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Author Topic: Q for OSC Worldwatch.
Lyrhawn
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Doubtful the US will ever be able to fix the Iraqi police. It's heavily infiltrated by Shiite militiamen, and we have no idea who is who.
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Sterling
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Sadly true. Theoretically, it could be done from within by a motivated, impartial, non-corrupt party, but good luck finding one such idealized entity, let alone enough to deal with the whole of the Iraqi police force.

Trying not to throw things out as impractical in brainstorming; there's certainly enough about the situation that easily surpasses "impractical and unlikely" to venture into the realm of "borderline or literally impossible."

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Lyrhawn
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I just finished reading the Baker Commission Report.

I recommend OSC read it, and anyone else who think that the War is going well, but has a bad image. That report evaporated almost all my hope for Iraq. Things are NOT going well, it's a horrible mess, and death and carnage are everywhere, constantly, and there's little to nothing we can do to stop it by ourselves.

Their solutions seem like good ones, but they depend ENTIRELY on Iraq's government and disparate forces being able to set aside their differences and come to agreement on a wide array of hotly contested issues. I think a lot of it is wishful thinking.

As is, we're in a lot of trouble over there. I recommend everyone here read that report. It's officially 160 pages, but the relevent portions are more like 100. It's a fast read. It's also a scary read.

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Brian R
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There is a larger issue here than the war in Iraq, of which the war in Iraq is only a part. And that is the so-called "war on terror" that Mr. Bush created in response to (or, more cynically, in taking advantage of) the 9/11 attack.

We cannot have a "war on terror." That's because "terror" doesn't exist. Terrorists do exist, and one group of them attacked us. So we could have a war, or at least a police manhunt with some military participation, against al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda is a militant Islamic terrorist organization, so if we want to play the guilt by association game, and we are really, really stupid and self-destructive, we could also have a war on all Muslim nations. But we cannot have a war on "terror."

Any president, however irresponsible, would have to have conducted a police manhunt with military participation against al-Qaeda after 9/11; even Bush wasn't so irresponsible as not to do that. I don't think he wants to have a war against all Muslim nations, though. And of course he can't have a war on "terror," see above.

What it seems he wants to do, is have a blanket authorization to make war against anyone he wants to make war against, anywhere, any time. Having people believe in this "war on terror" turnip ghost does that trick.

Aside from the expense and the casualties, the real problem with this is that war is the enemy of freedom. People compromise all sorts of liberties in wartime that they never would in peacetime. War brings censorship, economic hardships, restrictions on travel, acceptance of government secrecy and unaccountability. And so the "war on terror," which is really a program for constant war from here to eternity, is -- deliberately or not -- an attack on freedom.

Do we want to accept that?

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Lyrhawn
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I believe we can have a "war" on fundamentalism in the same sense that we have a "war" on drugs and poverty.

Problem is, the frontline of that war is in Israel, despite what Ehud Olmert says, and not in Iraq.

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A Rat Named Dog
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Paul, you wanted him to give you sources, didn't you? He offered ONE source to satisfy the demand, and now you're acting like you think this ONE article he mentioned is the sole foundation for his opinion?

For Card to explain the entire foundation of his opinion could take about as much time as it took him to form it in the first place. Could you at least give him a tiny amount of credit, and not presume that he's an idiot, solely because he has come to a different conclusion than you have about a specific issue?

And could you refrain from calling him a liar because you disagree with his word choice?

The concept of whether or not this war is a failure is a question of divining the future, anyway. You seem to be of the opinion that failure is, at this point, inevitable. Card seems to believe that it is far from inevitable, but that the common belief that failure is inevitable is turning into a self-fulfilling prophecy. He wants to reverse that trend.

But since the future hasn't happened yet, I don't think that you have yet earned the right to assume that everyone who disagrees with you about it is a full-blown moron to whom you do not owe any respect. Particularly when the medium you're using to express your opinion has been generously provided to you, for free, by the person whose intelligence you want to insult.

Obviously, you don't have to agree with anything Card says. But at least treat him with some courtesy when you're on his site, on his dime, in front of his family and friends.

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Lyrhawn
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Card goes a little further than that, he suggests that on the contrary, we're winning the war, but no one knows about it because of the Media. The Baker report rebukes that claim pretty hardcore, and shows that it looks like the media is probably way closer to the truth than not.

Today when a CBS journalist quoted passages from the Report to Tony Snow, Snow accused him of partisan naysaying, for quoting the report of a bi-partisan panel. The journalist was shocked, unsurprisingly, and asked him how it was partisan of him to quote the Report, which Tony Snow more or less brushed aside.

How Iraq turns out IS a question for the future to decide, but I think I've come to the conclusion that winning and losing in Iraq are questions no longer up to America. If you read the report, the situation there might have been catalyzed by American ineptitude, but it's entirely of their own making. The Iraqi people can't come to an agreement on any major issue, they aren't working well together, and bitter rivalries and old scores are being settled with our troops in the way. Maliki doesn't even seem to have control over his own army. Soldiers more often than not are refusing to leave their homes to fight in distant parts of the country, and the several of the Ministries themselves are controlled by Muqtada al-Sadr.

America can't fix Iraq until they fix themselves. Our original goal was to kick Saddam out, well, we did it. Imagining that we have the power to create a democracy for them, and decide their future for them is laughably arrogant and ignorant of the situation as it stands over there. I don't think we won or are winning, and I don't think we lost, or are losing. I think we're stuck in a fight between a half dozen major factions, and we have little power, without a massive new troop commitment, to change the situation against the will of Iraqi citizens.

I really feel, that we should do our best there, whilst slowly pulling ourselves away from an unsolvable (by us) problem, and if we're still going to stay relevent in the Middle East, we should be spending our time and money helping a situation we might actually be able to fix, like Palestine and Israel. We should've started there before we ever even got to Iraq, but there's no time like the present. At the very least it'll force the Anti-American forces in the area to come up with a new reason to hate us if they can't use "repression of the Palestinians" as an excuse.

Winning and losing are off the table, it's time we faced reality.

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pooka
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quote:
we should be spending our time and money helping a situation we might actually be able to fix, like Palestine and Israel.
[ROFL]

So what's your plan? We send in troops to defend Palestine while they build themselves into a self-sustaining fighting force?

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Lyrhawn
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Baker and the other Commission members suggest the opposite, sending in troops, if necessary, to reinforce Israel, and serve as a buffer.

Of course, if you prefer the situation remain as is for the next couple hundred years, or until someone manages to nuke the other side then by all means let's keep the status quo.

The situation there has changed since it was Arafat and Sharon at Camp David, and we haven't addressed the situation since then. It's time to put in a serious effort to end the problem.

You disagree?

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Destineer
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quote:
we should be spending our time and money helping a situation we might actually be able to fix, like Palestine and Israel.
Or even poor, forgotten Afghanistan.
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Brian R
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quote:

I believe we can have a "war" on fundamentalism in the same sense that we have a "war" on drugs and poverty.

I guess that's true. But let's note that 1) those "wars" were metaphorical wars not literal ones, and 2) they weren't terribly successful.
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Lyrhawn
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1.) They're more alike than you might think. You can't beat the war on drugs until you address why people are committing illegal actions. You either root out drug users and address their issues, or they continue to use, as you run around trying to pin down dealers and poppy fields, and marijuana forests all over the globe, spending billions but never really doing more than pissing off the cartels and inviting reprisal. Or you can fight a war in Iraq, pissing everyone off, but never addressing why people turn to terrorism to begin with. They aren't all just irrational freedom haters, and it's that sort of mentality that ensures we'll never understand them enough to "win."

2.) Yeah, no kidding. That one seems to apply across the board.

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Sterling
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
quote:
we should be spending our time and money helping a situation we might actually be able to fix, like Palestine and Israel.
Or even poor, forgotten Afghanistan.
Uniting the war on drugs and the war on terror in one painful step.
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Lyrhawn
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What do you dispute in my paragraph that compares them?
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Sterling
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I don't. I'm just bemused at the likelihood that right now Afghanistan seems most likely to either return to the hands of the Taliban or a similarly fundamentalist Islamic group (and probably one that will be sympathetic to organizations like Al Qaeda), or to the opium barons.

Or in other words, I mean "uniting the war on drugs and the war on terror" (or perhaps, even, the "war on terror" leaving a void that will have to be filled by the "war on drugs", and vice versa) rather literally. The metaphor you made seems fairly apt.

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Lyrhawn
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Oh, I see what you're saying.

My bad ::sheepish grin::

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Sterling
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quote:
Originally posted by A Rat Named Dog:
And could you refrain from calling him a liar because you disagree with his word choice?

At the risk of dragging up old skeletons, Paul is correct that at no point during the Clinton presidency was Monica Lewinsky underage.
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Dav
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quote:
Originally posted by Sterling:
quote:
Originally posted by A Rat Named Dog:
And could you refrain from calling him a liar because you disagree with his word choice?

At the risk of dragging up old skeletons, Paul is correct that at no point during the Clinton presidency was Monica Lewinsky underage.
In the legal definition that would be literally true. But "underage" has more than the strict legal definition. I interpreted Mr. Card to mean it in the sense that her youth, and her subservient status (which was accentuated by her immaturity), had been immorally taken advantage of by the President.

One could argue that he should have used a different word, or phrased it differently. But it seemed clear to me.

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Dagonee
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quote:
Originally posted by Sterling:
quote:
Originally posted by A Rat Named Dog:
And could you refrain from calling him a liar because you disagree with his word choice?

At the risk of dragging up old skeletons, Paul is correct that at no point during the Clinton presidency was Monica Lewinsky underage.
That's all well and good, assuming one is using "underage" in the statutory sense. Of course, this isn't something we hold people to consistently.

It's also irrelevant to what Geoff actually said, at least in the part you quoted. It is easy to put up OSC's quote, link to wikipedia, and demonstrate that Monica was 19 when Clinton took the oath of office. That's all that was necessary. Then OSC could either explain his use of the word, or clarify, or admit he was mistaken.

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Sterling
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quote:
Originally posted by Dav:
In the legal definition that would be literally true. But "underage" has more than the strict legal definition. I interpreted Mr. Card to mean it in the sense that her youth, and her subservient status (which was accentuated by her immaturity), had been immorally taken advantage of by the President.

One could argue that he should have used a different word, or phrased it differently. But it seemed clear to me.

quote:
Originally posted by Dagonee:
That's all well and good, assuming one is using "underage" in the statutory sense. Of course, this isn't something we hold people to consistently.

It's also irrelevant to what Geoff actually said, at least in the part you quoted. It is easy to put up OSC's quote, link to wikipedia, and demonstrate that Monica was 19 when Clinton took the oath of office. That's all that was necessary. Then OSC could either explain his use of the word, or clarify, or admit he was mistaken.

Assume Mr. Card is aware that saying Lewinsky was underage is factually incorrect, and that he's aware of that, and uses the term "underage" in some manner of emotionally charged metaphorical sense. These are not insignificant assumptions, but put that aside.

Is the typical reader of such an editorial- not a Hatrack regular, not necessarily someone thoroughly familiar with Card's views and writing- going to come to the conclusion that the term is used metaphorically, rather than in the manner it is used in virtually every English dictionary?

And is a reader already less than favorably inclined towards Clinton going to do the research necessary to invalidate a claim that Lewinsky was underage at the time of her relationship with Clinton? Are they unlikely to presume the claim has some level of authority, some basis in fact, and pass it on verbally as Clinton having had a relationship with a minor?

These are the kind of questions that a responsible editorial writer should consider.

If Mr. Goldner's comment was harsh, perhaps emotionally charged and/or metaphorical, I would hesistate to grant him less slack than I would the writing that inspired the response. Especially noting that he is commenting on a private forum on his own feelings, versus a public one, comparing records of stated fact.

Honestly, whether Mr. Goldner responded as he did or simply like, say, this:
http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/underage
http://www.moraloutrage.net/staticpages/index.php?page=Washingtondc
http://www.who2.com/monicalewinsky.html

I wouldn't really expect Mr. Card to respond. It would seem unusual for him to do so, from what I've observed; it would likely seem to be a waste of time better spent on other projects, and unlikely to alter the mindset of either himself or others. I'm not saying I find fault with that; such matters could easily become the bane of one's professional life.

[ December 17, 2006, 12:40 AM: Message edited by: Sterling ]

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Dav
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quote:
Originally posted by Sterling:

Assume Mr. Card is aware that saying Lewinsky was underage is factually incorrect, and that he's aware of that, and uses the term "underage" in some manner of emotionally charged metaphorical sense. These are not insignificant assumptions, but put that aside.

Is the typical reader of such an editorial- not a Hatrack regular, not necessarily someone thoroughly familiar with Card's views and writing- going to come to the conclusion that the term is used metaphorically, rather than in the manner it is used in virtually every English dictionary?

Actually, my belief is that Mr. Card's use of the word was not "factually incorrect". What he said did not meet one literal *legal* definition. However that doesn't mean it had to be used metaphorically. There are a lot more meanings to words than their legal definitions.

However you may be right about your other point, that a casual uninformed reader inclined to dislike Clinton might assume it meant Lewinsky was under the legal age of consent. And that could be a reasonable argument that a different word or phrasing should have been used.

I would tend to blame the reader in such a case. But I may be a bit biased since I was terribly disappointed with Clinton's actions on this and many other issues.

Anyways, I suppose that's the sort of thing that makes writing editorials tricky. Balancing getting your point across in a relatively succinct and interesting way, with trying to figure out all the ways people might misinterpret you.

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Dagonee
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quote:
Is the typical reader of such an editorial- not a Hatrack regular, not necessarily someone thoroughly familiar with Card's views and writing- going to come to the conclusion that the term is used metaphorically, rather than in the manner it is used in virtually every English dictionary?
You're first link, first definition:

quote:
1 : of less than mature or legal age
Note "mature or legal." It is NOT used in an exclusively legal sense, and I have heard it used very often in a non-legal sense.

Personally, I'd have preferred he used "27 years younger" or something similar.

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twinky
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I don't think I've ever heard it used in any other sense. That is, I'm pretty sure that every time I've heard the word it's been in reference to not being legally old enough to do something (drive, drink, vote...). Drinking was the most common one. It would never have occurred to me, if I'd been reading the column, that OSC meant anything other than "below the legal age of consent for having sex with an adult in that jurisdiction."

I don't know what OSC intended or what the "average reader" might interpret; I'm just noting that there's at least one person out there who sees "underage" and automatically assumes it has to do with law.

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MrSquicky
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Me too.
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Puppy
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Since virtually everyone who reads Card's column is aware of the circumstances of the Lewinsky scandal, it's very difficult to claim that Card was "lying" ... as that would imply an intent to deceive, when there is no one in his audience that could possibly be deceived into thinking Lewinsky was under 18 when they already know that she wasn't.

I mean, regardless of whether or not someone knew all the facts as they read the article, and could specifically cite Lewinsky's age, if the president had actually committed statutory rape, that would have been a very different impeachment proceeding.

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TomDavidson
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I seriously doubt there was any intent to deceive. I do suspect there was a choice made to heighten the reader's appreciation of what was already an inequal power relationship by (among other things) exaggerating its immorality and illegality.

If we're really going to call out factual errors in World Watch columns, I'm still hung up on the claim OSC made a few months back about how the Democratic Party votes in a monolithic bloc compared to the Republicans, something that's almost immediately proved false by even a cursory examination of the record. The opposite is in fact true (and has been true for as long as I've been alive), especially on votes pertaining to the very wedge issues that (IIRC) Card called out as examples of Democratic bloc voting.

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Sterling
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quote:
Originally posted by Dagonee:


Personally, I'd have preferred he used "27 years younger" or something similar.

Noted, though by most defintions it would be hard to label Lewinsky as immature in either a legal or literal sense. Naive, perhaps. I don't think the term was accurate by either definition, however. And if the intent was to impress the unfair power dynamic in the relationship, it seems somewhat redundant to the "almost infinitely subservient" comment.

At best, it would probably suffice to say that the attempt to equate the wrongdoings of Foley and Clinton was done with an overly broad brush.

Not that I'm dismissing the fact that Clinton was guilty of wrongdoing.

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Paul Goldner
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How about what, so far as I can tell, is the factual error that underpines his whole most recent world watch?

Unless someone can show me otherwise, the egg at the hearse story appears to also be a factual erro, since it hasnt' happened yet.

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lynn johnson
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I had a strange impression we were discussing (or rather you discussed while I drop in once a week) Iraq and whether we could "win" whatever that is.

I want to propose that nearly everyone is wrong (what a concept!). We are engaged in a war against radical islam. Bush won't admit it. Moderate islam is useless to us since it has no history or standing up to extremists. We are defending ourselves against an alien culture that wishes to destroy us. Iraq looked like good ground on which to fight; it turns out not to be.

Within Islam the sunnis hate the shi'a, but they can temporarily unite against the Infidel. Sunnis in Saudi Arabia want to stabilize Iraq but Shi'a in Iran and the nazi-like minority shia party running Syria want desperately to create a Shi'a crescent, from Syria to Iran, right through Iraq.

If we are able to stabilize a democracy in Iraq, with a federal style of government (independent states sharing general revenues), it will deal a powerful blow to both Syria and Iran. A democratic regime would whet appetites in both countries among the common people. Thus the tremendous effort to dislodge us. They agree that we must go, and are apparently pouring significant resources into that battle. That is why Moqtada al Sadr is so anti-american, even though his people benefit from the removal of Saddam.

If we don't win, we are in for a longer, much harsher battle. I don't think we can afford to walk away, so the idea of a timetable is extremely risky.

Bush made a serious mistake by insisting on a single Iraq. Kurds love us and are pro-american. They have oil, and they are at peace. Sunni cannot survive without oil revenues and they have no significant fields in their part of the country. They fight to survive. There should be three countries with a system of sharing oil revenues. That is what I might propose if I were King.
lj

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Dagonee
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quote:
Unless someone can show me otherwise, the egg at the hearse story appears to also be a factual erro, since it hasnt' happened yet.
What hasn't happened? The egging of a hearse? I'd like to see your evidence of that.

The telling of the story to OSC by the uniformed escort? I'd really like to see your evidence that this is false.

You're making a bold claim their, Paul. You've accused OSC of lying about whether he makes money on his columns - without proof. You've accused him of being wrong about the egg-hearse incident, without posting proof.

You have an extremely obvious grudge against OSC. Why on earth should anyone take your word over his on these things? You've certainly done nothing to give yourself any credibility in this matter.

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Paul Goldner
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Do a search for egg, and hearse, on google. Nothing crops up except OSC's worldwatch column.

I'm not saying it DIDN"T happen. If you quoted what I said, its that as best I can tell, it didn't happen. IE, there are zero news stories about it happening that are on the web at this point in time that google finds.

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Dagonee
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No, but you are saying that this appears to be a factual error. A very different statement than "I can find no other account of this story."

At least as misleading as OSC's use of underage might have been.

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Paul Goldner
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I also said "so far as I can tell."

I tried, twice, to point out that this is what it looks like from the information available to me.

I apologize that did not come across clearly to you, because it was what I was trying to express.

"At least as misleading as OSC's use of underage might have been."

And thats bogus. I qualified twice. OSC qualified zero times.

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TomDavidson
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On OSC's behalf, he did provide enough information for a reader to identify the hearse story as highly questionable hearsay.
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Puppy
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I'm not sure that any discovery about the hearse story could "undermine" (was that the word you meant?) his entire essay. He's proposing that there should be a restriction against a certain type of demonstration. Whether or not such a demonstration has actually occurred seems to be beside the point of whether or not it should be legal.
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Puppy
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And are you really at the point where you are, by default, assuming everything OSC says is false? If you really think that little of him, I have to wonder what you're still doing on his fan site.

That conversation he had with that soldier was very important to him. He's going to remember it for the rest of his life. And you're sitting here poking holes in it and trying to prove it false? Seriously? This is what you're doing with your time? When the veracity of the story has no impact whatsoever on the point of his essay?

I think we're getting a bit beyond "debate" here and far deeper into "serious attempts to hurt someone whose opinions made you mad". If that isn't your intent, then some faster backpedaling might be a really good idea.

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TomDavidson
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FWIW, I'd be happier with a law making all demonstrations at funerals illegal (although it still makes my inner libertarian chafe something fierce). Separating out soldiers who died "in uniform" from other people who died heroically -- or even less than heroically -- is of questionable value to me.
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Sterling
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
FWIW, I'd be happier with a law making all demonstrations at funerals illegal (although it still makes my inner libertarian chafe something fierce). Separating out soldiers who died "in uniform" from other people who died heroically -- or even less than heroically -- is of questionable value to me.

You know, that's kind of what occurred to me as well. I think the event Card describes in the most recent World Watch is deplorable, but I find equally deplorable the student who demanded "public service" credit for picketing homosexual funerals.

The bottom line is that funerals are for remembering and mourning the dead, and it's hard to imagine a statement, political or otherwise, that has to be made at the event.

Though I'd want to watch how such a law was phrased very carefully. No language that would allow a political convention to felonize protest, for instance.

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MrSquicky
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quote:
I think the event Card describes in the most recent World Watch is deplorable
Is there any confirmation that this event actually happened? I've heard similar stories floated that have all turned out to be fraudulent.
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Sterling
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I honestly don't know. I'll see if there's anything at the urban legends page.

ADD: I checked; nothing there. I sent an inquiry. It certainly could be a piece of unsubstantiated hearsay; the details do seem arranged to enflame, while particulars (where the event occurred, who was arrested, the college providing credit, etc.) are notably vague.

Stay tuned.

[ December 20, 2006, 05:22 PM: Message edited by: Sterling ]

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Puppy
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If someone egged a hearse belonging to a relative of mine, I would be upset, but I wouldn't necessarily go running to the press about it. A lack of evidence in the media doesn't mean that it didn't happen.

EDIT: And again, whether the event actually occurred or not should have little impact on what we think the policy should be for such cases. It would bug me if we changed the law because we were upset about a specific incident, rather than because we thought the change was necessary, regardless of any specific incident.

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TomDavidson
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Geoff, in an ideal world, that would be the case. But when the call for such a law is based at least in part on emotional appeals and specific anecdotes, the validity of such anecdotes does to some extent matter. You've suggested that (among other things) learning that the soldier had lied to him would poison your father's memory of their conversation; this implies to me that some specificity is involved, so that people aren't just bouncing hypothetical anecdotes off each other. Remember that classic flap during the 2000 campaign, when Al Gore said his mother-in-law was paying more for an anti-arthritic drug than her dog? People jumped on it because the costs he cited were taken from a Democratic financial analysis, and not from his mother-in-law's actual costs; very quickly, Republicans followed up this discovery by asserting that Gore's mother-in-law wasn't even taking the cited medication, much less paying the cited amount. It turns out that the truth was in between: she was taking the medication, and was paying more for it than the same meds provided for her dog, but the specific numbers Gore listed were national averages and not correct in her case. (She paid less money for each drug than Gore claimed.)

I suspect that Gore did himself a disservice by not getting the numbers right, or from the source. I suspect the Republicans did themselves a disservice by responding with their own inaccuracies.

In both cases, their cause would have been better-advanced by being more concerned with the validity of their supporting anecdote, even if the material argument for their policies was in no way dependent upon the anecdote itself. In general, I suspect that punditry is ALWAYS improved by truth -- but that the thing which distinguishes punditry from reporting is that the former is generally less concerned with accuracy. This is to its detriment, though.

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Sterling
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The family might not have run to the media. But the brother punching a protester, and the circumstances that inspired it, would likely get into the news somewhere. And the arrest would be a matter of public record.

It could be a real anecdote, or it could be a Nieman Marcus cookie recipe. I'm hoping Snopes will take a look.

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winkey151
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We saw what happened to the people who stood with us after we pulled out of Vietnam... we saw what happened to the people who stood with us when we pulled out of Iraq in 1991... if we pull out and leave Iraq now the people who are standing with us will be left in the same position. How can we in good conscience do that to people again?

And if we can... why should anyone ever trust us again?

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TomDavidson
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Heck, why should anyone trust us NOW?

But you raise a good point: should American leaders place the concerns of foreign nationals over their responsibilities to American citizens?

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A Rat Named Dog
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Tom, I'd argue that earning the trust of other nations and not turning the entire world into enemies is part of an American leader's responsibility to his own citizens.
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Sterling
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It remains a very open question whether operations in Iraq are achieving or hindering that goal.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Tom, I'd argue that earning the trust of other nations and not turning the entire world into enemies is part of an American leader's responsibility to his own citizens.
I agree. But the American people still voted for Bush the last time around, so I can only assume it's not a majority opinion.
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Shnabubula
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Orson Scott Card invisions the world as a scifi novel... I see it more as black comedy
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Crocobar
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It's a pity the discussion swivels off the original topic of making a credible case for the US doing well in Iraq. I am reading OSC's columns for years. I've probably read most if not all that is easily accessible. I like his presentation and ideas but a lack of factual support bugs me for a while now. I realize that in politics it is impossible to truly understand an issue such as Iraq unless you are involved directly in politics full-time. You have to believe conclusions of people that do so. I admit that OSC's reference to books are mostly wasted on me partially because I cannot afford buying books without strick prioritizing but mainly because reading a book to learn an opinion on a political subject is too big a time commitment while I believe that most of the important information is available online. I would try to support my opinions in that way( not that I am in a position to lecture anyone on online presentations).

OSC is usually doing a good job of discrediting sloppy or outright incorrect arguments that are not properly supported by the evidence. This is something you can do rethorically. Once you go beyond that, however, to make your own suggestions and statements, you have to put up more substantial evidence in your favor than in my opinion OSC is accostomed of doing.

OSC, if that is not too much trouble, give us more facts in support of your ideas (that I personally like and mostly want to agree with but often can't for the reasons above). I know that some things you deeply believe in often seem in no need for careful proof. For example, I feel so about quantum mechanics or relativity yet I realize that they are totally obscure for many people, and I am prepared to prove their validity in essence rigorously to a virtually unprepared listener.

Back to the Iraq war, and how well the US is doing there. Let's try to build the case. One of the simpler OSC's arguments is low casualties compared to other wars. Does anyone know easy-to-use and reliable source of statistics on this? We have to compare all kinds of casualties, not just US military.

Another argument is the opinions of Rumsfeld, other generals and Bush. Is there an easily accessible source?

Iraqis opinion on the US presence and facts of their cooperation with the US military?

Is it possible to understand the amount of the US military needed in Iraq compared to the guerilla forces? This may not be a likeable analogy but Russian army, being in much less organized state than the US army, manages to control Chechnya completely keeping guerillas in caves and killing their leaders regularly. That may be just a matter of numbers. I don't know any but perhaps more troops in Iraq is the solution?

I would really like if somebody bears a task of making a credible case for the Iraq war being not a disaster.

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