Carol Platt Liebau: What a Racket

Sunday, September 02, 2007

What a Racket

Every once in a while, even the LA Times runs something worth reading. This piece -- exposing the folly and naivete of the "peace movement" -- is one of them.

17 Comments:

Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

I am surprised that the LA Times would run such a shallow piece. It's a typical far-right hit piece: lots of quotes from far-left nut cases, quotes taken out of context, and scare stories meant to smear rather than illuminate.

Yep, there are lots of left-wing nut cases out there. There are just as many right-wing nut cases out there. What's the point of throwing quotes from nut cases at each other? Nothing is accomplished by that.

The important question, which the author states but never develops, is the proper balance between pacifism and militarism in the 21st Century. We can be certain that a full-tilt militaristic posture will make the world a much worse place. We can also be certain that the other extreme -- unilateral disarmament -- will make the world a much worse place. Our author says nothing more than this. Big deal -- everybody knows that!

So, where is the proper balance between militarism and pacifism these days? I can say this: the ideal balance has been slowly shifting towards pacifism in the last 60 years. How far it has gone is difficult to say, but we know that we no longer face a world as dangerous as the one we faced in 1941.

6:25 PM  
Blogger Carol Platt Liebau said...

Coyote here.

We can argue definitions about "left" "right" and "nut case", but I see no reason to accept Chepe's assertion that there are as many on the right as on the left.

Holding ourselves to the example of respect for freedom of speech (which may or may not have relevance to definition of a "nut case"), you have to go a lot further to the right to find people who will shout down a speaker than you have to go to the left.

With regard to "proper balance", the US pacifists in 1941 (at least until December 7) did not see the world as dangerous enough to justify military intervention. We don't "know" we (in the US) no longer face a world as dangerous. Rather, some think less dangerous, some think as dangerous and some think more dangerous. To me, the issue is how to we proceed in the presence of doubt, not how we strike a "proper balance" assuming levels of certainty unachievable by policy makers, if not bloggers.

10:08 PM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

Seriously, Coyote, do you think I can't go off and return here with a gaggle of wild-eyed quotes from right-wing nut cases? You suggest that there are more left-wing nut cases than right-wing nut cases. I'd suggest that this is rather like claiming that beach X has more sand than beach Y. How can you compare the values of uncountable numbers? ;-) And your suggestion that right wingers are more tolerant of differences of opinion is certainly belied by the blogs on the Internet. Just try going on any of the right-wing blogs (Captain's Quarters, Red State, LGF) and gently asking a question that doesn't comport with the general line of thinking. You'll be banished BEFORE you hit the ENTER key! (well, maybe not that fast...)

No, I've experienced a lot of blogs and there is absolutely no question that the right wing blogs -- in general -- are far less tolerant of differences of opinion than the left wing blogs. This blog is an admirable exception to that rule.

Yes, the pacifists were wrong in 1941. But remember, we're not talking about absolute, black and white differentiation between unilateral disarmament and make-my-day militarism. The ideal balance back then required a heavier emphasis on military solutions. But these days we do not face the serious challenges that we faced in 1941. Despite the bleating of those who have been terrorized by the terrorists, we do not face invasion and conquest by a foreign power, and in fact the threat posed by terrorism is a pinprick compared to the threat of nuclear war prior to the 90s. The world today is a vastly safer place than it was 50 years ago, and the need for military power is consequently less than it was then. Moreover, the fact that American power is much diminished suggests that the more prudent course of action is cooperative, not unilateral.

10:29 PM  
Blogger One Salient Oversight said...

What I would like is some right-wing dialogue that actually goes beyond World War II. As Glenn Greenwald said, those on the right see leadership as being either Churchillian (decisive and brave) or Neville Chamberlain. Anything else and you're Hitler.

When irrational fear mixes with propaganda, as happened between 9/11 and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, everything can be defined as analogous to World War II. Thus Democrats and the left who did not support the war are branded as traitors and terrorist lovers.

In the cold light of history it is become increasingly obvious that 9/11 was no Pearl Harbor. Rather than presaging a new global conflict all it did was confirm that luck and incompetence allowed the 9/11 hijackers to succeed. Since that moment no American has died in a terrorist attack on American soil. Bombings in Bali, London and Madrid were certainly worrisome but hardly presaged some vicious Islamic-Western war.

In the 40s the danger was Japan and Nazi Germany. The war cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans and these two nations are now American allies.

In the 50s, 60s and 70s the danger was Russian and Chinese Communism. Despite the vast enemy armies and nuclear arms America was not attacked. China and Russia are now well ensconced as US trading partners.

Now the danger is supposedly Islamic terrorism. Yet there are no massive armies being assembled, no industrial production geared up for total war and no actual conquest going on.

This war on terrorism is a complete waste of time. Moreover, it is the right who has created it and used it for their own political ends.

2:10 AM  
Blogger Earth to Carol said...

Another newspaper turned into meaningless right-wing diatribe by Murdoch.

4:43 AM  
Blogger Carol Platt Liebau said...

Coyote here.

What follows is an edited post from MARSHALL ART. Marshall, please note the edits: next time, I will simply reject the comment.

MARSHALL ART writes: "Whoa! What incredible blindness and self-delusion... Whoa! What incredible blindness and self-delusion! Those spoken of by the author of the article are typical and to assume they are only nut cases ingored by the rest of the left is pure BS. Kucinich is hardly viewed as a wackjob by the left (despite the fact that he is) and courses in universities hardly indicate a cult-like influence to a sparse few. I, too, feel comparing nut cases is a futile endeavor, but only because facts like those above make it so. You don't see polar opposites on the right in such numbers and so heavily embedded in society. Hell, just look at Hollywood to see who is down with this racket.

And it's easy to see how influenced are the lefty commenters here if they actually believe the threats in the world aren't significant. Islamic radicals are found everywhere. If you don't think they are trying for a buildup, you're [mistaken] [text deleted]. It's only because of the efforts of those on the right that these threats have been impeded at all. As you may recall, before 9/11, there were multiple attacks on American interests during a period when such were considered merely criminal acts for law enforcement to address. Hard to believe that a continuation of that policy wouldn't have resulted in even more attacks on America or her interests elsewhere. Thus, I'd say the balance was dangerously too far to the pacifist side until Bush and his evil neocons were legally voted into office.

And for the record, to say the right wing blogs are less tolerant is a joke. I spend most of my time at right wing blogs and have found that while there can be some that mock the lefties who visit, it's generally after putting up with their goofy tirades, accusations and ad hominems. And only the worst of them ever get banned. So far at my blog, my policy is that one needs to be really scary in order to be blocked, but I will mock the lefty who's just too goofy. At the same time, I've been banned from a lefty site for my comments being too long. Yours, Chepe, are often as long as some of mine were, though I doubt you'd get banned for it. Of course this particular lefty simply couldn't respond to my comments effectively and so it was easier to ban me. Rightwing sites don't ban for good arguments from a lefty. None that I've ever seen.

OSO.

What could possibly be irrational about the fears of a nation that just lost 3000 people in such a fantastic manner? From your [place of residence] [text deleted], it may seem irrational to you, but until Sydney suffers such an attack (may God forbid it), your comment [may lack the sensitive direct experience might bring] [text de;eted]. And the propaganda to which you refer, and by use of the term, I doubt you use it in it's true definition, was not a ploy to incite us to war against some poor unsuspecting little group of misunderstood Arabs, but an awakening to what is a true threat, and what was at that time a true threat from Hussein, a guy who was guilty of the type of madness and brutality and despotism for which Bush gets accused.

The fact is, the true waste of time is the discussion with those [text deleted] who refuse to see the world as it is and instead cast aspersions on those who do. This is not an enemy like those fought during previous world wars. This is an enemy that doesn't go out of it's way to expose itself until it is ready to strike. Their buildups are always taking place, except where forces like those of our irrational and propaganda fed armies interfere. This is an enemy who thinks dying is a good thing for the cause, like it's a first choice and will do so happily if it means taking out someone like YOU. This is an enemy that is spread out around the world with some who are just sitting around until the phone rings. They fight from amongst civilian populations, they are like a world-wide guerilla force, and [some people][text deleted] accuse us of incompetence when an attack succeeds, and then of incompetence when it fails. [Text deleted]"

5:46 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

"Balance" between pacifism and militarism? How can you balance polar opposites? And if you could find this mythical balance, how could it then "ideally" shift one way or another? If it was balanced and then it shifted, would it not then be out of balance?

6:05 AM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

Greg, balancing polar opposites is simple. Imagine a scale from -1 to +1 (the polar opposites). Pick a number between the two. That's your balance point. Perhaps it's too far right or left -- OK, shift it a little.

8:05 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

If I had picked the true balance point, then a shift would make the situation unbalanced, right?

If I had picked something other than the true balance point, then the situation wouldn't have been balanced, right?

2:00 PM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

Yes, that's correct. And my point is that the ideal balance point back in 1941 was considerably further towards the military end than the ideal balance point today.

5:37 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

My apologies for my outburst. My patience with those who seek to spar with Bush and/or the USA instead of the real enemies of the world, or somehow feel they are standing up to a real threat by doing so, is fairly at an end. And to see my leaders and nation smeared by foreigners is even more grating. I will strive to contain myself in the future. I make no promises.

Chepe,

Your balance point disregards how far to the extreme is our enemy today. Are you looking for diplomacy with a group of madmen who hack off the heads of bound prisoners? Good luck with that. HEY! IT'S TIME TO GET UP!!!

10:02 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

"Yes, that's correct. And my point is that the ideal balance point back in 1941 was considerably further towards the military end than the ideal balance point today."

Wouldn't an "ideal" be constant? If it's not, is it in fact an "ideal"?

I think you may be confusing what you're calling an "ideal balance point" with your opinion of how much the United States should use its military power.

I think you're saying during WWII it was more acceptable, in your opinion, for the U.S. to exert its power. But today, you think it less accptable for the U.S. to do so.

Why?

6:13 AM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

Mr. Art, nobody ever suggested negotiating with terrorists. Because they remain hidden, it's almost impossible to deal directly with terrorists. The most effective approaches are all indirect: cutting off their sources of funding, denying them safe territory in which to set up training camps, and undercutting their recruiting efforts. These approaches require diplomatic, not military, techniques.

8:10 AM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

Greg, you assert that an ideal balance is constant, never changing. This is patently false. The ideal balance changes with the circumstances. The ideal balance between personal budgetary allocations for health care and home appliances leans heavily towards home appliances when you're in your thirties and heavily towards health care when you're in your seventies.

The world is always changing. The wise man adjusts in response to those changes. The geopolitical situation in 2007 is far less threatening to our existence than it was in 1941. We should change our policy in response to this change in circumstances.

10:45 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Actually, I didn't assert, I simply asked the question. The example you site in your response has convinced me that you are correct. An ideal balance can change as situations change.

I also agree that circumstances have changed since 1941. However, I'm not so convinced that the threats we face today are any less existential than the threats we faced then.

We are threatened by a different enemy with different tactics. But today's enemy is just as determined (perhaps more so) to destroy us. And the weapons (should they get their hands on them) are much more lethal today than in 1941.

2:17 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

"The most effective approaches are all indirect: cutting off their sources of funding, denying them safe territory in which to set up training camps, and undercutting their recruiting efforts."

You only suppose that there are no diplomatic efforts in that direction. I maintain that we are indeed using diplomacy where appropriate, but it simply isn't as out in the open and publicized as is the military efforts. At the same time, our military has also been busy building friendships amongst the locals where they are stationed and that is probably more important diplomacy than what goes on between political leaders. They have had an impact on the attitudes of the people and it is paying dividends as more and more we hear of the people turning against AlQueda and the militias causing all the misery. They are beginning to realize just who is at fault for it, and it ain't us.

6:14 AM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

No, I'm quite aware of the diplomatic efforts underway, and they are making progress. My point is that military efforts don't effect these changes -- diplomatic ones do.

You assign credit for changes in attitudes towards al Qaeda to our military. There is no evidence that our soldiers are successful as diplomats (other than anecdotal evidence). The reasons given for the shift in attitude all arise from hostility towards al Qaeda, not warmth towards our soldiers. And that hostility does not generally extend to the militias.

8:24 AM  

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