Actually, it's a pretty bad image, but I don't care either. Because you know what? This is our own country. France, Asia, whoever can kiss my...boot. I am more concerned about security and protection than "internationl image and approval". In fact, I don't know if I ever want our country approved of by everyone. You can't please everyone. Even if we had stayed in our little hidey-holes and been all nice to everyone, there would still be countries that hate us, for no other reason than we're successful and capitalistic and open, at least somewhat, to all belief systems. So instead of focusing on making nice with all 100+ countries of the world, we shoudl focus on keeping our nation secure. So in this case, I actually, for the most part, agree with Limbaugh. There. Now you can crucify me as an ignorant conservative.

The thoughts of Knight's Disciple on 31 May 2005 - 9:47 Central
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Ignorant? Not necessarily. Short-sighted, yes.

Even if we had stayed in our little hidey-holes and been all nice to everyone, there would still be countries that hate us ....

The problem is not countries that hate us. They can be contained, deterred, or occupied. The problem is international terrorism -- a stateless grassroots phenomenon that cannot be controlled through military action (... unless genocide and similar methods are on the table). If we think we can win a guerilla war against the world and still be the protector of freedom, we are mistaken. We must win on the battlefield of the mind in order to win at all.

There is another problem, besides the similar national-security nightmare of worldwide guerilla war. If we want to defend democracy, we must answer to the people. Our power abroad must be subject to the checks of public opinion abroad. That's what democracy means. There is no democratic alternative. Therefore, America's reputation is vital to its mission of liberation.

This is not exactly the direction I intended to go with this post, but I welcome your response.

The thoughts of Wilson on 31 May 2005 - 14:22 Central
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The terrorists would attack us no matter what. We are a free country. We are a democratic republic based upon capitalism. We are a Christian/secular nation. They will come after us no matter what.
And while I want our missions in Afghanastan and Iraq to succeed, I'm not necessarily in favor of broad "liberation" campaigns. And our nation's government should always answer to the people of this nation first. It's not that I totally devalue other nations' opinions. I just don't care that much. Our efforts need to focus on terrorist cells. I just...argh. I'm still trying to peice together my view on how the exact foreign policy should be. But frankly, beyond Britain, and maybe Australia, no other country shows me any reason to respect their opinion at all. I don't trust that much in human opinion, is the end thing I'm saying here.

The thoughts of Knight's Disciple on 31 May 2005 - 16:14 Central
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Perhaps more in the vein of the original post: if there really has been misconduct, all those responsible should be held responsible. But, at the same time, we need better interrogation techniques than asking nice and saying "please". I don't condone physical torture. I do, at least for the most part, condone psychological techniques involving things like bright lights, loud music, extreme high/low room temp, extreme quiet, etc. We need to acquire information somehow.

The thoughts of Knight's Disciple on 31 May 2005 - 16:18 Central
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The terrorists would attack us no matter what. We are a free country. We are a democratic republic based upon capitalism. We are a Christian/secular nation. They will come after us no matter what.

The last sentence does not follow from the first four; we have always been those things, and the Muslim areas of the world were Muslim even longer ago. Those Muslim areas, meanwhile, have always had violent people in them. Why did they leave us alone for so long, if conflict is inherent in our systems?

As a student of history, furthermore, I object very strongly to any doctrine of inevitability. Nothing is inevitable. There are individual and collective beliefs, urges, and inhibitions at work in everything.

History turns on the details. So when I make an observation of the real-life motivations of real-life people, I don't want to be told that all of that is irrelevant because they "would attack us no matter what" on the basis of our demographics. People have choices, and they make those choices for their own reasons. Let's try to look into those reasons (i.e., opinions).

It's not that I totally devalue other nations' opinions. I just don't care that much. Our efforts need to focus on terrorist cells.

Specifically, our efforts need to focus on preventing the birth of new terrorist cells as we eliminate the old ones. So far, judging by the security situation in Iraq, we are not having great success. This task cannot be accomplished through mere military force.

The thoughts of Wilson on 31 May 2005 - 16:50 Central
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"Why did they leave us alone for so long, if conflict is inherent in our systems?"
I don't know. The attacks that I know of directly related to them began somewhere around 1993. They have been going on ever since. What would we have done to spark this? I'm not saying that every Muslim wants us dead. But there are groups that exist that seem to be willing to attack this nation simply because of what it is.
"Specifically, our efforts need to focus on preventing the birth of new terrorist cells as we eliminate the old ones. So far, judging by the security situation in Iraq, we are not having great success. This task cannot be accomplished through mere military force."
What exactly do you suggest? I'm open to ideas.

The thoughts of Knight's Disciple on 31 May 2005 - 17:51 Central
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First thing? Don't go around the world kicking innocent people to death and calling it our "national interest," and don't drag our feet in prosecuting those responsible if it happens. (Seven months later, less than a third of those for whom the army found probable cause for charges have been charged.) That's what this post is about.

Beyond that, I suggest we try to avoid invading irrelevant nations (Iraq), and try to obey international law (the treaty explicitly forbidding torture of every kind, for example). Perhaps we could even stop shipping military aid to dictators like Islam Karimov in Uzbekistan, and maybe stop propping up the Saudi regime, which has one of the worst human rights records in the world. We currently do all of these things in our national interest, and they are all repugnant to the ideals of our nation.

They are also all among the reasons that terrorists are attacking the USA. Bin Laden (a former ally of ours), for example, got his start in the late 80s and early 90s mainly because he objected to our relationship with what he saw as the corrupt Saudi government.

The thoughts of Wilson on 31 May 2005 - 18:40 Central
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I'm all for prosecuting the guilty. I'm all for not dealing with dictators anymore. I don't know if Iraq was completely irrelevant. And were any of my suggestions torture? What exactly does "international law" define as torture?

The thoughts of Knight's Disciple on 31 May 2005 - 21:48 Central
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Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1987):

Part I, Article I, Section 1:

For the purposes of this Convention, the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.

Art. XVI, Sec. 1:

Each State Party shall undertake to prevent in any territory under its jurisdiction other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment which do not amount to torture as defined in article I, when such acts are committed by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.
The thoughts of Wilson on 1 June 2005 - 1:04 Central
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Hrm. Well, that rules out anything that actually works. Geuss we're down to asking nicely. Ah well. Maybe the gaurds' uniforms will unintentionally intimidate them.

The thoughts of Knight's Disciple on 1 June 2005 - 9:40 Central
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