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Bush Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by Elios, Feb 14, 2004.

  1. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    *SIGH* - Grey, I know you to be such a smart guy, but why would you say that? The world has not seen much in the way of peace recently, so how can this improve the "long-term health, wealth and happiness" of the world? I'm sure it would be an arduous task to explain such an idea, but shorthand it if you would like. I'm reminded of a Bob Dylan song:

    How many ears must one man have
    Before he can hear people cry?
    And how many deaths
    Will it take till he knows
    That too many people have died?

    I don't think democracy has much to do with this situation, but that politics and power are the order of the day. It is one thing to admire the Heroic-Warrior Ideal from afar, but it is another matter to embrace it as a mode for achieveing the Ideal.
     
  2. Abomination Gems: 26/31
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    I wouldn't consider Napoleon to be anti-democracy. Sure he was an 'emperor' but there was far more equality under his reign than the monarch he replaced and the leader who replaced him.

    I agree with CtR on this one. Sure, it's nice to go in, expell the tyrant but do you think it could be done without the death of so many people?

    For all its training and its huge budget, why can't the US Army train an assassin to simply knock off a tyrant? Hell, Stalin was one man. Look at what happened when he died.
     
  3. Grey Magistrate Gems: 14/31
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    With such a generous lead-in, how can I disagree?

    Anyway, if we're going to quote anti-war songs, then let's play one of my favorites, by David Wilcox:

    For there's no far away,
    There is no more far away,
    And these dreams of the Wild West now lead us astray,
    There is no more far away.

    Now the missiles are waiting to fly
    To rip through the innocent sky.
    If we sling out our six-guns like the sheriff on high,
    It's not just the bad guys who'll die.

    These changes cannot be denied.
    We live close to the world's other side.
    That can save us, or kill us - it's time to decide.
    The past is no safe place to hide.

    Resentment doesn't die with the dead -
    despite what the generals said.
    And this oil slick of blood 'cross the ocean will spread
    and just poison our own wells instead.

    For there's no far away,
    There is no more far away,
    And these dreams of the Wild West now lead us astray,
    There is no more far away.


    And to quote our president's favorite philosopher: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God."

    Just to clarify any lingering misconceptions: I'm no friend to war. It's too darn messy - too much collateral damage. The hundreds of billions of dollars we blow on war materiel could be much better spent on education, policemen, health care, and infrastructure, if we lived in a war-free world. Hopefully someday we'll have a (free) one-world government, and all war will be replaced by criminal justice writ large, Judge Dredd-style. (I'm not being sarcastic.) I'm with Joseph de Maistre - give me policemen over soldiers any day.

    But we ain't there yet!

    As Dylan sings, "And how many deaths will it take till he knows that too many people have died?", and as Abomination writes:

    A li'l historical perspective...it wasn't that long ago when wars regularly resulted in tens of thousands of civilian deaths. Today's African wars still reach those totals. Yeah, lots and lots of innocent Iraqis died during the war - and many more are dying today. But it's still not nearly the death toll that could've resulted if the US had decided to drop cheap clearinghouse bombs instead of million-dollar missiles. There's still collateral damage, but now it's an ACCIDENT - there wasn't even such a concept as "collateral damage" in the Second World War.

    It also wasn't that long ago that UN sanctions were starving thousands of Iraqis and leading to thousands more premature deaths from lack of medical supplies, infrastructure improvements, etc., not to mention the educational and nutritional deficits. Those sanctions are gone now, and the oil money that once flowed to Hussein palaces now goes to the Iraqi people - in fact, the US is ponying up tens of billions of its own cash.

    So it's not unreasonable to suppose that maybe, just maybe, the most precise military campaign in history, completed in less than two months, without any grand theatre engagements or massive tank battles, or even the traditional capital siege or urban warfare, could theoretically have positive long-term benefits to the Iraqis' health, wealth, and happiness, compared to the alternatives:

    a) continued life under a sanctioned Hussein
    b) continued life under an unshackled Hussein
    c) annihilation from nuclear retaliation once Hussein brandished completed WMD.

    Which is to say (in sum), Bush is no Nobel candidate. He's a war president - he doesn't deserve a Nobel. But Bush may do more for long-term peace than the peacemaking Annan did with his half-decade of Iraqi negotiations.

    Oh, wait, I can't resist one more aside:

    Y'know, I think it really sums up many of these threads to see Bush as an imperialist and Napoleon as a democrat. Vive la Troisieme Empire!
     
  4. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    Grey - Well, I wouldn't use the words democracy and Napoleon in the same sentence. Napoleon was a true Heroic-Warrior leader; Bush II is a politician leading in wartime. The differences are subtle but the consquences the same. It can be easily argued that much of the world has similar feelings towards Bush II right now, as a number of world leaders had of Napoleon during the Wars of the French Revolution; both fear and disdain. And just as France found itself politically isolated, so is the US to a lesser extent.


    This military campaign is hardly over. And Iraq's civilians are still dying by the truck load over there almost daily; American soldiers are still dying and being injured as well. This was an ill-advised military operation. Some of the top generals in the Pentagon were opposed to how this operation was conducted, and after they went before congress and said as much, OSD gave them their walking papers.

    Napoleon used the excuse that he was spreading the ideals of the French revolution, just as Bush is claiming to be spreading the ideals of American democracy. Now, to return to the differences: Napoleon fought true imperial wars of conquest - he wished to create an imperial empire; Bush is fighting a largely political war, much the same as Lyndon Johnson did in Vietnam. The idea is that it is politically great for the admistration here at home, while maybe not so good for everyone else. You can argue that Iraq is better off with American occupation, just as South Vietnam was, because of the "evil" alternatives, but the fundamental problem is that the average civilian in Iraq probably could care less about American democracy. This was the same problem in Vietnam. Once they left the centers of power in S. Vietnam, and went out into the countryside, the American generals quickly discovered that the average Vietnamese civilian had much different concerns. The same can be argued about Iraq.

    The Iraqi people did not invite us to come over and destroy their country or their way of life, and then have Halliburton rebuild it for them at the expense of the American taxpayer. They are probably really glad that Saddam is gone from power, but they would probably be very happy to now have the self-determination that they seem to desire; this may or may not include American style democracy.

    In the end Johnson's political war in Vietnam failed, both there and here. It "appears" that Shrub is headed for the same results with his largely political war in the Middle East. What started out as a popular and "noble" war is turning politically sour for the administration. And it is because, thus far, the results are not what were expected, coupled with the "credibility gap" on WMD that plagues Bush, much like the now infamous Gulf of Tonkin debacle.

    People should not have to die for democracy but should live it instead. That is the best way to spread the virtue of democracy, IMO - not at the point of a rifle. People reasonably die to defend their families and their homes, which makes more sense. Also, freedom or liberty (self-determination) may be worth dying for, but democracy may not always equal the same thing.
     
  5. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Almost every really functioning democracy has emerged without out any foreign intervention. It is a process, often a slow one which can take decades, even centuries but as soon as you start to educate your population and lift them above toiling in the soil 14 hours a day it is inevitable. We think of Spain and Greece for instance as modern western democracies, only 30-40 years ago they were both dictatorships and they worked it out themselves and have been so stable since then that we have a hard time imagining them as anything else than what they are now. The point is that you cant spread freedom with force, it doesnt work. No one invaded the USSR, it collapsed from within albeit with a good help from a long costly struggle against the US. The only country I can really think of which has got a functioning democratic government forced upon them is Japan. Germany was already as democratic as the next country when Hitler got in power, he was but a "speedbump"(damn big one though) on the road to freedom and one which could have and can happen in any country.

    Just take a look at Afganistan, it is already completely out of peoples mind, here democracy would reign. The only thing which reigns there is chaos and there isnt the slightest hint of democracy.

    What the western world can do to spread freedom is propaganda and support for democratic organisations within countries and bribe and grease leaders into allowing more and more freedom for their people. Turkey's craving to get into the EU has done a lot for human rights and democracy there.
     
  6. Blackhawk Gems: 14/31
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    [​IMG] In Afghanistan, like most of the Middle East, the people have a "tribal" culture and sense of allegiance.

    Democracy was not really expected to flourish in Afghanistan - and it will not flourish in Iraq as well.
     
  7. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    And I guess that will be the excuse you will quote if (when?) a civil war breaks out in Iraq... "Well, we didn't really expect it to work anyway. But hey, at least Saddam's gone. And the world is a much better place now!". And they all lived happily ever after.

    What is the point of trying to shove democracy down people's throats? As was mentioned above, every country has to work damn hard to come to a realization that they WANT democracy, and make it happen for themselves. Bush delivering it to them on a platter and saying: "Here, no more of that religious nonsense you've known for thousands of years. You'll use democracy, US style now. Do it - or else." just isn't going to cut it.
     
  8. Blackhawk Gems: 14/31
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    [​IMG] @ Tal

    Good point. Really, the United States merely gave them a chance at democracy. Whether they sink or swim is up to them.

    We can hope that the people will embrace the ideas of liberty, freedom, capitalism, etc... But as they say, optimism is idealism without experience.
     
  9. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Uhm, you haven't taken the time to look at the planned procedures of the coming elections in Iraq - basically allowing them to vote for US appointed candidates only? You know that the Shias have a problem with that voting process because it will not give them a presence reflecting their 60% majority in the Iraqi population? And you are aware of that the US initially planned to install Mr. Chalabi, a very much unelected person (appointed by Cheney & Crew), as their Iraqi Kharzai?

    After that - when speaking about the US occupation, the realities of the very much non-Iraqi CPA authority, invoking democracy in the same breath, you should ponder for a moment or two.

    Face it, whould the US get a chance to get a calm Iraq and a free stay for their troops there - without elections and with a pro-US autocrat they would cheerfully accept this way out of their selfdug pit. There isn't much idealism involved on the US side.

    [ February 16, 2004, 14:03: Message edited by: Ragusa ]
     
  10. Grey Magistrate Gems: 14/31
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    Y'know, I should be spending my holiday playing NWN...

    Anyway, a few quick replies.

    And the same can be argued about the US, where barely half of the population bothers to vote, and maybe 90% of the population gets its poorly-formed political opinions spoonfed from op-ed columnists and celebrities. Political ideology is the concern of the minority, and properly so. The average Iraqi (or world citizen, for that matter) may say, if asked, that their "real" concerns are getting food on the table, adequate health care, cultural protection, etc. - not necessarily realizing that democracy is the best means for securing those benefits over the long-term.

    I am reminded of the quote from Maryland's representative to the Congress in 1776, justifying his "no" vote on independence - "Maryland would very much appreciate independence if it were given, but very much doubts that it can be taken. Maryland says nay." Way to go, Maryland.

    Not any different from America's "tribal" culture that required some thirteen years before we could manage the constitutional balance between federal and state powers - and, incidentally, a later civil war to crush a "tribalistic" upsurge.

    Again, not much different from the North's occupation of the South during and after the US Civil War (or should I say, "War Between the States"...I mean, "War of Northern Aggression"). There was no doubt that the North planned to reinstate democracy in the South at the earliest possible time - but it still required extensive occupation and carpetbagging to keep the majority from democratically revoting themselves back into secession. 60%? That's nothing - Dixie was 100% against Washington!

    I very much doubt that Lincoln would've won a Nobel.
     
  11. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    Grey - First, I was very careful to make a distinction between liberty and democracy, so that there would be no confusion about the concepts that I thought were worth fighting for. Please take a closer look at the last set of statements in my post on that topic. Liberty and independence are certainly worth fighting for and I say as much. Democracy, while virtous in its fairness and equality (in therory at least, one-man/woman-one vote) is still a political ideology. Does Iraq have independence? I'm sure the people there would be surprised to hear that they do.

    We are really going to disagree on the American Civil War, and I would start that Lincoln's death changed the entire equation for the Reconstruction of the South. Had he lived things would have been different. Also, the war started at Fort Sumter in S.C., where Southern batteries fired on a federal fort - flying American colors - thus opening hostilities. Technically, it was Southern aggression that started the war. This will get really off-topic and I would really, really, like to meet you on another thread to debate the War that is still the pivotal centerpiece of American History.

    [ February 16, 2004, 21:22: Message edited by: Chandos the Red ]
     
  12. Sojourner Gems: 8/31
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    Not much different?! Well, I suppose it wouldn't be, IF Iraq was formerly part of the US! Also, the Northerners of the time would be very surprised to learn they were fighting to "re-instate democracy", as they were convinced they were fighting to preserve the Union!
     
  13. Grey Magistrate Gems: 14/31
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    My (intended) point was that even in a place with a decades-old democratic tradition, with a conqueror who fully intended to reinstate democracy at the earliest opportunity, the North still couldn't hold free elections right away - and what elections there were were "contaminated" by North-backed carpetbagging candidates. You can draw similar electoral-delay examples from Germany and Japan after WW2, but I think the Civil War example is the most striking.

    All which is to say, the fact that the US isn't holding Iraqi elections today, or promising to be entirely "hands-off" in favoring or disfavoring candidates, doesn't speak to either American or Iraqi democratic intentions.

    And lest there be any misconceptions from my last post - I have no Confederate sympathies. I have a huge Lincoln poster on my desk and a fat book of his letters and speeches. The man is my secular idol. The only Southern sympathies I have come from playing Starcraft.
     
  14. Blackhawk Gems: 14/31
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    @ Ragusa

    Iraq was not going to have a full-functioning, modern, democractic government the second the statues fell. C'mon, let's be realistic.

    The United States was in Germany and Japan a good time after their governments were destroyed. Democracy did not come in less than a year in their case either.
     
  15. Sojourner Gems: 8/31
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    Except that the Confederacy WAS a democracy. No "reinstating" required.

    Nor are they going to have it in 10 years.
     
  16. The Soul Forever Seeking Gems: 10/31
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    Bush accused Saddam of having horrible weapons, and said he would attack if he didn't let UN inspectors into the country.

    Saddam let the UN inspectors into the country.

    Bush attacked anyway, with the rationale that Saddam was 'obviously' hiding them.

    Oh, and when Saddam's sons were killed? The soldiers weren't even remotely trying to take prisoners.

    Bush invaded a country because he had a beef with one man.

    If he wins the international prize for peace, I will officially lose all faith in the world.

    That's all I have to say.
     
  17. Oxymore Gems: 13/31
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    I really have big gripes with the concept of "spreading democracy".

    Since we're talking about him, Bonaparte intent was supposedly to bring to ideals of the revolution to Europe and get rid of the kings and tyrants who oppressed their own people. (Sounds familiar?) It certainly wasn't Napoléon's first preoccupation. The real goal was to carve an empire.

    To justify the subjugation of continental Europe, there was also the need to fight the "perfide Albion", Britain. The eternal enemy was everywhere, buying the rifles of Austrian jagers, bribing the czar, strangling the coasts, enforcing tyranny everywhere in the world (were they not fighting the free people of America at that time?) ... once the Brits are defeated, there would be peace. But lacking the navy to end the war, France resorted to subjugating everyone but Britain, thus, if I dare say so, to fighting a perpetual war for peace. (Again, sounds familiar?)

    Now we present democracy as the pinnacle of human evolution and have the sacred mission to feed it to the poor "savages" (being figurative here, don't kill me yet) who ignore the benefit of a free society.

    Just like our ancestors felt compelled to bring western civilisation to Africa. (Who said "diamonds"?)

    Just like the ancestors of our ancestors just had to spread the word of the one true god in South-America. (Who said "gold"?)

    We wages pre-emptive wars just like our fathers did against China, remember: "there are so much of them they will overrun the world". (Who said "opium"?)

    If Bush II wins the Nobel peace prize, I'll start counting the days until Eric Cantona is nominated for the Fields medal.
     
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