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Editorial: From Spain's indignados to Greece's neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, fringe groups are gaining strength in Europe. And while they don't tend to share much common ground, together they are posing a region-wide challenge to mainstream politics.

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Stephen Brian (23)
Thursday May 10, 2012, 7:16 pm

Every side in European politics has been pushing for this, voluntarily or not. The primary political division in Western Europe, I understand, is about attitudes towards migrants. One side is xenophobic, and their primary opponents concentrate on accommodating immigrant cultures to preserve their cultures and societies. While the intentions are opposite, neither one really supports integration, separating out migrants by discriminating either against or for them. They feed each other, and when push comes to shove, three guesses which side my bets are on.

The Beast is waking up again. It does that every few decades, and we can't stop it. It can be killed, but it would make most people sick to know what must be given up to do so.

Past Member (0)
Thursday May 10, 2012, 7:37 pm
Thanks, definitely has to be some balance.

Roger G (154)
Thursday May 10, 2012, 9:39 pm
noted thanks !

Shennandoah D. (44)
Thursday May 10, 2012, 10:00 pm
noted thanks

Ellen m (215)
Thursday May 10, 2012, 10:25 pm
Unfortunately when people feel disenfranchised and unaccepted by the "main stream", they tend to try on many hats to find a style that fits what they need at the moment.
And while this is a bad choice for anyone, we have to have better governments that can serve all fairly to make these people see there is a better way without hate, violence and bigotry...

Must send memo to the GOP :-( Great post, thanks Cal

SANDRA R (144)
Friday May 11, 2012, 1:49 am
Noted. Thank you Cal.

Past Member (0)
Friday May 11, 2012, 3:07 am
they more impact than size would guess

Ben O (154)
Friday May 11, 2012, 5:21 am
I've said it many, many times, and I say it again:
-Never underestimate the power of ignorant idiots in large groups!

Vicky P (476)
Friday May 11, 2012, 1:23 pm
scary. I guess they didn't learn from all the dictators they elected in Europe in the past.

Charles O (209)
Friday May 11, 2012, 2:08 pm
The rise of these fringe parties is a reflection of the bankruptcy and extremism of the "Center".

Back in 2003, in European countries, opposition to involvement in the U.S. aggression against Iraq stood at 75 to 95 per cent. The "Centrist" rulers, while preaching "Democracy!", ignored the will of the people and capitulated to the U.S. / NATO war juggernaut.

Today, Israel and the U.S. want Europe to support its planned aggression against Iran, and the "Centrist" rulers are happy to oblige, even though it means strangling their own economies and shooting gasoline prices through the roof.

The "Centrist" politicians support two things that aren't working: War-making and globalism. War is the most morally extreme and reprehensible thing there is. People are not voting for the fringe, so much as they are voting against the extremism, the spinelessness, and the outright treason of the "Center" parties.

Jose Ramon Fisher Rodriguez (13)
Friday May 11, 2012, 2:18 pm
About 440,000 people in Greece voted for Golden Dawn, outflanking and completely eclipsing the extreme-right LAOS (Popular Orthodox Rally), which paid the price for supporting the temporary Papadimos government. Regardless of their attempts to hide past rhetoric and put on a cloak of "law and order" Golden Dawn has a 30-year track record of inveterate Hitlerism. Ironically, many of their voters are military and police officers, when the lack of order decried by Golden Dawn and others is caused in part by the army and police not doing their jobs properly. But that's what the ignorant want: an effective storm trooper force that they think will never bother them, but just round up the flavor of the week of "bad guys".

Stephen Brian (23)
Friday May 11, 2012, 2:45 pm
Hi Charles :)

European governments opposed the U.S.'s campaign in Iraq as strongly as they could without abandoning NATO. Breaking NATO, however, would leave them with practically no ability to project forces, nor any powerful country willing to get its hands dirty in their interests. The U.S. wants European support in sanctions against Iran, but as far as I am aware, has not even bothered to request support for a military strike.

The other two strategies you mentioned, globalism (by which I assume you mean economic globalization) and war-making, are also not as you described:
War is certainly extreme, but not necessarily morally reprehensible. Is it right to leave a tyranny in place when a country could topple it without just raising another in its place? Is it right to sit idly by when one's own people are massacred? Certainly, living in war is worse than living under most tyrants, but when a tyrant does arise, do you think it's better to live the rest of one's life under him and condemn one's children to do the same, or to go through a few years of war? Do you really believe that violent forces can even be slowed down without at least the credible threat of violence? Do you think a threat of violence can remain credible without establishing a track-record of following through? These questions are not just rhetorical. I am actually interested in your answers.

As for globalization, this is a large part of modern wealth and intended as a means of preventing war. Imagine the reluctance to go to war that comes from having one's economy depend upon the infrastructure which one would destroy. Also, look at the impact of non-African-produced computers in Africa. One computer with wifi (or a satellite-dish), one dynamo hooked up to a bicycle, and one teacher are all it takes to create a 21st-century school in a remote village. Now imagine the impact of smart-phones there when they become that affordable: they would be a low-cost way of starting a business, potentially enough to bring a few countries into the developed world.On the other end, I'm sure you can easily find the developed world's benefits from manufacturing in poorer countries with very favourable exchange-rates and the wages that come from lower expected standards of living.

Here's the good news: Apparently Greece failed to form a government and may be heading into another election.

Charles O (209)
Saturday May 12, 2012, 2:42 am
Hello Stephen B. --

Your posts are always articulate and intellectually challenging. Thanks!

. .

I saw European rulers using the U.N. to forestall U.S. aggression. But once the bombing began, the rulers fell into line. As I recall, some members of the "Coalition of the Killing" were paid off in various ways. The only real opposition I saw came from Turkey, the least democratic of the NATO powers. The rulers of the other "Democracies" completely ignored the will of the people.

. .

If, as you say, the rulers were taking orders from NATO, then democracy in Europe is a mere pretense, since the political decisions are made by NATO, not by the citizenry.

The sanctions against Iran are intended to pave the way for military aggression. They are designed to fail and when they do, the rulers will say "See! We tried sanctions and they failed! Now let's start killing people wholesale!" The European rulers are going along with this, oblivious to the harm done to their own economies by the sanctions and the ensuing war.

The European rulers put Israel's insatiable lust for war above the survival of the European people. The rulers have turned their countries into satellites of the fascist regime in Israel.

. .

You write that war "is not necessarily morally reprehensible". You argue that "the end justifies the means".

Where your approach is teleological, mine is deontological. I would argue that one has a right of self-defense, but not sa right to commit aggression. Like the judges at Nuremberg, I condemn all military aggression in the strongest terms. The aggressor may have "Good Intentions", but the road to hell is paved with such intentions. The aggressor is playing god, deciding who may live and who must die. That kind of arrogance is fatal.

One should certainly resist tyranny and struggle against evil, but the methods one uses in this struggle should be noble. When one uses evil methods, one becomes part of the evil. One self-destructs. We see that today in the U.S. -- in the destruction of our freedom.

The effect of struggle upon oneself is the touchstone, here. The war-maker is evil because of the physical harm he does to others, but also because of the spiritual harm he does to himself. The killer is not spiritually healthy. It is impossible to feel joy or dignity, when one is up to one's neck in blood.

. .

You ask whether "violent forces can even be slowed down without at least the credible threat of violence". Since violent forces are SELF-destructive, my answer is yes: These forces slow down because they exhaust themselves. In addition, there are limits to what one can achieve with violence: One cannot grow food with bullets, one cannot educate children with bombs, etc.. Sooner or later, the violent forces give way to the force of necessity. Finally, the victims of aggression and occupation have a right to resist, and their resistance puts a further strain on the violent forces.

In WW II, in the 1930s, there WAS NO resistance to Hitler. The British Conservatives, under Chamberlain, gave Hitler whatever he wanted. They built up Hitler because they were hoping for a war between Germany and the U.S.S.R.. After the war, they hid their complicity by elevating Hitler to the level of a Superhuman Demon -- as if one man had single-handedly destroyed an entire continent. In reality, the damage was done by the millions who embraced fascism and collaborated with Hitler. Zionists (Jewish fascists) provided ideological collaboration.

One did not need a war to slow or stop Hitler. All one needed was a rejection of fascism and an end to collaboration.

Similarly, today, we can avert WW III by rejecting Israeli fascism and ending our collaboration with Israel. We in the Resistance have no power to offer Israel a "credible threat of violence", and yet we need to find a way to slow down Israeli war-making. So the fate of the human race depends on the answer to the question you ask. If I am right, we survive; if I am wrong and the violent forces are unstoppable, then we die. I'm an optimist, by necessity.

. .

Globalization, to me, means "one world dictatorship" -- merging European powers into the E.U., merging North American countries, with the U.S. taking over Asia and Africa and South America. The larger the realm, the greater the tyranny, with global empire being the greatest tyranny of all. As the rulers ascend the hierarchy of power, they become steadily less accountable.

Globalization and free trade are two different things. The NAFTA document is 20,000 pages long, as I recall. One does not need 20,000 pages to declare that trade will be free. So NAFTA is not about free trade: It's about globalization and the destruction of national sovereignty.

Stephen Brian (23)
Saturday May 12, 2012, 10:12 am
Hi Charles :)

It's not so much that they take orders from NATO. There are just some lines they are extremely reluctant to cross for fear of losing the ability to use it. Any time a group, whether it be the farmers, bankers, teachers, or lumberjacks perform some very useful service, it gains leverage in this way. NATO controls European governments in the same way that farmers force everyone to pay them, but to a lesser degree.

Sadly, I'm worried you may be right about the sanctions on Iran in effect, if not in principle. The U.S. and others may genuinely want them to succeed, but lack the stomach and political power over non-Western countries to follow through on anything harsh enough to achieve that end, if economic sanctions could ever succeed. They may have just forgotten what it takes to avoid war.

It's not so much that the ends may justify the means, but that the reasonably predictable consequences may. I one takes into account not only intentions, but does due diligence in analyzing the situation to predicting and consider unintended consequences, then one may find the means justified, or not, depending on the case. My favourite example is the use of kidnapping to prevent crime. What exactly is the moral difference between arresting a criminal and having authorities kidnap one? Nothing intrinsic to the act, from the threat, or use, of force to the restraining and confinement of a person differs. It's not the people involved: police officers can be just as guilty of criminal kidnapping as anyone else, and citizens' arrests are widely accepted. It's not the eventual trial: Events which may or may not occur after the fact cannot change the status of an action. One could say that one is right and the other wrong because this is part of the social contract, that the victim has implicitly submitted to the will of the authorities by entering within their jurisdiction, but that would amount to saying that any law, any restriction upon freedom, is consensual. Unless you have some other explanation, I'm going to stick with the difference being the reasonably expected consequences, and the finding that this is the best available means of achieving the desirable ones while limiting the undesirable ones. The same goes for war.

I am not convinced that violent forces are self-destructive. All enforcement of law upon those who are not intrinsically reluctant to violate it depends, ultimately, upon the threat or use of violence. Of course, I do not advocate fighting against the enforcement of laws which are just. I think what you meant is that evil is self-destructive (or at least not as self-preserving as good). I agree there, but one must limit the damage it does before self-destruction. Self-defensive violence, as you described, fails miserably on the personal scale in the case of murder, and on the large scale in the case of genocide. If an aggressor is ruthless and more powerful than those it oppresses, then it is not best to leave fighting it to the weak.

There is an interesting detail about Chamberlain which most people ignore. During his time in office Britain underwent a massive buildup of arms and military expansion, and even after that the war was a lot closer than many people realize. Without his "appeasement", Britain would have lacked the forces to effectively resist Germany, been squashed, and been unable to serve as a secure base of operations for the U.S. later. The Western front would have fallen to the Nazis before the U.S. could get involved. The war in Europe was decided on the Eastern front, but Britain was relatively useless there even with the buildup. He did his job opposing Hitler.

"One did not need a war to slow or stop Hitler. All one needed was a rejection of fascism and an end to collaboration." Have you heard of the Tragedy of the Commons? If you just morally oppose a tyrant without arms and refuse to collaborate, then unless enough other people do so at the same time, you die and accomplish nothing. The "enough other people" would have to be 100% of everybody. Then there is the fact that fascism was actually quite popular at the time. To paraphrase Mao, power flows from the barrel of a gun, not the voices of the people nor ink on paper. Did you ever see the Simpsons episode with the fairly well-known line "Your superior intellect is no match for our puny weapons!" That's the problem.

There are three issues which you seem not to have considered with how you intend to avert WWIII: First, nobody who matters actually wants WWIII. Those capable of really pushing for it are also those at about the top of the heap right now, and who would stand to lose the most should the world suddenly become unpredictable. Second, violent forces are not monolithic. By becoming violent, one does not necessarily join one's violent enemy, so violence may be used to oppose violence, and is actually the only historically successful means of doing so. Third, if you want to oppose aggression, then you really ought to point your attention at real aggressors rather than Israel. How about Sudan, which just started a war, militias in Libya causing chaos for it and its neighbours, or groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba which committed itself to preventing peace between two nuclear powers, India and Pakistan?

I'm actually right there with you opposing "one world dictatorship". This is a major reason why I support the maintenance of national armies: Their job, ultimately, is set up or enforce conditions under which only the laws and edicts of their political leaders are enforced. Without that, there is nothing to stop a tyrant from rising to power over a region so large that people cannot escape and nothing to .secure places of refuge should one rise to power even over a small country. This is one of the major arguments supporting the state of Israel: History has shown that Jews need a reliable place of refuge because persecution can happen where one would least expect it, like Germany of the early 20th century.

Regarding NAFTA, trade-agreements tend to be very, very long. There is a ridiculous number of ways to raise protectionist non-tariff barriers (under the guise of standards for health, safety, the environment, and other things) and give unfair advantages to one's own industries (like by using enormous subsidies or removing restrictive regulations) and they must all be addressed. By "addressed", I don't just mean "banned for the sake of free trade": Some of these regulations may be deemed necessary so lines must be drawn for each. Then there are industry-specific things, like issues of food-security, natural resource extraction-rights, patent-law and other proprietary technology, and other limitations on free trade. Then the appropriate responses in case of crossing each of these lines must be laid out, and so must measures of arbitration, which need not be the same for all industries. I'm surprised that NAFTA is so short.

Shelly Peterson (213)
Saturday May 12, 2012, 6:22 pm

Andrea Connelly (94)
Saturday May 12, 2012, 8:43 pm
Stephen Brian, "Nobody who matters actually wants WWIII". Geez, I would have thought that WE, AS IN WE, ALL MATTERED, and I am not just talking about humans, (such as we are). You disappoint me and your views scare me. You sound elitist and I don't watch Simpsons.


Charles O (209)
Saturday May 12, 2012, 9:46 pm
Hello Stephen B. --

The term "free" suggests "unregulated". Calling 20,000 pages of regulations "free trade" seems like an Orwellian inversion of meaning.

If the European rulers sacrifice the interests of Europeans to satisfy NATO demands then yes, they are taking orders from NATO. The degree of NATO domination can be measured by the extent of the sacrifice. The demands made by farmers, bankers, teachers and lumberjacks do not require politicians to sacrifice European lives and fundamental European interests.

. .

I see no evidence that the U.S. wants sanctions to "succeed". The sanctions are purely for show, while the U.S. and Israel prepare to embark on yet another vast killing spree. Death and destruction on a titanic scale is what the war-making power seeks and sees as "success". Bush 43, for example, has called the butchering of Iraq a "catastrophic success".

. .

Arrest and kidnapping are two different things! Arresting officers are governed and limited by laws; kidnappers are not. The rule of law matters! This does not mean that all laws are good or consensual. It's not a choice between all or nothing. There's a third option: some laws, good laws. The kidnapper disregards the law. If the arresting officer disregards the law, then he is no better than the kidnapper.

In rare cases, kidnapping may be morally justified -- if the kidnapping saves a life, for example. These cases fall under the exception for self-defense.

. .

When is harmful behavior justified? -- that is the question we're addressing. You seem to be saying that it is justified if the perpetrator has "Good Intentions". I would say that it is justified only by necessity and desperation -- by the desperate need to avert greater imminent harm. My aim here is to minimize the opportunities for justifying the infliction of harm. People who inflict harm are inherently suspect: They should be required to provide a rigorous justification for their actions.

I include the defense of others as "self-defense". So the weak are not left to fight alone. But again, in fighting evil, one is not guided by some grand utopian plan or ideology or vision or intention. One has no intention, apart from the desire to avert imminent harm. It's the distinction between

* negative violence -- used to negate greater violence.
- and
* positive violence -- used to mold society or advance some cause

I would allow only the former to be justified.

. .

I disagree with your defense of Chamberlain. The U.S.S.R., from 1932 onwards, called for a European Collective Security agreement that would have contained Hitler. Britain wasn't interested. Britain expected Hitler to attack the U.S.S.R. -- as Hitler did, eventually. Hitler came to power railing against the communists, and formed the anti-Comintern pact, so Chamberlain had good reason to think that Hitler would serve as Britain's cat's paw. I think that cold-blooded calculation is what motivated the appeasers in the Conservative Party, not some naive belief in "Peace in our time".

I understand the "Tragedy of the Commons", and it is tragedy indeed. People are slow to resist tyranny, as Jefferson acknowledged even in the Declaration of Independence. But over time, people do unite -- as we saw in the Philippines, when Marcos was forced to step down. So the situation is not hopeless.

. .

Your argument against the likelihood of World War III breaks down. You are assuming that people are rational and act according to self-interest. Clearly, that is not true of the leadership in Israel. You may not regard Netanyahu as "one who matters"; nonetheless, he has the power to start the war and draw in the U.S., which surely does matter.

. .

You write that "History [shows] that Jews need a reliable place of refuge". History shows no such thing. And the state is not a "reliable place of refuge" -- just ask the Poles in 1939!

Stephen Brian (23)
Sunday May 13, 2012, 10:50 am
Hi Andrea,

Morally we all matter. Practically, specifically in terms of pushing for WWIII, the governments and people of countries which lack the ability to project force, lack the wealth to influence others, and lack the means to otherwise strongly affect politics beyond their border don't matter because they are incapable of seriously contributing to it. It's like how you don't matter in terms of my decision of what flavour of cereal to buy.

Hi Charles :)

The trade is far from unregulated so I guess "free trade" is at least a bit of a misnomer. Still, the 20,000-page document is about ways in which it is not supposed to be regulated so it is much freer than . It's like constitution freedoms, where a large document outlines the ways in which your life is not to be regulated. It's the other kind of "piling regulation on regulation".

European countries did not sacrifice lives and interest for the sake of NATO. They simply did not make any substantial move against the U.S. in Iraq, pull out of NATO, or commit acts of war against the U.S. in support of Saddam or insurgents. My point is that NATO serves European interests, and they deemed maintaining its continued existence to be far more valuable than making a stand against the U.S. in Iraq. Europeans are beholden to NATO, but only insofar as they find it useful. The U.S. is not about to attack Western Europe to maintain its bases there. This is not a loss of freedom.

If the U.S. wanted sanctions on Iran to fail, then it would not try so hard with them. It could have thrown the last round of Security Council negotiations by offending Russia and China (so they would veto it), call the sanctions a failure, and already have the war which you say it desires. There have been many opportunities to do something like that and the U.S. took none of them. That looks like evidence to me.

The difference between kidnapping and arrest is the law and the justice of the law, and that was exactly my point: Context matters when determining the morality of an act. The same is true of war. I think you missed another of my points, though: Intentions have little or nothing to do with the morality of an act. Due diligence in predicting consequences, reasonably expected consequences following that due diligence, and comparison to the consequences of alternative action (or inaction) are what matter. Regarding your criteria for justification of violence, I would take desperation and imminence out of it. The police have the option of ignoring a case of murder, rather than investigating and arresting. Often, a murder is a circumstance-specific thing, and the murderer is not about to kill again, and the police are not desperate. However, establishing a pattern of failure to enforce any law, whether it be that against murder or parking-violations, would rob it of its deterrent power and encourage those with motive to do so to violate it. Thus they do fit the "negative violence" criterion, but not the parts above it. I should probably also point out that the line between "positive" and "negative" violence is often blurry: A functional democratic government is less likely to engage in violence against its people than is a tyranny, so fighting for democracy could be considered "negative violence".

The USSR may have called on Britain to help contain the Nazis much earlier, but Chamberlain only became PM in 1937. On average, his military spending doubled that of his predecessor, reaching half of the wartime budget without the costs of deployment. I would not be surprised if Chamberlain also liked the idea of using Germany against the USSR bu regardless, without that buildup, Germany would probably have taken the British isles.

The overthrow of Marco had massive popular support, but it seems to have actually been conduced as a non-bloody military coup. I see two interpretations of this: Either the implicit threat of violence from military rebels drove Marco from power, or the military forces, combined with the armed populace, flexed their muscle as the true rulers of the country. In the first way of looking at it, while the coup itself was bloodless, it depended upon the credible threat of violence, which in turn depends upon past violence. In the second, the coup could just as easily have been pro-fascist and anti-democratic, and not indicative of a pattern of defeating evil bloodlessly.

I am very, very far from convinced that Netanyahu would actually push for WWIII. I know about the concerns with Iran, but a war between Israel and Iran, or even the U.S. and Iran, would not start WWIII. Nobody else who matters really cares enough.

Are you sure about history not showing that Jews need a reliable place of refuge?
As for the reliability of a state, that depends upon the state's ability to defend itself against neighbours. Why do you think Israel places such a premium on military power?

Charles O (209)
Sunday May 13, 2012, 11:54 am
Hello Stephen B. --

You write:

> European countries did not sacrifice lives and interest for the sake of NATO.

I disagree. These countries joined in the Coalition of the Killing. They sent troops to kill and be killed. They sacrificed these lives. The countries sacrificed their reputation and became part of a criminal undertaking. The rulers sacrificed credibility and democracy when they went directly against the will of the people.

You write:

> NATO serves European interests

Does it? How does reducing Afghan villages to rubble benefit European interests? How did the dismemberment of Yugoslavia serve European interests? You write that Europeans find NATO "useful". Useful for what?

. .

You write:

> [The U.S.] could have thrown the last round of Security Council negotiations by offending Russia and China (so they would veto it), call the sanctions a failure, and already have the war which you say it desires. .... That looks like evidence to me.

But the sanctions are punishing Iran for having something that it clearly does not have! It's 2003 all over again: Remember that Iraq too was accused of having something it did not have. Iran, like Iraq, is being required to prove a negative -- an impossible task. Thus the sanctions paint us into a corner, from which there is no escape short of suicidal war-making. All of the reasonable and conciliatory proposals made by Iran are instantly dismissed. That seems like evidence to me.

I'll grant that other interpretations are possible. Israel, by threatening to attack Iran, may be intentionally deflecting attention away from Israel's genocidal policy towards Palestinians. Regardless, the sanctions are a dead-end. They lead nowhere but to World War III. We are standing in gasoline and we are playing with matches.

You offer facile reassurance that aggression against Iran would not lead to World War III. But war games show just the opposite. China and India depend on Iran for their oil. They cannot afford to let the U.S. acquire a stranglehold on their oil supply.

Russia understands that the ultimate U.S. aim is the take-over of mineral-rich Siberia: Mackinder's "Great Game" has been resurrected. Iran is the Russia's front-line. Russia would rather fight the U.S. "over there" than "here" in Omsk and Tomsk. So Russia has no choice but to draw the line at Syria and Iran.

. .

> Addressing the Ambassador directly, Prince Andrew then turned to regional politics. He stated baldly that “the United Kingdom, Western Europe (and by extension you Americans too)” were now back in the thick of playing the Great Game. More animated than ever, he stated cockily: “And this time we aim to win!”[11]

-- "Wikileaks files: US ambassador criticised Prince Andrew", BBC, 30 Nov 2010

> When everyone is dead, the Great Game is finished. Not before.

-- Rudyard Kipling

. .

Jews had a refuge: It was called the Middle East. It was called Palestine. With their suicidal bellicosity, Zionists have destroyed that refuge. The idea that "Everyone Everywhere All Through History Has Nothing Better To Do Than Genocide The Jews" is Zionist self-delusion.

With their Infinite Victimology, Zionists are trying to sell us the notion that Jews are Unique, a Race Apart. It's a stupid cynical lie. Jews are human beings, just like everyone else. Many people have faced persecution and even genocide at various times. Would you give all of these people a right to steal Palestine and cage the native people there?

At any rate, the Zionist "premium on military power" is like the French premium on the Maginot Line. There are limits to what can be achieved with death and destruction. No amount of military force is sufficient to push a string. At some point, Israel's victims just get tired of being afraid. Israel's bombs and bullets then lose their "effectiveness".

Stephen Brian (23)
Sunday May 13, 2012, 5:28 pm
Regarding the sacrifices made in Iraq, here are the numbers: (casualties by country) (deployment) (NATO-membership)

The primary NATO forces were the U.S. and U.K., with Italy in a distant 3rd. Other NATO allies had missions in Iraq, but very small ones, probably mostly in an attempt to get some kind of say in the civil administration and end up with influence in an oil-rich country. They may also have objected to details like Saddam's life-insurance policy for suicide-bombers and the groups with which many insurgents' sympathies lay. Others certainly made sacrifices and while every life matters, those deployments and sacrifices were tiny, not the sort that would have been seen if they really took orders from the U.S. through NATO.

Europe uses NATO to protect its foreign interests. The U.S. is not the only one with investments all over the world which may come under threat. However, European countries currently have relatively little ability to project power beyond Europe. When the rebellion in Libya started, they wanted to avoid lawlessness on the North African coast and the resulting potential trouble in the Mediterranean (piracy, smuggling, and other trouble). The intervention in Libya was for them, but they couldn't even manage to deploy there effectively. At least one member gains quite a lot domestically from NATO-membership: Turkey faces Kurdish rebels with forces trained and equipped up to NATO's standards. Do you think it would have a first-rate military, and access to most of the best military technology without NATO? Which country is setting up an anti-missile system in Europe to defend which military allies?

Iran is generally reported as being asked to prove a negative. The precise demands that I read were effective acceptance of the Additional Protocols to the NPT (usually not demanded, but in light of rhetoric by Iranian leaders, it is in this case), granting of access to specific facilities (including, most problematically, a missile-development site) to inspectors, and the surrender of a specified quantity of enriched uranium. Also, an attack on Iran would be far from suicidal for the U.S. China is switching its oil-source to Canada and India is also going to alternative sources. Besides, neither of those countries can project power very far so they could not start WWIII anyways. The U.S. probably wants Siberian minerals. However, it is far, far cheaper, due to exchange-rates, logistical issues of inland occupation, and demanded standards of living, for the U.S. to just buy the minerals from Russians. What bothers Russians is that the other major powers in the Middle East are all at least nominally U.S.-allies (Egypt, Israel, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia).

Israeli policy towards Palestinians is far from genocidal. If it intended genocide, that genocide would be over within a couple months at most. I've heard other estimates of weeks. Four million Palestinians in the territories are four million pieces of evidence that as of the beginning of this year, Israel was not genocidal.

The Great Game, as it was usually played, was about gaining influence beyond one's borders without paying the costs of directly ruling foreign countries. The U.S. and U.K. are definitely in it, but frankly I don't have a problem with that. As many problems as I have with U.S. governance, especially abroad, it tends to be less problematic than local rulers of much of the world. If the West can hold power over the region for a full generation, and in particular control the education-system, it may be able to bring Western culture to it. The primary challenge to Democratic Peace Theory (the theory that there is something about functional democracies that keeps them from ever going to war against each other) is not in the data, but in the alternate theory that it is Western culture, present in every democracy which borders on another, which stops that. Either way, if the U.S. and U.K. win, we may see a much more peaceful world.

Jews had a safe refuge in the Middle East until it was spoiled by Zionists? Really? Tell that to the victims of the 1834 massacre in Safed, before modern organized Zionism. What about all of the pogroms of the 19th century, also predating the founding of modern organized Zionism. (Look under "Muslim and Arab antisemitism for a list of cities and years in which they occurred). The first modern major wave of European Jewish migration to the region was not until the 1880s. No, the Middle East was not safe for Jews even before anybody could pretend to just be responding to Zionism. There is now a region where, while targeted by terrorists, Jews are not currently at risk of rampant massacres. Zionists did not destroy the refuge. They created it.

Once again, the "Infinite Victimology" idea is totally unnecessary to explain the events which you use as evidence for it. It's not that nobody has anything better to do than commit genocide. It's that there is no way of predicting who will persecute and when, at least not far enough in advance to get would-be victims out. Also, there is no need for anyone to claim to be unique in this: I really would give all persecuted groups a right to claim territory for self-governance if I could, and if they proved themselves capable of doing so stably without dominantly internal causes driving them to attack neighbors. I know your views on this, but the fact is that without serious cross-border attacks or an imminent threat of war, both external factors, Israel does fit both of those criteria. Also, Israeli strategy does not rely upon inspiring inescapable fear in its enemies. It actually relies on giving enemies the opportunity to escape that fear by ceasing hostilities. I look forward to the day that Israel's victims get tired of living in fear of it and force those who mingle among them to cease hostilities.

Charles O (209)
Sunday May 13, 2012, 10:35 pm
Hello Stephen B. --

The rulers of the countries in the Coalition of the Killing ignored the will of the people and made war at NATO's behest. Making war is not an insignificant act! The European rulers sacrificed their principles and prostituted their countries. Their countries became mercenaries or prostitutes for NATO, and participated in military aggression. That is the act of an obedient slave, not the act of an independent self-respecting country. Military aggression is the worst of all crimes, according to the Nuremberg Trials.

You write that "Europe uses NATO to protect its foreign interests.". Again, what "foreign interest" does Europe have in Afghanistan? Or even in Yugoslavia? -- It cost Clinton $5 billion to destroy that country, and Europe was left with a $150 billion bill for reconstruction and environmental clean-up. How does bombing European cities -- viz., Belgrade -- benefit European interests?!

Your complacency about the prospects of World War III is astonishing. You remind me of the Israel-firsters who reassured us that the slaughter in Iraq would be a "cakewalk". According to Wolfowitz, the holocaust in Iraq "would pay for itself", so not to worry!

You seem to think that war-making is clock-work. It isn't. The tinder -- in the form of injustice -- has been building for the last 64 years. Light the match, and you'll see the world go up in flames. The attack on Iran will be used as an excuse for destroying the source of the war contagion: fascist Israel. In the confusion, missiles will fly everywhere, with many of these "stray" missiles "accidentally" finding their way to Tel Aviv. The world is sick of Israel's war-making, and is ready to put an end to this cancer. All it needs is a good excuse.

What bothers Russia is encroachment and encirclement by the U.S. and NATO. Cornered, Russia knows that it must fight, and it would rather fight "over there" in Iran and Syria then "over here" in Omsk and Tomsk.

. .

You rather blithely inform us that:

> Israeli policy towards Palestinians is far from genocidal. If it intended genocide, that genocide would be over within a couple months at most.

You fail to distinguish between the adjective and the noun. "Genocidal", the adjective, means that Israel is trying to destroy an entire people. It tells us nothing about when the destruction will be completed. Israel can take its time and thus fly under the radar. If it tried to murder three million people all at once, Jews worldwide might object, and might stop subsidizing the fascist regime. So it murders Palestinians slowly, a thousand here, a thousand there, sometimes strangling the economy, sometimes gunning down the children, sometimes assassinating the leaders, a little of this, a little of that. How clever Israel is!

. .

If the U.S. were a real democracy, then "Democratic Peace Theory" might apply. But the will of the people -- the 99% -- is disregarded here, just as it is disregarded in Europe. Policy is made by the foreign lobbies and the transnational corporations, especially the war and oil interests. Maybe that explains why we do NOT have peace and why we are locking ourselves into the insanity of another world war.

. .

Jews, as a small minority, survived in Palestine for 2,000 years. If Jews were as Supremely Persecuted as Zionists want us to believe, they would not have survived. The very fact that Jews were spread throughout the Middle East and were often influential and prosperous tells us that they were not particularly Persecuted.

I'll agree that the Middle East was not perfectly safe for Jews. It was not perfectly safe for ANYBODY. But you are even less likely to achieve Perfect Safety by making war on the human race, which seems to be what Zionism is all about. You cannot achieve security for yourself by depriving others of security. It's co-existence or no existence.

Stephen Brian (23)
Monday May 14, 2012, 1:07 am
Hi Charles :)

It is not the act of a slave to build a stake in a country being rebuilt from the ground up which can later be claimed for foreign influence in an oil-rich region. the people in those countries opposed the war so their governments generally did not send large numbers of troops into it, nor, I suspect, did they often permit their forces to be used on the front lines (in the same way that many did not allow it in Afghanistan).

The Nuremberg trials were not for military aggression in itself. They were for specific war-crimes. I don't remember exactly what the charges were, but I would not be surprised if the military aggression without casus belli were added. However, not only was there clear casus belli in Iraq (explicit violation of a ceasefire), but the aggression itself was not a crime.

Europe has at least two interests in Afghanistan: First, an emerging economy, if stabilized, can become a great place for investment, with cheap labor, favorable exchange-rates, routes for land-trade, etc. Second, and perhaps more importantly, they want to deny it as a base of operations, recruitment, and training to a movement which attacks them and calls for the destruction of their cultures. In Yugoslavia, there were also two reasons to intervene, and far greater ones at that: First, WWI was sparked by trouble in exactly that region. The political situation was different in the 1990s, but nobody thought that an assassination in Sarajevo would cause such trouble 90 years ago either. It was generally considered better to play it safe and put an end to the fighting there. Second, there was a genocide going on. While European countries may have little realpolitik interest in stopping a genocide, Europeans do have compassion and, frankly, I am surprised that you would suggest that they should not have intervened with a genocide going on practically next door.

There are a few problems with your theory of how war with Iran would lead to WWIII: First, Israel is very far away from Iran. No amount of confusion would lead to a strike on Tel Aviv. Second, Israel possesses quite a full-blown anti-missile system. Third, who exactly would launch one at Israel: The U.S.? Israel itself? Iran's best cruise missiles lack the range. Would Europe attack Israel? First, they don't actually hate it. They don't like it, but they would not be willing to actually attack. Even if they were willing to try something like that, I suspect the U.S. 6th Fleet would not take kindly to an attack on a formal "Major non-NATO Ally" which does more for its interests than do most NATO countries. Maybe you think the Arabs could hope to do real damage to Israel. The asymmetry is now even greater than it was in 1967.

Do you really think that Russia, a major exporter of oil and natural gas, would stick its neck out against the U.S. and start WWIII to protect a competitor? If the Middle East goes up in flames, guess who gains a near-monopoly over European fuel. If anything, Russia might try to mess up Saudi Arabia or Oman with the U.S. stuck in Iran to get control of much of Europe, but it certainly wouldn't try to rescue Iran.

A genocide that kills more slowly than the natural population growth-rate won't work. If Israel were clever and genocidal, it would have to kill a lot more people. "A thousand here, a thousand there" is also a massive exaggeration. according to the news at the time, Cast Lead was by far the bloodiest operation ever in Gaza, with about 1,300-1,400 dead. The economic damage is also not remotely close to genocidal: Consider that even without such a conflict, many African states have a worse economy anyways. If they haven't died out from their poverty, what makes you think Palestinians would? Economic damage is a fact of war, and so are civilian casualties, especially when rebels fail to properly identify themselves, strike from populated areas, and mix military and civilian infrastructure.

How many wars have democratic European countries declared upon each other? When was the last time the U.S. went to war with one? The absence of such wars is a matter of historical fact. (If I recall correctly, there may be one exception.) The major question is why there is such an absence. Your idea with a breakdown of democracy does not offer an alternative explanation for what would be one hell of a coincidence.

Jews survived in the region as a whole for much more than 2,000 years. However, the lack of a successful large-scale genocide does not imply a lack of persecution. Jews also spread out and were very successful, but again not for lack of persecution: First, the spreading out was often a result of having fled persecution in many locations and spread to the surrounding ones. Second, that there were successful Jews in the Middle East gt any given time generally just meant that not all of the Middle East was persecuting Jews severely at that time. the reason for the success is actually quite simple: Jews sought an investment that could not be confiscated and which they could easily carry with them should they need to flee some place, and there has always been a huge return on investing in education. Try looking up Jewish literacy-rates before the modern era and compare it to those of the surrounding populations. Remember that before the modern era, almost nobody saw the economic value of education, so one group that did educate would have been successful despite discrimination.

Just another detail: It's not pretty, but you totally can achieve security for yourself by depriving others of similar security. Coexistence is not necessary, and that's a good thing because right now I suspect it is impossible.

Cristina M (137)
Monday May 14, 2012, 8:37 pm
It's quite common that in moment of crisis, people go to extreme political theories since capitalism certainly is not working. Even if I disagree totally with these crazy ideas that extremists follow, I think it's not the people's fault to fall into this derange ideas, but it's the result of a fail system, capitalism, that made 1% of the people super rich while the rest are struggling. Should we then be amazed that this is happening? Certainly not, but we should be worried, who will be the next escape goat?

Charles O (209)
Monday May 14, 2012, 9:15 pm
Stephen B. writes:

> Just another detail: It's not pretty, but you totally can achieve security for yourself by depriving others of similar security. Coexistence is not necessary, and that's a good thing because right now I suspect it is impossible.

. .

That aptly sums up the difference between us.

The Zionist position is a defeatist position. He has been conned into giving up on assimilation and integration and the human family. He surrenders to an unhealthy xenophobic ideology. He then retreats into his cave, feels sorry for himself, and dreams of a way to lash out at the rest of the human race. He persecutes and tortures the hapless people who sheltered in the cave before he took it over, and he does as much damage as he can to his neighbors.

What a sad way to live. But it's his choice.

Charles O (209)
Monday May 14, 2012, 9:23 pm
Stephen B. writes:

> However, not only was there clear casus belli in Iraq (explicit violation of a ceasefire), but the aggression itself was not a crime.

So it is "not a crime" to kill a million people and devastate a country that is cooperating fully with the U.N., disarming, and desperately suing for peace?

If this is "not a crime", then NOTHING is a crime.

When you tell us that the holocaust inflicted on Iraq was "not a crime", you reveal the extent to which your thinking has come under the influence of fascist ideology. That ideology inverts the moral order, so that war is regarded as a noble exercise and peace is regarded as cowardly and despicable.

Put yourself in the place of the Iraqis. One young Iraqi woman wrote that the U.S. bombardment was like having a new 9/11 every month, this in a country a tenth the size of the U.S.. Try to empathize with these people. If you need to, think of them as fellow Jews. Then tell me that it was "not a crime" to slaughter them.

Charles O (209)
Monday May 14, 2012, 9:38 pm
Stephen B. writes:

> Do you really think that Russia, a major exporter of oil and natural gas, would stick its neck out against the U.S. and start WWIII to protect a competitor?

. .

So Israel's plan is to pick ethnic groups and religions off, one by one? First, it comes for the Palestinians, but Russians are not Palestinians, so they say nothing. Then it comes for the Lebanese. Then it comes for the Egyptians and the Jordanians and the Syrians. Then it comes for the Lebanese again. Then it comes for the Iraqis. Then it comes for the Libyans. Then it comes for the Syrians and the Iranians. But Russians are not Iranians, so they say nothing.

Is that the plan? Well, it's not going to work. War games indicate that Russia will draw the line at Syria and Iran. It is already threatening a "preemptive" strike if the U.S. insists on deploying more missiles in Eastern Europe. As I wrote, Russia is better off fighting "over there" in Iran and Syria than "over here" in Omsk and Tomsk.

Russia sees the choice clearly: Either a global dictatorship run by the U.S. and Israel, or a multipolar world led by the BRICS. The time to choose is now. If the U.S. smashes Iran and Syria, the window for a multipolar world will close.

The Hitlerites scoffed at the notion that Russia would resist. Guess what: The Nazis were wrong. Their war machine was shattered on the Eastern Front. Russia is not going to go quietly.

Stephen Brian (23)
Tuesday May 15, 2012, 6:09 pm
Hi Charles,

Security was historically achieved by maintaining a force superior to those which one might expect to attack. This method necessarily deprives others of their security. Yes, it can be achieved by the elimination of others' motivation to attack, but I do not believe that to be possible in many modern cases.

A country "desperately suing for peace" could have acted in accordance with the ceasefire terms to which it had previously agreed. If it wanted to cooperate with the U.N., it could have cooperated with U.N. inspectors. (The failure to cooperate with the U.N. was the means by which it was in the process of violating the ceasefire at the time of the attack.) Killing a million people would probably mean killing more than forty thousand enemy soldiers and insurgents, with about 150,000 civilians dead due to violence in total (including all sides and, apparently, normal crime).

Obviously the act which you described would have been horribly criminal. However, the conditions which you described are totally inaccurate, and you even got the scale of the response wrong.

Israel's plan, as far as I can tell, is to keep fighting its enemies until they seek peace on terms which it finds acceptable. Russia does not play into that. One might as well say "First, it comes for the Palestinians, but Ghanans are not Palestinians, so they say nothing." Russia no more plays into that planning than does Ghana. It has roughly the same amount of interest in the region.

Yes, of course, Russia would rather keep fighting outside of its territory. (Funny how you never drew the connection between that and Israeli military strategy.) That is, if one assumes that the strategy which it has used in every single defensive war it ever won won't work again. even assuming it believes it can no longer use its enormous strategic depth to draw out any attacker's supply-lines and overwhelm whatever forces that attacker would be able to supply, it already faces a hostile Western-backed border with Georgia and has at least two layers of former Soviet states between itself and Western forces in Afghanistan. One might as well say it would draw the line at Nigeria. a steppingIran is not a stepping-stone towards Russia.

A multipolar world led by the BRICs? Seriously? Where did that come from? China, in 5000 years, has never sought serious power beyond its borders. India, last I checked, was a U.S. ally. As for Brazil standing up to the U.S. or any other major power, ... no. If one counts only wealth beyond cost-of-living, a proper measure of a country's economic power, Canada seems to outrank Brazil and Russia (though not both of them together) with a GDP only about 10% that of Brazil, with a population about 80% lower. No, Russia is not about to get into a fight with the U.S. that it knows it can avoid because the U.S. has no need to attack it.

Maybe by BRICS you meant Britain, the Republic (U.S.), Israel, Canada, and Sweden?

Charles O (209)
Tuesday May 15, 2012, 8:53 pm
Hello Stephen B. --

You write:

> Security was historically achieved by maintaining a force superior to those which one might expect to attack. This method necessarily deprives others of their security.

Not at all. Security depends on whether the superior force is defensive or offensive. The essential distinction between defense and offense is one of the many distinctions Zionists attempt to erase.

. .

You write:

> If [Iraq] wanted to cooperate with the U.N., it could have cooperated with U.N. inspectors.

But Iraq WAS cooperating fully with U.N. inspectors. The inspectors had unlimited access, and entire regions of the country were shut down to ensure that no materials were moved during inspection. These were the most intrusive inspections in history. Using back-channel diplomacy, Iraq offered drastic concessions -- new elections and U.S.-run inspections. Saddam even offered to engage Bush in a duel, as an alternative to war.

. .

You write:

> the conditions which you described are totally inaccurate, and you even got the scale of the response wrong.

My figures are based on the Lancet estimates of the number of casualties. These are the most reliable estimates we have. The U.S. refused to count the dead and actively hindered Iraqi attempts to do so.

. .

You write:

> Israel's plan, as far as I can tell, is to keep fighting its enemies until they seek peace on terms which it finds acceptable.

Unfortunately, the terms that Israel finds acceptable are humanly unacceptable. Israel expects several million people to die quietly or accept untermenschen (subhuman) status. Zionists do not know how to treat other people as human beings. They are trying to squeeze blood from a stone.

. .

You write:

> Russia is not about to get into a fight with the U.S. that it knows it can avoid because the U.S. has no need to attack it.

But Russia CANNOT avoid war. That is the point. The U.S. appetite is insatiable. I believe it's called "full spectrum dominance": The U.S. wants to dominate everyone and everything everywhere.

The BRICS have authority precisely because they are NOT addicted to war. They are NOT trying to take over the world. For this reason, they are best qualified to lead. War-making states forfeit their authority.

If you were seeking out a leader, who would you prefer to follow? -- a peaceable individual or a crazed killer? The U.S. may have the guns and the bombs and the missiles, but it no longer speaks to humanity. Humanity's best hope lies in the BRICS.


Stephen Brian (23)
Wednesday May 16, 2012, 4:40 pm
Hi Charles :)

Offensive or defensive forces? There are a few problems with that in practical terms:
First, an offensive capability provides a deterrent while a defensive one directly makes attacks more difficult. They can both be used defensively, and for an effective defence, both are necessary. We saw what happened with purely defensive setups: You mentioned the Maginot Line. In the Middle East, there was also the Israeli static defence in the War of Attrition, which failed. As far as I am aware, pure defences have never succeeded even just tactically against a motorized military force.

Second, the technology required by offensive and defensive operations overlap so much that it is practically impossible, outside of war itself, to tell whether a force is offensive or defensive. Classically ground-strike aircraft are considered offensive .,. except when they turn out to be used for defensive tactical air-support. The difference there is a matter of strategy, and the same goes for tanks, infantry-technology, and everything I can think of beside long-range strategic missiles.

Third, you mentioned elsewhere that Russia would rather fight in Iran rather than on Russian soil. While I doubt that for Russia as its greatest defensive asset (and this one is purely defensive) has always been its strategic depth, Israel has no such depth. It needs to fight on its opponents' soil, and that means using tactical offence even for strategic defence.

Fourth, even without any of this, war is and has always been about logistics. Without striking into an enemy's territory, one cannot damage its logistical capacity. Without having supply-sources (military industrial infrastructure) and other logistical assets far enough within one's territory to fight within one's country without putting them in striking-range (this is also called "strategic depth"), failure to take the war into enemy territory is suicide. A modern war cannot be won without tactical offensives.

Iraq kicked out the inspectors and did not let them back in. I don't know what source told you they got any cooperation.

The Lancet estimates were totally debunked long ago. Large-scale direct counts came to vastly lower numbers. For some idea of how over-the-top the Lancet's estimate was, it would have been about 2.6% of the population. Taking it up to 1 million, as you did, would put the death-toll at about 4% of the pre-war population. Germany was not that badly messed up by WWI. As for exactly what is wrong with it, all you need to see is the table of deaths-by-cause. (You can check the article through a link from Wiki.) Somehow, there were supposedly no deaths by gunshot wound prior to the invasion. Iraq was supposedly somehow free of murder, with violent deaths resulting only from explosive ordnance and air-strikes ... because of course there was no murder in Iraq before the invasion and Saddam was a friendly fellow who never violently suppressed dissent. Non-violent deaths apparently jumped by more than a factor of 3 when comparing 14-month pre-invasion and 25-month post-invasion periods. Then we can get to the table at the bottom of P.5, which really screws up the image you presented: Coalition-forces wore uniforms. It was really, really obvious when they were responsible for killing. Those "unknowns" were probably almost all non-coalition forces. That would put roughly 2/3 of Iraqi deaths at the hands of Iraqis so no, the U.S. was not responsible for doubling the death-rate in Iraq: Iraqis certainly always had the reasonable option of not killing each other and one entity cannot be held accountable for the unreasonable decisions of another.

The U.S. probably does count the dead. However, since Vietnam it has been illegal for its armed forces to report numbers of enemy or civilian deaths. The numbers are probably locked away somewhere, but classified and not about to be released. I have not heard of any attempt to stop Iraqis from counting their dead.

I assume you pull the "untermenschen" part of your comment from Israel's current treatment of Palestinians. They are not treated as sub-human, nor even as second-class citizens. They are treated as non-citizens because they are not citizens of Israel, nor of any state with which Israel has civil relations. I know there are Zionists who do not know how to treat others. There are also people of every existing political brand who similarly do not. However, if you want to discuss majorities in the Middle East, Israelis treat visitors better than any other country in the region. Of course, with the way the others treat journalists, you'll never hear about their poor treatment.

The American appetite is pretty insatiable. The issue is that it is vastly easier for the U.S. to get more out of Russia by mutually beneficial cooperation, without a war.

Did you seriously just say that humanity's best hope lies with the leaders of the BRICs? Tell that to the next Tibetan you see. Did you say they were not addicted to war and dominance? Tell that to the next Georgian. You keep talking about insatiable appetites, corruption, etc.: Did you think India was no longer home to the world's largest corruption-problem? Brazil doesn't have authority because its economic power just isn't sufficient, and it needs to get its own house in order. Looking for a leader, I would go for one that does not follow an ex-KGB strongman, promotes functional multi-party democracy, does not have pending criminal charges active against over a fifth of its parliament, or have a homicide-rate that outranks a northern neighbour which is in the middle of a civil war.

Charles O (209)
Wednesday May 16, 2012, 9:07 pm
Hello Stephen B. --

You write:

> Iraq kicked out the inspectors and did not let them back in. I don't know what source told you they got any cooperation.

Your claim is directly contradicted by Hans Blix. E.g.:,,793642,00.html

> Saddam Hussein last night caved in and agreed to the unconditional return of weapons inspectors to Iraq.

> After a day of fevered speculation at the UN and in Baghdad, the Iraqi foreign minister Naji Sabri handed the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, a letter which he said contained "good news". Mr Annan confirmed that the offer came without conditions.

> "I can confirm to you that I have received a letter from the Iraqi authorities conveying its decision to allow the return of inspectors without conditions to continue their work," he said.


> Speaking on the anniversary of the United States' invasion of Iraq, originally declared as a pre-emptive strike against a madman ready to deploy weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), the man first charged with finding those weapons said that the U.S. government has "the same mind frame as the witch hunters of the past" looking for evidence to support a foregone conclusion.

> "There were about 700 inspections, and in no case did we find weapons of mass destruction," said Hans Blix, the Swedish diplomat called out of retirement to serve as the United Nations' chief weapons inspector from 2000 to 2003; from 1981 to 1997 he headed the International Atomic Energy Agency. "We went to sites [in Iraq] given to us by intelligence, and only in three cases did we find something" a stash of nuclear documents, some Vulcan boosters, and several empty warheads for chemical weapons. More inspections were required to determine whether these findings were the "tip of the iceberg" or simply fragments remaining from that deadly iceberg's past destruction, Blix said he told the United Nations Security Council. However, his work in Iraq was cut short when the United States and the United Kingdom took disarmament into their own hands in March of last year.


> Since we arrived in Iraq, we have conducted more than 400 inspections covering more than 300 sites. All inspections were performed without notice, and access was almost always provided promptly. In no case have we seen convincing evidence that the Iraqi side knew in advance that the inspectors were coming.

> The inspections have taken place throughout Iraq at industrial sites, ammunition depots, research centres, universities, presidential sites, mobile laboratories, private houses, missile production facilities, military camps and agricultural sites. At all sites which had been inspected before 1998, re-baselining activities were performed. This included the identification of the function and contents of each building, new or old, at a site. It also included verification of previously tagged equipment, application of seals and tags, taking samples and discussions with the site personnel regarding past and present activities. At certain sites, ground-penetrating radar was used to look for underground structures or buried equipment.

> Iraq trying to cooperate, says Blix

> Simon Jeffery and agencies / Friday, 07 Feb 2003

> Hans Blix, the UN's chief weapons inspector, today said that Iraq appeared to be "making an effort" to cooperate with monitors following the first private interview with a scientist associated with its weapons programmes.


> Iraq Said to Have Tried to Reach Last-Minute Deal to Avert War
> By JAMES RISEN / Published: 06 Nov 2003

> WASHINGTON, Nov. 5 -- As American soldiers massed on the Iraqi border in March and diplomats argued about war, an influential adviser to the Pentagon received a secret message from a Lebanese-American businessman: Saddam Hussein wanted to make a deal.

> Iraqi officials, including the chief of the Iraqi Intelligence Service, had told the businessman that they wanted Washington to know that Iraq no longer had weapons of mass destruction, and they offered to allow American troops and experts to conduct a search. The businessman said in an interview that the Iraqis also offered to hand over a man accused of being involved in the World Trade Center bombing in 1993 who was being held in Baghdad. At one point, he said, the Iraqis pledged to hold elections.


> U.S. rejected last-minute peace in Iraq

> Offers included oil rights and weapons inspections
> The Olympian, Olympia Washington / Thu., November 6, 2003

> WASHINGTON -- Days before U.S.-led forces invaded Iraq, officials claiming to speak for a frantic Iraqi regime made a last-ditch effort to avert the war, but U.S. officials rebuffed the overture, according to news reports.

Charles O (209)
Wednesday May 16, 2012, 9:27 pm
Stephen B. writes:

> The Lancet estimates were totally debunked long ago. Large-scale direct counts came to vastly lower numbers.

. .

Actually, the Lancet estimates were confirmed by a follow-up survey and by an independent survey.

The direct counts -- e.g., Iraq Body Count -- include only deaths that are confirmed by two English-language newspapers. Even then, the count is over 100,000.

Your quibbling here reminds me of the "Holocaust Deniers" who "prove" that the number of Jews killed by the Third Reich was "only" 600,000 or so.

You try to shift the blame for the killing onto Saddam. But Saddam, in 2003, was not engaged in large-scale repression. When he opened the prisons and released the prisoners, only a few hundred dissidents went unaccounted.

This means that most of the people who died after the U.S. attack died as a direct or indirect consequence of U.S. aggression. They were dismembered by U.S. bombs and missiles, they were shot at U.S. checkpoints, they were shredded by U.S. attack planes and helicopter gunships, they died as a result of of the civil war that the U.S. attack fostered, they died because of war-time conditions -- lack of health care, lack of sanitation, radiation from the depleted uranium weapons used by the U.S.. Given that the U.S. turned the most prosperous state in the Arab world into another Somalia, the Lancet estimate of a million dead is not unreasonable.

Stephen Brian (23)
Thursday May 17, 2012, 12:32 am
Thanks Charles :)

I guess I was mistaken. The inspectors themselves were allowed to return. However, the inspections themselves were rendered useless:
With any significant advance notice, all evidence of weapons-development at the palaces could be easily moved (presumably to another palace so that inspectors could not just show up at the destination too). The inspectors liked their jobs. Blix apparently insisted that Iraq was developing weapons in the four years when he was not there and then that it was too early to attack or pull the inspectors out once they returned. I am thoroughly unsurprised by his statements.

The Iraq Body Count, U.N. counts, and Iraqi government-counts all found the numbers to be far, far lower than the Lancet claimed. There is a major difference between this difference in numbers and numbers of people murdered: The lower numbers imply normal conduct of war. Many people are expected to die in a war, insurgency, and counter-insurgency. The numbers given by the Lancet imply that something more was going on, massacres on a grand scale, while those of other sources do not.

Saddam was always engaged in large-scale repression. That's how his regime worked. Those in his prisons were just the ones worth taking as prisoners. A man who once unleashed chemical WMDs on his own citizens (or subjects, if you do not consider residents of a non-democratic country to be citizens), Kurds in northern Iraq, evidently did not always bother letting his victims live long enough to reach prison.

I don't see how a rarity of death at Saddam's prisons could possibly indicate that the insurgents were responsible for only a minority of deaths. If I recall correctly, in 2006 nearly the entire country split along sectarian lines and neighbourhood militias fought each other as well as the countrywide insurgency. Untrained, or poorly trained, militia-on-militia combat is incredibly bloody. From what I understand, just about the last two things an unprofessional force would set up are tactical ceasefire-protocols to take prisoners (or not massacre the wounded) and arrangements to hold prisoners. That, and the unit-discipline to stop firing upon a fleeing enemy. It's all no-quarter fighting and, with sectarian conflict, personal and fanatical. Of course, long before that, insurgents made a point of trying to kill as many people as possible because that was the only way they could let everyone know they were still relevant, powerful, and worth joining. It was the core of their recruitment, their anti-occupation campaign (because pure military targets were too hard), and, with the clan-structure in Arab culture, the way they were used to conducting war (to strike at the whole clan or tribe rather than just the troops).

Charles O (209)
Thursday May 17, 2012, 10:33 am
Stephen B. writes:

> With any significant advance notice, all evidence of weapons-development at the palaces could be easily moved (presumably to another palace so that inspectors could not just show up at the destination too).

. .

This was one of the many arguments the U.S. used, in its effort to discredit the U.N. inspectors. Iraq answered the U.S. objection by shutting down entire regions of the country: Nothing moved on the highways while inspections were in progress.

Of course, the U.S. knew all along that there were no WMD's to be found. The Downing Street Memos show that the "Iraqi WMDs" tale was deliberately concocted to provide a pretext for war-making -- like the tale about "Iranian Nukes" today.

Charles O (209)
Thursday May 17, 2012, 10:55 am
Hello Stephen B. --

Are you suggesting that "insurgents" did most of the killing in Iraq?

Well then, ask yourself who unleashed these "insurgents" on the Iraqis. Who is supporting similar "insurgents" today in Syria? Who supported them in Libya, where 30,000 to 50,000 are now dead and beautiful cities have been bombed into rubble? Who supported the KLA "insurgents" in Kosovo in 1999 and the Mujahedin "insurgents" Afghanistan throughout the 1980s? Who opened Iraq up to Al Qaeda?

The answer is the U.S.. The insurgents -- sorry "Peaceful Protesters" -- in Syria are now receiving heavy weapons from Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and Al Qaeda.

Iraq was a country at peace in 2003 when the U.S. attacked. Robert Fisk reported that he traveled from one end of the country to the other, with no fears for his safety.

The insurgency arose to fill the void created by the U.S. blitzkrieg, invasion and occupation of the country. There is also evidence that black ops were used to foment the civil war -- the incident at Basra, for example, where Britain intervened to rescue heavily armed "Terrorists" who were actually British operatives. Blow up a Sunni mosque and plant evidence implicating Shiites, then blow up a Shiite mosque and plant evidence implicating Sunnis: Voila! Instant "civil war". Getting the Iraqis to kill each other was the cheapest way to ensure U.S. domination.

Wide-spread killing by Saddam ended in the early 1990s, when the Shiite and Kurdish rebellions were put down.

Stephen Brian (23)
Friday May 18, 2012, 10:13 am
Hi Charles :)

Seriously, you're trusting a blog that cites the Sunday Times
and in particular a story about a meeting within the U.K. government which would somehow expose hidden U.S. documents? You do know the two are different countries, right?

Who unleashed these insurgents?
Let's see: Bremer screwed up badly, firing all members of Saddam's party from the military, putting a whole lot of organized, trained men out of work. That certainly made the manpower available, but it didn't quite put the guns in their hands and tell them to start shooting. (In fact it did the opposite, but never mind that detail.)

Arms were smuggled in through Syria and Iran.

In the end, though, nobody had to "unleash" them, nor could anybody do so. Again, these are grown men, not children. Did somebody else have to "unleash" you to post your latest comment? Who "unleashed" the drivers of the buses I took today to go to work? Insurgents make their own decisions and they could chose to, or not to, create a bloodbath. The insurgents "unleashed" themselves.

So you're saying formal wide-spread killing by Saddam ended when the U.S. secured the Kurdish territories in northern Iraq following the Gulf War? That still doesn't exactly imply a society free of murder and such trouble. In fact, implies quite the opposite in 2002.
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