[SPORK] Weird definition of "draining the swamp"

Jeff Bone jbone at deepfile.com
Wed Apr 30 13:57:49 PDT 2003

On Wednesday, Apr 30, 2003, at 12:26 US/Central, Bill Stoddard wrote:

>> Yawn.  This obsession with the French is as bizarre and sad as a 
>> certain obsession with a certain previous President.
>> Look, whatever else you want to call it, whether or not we agree with 
>> the moral basis of their position, "cowardice" doesn't enter into the 
>> equation.
> Yes it does.

No it doesn't.

(Let me just go ahead and play this one out, straight from the "neo-con 
handbook of assertive but illogical argumentation." )

"Yes it does."

  No it doesn't.

"Yes it does."

No it doesn't.

Etc. etc.  Except, unlike the skeptic in the stupid "drugs fund 
terrorism" commercials, I'm not going to just roll over if you repeat 
this bald assertion enough times.  If you want to convince somebody 
other than a ditto, you have to *bring an argument.*  What you've 
offered above is not an argument.

An argument would be a convincing definition of "cowardice" that maps 
to what the French have done or not done that shows a lack of resolve 
to pursue THEIR OWN convictions and best interests due to a fear for 
the consequences.  "Cowardice" does not encompass whatever the French 
may have done or not done that shows a lack of resolve on their part to 
pursue OUR convictions and best interests due to a fear of the 

Honest disagreement between us on the best course of action does NOT 
constitute cowardice.  They decided that sweet oil deals and 
non-interference trumped some weakly-elaborated and questionable 
"moral" imperative to help out the Iraqis, or go questing after 
mythical WMDs, or whatever the fuck it is (according to the party-line 
du jour) that we're supposedly doing over there.  And that decision is 
theirs to make, and if anything it reflects positively on their 
resolve, their bravery to stand firm against U.S. geopolitical 
manipulation and coercion.

.:  Not cowardly --- BRAVE.  I salute Chirac.

>> Standing up to the only superpower in the world for what you feel are 
>> your convictions and best interests isn't "cowardly."
> The US is by far the most benevolent superpower in the history of the 
> world (I can already hear Owen blowing up all the way down here in 
> Clay Aiken land ;-).

Well, given that there have only ever been two superpowers, really, I 
don't think this would be a very strong statement even if it were true.

However, I'm not sure it's true --- I think we could tally up 
invasions, excursions, interventions, police actions, illegal arrests 
on foreign soil (i.e. international kidnappings), assassinations, other 
breaches of international law, and enemy com- and non-com deaths in 
various conflicts of us vs. the previous USSR...  and it'd probably be 
a pretty close call, if we didn't lose it outright.

But lose the "superpower" qualifier and the image gets even murkier.  
We're pretty close to the top of the list of all nations in terms of 
non-benevolent interactions with other countries, i.e. military and 
other aggression.

"Moral / geopolitical busybody-ness with a loud mouth and a big stick" 
does not equal "benevolence," Bill.  The road to Hell is paved with 
good intentions.

> Do you think the French were telling the truth about why they were 
> against the war?

We *KNOW* that the U.S. was not telling the truth about why we were FOR 
the war.  Indeed, the bumbling nature of those lies is (or should be) a 
terrible embarrassment to all Americans.

> The French leadership was -ok- with Saddam raping his people as long 
> as the ElfFina oil contracts were safe.

Happens daily in various parts of the world.  We look the other way all 
the time, usually out of mere neglect and apathy rather than something 
as justifiable as economic benefit.  Which is worse?

> Why do I not hear gnashing of teeth about their, ummm, mistruths?

Why do I not hear gnashing of teeth about OUR, ummm, mistruths?  Oh, 
wait, I do.  Just not from "your" camp.

> Make no mistake about it... I am under no delusions that the US and GB 
> invaded Iraq just to liberate the Iraqi people.

Well, that's a relief.  I was beginning to wonder...

> However, they -have- been liberated and they will be -much- better off 
> as a result.

How long will that take?  At what cost?  Will they really be better off 
under the Islamist theocracy that's probably going to get built once 
(if ever) we withdraw?  Is a medieval theocracy really all that much 
better than secular fascism?

> I don't mind the shoveling of the chit just so long as it is 
> distrubited fairly :-)  The exclusive focus on "evil america" betrays 
> a hidden agenda or some very lopsided biases.

No hidden agenda, it's all right out here in the open.  To be concise:

My *sole* political goal / desire is to see the creation and 
maintenance of a global climate / context in which technological 
progress is maximized while individual freedom is respected.  (In fact, 
the latter is most significant only in that it is necessary for the 
former.)  There are lots of components to that:  economic, diplomatic, 
etc.  The Bush administration and its policies ALMOST ENTIRELY AND 
ACROSS THE BOARD imperil --- delay at best, totally prevent at worst 
--- the future that I want to see happen.

That's it.  No hidden agenda.  Bush must go and the ideological cluster 
that he represents must be disrupted and politically disarmed in order 
that the world can continue along its way.

>> Neither is flying planes into buildings, for that matter.  Or 
>> strapping on a bomb and taking out an S'Barro's.
>> I think folks in certain ideological clusters have some really 
>> fundamental problems with the concept of "cowardice."
> Err... I don't think I have made any statements about people who fly 
> planes into buildings or suicide bombers (other than they are f5g 
> misguided idiots).  Don't paper me with that bs.

Not directed at you, sorry if that was unclear.  But the "terrorists 
are cowards" line falls easy from the lips of many, including our 
not-so-esteemed CINC.  It's just fucking ridiculous, and it does point 
to a fundamental difference of opinion about what "cowardice" means.


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