Friday, August 15, 2008

Lessons of the Cold War

I'm not going to try to get into the specifics of the current conflict between Georgia and Russia, as the subject is muddled and the theories about what we should think and do about it are wide and varied and not quite along straight political lines. In fact, I'm not sure what to think. So until I can do the hour plus research I suspect I'd have to put in to understand all the players, I'm going to reserve judgment and let the experts and hacks hash it all out.

But hearing of the stirrings of the old Russian bear did remind me of my childhood, which included the waning days of the Cold War, with some of that Cold War paranoia thrown in (duck and cover,even). Think of the assload of miles that that 007 got out of fighting the Red Menace. Hell, most shows got something anti-Communist somewhere in their scripts. The harsh reality of mutually assured destruction made for fun TV sometimes.

But it also reminds me of an absolute truth: The world will always be governed by the most powerful.

Whether it is power through resources, trade, military might, or political prestige, the countries that wield this power will maintain control and spread their ways over the world. Oil, for example, is a part of the current conflict. Oil is also what has turned an area full of deserts and camel shit into the explosive source of radical philosophy and global terrorism. And since the vanquishing of the Soviet Union, the USA has been the lone world superpower, possessing the mightiest military, a massive economy, control over a multitude of resources, and political prestige among a preponderance of nations.

Of course, politics being what it is, we have, without a clearly visible enemy (terrorists are only scary when they're blowing shit up), the usual softening of our culture without a threat to strengthen us, an enemy to unite us. This is a lesson we also failed to learn after every other war, save only WWII, and only because the Cold War began shortly thereafter. It took us a few years to effectively forget 9/11 (Congress dropped it in within a couple of weeks, I think) and want to go back to the pre-9/11 mentality and empty our brains for more American Idol and like shit.

Oh, and if you forgot because the price of gas went down 20 cents, every other country is drilling like bastards while we sit around on massive resources with our collective thumb up our ass (not like that, pervs).

Essentially, there';s a simple principle we need to remember. War sucks. We should never want to go to war. We should want a world where John Lennon didn't get shot and is still sitting around singing "Give Peace a Chance" as a victory anthem. However, we know that a sicko capped him (and should be raped in prison regularly) and that John Lennon could write good music but, in the matter of making the world a peaceful place, was a delusional fucking moron.

Peace is not the absence of war, but the absence of threats. And the way you eliminate external threats is to either put the fear of God in them (as in they get to meet God if they cross the line) or kill them deader than hell (as the dead aren't that threatening(except for the undead)). To that end, it's the exercise of power by a noble nation that guarantees peace. Strangely, I'm talking about us.

Our goal when we send forces to other countries to fight is not to grow our empire, or suck resources for ourselves, or crush our (non-violent) political opponents. When we strike, it is to stop the advance of a less-noble rival power (Korea, Vietnam), to strike at a criminal (Panama), to defend a helpless nation (Gulf War) or to remove the threat of terror (Afghanistan, Iraq). Now while some of those wars have their faults, we did not go for selfish reasons, but with noble intent. And our boys and girls who carry the fight to the enemy carry that noble aim with them, even when the politics becomes murky.

So this brings us back to the Russians. Once, when the Soviets were menacing the world, we took a stand, threatened to take away their parity, and eventually forced them to collapse. Along with our allies, we proved that tyranny will not stand. As I said, I don't know all of the variables of the conflict, but the Russians haven't forgotten they were once our equal. As it was with Germany in WWI, if we let an enemy we defeated return to their old ways, we will be forced to fight them again.

Those we invest our trust in to govern must never forget this, or their inaction to maintain the absence of war will surely guarantee there will be no peace.

39 comments:

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Part of the problem is that once the government started going to war for its own purposes, they took whatever nobility there might be in it out of it. And while most Americans are complacent sheep, there are a few who actually have the read/recognize/react thing happening. And when those few realize what the hell is going on they make some noise. Now the sheep don't like to be disturbed, least of all by some looney saying the farmer has a mutton contract with a slaughterhouse and that he'll be sending off bunches regularly to be made into chops. And unfortunately, it isn't until the flock is well diminished that the farmer is finally forced to come clean and admit it.

OK, I'm not sure how I slid into Old McDonald there, but the point is that because the government lies about why they're going to war, the 'nobility' of their cause is going to be suspect. I've been saying since the FIRST Gulf war that this was about oil and money, and who's out there getting ready to drill now? Someone high up who insisted we had to strike now, strike fast, don't hesitate. Someone who pushed hard for the war. And it's coming out now, years later, about how much the country was lied to in order to get this war started. If you have to lie THAT much, how noble can your cause be? And with this in mind, how can I believe them the next time they say they have a noble cause for war?

We like to go around patting ourselves on the collective back for being the Great Superpower That Monitors The Free World and all that happy horseshit. What this country is, is a huge bully with a lot of hugeass guns. We aren't some Benevolent Leader; we bully people into doing what we want, and if they don't... well, we know how to take care of that, right?

The time for being naive about our nation's motives in the international sphere is over. The hell with a piece of pie: we want the whole damn kitchen. And beg, buy, borrow, steal, lie, or blow your shit straight to hell, we're going to get it.

John Lennon wasn't a moron.. he was too far ahead of his time.

Beth said...

If you distrust the government's motives Saty, then why the hell do you want them to be in charge of your retirement, your health care, your energy, your choice of light bulbs, etc?

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Have you ever known anyone who's died because they can't pay for their medicines?

I have. I've taken care of a lot of them.

They matter to me. Their situation matters to me. It's important. I know they're not the first, the last, or the only, and I think it needs to be stopped.

If you know a better way, implement it. It amazes me: the rest of the industrialized world works with some form of socialized, universal health care for their citizens and it works. But when you mention it to Americans everyone has a collective coniption. The fact of the matter is that we don't have decent health care coverage in this country and something needs to be done about it.

This doesn't change the fact that the Bush Administration lied to get us into Iraq.

Don't mix apples and aardvarks.

Shaw Hussein Kenawe said...

Dear satyavati devi dasi,

Not everyone has a fit over socialized medicine. We Americans actually have it and it's called Medicare, and it works.

In fact, we have a lot of "socialized" services that work very well in our society. We just don't recognize them as such.

Yelling "socialism" is an old Republican canard and meant to scare the beejeebus out of people who don't think.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having single payer for health care in this country. Nothing.

The most advanced western democracies have it as do the most advanced Asian democracies--see Japan.

Non of those countries are raving Communists. This is what the right tries to scare you with.

It's all nonsense and deeply uninformed.

People in the supposed greatest country in the world should not have to die because they are not rich or employed, and therefore, cannot afford basic healthcare.

That is a monumental disgrace and a black mark on our society.

Why the working class conservatives throw in with the privileged upper class Republicans, who don't give a rat's ass about them, is something I will never understand.

"..in the matter of making the world a peaceful place, was a delusional fucking moron."--Patrick M.

I'm not a religionist, but people who are may take exception to that statement. Jesus Christ was someone who believed in making the world a peaceful place--in fact don't his followers call him "The Prince of Peace?"

It may not sit well with them to hear you label someone who aspires to a peaceful world a fucking moron.

Just sayin'

Beth said...

Why not get to the root of the health care costs, like why do these socialized medicine countries dictate how much they will purchase drugs for? They won't pay for the R&D, so we Americans do. Then there is the huge cost of malpractice insurance because of the outrageous lawsuits. Why even do we get insurance companies involved in our daily health care needs? Why not have it be like car or home insurance, for the extraordinary and unforeseen problems that arise? And why not have insurance be something you can comparison shop for, instead of your place of employment being how you chose your insurance carrier? Competition is the key to capitalism working, our health care system is far from being capitalistic.

Anyway, maybe you could also tell us how you know President Bush "lied to get us into Iraq"? I would be most interested to hear your special insight on that.

Beth said...

And who is dying to get health care, hospitals cannot deny anyone treatment due to lack of insurance.

Beth said...

Shaw, if you think Medicare works then you are living in a dreamworld, it explains a lot of where you are coming from on many topics though.

Next you'll tell me Social Security is working.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Beth,

Private hospitals have every right to deny people admission. And they do. It's only public hospitals that cannot refuse someone admission.

And since you didn't read my most recent post on healthcare, you're not in a position to understand that people die every day because of lack of access to healthcare in terms of being able to afford their medication, having lab monitoring, preventative care and follow up care. Sure, you can get into a hospital and get treatment for your acute injury. But can you get the monitoring you need for the rest of your life because your acute injury cost you your spleen? Can you get the medication you need? These are the questions I'm asking.

I don't know, Beth. If you had a child that needed medication and you didn't have insurance and couldn't qualify for programs, what would you do? Would you still think that an 'everybody pays for themselves' system would work for you?

Medicare works as far as it can. My mother would be dead right now if not for Medicare.

Now, about high drug costs. Have we previously discussed the amount of advertising big pharma does? Can I show you the pens, sticky pads, clipboards, tote bags, clocks, funny sand-filled toys and water globes with drug names on them I have? Should I make a list of the catered lunches and dinners I've been to? I'm not even a doctor. They go to the fancy deals on cruise ships and at country clubs. Advertising is the root of your high prices, not R&D.

And how did the Bush administration lie to get us into Iraq?

OK. Let's skip over the WMD's that weren't and the fact that we financed Hussein when it was convenient for us. Let's forget that we still haven't found Osama Bin Laden. Let's not even mention the high level advisor who pushed for the war who's now opening up his own drilling business in Iraq.

Let me ask you this. Can you explain to me how you can take two enormous commercial airliners in the northeast US, which is one of the heaviest air corridors in the world, take them off course, fly them directly past an Air Force Base and through airspace watched 24/7 by no less than three of the biggest airports on the planet, and still have everyone be surprised when they hit buildings in Manhattan?

I'm just asking because I'm curious how that might be. This is not like landing a Cessna in the middle of South Dakota. This is space so heavily watched they know how many seagulls are sitting on the beach at Coney Island. It's kind of a mindbender to imagine that they could put that much heavy equipment in the air and move it without anyone noticing. I'm just curious. I don't recall ever hearing anything or any statement made by any ATC at any of the airports up there.

Rather than how did the Bush Administration lie to get us into Iraq, the question ought to be how could we have bought such bullshit wholesale and let him do it?

Love ya.
Mean it.

Patrick M said...

Saty: I'm still standing by my statement that Lennon was a moron. Here's why:

The entire concept of peace, the peace movement, and all the fun that was the 60's, was predicated on the idea that we could achieve peace by talking with our enemies rather than pointing guns at them until they wanted to talk peace.

Simply put, there will always be someone who wants to gain control of the world by force. And its one thing to talk about diplomatic pressure, but without something stronger (like a fat ol' nuke or two) to back it up, it's just words.

What this country is, is a huge bully with a lot of hugeass guns.

We do have the huge ass guns. So did the Germans of WWI and WWII, The Japanese in WWII, and the USSR. Those are countries that were bullies, snatching land and ruling from across the miles. I'm still trying to think of a country we've used our power to take over and rule to our own whims. Europe? Liberated it. Japan? Rebuilt it. Korea? Kept half of it free. Vietnam? We lost that one because the politicians tried to run the war. Iraq and Kuwait (the first time)? Shredded their military infrastructure and liberated Kuwait (without taking all that oil). Afghanistan and Iraq? The problem with Afghanistan is that border with Pakistan (who we haven't invaded to get Bin Laden). And Iraq is finally winding down, with a good chance we'll be out of there before we get to a presidential race I have a good choice in.

Now I still do have questions about Iraq, and an argument over the Bush administration's actions is pointless (both as a discussion point and a practical matter now),but I look at the final goal we have there. And that is to leave the country as a democracy, a seed that can grow amongst weeds. We will leave an ally with power (oil) and hopefully this will be the beginning of dragging the rest of the people over there into the 18th century (I'm not that optimistic.

As for oil, it is a source of power (both literal and political) now, and will be for many years to come. The inherent instability in the Eastern Hemisphere (Russia and the Middle East and Africa), as well as pissy oil producers in South America (Chavez) are yet just another reason we should be drilling every ounce of oil we have until we are able to get off it and onto all the lovely alternative fuels that haven't reached their true value yet.

Shaw: I was talking about Lennon, not JC. I think they were working different belief/philosophical structures, in times that were distinctly different. Hopefully, my comments above will also illuminate things.

"All you need is love." John Lennon. Smart man. Shot in the back, very sad.Judd Hirsch in the movie Independence Day.

Beth: You had to get them started on Universal Health Scare? What were you thinking? Good luck with that.

Shaw Hussein Kenawe said...

I'm still trying to think of a country we've used our power to take over and rule to our own whims.

Really? REALLY?

Why don't you ask the Native Americans that. We've broken EVERY SINGLE TREATY WE MADE with the people who inhabited this continent before the white European landed here and used their power to take over and rule with their own "whims." But it happened so long ago, it doesn't matter. Trail of Tears, q.v.

Also. See the Mexican-American War, the Spanish-American War.

We are not the pristine, guiltless, non-agressive people you think we are.

Read history.

I'm sure the Russians think they're peace loving people, too.

Every imperialist nation thinks that.

Ask the British.

Shaw Hussein Kenawe said...

PS. I forgot to mention the slaves we brought to this country.

When they were finally emancipated, it took another 100 F**KING years to give them their Constitutional rights. ONE HUNDRED EFFING YEARS for Americans with dark skin to be granted rights that the Founding Fathers said were inalienable to human beings. And we weren't the first to grant women the right to vote, either. We were among the LAST nations to do so.

We don't have a sterling record when it comes to treating our very own American citizens with dignity and respect.

We really shouldn't go around pounding our chests as the promoter of human rights.

We get a D in that category, my friend.

People get pissed off and call that "blame America first" mentality. NO.

It's "I expect America to live up to it's stated ideals that are spelled out in the Constitution."

We are too quick to forget how we've failed our own promise.

Patrick M said...

Shaw: Let me restate slightly. There's a reason all my examples were 20th century ones.

I'm still trying to think of a country we've used our power to take over and rule to our own whims.

I'm not going to defend the actions of the 19th century, where we conquered a continent and many of its people. Because many terrible things were done in those days. But those who lived to see such days are gone. And while there are serious blemishes, I believe we are getting things right. By the end of WWI, we had finally solidified into a single country and were on our way to that bastion of freedom we are today (don't laugh, I'm serious).

Which reminds me of racial issues in this country.

(Hang on, you just posted another comment. Let me see what it is and I'll continue.)

(Well, I can see we're on the same track here.)

Slavery and race was another component where we started out in the wrong, with even some of the greatest founding documents written by slaveholders. But after 50 years, the divide between slave states and free states was to much to bear and we fought a terrible war with the idea of freeing those in bondage as a catalyst.

We slipped, and for a century, many a black man faced a life of a second-class citizen. But we learned. And among them rose leaders, and may whites and many blacks joined together to finish what was started a century earlier with the shedding of blood. And we began to change things.

Now, with 50 years of striving for equality, we are poised to ignore race and elect a black man as president.

People get pissed off and call that "blame America first" mentality. NO.

It's "I expect America to live up to it's stated ideals that are spelled out in the Constitution."


We continue to improve this, we continue on the path of righteousness with every passing year. We have learned from our mistakes in oppression, and we continue to seek equality. Not in outcome, but opportunity. not by punishing those who benefited before, but by lifting up those upon whom we once trod. And not by living in the past (be it the history of the natives, or the black, or the 60's, or whatever), but by living for the future.

The problem we have in understanding is that too often, I see what's right in America, where too often you see what's wrong. And we're looking at the same thing.

Shaw Hussein Kenawe said...

Patrick,

It's not that I see what's wrong with America, it's that I want America to be what she promised to be: the beacon of hope and light and justice.

When we torture and pollute and invade countries, and practice shitty politics, I get discouraged.

We are supposed to be better than all that crap. When I see this country betraying its ideals I get discouraged and believe man can never rise above his petty, ignorant, hateful nature and become what Lincoln belived we could be.


Sigh.


So depressed tonight.

Another young relative is teetering on the brink of death. (I lost one in January.)

Sorry.

Beth said...

Shaw - sorry to hear your bad news, I will keep your relative in my prayers.

Lots to respond here, but I am short on time tonight.

Patrick M said...

Shaw: Likewise here concerning your relative.

There are times we are reminded we are one and we are equal. Be assured we hope for the best and are here if you need to talk. That's the advantage of email.

Shaw Hussein Kenawe said...

A cousin, 47 years old, married, father of 3, in great physical shape, good guy, felt "strange" as he was working out in the gym yesterday.

He got in his car AND DROVE HIMSELF TO THE FREAKIN' HOSPITAL, because he didn't want to worry his wife!

The docs immediately operated on him to save his life--quadruple bypass.

His brain had not been deprived of oxygen, but not sure of blood flow.

He's in ICU. Everything is iffy just now. We think he'll be okay, but the next few days will be crucial. Deep breath.

Please everyone. Get your heart checked. Even if you work out regularly, and look healthy, you don't know what the hell is going on in your arteries! See Tim Russert.

Take care of yourselves.

My niece, OTH, died last January. Sudden heart failure.

Young. Beautiful. Gone.

I'm going out now to smell the roses.

Catch you guys later.

And thank you, P and B for your good wishes.

It meant a lot to me.

Obob said...

shaw, I am sorry to hear of your loss. Death is something I've thinking alot about lately.

Beth said...

Lives that end way before their time are truly terrible, even though I know they are in a better place we miss them here and wish they had more time to enjoy the good things in life.

Obob - try not to dwell on Death, I don't think God wants it to consume our life on earth.

In a way, this discussion has reminded me that we really all do want the same things in our lives, and for our children, we just have really different ways of getting there. Like the health care issue I brought up to muddy the discussion, it sure seems like a nice idea to let the government be the one to solve all our problems. I just can't get past the idea that whenever the government gets involved, our choices become limited and the red tape increases.

Saty asked what would I do if my child got sick? You bet I would use every means possible to help them. I know families in our community who with sick children have held fund raisers. Many times this approach raises awareness and really gives a personal attachment between giver and receiver.

I know I haven't address all the issues brought up here, maybe on Monday I can do so. Without any links, too, Patrick.

Patrick M said...

Beth: Good! Then I can get ton there and take you off topic. HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Toad734 said...

Ok so, you are saying the only reason why Canada isn't attacking us is because we threaten them??

And as far as superpowers go, China has a larger standing army and the world’s largest air force. In fact, I think the only thing that keeps us from taking over the world is the power of China and Russia to contend us. So don't give me that bullshit about noble causes. Iraq was not a noble cause, there were no terrorists there, Saddam was not a threat to us. We have a Texas oil man who wanted revenge for an assassination plot on his father and needed to get the price of gasoline above $1.49 so he could take our wealth and give it to his rich oil friends in Texas; that’s what they paid him for.

And we can talk about the annexing of Mexico the creation of Panama, the lies of Gulf of Tonkin and WMDs and the installation of puppet regimes from Afghanistan, Iran, Guatemala and countries all over the world and can see that it's obvious that America doesn't always have the best intentions when it flexes its muscles. In fact, we would never go to war with China or Russia, only small countries like Serbia, Iraq and Panama. There are plenty of bad things elsewhere that deserve our attention but gets overshadowed by places like Iraq.

So, how is Russia invading Georgia any worse than the US invading Iraq?

Obob said...

it isn't dwelling on death. Just the curious about the next chapter.

Patrick M said...

Ok so, you are saying the only reason why Canada isn't attacking us is because we threaten them??

Toad: Do you actually expect a reasoned answer after starting out this stupidly?

I know you have this imperialist mentality, as though the USA is a world tyrant. However, I think I already disproved your imperialist America theory, so I won't wast time on your ususal "oilman" rants. We make allies with free nations, we don't dominate the world with weapons. We could if we wanted, but the American people really wouldn't go for it.

So, how is Russia invading Georgia any worse than the US invading Iraq?

Glad you wasted my time with this cut-and-paste question. To answer you, here's a question: What does the US intend to do in Iraq in the next 5 years? The answer is pull out, which we are slowly doing already. I'm honestly not sure of the Russian motivation, although I surspect Vlad "the Impaler" Putin hasn't lost that shine he had for his old KGB days. The point is we went in as a liberation force, not an occupying force.

If we were an occupying force bent on getting our hands on the oil, we'd be rolling in black gold by now after shooting all the Iraqis.

Next time, try to add something of value to the discussion.

Beth said...

I don't understand the arguments here that we went to war in Iraq for the oil, since most of our attention these days is in how we can be independent of foreign oil, and let's drill in the USA.

And Saty, you totally lost me with your 9-11 conspiracy, are you one of those people who think it was deliberate by our government? As for your comments on advertising for drugs though, I will agree with you there, it's outrageous.

Shaw - any news on your cousin?

Toad734 said...

But we are doing exactly that; rolling in the money created by high oil prices. That and guaranteeing that Iraq doesn't sell it's oil in Euro's instead of dollars which it started doing just before we invaded. If Saddam was so bad to his people, why did we go there and not Sudan? If Saddam was such a threat, why didn't we go into N Korea or Iran? If Saddam was such a threat why didn't he land his army on Manhatten Island and Nuke L.A.? It was bullshit, just like the Gulf of Tonkin. To say that is Noble is a flat out lie.

Actually, Russia began pulling out in a few days; its taken us 5 years and we left a government friendly to our demands. I am sure Russia will do the same. The way Russia sees it they were protecting their people from the Georgian Army, Serbia was protecting their people from Bosnian Police, We were protecting ourselves from Saddam's vast Chemical and nuclear weapons arsenal, right??

Patrick M said...

Yes, we are a noble country..., even if we occasionally are wrong. Beyond that, this is just going to degenerate back into the same back and forth over Iraq, so let's just leave it at that.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Shaw:

I'm sorry about your family situation. I hope people take your advice on preventative medicine and checkups.. we never really know what's going on in there.


Beth:

I'm not propounding conspiracies. I'm just asking you to explain to me how it could happen that two commercial airliners could go off course, past an airforce base and slam into buildings without anyone noticing in some of the world's most watched airspace. Trust me, they know when a pigeon takes a shit.

I'm not drawing any conclusions.. just asking for an explanation.

That's all :)

And as far as how could this war be about oil? Well, for one, you could ask that high ranking advisor whose name I have now forgotten. He pushed hard for the US to invade Iraq. He is now currently opening his own oil business drilling where? In Iraq.

I'm just sayin.

Toad734 said...

Ok, just so you don't go around thinking we are always fighting for noble causes against a less-noble rival. Of course its been a hundred years or so since we have had a military conquest for actual land. Again, Iraq was a military conquest for something far more valuable than land. But even when we jump into these engagements, such as defending Afghanistan against this so called evil empire, we aren't always helping the good guys. We weren't helping the good guys when we helped Iraq against Iran for instance.

I just get so sick of this ethnocentric one sided view that Americans have of themselves. We think we are right and "they" are wrong. We are horrified when a war starts elsewhere in the world or when we see genocide on the streets of some foreign country or we see corrupt dictators taking from the poor and redistributing wealth to the to their rich friends without realizing that we wouldn't be where we are today if we didn't do those exact things in the past, or even continue to to those exact things here in the present. Just because its wrapped with red white and blue and smeared with apple pie doesn't make it right. As Obama said, evil isn't just in Afghanistan and Baghdad, its in Washington DC and in every city in this country. Just because we are used to it, desensitized or blind to it doesn't make it less evil or noble.

You say Saddam was dangerous because of what he did to the Kurds but Saddam would say, "whens the last time you met 2 Indians?". you say why would the Taliban support Bin Laden and Bin Laden would say why does the US support Israel?

Its all relative but Americans don't think that way; they only think in absolute terms and can't look within. Just because they were communists doesn't mean they were evil. Just because you see Russian tanks invading another country doesn't mean that they don't see it in the same way as when they saw American tanks driving through Baghdad. You lead by example. If America can bully anyone we want, China and Russia will follow along and do as we do.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Wow, Toad... that was impressive.

Patrick M said...

I never said we were always right, always justified, or never fucked up. But I see an America that helps the world where it can.

Now I have said that there are some things that we did wrong in Iraq, and that there are questions that need to be answered. Those answers may wipe out the justification for the war in the minds of Americans. But until that time, I'm willing to trust in a man I voted for to not have committed us to war without a good motivation and a good heart. If history proves him wrong, so be it.

Now I will admit that we are often ethnocentric. the time we spent in Iraq has proved that. But there is a difference between good and evil. If you notice, I didn't jump on the condemn-Russia bandwagon immediately, because I don't have all the info.But when soldiers are going around and intentionally snuffing civilians, there's evil. When a country won't let aid workers in while people are dying to protect their secrets, that's evil. When a Communist country blocks the media, controls it's population, and highlights a place where they ran tanks over people, there's evil.

The difference is that evil here is limited to individuals or small groups, or maybe (conspiracy theory?) pockets of the government. However, I have yet to see us actively killing our own people. I know you'll come up with something though. It is all a moral relativity argument, after all.

Saty: Toad is impressive sometimes. Very, very sometimes.

Let me answer that in case Beth doesn't get back here, with three words: failure of imagination.

Did you expect planes to be flying into the WTC? Would anybody have with their finger on the button to do something have expected this? And with no prior experience in this situation (terrorist just flew somewhere then gave them up) were we going to start shooting down planes full of people?

If you can answer yes, then you would have been able to stop it. And been wholly clairvoyant. Nobody that I know was sure it was a terrorist attack until 9:02. Then I knew.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Actually.. I sat for like an hour yesterday (after sitting for two hours reading about the Casey Anthony thing, which we can't even get into because it's just too f'n dysfunctional) and read the 9/11 Commission Report.

It reads like a movie except it wasn't. There are transcripts of stewardesses talking via cell to people at different airlines and airports reporting that people have been stabbed, that the cockpit has been overtaken and so on.

People knew for quite some period of time prior to the crash that these planes had been overtaken. Boston knew. Someone here in NC knew. People were calling home on their cell phones and reporting it. The airlines knew.

This goes for all four of the planes that had been hijacked.

So, and I assume that the report is accurate and truthful, it puts out a stunning display of gross negligence on so many levels that you can't even begin to determine where the f*ups actually begin. Of course, everyone knows where they ended.

So. So much for my question on 'how did this happen'. If I were truly out to work the conspiracy line, I could probably without too much difficulty muster it up, but I'll assume for the moment that the report was both accurate and truthful.

Let me throw in sort of an analogy here because it's the way my brain works best.

Several years ago I was working in a hospital as the coordinator (above charge nurse, below manager) on our floor. I had spent quite some time fighting with the ER over a patient they wanted to send us that wasn't appropriate for our floor because they required line-of-sight supervision due to a suicide attempt. I had no bed within sight of the nurses' station and we were down staff so I couldn't spare anyone to stay in the room with them. The argument got heated and I ended up flat out refusing the admission.

About 20 minutes later, a code (blue) was called on the opposite end of our floor (which was a seperate unit). Naturally, people from all over come to help, adrenalin is super high and things are moving very fast. Lots goes by unnoticed at a time like this because everyone's focused on saving the person's life.

Because I was running our unit, I stayed behind during the code to manage our end while the other nurses went down to help. I was out in the hallway patrolling our end and keeping an eye on the other end in case someone needed me to run them something or whatever. As I was walking down the hall checking room to room the elevators opened and two guys from the ER roll out a stretcher with a restrained patient on it. They start heading towards me. I asked them who this was on the stretcher and exactly where they thought they were going. It was the suicide-attempt patient (the restraints gave that away) that I had refused earlier.

Long story short: the ER coordinator sent them up with the stretcher as soon as the code was called because once the patient is off the stretcher onto the bed, the floor has a much more difficult time sending them back, because they've been 'transferred'. The ER was using the code, which they did not cause and surely would not wish on anyone, as a convenient distraction, thinking no one would notice if they very quickly and quietly brought the patient up and dropped them off while everyone was running around screaming for atropine and an ICU bed.

I sent transporters, patient, and stretcher back onto the elevator with a whole sonnet of choice sentiments for the ER coordinator. They subsequently got in a lot of trouble for this from house supervision, who had agreed that the patient could not be on our floor due to our inability to provide an adequate level of supervision.

The point to this digression is to illustrate that an event, though perhaps not planned, can be used in some situations to benefit particular interests.

Now, all this discussion assumes that the report is truthful. Whether my opinion concurs with that is moot. The point remains that a situation, especially a massive, catastrophic one, unexpected and with high emotional content, can be used to advantage by people who are seeing clearly enough to exploit it.

I've left off the link to the report because Patrick doesn't like it and I don't know it anyway. If you're motiviated you can find it online. It's hundreds of pages and is broken down into chapters with provocative titles. Anyway, it's there.

Thus saith the wingbat.

Beth said...

I don't think there was ever a question that people knew the planes were hijacked, but that doesn't mean they could know in time something travelling that fast was planning on crashing into buildings, and as Patrick pointed out about shooting down the planes, can you imagine the outrage of the families or the whole country in a pre-9/11 world of commercial airlines getting shot down based on speculation?

Let me ask you this, if Al Gore were president on 9-11-01 and everything happened the exact same way, do you really think you would have these conspiracy thoughts about that day?

Patrick M said...

Saty: I didn't say you could NEVER leave a link. Just sometimes, it becomes an incessant back-and-forth of argument and counter argument in link form. Plus, I want you to work those newly acquired (I hope) links skills just a little.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

If Jesus Himself were sitting in the oval office when all this went down I'd be questioning it.

Now, Beth, you missed that my whole argument took a sidestep after I read that report.

Reading the report, with the assumption that it's all true and accurate, answers my question as to 'how could this happen'. The report will tell you that it happened due to nearly unbelievable, systemic negligence.

'Negligence' is not a conspiracy.

The Bush Admin did use this emotional content and shock of this event to incite public support for the war. That was the analogical part of my digression about Fran The ER Coordinator.

Exploiting people's emotions in a catastrophe is immoral, unethical and just plain ugly, but it's not a conspiracy.

Are we OK with the fact that I am not propounding conspiracies here?

I'm just pointing out things, asking questions, and looking for answers.

The whole scientific process is based on observation, investigation, and evaluation. As conclusions are drawn they are retested against further observation and revised as necessary to reflect the additional information gained. It's an ongoing process.

Not everyone who asks a question is putting forth a conspiracy. I'm just looking at things and asking about them. You'd be amazed at the number of pink elephants that roam around simply because everyone's too afraid that if they point them out they'll be labled delusional.

:)

Beth said...

Exploiting people's emotions in a catastrophe is immoral, unethical and just plain ugly

You mean like how you said:

"Have you ever known anyone who's died because they can't pay for their medicines?"

But never mind that, we all use whatever emotional tactics we can in a debate, why not? However, I don't believe the Bush administration expolited 9-11 to go to war.

How could it have even happen? I don't need any reports, I witnessed plenty of footage to know how it happened. And I sure as hell don't want anything like that to happen again.

Satyavati devi dasi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Satyavati devi dasi said...

I apologize if it appeared that I was attempting to exploit anyone's emotions whilst illustrating the need for improvements in our healthcare system.

I would draw a distinction, however, between me pointing out that people die needlessly daily due to lack of healthcare, and the type of exploitation I was referring to.

What I was referring to is using the catastrophe in a deceitful manner, as a distraction; almost like a cover up. Like Fran, sending up the previously-refused admission during a code, thinking that in all the mess no one would notice until it was too late to transfer the patient back.

It is certainly not my intention to deceive anyone regarding what I feel is a healthcare crisis, nor would I use the fact of needless mortality to deceive anyone regarding what I feel would be a better solution to that crisis. The fact that people die because they can't afford their medication is just an example of how serious the situation is. In America, many people don't necessarily believe that the class gap is as wide as it actually is, and that people live without electricity or running water. Some people will say, 'Oh, they choose to live like that.' This might be the case for a few, but certainly not the majority. People don't want to believe that in this Greatest Of All Nations things like this happen. People go without dental care because they can't afford it, they get an abscess, it spreads to the brain, they die. It happens. This is why charities send dentists into Appalachia. We shouldn't need charities to put bandaids on gaping wounds.

Again, it was never my intent to put across some deceitful or untrue thing while using the mortality of the American uninsured as a distraction. I apologize if it appeared to be that way.

Patrick M said...

Exploiting people's emotions in a catastrophe is immoral, unethical and just plain ugly

I will point out that FDR took us to war in 1941 over the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Sometimes it takes tragedy to shake people to action. And if, in the end, we do the right thing because someone 'exploits' the country's emotions, then it's not necessarily exploitation. I can cite examples of this all over the political spectrum. I leave you ladies to argue over the rest.

You'd be amazed at the number of pink elephants that roam around simply because everyone's too afraid that if they point them out they'll be labled delusional.

Saty: You mean like global warming? Just a thought.

Beth said...

Saty - I don't mind using emotions in debates, like when it comes to the topic of abortion, you bet ya I get very emotional. I was just wondering why you could use it but didn't seem to think it is right to do.

As for the heath care sidetrack we got on, I just read that four fifths of the $53 trillion national debt is because of projected short-falls in Medicare and Social Security. If the government gets into health care, I would imagine that debt to go up. When I think there are answers to health care that do not involve the government, I simply cannot justify going that route.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Beth:

As I tried to explain, I was not intending to slip any fast ones through while distracting people with thoughts of needless mortality. The key to me in the exploitation thing is sliding in something (like a war, or the Patriot Act) that probably wouldn't have gotten through without the distraction.

I'm not trying to deceive anyone. I'm trying to show people that people die because they have no healthcare.

Thus, to me, since I'm not trying to deceive or slide a suicidal admission to a floor where said admission's been refused, there's no exploitation involved.

I hope perhaps that clears it up.