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April 12, 2005

Comments

Cliff

Once again, well stated. The sleeping dragon is now clearly wide awake and here we are wanting to take a nap.

I think (true, I don't "know") China is "testing the waters" lately.

The hegemony of fast food francises and tacky film glitz may have an alternative yet. And it just might possibly be less attracive than some may have hoped.
-- Cliff

KB

"Number of Tibetan deaths since 1949 due to political instability, imprisonment, torture, mass execution, and famine: 1.2 million"

As usual Tanuki has performed in accordance with his self-designated role as anti-communist propagandist with all of the usual scholarship this entails. In this specific instance he chooses the highest possible casualty numbers in order to exaggerate the crimes of the Chinese. And just to remind folks, when the Chinese took Tibet the last time, as it had gone bacl and forth over the years, there were no communists around, just in case there was an implication otherwise. This isn't to say that there were not crimes committed, it's just the tendency to always seek the highest number whether or not there is any basis in fact. Also consistant with this approach to "scholarship" is the tendency not only to underexaggerate the numbers killed by one's own country, or it's client states, but to even acknowledge them at all, as can be seen, or should I say, NOT be seen, in anything Tanuki has ever written. As a matter of fact I don't recall any such instances where the crimes of his own country have been considered at all. A slight oversight given all of the data to the contrary. And when the facts are presented by others, they're usually met with the predictable hostility and denial, or accusations that the presenter is "trying to make the U.S. look bad", and other such nonsense. And, just to educate those of you who would never dream of actually reading the book of the fellow which Tanuki keeps bringing into the conversation, if you really want to know, this is the entire point of 'Manufacturing Consent'. There are no stands taken on what the facts are, as most people don't know for sure. It's more a logical study in ideology which quite convincingly proves that those crimes committed by official enemies tend to be exagerrated with the highest estimates possible being used, and the crimes committed by one's own country, or it's clients are downplayed, or completely ignored, which is more often the case. Anyway, let's look at some scholarship which is slightly more up to date, and possibly more objective:

"The figure of 1.2 million is often quoted as the number of military and civilian Tibetans that have died as the result famine, mistreatment, and combat situations in the invasion and occupation of Tibet. This number has its origin in the report of a commission established by the exile community in Dharamsala which is based on reports of refugees. According to Patrick French, a supporter of the Tibetan cause, who was able to view the data and calculations, this number is not reliable as, to put it simply, the Tibetans were not able to process the data well enough to produce a credible total. However, there were many casualties, perhaps as many as 500,000. This figure is extrapolated from a calculation Warren W. Smith made from Chinese census reports which show 200,000 "missing" from Tibet proper (it is assumed that there were similar casualties in Amdo and Kham). Even The Black Book of Communism expresses doubt at the 1.2 million figure, but does note that according to Chinese census there was a population of 2.8 million in 1953, but only 2.5 million in 1964 in Tibet proper."

First, notice how the author emphasizes the "even the Black Book"? I wonder why? The reason is that this marginal, and basically disproven book, is regarded by objective scholars as basically a propagnda tract which has the sole purpose of exaggerating the crimes of the enemies, hence, communists.KB

And also, as far as I've been able to find out, the U.S. had little problem with China's claim over Tibet(Didn't contest the below agreement). Perhaps we should check to make sure our own governments position on China during this time doesn't conflict with our desire to criticize everything communist at any cost. I mean, we'd hate to find out that our government actually passively, or even actively, condoned Chinese aggression over an independent nation, if you believe Tibet to have been an independent nation.KB

"After 1907, a treaty between Britain, China, and Russia recognized Chinese sovereignty over Tibet. The Chinese established direct rule for the first time in 1910. It was not to last long, however, as Chinese troops had to withdraw to their homeland to fight in the 1911 Revolution, giving the Dalai Lama the opportunity to re-establish his power. In 1913, Tibet and Mongolia signed a treaty proclaiming their independence from China, and their mutual recognition. The subsequent outbreak of World War I and civil war in China caused both Western powers and China to lose interest in Tibet, and the 13th Dalai Lama ruled undisturbed. At this time, the government of Tibet controlled all of U-Tsang and western Kham, roughly coincident with the borders of Tibet Autonomous Region today. Eastern Kham was under the control of Chinese warlord Liu Wenhui, while Amdo was controlled by ethnic Hui warlord Ma Bufang."

"Large Snow Lions guard the entrance to the Potala PalaceNeither the Nationalist government of the Republic of China nor the People's Republic of China have ever renounced China's claim to sovereignty over Tibet. In 1950 the People's Liberation Army entered Tibet against little resistance. In 1951 the Plan for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet, a treaty signed under military pressure by representatives of the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama, provided for rule by a joint Chinese-Tibetan authority; most of the population of Tibet at the time were peasants working lands owned by the estate holders and any attempt at land reform or the redistribution of wealth would have proved unpopular with the government. This agreement was successfully put into effect in Tibet proper initially. However, Eastern Kham and Amdo were outside the administration of the government of Tibet, and were thus treated like any other Chinese province, with land reform implemented in full..."

Now, there's little doubt that the indoctrinated mind will interpret the few things I've presented here as somehow a defense of China's aggression, the predictable response for anything not fitting into the framework of properly indoctrinated thought and doctrine. This would be consistant with the effects of the 'Propaganda Model' at work, as well. However, I'm only bringing these points up as the issue of Tibet isn't as clear as it has been to those of us who have always wished for Tibet to be free of Chinese control, as I always have. I, having seen the Dalai Lama twice in person, and having had a Tibetan Monk friend and co-worker, and having studied Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and meditation for a year, am all for a free Tibet. I just think we should look at what our own governments position on the region has been as well.KB

It seems as though the U.S. position was one of indifference. This has been recognized by other scholars as well.KB

"China's actions in Tibet, whatever one may think of them, are no proof of aggressive expansionism, unless one wants to say the same of Indian suppression of tribal rebellions, for example. Tibet has been recognized internationally as a region of China. This status has been accepted by India as well as Communist and Nationalist China, and to my knowledge, has never been officially questioned by the United States. Although it is of no relevance to the issue, I should also add that it is a bit too simple to say that "China did indeed take over a country that did not want to be taken over." This is by no means the general view of Western scholarship. For example, Ginsburgs and Mathos comment that "the March 1959 uprising did not, by and large, involve any considerable number of lower-class Tibetans, but involved essentially the propertied groups and the traditionally rebellious and foraging Khamba tribes opposed to any outside public authority (including sometimes that of the Dalai Lama)" (Pacific Affairs, September, 1959). But whatever the complexities of the situation may be, it does not substantiate the charge of boundless Chinese expansionism."

So, as we see, if the country, Tibet in this case, is thought to already be a part of China, then the term expansionism is relatively meaningless. It's as if the U.S. goverment were to invade Texas in order to say that it belonged to the U.S., though personally I'd be in favor of letting it go. If one wants to talk of the mistreatment of the Tibetans at the hands of the Chinese, I doubt anyone would disagree that there was brutal repression. But one should also not ignore what their own governments position was during the time as this is the duty of any civilian from a democracy to do.KB

tanuki

Interesting. The first time I've ever seen someone fisk himself.

KB

This is called writing a paper. And even if it was fisking, so what? Fisking is good. It's much more difficult to skip over the parts which have trouble with. If you don't fisk, as you rarely do, what happens is that many, if not most of the point you skip over. If you fisk, it's much more difficult to do this because you must comment upon each line or two. You can't just let the uncomfortable things slip into the memory hole, as you usually do. Anyway, when you write papers you have and idea, you collect quotes, and then you fill in between the quotes with sentences putting them together in such a wat so as to make a point(see above). There are many places where you can find out about writing papers, too. And then, after you've found out what writing a paper consists of, you can learn to read and makes comments on them. You can make several types of comments. You can say "Hey, you spelled antidisestablishmentarianism incorrectly!" Or you can look at what is known as content, try to see what you think about the content, and then comment on the content. This is the more intelligent exercise, but a little difficult for some. It's especially difficult for those you don't understand the content. You should try to do this at least once. So let's start here. Did you have something to say about the content of my comments, or was the style just not quite distracting enough for you?KB

GaijinBiker

I think KB needs a girlfriend.

KB

Someone said:
"I think KB needs a girlfriend."

Oh, believe me, I do have a girlfriend. Ask Tanuki. She's a babe. And just what does my having, or not having, a girlfriend have to do with Tibet? You mean I should have a Chinese or Tibetan girlfriend? Anyway, I wouldn't worry so much about my personal life if I were you. I'd be more worried about your obvious inability to respond to comments pertaining to the topics. And I'll be expecting Tanuki to delete your comment about the girlfriend as it has nothing to do with the topic.KB

tanuki

Yes, KB does, to the best of my knowledge, have an attractive girlfriend, and I don't encourage ad hominem quips that are not related to the content of the debate. KB would also do well to recall that in the course of his comments.

Speaking of KB's comments, I think you might pass for intelligible occasionally if you took the time to edit your thoughts. The 'fisk' comment that I made referred to your writing at cross purposes to yourself. China had the right to occupy Tibet because they had previously claimed it? Because powers that in another context you would without hesitation denounce as imperialistic (Russia and the UK) gave them the go-ahead in 1907? I suppose you defend Hitler's occupation of the Sudetenland, as there's even more historical justification for that. And Manifest Destiny alone gave the US the right to the west? Honestly, sometimes it's impossible to understand what your point is other than you have a problem with negative statements about...well, largely totalitarian regimes that America often opposes.

Are you saying that, as an American speaking of the differences between China and Japan, I'm duty bound to preface any criticisms with a paragraph or two recounting American crimes? Are you saying that there is really a moral equivalence between Maoist and post-Maoist China and the US?

About Tibet: thank you for listing an alternative history. If you read my post more carefully, you would have seen that I expressed doubts about the figures. By the way, what was the source of your figures? The ones I posted were taken directly from an admittedly partisan site, to which I linked. I have little doubt they were inflated, but since we're dealing with the Japan-China tiff, in which the Chinese routinely provide obviously exaggerated numbers of victims, I thought the Tibetans should have equal opportunity to magnify their own suffering. Especially since they're still occupied and in danger of becoming a minority in their own homeland.

As for your personal ties to Tibet, I wonder what your Tibetan friends would make of your apologetics? Also, you spent time in Taiwan. Are you looking forward to see China annexing your former home?

KB

"Yes, KB does, to the best of my knowledge, have an attractive girlfriend, and I don't encourage ad hominem quips that are not related to the content of the debate. KB would also do well to recall that in the course of his comments."

Just trying to get the drifters back on track.KB

"Speaking of KB's comments, I think you might pass for intelligible occasionally if you took the time to edit your thoughts."

I don't like to spend that much time on them. As you can tell by the many spelling errors I make, as well as all the others, I don't look back over anything I've written. I usually just free-associate. And though there are often mistakes, I'd rather do this than un-free disassociate which seems to be the norm here. Thanks for the advise though. Maybe if I have more time I'll try it sometime.KB

"The 'fisk' comment that I made referred to your writing at cross purposes to yourself. China had the right to occupy Tibet because they had previously claimed it?"

It was determined by a multinational consensus and agreement that Tibet was, in fact, a part of Tibet. Of course, one could go back through hundreds of years and point out that it was at a certain time and not at another time, and this would be totally appropriate. I was just pointing out that according to the agreement which was signed, that Tibet beloged to China.KB

"Because powers that in another context you would without hesitation denounce as imperialistic (Russia and the UK) gave them the go-ahead in 1907?"

Not at all. They were imperialist. Britian was even worse as a matter of fact. And besides, there didn't seem to be too many people, including the U.S., who really cared much one way or the other.KB

"I suppose you defend Hitler's occupation of the Sudetenland, as there's even more historical justification for that."

Arguments could be made.KB

"And Manifest Destiny alone gave the US the right to the west?"

Not alone. But that may be arguable as well. Why is it that when I point out simple facts you have the tendency to assume that they're apologetics for "the other side"? I simply said that according to many, as was agree upon, Tibet was part of China. Same goes for Taiwan, and several other places as well.KB

"Honestly, sometimes it's impossible to understand what your point is other than you have a problem with negative statements about...well, largely totalitarian regimes that America often opposes."

You've just proven my point again. The U.S. didn't care or was indifferent. There are many such cases where the U.S. has been indifferent to imperialist expansion by other countries. And it really doesn't have much right to say anything most of the time since it has done the same, and it's founding was even based on such aggression. I can just hear it now if Hawaii decided to regain it's independence and say that it was no longer a part of the U.S. There would be many screaming that this was being inspired by rogue elements, probably communists, of course, and that they were trying to take over "our" country. Would this be okay? Who would you support? Does the U.S. have a legitimate right to be there? If so, why? If not, why not? And having "negative statements about...well, largely totalitarian regimes that America often opposes"? I say negative things about dictatorships all the time. I always talk about Soviet aggression. I talked about Chinese aggression even in this last comment. What you can't seem to grasp is the fact that all of the things which you know by rote to say about official enemies are often done by the U.S. as well, and many times have often been worse. This simply doesn't seem to compute for you. You interpret simple basic acknowledgments of your own country's crimes as being anti-American which is absurd. It's quite a simple process. You look at what YOUR country does, and focus on it's crimes. Then, you don't commit the crimes. For instance, I just watched 'The Fog of War' documentary which was basically an interview with Robert McNamara about his life. He spoke of the bombing of Japan. He said that LeMay, the man who had already fire-bombed Japan from top to bottom, prior to the atomic bombs, which had already destroyed half of Tokyo, half of Yokohama, etc...and who had ordered the dropping of the atomic bombs(which was inferred was not necessary), said that if the U.S. had lost the war that they would have all been considered war criminals. McNamara agrees with this assessment. He then basically says they were war criminals. He then considers the question "Does it really matter if we burned to death 100,000 women and children in one night and won the war?" "Would it really have been any different if we had lost?" You seem to have trouble acknowledging that the U.S. does, or has ever done, anything wrong. I don't recall you ever, not once, saying that the U.S. has done anything wrong. Now don't you think this is a slight oversight? Is there really ANY country in the history of the world that has never done anything wrong, especially ones with such overwhelming disparity of force? Almost by definition those countries who have had the most force, were the most aggressive, have killed the most people, etc... And if you say that there never has been such a perfect country, doesn't it only make sense that those imperfections be examined, especially those which your own country possesses? What's happening here, and what has always been happening in our discussions, is that I point out those facts which you choose to ignore and choose not to examine. I'm not sure that you're actually consciously doing this, or if you really believe that the U.S. is that perfect. I have a tendency to believe the latter. Anyway, I do not make apologetics for "my team". I also don't make apologetics for any other team. If some group invades another country it's wrong. Period. It is here where you have your difficulty. You seem not to be able to grasp the idea that one can criticize one's own crimes without it meaning that it's an axiomatic ap0logetic for the other side. I've pointed this out 4,586 times now, but it still comes up in about 85% of our correspondence. If I say that the Soviet Union developed from an impoverished third world country into ranking relatively well in any number of social indicators, education, healthcare, etc...it gets interpreted by you as I'm trying to say how great the Soviet Union was, even though I've talked hundreds of times about the horrors of Stalin and many of the obvious prolems with their experiment. That they did develop is not an issue. These are blatently obvious facts. That their system was a totaitarian dictatorship was also a fact. This is not really an issue either. This is a fact. And these two things have little to no correlation with one another. Also, what good does it do to talk on and on about the crimes of another country which you have no control of and that you can't really do anything about. ZERO. You can, however, have some affect on what your country is doing. And it's so easy to perceive the dissidents in most every other country as somehow noble and brave folks standing up to those things which he sees wrong in his country, but when people speak out about one's own country, they're called all sorts of names.(And you know the types I'm referring to.) And how do you think most of the folks in those countries thought about the dissidents? They thought they were radicals and troublemakers as well. "But the U.S. isn't a brutal system like the Soviet Union?" Yeah, so? What does this have to do with anything? Are there still not problems all over the place that shouldn't be dealt with? The richest country in the world and millions of people without healthcare? The list is quite long for things which need to be improved upon. So, quit worrying so much about things which are hardly your business and get your own house in order. And look at our dependencies. Compared to the Soviet Union they not only didn't grow, they went backwards. Almost every one of them. And even more obvious things, like Cuba. People like to bablle on and on about Castro this and Castro that....Why aren't they the least bit concerned that while they're bitching about some guy with a big ego on a dinky relatively insignificant island, instead of bitching at their own government for supporting MUCH, MUCH, MUCH more brutal murderers all over the place and have been for years? The numbers aren't even close. And yet when someone brings up this obvious facts, people actually peceive them as radical. That's what's interesting. That it's actually considered radical to acknowledge that while Castro may have killed a couple of hundred, maybe even a thousand, this deosn't come close to the 200,000 in Gutamala, 70,000 in El Salvador, and on and on...Why? And for the most part these basic facts which you can find out about all over the place aren't even acknowledged. Why? It's called indoctrination.KB

"Are you saying that, as an American speaking of the differences between China and Japan, I'm duty bound to preface any criticisms with a paragraph or two recounting American crimes?"

You don't have to preface it with anything. But if you're going to make comments which assume a certain position, such as Tibet not being a part of China, you should at least clarify the background a little. And as an American you probably are coming from a certain set of assumptions which should be recognized and considered. Otherwise you may actually give the appearance that you're being objective when in all probability you're not. I just don't think it hurts at all to look and see just what your county's response has been to the issues surrounding Japan and China, as well as what they've actually done themselves in the past in similar situations. You don't have to, but why not look at your county's actions?KB

"Are you saying that there is really a moral equivalence between Maoist and post-Maoist China and the US?"

No, why would I? I'm not overly concerned about China's morals. I'm concerned about the U.S.'s. See, you're trying to compare everyone and say "Look how good we are and look how bad they are." How does this in any way, shape, or form, improve those things which you need to improve yourself. I doesn't. It's like you're a guy who lives in a house, has the usual troubles any married guy does, etc...and when confronted with all the negative shit by his wife, so as to hopefully realize the problems and improve upon them, he focuses on the neighbors relationship and boasts about how much better his own relationship is than the neighbors. This has nothing to do with improving upon his own. In other words, he's in denial. This is why I've brought this concept into our conversations on so many occasions.KB

"About Tibet: thank you for listing an alternative history. If you read my post more carefully, you would have seen that I expressed doubts about the figures."

I read it carefully, and I'm aware that you expressed doubts. I was just making sure that the usual attempt at choosing the highest number was common in such instances.KB

"By the way, what was the source of your figures? The ones I posted were taken directly from an admittedly partisan site, to which I linked."

Oops! Sorry about that. I'll go back and try to find them. Remind me if you don't see them in the next day or so.KB

"I have little doubt they were inflated, but since we're dealing with the Japan-China tiff, in which the Chinese routinely provide obviously exaggerated numbers of victims, I thought the Tibetans should have equal opportunity to magnify their own suffering."

This is probably safe to say. I agree.KB

"Especially since they're still occupied and in danger of becoming a minority in their own homeland."

I agree. Actually, I don't really see why the Chinese goverment even wants most of the places who want to be independent. Many of them don't really have that much strategic significance as far as I can tell. And if I had a country that size, with that many people, and that many problems to deal with, I'd probably give them their indepence to reduce the size of my problem list. I mean, if you're having difficulty raising the three kids you already have, why keep the other 25 who don't want to live with you in the first place? I think they'd be much smarter to become more like the states. If they want to stay connected federally, and yet maintain their independence, or statehood, actually some say that this is aleady the case, they could do it.KB

"As for your personal ties to Tibet, I wonder what your Tibetan friends would make of your apologetics?"

Well, when someone asked the Dalai Lama about the China issue he say they were his brothers and seemed not really concerned so much about if China wanted to say Tibet belonged to them, and even acknowledged the various back and forth claims from the past. I think he just wants them to be able to practice their faith in peace. He basically forgives them and understands them, and the whys and hows of the many factions which their various ideas.KB

"Also, you spent time in Taiwan. Are you looking forward to see China annexing your former home?"

Well, many of the people there when I was there WANTED to be reunited with China. In general most of them didn't, but a significant part did. Probably like Korea. The ones who don't are primarily the ones beleiving that they'll not be able to make as much money if connected to China. And for some this would probably be the case. Personally, I don't really think it would have that much affect, especially seeing the direction that Shanghai, Shenzhen, etc...are going in. I think the fight is primarily the ones who think it won't make that much difference and the ones who don't want to take a chance. Remember, there are many folks in Taiwan with relatives in China which they haven't seen since they seperated. They want to be re-united. Once again, like Korea. There are even some women in China still waiting for their husbands to return from China. This is quite sad. Sorry for the length.KB


KB

By the way, though neither of these links are the ones which I used, I think they're all the same.
http://www.mybenches.com/articles/Tibet
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibet

tanuki

KB--

Ah, looks like you've begun to edit your comments. Bravo. I suggest using the 'preview' button under the window. You can simultaneosly view your comments, then go back to the box and correct mistakes and weed out ill-advised thoughtless statements. I believe that might do much to cut down on the length of your considerable offerings.

You made some good points. Including some that truly surprised me, given your comments on similar topics in different contexts.

So, if you're not saying that the US and communist China are moral equivalents and that I don't have to preface my comments on the China-Japan issue by writing about slavery, native Americans and Mai Lai, what are you actually saying? I give iffy figures, point out the fact that they are iffy, put them in the context of a argument swollen with Chinese iffy figures--you agree and note all of this, yet write comments that are 10 times longer than my most...what gives? Love of the objective truth?

For someone who casually compares the 400+ year, multi-national, epidemic-ridden, often mutually hostile, relations between Native Americans to the systematic rounding up and slaughter of Jewish citizens in Germany and its occupied territories, you certainly have developed a severe case of objectivity. I suppose next you'll be telling us that, yes, Jews DID own too large a percentage of businesses in Germany and that there are films that prove concentration camp life was all pretzels and polka bands.

For the umpteenth time, I do NOT maintain that the US is a paragon of virtue. That our history is one of unsullied tolerance, restraint, and tireless working for peace and democracy. But I DO maintain that our system of government is about as good as it gets. I DO maintain that despite the excesses, American government is self-correcting. I DO maintain that while occasionally bloody, our occupations and interventions have been far more beneficial to the occupied than those we have gone to war with. I DO maintain that American commerce, technology and values have made the world a better place. And I do NOT see the value in consistently belittling these remarkable acheivements and comparing them with those of countries that routinely kill millions of their own citizens through famine or more direct means.

At some point you have to choose the greatest good and the least of all evils, and in SO many ways, that is the US. I don't deny that I have a subjective, emotional love for my country, but being a grandson of immigrants who came over with nothing, I also have a sense of gratitude for being able to live a life unimaginable to 95% of the people in the history of the planet.

We've got a damn good thing going, and I really worry that certain well-intentioned schmucks with their heads simultaneously in the clouds and choked by their sphincters won't be content until they can make their mark on the world by messing it all up.

I would like to see everyone in the world living as well as Americans and Japanese do. To the congregation of the Church of the Wholly Red Global Thermometer, I say that given a chance, we'll figure out how to achieve prosperity and a livable environment.

I honestly believe that the best chance to end world hunger and ensure peace and prosperity is to have a community of nations that more resemble that of the US, Canada, Japan, W Europe (maybe) etc. than N Korea, Cuba, and China. And I utterly fail to see the point of not only refusing to condemn heinous evil, needless suffering, and brutal oppression by resorting to infantile moral equivalence.

I also believe that these arguments have, for the most part, won over academia and the media. And so, in a very small way, I offer this blog, and along with many others, try to show that there are other fact-based ways of thinking, and that one needn't be ashamed of a very good thing: believing in American democracy and economic freedom. I applaud those who criticise it with a mind to improve something that already works well, if not flawlessly, and scorn those who think they demonstrate their own intelligence and high-mindedness by doing nothing but highlighting its failures without offering any practical suggestions on how it could be better.

Cliff

...ditto...

KB

KB--
"Ah, looks like you've begun to edit your comments. Bravo."

I did? Where?KB

"I suggest using the 'preview' button under the window. You can simultaneosly view your comments, then go back to the box and correct mistakes and weed out ill-advised thoughtless statements."

I don't have any ill-advised thoughtless statements. I only make the occasional spelling mistake which I'm not concerned about. Perhaps you should be more concerned about your own statements a little more and not worry so much about making it look good.KB

"I believe that might do much to cut down on the length of your considerable offerings."

Well, given that my "considerable offerings" are pretty much the only things in the comment section which go into any detail regarding the subject, and as they're rarely challenged with anything more than....say....my editing, spelling, and other equally irrelevent items, I believe it might do much good to add to the length your offerings so that something of significance might be said.KB

"You made some good points."

Was this a typo? Did you actually say that I made some good points? You, too, should perhaps look at the bottom of the window. Just kidding.KB

"Including some that truly surprised me, given your comments on similar topics in different contexts."

Really?KB

"So, if you're not saying that the US and communist China are moral equivalents and that I don't have to preface my comments on the China-Japan issue by writing about slavery, native Americans and Mai Lai, what are you actually saying?"

I'm basically saying that China's moral status should not be of much concern to you. Your own country's should. That's all. And I don't really like to get off into the moral-relativism/equivalence babble as it usually leads nowhere, and is simply a diversion from focusing on one's own crimes. There are actually probably many things/aspects from every country which I can say is better than in the U.S., and there are probably many things about the U.S. which I can say are better than the other countries. Even falling into the trap of perceiving this 'Us vs Them' is already a mistake. We look at our crap and fix it. They look at their crap and fix it. It's quite easy for us to look at their crap and point out all the negative things, just as it's easy for them to point out ours. This helps nothing.KB

"I give iffy figures, point out the fact that they are iffy, put them in the context of a argument swollen with Chinese iffy figures--you agree and note all of this, yet write comments that are 10 times longer than my most...what gives?"

Because I wanted to? Were you going to make a comment, or are you only going to talk about my length? See, rather than writing in small soundbites which leave so many holes a truck could drive through, I prefer to try and fill in the holes from the start so that it's not necessary to have to keep going back and forth with little short blurbs. It's simple. If I write one small sentence without any context, etc...I can guess what the next comment will probably be, as they often quite predictable. So, rather than having to wait for the next predictable response, why not just try and answer any predictable, or potentially considered, questions from the start. One way we have a few long comments, the other way we have 54 small comments. Not really much difference. Is this an important topic?KB

"Love of the objective truth?"

I'm still not quite sure if this is really possible, but perhaps.KB

"For someone who casually compares the 400+ year, multi-national, epidemic-ridden, often mutually hostile, relations between Native Americans to the systematic rounding up and slaughter of Jewish citizens in Germany and its occupied territories, you certainly have developed a severe case of objectivity."

Since when have I not tried to be objective? And why not casually compare the two? Anyway, even your comment here still has the taste of an apologetic for the European killers of the Native Americans as being somehow less than that of the Jews. Why?KB

"I suppose next you'll be telling us that, yes, Jews DID own too large a percentage of businesses in Germany and that there are films that prove concentration camp life was all pretzels and polka bands."

Well, as anyone with a half a brain knows, there is NO propaganda without some shreds of truth behind it. So, yes, many Jews DID own large percentages of businesses. You didn't know this? And what does Nazi propaganda have to do with the much more efficent U.S. propaganda, as was recognized by Hitler himself? Once again, you are worrying about the other. Look into the mirror for once.KB

"For the umpteenth time, I do NOT maintain that the US is a paragon of virtue."

And for the umpteenth time, I'm still waiting for a list of this which you believe have not been virtuous. Anyone can say, "Well, we've done some bad things, but(and this is always the follow-up)in the big picture, we've done more good than bad." Yes, every country that's ever existed has said this including Nazi Germany, Stalin's Soviet Union, etc...It is meaningless.KB

"That our history is one of unsullied tolerance, restraint"

What do you mean restraint? Do you mean withinh the U.S. itself? Because there's no way in hell you can be talking about restraint and foreign policy. There is virtually NO restraint, and the U.S. is openly flaunting that there will be no restraint by any irrelevent legal bodies such as the U.N., World Court, and all other such civilized institutions.KB

"and tireless working for peace and democracy."

There is, once again, no way in hell you can be speaking of the U.S.'s foreign policy. If you have even the smallest bit of knowledge of Latin America, for example, it's quite easy to see just how this "peace and democracy" has been carried out for years. It has been primarily via terror, support for dictators, and the killing of hundreds of thousands of people. Stalin said he was working for peace and democracy, too. In fact, most every country says this, while they're killing all over the place at the same time. You can find quotes all over the place about how benign Britian's motives and expansion were and how they wanted nothing more than a peaceful world, etc....and simultaneously they were killing thousands in India, etc...KB

"But I DO maintain that our system of government is about as good as it gets."

Of course, you "maintain" this. That's your job. You're supposed to maintain this. Just as ever good patriot from Germany, U.S.S.R., etc...was to maintain that their system was about as good as it gets.KB

"I DO maintain that despite the excesses, American government is self-correcting."

Again, this statement is meaningless. If you're going to make these types of statements you need to give examples of what sort of excesses. Perhaps if your comments were longer, as I mentioned above, and you included the content which is lacking from this comment, I wouldn't need to be asking this question. See how it works?KB

"I DO maintain that while occasionally bloody, our occupations and interventions have been far more beneficial to the occupied than those we have gone to war with."

Then you REALLY need to look into your country's actions all over the place. Most every country the U.S. has intervened in has been a complete failure. Killing hundreds of thousands in Latin America either directly, or by supporting the local killers? Helping to run down most every economy with which we've been involved? I don't know what you're talking about, but you STILL, after my having sent you hundreds of links speaking to all of these topics in detail, have not got any sort of grasp about what has been going on for decades. And this is even recognized by a Reagan insider, here quoted by Chomsky:

Responsible men who have to deal with the children of the worldface a hard task, and it is therefore not surprising that Washington's "impulse to promote democracy" is generally ineffective, and often limited to rhetoric. I am quoting the major study of Washington's crusade for democracy during the Reagan years, by Thomas Carothers, who writes with an "insider's perspective," having worked on these programs in Reagan's State Department. Carothers regards the programs as "sincere," though largely a failure. He notes further that failure was systematic: where Washington's influence was least, in South America, there was real progress towards democracy, which the Reagan Administration generally opposed, later taking credit for it when the process proved irresistible. Where Washington's influence was greatest, closer to home, progress was least. In his words, the US sought to maintain "the basic order of...quite undemocratic societies" and to avoid "populist-based change." Like its predecessors, the Reagan Administration adopted "prodemocracy policies as a means of relieving pressure for more radical change, but inevitably sought only limited, top-down forms of democratic change that did not risk upsetting the traditional structures of power with which the United States has long been allied."
http://www.usp.br/iea/textos.html
There's much more here as elsewhere.

"I DO maintain that American commerce, technology and values have made the world a better place."

Another meaningless statement unless you're going to give some examples.KB

"And I do NOT see the value in consistently belittling these remarkable acheivements and comparing them with those of countries that routinely kill millions of their own citizens through famine or more direct means."

Who has belittled any acheivement of the U.S.? Here you go again. What on God's green earth, thanks to the environmentalists, does the U.S.'s having made some technological advances have to do with countries killing millions of their own people? Nothing. Well, actually, sometimes it does. I mean, many of the countries which receives the most U.S. military aid are also the countries which have high human rights violations. This is a correlation which is well recognized. Look at the human rights recoreds of those countries which receive the most U.S. aid. Almost without exception they're all human rights abusers. And another basic fact which you either aare unaware of, or you simply ignore, is that most all of these technological advances have come about through that evil of all evils, the state system, i.e. big government. From computers, to airlines, to internet, etc...all of these were developed within the state sector. Not by private rugged individualists. You paid for these things, and are still paying. You are also still paying for the many weapons which have killed hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people. Why do you never acknowledge this? It's because you don't believe it. Or, it's because you don't WANT to believe it. There's information all over the place about it. Why do you seem uninterested. Do you really not care that you're paying lots of money to kill people? This doesn't bother you?KB

"At some point you have to choose the greatest good and the least of all evils"

Another meaningless statement. It's quite easy actually. You don't support crimes and criminals. And don't try and say anything about the U.S. supporting Stalin against Hitler. This is mixing apples and oranges.KB

"and in SO many ways, that is the US."

I'm sure there are people all over Latin America, as well as many other countries, who wouldn't agree with you. See, they're at rthe receiving end of the terror. You're not. They actually know what's going on in the real world, the world of which illusion and self-congratulating rhetoric has little meaning.KB

"I don't deny that I have a subjective, emotional love for my country"

What does "love of my country" mean to you? Patriotism? What do you mean? Your country? The land? The people? The state? I suggest that you listen a little closer to S. Johnson whom you so admire. Anyway, here's a pretty good link(below)with an article by one of the truly great women of the century:

PATRIOTISM: A MENACE TO LIBERTY(1917)
"What, then, is patriotism? "Patriotism, sir, is the last resort of scoundrels," said Dr. Johnson. Leo Tolstoy, the greatest anti-patriot of our times, defines patriotism as the principle that will justify the training of wholesale murderers; a trade that requires better equipment for the exercise of man-killing than the making of such necessities of life as shoes, clothing, and houses; a trade that guarantees better returns and greater glory than that of the average workingman.
Gustave Hervé, another great anti-patriot, justly calls patriotism a superstition--one far more injurious, brutal, and inhumane than religion. The superstition of religion originated in man's inability to explain natural phenomena. That is, when primitive man heard thunder or saw the lightning, he could not account for either, and therefore concluded that back of them must be a force greater than himself. Similarly he saw a supernatural force in the rain, and in the various other changes in nature. Patriotism, on the other hand, is a superstition artificially created and maintained through a network of lies and falsehoods; a superstition that robs man of his self-respect and dignity, and increases his arrogance and conceit.
Indeed, conceit, arrogance, and egotism are the essentials of patriotism.".......
http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/Goldman/Writings/Anarchism/patriotism.html

"but being a grandson of immigrants who came over with nothing, I also have a sense of gratitude for being able to live a life unimaginable to 95% of the people in the history of the planet."

Yes, you are lucky. So? This means you're to deny the crimes of the country to which you belong? What do you think you owe the country? You sound as if the country is your boss and you shouldn't bite the hand that feeds you. This is a totalitarian position. If you believe in democracy, YOU are the boss, NOT the state. So , I do hope that when you say "your country", this isn't the way you're thinking about it.KB

"We've got a damn good thing going, and I really worry that certain well-intentioned schmucks with their heads simultaneously in the clouds and choked by their sphincters won't be content until they can make their mark on the world by messing it all up."

Messing it up by thinking that the U.S. shouldn't support murdering dictators, shouldn't move toward more centralized concentrated power, which is happening quite rapidly, should try and save the environment, or what's left of it, and on and on...? These are the people with which you have so much hostility? These are the very people who want to make things better, and are the only people to have ever done so. I'm really not sure where you think all of the great things about the U.S. which you so love much came from. Most every freedom you have came exactly from the people you criticize on a daily basis. Talking about biting the hand that feeds.KB

"I would like to see everyone in the world living as well as Americans and Japanese do."

Yes, that would be nice. So, why does the U.S. seem to do everything in it's power to prevent this from taking place?KB

"To the congregation of the Church of the Wholly Red Global Thermometer, I say that given a chance, we'll figure out how to achieve prosperity and a livable environment."

Yes, well, the idea that technology will somehow make sure that global warming doesn't take place is by no means certain. But why even take the chance? Oh, I forgot. Taking steps to reduce global warming may be harmful to the economy, and we can't have that. I mean, who cares if we're up to our necks in water, as long as we've had a 20% return. Hence, the logic of capitalism. If this is what capitalism will eventually lead to, and it appears to be doing so as we speak, then I'm afraid that while good in the short run, at least for a few % of the world, it may be utterly disaterous in the long run. Hopefully, we can come up with something better, and it had better be damn quick.KB

"I honestly believe that the best chance to end world hunger and ensure peace and prosperity is to have a community of nations that more resemble that of the US, Canada, Japan, W Europe (maybe) etc. than N Korea, Cuba, and China."

Who the hell wants N. Korea? China is mixed. It has some good points and bad points. And we really don't know what Cuba's system could have been like because it never had a chance to even begin. And I think that a few Canadians and Europeans may not look so favorably on your clumping them together with the U.S.KB

"And I utterly fail to see the point of not only refusing to condemn heinous evil, needless suffering, and brutal oppression by resorting to infantile moral equivalence."

Who has refused to condemn heinous evil? I never have. As a matter of fact, you seem to be the only one here who does this. You refuse to condemn the heinous evil which YOU support. Yes, there's no need to talk about moral equivalence if you're not even willing to recognize what's being measured. To say that Castro is bad because X,Y,Z, while ignoring that your own country has supported FAR, FAR, FAR, more brutal murdering dictators, is hardly a way to compare equivalence though it is morally infantile.KB

"I also believe that these arguments have, for the most part, won over academia and the media."

But I thought the media and academia were "liberal"? Anyway, if denial, further arrogance, and self congratulations ARE, in fact, becoming the norm, then I'm sorry to say, but I'll be ashamed to be from the U.S.KB

"And so, in a very small way, I offer this blog, and along with many others"

At least you're admitting that you're a propagandist. This takes some courage I guess.KB

"try to show that there are other fact-based ways of thinking"

"Fact-based way"? What are you taling about? There's very little in most of your tracts which have to do with fact. They're primarily opinions based on nothing. Take for instance your complete denial of the many facts which I present all the time. What does the word facts mean to you? I have a feeling that for you facts means that information which I can find which will support my belief system. Sorry, but this isn't how facts are determined. A fact is something like: The U.S. gives lots of money to a murdering dictator who kills his own people and makes sure that the climate for investments and exploitation of resources is maintained. THIS is a fact. And if THIS doesn't fit into your belief system, you have several choices. You can deny it, or ignore it. Your approach. Or, you can acknowledge it, ask if this is really what we should be doing, ask what can we do to stop this, and take steps to stop it. The radical approach. Radical in the sense that actual facts have been so removed from contemporary discourse that they're perceived to be radical. Otherwise, they're actually quite conservative.KB

"and that one needn't be ashamed of a very good thing: believing in American democracy and economic freedom."

Whose ashamed of American democracy? Most of those on the left have been the ones to have made it come about. Economic freedom is a nice sounding concept, but it takes about 20 seconds to see how this concept plays out in U.S. client states. And as far as that goes, this is exactly the very thing which many of the countries which the U.S. has supported terror against wanted. They wanted economic freedom outside the control of the U.S. The U.S. rejected, supported terrorist regimes, and killed thousands, to make sure they didn't acheive economic freedom. Is it really so easy for you to preach the free-market line, while at the same time ignoring the fact that no country in history has ever developed following the rules that we say they must follow? None. Not one. The only countries to have ever developed are the ones who have NOT followed these rules. There are no exceptions that I'm aware of.KB

"I applaud those who criticise it with a mind to improve something that already works well"

Whether it works well or not is irrelevent. My car works well, but there are many things which I could do to it to improve it.KB

"if not flawlessly, and scorn those who think they demonstrate their own intelligence and high-mindedness by doing nothing but highlighting its failures without offering any practical suggestions on how it could be better."

Oh, it's quite easy to make suggestions about how to make it better. That's pretty much most of what the left does. As a matter of fact, they have suggestions all over the place which are attacked by those who don't want to make thigs better. It's easy. Don't support brutal dictators. Don't sell weapons to anyone. Do everything scientifically possible to reduce the greenhouse effect. Reduce the military budget by 95% and spend the money on something useful like healthcare for everyone, better education for everyone, and about 3,000 other things. Suggestions are easy for those who recognize the problems. They're only difficult for those who believe everything is already perfect. And, these suggestions are usually fought against by the same people who already think things are perfect.(See denial, again)

I'm leaving a link which I've left 30 times, but which I've never received a comment. I'll try one more time. And while I can easily anticipate what kind of responses it will bring, I'd still like for you to respond. If you're serious about having concern for your own country then at some point you WILL need to acknowledge it's shortcomings so that you can overcome these problems. Ignoring these issues IS NOT patriotism:

Americas Third World War
How 6 million People Were killed in CIA secret wars against third world countries

John Stockwell is the highest-ranking CIA official ever to leave the agency and go public. He ran a CIA intelligence-gathering post in Vietnam, was the task-force commander of the CIA's secret war in Angola in 1975 and 1976, and was awarded the Medal of Merit before he resigned. Stockwell's book In Search of Enemies, published by W.W. Norton 1978, is an international best-seller.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article4068.htm

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