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Coming next: Condom dispensers in Vatican

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24
Deleted by topic administrator 08-02-2009 03:00 AM
23
6 7 dihydroxybergamottin
07-24-2009
10:54 PM ET (US)
If you have to do it, you might as well do it right.
22
Yhxwwvrv
07-14-2009
07:48 PM ET (US)
WyCkcM
21
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
03-11-2002
12:27 AM ET (US)
Wait a minute, you got something against my buddy Tesla?

Sheesh. Next you'll be saying there isn't really a Hollow Earth.
20
Stefan Jones
03-10-2002
08:53 PM ET (US)
"However, none of them were nominated for a Nobel while I had a blog."

While the news was worth a disgusted snort or two . . . really, in the big scheme of things, *nominations* don't mean a hell of a lot. It doesn't mean the world, or even the country, are sliding down the slipperly slope to WAR IS PEACE signs posted on government buildings.

What the nomination means, essentially, is that there a bunch of strident Freepers who learned how to fill out a form and get the correct amount of stamps for a letter to Norway. Where it will get tossed in a bin along with the Literature nobel nomination for L. Ron Hubbard and the Physics nomination for Tesla.
19
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
03-10-2002
06:23 PM ET (US)
I did mean to say, before I was transported by the swoop and power of my political views, that "doveliness" is indeed an irresistible bit of wordplay, as is "ghast."

Richard Nixon was nominated for a Nobel Prize. Thus demonstrating the truth of post #1. Ack.
18
Cory Doctorow
03-10-2002
06:05 PM ET (US)
> To return to the main point, I'm far from an expert in
> nuclear-weapon development, but I have yet to see an explanation
> of how this Administration is doing anything in this area that's
> substantially different from what would have been done by anyone
> else who might have been elected in 2000. Staying #1 in the
> nuke game has been US policy since World War II. Since the
> beginning of World War II.

I don't know that the current administration has any major points of difference in re nukes relative to past Presidents. However, none of them were nominated for a Nobel while I had a blog -- or I mighta expressed extreme ghast on them, too.
17
WG55
03-10-2002
05:28 PM ET (US)
Patrick Nielsen Hayden writes:

Regarding Alfred Nobel's will, I read it last night, when I wrote my original post; perhaps I've misremembered all those standing armies abolished and reduced by Nobel Peace Prize winner Yasser Arafat.


If you're arguing that Arafat didn't deserve the Nobel Peace Prize, then I quite agree with you. From what I understand, one of the reasons why the prize was given to him was because the peace accord he signed was negotiated in Oslo. I also would agree that Roosevelt didn't deserve the prize, and neither did Kissinger. The criteria for the prize seems to differ at times from that set out by Alfred Nobel.

On the other hand, if you're arguing that the likes of Kissinger and Arafat are the standard by which we should judge the eligibility of Bush and Blair, I would strongly disagree. Just because the prize committee used such horrible criteria in the past doesn't mean they should continue to apply them merely for consistency's sake.
16
David Joseph Greenbaum
03-10-2002
05:16 PM ET (US)
Peace means something different from 'not fighting'. Those aren't peace advocates, they're 'stop fighting' advocates. Peace is an active and complex thing and sometimes fighting is part of what it takes to get it. --Jo Walton

I've always hated this quote. "Pacifism" does not mean simply doing nothing and letting one's enemies walk all over one, as this quote seems to imply. The most famous pacifists, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, resisted their oppressors, but in a nonviolent way. They didn't simply stand on the sidelines and tell everyone to "stop fighting." They took active steps to bring about peace.

MLK and Gandhi could pursue satyagraha and non-violence because they could be confident that their foes would not inflict violence upon them without provocation. The British were not going to mow down millions of Indians in the streets of Mumbai or Delhi to extinguish Indian nationalism; the cops in Selma were not going to be backed up by Army and National Guard. Gandhi and MLK weren't even killed in prison.
Edited 03-10-2002 05:17 PM
15
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
03-10-2002
04:39 PM ET (US)
Again, we've been committed to a policy of staying ahead of everyone else's nukes for as long as there have been nukes; this is far from a Bush thing, or even a Republican thing. Would most of us like to live in a world with fewer nuclear weapons? I suspect so. Is it easy to get from here to there? Well, no, as it turns out.

I've found it very useful, when sorting out what I think of some administration policy in the military or diplomatic realm, to ask myself:

(1) If I can easily imagine this being done by President Gore,

(2) How I would feel about it if it had been, and

(3) What I would do if I woke up tomorrow and found I had been transformed into /a/ /g/i/g/a/n/t/i/c/ /i/n/s/e/c/t/ President of the United States.

(And no fair answering (3) with "Well, I wouldn't have got us into this position in the first place!" Current political leaders don't get to blow off tough decisions with that, so neither should I.)

To return to the main point, I'm far from an expert in nuclear-weapon development, but I have yet to see an explanation of how this Administration is doing anything in this area that's substantially different from what would have been done by anyone else who might have been elected in 2000. Staying #1 in the nuke game has been US policy since World War II. Since the beginning of World War II.

My main problem with the "Axis of Evil" thing is that it's incoherent to lump North Korea with Iraq and Iran, and confusing to apostrophize Iran just as their internal politics are beginning to show signs of openness and life. Calling the Baathists, the Shiite religious police, and the pathetic-but-murderous creative anachronists of Pyongyang "evil" is something I have no problem with. However, if there's an actual "axis", one of its poles is in Riyadh.
Edited 03-10-2002 04:56 PM
14
Cory Doctorow
03-10-2002
03:50 PM ET (US)
> However, you didn't start by saying Bush shouldn't get the prize
> for these reasons; you started with the headline: "Honoring
> hawks for their doveliness," as if simple "doveliness" were the
> criteria for the Prize. As I think we've established, it's not.

Oh, fair enough -- it was about snappiness, really. Calling B&B "Hawks" is certainly on, and "Dove" is the natural compliment. Also, I like
"Doveliness" for its wordplay.

> I do think, Cory, and I speak as a friend who regards you as one
> of the sharpest people I know, that if you think the US
> government is only now "ramping up for nuclear war," you need to
> get out more. My guess is that this remark is based on that
> LA Times story over the weekend about how the Pentagon
> has been drafting contingency plans for the use of tactical
> nuclear weapons against a bunch of countries in the event of

Well, that, and the story in the altest Wired about the ongoing intiative to train a new generation of nuke scientists to generate a new generation of nukes. And the "Axis of Evil" rhetoric.
13
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
03-10-2002
03:40 PM ET (US)
The trouble with message boards is that they allow your perfectly good blog to get hijacked by long-winded bores full of argument and attitude. Put the cuffs on, copper, I'll go quietly.
12
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
03-10-2002
03:39 PM ET (US)
I do think, Cory, and I speak as a friend who regards you as one of the sharpest people I know, that if you think the US government is only now "ramping up for nuclear war," you need to get out more. My guess is that this remark is based on that LA Times story over the weekend about how the Pentagon has been drafting contingency plans for the use of tactical nuclear weapons against a bunch of countries in the event of "surprising military events." If you think this reflects some uniquely right-wing Bush attitude, think again; this is what these guys are directed to do and paid to do no matter who's President, and they did plenty of it under Bill Clinton. (Who, incidentally, did a lot to build the military machine that performed so well, and with so few civilian casualties, in round one of the war in Afghanistan.) It has always been American military doctrine that we won't rule out tactical use or first use of nukes, and if you think the Pentagon only last week said to itself "Say, let's think about the circumstances in which we might drop one on a Syrian tank division", you should reconsider. Anyway, it's entirely obvious that this LA Times "expose" was a deliberate leak with exactly two newspaper readers in mind. One is Saddam Hussein, to whom the message is "if and when we decide to take your regime down, if you lob nukes, biological agents, or poison gas at Israel, your bunker will shortly be radioactive ash." The other intended reader is Arik Sharon, to whom the message is "See above memo to Saddam; if you see missiles incoming, grab your asshole and give us ten minutes."

As Jim Henley (the blogger, not the comics retailer) has observed, "Never confuse politics with current events."
11
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
03-10-2002
03:37 PM ET (US)
Cory's worried about "endangering the human race". So am I. Let's imagine we do nothing, and Saddam Hussein gets himself a nice clutch of nuclear-tipped missiles. Let's imagine Pakistan's fundamentalist-run ISI security agency manages to get rid of Mushuraff; hey ho! Lots more nukes there. (Bye-bye New Delhi, Calcutta, Bombay.) Now let's imagine, meanwhile, that Al Qaeda manages to finally get some functioning Russian suitcase nukes. (We know to a certainty that they've tried; they were swindled. We know as well that if they'd had a nuke on 9/11, they would have used it on New York City; the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan said so.)

I don't trust George W. Bush any further than I can spit, but (contrary to the sloppy moral equivalences being proclaimed by people like Michael Moore, who I used to think was smart), the kind of self-serving business and political gangsterism and chicanery that goes back generations in the Bush family (always remember: Prescott Bush stole Geronimo's skull!) simply don't equate to the behavior of dictators who use poison gas on their own people, or of religio-fascist leaders who proclaim their desire to kill Americans by the millions and who demonstrate their sincerety by running jet airplanes into buildings full of innocent people.

Life is imperfect. Politics doesn't exist in order to provide us with an arena in which to enact our ideal selves. Sometimes the US has to work with Stalin in order to beat Hitler. Sometimes we have to work with George W. Bush. Yeah, it sucks. Having Hitler conquer Europe would have sucked even more. Having American or European cities (or Indian or Israeli ones) go up in clouds of radioactive ash, or fifty million people dying in a smallpox epidemic, or entire urban areas being evacuated for decades because of a "dirty bomb", would also suck more. The critical fact, and what makes 9/11 such a transition point, is that the new players in the WMD game aren't regimes like the old Soviets, who could basically be expected to play by the old deterrence rules. The new players are guys who want these weapons in order to use them, and who have repeatedly demonstrated that they mean to use whatever they can get.
10
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
03-10-2002
03:35 PM ET (US)
Personally, I think those of us who are opposed to Bush might want to consider mentioning that card in his desk drawer a little less often; it's a likeable and humanizing detail. If I had a copy I'd put it on my office door and follow along. We could make a drinking game out out of it--every time you get three Xs in a vertical or horizontal row, you have to knock back another drink. (Or do something else proscribed by Sharia. Many possibilities suggest themselves.)

I don't propose to spend much time on "WG55", who wants to argue with things I didn't say and don't think, and who hides behind a pseudonym while doing so. I do know that Gandhi and King were sophisticated, nuanced, and powerful thinkers and actors in the arenas of power and politics. I also know that Jo Walton's quote isn't about Gandhi or King.

Regarding Alfred Nobel's will, I read it last night, when I wrote my original post; perhaps I've misremembered all those standing armies abolished and reduced by Nobel Peace Prize winner Yasser Arafat. Alternately, perhaps the Nobel judges have often taken a flexible view of what kind of career contributes to "fraternity among nations"; indeed, looking at the list of people who've taken the Prize over time, I think we have to regard "eligibility" as broad. You might think it a big departure for the judges to give the Nobel Peace Prize to a Republican President who built up the US military, pursued a foreign policy of blatant unlitateralism, and regarded his wars and interventions as morally improving pursuits. In which case you might want to start by campaigning to revoke the 1906 prize, given to Theodore Roosevelt.

Responding to Cory, who raises more substantial points: Everything you say amounts to good arguments for not giving Bush the Nobel Peace Prize, a position on which we agree.

However, you didn't start by saying Bush shouldn't get the prize for these reasons; you started with the headline: "Honoring hawks for their doveliness," as if simple "doveliness" were the criteria for the Prize. As I think we've established, it's not. And while I think it's respectable to adopt a St. Francis-like position of principled pacifism (note to WG55: this isn't about the "passive resistance" of brilliant tacticians like Gandhi and King, which is a method, not a position; it goes along with absolutist pacifism in some of its advocates, and doesn't in others), I think we can say with confidence that most people have a point at which they think it's appropriate to respond to unjust force with force; most argument among serious people isn't about whether force is ever justified, it's about when.

The relationship of war to political opportunity is a reliably fun can of worms, of course. The American Right went through a phase of being similarly infuriated when the approach of World War II gave FDR a new lease on political life. Bush isn't FDR, but he's President, short of the discovery of a dead girl or a live boy. My view is that the important question right now isn't whether I like George W. Bush; the important questions are about how to handle (1) a large, well-financed international organization devoted to killing lots of Americans, and (2) a brutal regional dictator who's already used WMDs on his own people and appears to be on the verge of procuring bigger and better ones in the next year. These are real problems; they weren't invented by George W. Bush, and sitting around and grumbling that he's a bad guy who stole the election (he is, and he did) doesn't make them go away.
9
KGersen
03-10-2002
02:27 PM ET (US)
One has ordered his forces into battle more times than any other postwar British leader. The other threatens military action against "evil" nations and keeps a scorecard of dead al-Qaida leaders, marking each fatality with an X.

Together, they fight crime!
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