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Chromatic Dispersion

Well, with Bush the war possibilities are almost limitless.

Its a good thing he wasn't president during WW2. Else the US would have invaded Argentina. Which makes as much sense as starting a needless and useless war with Iraq.

But its oil. OIL. OIL. OIL. No other reason.


Chromatic Dispersion,

You clearly suffer from Bush Derangement Syndrome. No other action taken by anyone in history (whether Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Osama bin Laden) bothers you as much as the Iraq War.

Answer these two simple questions :

1) Do you think it is a good thing that US actions have put a stop to the Oil-for-food scandal?

2) Why to you object to our buying oil from a free Iraq at market prices, when before none of the benefits were going to the Iraqi people? Or do you not want them to benefit from their own oil?

Please answer these two simple questions.


Chromatic Dispersion

The US does NOT fight wars to get oil.

The US won the war over Kuwait, won the war and did not keep any oil.

The US won the war in Afganistan where there was no oil.

Chromatic Dispersion, you are way too ignorant.

Badboy Recovered

I love cliffhangers!

Great blog by the way!


Badboy Recovered,

Thanks for your interest. It is inspiring to know that the content is enjoyed by readers..


I love the originality of this blog. Very thought provoking. Looking forward to part II of today's post.

I often wonder what the world would be like today if GWB had not been elected. In my opinion, Gore/Kerry would have been presidents who would have done what the opinion polls said was right- not what they believed was right for the country.

I believe Bush has always done what he believes is best for the safety of this country's citizens. It cracks me up when people say 'oil oil oil' and have no arguments or facts to back up their claims. I firmly believe that had Gore or Kerry been elected, the casualty count for U.S. civilians would be higher now than the current military count as a result of Bush's war on terror.


This "chain of logic" does not stand up to the empirical evidence.

As Chase-Dunn/Kawano and Brewer show in their American Sociological Review 2000 article - trade globalization and world openness is only slightly higher now than it was at the end of the nineteenth century. This is especially true when you take into account the growing number of countries - as CDKB show openness weighted by number of countries is not even significantly higher than 1914 or 1935.

In fact, "experts" in the early 1900's made exactly your argument - the economies of nation-states were far too integrated for war to happen... regrettably, they were wrong.

Additionally, the "democracies don't go to war with democracies" argument is spurious at best considering most democracies were part of NATO during the period you are citing.

Still, though, there are examples of democracies getting their noses bloody over strategic interests with other democracies:

Turkey, Cyprus and Greece were all considered democracies by the Polity IV dataset during the war over Cyprus.

UK and Ireland have both been democracies since WWII, yet Northern Ireland remained unresolved by elected officials on both sides.

Lebanon was the most democratic of Israel's neighbors in 1948 and most decimated in the following conflict.

These are all examples of democracies forging ahead with the kind of bloodshed you argue wouldn't be "considered by elected officials". When you take into account the ratio of autocratic to democratic states "almost never" becomes insignificant.

The reality is that countries protect and secure strategic interests - the democracies of the twentieth century had a strategic interest in supporting each other and not going to war.

Suggesting that trend will continue is to ignore the changing nature of global politics.


Your information supports the idea that established democracies don’t go to war, it doesn’t refute it. UK/Ireland and Turkey/Greece are the exact situations that led to outright extended, bloody wars prior to democratic advances. The fact that both those conflicts remained low key where most of the violence was done by non-state actors needs some explanation, and other than the ‘we’d lose too much b/c we’re both trading democracies’ explanation, I don’t see one.
The idea that global trade was the same in 1906 as it is now seems unlikely based on common sense knowledge of the growth in communications and travel speed. I won’t say you’re definitely wrong until I’ve read the article you cite, but it is an idea that would require a lot of evidence.


Excellent blog by the way. It's now on my (very short) daily-read list.


Usnjay and JoePike,

Thanks for the encouragement. Makes me wish I started 2 years ago..

Carl Kolchak

I think how prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo have been treated is a disgrace. I always treated prisoners fairly and didn't execute them.
Please have more people go out and buy my shirts and wear them and talk about being against violence.
These people are really smart.

Sincerely Che Guevara

dj elliott

Just out of curiousity.
If this war is about oil, then why is the Democrat Party receiving more "big oil" campaign contributions than the Republicans? Especially Gore.

On the other side Bush wants to get US off of oil.
Wasn't that a Democrat plank a decade ago?


I don't follow your argument, usnjay.

The original author suggests something along the lines of a political economy model in which elected officials weigh the strategic interests of the state against their likelihood of reelection given the public costs of conflict.

In UK/Ireland and Turkey/Greece, elected officials on both sides made these calculations and decided that the state's gains from conflict outweighed the public costs.

Similarly, theoretically, President Bush made this calculation for U.S. strategic interests at the expense of his popularity before invading Iraq.

If you don't agree that Bush made this strategic calculation based on popularity and how his decision would be received, then perhaps you should question the author's claim that:

"Since the citizens of these nations would suffer financially from such a war, it is not considered by elected officials"

If you do accept that Bush made this strategic decision, then we must consider the possibility that democracies do enter into elective wars purely out of strategic interests. If this is the case, then there is little credence to the author's claim that democracies do not go to war with each other, since it is possible to come up with scenarios where strategic interests of democracies would clash (It may be less likely that democracies go to war with each other, but the author's absolute claim that democracies do not go to war is not supported).

That being the case, I would accept the argument that an increase in worldwide democracy might decrease the likelihood of conflict, but it can never preclude conflict, even between democracies.

Why is this important?

Because this illustrates that the democratization of Iraq is not proof against future conflict.

If you are still not convinced consider Palestine. Why is Hamas any threat to peace if they were democratically elected?


Im still pissed that we invaded Germany in WW2. It wasn't necessary and it was only a war for schnitzel.


Nice blog by the way, but there is something about the green borders... reminds me of a pair of pants that my grandmother made me wear when I was a kid.

No wonder i got beat up.


Sorry for the delay, I was on vacation. We seem to mostly agree so I’ll be brief.
1 – Ireland/England never went to war. It was a low level conflict between UK police and Ireland’s non-govermental actors.
2 – Greece/Turkey never went to war after democratization ~1922.
3 – The war between America and the Islamic extremists is not between two democracies. Bush made the decision to invade Iraq in spite of the fact all his advisors said it would hurt his popularity, b/c after 9/11 he knew it was mandatory in order to protect the country.
4 – Hamas is a threat b/c their official, stated agenda is to destroy another democracy through violent means.

Finally, though both Palestinian & Iraq are new democracies, they could still have wars & be consistent w/ the author’s case, b/c they have GDP < 10K per capita. I don't think that's likey, but yes it's possible.


Sounds like you've been reading Rudy Rummel.

Bruce Hayden

Just some small data to back up this theory from Tom Friedman's book on the flat world. Apparently, a couple of years ago, India and Pakistan were looking like they were headed to war, but this time potentially with nuclear weapons. In the past, the Indian govt. has been able to ignore its businessmen.

But this time, there was a difference. American managers mentioned to their Indian counterparts that their management was getting very nervous about the outsourcing that had been done to India over this, and that if India and Pakistan were to go to war, it was highly likely that a lot of the outsourcing would be pulled back or moved to more stable countries. Indian business went to their govt. and told them that it would cost a lot of prosperity. And the Indian govt. backed down.

Not a guarantee that these two aren't ultimately going to fight again, but rather, that they are just likely to because of integration.

I should also note that this is also playing out some with China and Taiwan. Many of the Chinese goods are intentionally interchangable with those of other countries in the neighborhood - things like computer memories, etc. And the big buyers, like Dell, HP, etc., make sure that they have geographically distributed supply lines for this reason - and make sure everyone knows it.



Precisely. That is why once a country gets to $10,000 a year in per capita income, and also becomes a democracy, its interest in war drops. No two countries with these two characteristics have ever gone to war.

Read Part II for more.


The problem with "rich democracies don't go to war" is that it doesn't prove a whole hell of a lot. 99% of nations never go to war with each other - even if there is a lot of war, there's a whole lot more nation pairs out there, and most simply never find a reason to get pissed at each other. When you restrict the sample size that badly, getting a small absolute number is meaningless - saying that two nations led by people named William have never gone to war is more enlightening.



No, the article itself states that at every time in history, up till about 15 years ago, there were wars that killed millions, often more than one going on at once.

Now, they no longer occur, as more nations have met the 'peace criteria'.

Your argument is meaningless, because most nation pairs are far apart. Thailand has never gone to war with Chile because.... they are far apart, and not prosperous enough to have trade ties.

Read the article again.

GK: "the content is enjoyed by readers"-- kidding, right?

Hands down the best predictive blog out there. Combines all the trends- economic, geopolitic, technologic. It's OUR honor to read you.


some of the best debates, too- smart folks from right, left, center, foreign sides. It's great to see things argued intelligently from an opposing or different perspective- really great.

Quality attracts quality!

fergot to include mah name last time- woopsie


Wow, thanks. That was one of the most encouraging compliments ever.

I just wish I could increase my frequency of articles of late. But now you've motivated me to finish one today no matter what, even if it means staying up till 2 AM.

Charles Jillian

So the barbarity of another age excuses the barbarity of today? Your logic is failing you.

Being opposed to the war means being opposed to it's causes: greed, racism, and barbarity. One isn't opposed to the war because it's fashionable (unless one is a child) to be so.

Most of the American people are opposed to this war, the majority of the world is opposed to this war, and for good reason. This is where you should ask yourself "well what's wrong with me then?".

I'll tell you, I feel it is my duty to do so. You're a puppet. It is you who is trying to be fashionable by being dismissive about the war. Sean Hannity barfs, you lap it up. You don't give it another thought.


Charles Jillian,

No one is drinking your 'America is evil and the terrorists are the victims' kool-aid.

You say 'the barbarity of today'. So you have no condemnation for the terrorists who deliberately killed innocents in London, Madrid, Beslan, Bombay, Bali, Egypt, etc. You only hate the West for trying to stop terrorists. Your inability to distinguish between good (the US) and evil (terrorists) is why you lose elections in such a humiliating manner.

And you say the war is about racism? Really? Why is America pouring in money to create a democracy? Why is Condi Rice partaking in this 'racism'?

And why did almost all Democratic Senators vote to keep troops in Iraq indefinitely without any fixed deadline? It appears that even 33 out of 44 Democrats in the Senate have rejected your far-left anti-American brand of fanaticism.

Readers, just look at how insane these anti-American fifth-columnists have become, due to their frustration and not being able to derail the US that they hate so much. But they can't answer simple questions, so it is remarkably easy to beat them in just a couple of sentences.

zach young

Nice post, except possibly misleading as there are lots of wars going on right now http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ongoing_wars

Most of them are small, but it seems a little bit misleading to leave that out.

Otherwise, great article!


zach young,

I saw this on wikipedia. But note that many of these wars are low in casualty counts. The current Lebanon-Israel battle has still killed only about 1500 people. In the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, 40,000 died.

Places in India, Pakistan, etc. are red on the map, but the number getting killed there is tiny.

By this token, inner cities in the US have about 10,000 murders a year. But that is just 'violent criminal activity', not a war.

Contrast that to wars that routinely killed over a million people, which were common until just a couple of decades ago.


To answer this question from the article:

"Why is a war between Britain and France, or Russia and Germany, or the US and Japan, nearly impossible today?"

Well, for starters, Britain, France and the United States have nuclear weapons, making any major conflict between these states unproductive. I think the answers lie more in the area of strategic alliances. Most of these nations, with the exception of Russia, are quite friendly with each other for various reasons, and Russia's nuclear arsenal also makes it an uninviting target.

I strongly disagree that we are in a period of peace right now. I think what we're seeing is a change in the types of conflict that the major powers are likely to be embroiled in, certainly. Few nations have the military power to effectively defend themselves against, say, the US in a conventional manner. So what we're seeing instead is assymetric warfare to a greater degree. And although direct casualties as a result of gunfire, explosions, etc. may be lower in this type of scenario, there are also severe secondary consequences for the civilian population, such as starvation.

DumbMonkey appears to me to have a more reasoned argument than many others here.



I disagree that nuclear weapons are the deterrent in those cases. Germany has not warred with Norway or Poland. Australia has not warred with New Zealand, Thailand has not fought with VietNam, etc.

The reason is interlinking trade between prosperous nations, as well as the citizenry losing interest in war once prosperity makes more options in life available.

50 years ago, very few countries had per capita incomes over $10,000 a year (in today's dollars). Today, many do. And many more are also Democracies than before. They have no interest in even asymmetric warfare.

We are in a period of peace right now, as the per capita death rate due to wars is far lower than at any other time in history, and has dropped exponentially in nations that have achieved democracy and high per-capita incomes. There are too many examples supporting this, and virtually none countering it.

Dick Cheney

It's so hilarious to listen to right-wingers desperately try *any* argument to try to prop up their failing ideas.

Here's the latest: since GWB's policies haven't *yet* killed as many as died in WWII, it's OK.

You people are pathetic, if not just downright dumb.

Dumbocrats are Faggots

Mr. Dick,

On the contrary, it has been proven time and again that Bush voters are both more intelligent and more productive than Kerry voters.

So there, faggot.


The US was involved in the Oil-for-Food scandal. To my knowledge (which mind you, isn't very extensive), they signed papers approving actions that they later condemned and were not the ones that "put a stop to it."

I do like your article, but what about terrorism? I understand that there is a lower death count--not in the millions and such--making these terrorist issues bigger. But while the death count may be lower, the percentag eof civillian population being harmed by these 'wars' is higher.

With Bush, it is perhaps, not so much "spreading democracy" (like spreading molasses) or even the appeasement of the big oil companies that he is entrenched with as it is the fulfillment of his neo-con interpretation of biblical prophecy. Bush is a premillennialist and he has hijacked the governmental machinery of our Republic to prepare for Christ's return which (as a premillennialist) he believes will usher in the future millennium of Messianic rule mentioned in Revelation. So when Bush spouts: "This task is long, it is difficult work, but it is necessary work... laying the foundation of peace for generations to come.", his meaning is infused with the biblical overtones of premillennialism. We in America and the world are experiencing the ramifications of rule by a neo-con, fundamentalist, christian, minority fringe.


Minority fringe?

Then why did the US also invade Afghanistan? Do you also oppose the War in Afghanistan? Yes or no?

Why did the Senate vote 89-11 to RENEW the Patriot Act in 2006?

Why did the Senate vote 93-6 to keep troops in Iraq indefinitely?

This means most Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, Barack Obama, etc. voted the opposite way that you wanted. Yet, they tricked you into voting for them just by fooling you. Sucker!!!!

It looks you are the minority fringe that is at odds with 80-90% of normal people (and Senators) in America.

No answer, typical.

Readers, note that yet another fanatic cannot answer simple questions about his 'beliefs'. Note how easy it is to defeat them with simple questions, and be sure to apply this tactic in your own debates.

mike dot comike at the y ahhh ooo sserver

Democracy, democracy, democracy. Full mouth of democracy...

Please pardon my English; it's not my mother tongue and I'm rarely using it for other purposes than reading.

I see comments here are short, so I'll try to follow that path.

First, a definition: I DO NOT hate America, American people, American whatever. That defines a position from where I will comment.


It is indicative that writer of this text uses this kind of language...

"Readers, just look at how insane these anti-American fifth-columnists have become, due to their frustration and not being able to derail the US that they hate so much. But they can't answer simple questions, so it is remarkably easy to beat them in just a couple of sentences."

It is the language we see and hear every time there is dictatorship, or when brute force is being used.

"(anti-American) fifth-columnists"

"fifth-column"... Anti-American, anti-communist, anti-this, anti-that...

Man, I think you have problem explaining your position if you need to use this language.


Now, analysis of what you have said...

First, I don't agree with you. Explanation (brief) follows...

It is like you are solving a complex problem in mathematics or in physics, but when the result you got is or looks wrong - you try to find error somewhere in final lines instead of going through each and every step, from the beginning. That is why you can try to "fix" the problem, but that is NOT the solution.

Just to make sure everyone understands my broken English, another metaphor: if you build a building without a project, or build a toilet, then decide to expand project and make a house from a toilet, then change your mind and decide to build little building, and finally (after years and years) you decide to build another 100 floors and have a skyscraper built on the same wooden legs as toilet (that was the original idea) - then you are in a problem!

What I wanted to say is this: it is wrong to neglect HOW one country became rich and another became poor, and then just say: "OK, the situation TODAY is this..."

Unfortunately, when you do unjustice to someone, he or she feels that unjustice and want something in return. You can not say: "OK, time begins NOW and we will not remember what has happened yesterday or the day before." I will explain this later.


You mentioned Kuwait...
What was the cost of that war? Who paid it? Let me help you a bit: Saudi Arabia and surrounding countries "donated" around 50% because "they were threatened". OK. And the rest? NATO.
Who went to *Iraqi_war_1*? USA and UK.
Who gave the money? Arabs and NATO (all of them, not just USA and UK).
Who spent it? USA (and UK, but USA mostly).

Who controls oil from the region? US companies.


Afghanistan... No oil? Really?
OK, no oil. Gas-line. Pipeline. US asked a permission to have a pipeline that would go over Afghanistan - that was the shortest way, and to have it for free (not to pay to Afghan government/country/people for using their territory).
Afghan gov refused.
USA were supposed to build several thousand longer pipeline, and to pay to all the neighbouring countries to cross their territory, and to secure those extra several thousand miles. I am not saying that was the reason for attacking Afghanistan - it might be that US people and US government really want to help poor people of Afghanistan to prosper and enjoy flowers of democracy, but we should not exclude that one.


But, to go back to that physics problem, it should be a mistake to try to explain each and every mistake one possibly can make, because at each solved step one can ask another, new, 10 questions that need to be answered. That is why I would like to give answer only to this (which I consider to be most picturesque):

"You say 'the barbarity of today'. So you have no condemnation for the terrorists who deliberately killed innocents in London, Madrid, Beslan, Bombay, Bali, Egypt, etc. You only hate the West for trying to stop terrorists. "

It is not so. I guess we all agree that we are sad because some people died. Innocent people, American or not, died. It is bad, it is terrible.

But let us now try to think: why. Why did that happen? Ok, theya aremad killers... OK... But, can we find any other explanation? Why did Japanese pilots do suicide attacks in WW2? The answer might be: they believed that they were doing the right thing. Without going any further into the ideology, I am asking you if we can examine what might be "the truth" they (the Arab suicide bombers) belive in. And why? And how comes they are so "fanatic"?

The easiest and the dumbest answer (and the one you gave us) is: "Do'h! They hate us!"

But why? Are they all that bad? Are they born that way? They are programed to hate America? Why? Is it because American people are smarter, better lookong? Are American women nicer, have better figure? Why do all that people "hate" America? Is there any reason? Any reason at all?


We should examine how comes that on one small planet we have this big difference in a quality of life. Is it really true that ordinary American citizen is worth 100 times more than Ethiopian, Angolan, Kongo, Afghan, Iraqi, or any other citizen/worker?

You should tell us how many times USA vetoed in UN.

It is not as simple as you would like us to think it is, the truth is not that plain and simple. If it was, then global politics would be kids game, a piece of cake, not a Harvard PhD business.

Look at this (simplified) scenaro: USA helps a guy come to power; USA backs him; USA helps him stay on power; USA companies make good deals; the country was not rich, it is easy to ask favors; the government of that country - small, ordinary people that now have some power - are easilly manipulated: USA is rich and strong, African, Asian or Balcan region is filled with economically poor countries that would do anything to survive; USA helps their favorite rule; one day the guy is no longer loved in his own country - people want changes; USA does not want any changes - they have their capital invested and they want their profit; "good guy" becomes "bad guy", just like Sadam, Bin Laden, Milosevic, and becomes an excuse for another "operation", for another "backup plan"...

And when we see that "plan B", then it is too late to do anything, it is just like a game of chess: one should think 10 moves ahead. So, now when you analyze what happened in Iraq, I can only say you are like a little kid, playing with chess table and not understanding a single rule of the game or move.

Finally, let me ask you this (let us imagine we are independent and not cheering any side in the conflict): what would be your proposal to Hamas, to Iraq, to African countries, to Lebanon, to Vietnam, to Nicaragua, ti Cuba, to Yugoslavia, to Korea,... what should those people do? They have no power to change things, they have no power of veto, they can not do anything if US or any other *major player* decide to do whatever a major player may decide to do.

It is funny how you see things: we are okay, they are the bad guys; why do they hate us - we don't know, but what we DO know is this: if someone hates us, he/she is not a normal person; why not? because WE ARE THE GOOD GUYS by default.


This is "wise", read it please:

(Che Guevara, from his point of view)

"There are no frontiers in this struggle to the death. We cannot remain indifferent in the face of what occurs in any part of the world. A victory for any country against imperialism is our victory, just as any country's defeat is our defeat."[34] He then astonished his audience by proclaiming, "The socialist countries have the moral duty of liquidating their tacit complicity with the exploiting countries of the West."


Think about this, too:
(Herman Gering, Hitler's buddy)

Göring "Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship."
Gilbert: "There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars."
Göring "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."
In an interview with Gilbert in Göring's jail cell during the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials (18 April 1946)

Also read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_FUBELT

...and, for example, this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_FUBELT#CIA_Operating_Guidance_Cable_on_Coup_Plotting_in_Chile.2C_October_16.2C_1970

Remember what Marx or lenin said about imperialism_ Now think how close you are to their ideology. The only difference is that you changed the name of the enemy: it is not The West anymore, it is now Bad Arab Government, Mad Terrorist With Beard, Bin Laden, Serbs, Korean leader, Sadam, etc.

And USA is innocent.

I don't hate USA, so don't try to answer that way. I just want to know if there is any logic in all you said.

mike dot comike at the y ahhh ooo sserver

My comment was not short... Sorry.

My point was this: you should not consider Iraqis very happy for having American soldiers in their country. You should not compare M dead people a month now with (imaginary) N dead people a month during Sadam's time. You should ask yourself if YOUR government has helped Sadam come to power and stay on power for decades.

Then you should remember that he was "American Friend" for quite a long time; that he fought a stupid war against "crazy Iran"; that USA government was selling guns both to Iraq and Iran, at the same time...

You should bare in mind that Iraqi people wanted to dethrone Sadam, but NO ONE helped them. Not only they did not have any help, but their enemy, The Leader, Sadam himself, received significant help. For years it was one way of helping him, and finaly it was isolation: in isolated country a dictator can do whatever he wants to do. So he became a tirant.

And after all those years, when Iraqi people hoped there is a light at the end of a tunnel - OCCUPATION!!!

Do you really believe that ANY NORMAL PERSON in the world like to see foreign soldiers, foreign ARMED, sexually hungry MEN, playing sherifs? It doesn't matter if there are 20% or 80% of normal/not_normal soldiers, the point stays: no one likes occupation.

But you can not imagine that. For that you need to experience it. God forbid...



Your Communist post is very long but has very little merit. Let me ask you a few simple questions.

1) You say that Al-Qaeda terrorism is justified because 'they think it is right', and because the US made them poor.

Yet, you can't explain why there were attacks in Bali, Beslan, London, Madrid, Mumbai, Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, etc. None of these have anything to do with the US.

So why did terrorists attack these countries if so say the US is the reason they became terrorists?

Do you think they don't want to kill you, just because you are on their side?

2) You said : Who controls oil from the region? US companies.

Wrong. The US buys oil at market prices. If the US did not buy their oil, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, etc. WOULD be poor. So the US is actually saving them from poverty.

So the question to you is : Do you agree with the 1991 Gulf War or not?

3) I see you quote Che Guevara. That makes you a Communist.

Question : Is Communism better, or is the current free market system spearheaded by the US the better system? Which country has benefited the world in the last 100 years more than the US? You must NAME a country.

Answer these 3 simple questions, in a BRIEF manner.


I give you one piece of advice: Do not incite the American people to war. We in Canada know a lot about the US, and how they think, and how they live, much more than the average person in Bam, Iran, or Tyre, Lebanon, knows. You think that you can use hate as a weapon to build an attack against he US, but you know not what you do. The US has over 300 million people, and they are all soldiers. The US built its country by its own hands, and from the beginning, they all accepted that freedom, liberty, and democracy were not negotiable. If by some miracle, an invasion force of Iranians attempted a landing on US soil, every man, woman and child would be there to meet them. They would not relent until it was finished. On United Airlines Flight 93, a random assortment of 40 civilian Americans was suddenly called to arms in a miniature Middle Eastern war. The ex-policewoman air hostess, the environmentalist, the marketing executive, moved against the Islamists as one, and collectively said, "We are not afraid". Americans did not become timorous, or afraid after 9/11, instead they "got busy on yo’ ass". After 9/11, America did not back down, and they will not back down, because the attack incited individual Americans against every Islamist, and every person who supports Islamists, or gives comfort to them. Americans are not the same as the Russians in Afghanistan, or the French in Algeria. To defeat the US, you will have to kill every one of them, and you do not know how to do that.

You clearly do not understand how rich Americans are, how many resources they have at their disposal, how intelligent, perseverant, and creative they are. Their wealth is enormous, with massive amounts of built structure: large houses, soaring office towers, highways, schools, universities, hospitals, and military bases everywhere, spanning a continent. Honestly, if you had even an inkling of what you are up against, you would cease your pointless reverse crusade immediately.

Within the last century, Americans have become extremely interested in war. They think about it, talk about it, plan for, it and rehearse it constantly. They spend huge amounts on their military every year, building installations and weapons, many types of which you have never even heard about. Tens of millions of Americans have served, do serve, and will serve in their military. We Canadians sometimes stand back and look at the Americans bemused, because one seldom even sees any of the Canadian military presence in Canada, whereas the US National Guard units stationed near Buffalo, New York, alone, have sufficient resources at their disposal to kill every Muslim on earth. Of course the Americans are right to prepare for war, because there is always another one coming, and they know that they will probably be the main target. The US even declared a "War on Poverty" in the 1960's, but thankfully they relented before they began bombing the slums.

People who do not understand democracies constantly underestimate them. Hitler and Stalin certainly underestimated democracies. Many of those living in non-democracies think that in the current situation in the US, with huge internal dissent, Democrats shouting misgivings about Iraq, and Republicans pontificating about treachery, and the enemy within, it may seem that the factions will cancel each other out, or with more Democrat influence, the whole tide of war will change. Instead, the US is exposing its power to the world, by thinking out loud, disagreeing publicly, and nit-picking endlessly over details in floods of political television programs. The election is over, and, the war on terror will go on, as all previous US wars have done, irrespective of the party in power. To understand US policy, look carefully at what is not said, because that is where they have reached implicit consensus. Neither side is talking about ending the war on terror -- instead they are bickering about the best way to kill Islamists.

For the Middle East, the scale of this war is enormous, which is clearly evident in the reportage of Al Jazeera, which mainly features events related to the war on terror. In contrast, this war has had no real effect on the US whatsoever. It is completely trivial. The US media talks about the war a lot, but Americans are always very interested in war in general, and there are no interesting sex scandals going on at the moment. If JonBenet Ramsay's murderer were to be found, CNN would focus completely on that, and behave for weeks as if the war on terror did not exist. So far, the war on terror has cost the US roughly 6,000 lives since 9/11, while over that same period, approximately 2,000,000 Americans have died from smoking. In the World War II epoch, spanning 1933-1945, about 70,000,000 people were killed, but only about 500,000 of them were Americans, and the US became stronger because of that war. Islamists hope to obtain nuclear weapons (in fact there really are no other weapons of mass destruction). With some luck, and perseverance, Islamists may be able to detonate a nuclear bomb in Times Square, New York, and kill 1,000,000 people, but that is 0.3% of the US population. The remaining 99.7% of the US population would then do to the Islamists what the US did to Japan. Later, in the years that followed such an event, some Americans would regret having turned several Middle Eastern countries into blowing ash, but there would be a reluctant final consensus that after the Times Square bombing, it had to be done, and they would be right.

In the meantime, the US grows stronger each day. Their economy is doing extremely well, providing levels of health and prosperity that even Ali Baba could not have dreamt about. Coca Cola is finally getting to challenge Pepsi in Afghanistan. As a bonus, the US military gets to interrupt its constant war games to practice and train in a real war in Iraq. These are almost perfect training circumstances, with lots of troop rotations, a very low casualty rate, a real but evanescent enemy, and a kill ratio of much higher than 10 to 1. It is a general's dream, and it's an excellent theatre to test, develop, and refine weapons and tactics, in preparation for Iran, when that battle becomes necessary.

The most powerful method the US has of defeating the Islamists is already in play, and it will ultimately succeed. We Canadians, as the constant neighbours and interlocutors of the Americans, know their secrets. Only 5% of Americans have passports, and their biggest single foreign travel destination is Canada. The Americans’ secret method is that they do not hate very well. They’re terrible at it. They don't teach their children to hate, they constantly forget who their enemies are, and they forgive adversaries, usually before the last bullet has landed. Islamists, and so many people in the Middle East, cling to hate as an addiction, passing it on to their children, cherishing it inside themselves, using it as the centerpiece of their lives. Hate, quite simply, like other addictions, is a waste of time and energy. Americans can't concentrate very long on hate. They lose interest, or forget what the fighting was all about, or follow up their wars with reconstruction plans for their vanquished enemies. From time to time, they get mad at "Krauts", or "Japs", or "Commies", but the next thing you know, the epithets are gone from the language, and things are back to normal, with Americans welcoming their former enemies into their country as immigrants, and marrying them, if possible.

Therefore, my advice to Islamists is to just give up fighting the US and forget about it. Your hate will not even be reciprocated, and you will probably still be welcomed as immigrants during the conflict. In the meantime, remember it's not the Americans fault that your son wants to play with X-Box, or your daughter wants to wear Prada. If you don’t like Coca-Cola, don’t buy it. By flaunting your hate, you expose your jealousy, and humiliate yourselves. At the end of the war on terror, those who hate will be no better off than they were, while the US, by not hating, will be ever brighter, as "the shining city on the hill".


^awesome post. Democracy truly does rule.


We must also be careful not to place the eenvts of 2003 in today's context. Al Qaida injected itself into Iraq in large number only several months after the invasion. Look at the situation we faced in the summer of 2003. We had an army who had sworn their loyalty not to their country but to Saddam himself. Saddam was on the loose . Could we *really* have kept the old Iraqi Army while Saddam was still out there somewhere? That would have been absolutely nuts. So what people criticize us for disbanding the Iraqi army, to do anything else would have been lunacy with Saddam and many of his senior henchmen still running around the countryside. And even once we caught Saddam, we still couldn't bring back the old army because again, they had pledged their loyalty to Saddam himself with an oath of honor that is held in high regard. There is no way we could have kept Saddam in prison until his execution had we reinstated the old army. It was only after the execution of Saddam could any serious overtures be made toward former offices and men of the army of Saddam's era.We didn't have a lot of plan for winning the peace because frankly I don't think anyone in our government really thought Saddam was stupid enough to play chicken with the US military. I honestly don't think we thought we were going to have to invade. And I think if the French and Russians hadn't been telling Saddam that they would block a UN invasion authoirization, that he wouldn't have treated us as if we were bluffing. Saddam was convinced that we would not act without UN approval while France and Russia were telling him they would never give such approval so Saddam figured we would never attack and he was safe to thumb his nose at us. But at that point we were FORCED to invade else we would lose all credible use of the threat of military force, particularly with regards to Iran. If we set an ultimatum, we were going to have to go though with it. So I think we were sort of forced into fighting a war we never thought we were going to have to fight to begin with and that is why we made so many mistakes. Had we planned all along to go in there, I believe we would have had much more thorough long-range planning for the country than we had.


No no no, I'm saying it goes both ways. Recall, Rumsfeld spent the first two years of the war eeribelatdly twisting facts and events, and many in the press corps got sick of being lied to ( why are you reporting on the car bombs and the looting when a school got built? ). It's much like my own fatigue at their pathetic attempts to spin what happens—now, when what they're saying might well be true, I'm immediately inclined to believe I'm being fed a line, rather than what actually happened.Yes, it involves pre-disposed judgment concerning motives and veracity, but I don't think it's without reason. Going back to the original point, media relations are a two-way street. You cannot institutionalize disdain for a profession then complain when its practitioners respond with negative-slanted coverage. That isn't to say they should be worshiped, but think about the original push into Baghdad, when the press seemed upbeat, positive, and in a healthy working relationship with the military. That has been mostly the case when they've separated from the bureaucracy and spent time with guys in the field.The editors, you say? That reminds me of , who tried to report green-on-green fighting in Afghanistan (when we couldn't figure out which warlords to support when they all wanted to kill both the Taliban and each other). Her editor—at America-hating NPR, no less—told her she was being too pro-Taliban and had to slant her coverage more positively.I think you're oversimplifying the issue far too much.Oh, and as for the loyal opposition here in America, wants us out of Iraq remark, I don't get the connection. The insurgents want us out of Iraq because they see us as either foreign occupiers, infidels trespassing on Muslim soil, or the Great Satan to be defeated. The opposition here thinks we were led into war on false pretenses, and that our conduct since has been so shamefully incompetent and willfully fraudulent we have lost the moral authority to continue prosecuting it. To conflate the two is disingenuous, to say the least.

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