Rob offers his apologies.

Page 7 of 11  
Leon wrote:

No, neither precludes the other. Simultaneously preserving both requires a modicum of intellignce and wisdom, however.
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Basically I have always seen that statement as being moot.
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Morris Dovey wrote:

It is not a "fundamental principle" that we roll over and play dead for combatants hiding behind civilian garb. It is not a "fundamental principle" that such individuals be extended the benefits of our social contract. It is not a "fundamental principle" that such individuals should be entirely free of duress, discomfort, and even intimidation. Only in the degenerate lexicon of the New Intellectual are these "principles" of any sort. And *I* and thoroughly ashamed of *them* - the people that insist I commit suicide and then try to hide behind some perverse and malignant reinterpretation of Liberty to suit their ideological stupidities. You do not negotiate with Evil, you crush it to death with extreme violence so that the crushing is quick and complete. But our fine New Intellectual degenerates cannot even utter the notion that Evil even exists. They're too busy trying to rehabilitate child predators, terrorist, despots, and fools.
Your premises are lousy and your conclusions correspondingly worse.
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Tim Daneliuk wrote:

And only the straw men in your fantasyland have suggested any such things.
Care to join us in the real world?
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Tim Daneliuk (in snipped-for-privacy@eskimo.tundraware.com) said:
| Morris Dovey wrote: || Tim Daneliuk (in snipped-for-privacy@eskimo.tundraware.com) said: || ||| snipped-for-privacy@spamcop.net wrote: |||| |||| False. Not only can we win without abandoning our principles, we |||| cannot win if we do. |||| |||| Abandonment of our principles is suicide. ||| ||| So is clinging to them to the point where we are annihilated. ||| Survival comes before legal nuance notwithstanding the fantasyland ||| inhabited by a good many of the war critics. || || It would seem that you've not noticed the rather large number of || men and women who valued our principles more highly than their || personal survival - and the lesser (but still awesomely large) || number who did not, in fact, survive - all so that you and I might || live in what you so casually refer to as "fantasyland". || || If you choose to discard our fundamental principles in favor of || some hoped-for longevity; most will understand - and I would guess || that most will also be ashamed for you. | | | It is not a "fundamental principle" that we roll over and play dead | for combatants hiding behind civilian garb. It is not a | "fundamental principle" that such individuals be extended the | benefits of our social contract. It is not a "fundamental | principle" that such individuals should be entirely free of duress, | discomfort, and even intimidation. Only in the degenerate lexicon | of the New Intellectual are these "principles" of any sort. And | *I* and thoroughly ashamed of *them* - the people that insist I | commit suicide and then try to hide behind some perverse and | malignant reinterpretation of Liberty to suit their ideological | stupidities. You do not negotiate with Evil, you crush it to death | with extreme violence so that the crushing is quick and complete. | But our fine New Intellectual degenerates cannot even utter the | notion that Evil even exists. They're too busy trying to | rehabilitate child predators, terrorist, despots, and fools. | | Your premises are lousy and your conclusions correspondingly worse.
Then we have irreconcilable differences of opinion. My first principle was aptly set forth by Jefferson when he wrote: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, ..." In my mind and heart, I broaden "men" to "persons"; and I add emphasis to "all."
I believe that every person is accountable for what they do. I believe that within the purview of the USA, all persons should be subject to the same legal standards. If (for example) within our purview, the crime is murder - then the offender should be tried for that crime; and if found guilty, punished in the same manner as other murderers. I do not find it appropriate to maintain different systems or standards of justice for arbitrary groupings of persons.
I understand your desire for retribution for wrongs; as well as your loathing of evil and your desire to eliminate it. I also understand that you would impose your own personal notion of justice (and perhaps your own personal definition of evil) on all the rest of the world. I've seen this before - and don't need more.
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto
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Morris Dovey wrote:

I concur without reservation.

Again, complete agreement.

Not the case, or at least not as you frame it. The only "evil" for which I see redress is that "evil" which causes harm to others. For instance, I think drug abuse is "evil" in that is causes great harm to the individual abusing the drug. But until/unless their drug abuse causes harm to others, I seek no legal (i.e., forceful) remediation. In the matter of geopolitics, I similarly do not see it as our (the democratic West) job to intervene until/unless the actions of other people or nations jeopardizes that democratic West.
The thing that makes the current situation difficult is that the threat is a gathering and growing one with very real potential for global nuclear holocaust. The moral question is analogous to this: If you're in a bar and someone threatens you, just *when* do you have the right to act forcefully? Assuming they have the means to carry out their threat ("threat" is only meaningful if the capacity to deliver the promise exists), do you wait until you've actually been struck by the beer bottle or can you act during the backswing? What is distressing about this entire debate is that the political Right wants to use this as an excuse to "deliver" the enemy into democracy, which clearly does not work. By contrast, the Left seems to want to wait until we're actually bleeding on the bar counter before acting, and in the mean time have some silly nuanced discussion about whether our domestic legal protections ought to be invoked. What is rarely discussed is the dimension of the asymmetric threat in a nuclear world connected by travel, transportation, and techology. In this case, the "beer bottle" once delivered will be devastating.
Like you, I dislike much of what is going on at the moment, but what choice do we realistically have? Do we wait for an apocalyptic culture of suicidal maniacs to be armed to the point that we have no choice but to respond with nuclear weapons? In the real world the choice is not the Sunday School choice of simple Good vs. Bad. It is the choice between Bad and Worse.
The thing that makes this discussion so perverse is that the neo-cons have conflated defense and "bringing stability and democracy to the region". No wonder their critics shake their heads in dismay. But, that said, no matter how lousy the rationale', the general trajectory of stopping the disease before it is an epidemic is a sound one. Given any realistic and possible alternative, I'd support it, but I just don't see one. Lockeian/Jeffersonian Liberty is and always should be our inarguable guiding principle. But, it's not a suicide pact and ugly conditions demand ugly responses.

I understand and share your angst for exactly the same reasons, I suspect. But I find it telling that the relatively minor sins of the West in these matters get magnified out of all proportion but the very real and far more serious abuses of the asymmetric warriors get's only a brief glance in the popular debate. As I've said previously, one of the (many) reasons I've become so completely disaffected with the political Left is that they have utterly failed in their role as the "loyal opposition". Instead of dissecting every small failing of the Bush administration, the US Left should have been acting quietly and diplomatically within the halls of power to steer a course everyone could live with. They haven't. They've taken the stance that *anything* W and his crew does is wrong with hope against hope they can regain majority power. Their political ambition trumps the good of democracy.They are contemptible for this. (N.B. That the neo-cons, however wrong you think they are, have *not* done this. They have taken a position and stuck to it in the face of great political pressure and possible loss of power.) Unfortunately, this means that, at least for now, the neo-cons get it all their way. I find this chilling, but not as chilling as doing nothing while we argue about whether US Code applies to Jamal The Suicide Bomber ...

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Tim Daneliuk (in snipped-for-privacy@eskimo.tundraware.com) said:
| Morris Dovey wrote: || || I understand your desire for retribution for wrongs; as well as || your loathing of evil and your desire to eliminate it. I also || understand that you would impose your own personal notion of || justice (and perhaps your own personal definition of evil) on all || the rest of the world. | | Not the case, or at least not as you frame it. The only "evil" for | which I see redress is that "evil" which causes harm to others. For | instance, I think drug abuse is "evil" in that is causes great harm | to the individual abusing the drug. But until/unless their drug | abuse causes harm to others, I seek no legal (i.e., forceful) | remediation. In the matter of geopolitics, I similarly do not see | it as our (the democratic West) job to intervene until/unless the | actions of other people or nations jeopardizes that democratic West.
That's a form of isolationism that I don't think will work. Interventions are seldom welcome; and we would do well to participate as members of a global community intervention team. Unilateral interventions should only be done as a last ditch desperation effort.
| The thing that makes the current situation difficult is that the | threat is a gathering and growing one with very real potential for | global nuclear holocaust. The moral question is analogous to this: | If you're in a bar and someone threatens you, just *when* do you | have the right to act forcefully? Assuming they have the means to | carry out their threat ("threat" is only meaningful if the capacity | to deliver the promise exists), do you wait until you've actually | been struck by the beer bottle or can you act during the backswing? | What is distressing about this entire debate is that the political | Right wants to use this as an excuse to "deliver" the enemy into | democracy, which clearly does not work. By contrast, the Left seems | to want to wait until we're actually bleeding on the bar counter | before acting, and in the mean time have some silly nuanced | discussion about whether our domestic legal protections ought to be | invoked. What is rarely discussed is the dimension of the | asymmetric threat in a nuclear world connected by travel, | transportation, and techology. In this case, the "beer bottle" once | delivered will be devastating.
Your assessment seems to be unduly pessimistic; which doesn't mean that you're necessarily wrong - but I just don't think the actual threat level is really so high.
I don't go to bars - in part because I really don't enjoy being around shitfaced people who can't control themselves. In the relatively few real life fights I've been in, I've tried first to avoid a fight altogether, taken the first and only blow from an oponent, and then fought berserk. I've never fought to inflict pain - I fight to end the fight as quickly and decisively as possible.
| Like you, I dislike much of what is going on at the moment, but what | choice do we realistically have? Do we wait for an apocalyptic | culture of suicidal maniacs to be armed to the point that we have | no choice but to respond with nuclear weapons? In the real world | the choice is not the Sunday School choice of simple Good vs. Bad. | It is the choice between Bad and Worse.
We have a number of choices: We can become culturally aware, learn a bit of world history, and recognize that all peoples have something to offer. We can be the kind of friend that no one wants to pick a fight with. We can look back at our own recent history and notice that power flowed to us most rapidly when we empowered others; and drained away most rapidly when we attempted to use our power to control others. We can do a lot better job of listening to both friends and adversaries.
| The thing that makes this discussion so perverse is that the | neo-cons have conflated defense and "bringing stability and | democracy to the region". No wonder their critics shake their | heads in dismay. But, that said, no matter how lousy the | rationale', the general trajectory of stopping the disease before | it is an epidemic is a sound one. Given any realistic and possible | alternative, I'd support it, but I just don't see one. | Lockeian/Jeffersonian Liberty is and always should be our | inarguable guiding principle. But, it's not a suicide pact and | ugly conditions demand ugly responses.
There are possible ways of slowing down and ultimately stopping the "disease"; but we'll first need to decide that's what we really want to do...
|| I've seen this before - and don't need more. | | I understand and share your angst for exactly the same reasons, I | suspect. But I find it telling that the relatively minor sins of the | West in these matters get magnified out of all proportion but the | very real and far more serious abuses of the asymmetric warriors | get's only a brief glance in the popular debate. As I've said | previously, one of the (many) reasons I've become so completely | disaffected with the political Left is that they have utterly | failed in their role as the "loyal opposition". Instead of | dissecting every small failing of the Bush administration, the US | Left should have been acting quietly and diplomatically within the | halls of power to steer a course everyone could live with. They | haven't. They've taken the stance that *anything* W and his crew | does is wrong with hope against hope they can regain majority | power. Their political ambition trumps the good of democracy.They | are contemptible for this. (N.B. That the neo-cons, however wrong | you think they are, have *not* done this. They have taken a | position and stuck to it in the face of great political pressure | and possible loss of power.) Unfortunately, this means that, at | least for now, the neo-cons get it all their way. I find this | chilling, but not as chilling as doing nothing while we argue about | whether US Code applies to Jamal The Suicide Bomber ...
The sins of the West are "relatively minor" only to westerners. There are cultural issues at play with no shortage of ignorance and misunderstanding at any side.
One of the difficulties we've made for ourselves is that we've allowed political and economic stakeholders to fabricate "wedge issues" to polarize our thinking. We really need to rediscover our center - to focus on what we have in common and the amazing kinds of things we can do when we work together to get problems solved. That doesn't mean that disagreements vanish - but it does mean that we see differences of opinion as indicators of opportunity to engage in constructive dialog to work out better solutions.
A pox on both the left _and_ the right! Let's get back to the center.
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto
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wrote:
<<< Snip >>>

Insightful and well-reasoned posts as always, Morris.
This rings true for me as well, though I must confess to having fought quite often as teenager before I knew any better. What really unnerves me about our current actions in Iraq is a similar analogy- though I'll call it a playground rather than a bar.
Imagine a fifth-grade kid on a playground full of first-grade students- he's bigger, smarter and stronger, and probably feels like the boss. Let's call him America. While he may be fundimentally a good kid, and desires to be a fair mediator amongst his younger companions, the very attributes which make him a natural source of leadership also make him much more potentially dangerous than the others.
Now, if this kid is standing around looking after the others, and one sneaky little fellow with fast hands yanks down his pants and knocks him over to his great embarassment and minor personal injury, I would imagine that he wants some vengence. If he knows who the kid was, no problem- revenge can be taken in a targeted and precise manner. But this isn't what happens- the sneaky fellow hides in a crowd of his peers, and now the big guy has no specific target.
He has two choices- he can let it go, and try to earn the respect of the other children so that he might be warned of future outrages against his dignity in advance and head them off with a proper level of discretion, or he can start beating the others willy-nilly and exacting revenge aginst all of them- while they may not have been parties to the original offence, he doesn't want them getting the idea that he is weak and vulnerable. Now, not all of those kids are going to be nice- some might not play well with the others, smell funny, or have strange habits like eating the paste. So the big guy smacks them around first, justifying his actions by claiming that while they may not have been the one who yanked his shorts down, they had it coming anyway.
Most of the others will cower. Others, as a result of direct assult or observation that the strong man gets his way on the playground, will develop a flawed mindset that encourages them to escilate the violence that has already occured so they may be the king of the hill. Maybe the next week, three of the first-graders whack the big guy on the back of the knees with a bat and then hide in the bushes. So the same thing happens again- crushing retaliation against those who have witnessed his shame, without certain knowledge of who has commited the acts which set him off. This continues for months, maybe years- eventually, one of those first-grade kids will get his dad's gun, and come in shooting. Or maybe all those kids get the big guy in a secluded corner and beat him to death. No more big guy- and what started as a bloody knee becomes a homicide.
I'm not afraid of "terrorists". They're first-grade kids who don't know any better. Right now, there's a handful of them, and they gave us a good punch in the nose. We can survive punches in the nose- more than a few, really. It might hurt, and it sure stings the pride, but it is not fatal to our body as a whole. I know it hurts the families of those who die in terrorist attacks- and my heart goes out to them, but I will not support the idea that a family's pain justifies the destruction of a nation. But if we continue beating on them all, we will turn otherwise decent people who have done little or nothing to us into enraged psychopaths who are willing to die to knock us down. No one at all is safe from a man who is willing to die to kill them.
You want the terrorists to "win"? Keep manufacturing new recruits and allies for them. They'll do nothing but thank you for it.
In all the fights I've ever been in, only one earned me any respect- after a misunderstanding with a guy I considered my friend, he punched me in the face as hard as he could. This was a big guy, and most others were afraid of him. He was my friend, so I stood steady, looked him in the eyes, and asked him if he was finished through my dislocated jaw- never raising my voice or my fists. I don't know who would have won that fight if it had continued- I've never been hit so hard in my life. But I do know this- every time I beat another person, whether it was justified or not, it led to another fight with a person who was stronger than the last one. After I took that blow and shrugged it off, I never had to fight again- instead of thinking I was afraid or weak, it seems others thought I was invulnerable. Sure, a punch in the face hurts- but it's easier to stand firm against one or two than it is to trade a thousand destructive blows that leave both sides battered and broken. They have discharged their poison, and others see that it had no effect.
I know some of my statements have lead some or even perhaps all of you to consider me a raving leftist, and I do agree with some of their principles- just as I agree with some of the right's. But setting labels aside, I was born into and groomed in a culture of extrordinary violence and I know how it works. I have seen feuds started and finished, and I have watched gallons of blood shed without even leaving my neighborhood. My life is a million miles from that now, but there is nothing new under the sun. Once again, I can only state clearly and unequivocally that poorly targeted violent reactions to violent actions can only breed more violence- if you're really afraid of terrorists, we need to take a different course. They are not an invading government- they are sneaky little worms who have only the power our own rage grants them and encourages.
I know some of you will claim that a schoolyard is not a global struggle against the forces of evil and "Islamo-facism(tm)". But people are people, no matter what language they speak or in which geographical area they reside. And despite what we'd all like to hope, most never do progress much beyond those earliest days on the playground- some will share willingly, some force their power on others, some hide in the corner keep to themselves. We're not what we tell each other we are- we are what we actually are. And what we actually are is human, with all the bumps and warts that that entails. And a human child is just a miniature adult who has not yet developed a sophisticated shell of accumulated bullshit. Scrape the shit off, and you'll find most folks are overgrown children with complex defenses. So let's be the tough but fair teacher that the kids respect- not the raving bully the other kids fear.
<<< Snip >>>

I second that- and note that halfway between the current pseudo-left and the current ultra-right isn't our traditional center.
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I intend to expend the time and effort to better inform myself; and I would suggest that you do the same. We agree that a problem exists; but do not agree on what the problem actually is, even though we both see at least some of the same manifestations. We each seem to have information that the other does not and that has made dialog difficult at best and unproductive/acrimonious at worst.
I appreciate that you've caused me to regard some areas of learning as subjects for investigation. Our discussion has highlighted for me that there are cultural and historical aspects to this problem that I had not before considered as germane as I now do. Thank you.
I do not believe that either side can succeed in imposing a solution on the other - although, sadly, both will almost certainly try and, almost as certainly, fail.
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto
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Morris Dovey wrote:

This is a continous process for me. "Truth" is a function of time in geopolitics and requires constant research.

Likewise.
And that really worries me, because "failing" in this context (and down the line a few decades) could bring on a poisoning of the planet and a level of human tragedy that has never heretofore been seen. Hopefully, we'll all be smart enough to avoid that...

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Note follow-ups
Tim Daneliuk wrote:

I find the null results from the SETI project to be profoundly disturbing. particularly when one considers Fermi's paradox.
Fermi realized that atomic power made insterstellar travel possible. How to do it was simple a matter of engineering. So Fermi stated the paradox as a question: "Where are they?" (or perhaps it was "Where is everybody?") The point being that since atomic power made interstellar travel possible, we should have received visitors from other civilisations.
The SETI results to date tell us that civilizations like our own are not very common, or do not long survive after developing 20th century technology. Supposing the first to be the case, is a lonely thought. The alternative is ominous.
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Tim Daneliuk wrote:

Well, there wasn't a lot of conflict when the conflictors (is that a word?) were being butchered :-).
And in case you've forgotten, we didn't go into Iraq to "make the world just slightly better". but to eliminate a threat to us that it turned out was bogus - whether by mistake or intention is still to be determined.
If the Iraqis had a bad government, it was up to the Iraqis to do something to fix the problem, not us. But the truth is that the Sunnis were quite happy with Saddam and encouraged and abetted his atrocities against the Shia and the Kurds.
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Larry Blanchard wrote:

So long as the conflict remained internal and had no real chance of expanding, I more-or-less agree with you. The problem is:
1) We did - at the time - believe there was a larger threat
2) Sadaam had already demonstrated a willingness to export his nonsense by invading his neighbors, funding suicide bombers among the "Palestinians", and playing happy host to terrorists living openly in Bagdhad.
So .. at the time, at least, there was some reasonable reason to suppose the threat was larger than just local to Iraq.
Ironically, the same people who raise the loudest voices against the Iraqi war, widely supported military intervention in Kosovo (where there were not only no "good guys" but where the conflict was entirely regional, or if not, at most, Europe's problem) and are now howling for military intervention in the Darfur ... and entirely local problem.
I have no problem staying out of other people's conflicts so long as it does not have the real likelihood of moving from brushfire, to wildfire, to forest fire ... a scenario that seemed likely a few years ago.
But - and I say this as someone who did and does support US action in Iraq, however grudgingly - W and necons' greatest mistake wasn't going to war. It was going to war *for the wrong reasons*. Going to war to neutralize threat is proper. Going to war to export Jesus and democracy is a plainly stupid motivation. Democracy has to be earned by its beneficiaries, not just handed out like candy from your visiting uncle. It is this flawed motivation that keeps the US mired down in Iraq today. W should get up and make this statement:
We went to Iraq to erase a real threat to world stability. We did so successfully. We also thought we could help the people of the region accelerate their path to democracy - to do in a generation what took us 200+ years. We were wrong - the Iraqi people weren't ready for democracy as we understand it. Our policy now is to find a way to place the burden of Iraq's future on its own citizens and withdraw as soon as reasonably possible. We do retain the right to reenter at any time when we see *our* enemies gathering, training, and/or operating there. Iraq is the business of the Iraqi people for here forward - we've opened the door, they have to walk through it.
But, of course, he *can't* make that speech even if he believed it. His political opponents - who care only about seizing power - will use it as ammunition to undermine his remaining presidential years and his political party. It makes no difference that a speech like this would be good for our entire nation and the West broadly. The Democrats have amply demonstrated that their interest is not liberty or even the good of their own nation, but their own callow need for power...
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On Wed, 25 Oct 2006 17:50:53 -0500, Tim Daneliuk

res ipsa loquitur.
Regards,
Tom Watson
tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email)
http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1 /
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Tim Daneliuk wrote:

And now for the part I don't agree with :-).
Saddam invaded Iran with our backing (and our weapons). As to Kuwait, Iraq has long considered Kuwait to be a part of Iraq, and invaded it only after some ill considered remarks by our ambassador/envoy/whatever led him to believe that we wouldn't intervene.
Yes, he provided stipends to the families of suicide bombers. This was wrong. But he was hardly the only one in the region to give aid and comfort to the Palestinians.
The bit about him hosting terrorists has been widely debunked. If there was anything Saddam didn't want, it was a bunch of religious fanatics challenging his secular rule. There were reports of some activity by terrorists in the Kurdish area of Iraq, but that was in our "no-fly" zone and there's some doubt whether Saddam even knew they were there.
-- It's turtles, all the way down
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BULLSHIT Terrorism was going on long before Bush, Blair, Clinton,etc. True, I believe the intention for the invasion of Iraq has come and gone, something still was needed at the time. If there were no WMD, then why did he play around with the UN inspectors for 12 yrs. Don't forget, he was an ally at one time. There was an Iraqi fighter pilot that did fire a missle at one of our warships during the Gulf war/conflict and nothing was done about it. Lastly, if you want to see what the Arabic world is saying about us, then read it. Google...al-jezeera and click on English. I have been for some time. You might find out some interesting bits there. Now take this shit somewhere else.
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Note followups
Brent Beal wrote:

1998 - 1991 = 7
Seven years. There were no UN inspectors to play around with from 1999 to 2002, or prior to 1991. From the return of the UN inspectors late in 2002, to the invasion in 2003, his cooperation was 'unprecedented' according to the Chief Inspector, whereas some inspectors referred to the US 'intelligence' as 'shit'. Then there was also the matter of submittign forged documents to the IAEA. The only people who disputed that Iraq was cooperating were those who were obstructing the inspectors by feeding them that 'shit'. Bush, Cheney, Rice, etc.

For the same reason that the British didn't do anything when we shot down one of their Tornados. (AFAIK, the only unequivical confirmed kill by a Patriot Missle under actual combat conditions). They were friendly fire incidents.

Mr Daneliuk gave us another good source:
http://www.memri.org
You should also try:
http://www.iaea.org and http://www.unmovic.org
for pre-invasion evaluations of the putative Iraqi WMD program.

How about alt.politics?
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Morris Dovey wrote:

Well said. But to be fair it must be noted that the terrorists are also willing to die for their principles - or at least for their religion. Ones dedication to a principle does not necessarily prove the validity of that principle.
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helping them to do so. It's their willingness to *kill* for it that makes them dangerous.
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Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Larry Blanchard (in snipped-for-privacy@corp.supernews.com) said:
| Morris Dovey wrote: | || It would seem that you've not noticed the rather large number of || men and women who valued our principles more highly than their || personal survival - and the lesser (but still awesomely large) || number who did not, in fact, survive - all so that you and I might || live in what you so casually refer to as "fantasyland". | | Well said. But to be fair it must be noted that the terrorists are | also willing to die for their principles - or at least for their | religion. Ones dedication to a principle does not necessarily | prove the validity of that principle.
Of course - and yet the very existance of a principle as such indicates that there is some strong cultural validation. When such a situation arises, it would seem to me that both sides need to learn more about the (other's) culture and the context in which that validation took place.
(It is turtles all the way down - the question is where they come from)
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto
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