Sunday, March 04, 2007

A reprint

I was energized by an article I read today by John Andrews on, and especially the comments from readers posted after the article. After reading the entire thread, I decided to wade in myself. Click here for a link to the article and comments--mine included.
And below is a reprint of my comments:

I have to admit, this has been amusing. But here's a few responses; I'll try to be brief. To Mr. Hurley:

You assert that America is "being led by stupid, vindictive, short-sighted evil people who's only aim is power..." That doesn't tell me much except that you can string together a lot of adjectives. Can you--you know... give me some examples? The "evil" moniker, for instance. 'Cause I could spend the rest of my life giving you examples of why the rulers of Iraq, Iran, North Korea deserved President Bush's attribution as the "Axis of Evil." Or how about your accusation that the "Bill of Rights has been hidden in a dark, dark place." What exactly has led you and your mates to that conclussion? All this hyperbole really tells me is that you have an appalling ignorance of both American and British history, a trait you share with most of the American press, and pretty much all of the European press. I suggest you read Andrew Roberts' "A History of the English speaking peoples since 1900." Here's a link for you:

As to your reference to America pis*ing on it's (sic) [please see Strunk and White's "The Elements of Style" Chapter 1, pg. 1] allies, you must have read your fellow Brit, Brian Reade in the "Daily Mirror" when he wrote: "Were I a Kerry voter, though, I'd feel deep anger, not only at them returning Bush to power, but for allowing the outside world to lump us all into the same category of moronic muppets. The self-righteous, gun-totin', military-lovin', sister-marryin', abortion-hatin', gay-loathin', foreigner-despisin', non-passport ownin' red-necks, who believe God gave America the biggest d*ck in the world so it could urinate on the rest of us and make their land 'free and strong.'" Since you live in the UK, and have traveled so extensively, I'm sure you can confirm that this sort of thing is daily fare, not just in every British newspaper, radio, and TV punditry, but all through the rest of Europe as well.

Here's another quote from you: "Will America wake up before AMERICAN citizens start disappearing into secret prison camps? Before the secret wiretapping of millions of AMERICAN citizens? Before there are secret military tribunals? Before defence (sic) lawyers are spied upon and vilified as traitors? Before people are held for years without trial or counsel?"

Which AMERICAN (can you please stop SCREAMING the word american at me?) citizens have disappeared into secret prison camps? Oh, of course they're *secret* so you can't know, you can only make the accusation; I understand. And millions of AMERICAN citizens wiretapped; really? Millions? Who reads all that stuff? I didn't realize the NSA had that many employees. Am I really supposed to take anything you say seriously after such fatuous remarks as these? And just between us, you make yourself look truly pathetic by sniveling "DISSENT WILL NOT BE TOLERATED," with reference to those who have angrily disagreed with you. Is it really necessary for me to point out that if your quarrel with Mr. Andrews' column were not tolerated, your post would have been deleted by

Now, to The Shrew:

I don't doubt for a second that the word "patriot" isn't used much by Brits these days, seeing as how the word means, "a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors," especially considering how the British military has been reduced to the pitiful remnant of its former self, as described by Max Boot in a recent article in LA Times:

"The total size of its armed forces has shrunk from 305,800 in 1990 to 195,900 today, leaving it No. 28 in the world, behind Eritrea and Burma. This downsizing has reduced the entire British army (107,000 soldiers) to almost half the size of the U.S. Marine Corps (175,000). Storied regiments such as the Black Watch and the Royal Scots, with histories stretching back centuries, have been eliminated.

"Even worse hit is the Royal Navy, which is at its smallest size since the 1500s. Now, British newspapers report, of the remaining 44 warships, at least 13 and possibly as many as 19 will be mothballed. If these cuts go through, Britain's fleet will be about the same size as those of Indonesia and Turkey and smaller than that of its age-old rival, France."

And since the British parliment obviously sees the funding of ever increasing welfare entitlements as more important than their own military (as they seem to be inversely proportional), it's no wonder Brits don't "fetishise" their flag as Americans do. (Hey, I've got to hand it to you, that was a nifty little contempt-ridden pejoritive you used for the reverence that we American's hold for our flag. Boy, it really endeared your argument to me!)

As for your claim that the United States acted in, "...overthrowing democratically elected governments (in Nicaragua for example)," where did you come up with that one? Are you really that ignorant of such recent history? Daniel Ortega took power over Nicaragua in 1984, then promptly consolidated that power by suspending any further elections, and collectivising property and businesses all over the country.

"Opponents charged that the Sandinistas had manipulated conditions during the election campaign in such a way that, although clean at first sight, the vote was actually rather tainted. The U.S. government of Ronald Reagan shared the opposition's criticisms and further intensified U.S. support for the so-called "Contra" rebels -- a coalition of dissatisfied peasants, former Sandinista allies and Somozistas. The result was a cruel and costly civil war that in 1989 compelled the Sandinistas to accept a peace arrangement negotiated by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Sanchez.

In the February 1990 elections under the Arias agreement, Ortega and the Sandinistas lost to a right-centrist coalition led by Violeta Barrios de Chamorro. Ortega relinquished the presidency the following April." (from CNN Cold War profile of Daniel Ortega)

So according to you, the Sandinista revolution that ousted Somoza and ended with the election of Ortega was a legitimate "democratically elected government," but the election that Violeta Barrios de Chamorro won against Ortega was an "overthrowing" of that government? How convenient for your argument!

And lastly, I'm weary to the bone of leftist claims that the US supported Saddam Hussein. As best as I can figure this is based totally on one picture, reprinted ad nauseum, of Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Hussein during a short diplomatic stop in Iraq in the 80s. The fact is that under Hussein, Iraq was armed by Soviets and the French, and the majority of the chemicals they used for their chemical weapons programs were sold to them by the Germans. The United States had armed Iran, under the Shah. This is why the Iran/Iraq war (besides occupying both of our enemies fighting each other, and therefore not free to create mischief against us) was of such interest to both superpowers: it was a test of Soviet and French made weapons against US made weapons.

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