axis of evil",
Did you know that shortly after Iraq invaded Kuwait, Osama Bin Laden asked
America for a few weapons and a bit of cash so that he could "remove" Saddam
Hussain? He was turned down because George Bush Sr wanted to do it
himself. A good job he did too...
Yes that's right -- Saddam is actually one of Bin Laden's *enemies* -- not
> sometimes [war] IS
> needed, sometimes people have to die to make a better world for
> tomorrow one only has to look at world history to see examples of
Yes - the Second World War proved this, didn't it? That wonderful war that
gave us genocide in Yugoslavia a few years back and the current problems
in Israel. War begets war.
> Countries that support terroist should be destroyed and I think that
> is the long term goal of the US, and the Bush administration will do
> everything it can to begin a journey down that long a bloody path.
The long term goal of the Bush administration is to take people's minds of
its own incompetance. This seems to be the only thing that it's actually
quite good at.
At least Saddam can win an election. ;-)
> you look at a country such as Iraq that the US claims has biologoical
> weapons, and for the sake of argument let's say that they do in fact.
OK, we've done your hypothetical situation, now let's do mine. For the
sake of argument, they have no significant arsenal. The weapons inspectors
over the course of time after the second Gulf War (the one with Bush's
daddy) destroyed 95% of their weapons -- we know that for a fact.
If they do have a few weapons and tried to use them, the US, the UK and
near neighbour Russia could completely annihilate Iraq given 5 minutes
notice. If it was good for PR, the "war" could be over in a matter of
seconds. But it's not, so it won't.
Saddam might not be the nicest of guys, but he has done nothing to deserve
If you want to find an unelected leader, with a vast collection of weapons
of mass destruction at his fingertips, clearly rattling the sabre,
possibly about to disobey the instructions of the UN, thereby threating
world peace... look a little closer to home.
Toby A Inkster BSc (Hons) ARCS
Web Page: http://www.goddamn.co.uk/tobyink/
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When this load is DONE I think I'll wash it AGAIN ...
The U.S. government is the single most corrupt organization the world
has ever seen. I decry terrorism in any means but don't foget to look
in the mirror or at your own leaders before any fingers are pointed.
Why do most people on the planet hate the U.S.? Why don't Americans
ask themselves this question? Because the U.S. Government has led a
campaign of terror the world over for the last 30+ years that most
citizens of the US don't realize or even care to acknowledge.
Who trained Bin Laden? The CIA - to fight Russians in Afghanistan in
Who armed Iraq? The U.S. to destabilize the region and insure Iran
did not gain control of the area.
Whose weapons kill hundreds of Palestinians every year? American arms
used by Israelis (again to destabilize the region.)
Why attack Afghanistan? To secure the area for an Oil Pipeline to be
controlled by U.S. interests.
Why Attack Iraq? To gain total access to the second largest Oil
reserve on the planet.
Your leaders are insane.
"The absence of evidence is not conclusive that evidence is absent."
Dick Cheney 2002.
Just some thoughts.
On 20 Jan 2003 15:45:17 -0800, jeremy...@hotmail.com (Ramzey)
This is realitive to which country you live in, but for life in most
of the world, I'd say it's better today than it was 50 years ago.
Different time, different situation, but war had to be used to stop
certin dictators from doing what they were doing, what would have
happend had no one stoped them? Not eveyone listens to reason.
> As for the rest of what you say, well no one has evidence one way or the
> other. I simply refuse to take my elected (more or less...) leaders at their
> word when they obviously have so many other potential vested interests in
> the outcome of the situation. Interests that are not necessarily in common
> with mine.
Yes, they are politicians, they have agendas that aren't disclosed.
That has been the case for all governments. There are always agendas
that aren't made public. So does that mean we can never trust them
unless they disclose all evidence? If they do have evidence (and I
believe they do) and they did make it public then they would loose the
spies on the inside who brought them that information. It's common
sense that some documents must be kept secret.
> In the end, none of us "common citizens" can really say whether Bush and co.
> have evidence in hand they can't share. But can we really allow our leaders
> to go to war with our blessings based on a simple trust of their motivations
> and intentions, having never met these people personally, and only knowing
> their personalities, motivations, intentions, etc.
Come on now, how would it be possible for each of us to meet them and
know them personally? If they do have valid information that Iraq is
some how aiding terrorist and they need to make a decision on how to
deal with Iraq while protecting those who helped uncover their intel,
what do you suggest they do?
The U.S. has not lead terror campaign's for the last 30 years. Show
some evidence of this ridiculious claim. Also, how do you define
We are hated because, despite our aid (which comes with a price), we hoard
more wealth than any other nation on earth. We are hated because of our
history in foreign action and politics. We are hated because we act
arrogantly (see our President's current disrespect for the UN).
> and our need to
> enforce policy that help aid our interest.
That's an awful nice way of saying we think and act selfishly.
> In the end every nation
> looks out for its own (name one that doesn't).
Absolutely. But the question, does it have to be at the expense of others?
In our case, it often is. Not necessarily so of many other nations. Why
doesn't anyone hate Canada (besides Sheila Broughlouski <G>)?
> Really the only
> function of the UN is to keep the pot from running over. It attempts
> to keep peace between the nations that have weapons of mass
It had much loftier goals at its beginning, at least it's supposed to have.
> Iraq sealed their own fate when THEY kicked out UN
> weapons inspectors.
Look into the actual circumstances of the *withdraw* if inspectors from
> The U.S. has not lead terror campaign's for the last 30 years. Show
> some evidence of this ridiculious claim. Also, how do you define
What was our purpose in Afghanistan? To destroy Al Qaida? We haven't
captured or confirmed to have killed any significant member of their
leadership. To capture or kill Osama? Same story here. So what did we
accomplish? We "freed" a nation of people from those that were oppressing
them? With our allies the Northern Alliance, who are essentially just
another fuedal competing band that we happened to choose to support, and
that's why they're important and "good". They're not inherently particularly
better for the people of Afghanistan.
Ok, what do you base this on? This is hardly fact, and even it was was
it doesn't say a whole lot, George Bush (Sr.) had his reasons for not
wanting Bin Laden to take out Saddam, and at the time he made a
decision not to do it (had the US wanted to they could have removed
him from power at that time), for whatever reason they decided not to
> Yes that's right -- Saddam is actually one of Bin Laden's *enemies* -- not
> an ally.
I think the word here is WAS one of Bin Laden's enemies. How can you
claim to know so much about what has gone since the last war between
US and Iraq.
> > sometimes [war] IS
> > needed, sometimes people have to die to make a better world for
> > tomorrow one only has to look at world history to see examples of
> > this.
> Yes - the Second World War proved this, didn't it? That wonderful war that
> gave us genocide in Yugoslavia a few years back and the current problems
> in Israel. War begets war.
So we should allow dictators to do as they please and if our
diplomatic attempts to stop them fail, we should do nothing at all?
Sometimes use of force (war) is unavoidable. Think about World War II,
do you think everyone involved would have listened to reason? All it
takes is one party to not listen to reason and then you have to choice
but to use force to stop them. To me this is common sense, and why I
don't understand people who claim "war is never the answer" when it
some cases, unfortunately it is the only thing that can be done.
> > Countries that support terroist should be destroyed and I think that
> > is the long term goal of the US, and the Bush administration will do
> > everything it can to begin a journey down that long a bloody path.
> The long term goal of the Bush administration is to take people's minds of
> its own incompetance. This seems to be the only thing that it's actually
> quite good at.
In the scenario that the US and UK do have proof in hand that Iraq is
indirectly purposing a very serious threat, and that they have a small
window of opportunity to handle this, what do you purpose they do?
Most arguments I here are "I don't trust Bush and Blair", "Bush has
hidden agenda's", etc...
Well, perhaps there are agendas invloved that, but what if there is a
very serious threat. (this is what they are telling us). Would you
perfer to do nothing at all?
> At least Saddam can win an election. ;-)
Yes, in Iraq if your name appears on the ballet against Saddam, you'll
disappear of the face of the earth. It's a fun place to live.
> > If
> > you look at a country such as Iraq that the US claims has biologoical
> > weapons, and for the sake of argument let's say that they do in fact.
> OK, we've done your hypothetical situation, now let's do mine. For the
> sake of argument, they have no significant arsenal. The weapons inspectors
> over the course of time after the second Gulf War (the one with Bush's
> daddy) destroyed 95% of their weapons -- we know that for a fact.
> If they do have a few weapons and tried to use them, the US, the UK and
> near neighbour Russia could completely annihilate Iraq given 5 minutes
> notice. If it was good for PR, the "war" could be over in a matter of
> seconds. But it's not, so it won't.
And of course Iraq knows this so they wouldn't be stupid enough to try
anything this way.. but what if they developed these weapons secretly
and sold them to terrorist groups to use them. This is what has been
implied all along, if your Iraq and you want to attack the U.S. hiring
terrorist groups to do the dirty work makes a lot of sense for the
reasons you've described.
> Saddam might not be the nicest of guys, but he has done nothing to deserve
Have you studied at all what he's done to his people? Iraq is a
dictatorship, he failed to comply with UN resolutions by kicking out
weapons inspectors long ago. Inspectors even feel confident given more
time they could find evidence of the bilogical weapons (they already
found the empty shells), but for whatever reason the US and UK do not
feel that we have enough time (which they estimate will take a year),
and after Iraq, the US and UK will deal with Iran and North Korea.
I would agree with you here. But the real question, were the circumstances
that necessitated war a result of war itself? Perhaps... it's a cycle? What
if it were never undertaken on that level? Now that we're in it, perhaps
we're stuck. But you never know until you try to break the cycle.
> > As for the rest of what you say, well no one has evidence one way or the
> > other. I simply refuse to take my elected (more or less...) leaders at
> > word when they obviously have so many other potential vested interests
> > the outcome of the situation. Interests that are not necessarily in
> > with mine.
> Yes, they are politicians, they have agendas that aren't disclosed.
> That has been the case for all governments. There are always agendas
> that aren't made public. So does that mean we can never trust them
> unless they disclose all evidence?
*ANY* evidence would be a start. :-P
> If they do have evidence (and I
> believe they do)
Why, because they seem like trustworthy chappies? What other compelling
reason do you have to trust them? Because you have to, otherwise you won't
feel in control of your life? Just spitballing here, not meaning to be
> and they did make it public then they would loose the
> spies on the inside who brought them that information. It's common
> sense that some documents must be kept secret.
Sure, but not all. So far they have not, to my knowledge, shown any
compelling evidence, nevermind "all" of it.
> > In the end, none of us "common citizens" can really say whether Bush and
> > have evidence in hand they can't share. But can we really allow our
> > to go to war with our blessings based on a simple trust of their
> > and intentions, having never met these people personally, and only
> > their personalities, motivations, intentions, etc.
> Come on now, how would it be possible for each of us to meet them and
> know them personally?
I didn't suggest that we should. Just questioning what your basis for your
essentially blind (as far as I can see, as you've provided no good reason
for it) faith is.
> If they do have valid information that Iraq is
> some how aiding terrorist and they need to make a decision on how to
> deal with Iraq while protecting those who helped uncover their intel,
> what do you suggest they do?
I suggest they show even the smallest bit of genuine, compelling evidence,
and if it endangers an operative, then withdraw the operative. It's worth it
to ensure the moral justifiability of war and desctruction on this level.
But I don't buy the easy "if we let evidence out, it will expose our
operatives!" line. There are plenty of circumstances where this could easily
be true, of course. But surely not all of our "evidence" puts agents at
risk. This seems rather a dangerous thing to simply take on faith.
By the way, I've got a time machine in my basement, but I can't use it or
show you because if I do the feds will find out and break down my door! We
wouldn't want that to happen. So you'll just have to take my word. But I've
got one, honest!
Am I any more or less trustworthy than George W. Bush? And if so/not, why?
Well the objectives of the Afgan war was to: remove the Taliban from
power, destroy terrorist training camps and to find and capture (or
kill) Osama. Two out of three isn't all that bad. I don't suppose you
happend to catch the CNN special on Afganistan "Behind the Veil" where
they show the kind of oppression, and complete disrespect for human
rights that was going on in that country before the US liberated it.
As for the Nothern Alliance, well what choice do you have going in.
Again, I ask people, what do you suggest.. do nothing at all? I never
get an answer. What alternatives were there to the Northern Aliance?
Most intelligent people who cried out against war with Afganistain
have been shut up after the success of the operation.
As for the war with Iraq, you may not like Bush, you may not have
voted for him, but do you think any other administration would be
doing things differently? As a whole you don't hear the Democratic
party crying out against war. Why do you think that is? It's because
those who need to know, know the threat. I believe there is a power
player involved (most likely China) and a paper trial that is
convincing enough that something must be done and done very carefully
as to not display to the world everything we know. The leaders of the
country (like them or not) are basicly telling us this very thing. We
can't give you all the details, but this is what must be done.
What if you had privillegend knowledge that a plan had been in the
works for years to completely wipe out the US and the United Kingdom
by the end of 2003, to leave their cities in ruins? And what if you
were shown in detail how all of this leads back to Iran, Iraq and
North Korea as major players (either by weapon contributions or
hopeful misdirection of forces). What if you turned this problem over
to stategic military leaders who created a concise plan of action that
would elemenate the threat and then plan begins by taking Iraq.
Is this the case? I don't know, as civilians none of know. What we do
know is that the leaders of our countries (US and UK) are telling us:
there is information we can't share with you and we need to take
serious action. If they are right, they could saving our freedom, if
they are wrong, worst case blood is shed and unethical dictator is
removed from power to make a possible better future for Iraq.
Don't you know that many people hate freedom and hate the US
captailistic society? We have a system like no other, we don't
redistribute wealth, we award achievement and there is no other
society in history where great people have risen from poverty to
riches like they have in the US. There are few places you are even
free to protest a war if you choice to do so. Is the US perfect? No,
are we greedy, unfortately yes, when you have a society built on
archievement that rewards achievement everyone is very competitive and
not everyone can win, because the winners are looked upon so greatly
we have people devoting their lives to the aquisition of material
things at all cost. This is the flaw of captialism, but contrary to
popular belief not everyone is caught up in it. Some are some aren't,
so what should we do? Get rid of America, redistribute the wealth from
the rich to the middle and lower classes to balance out all social
classes? Punish those who have worked hard to get what they have? and
let only the government officials be allowed to have the wealth? There
is no perfect world.
> As for the war with Iraq, you may not like Bush, you may not have
> voted for him, but do you think any other administration would be
> doing things differently? As a whole you don't hear the Democratic
> party crying out against war. Why do you think that is? It's because
> those who need to know, know the threat.
A little bit of history:
"...we have about 50% of the world's wealth, but only 6.3% of its
population...In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and
resentment. Out real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of
relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of
disparity...To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and
day-dreaming: and out attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on
our immediate national objectives...We should cease to talk about vague
and...unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living
standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going
to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered
by idealistic slogans, the better."
George Kennan, 1948 [PPS 23] (Truman Administration)
> Punish those who have worked hard to get what they have?
Say I were to find somebody with a fortune of $10billion and confiscate
$9billion of it to redistribute to those people you saw in Ethiopia a
couple of years back on 60 minutes or whatever -- the ones of those who
haven't starved to death yet anyway.
Would this be punishment? The billionaire would still have enough money to
be able to spend $1million every month and die a rich man. If he liked, he
could bathe in Champagne every day on that kind of money. Is that
Toby A Inkster BSc (Hons) ARCS
Web Page: http://www.goddamn.co.uk/tobyink/
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Where's SANDY DUNCAN?
Another, more recent document:
"Jones, who heads the State Department's Bureau of European and Eurasian
Affairs, provided an historical overview of Central Asia, described the U.S.
"vision" for the region, and reported on Secretary of State Colin Powell's
recent visit there."
The more one reads, the more it becomes clear that Afghanistan and Iraq are
only small pieces of a puzzle. The eventual plan is to have political and
economic control over the Middle East and Central Asia. In this sense there
can be more understanding of the broader goals of our objectives in
>> Did you know that shortly after Iraq invaded Kuwait, Osama Bin Laden asked
>> America for a few weapons and a bit of cash so that he could "remove" Saddam
>> Hussain? He was turned down because George Bush Sr wanted to do it
>> himself. A good job he did too...
> Ok, what do you base this on?
I'll have to get back to you on this when I can find a reliable source
>> Yes that's right -- Saddam is actually one of Bin Laden's *enemies* -- not
>> an ally.
> I think the word here is WAS one of Bin Laden's enemies.
No - *is*. Bin Laden would like Iraq to be run as an Islamic state. Saddam
doesn't do that though.
> So we should allow dictators to do as they please and if our
> diplomatic attempts to stop them fail, we should do nothing at all?
> Sometimes use of force (war) is unavoidable. Think about World War II,
Precisely my point - war begets war. World War 2 would never have happened
if it wasn't fer Hitler. Hitler would never have risen to power if it
wasn't for the chaos that befel Germany after the first World War.
> In the scenario that the US and UK do have proof in hand that Iraq is
> indirectly purposing a very serious threat, and that they have a small
> window of opportunity to handle this, what do you purpose they do?
> Most arguments I here are "I don't trust Bush and Blair", "Bush has
> hidden agenda's", etc...
Their agendas are patently not hidden.
> And of course Iraq knows this so they wouldn't be stupid enough to try
> anything this way.. but what if they developed these weapons secretly
> and sold them to terrorist groups to use them.
And what if China is doing the same? What if America is? (America have a
history of supplying arms to foreign terrorists)
> Have you studied at all what he's done to his people? Iraq is a
> dictatorship, he failed to comply with UN resolutions by kicking out
> weapons inspectors long ago.
Do your research -- he never "kicked out" any weapons inspectors. The
original weapons inspectors were *withdrawn* by the UN. Why? Because the
UN had found out they had been infiltrated by the US secret service.
http://www.un.org/Depts/unscom/Chronology/chronologyframe.htm (16 Dec 1998)
> (they already found the empty shells)
Yes... *IF* Saddam had any biological weapons, and *IF* he wanted to use
them, then he *COULD* possibly adapt the shells to carry then and then
*MAYBE* launch them. Damning evidence!
> the US and UK will deal with Iran and North Korea.
Why? What are the doing that's *wrong*?
Toby A Inkster BSc (Hons) ARCS
Web Page: http://www.goddamn.co.uk/tobyink/
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Yow! Are we wet yet?
In 1945, George Orwell wrote:
Much of the propagandist writing of our time amounts to plain
forgery. Material facts are suppressed, dates altered, quotations
removed from their context and doctored so as to change their
I don't think Orwell would have been surprised by this highly
selective quotation of George Kennan. From what I can tell, it was
stitched together by Noam Chomsky, the American linguist and
anarchist, as evidence that US foreign policy since World War II has
been driven by greed.
In fact, if you look up the source of the quote, PPS/23, you'll
find that Kennan was saying something quite different: *given* the
disparity between the wealth of the US and the Asian countries --
particularly China and India -- it was pretty much inevitable that
they would fall under Soviet control, and that rather than trying
to keep the Communists from taking over China, the US ought to
prevent a future attack from the Pacific by trying to keep Japan
and the Philippines within the US sphere of influence.
Kennan was particularly concerned about Japan, which had colonized
Korea and Taiwan, invaded Manchuria and China, occupied Indochina,
attacked the US, and invaded Indonesia, Malaya, Singapore,
Burma, and the Philippines, and had only been defeated by the
US after a long and bitter war. As Kennan says in his memoirs:
We Americans could feel fairly secure in the presence of a truly
friendly Japan and a nominally hostile China -- nothing very bad
could happen to us from this combination; but the dangers to our
security of a nominally friendly China and a truly hostile Japan
had already been demonstrated in the Pacific war. Worse still
would be a hostile China *and* a hostile Japan. Yet the triumph
of communism in most of China would be bound to enhance Communist
pressures in Japan; and should these pressures [in Japan] triumph,
as Moscow obviously hoped they would, then the Japan we would have
before us would obviously be a hostile one.
I've included below the section of PPS/23 from which the quote is
The irony in Chomsky's quoting Kennan to criticize US foreign policy
is that Kennan himself has consistently argued for much greater
moderation and restraint in US foreign policy. Indeed, Kennan does so
even in the section of PPS/23 which Chomsky is quoting. For a
detailed assessment of Kennan's role in shaping US foreign policy
during the early Cold War, see Wilson D. Miscamble's book "George
F. Kennan and the Making of American Foreign Policy, 1947-1950,"
published in 1992.
In short, Chomsky's quote makes it appear that Kennan is saying
that the US needs to *hold people down*, when in fact Kennan is
saying almost the exact opposite, that the US should *leave them
For more information on Kennan, including the full text of PPS/23, see
Chomsky's posted a response to this criticism:
My response to Chomsky:
Discussion on Brad DeLong's website:
I would respectfully suggest that you should be careful about uncritically
accepting anti-American propaganda, on the net and elsewhere. As Kennan
wrote in 1961:
The lack of a strong and firm Western historiography in this subject
[of relations between the Soviet Union and the West] is particularly
unfortunate for the reason that Soviet historians have recently been
giving elaborate attention to certain of its phases. The tendency of
their labors has been to establish an image of this historical
process which they conceive to be useful to the present purposes of
the Soviet Communist Party but which is deeply discreditable to
Western statesmanship and to the spirit and ideals of the Western
peoples generally -- so discreditable, in fact, that if the Western
peoples could be brought to believe it, they would have no choice
but to abandon their faith in themselves and the traditions of
their national life.
[Russia and the West, 1961, p. v]
The section of PPS/23 from which Chomsky is quoting:
VII. FAR EAST
My main impression with regard to the position of this Government
with regard to the Far East is that we are greatly over-extended
in our whole thinking about what we can accomplish, and should try
to accomplish, in that area. This applies, unfortunately, to the
people in our country as well as to the Government.
It is urgently necessary that we recognize our own limitations as
a moral and ideological force among the Asiatic peoples.
Our political philosophy and our patterns for living have very
little applicability to masses of people in Asia. They may be all
right for us, with our highly developed political traditions
running back into the centuries and with our peculiarly favorable
geographic position; but they are simply not practical or helpful,
today, for most of the people in Asia.
This being the case, we must be very careful when we speak of
exercising "leadership" in Asia. We are deceiving ourselves and
others when we pretend to have the answers to the problems which
agitate many of these Asiatic peoples.
Furthermore, we have about 50% of the world's wealth but only 6.3%
of its population. This disparity is particularly great as
between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. In this situation, we
cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real
task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships
which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity
without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we
will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming;
and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our
immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that
we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction.
For these reasons, we must observe great restraint in our attitude
toward the Far Eastern areas. The peoples of Asia and of the
Pacific area are going to go ahead, whatever we do, with the
development of their political forms and mutual interrelationships
in their own way. This process cannot be a liberal or peaceful
one. The greatest of the Asiatic peoples--the Chinese and the
Indians--have not yet even made a beginning at the solution of the
basic demographic problem involved in the relationship between
their food supply and their birth rate. Until they find some
solution to this problem, further hunger, distress, and violence
are inevitable. All of the Asiatic peoples are faced with the
necessity for evolving new forms of life to conform to the impact
of modern technology. This process of adaptation will also be
long and violent. It is not only possible, but probable, that in
the course of this process many peoples will fall, for varying
periods, under the influence of Moscow, whose ideology has a
greater lure for such peoples, and probably greater reality, than
anything we could oppose to it. All this, too, is probably
unavoidable; and we could not hope to combat it without the
diversion of a far greater portion of our national effort than our
people would ever willingly concede to such a purpose.
In the face of this situation we would be better off to dispense
now with a number of the concepts which have underlined our
thinking with regard to the Far East. We should dispense with the
aspiration to "be liked" or to be regarded as the repository of a
high-minded international altruism. We should stop putting
ourselves in the position of being our brothers' keeper and
refrain from offering moral and ideological advice. We should
cease to talk about vague and--for the Far East--unreal objectives
such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and
democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have
to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered
by idealistic slogans, the better.
We should recognize that our influence in the Far Eastern area in
the coming period is going to be primarily military and economic.
We should make a careful study to see what parts of the Pacific
and Far Eastern world are absolutely vital to our security, and we
should concentrate our policy on seeing to it that those areas
remain in hands which we can control or rely on. It is my own
guess, on the basis of such study as we have given the problem so
far, that Japan and the Philippines will be found to be the
corner-stones of such a Pacific security system and if we can
contrive to retain effective control over these areas there can be
no serious threat to our security from the East within our time.
Only when we have assured this first objective, can we allow
ourselves the luxury of going farther afield in our thinking and
If these basic concepts are accepted, then our objectives for the
immediate coming period should be:
(a) to liquidate as rapidly as possible our unsound commitments in
China and to recover, vis-a-vis that country, a position of
detachment and freedom of action;
(b) to devise policies with respect to Japan which assure the
security of those islands from communist penetration and
domination as well as from Soviet military attack, and which will
permit the economic potential of that country to become again an
important force in the Far East, responsive to the interests of
peace and stability in the Pacific area; and
(c) to shape our relationship to the Philippines in such a way as
to permit the Philippine Government a continued independence in
all internal affairs but to preserve the archipelago as a bulwark
of U.S. security in that area.
Of these three objectives, the one relating to Japan is the one
where there is the greatest need for immediate attention on the
part of our Government and the greatest possibility for immediate
action. It should therefore be made the focal point of our policy
for the Far East in the coming period.
A web version of this response:
Regarding war with Iraq:
alt.politics.international FAQ: www.geocities.com/rwvong/future/apifaq.html
> Russil Wvong
> Vancouver, Canada
> alt.politics.international FAQ:
Was that really necessary, considering I already linked to the full text of
Why do you not also post the entire text of Chomsky's rebuttal to the
commentary? Otherwise the discussion is at least somewhat incomplete. Others
can then judge what is the most logical reading of the text.
Topic: Chomsky replies re George Kennan
Date: Wednesday, July 17, 2002 07:02 PM
Reply from NC,
Welcome to the Forum. Look forward to hearing your thoughts about the
You're quite right in seeking to explore the exact meaning of
documents that are cited. But in doing this, it's a good idea not to
keep to interviews, which are necessarily abbreviated and without
references, but at books. I cited Kennan more completely years
earlier, in print, in Turning the Tide (1985), from a scholarly
collection by Thomas Etzold and John Lewis Gaddis.
In reading anything, including the most elaborate scholarly work (like
Etzold and Gaddis, or more technical monographs), it's a very good
idea to look at the full document cited, as you did, not just the
quotes that are given. There's no point, however, referring to these
quotes as "selective": that is true by definition. That's the
definition of scholarship as distinct from building a library. But
it's important to determine whether in the (by definition, selective)
quotes, nuances are missed or distortions are introduced. In this
case, I think, neither is true. You've overlooked an important
distinction, and your interpretations of the passages you mention are
contrary to the text.
The crucial distinction that you overlooked is this. Throughout this
document, and such documents generally, there are two distinct issues
raised: (1) What are our goals, values, principles? (2) How can we act
to realize them? (1) has to do with (roughly speaking) the "mentality"
of the author, Kennan in this case. (2) has to do with his tactical
assessments given particularly circumstances (which will change, as
circumstances change). By far the most important issue is (1);
tactical judgments are speculative, challenged, and are at best a a
matter of time, place, and uncertain judgment. They are of interest in
the study of details of implementation of the postwar imperial order,
but not to the abiding and dominating principles that are applied in
one way or another, are institutionally rooted, and hence stable over
time. Kennan's tactical judgments may be of some interest, but his
enunciation of abiding principles and values is far more important,
and is of particular significance because of his importance as a
conceptual planner, and his position at the extreme dovish humanistic
end of the spectrum, so much so that he was removed 2 years later in
favor of hardliners. Therefore his interpretation of the stable
principles is particularly revealing.
On (1), Kennan is lucid and completely unambiguous. He begins with a
fact: we have 6% of the world's population, and 50% of its wealth. We
then have an explicit goal: we must "maintain this position of
disparity". There is no ambiguity at all about what disparity he is
talking about: it is our overwhelming wealth as compared to others. He
then he adds a further consideration: we must maintain the huge
disparity of wealth between us and others "without detriment to our
national security" in the face of certain "envy and resentment." That
may require varied tactical decisions. But in pursuing them, we must
keep to the primary goal, and also abide by the primary principle of
implementation: We must "dispense with all sentimentality and
day-dreaming," "concentrate everywhere on our immediate national
objectives," and dispense with illusions about "altruism and
world-benefaction," which we cannot afford. That is flatly untrue; as
he knew, we could easily afford them, given our huge wealth, but not
if we intend to satisfy the overriding interest of "maintaining the
disparity." Proceeding, we therefore have to put aside such "unreal
objectives as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and
democratization" and "deal in straight power concepts...unhampered by
idealistic slogans." Kennan he knew perfectly well that these "unreal
objectives" were the very real objectives of the popular democratic
and anti-fascist forces that he and his associates committed
themselves to destroy, restoring traditional structures of domination.
There could not be a more clear, explicit, and cruel expression of how
we should organize the world. This passage happens to refer to the Far
East, but the same principles applied elsewhere: in Africa, which
should be turned over to Europe to "exploit" for their reconstruction
(one can imagine a different relation between Europe and Africa in the
light of their history, but that was never considered, needless to
say); in Latin America, where we should "protect our resources,"
preferring police states if necessary; and so on. In Asia, the Kennan
conception was implemented in Southeast Asia, which must serve its
"function" of providing resources and markets for the former colonial
powers while Japan should be granted its "Empire toward the South", as
Kennan put it, restoring the effective wartime relations but under the
US aegis. And in Japan itself, the course of democracy had to be
reversed. Kennan had been instrumental in implementing that "reverse
course" in Japan a year earlier, undermining unions and other
democratic forces, and restoring those he called the "natural"
leaders, "the industrial and commercial leaders" of the former fascist
regime "who have the strongest natural ties to the US," Kennan
advised; by "the US," of course, he doesn't mean US workers, but the
"natural leaders" of the US itself. Same in South Korea, where it
required a murderous war (100,000 killed in South Korea before what we
call the Korean war) to undermine the anti-fascist forces and restore
the "natural leaders" in the 1940s.
The further passages you cite keep very strictly to the same brutal
principles, but turn to the tactical questions of how we can implement
them. Kennan was something of a pessimist about "imperial
overstretch." The US, he felt, should recognize the limitations of
what it could do in pursuing the national interest as he construed it
in the cited passage, particularly in the vast continent of Asia. He
felt that China and India were beyond our reach, and we should
concentrate on Japan and the Philippines. With regard to them, his
comments are even more cruel and cynical than the statement of general
principles I quoted. As I mentioned, he had just helped implement the
intervention in Japan to block democratization and restore the
traditional order, and at the time, the US was doing the same, with
extreme brutality, in the Philippines and South Korea (the same was
true throughout the regions from which the fascists were expelled:
Italy, Greece, France, etc.), consistent with Kennan's principle about
the "unreal objectives" we must put aside to "maintain the disparity"
as we deal in "straight power slogans." These objectives were not at
all unreal for the people subjected to Kennan's policies, as in Japan
and the Philippines. Rather, Kennan and other planners recognized
clearly that these objectives were very real, and regarded them as a
threat that must be overcome. The clearest case, perhaps, is Latin
America, since the US ruled unchallenged and Cold War considerations
were quite marginal, despite pretenses. Here, the State Department
explained (in 1945) that the primary threat was the spread of "The
philosophy of the New Nationalism [that] embraces policies designed to
bring about a broader distribution of wealth and to raise the standard
of living of the masses" and that is committed to the principle that
"the first beneficiaries of the development of a country's resources
should be the people of that country." Hence the need -- as Kennan
explained -- for police repression and harsh measures; and here the US
did not "overreach," as in China and India, Kennan thought. Throughout
the world, the policies in which he was involved, extended by his
successors, kept closely to the principles and values he enunciated
with such clarity, though tactical judgments varied.
You're quite right that Kennan is not calling here for violent
intervention in Indochina. Nor has anyone ever suggested that he was.
No one was. This is 1948, remember. The US had not yet decided whether
the best way to attain the imperial objectives that Kennan spelled out
with such cruel lucidity was by supporting independence or by
supporting the return of the former colonial powers. And as often,
different tactical judgments were made, while the objectives remained
stable. In Indonesia (the primary concern) the US shifted to support
of independence; in Vietnam, by 1950 -- that is, two years after this
document -- it shifted to support for the French. The issue of violent
intervention in Indochina did not arise at this moment. Again, it is
necessary to separate out tactical judgments, keyed to circumstances,
from general principles and values of the kind expressed with unusual
lucidity in the passage from Kennan I quoted (as others have, because
it is quite remarkable).
You're also right that Kennan was not calling for "slaughter of
millions." No one has remotely hinted that he was suggesting that. In
fact, you'll have to search far to find any case in history where even
the most vicious mass murderer was calling for that. The Japanese
leaders didn't issue such a call when they were invading Manchuria,
North China, and Southeast Asia: they were going to create an "earthly
paradise" for the people and drive out the hated Western imperialists
and Communist bandits. Hitler was going to resolve ethnic conflict and
bring peace and justice to the Sudetenland. Etc. Here you are
seriously misreading the interpretations, and the history.
As for the idea that "our ideology has little appeal to the people of
Asia," if by "our ideology" we mean "human rights, the raising of the
living standards, and democratization," that's exactly what had great
appeal to the people of Asia. That was the threat that Kennan and his
associates recognized throughout the world -- in Japan, for example,
when the State Department initiated the "reverse course" under
Kennan's initiative. And more strikingly within Latin America, where
US domination was unchallenged. The objectives were indeed "unreal"
within the domains of US influence and power. A primary reason is that
the US, adopting the principles and values that Kennan enunciated with
such clarity, intervened to prevent it (with Kennan's own personal
participation). And did so pretty much for the reasons he outlined in
general in this document, and more specifically when plans were
spelled out to restore basically colonial relations with the
antifascist resistance and other democratic forces suppressed, all
within the overarching framework of US power designed to "maintain the
disparity" by resort to "straight power concepts."
I'm surprised by your suggestion that his words about maintaining
disparity can be understood to mean that "because of the of the fact
of the disparity he worried of negative effects on our national
security." Surely that is not a possible reading. The text explicitly
contradicts it. Furthermore, if we were to accept that interpretation,
what follows would be totally irrational. Under that highly strained
interpretation, he should have been calling for reducing the disparity
so as to improve our national security, not maintaining it. He
explicitly says the opposite: our prime goal must to be "maintain that
disparity," keeping in mind the problems that might arise for national
security if we pursue that goal in too brutal and destructive a way.
Surely that's very clear in the paragraph, and so it has been
I also don't understand your statement "`but then again Kennan does
make the point that "the Philippine Government [should have a]
continued independence in all internal affairs.' Not exactly
neo-imperialistic sentiments." That's virtually the definition of
neo-imperialism. Even under direct imperial rule, say the Raj, the
imperial power preferred to have internal affairs administered by the
colonized people, and under post-colonial neo-imperialism, that
pattern is extended, exactly as Kennan recommended -- and helped
implement, while the US pursued his program of maintaining the
disparity as much as possible and undermining threats to it from
national movements that were seeking to advance "human rights, the
raising of the living standards, and democratization," as in the
"Philosophy of the New Nationalism" in Latin America that had to be
crushed by force, or the democratic anti-fascist forces in Japan that
were being "reversed," and so on throughout a good part of the world.
I think the original reading is very accurate, and quite strongly
supported not only by the rest of the document (once we make the
crucial distinction between principles and tactical judgments about
their implementation), but also by the general pattern of policy
decisions and implementation during Kennan's years as head of the
Policy Planning Staff, and subsequently.
That is one difference, but they both have a common enemy in the US,
and it's much more than that, that both burn with hatered for the US
and would love nothing more than its downfall. I believe they would
put differences aside to work togeather to attack the US if they
> > So we should allow dictators to do as they please and if our
> > diplomatic attempts to stop them fail, we should do nothing at all?
> > Sometimes use of force (war) is unavoidable. Think about World War II,
> Precisely my point - war begets war. World War 2 would never have happened
> if it wasn't fer Hitler. Hitler would never have risen to power if it
> wasn't for the chaos that befel Germany after the first World War.
War leads to war, but in some cases what other alternatives do you
have? Why Hitler came into power in the first place is water under the
bridge at the time he had to be dealt with. It is valid to ask why he
came into power in the first place? But, the point is he's in power
now, what do we do? what alternatives to war were there at that time?
> > In the scenario that the US and UK do have proof in hand that Iraq is
> > indirectly purposing a very serious threat, and that they have a small
> > window of opportunity to handle this, what do you purpose they do?
> > Most arguments I here are "I don't trust Bush and Blair", "Bush has
> > hidden agenda's", etc...
> Their agendas are patently not hidden.
I'm talking about Oil. I'm still waiting on the US to build that
pipeline across Afganistian that everyone has been talking about... It
hasn't happend yet. Once we remove Saddam from power, do you honestly
think the US will just go in and take control of the Iraq Oil supply?
> > And of course Iraq knows this so they wouldn't be stupid enough to try
> > anything this way.. but what if they developed these weapons secretly
> > and sold them to terrorist groups to use them.
> And what if China is doing the same? What if America is? (America have a
> history of supplying arms to foreign terrorists)
> > Have you studied at all what he's done to his people? Iraq is a
> > dictatorship, he failed to comply with UN resolutions by kicking out
> > weapons inspectors long ago.
> Do your research -- he never "kicked out" any weapons inspectors. The
> original weapons inspectors were *withdrawn* by the UN. Why? Because the
> UN had found out they had been infiltrated by the US secret service.
> http://www.un.org/Depts/unscom/Chronology/chronologyframe.htm (16 Dec 1998)
> > (they already found the empty shells)
That doesn't change what he does to his people and his policies. At
the time of the war with Iraq the US should have removed Saddam from
power, but it's part of our policy to not remove leaders from power.
If anything grey is going on it's likely only that the US is
leveraging the events of 9/11 to gain US public acceptance to now go
in and finish the job, I don't see this as a bad thing. It's just
I thought about just posting the link:
... but then I thought what the hell, I'll post the whole thing. :-)
> Why do you not also post the entire text of Chomsky's rebuttal to the
> commentary? Otherwise the discussion is at least somewhat incomplete.
> Others can then judge what is the most logical reading of the text.
Point taken, but I did include a link to Chomsky's rebuttal.
A couple more links for readers:
Includes the original query from Lee Konstantinou which prompted
My response to Chomsky.
You can find all of this at
Feel free to pass it on. Chomsky's quite fond of using this quote.
As I said in my response:
The US has done plenty of immoral things. But *it shouldn't be
necessary to make stuff up*, and I think Chomsky's quote of
PPS/23 is so misleading that it falls into this category.
> Russil Wvong
> Vancouver, Canada
> alt.politics.international FAQ:
You know, I've not seen you around this group before. What's your favorite
Counting Crows song? Do you trawl the newsgroups daily, looking for new
appearances of this quote to paste your prefabricated reply to?
Would you take such issue if people posted a longer portion of the document,
as opposed to the condensed Chomsky version?
Perhaps like this:
-- George Kennan, PPS/23: Review of Current Trends in U.S. Foreign Policy
Published in Foreign Relations of the United States, 1948, Volume I, pp.
Or no? Hmm?
> The US has done plenty of immoral things. But *it shouldn't be
> necessary to make stuff up*, and I think Chomsky's quote of
> PPS/23 is so misleading that it falls into this category.
Hmm. Fair enough.
I'll refrain from using this quotation in the future.
Yes, it would be punishment! Let's take the hypothetical billionaire
(we'll call him James), let's say James grew up during the great
depression, he came from the lowest social class in the US and he
worked his way though college to obtain and education. While working
an entry level position in his field, James goes to night school to
obtain even a higher degree of education (all while trying to raise a
family), after spending many years in the industry James believes he
has what it takes to start his own company, he risk it all.
Years later, smart business moves, investments and many long hours has
made James worth $10 billion and has earned the company he started
(now a major corporation) a place on the Fortune 100 list.
Why should we take $9 billion away from James just to redistribute it?
If James knew any money he earned after $1 billion would be taken from
him by a government and redistributed, do you think he would have
worked as hard to achieve the same level of success? Of course not!
This is why in the US we don't punish achievement, yet many countries
in the world just don't understand why we don't take from the rich and
give to the poor. We are the richest nation and it is because, at its
core capitalism has proven to work very well.
If James decides to give $9 billion to a charity that helps out
Ethiopia then good for him, if he decides to give $9 billion to
charities that help families in poverty in the US, that should be his
choice. If James decides to give each of his friends and family
members $40 million each that should be his choice.
Pretty much. Google makes it pretty simple. The quote gets posted
*everywhere*. alt.fan.robert-jordan, soc.culture.scotland, you name it.
It's even turned up in French and Italian translations.
Why do I bother? I guess I think stuff like this is important -- was
George Kennan indeed advocating oppression of the world in 1948, or was he
not? I've seen the quote turn up in places like radical Islamic websites
and in Andrew Mickel's manifesto (Mickel shot and killed a cop, David
Mobilio, as a form of protest; there's more details on the quote page).
And from what I can tell, it's simply not true.
> Would you take such issue if people posted a longer portion of the document,
> as opposed to the condensed Chomsky version?
No. I appreciate it that you posted a link to the full document. I just
wanted to make it clear that the full text doesn't back up the condensed
> > The US has done plenty of immoral things. But *it shouldn't be
> > necessary to make stuff up*, and I think Chomsky's quote of
> > PPS/23 is so misleading that it falls into this category.
> Hmm. Fair enough.
> I'll refrain from using this quotation in the future.
Thanks. I appreciate your open-mindedness. I'll go away now. :-)
> Toby A Inkster wrote:
> > Say I were to find somebody with a fortune of $10billion and confiscate
> > $9billion of it to redistribute to those people you saw in Ethiopia a
> > couple of years back on 60 minutes or whatever -- the ones of those who
> > haven't starved to death yet anyway.
> > Would this be punishment?
> ... Why should we take $9 billion away from James just to redistribute it?
The best intro to economics that I've seen is Paul Krugman's "The Age
of Diminished Expectations." According to Krugman, the three most
important things about the economy are (a) productivity (output per
worker), (b) unemployment, and (c) income distribution.
Why income distribution? Because even if average productivity is high,
if income is distributed very unequally (as with the hypothetical
billionaire), there will be a lot of poor people. Krugman uses the
... consider this simple parable: There are two societies. In one,
everyone makes a living at some occupation--say, fishing--in which
the amount people earn over the course of a year is fairly closely
determined by their skill and effort. Incomes will not be equal in
this society--some people are better at fishing than others, some
people are willing to work harder than others--but the range of
incomes will not be that wide. And there will be a sense that
those who catch a lot of fish have earned their success.
In the other society, the main source of income is gold
prospecting. A few find rich mother lodes and become
wealthy. Others find smaller deposits, and many find themselves
working hard for very little reward. The result will be a very
unequal distribution of income. Some of this will still reflect
effort and skill: Those who are especially alert to signs of gold,
or willing to put in longer hours prospecting, will on average do
better than those who are not. But there will be many skilled,
industrious prospectors who do not get rich and a few who become
Surely the great majority of Americans, no matter how
conservative, instinctively feel that a nation that resembles the
second imaginary society is a worse place than one that resembles
... and moreover, the argument for some kind of income redistribution
would be stronger in the second society, where reward is not directly
related to effort, than in the first. (The linked article discusses
the fact that the US is becoming more and more like the second society:
incomes are becoming more and more polarized.)
There's also something called diminishing returns. An extra five
hundred dollars matters a whole lot more to someone who makes $5 an
hour than to someone who makes $100,000 a year.
Regarding the problem of poverty in the Third World, see
At any rate, I don't think the reason for the September 11 attacks was
that Osama bin Laden hates capitalism. The best analysis I've seen
is an article called "Somebody Else's Civil War", by Michael Doran.
Q. In your article, you argue that the United States is not Osama
bin Laden's primary target. What is his primary goal, and what
events did he hope the attacks on Sept. 11 would set in motion?
I argue that bin Laden dragged us into a civil war between radical
Islam and its local enemies. His primary goal was to foment
Islamic revolution, not unlike the kind of revolution that Iran
experienced in the late '70s and early '80s. His most important
targets were Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, but he would have been
happy to see his stringent brand of Islam wielding state power
anywhere in the Muslim world. Many in his organization, including
his top advisers, Ayman Zawahiri and Muhammad Atif, came from
Egypt, where for years they had struggled to carry out an Islamic
revolution. These men undoubtedly calculated that the war with the
United States would advance their cause in their native land.
> That is one difference, but they both have a common enemy in the US,
> and it's much more than that, that both burn with hatered for the US
> and would love nothing more than its downfall. I believe they would
> put differences aside to work togeather to attack the US if they
I strongly doubt Iraq would have anything to do with America if America
ignored her. Iraq has never attacked America, only defended herself. We
are the aggressors here -- let's get that straight.
> War leads to war, but in some cases what other alternatives do you
> have? Why Hitler came into power in the first place is water under the
> bridge at the time he had to be dealt with. It is valid to ask why he
> came into power in the first place? But, the point is he's in power
> now, what do we do? what alternatives to war were there at that time?
I'm not entirely sure what the alternatives would have been. 1930s Germany
is not one of my strong points. Had Hitler been assassinated by a sniper,
I'm not sure what would have happened, but it probably would have been
better than what did happen.
> Toby wrote:
>> And what if China is doing the same? What if America is? (America have a
>> history of supplying arms to foreign terrorists)
> Source please.
You make this too easy. America armed and trained Osama Bin Laden in the
1980s -- see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/155236.stm
> That doesn't change what he does to his people and his policies. At
> the time of the war with Iraq the US should have removed Saddam from
> power, but it's part of our policy to not remove leaders from power.
It seems to be policy to me.
There are other examples, but Guatemala is a personal favourite of mine,
as the leader the CIA overthrew was both:
a) democratically-elected; and
b) seemed a really nice guy.
Also, the regime they put in his place ended up executing nearly a quarter
of a million people over the next 40 years.
Toby A Inkster BSc (Hons) ARCS
Web Page: http://www.goddamn.co.uk/tobyink/
IM: AIM:inka80 ICQ:6622880 YIM:tobyink Jabber:tob...@a-message.de
I'm meditating on the FORMALDEHYDE and the ASBESTOS leaking into my
If only it could be that simple... Where to start, okay first of all
your parable is talking a simple (primitive if you will) culture where
fishing, hunting, and construction are the common career paths. But
let's go with it, how did the skilled fisherman who catch the majority
of the fish become skilled? They worked harder at their craft than the
others, they put more time into it likely because they had a passion
for doing it. Others in the community might have been very skilled at
say mathematics or creative writing, but in their society these
talents had little use to bring income. The opportunity was not there
for these people to reach their full potential, so in this society the
system described works well.
The second part of this parable can not be an analogy for US society.
When one goes to college to peruse an education she's hardly digging
for gold. The gold miners had no proven path to success, and try draw
this analogy implies that the wealthy in the US acquired their wealth
by luck, when in fact if you study most of them, they spent a decade
or more of trial and error, talking calculated risk to form a plan
that would get them were they are, they weren't randomly digging for
Those who work hard in our society and do not get much in return, need
only increase their skills (though education) to change that. Some
career paths require less skill to master than others, or perhaps many
people decide to follow a certain path and so demand is reduced for
it. Again, not everyone in a capitalistic society is after the
almighty dollar, many of us do what we do because we have passion for
it and one of the many fruits of our society is that it gives our
nation enough money to provide the same opportunity for everyone.
Take someone such as Bill Gates worth over $40 billion, look at what
his software has provided a entirely new generation of user friendly
computers for the world. Would Bill have been driven to get his
product out there or create some of the products his company if the
government were going to take all income after the first $1 billion. I
don't think so. Is Bill greedy? Well, that's subjective (and please,
let's keep Microsoft business practices outside of this debate), but
he has committed to giving back most of his wealth to charities before
he dies. If Bill lived in a society that punished achievement he would
have never had the $40 billion on had to choice to give back. Bill is
one of many wealthy elite who will give back a good chuck of what hey
have acquired. To punish people for their accumulated wealth is wrong.
Here is another example, let's say you're in college with a good
friend of yours. In college you work hard to quire good grades, you
skip many of the social elements of college to keep a perfect GPA. Now
let's say your friend decides to indulge in the party lifestyle and
his GPA slips to a point he will be thrown out of college if he does
not do better. Let's say the school master pulls you to the side one
day and says "I noticed your good friend will soon be expelled, would
you give up half of your GPA points to allow him to stay". If you
could do this, would you?
> Those who work hard in our society and do not get much in return, need
> only increase their skills (though education) to change that.
So all those people starving in Africa just aren't trying hard enough? Do
they just need more of a "can do" attitude? I guess the same goes for the
12 year olds in Indonesia making your shoes, right?
The fact is, that those in Africa have had very bad luck with weather
conditions, causing massive droughts, etc. Those in Indonesia have had the
bad luck of being born into a country that the West has been exploiting
for hundreds of years.
Russil's point was that capitalism is only fair if nobody has bad luck.
But in life, people have bad luck. They aim of society should be to smooth
out bad luck and good luck. Those who are lucky should be required to help
out those that are less so.
That said, this debate is not really about the pitfalls of capitalism.
I agree, believe it or not, that capitalism has its good points and
socialism has a downside. What is really needed is a good balance, similar
to the current Norwiegen system -- a capitalist society with a lot of
nationalised services and a high rate of taxation.
> Take someone such as Bill Gates worth over $40 billion, look at what
> his software has provided a entirely new generation of user friendly
> computers for the world. Would Bill have been driven to get his
> product out there or create some of the products his company if the
> government were going to take all income after the first $1 billion. I
> don't think so.
So, are you saying, that it is impossible to develop a user-friendly
computer system without the promise of lots of cash?
Well, take a look at:
Yes, a GNOME (non-Microsoft!) desktop. Created (mainly) voluntarily.
Toby A Inkster BSc (Hons) ARCS
Web Page: http://www.goddamn.co.uk/tobyink/
IM: AIM:inka80 ICQ:6622880 YIM:tobyink Jabber:tob...@a-message.de
I don't know WHY I said that ... I think it came from the FILLINGS in
my read molars ...
After all, if no one came by to pick up your garbage every day, what would
happen to it? It would pile up and you'd have to take it to the dump
yourself, costing you time and effort. These people provide a service that
makes life more efficient. Is it any more or less valuable than Bill Gates
"providing an entirely new generation of user friendly computers for the
world" (some would argue with the value of this, and ultimately Bill himself
did nothing of the kind <G>)? I would say it's quite arguable, and different
people might see it differently. But because of the structure of Capitalism,
Bill is rewarded more from sustained effort than Mr. Garbage Collector.
What is the garbage collector's incentive? Why does Bill's need to be
different? Why should he be rewarded more if we cannot accurately and
unconditionally determine that his contribution is of greater value? The
same is true of almost any job, ultimately.
Jobs, services, products, production itself exists because there is some
demand. I assure you that Windows PC's would not be the last thing to go in
a society forced to pare down to the basics. So obviously they're not the
most valuable or necessary things in life, yet Bill is one of the 10 richest
people in the country, and none of the other richest people likely work in
areas that would ultimately be a part of the most important fundamentals of
life. If anything, a farmer should be most rewarded because he/she provides
us with the basics of sustenance, without which all else would be
As you can see, reward of wealth for effort is hardly proportional to job
importance or even effort - mental or physical. So reward for work must be
made more proportional. Ultimately no one should be able to make 40 billion
dollars, because there's simply no way that any 1 person could ever do
enough "work" in their lifetime to truly be worth being rewarded with 40
billion dollars. It's the 10,000 people under Bill's employ that make his
own skill, ideas and work worth 40 billion dollars, so why is that wealth
not more distributed amongst them, without whom Bill would simply be an
ambitious but unsuccessful businessman and programmer? Because, contrary to
what you might think, pure capitalism is not perfect.
"Ramzey" <jeremy...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
Correct. If they catch more fish than the others, maybe there's some
luck involved, but mostly it's because they put more work into it.
> The second part of this parable can not be an analogy for US society.
I think it's actually a pretty good analogy. Consider the Internet
boom of a couple years ago, when small and large investors alike
poured floods of cash into startup companies. A computer programmer
who joined a startup at the right time and worked insane hours for
a couple years might make millions; or he might make nothing at all,
depending on when the startup hit the IPO market. "Gold rush"
describes it perfectly.
It's not like gold miners go around digging at random. They have
to work hard too. The key thing is that a few strike it rich,
while most don't, no matter how hard they work.
The entertainment industry works in a similar way. The entertainment
companies do their best to provide entertainment that will somehow
resonate with the public. Most such ventures -- most movies, most
bands -- fail. A few make hundreds of millions of dollars, or even
billions (counting tie-in products): Star Wars, Titanic, Lord of
In an increasingly networked world, we have a winner-takes-all
society: a lawyer friend says that her office converted from
WordPerfect to Microsoft Word not because it's a better product,
but because so many clients are now using Word. That's a major
reason that Microsoft is so profitable, and that Bill Gates is
so rich. Again, if you're working for Microsoft, you win; if
you're working for one of Microsoft's competitors, you lose.
For an Old Economy example, check out Michael Lewis's description
of the 20-something bond traders in the 1980s in "Liar's Poker."
One counterargument is that these examples don't describe the
economy as a whole. Well, unfortunately, they do. See the link:
Many conservatives have probably stopped reading by now, or
at least stopped being able to respond to this article with
anything other than blind anger, but for those who are still
with me let me make a crucial point about these statistics:
They say nothing about who, if anyone, is to blame. To say
that America was a far more unequal society in 1989 than it
was in 1973 is a simple statement of fact, not an attack on
Ronald Reagan. Think about the parable of the fishermen and
the prospectors: The greater inequality of the latter society
did not come about because it has worse leadership but because
it lives in a different environment. And changes in the
environment--in world markets, or in technology--might change
a society of middle-class fishermen into a society with
dismaying extremes of wealth and poverty, without it
necessarily being the result of deliberate policies.
I'm not saying there's something immoral about this. But simply
from a practical point of view, if we assume that the government
needs to spend money on the military, on public education, and
on other public services (roads, homeland security, etc.), why
is it so unfair to have a tax system in which rich people pay
more than poor people? This isn't "punishment."
Bill Gates and Warren Buffett:
> Here is another example, let's say you're in college with a good
> friend of yours. In college you work hard to quire good grades, you
> skip many of the social elements of college to keep a perfect GPA. Now
> let's say your friend decides to indulge in the party lifestyle and
> his GPA slips to a point he will be thrown out of college if he does
> not do better. Let's say the school master pulls you to the side one
> day and says "I noticed your good friend will soon be expelled, would
> you give up half of your GPA points to allow him to stay". If you
> could do this, would you?
No. I think college is more like the fishing example -- your grades
depend on how hard you work. I'd tell my friend to start fishing. :-)
Not sure I buy this argument. *Supply and demand* also play a major role.
If two people are working equally hard, but one is working at a job where
supply is low (e.g. a plumber), while another is working at a job where
supply is high (e.g. a kindergarten teacher), then, other things being
equal, the plumber will make more money. You need to pay the plumber
higher wages to outbid other people who want to employ the plumber.
Similarly for demand. Someone who gets a doctorate in religious studies
has worked very hard, but there's not much demand, so they're not going
to get high wages.
> Certainly reward is based on *perceived* value, but there is no
> scientific process or fact behind it, ...
Well, it's not a scientific process, but it is an empirical process --
wages are determined by what employers are willing to pay, and workers
are willing to accept.
The only alternative that comes to mind is a centrally planned system
in which wage levels are determined by fiat, and I'm not sure the results
would be any better. It'd certainly be a less flexible system. The
wage market that we have now can adjust very rapidly to shifts in
supply and demand. If there aren't enough plumbers, wages go up,
attracting more people to become plumbers.
Note that I'm *not* saying the outcome of the current wage market is
going to be fair -- I'm not a True Believer in the liberal doctrine of
the "harmony of interests" -- which is why I support progressive
taxation and (in Canada, at least) a certain amount of income
In particular, certain "superstars" -- celebrities and CEOs, in
particular -- get paid enormous amounts of money (hence the gold-mining
analogy). There isn't much competition in that market: who can you
replace Eminem with?
In any case, I think it's obvious that the current structure of corporate
bodies and our business strategies and philosophies as a whole are very
imbalanced towards the people at the top. I find it difficult to support the
notion that the CEO's, CFO's, etc. of any corporation are really providing
so much more value than any other member of the business such that they
deserve literally 100 or more times the wages, not to mention "golden
parachutes" when they're "laid off", life insurance policies, stock options,
heck sometimes corporations even buy houses and other luxuries for their
So, ultimately I'm just saying wages and compensation should be
proportionalized as functionally as possible. This does not preclude supply
and demand, but at the least it should be within a certain range. After all,
if there were no millionaires, who could afford to spend 1000/hr on one of
the top 10 lawyers in the world, even if they wanted to? That lawyer
wouldn't be able to charge that much, their wages would much more
realistically reflect their value to the individuals they serve and their
contributions to their communities.
Again, my point is that wages should be *reasonable*, within a not-explicit
but implicit range, derived from the overall economic means of the people in
this given (currently imaginary) financial system. Since none of those
people ultimately can be multi-millionaires, due to the very nature of the
system, wages and costs better reflect "realistic" limits. Equalizing
happens naturally as a result of the limitations of the system, just as our
current form of capitalism is inherently *imbalancing*.
Ah. Unfortunately I think we still need corporations. The problem is
that for some projects -- building optical-fiber networks, for example,
or making a movie -- you need one hell of a lot of capital. (Making the
Lord of the Rings trilogy required several hundred million dollars,
for example. Building a coast-to-coast optical-fiber network requires
several billion dollars.) I don't see how to organize this amount of
capital without a corporation.
The only alternative I can see is the government, but I don't think it'd
be a good idea for all projects above a certain size to be run by the
It's true that CEO compensation levels are ridiculously high, especially
compared to a few decades ago (or compared to Japan, for example). People
have been concerned about this for a long time. What's the answer?
Greater shareholder involvement in setting CEO salaries? General
public outrage? Taxation and redistribution? I don't know. But
I don't think getting rid of corporations is the answer.
For a good article on skyrocketing CEO compensation and social norms, see
Paul Krugman's October 2002 article from the New York Times, "For Richer":
I do not at all suggest abolishing corporations. I agree, they are very
necessary for some of our greatest advancements and achievements today.
However, they need to exist, as they once did, to *serve* the public good,
beholden to the needs of the people upon which their existence depends, and
by whose good graces they are allowed to accumulate production capacity and
Look at how corporations used to work in this country 100, 200 years ago. We
didn't *used* to be "slaves" of the corporations, although admittedly in a
similar time-frame there were plenty of other equally bad work-environment
problems - 16 hour workdays, low wages, child labor, etc. I don't suggest we
forget the other advances we have made, technologically or socially. Only
that shareholder and executive responsibility be increased to a level
*greater* than the individual (since no individual is able to accumulate,
concentrate or wield the amount of wealth that a corporation can, this only
makes sense to me), and wages be capped and proportionalized.
This is what I meant when I said "the way the economy of corporations is
handled should be restructured". Not, as I said, that corporations should be
outlawed, only that they should be more accountable and more structured
towards equalized distribution of wealth. Profit sharing should be the rule
rather than the exception (just for an example). After all, who is to say
that the CEO had a level of magnitude more to do with a company's success
than the secretary who took the call that sealed the "big deal"? <G>
Obviously any profit sharing would be proportional to wages, since wages are
already intended to accurately portray someone's value to a company, and
systems should exist to ensure that. So the example secretary would not, of
course, make as much as the CEO, yet still the CEO would not make 100 or
more times what she makes, either in wages or in profit sharing bonuses.
"Russil Wvong" <russi...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
Washington, DC (Reuters) -- A tragic fire has destroyed the personal
library of President George W. Bush.
Both of his books have been lost.
The president is reportedly devastated; apparently he had not finished
coloring the second one.
FROM: GEORGE WALKER BUSH
DEAR SIR / MADAM,
I AM GEORGE WALKER BUSH, SON OF THE FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF
AMERICA GEORGE HERBERT WALKER BUSH, AND CURRENTLY SERVING AS PRESIDENT OF
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. THIS LETTER MIGHT SURPRISE YOU BECAUSE WE HAVE
NOT MET NEITHER IN PERSON NOR BY CORRESPONDENCE. I CAME TO KNOW OF YOU IN MY
SEARCH FOR A RELIABLE AND REPUTABLE PERSON TO HANDLE A VERY CONFIDENTIAL
BUSINESS TRANSACTION, WHICH INVOLVES THE TRANSFER OF A HUGE SUM OF MONEY TO
AN ACCOUNT REQUIRING MAXIMUM CONFIDENCE.
I AM WRITING YOU IN ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE PRIMARILY TO SEEK YOUR ASSISTANCE IN
ACQUIRING OIL FUNDS THAT ARE PRESENTLY TRAPPED IN THE REPUBLIC OF IRAQ. MY
PARTNERS AND I SOLICIT YOUR ASSISTANCE IN COMPLETING A TRANSACTION BEGUN BY
MY FATHER, WHO HAS LONG BEEN ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN THE EXTRACTION OF PETROLEUM
IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, AND BRAVELY SERVED HIS COUNTRY AS DIRECTOR
OF THE UNITED STATES CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY.
IN THE DECADE OF THE NINETEEN-EIGHTIES, MY FATHER, THEN VICE-PRESIDENT OF
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, SOUGHT TO WORK WITH THE GOOD OFFICES OF THE
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF IRAQ TO REGAIN LOST OIL REVENUE SOURCES IN THE
NEIGHBORING ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN. THIS UNSUCCESSFUL VENTURE WAS SOON
FOLLOWED BY A FALLING OUT WITH HIS IRAQI PARTNER, WHO SOUGHT TO ACQUIRE
ADDITIONAL OIL REVENUE SOURCES IN THE NEIGHBORING EMIRATE OF KUWAIT, A
WHOLLY-OWNED U.S.-BRITISH SUBSIDIARY.
MY FATHER RE-SECURED THE PETROLEUM ASSETS OF KUWAIT IN 1991 AT A COST OF
SIXTY-ONE BILLION U.S. DOLLARS ($61,000,000,000). OUT OF THAT COST,
THIRTY-SIX BILLION DOLLARS ($36,000,000,000) WERE SUPPLIED BY HIS PARTNERS
IN THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA AND OTHER PERSIAN GULF MONARCHIES, AND
SIXTEEN BILLION DOLLARS ($16,000,000,000) BY GERMAN AND JAPANESE PARTNERS.
BUT MY FATHER'S FORMER IRAQI BUSINESS PARTNER REMAINED IN CONTROL OF THE
REPUBLIC OF IRAQ AND ITS PETROLEUM RESERVES.
MY FAMILY IS CALLING FOR YOUR URGENT ASSISTANCE IN FUNDING THE REMOVAL OF
THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF IRAQ AND ACQUIRING THE PETROLEUM ASSETS OF
HIS COUNTRY, AS COMPENSATION FOR THE COSTS OF REMOVING HIM FROM POWER.
UNFORTUNATELY, OUR PARTNERS FROM 1991 ARE NOT WILLING TO SHOULDER THE BURDEN
OF THIS NEW VENTURE, WHICH IN ITS UPCOMING PHASE MAY COST THE SUM OF 100
BILLION TO 200 BILLION DOLLARS ($100,000,000,000 - $200,000,000,000), BOTH
IN THE INITIAL ACQUISITION AND IN LONG-TERM MANAGEMENT.
WITHOUT THE FUNDS FROM OUR 1991 PARTNERS, WE WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO ACQUIRE
THE OIL REVENUE TRAPPED WITHIN IRAQ. THAT IS WHY MY FAMILY AND OUR
COLLEAGUES ARE URGENTLY SEEKING YOUR GRACIOUS ASSISTANCE. OUR DISTINGUISHED
COLLEAGUES IN THIS BUSINESS TRANSACTION INCLUDE THE SITTING VICE-PRESIDENT
OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, RICHARD CHENEY, WHO IS AN ORIGINAL PARTNER
IN THE IRAQ VENTURE AND FORMER HEAD OF THE HALLIBURTON OIL COMPANY, AND
CONDOLEEZA RICE, WHOSE PROFESSIONAL DEDICATION TO THE VENTURE WAS
DEMONSTRATED IN THE NAMING OF A CHEVRON OIL TANKER AFTER HER.
I WOULD BESEECH YOU TO TRANSFER A SUM EQUALING TEN TO TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT
(10-25 %) OF YOUR YEARLY INCOME TO OUR ACCOUNT TO AID IN THIS IMPORTANT
VENTURE. THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA WILL
FUNCTION AS OUR TRUSTED INTERMEDIARY. I PROPOSE THAT YOU MAKE THIS TRANSFER
BEFORE THE FIFTEENTH (15TH) OF THE MONTH OF APRIL.
I KNOW THAT A TRANSACTION OF THIS MAGNITUDE WOULD MAKE ANYONE APPREHENSIVE
AND WORRIED. BUT I AM ASSURING YOU THAT ALL WILL BE WELL AT THE END OF THE
DAY. A BOLD STEP TAKEN SHALL NOT BE REGRETTED, I ASSURE YOU. PLEASE DO BE
INFORMED THAT THIS BUSINESS TRANSACTION IS 100% LEGAL. IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO
CO-OPERATE IN THIS TRANSACTION, PLEASE CONTACT OUR INTERMEDIARY
REPRESENTATIVES TO FURTHER DISCUSS THE MATTER.
I PRAY THAT YOU UNDERSTAND OUR PLIGHT. MY FAMILY AND OUR COLLEAGUES WILL BE
FOREVER GRATEFUL. PLEASE REPLY IN STRICT CONFIDENCE TO THE CONTACT NUMBERS
SINCERELY WITH WARM REGARDS,
GEORGE WALKER BUSH