Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Sorrows of Empire

“The Sorrows of Empire,” is authored by Chalmers Johnson, who informs us that America is, indeed, an empire, tells us how we got that way through militarism and globalization, and points out that like all previous empires, our empire is doomed and will lead to lots of sorrows to Americans like you and me.

Johnson claims that America is not an empire in the old sense of having colonies, but in the sense of dominating the world and being the richest country in the world. It dominates the world through militarism. It keeps itself the richest through globalization.

Militarism is necessary to grow and maintain an empire. Many previous presidents, both Democrats and Republicans, have been militaristic. But none were as aggressively militaristic as our current president. His administration announced that America would make sure that it remains a "sole superpower" and that no nation would be allowed to become strong enough to challenge the U.S. We have the biggest and most sophisticated arms industry in the world, we spend more on arms than all other nations combined, we have the fiercest war department in the world. And get this:

America has 725 known military bases spread in nooks and crannies all over the globe. In addition, there are plenty of secret bases.

Why do we need 725 bases? Here's a related question: Why did we attack Iraq? Did it have anything to do with bases? According to Johnson, Jay Bookman, of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, said this before the Iraq War began:

Why does the administration seem unconcerned about an exit strategy from Iraq once Saddam is toppled? Because we won't be leaving. Having conquered Iraq, the United States will create permanent military bases in that country from which to dominate the Middle East, including neighboring Iran."

Yes, we need bases in order to "dominate the Middle East." You can't run an empire unless you dominate others.

Here in the U.S. we have checks and balances to prevent corruption. However, there are many things the military wants to do that are not proper. How does it do it? Through privatization - let corporations do some of the dirty work. Johnson presents the comments of Colonel Bruce Grant with reference to privatization:

Privatization is a way of going around Congress and not telling the public. Foreign policy is made by default by private military consultants motivated by bottom-line profits.

In addition to dominating the world through militarism, the empire of U.S. uses globalization to grow ever more richer. For this it has a few tools: multinational corporations, the World Bank, the IMF and the World Trade Organization. We have been told that the latter three have been set up to fight poverty. So how come the rich are getting richer and the poor are still struggling? Because this was the plan all along. As Johnson devastatingly points out:

There is no known case in which globalization has led to prosperity in any Third World country, and none of the world's twenty-four reasonably developed capitalist nations, regardless of their ideological explanations, got where they are by following any of the prescriptions contained in globalization doctrine.

Johnson tells us that no good will come of our empire. Here are a few of the "sorrows" we can expect:

  • PERPETUAL WAR - Domination cannot be achieved unless you are perpetually at war. There always is someone who does not like your domination and challenges it. Many Americans will die
  • POVERTY - Multinational corporations in their pursuit of more profits will reduce wages of employees to the miserable levels they are in the Third World; corporations will be rich but their employees will be poor. Furthermore, war is very expensive, so much so that it will deprive citizens of other needs
  • AUTHORITARIANISM - An empire is run by an emperor, of which George W. Bush is a reasonable facsimile. Already we have a Patriot Act, a surveillance act and a torture act. The emperor alone can designate anyone as an "enemy combatant" and put him in a "dungeon" for the rest of his life. Pretty soon the Constitution will be meaningless
In any event, all empires eventually collapse. Like the Roman Empire, the American Empire will collapse too.

Read "The Sorrows of Empire" and weep.

Posted by Paul Siegel at October 16, 2006 7:28 PM
Comment #188471

This sounds really, REALLY, repetitive.

I have heard people saying stuff like this for a very long time (well, long for me since I am fairly young). I am not challenging the validity of that assertion but really, what are you going to do about it?

If you have already accepted the inevitability of our downfall why do you linger on trying to prove it? It seems a very fruitless and time consuming labor.

Posted by: Zeek at October 16, 2006 7:35 PM
Comment #188473

Excellent question Zeek. There is only one way for empires to go, as all empires to date have shown, although most of them took quite a while to fade out. One of the certainties of life however is change. And as the pace of change has quickened so much over the last century, the cycle of change is so much shorter. Look at the Soviet empire. It only got into its stride after WW2, and yet imploded in 1989, a mere 44 years. Today China is on the rise, and India, and the balance of power is surely shifting. Empires of the past have fallen because of overreach and overextension. Looking at US twin deficits and general indebtedness, it is not altogether irrational to perceive great risks to the US empire.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at October 16, 2006 8:02 PM
Comment #188474

I would argue that the prepetual war is more of a prepetual police action. In that we play a serious role in policing the world either on behalf of the U.N. or on our own. So is that perpetual war?

Also, how would you explain the aid America provides the world (From Pocket World Figures 2007 Edition, The Economist Magazine). It shows the good old empire as #1 in bilateral and multileral aid: $19.7 billion, #2 Japan @ $8.9 billion, #3 Frane @ $8.4 billion? Can we assume if we look at China, Russia, Imperial Japan, etc. that they were also top on the aid list?

I think the US is the biggest kid on the block, defends the rights of others, so gets picked on for being an Empire but there is very little here to prove the US is a lopsided power monger. Just a nice theory with some relavent points.

Posted by: Edge at October 16, 2006 8:18 PM
Comment #188476

“Looking at US twin deficits and general indebtedness, it is not altogether irrational to perceive great risks to the US empire.”

That does not really answer my question.

I was not (to clarify) disagreeing with the idea of the article. I was merely questioning its point. If “all” empires eventually collapse, does that not imply inevitability? What use is there, in that case, to discuss the matter?

Edge, “I think the US is the biggest kid on the block, defends the rights of others,”

We are the biggest kids on the block to be sure. However, I think many people, myself included, would take issue with “defends the rights of others.”

Haven’t we been found guilty of a number of human rights violations? (Abu Ghraib)

Haven’t we denied individuals the most basic legal right of habeas corpus? (GITMO and probably other blackout prisons around the world)

Haven’t we denied the right to LIFE to many individuals? (see, “collateral damage”)

I am sure most of our citizens love the ideals the U.S. was founded on, but those ideals got lost in translation. Our good intentions have not translated into good deeds in many cases. The world dislikes us for a valid reason, and our financial aid is hardly going to compensate for it.

Posted by: Zeek at October 16, 2006 8:42 PM
Comment #188477

Zeek I can’t argue with your examples of how we are treating our enemies. I think we have lost credibility in the world. However, you are still pointing that these incidents outweight what we have contributed to the world the US operates in today. I can agree we are making ourselves look bad, I think there has to be some recognition that we also do tremendous good. & thank you for responding.

Posted by: Edge at October 16, 2006 8:49 PM
Comment #188478

Hm… Well, the “weight” of our contributions vs our detriments to the world is debatable. I certainly acknowledge the good we have been doing in the world, and as I said most Americans have the best of intentions.

Still, if people want to “picked on” the U.S. it’s because they personally believe we are hurting more than helping. It is not our place to say whether they are right or wrong, but the overwhelming number of people that feel this way is definitely cause for concern.

More than that, we need to come to a consensus on why so many people dislike or even hate us and solve the issue as best we can.

Just my two (and then some) cents.

Posted by: Zeek at October 16, 2006 9:02 PM
Comment #188479

Again, to your point “… why so many people dislike or even hate us …” this is why there is some validity to the “Empire” arguement. Trying to link North Korea and Iran to your post, I am dissapointed in the fact that we are pursuing multilateral talks and hearing the same old internal rhetoric that we have failed policy. Huh, we’re hated to be sure, so let us use our allies and others to promote solutions and negotiation and it is wrong? Multilateral talks are just what the doctor ordered and goes specifically to starting to change the perception, belief, we are an Empire no? We need more internal support for foreign policy for our reputation to change.

Posted by: Edge at October 16, 2006 9:19 PM
Comment #188480

Well, I’ll not speak to North Korea since I do not feel any particular fault lies with the U.S.

However, we have been handling Iran in a very poor manner. Their nation’s leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is the embodiment of what I am referring to. The many criticisms he had of the U.S. that he challenged to debate President Bush on during the UN conference are all reasons we are losing face with many key players in the global arena.

The fact that Bush declined to accept Ahmadinejad’s challenge only makes us look worse. Of course, Bush probably did not have any strong counterpoints anyways, but that only reinforces the idea that we are truly failing.

To bring this back to the larger issue, we have a fundamental problem in our international policy. People believe we are hurting more than helping and there is no way for us to dodge the issue. It must be addressed.

Posted by: Zeek at October 16, 2006 9:36 PM
Comment #188481

Seems to me, that Empire or not, we need to learn from the history of other major world powers. Hopefully we learn to prevent the past mistakes, and make new ones that are not as devastating as those on the past.

Posted by: Linda H. at October 16, 2006 9:38 PM
Comment #188482

blockquote>Johnson claims that America is not an empire in the old sense of having colonies, but in the sense of dominating the world and being the richest country in the world. It dominates the world through militarism. It keeps itself the richest through globalization.

Johnson makes a totally bogus argument.

You can’t just strip a word like “empire” of its meaning and then go on to talk about how a country will suffer the same fate as historic empires which were fundamentally different.

America was the richest country in the world long before globalization, and globalization is the reason for the rise of countries like India and China. Historically, empires extracted the wealth from their subjects while not only domininting them militariy but keeping them from conducting their own internal affairs. Globalization is a massive boon to the members of America’s so-called “empire” and the last thing they’d want is to end this arrangment.

Posted by: Neo-Con Pilsner at October 16, 2006 9:48 PM
Comment #188483

I believe you are wrong in one sense, Pilsner.

The fundamental idea being put forth, and I mean really simplified here, is that nothing lasts forever.

Even if globalization creates a more efficient world economy (an idea which I whole-heartedly support and believe in), it does not make the United States any more immortal that its predecessors.

Posted by: Zeek at October 16, 2006 9:57 PM
Comment #188484

to hell with the wimps at the U.N Here are the stats…. and guess what knuckle heads we cannot be defeated nor even hurt so if you are so afraid of U.S becoming a bit player, maybe you should go to France… oh I am quite sure they really are going to protect everyone in the world… Here is the bottom line you had better pray to whatever God you happen to believe in because if we are defeated then kiss that ability along with everything else good bye…

The military expenditure of the United States Department of Defense for fiscal year 2006 is:

Total Funding $441.6 Billion
Operations and maintenance $124.3 Bil.
Military Personnel $108.8 Bil.
Procurement $79.1 Bil.
Research, Development, Testing & Evaluation $69.5 Bil.
Military Construction $12.2 Bil.
Department of Energy Defense Activities $17.0 Bil.


The United States military budget is larger than the military budgets of the next twenty largest spenders combined, and six times larger than China’s, which places second. As would be expected from the world’s superpowers, the United States and its closest allies are responsible for approximately two-thirds of global military spending (of which, in turn, the U.S. is responsible for the vast majority). Military spending accounts for 19% of the United States’ federal budget, and aproximately half of its federal discretionary spending, which comprises all of the U.S. government’s money not accounted for by pre-existing obligations.[1] [10]

Posted by: Jeff at October 16, 2006 10:12 PM
Comment #188485

Zeek, of course nothing lasts forever.

But a lot of countries that were never empires no longer exist as countries, much less as empires, and a lot of former empires are now doing pretty well without their empires.

In fact, if some of these countries who have never held empires had been a little stronger, perhaps they wouldn’t have been absorbed by their stronger neigbors and been forgotten by history.

As for the American “empire,” or what people are calling one: we don’t actually want it, and would be more than happy to let others take a larger role. The problem is that there’s a power vaccuum, and while the world condemns us for filling it on one hand, they’re begging us to on the other.

Posted by: Neo-Con Pilsner at October 16, 2006 10:17 PM
Comment #188486

seems to me that everyone thinks that the pilgrams came across to america and handed out lollipops, and candy. it isn’t some magical utopia america. life prior to pilgrams vanished the day boat #1 arrived. with it came disease, and warfare. and, let’s not forget who was rowing those boats ashore. (hint, they weren’t getting paid per stroke, tried shackled and chained). as far as “will lead to lots of sorrows for americans like you and me”, many have faced those sorrows.

i guess if one had perpetrated some of the acts that certain americans have (past and present) you would feel the need for 725 world wide military bases too.

Posted by: mar at October 16, 2006 10:21 PM
Comment #188487

Mar, perhaps if those cultures the pilgrims encountered in America had been an empire, a dominating and ruthless military juggernaut instead of what they were, we wouldn’t have had an America to begin with.

There is is not a country in existence in the world today whose founding is not a story of conquest and bloodshed.

Posted by: Neo-Con Pilsner at October 16, 2006 10:28 PM
Comment #188489

yeah, neo-con, too bad they weren’t ruthless (which is ironic considering they were labled savages, and the antichrist), and i’m sure it’s their fault they couldn’t fight smallpox. my point being, there was an “america” in existance before the pilgrams arrived. it was the choice of a certain number of men who changed it to war and bloodshed.

more stories of conquest and bloodshed should make for a peaceful nights sleep. thanks.

Posted by: mar at October 16, 2006 10:54 PM
Comment #188490

“a lot of former empires are now doing pretty well without their empires.”

Name one that did not fall greatly in status as a result.
Name one that gave back all that it took and that is not still enjoying the benefits it reaped as an empire.

“In fact, if some of these countries who have never held empires had been a little stronger, perhaps they wouldn’t have been absorbed by their stronger neigbors and been forgotten by history.” [emphasis mine]

“Some” is the key word there. You can be safe without being an empire and THAT is what we should aim to be.

“The problem is that there’s a power vaccuum, and while the world condemns us for filling it on one hand, they’re begging us to on the other.”

That is absolute nonsense. I have NEVER heard of a country that was grateful for our being a world super power. Even our closest ally, Britain, has never gone so far as to say, “thank you for being the biggest kid on the block,” (or anything to that affect).

And if you say any of them are secretly thankful, you are just putting words in their mouths.

Posted by: Zeek at October 16, 2006 11:00 PM
Comment #188492

Mar, you don’t know much about the Native American tribes and how they got along if you think that white people introduced bloodshed and conquest to the American continent. In fact, these tribes hated each other so much that they were never able join together and fight against the European arrivals. There are stories of several tribes who suffered genocide before whites even arrived.

Zeek, falling from the status of an empire gives you a long way to fall. Falling from the status of a non-empire can mean extinction. Many of the cultures who formerly lived in Europe no longer exist.

As for any countries being grateful that we are an empire, none would put it in that terms. And we don’t even consider ourselves an empire.

But China, India, and even the Middle East will all wither on the vine without America-driven globalization.

Posted by: Neo-Con Pilsner at October 16, 2006 11:15 PM
Comment #188495

Before I go on, I’m going to assume you agree with the points you did not respond to.

“falling from the status of an empire gives you a long way to fall. Falling from the status of a non-empire can mean extinction. Many of the cultures who formerly lived in Europe no longer exist.”

So you believe it is safer to be an empire in the long run? I suppose that could be the case if we willingly give up our “empire” status (like Britain, France, and others did). But since people like you are arguing that it is not a problem in the first place I doubt that will happen. Instead we will go the way of the Romans who fought to hold their empire status tooth and nail and payed dearly for it.

“As for any countries being grateful that we are an empire, none would put it in that terms. And we don’t even consider ourselves an empire.”

Fine. Phrase it in a way that you have heard.

“But China, India, and even the Middle East will all wither on the vine without America-driven globalization.”

I have already said that globalization is something, “which I whole-heartedly support and believe in.” It was in my first response to you, go ahead and check it out.

You might have confused Johnson’s ideas with mine.

Posted by: Zeek at October 16, 2006 11:27 PM
Comment #188497

neo-con you assume too much. fact: they had no idea what was coming after them. no, they didn’t band together, they never had to band together before the “european arrivals”. nice how the word “native” just rolls off your tongue. as for your proof, let me guess - a book written by a white man. i’m sure all of the facts are in order, neatly wrapped up with a pretty little ribbon to support the white man’s genocide.

back to the point: if america does fall, it will be due to “poverty sorrow”. big companies getting rich, while employees suffer. many unions have been busted in order to “help” the company. then when employee wages go down, yet another executive gets a big bundle of money, or incentive. (funny how that works out). or, the companies “freeze” wages for hourly employees, and the whole time the ceo has been embezzling money the whole time. (read the newspaper). and as for needs being deprived, ask a hurricane katrina survivor if basic needs were met on a timely basis. (my point - the national guard was in iraq instead of get this in our nation).

Posted by: mar at October 16, 2006 11:39 PM
Comment #188499

There seems to be some confusion over US ideals as expressed by Jefferson and the founding fathers, and the reality of the US as a nation.

We were actually founded on the principles of protecting the rights of White Male Property Owners as well as the expansive militaristic goals of Manifest Destiny and Teddy Roosevelts big stick.

His cousin Franklin realized this by employing our manufacturing to base to dominate Europe, Northern Africa, and Asia simultaneously, in cooperation with England and the forces that created Taiwan.

Jefferson may have written the emply words of Tom Paine’s and Ben Franklin’s influence that all men are created equal with certain inalienable rights, but it was the sales pitch with the proviso underlying that no White Males Propery owners would lose out on the deal and they’d be freed from their Feudal burdens of Royal taxation and trade restriction.

The Sons of Liberty were terrorists who attacked Tories and Brits in their homes, destroyed their businesses, and murdered them. Their political wing created the Boston Massacre to stir up the poor dumb masses with massive propoganda. Sounds a lot like Osama.

What? No beheadings or Jihads or kill all the infidels? No just murders, harrassment of families, children and burning of houses and businesses of those that cooperated with the Brits.

Were Crispus Attucks’ people freed after the Revolution? Will the Muslims be free to run their Caliphate? No.

America has great ideals in its history, as do many nations. Islam IS a message of peace.

Don’t confuse the sales pitch with the reality.

Posted by: gergle at October 16, 2006 11:52 PM
Comment #188506

There is another difference that sets us apart. If we are an empire, then we are the empire that gives more back than all empires combined. We as a country have given more both PUBLIC and PRIVATE than all previous empires combined. We free countries from local dictatorships. We help with catastrophies. We supply military protection for other countries. Every country in the world has a waiting list for people wanting to move here.


Posted by: springvillecofc at October 17, 2006 1:58 AM
Comment #188508

And dont respond to my post by listing every mistake. Everyone makes mistakes. We didnt do the Indians right. But we fixed alot of that.

Every one of us have made dozens of mistakes. On the job, in a relationship, in school, in business, if I listed each one of your mistakes in life and presented it to the world, you most likely wouldn’t look too good.

I challenge each one of you to write down just 10 mistakes you have made and decide whether you want to put it on your refridgerator.

The great things this country had done and will do in the future far outweighs its mistakes.

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,


Posted by: springvillecofc at October 17, 2006 2:14 AM
Comment #188509
America has 725 known military bases spread in nooks and crannies all over the globe. In addition, there are plenty of secret bases.

Why do we need 725 bases?

Because those countries need us for protection, and or order. Notice there are no calls from those governments for us to get out. They want and need us there.

Our poverty stricken are in the top 10 percent of world wealthiest people.

I like what springville said:

“look it up!” -I would add tho - if you really want to know facts.-

I would like to protect that instead of complaining about how our poor have it so bad.

Posted by: littlealphie at October 17, 2006 2:29 AM
Comment #188511
neo-con you assume too much. fact: they had no idea what was coming after them

MAR, that is so untrue. That statement leaves the impression that it all happened in one giant swoop.

Even without consulting your “white man textbook” but all other sources of history, I believe those fights happened over quite a period of time.

But the point is that you are arguing with the stated result of his premise instead of his premise, which you did not address. The American Indian were always at war and rioting with each other.

Mar, leave the textbooks alone, go to the library, not the internet, look at many different books on the subject. Do not just assume that because they do not say what you want them to say that they are lying. Read old ones that were written closer to the time.

Then mar, you decide! I’ll give you a hint of what you will find. That what really happened does not compare to either the liberal version, nor does it fit with the wacko rightwing version either.

Posted by: springvillecofc at October 17, 2006 2:57 AM
Comment #188516

Throughout history one of the contributing factors to the fall of mighty empires has been the arrogance and overconfidence of their leaders. Sound familar?

Posted by: trublu at October 17, 2006 4:19 AM
Comment #188517

As a history major, I find it informative to look at past empires when thinking of the US as an empire and predicting our future success. For our purposes, I’m going to use the Roman, British, and American systems for comparison.

Roman- Standing, volunteer professional army, without peer at the time. The best trained and equipped at the time. Very large. Failed to be loyal to the state but was more often loyal to their generals.

British- Standing conscripted army. Well trained and equipped. Not the largest but sided with weaker powers of Europe first against France then against Germany. Did well in maintaining peace, for instance the average numbers in India was about 60,000, about half of what America has in Iraq in a country far larger and with a far far larger population.

US- Standing, volunteer professional Army, without peer at the time. Best trained and equipped. Small relative to US population. Has thus far maintained loyalty to the state and been subordinate to civilian control.

Roman- Not much of an issue, they controlled the entire Mediterranean basin and didn’t really have much to do.

British- Larger than the next two navies combined. Controlled vital choke points, such as Falklands, Suez Canal, Cape Horn and Cape Good Hope, Singapore etc. Innovator in battleship development. High costs led to parity with US prior to WWII, since then powerful but nowhere near its former power.

US- Largest, most advanced and powerful navy in the world. One US carrier battle group is more powerful than every other navy in the world combined and we have 12 of them. China is beginning to develop naval power, but is far behind in numbers and experience and over 20 years behind technologically.

Air Force-
Romans- Not applicable (obviously)

British- Early innovators but not a major player compared to US.

American- Largest, most technologically advanced, best trained in the world. Capable of bombing any nation in the world at time of our choosing and achieving total air dominance. Can’t hold ground but can make an enemy’s butt pucker in ways that have to be seen to be believed.

Romans- Claimed pre-emption. An enemy will attack so we have to conquer them first. Conquered enemy, then found new enemy on new border. Typically extremely brutal when resistance was met. Divida et Imperia, divide and conquer, sided with weaker tribes against stronger ones.

British- Based primarily on mercantilism. Brutal when needed to, used superior technology to overcome inferior numbers. Divide and conquer, sided with weaker tribes against stronger ones. Prime example is Iraq, British sided with minority Sunnis against majority Shiites, laying foundation for Sunni Ba’ath party dominance.

American- Based on ideological/economic interests. Far less brutal but capable of stunning violence though doesn’t try to deliberately kill civilians.

Romans- Mass crucifixions, kill all the males, sell rest into slavery, burn city to the ground. Hostages taken from conquered leaders and sent to Rome. Leaders given Roman citizenship to encourage assimilation. Brought investment, infrastructure and peace, capable administrators who benefited conquered to point that many came to view Rome as positive force and fought to defend the empire.

British- Brutal retaliations. Not as good as the Romans as administrators, but passed on their culture fairly well, only people outside of Britain who understand cricket are from India.

US- Sides with majority and attempts to install democracy. Not as good as administrators, unwilling or unable to respond with enough brutality to inspire fear, but more than capable of killing insurgents if we can find them.

Romans- Conquest gave Romans huge hauls of booty for construction of massive public works. Used slave labor. Coinage based on precious metals, buying of foreign luxury goods led to steady debasement of Roman coinage and massive inflation.

British- Mercantilism, raw materials go to Britain to fuel Industrial Revolution, finished goods sold to the world.

US- Develops economies to have markets for exports etc. Almost complete global dominance, you can’t be a world player without trading with the US, just look at Cuba. Needs fiscal discipline.

Romans- Casualties tended to piss them off, leading to revenge. Best example is Carthage, Romans lost 50,000 soldiers to Hannibal of Carthage in one day. Rome’s response: Raise an army twice as large, take Carthage’s provinces in Spain, defeat Hannibal outside Carthage itself. A few decades later, kill all men, sell all the rest into slavery, burn city to ground, plow the site and sow it with salt. Then publish this all over the empire as object lesson to other people who might feel frisky.

British- Willing to take casualties until high costs of WWI and WWII. Now wants out of Iraq.

US- Willing to take casualties if sufficient cause given. A little shaky nowadays.

Romans- Probably the most influential empire in history. Language, law, religion architecture etc now spread worldwide. Resurrect Julius Caesar and show him the Supreme Court and he’ll sue you for ripping off his temple designs. Eastern half of the Empire (Byzantine), lasted until 1453, Roman Empire lasted for over 1500 years.

British- Spread worldwide, impetus behind industrial revolution, greatly enriched Britain, not as positive to conquered as Romans

US- Jury’s still out. On the other hand, Western Europe and Japan are economic superpowers largely behind American protection.

Posted by: 1LT B at October 17, 2006 4:25 AM
Comment #188526


Law Would Require Non-Muslim Insignia

Human rights groups are raising alarms over a new law passed by the Iranian parliament that would require the country’s Jews and Christians to wear coloured badges to identify them and other religious minorities as non-Muslims.

“This is reminiscent of the Holocaust,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. “Iran is moving closer and closer to the ideology of the Nazis.”

Iranian expatriates living in Canada yesterday confirmed reports that the Iranian parliament, called the Islamic Majlis, passed a law this week setting a dress code for all Iranians, requiring them to wear almost identical “standard Islamic garments.”

The law, which must still be approved by Iran’s “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenehi before being put into effect, also establishes special insignia to be worn by non-Muslims.

Iran’s roughly 25,000 Jews would have to sew a yellow strip of cloth on the front of their clothes, while Christians would wear red badges and Zoroastrians would be forced to wear blue cloth.

“There’s no reason to believe they won’t pass this,” said Rabbi Hier. “It will certainly pass unless there’s some sort of international outcry over this.”

Bernie Farber, the chief executive of the Canadian Jewish Congress, said he was “stunned” by the measure. “It’s state-sponsored religious discrimination.”

Ali Behroozian, an Iranian exile living in Toronto, said the law could come into force as early as next year.

It would make religious minorities immediately identifiable and allow Muslims to avoid contact with non-Muslims. Mr. Behroozian said it will make life even more difficult for Iran’s small pockets of Jewish, Christian and other religious minorities — the country is overwhelmingly Shi’ite Muslim. “They have all been persecuted for a while, but these new dress rules are going to make things worse for them,” he said. The new law was drafted two years ago, but was stuck in the Iranian parliament until recently when it was revived at the behest of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

A spokesman for the Iranian Embassy in Ottawa refused to comment on the measures. “This is nothing to do with anything here,” said a press secretary who identified himself as Mr. Gharmani.

“We are not here to answer such questions.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre has written to Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, protesting the Iranian law and calling on the international community to bring pressure on Iran to drop the measure.

“The world should not ignore this,” said Rabbi Hier. “The world ignored Hitler for many years — he was dismissed as a demagogue, they said he’d never come to power — and we were all wrong.”

Mr. Farber said Canada and other nations should take action to isolate Mr. Ahmadinejad in light of the new law, which he called “chilling,” and his previous string of anti-Semitic statements.

“There are some very frightening parallels here,” he said. “It’s time to start considering how we’re going to deal with this person.”

Mr. Ahmadinejad has repeatedly described the Holocaust as a myth and earlier this year announced Iran would host a conference to re-examine the history of the Nazis’ “Final Solution.” He has caused international outrage by publicly calling for Israel to be “wiped off the map.”

Posted by: Joe at October 17, 2006 6:00 AM
Comment #188536

Call me stupid (actually please don’t, it might hurt my feelings and make me cry) but I forgot to include decline in my above post, so here goes.

Romans- Economic decline caused by cessation of conquest coupled with gold/silver leaving empire to buy luxury goods. Army never subordinated to state led to almost constant civil wars, sapping strength of the army. Weakness internally led to eventual overthrow of the Western Empire. Eastern Empire lasted until 1453, defeated by Ottomans after holding back the flood of Islamic conquest for about 800 years.

British- Massive losses and indebtedness from WWI and WWII sapped strength and led to a defeatist attitude. Empire wasn’t worth keeping, independence movements sprung up. Failed to eliminate Ghandi. Inadequate tea supplies (that ones a joke)

America- Hasn’t happened yet, but problems include include overspending like its going out of style, exporting heavy manufacturing jobs to enemies such as China, military overextension, decline of civic virtue, growth of liberal Hate America and Kill Whitey attitudes that have “civilized” us to the point we think terrorists deserve the same rights as citizens and let a lawyer who passed communications from a terrorist to other terrorists get off with 28 months in the pen rather than publically standing her up before a firing squad for treason.

Posted by: 1LT B at October 17, 2006 8:39 AM
Comment #188537

I don’t buy the Empire argument. Perhaps our behavior these past few years could be described as imperialist, but I think Americans as we are now do not have the stomach or the will to conquer another land permanently, then to feed off its resources. Moreover, I don’t think many nations would stand for this, and we’d see more guerilla movements we’d be ill-equipped to subjugate.

What could happen, though, is a long slide into a form of government that calls itself a Democracy, but isn’t, one where the freedom we once cherished has been abridged by folks both well intentioned and cynical.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 17, 2006 8:40 AM
Comment #188540

1LT B-
The law must have constraints, or else we have no law, only naked force and coercion. While I don’t buy the argument above, I do think we’re taking steps along a dangerous path when we embrace a system that undermines the rule of law to get at our enemies. For America to win against the terrorists, it must remain America.

I wonder. Would you object to a terrorist ending up in a jail cell? On Death Row? Would you object to us distinguishing the real terrorists from those innocent of such crimes? The tactics you support make such things more difficult, both to act out and to justify.

Am I saying we should not do what it takes to protect America? Of course not. Nor do most Liberals. We don’t hate America, we wish to see it reflected in what we do. We don’t want Abu Ghraib. We don’t want the nation that stands for freedom and human rights here at home seen as hypocritical. How does it help our cause, if we cannot claim the moral high-ground against the terrorists?

As for “Kill Whitey”? I am whitey, and for the most part, I don’t see that kind of attitude among my own people. Remember what happened to Representative McKinney.

The GOP doesn’t do itself any favors by acting like it alone can save civilization. Its an invitation to arrogance and patronizing behavior that only serves to feed into people’s dislike for the party’s moral positions. Most Americans do not feel the need to be saved from themselves.

As for this

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 17, 2006 9:03 AM
Comment #188555


The problem as I see it is that we have seen how our courts work. Too many murderers, rapists and predators are back on the streets in 2+ years to make it an option. Maybe if they adopt truly mandatory sentences and closed trials, then I could probably go with this.

What about Mckinney, she got reelected once.

Posted by: Keith at October 17, 2006 11:07 AM
Comment #188556


To answer your question, I don’t have a problem with a terrorist in a jail cell provided that his crime wouldn’t merit a death sentence. I think that also answers the death row part. I’m not sure what you mean by the tactics I support, I wasn’t saying that we should go Roman and start crucifying whole towns for an IED, just noting differences between the way we do things and the way empires have done them in the past. On the other hand, would we need a moral high ground if the consequences for terrorism were so harsh that no one in their right mind would contemplate it against us? Rome was exceptionally brutal in the way it dealt with rebellions, but it wasn’t rebellions that brought Rome down, it was internal decay coupled with foreign invasion.

As far as the Kill Whitey attitude, I see it more in the double standard applied to whites when compared against others. Two examples stand out in my mind, both in a high school class. In the first, the teacher was describing how Columbus brought foreign diseases to America that decimated the Native American population. I don’t have a problem with that, but I did have a problem with the way she made it sound like this was a white conspiracy to genocide. The other was how using religion and promises of heaven when killed in battle was ok for Muslims but horrible for the British when they went to India. I don’t have a problem with pointing out bad things white people did in the past, but I do have a problem when other cultures’ history is put in the most favorable light even when doing the same things white people did, albeit mostly on a smaller scale.

Posted by: 1LT B at October 17, 2006 11:12 AM
Comment #188589

springvillecofc - so, “we didn’t do the indians right, but we fixed alot of it”. i’m glad your conscience is clear. and as for looking it up on the internet, i didn’t, my ancestors lived it. you guessed it, “native” american. and for the “kill whitey” attitude, yeah somedays it’s still around esp. when i think about the small pox laden blankets that were give to the indians. such a nice gesture. please defend it. and please tell me again and again and again how all indians “hated” each other. i guess that made it o.k. to perform the genocide - i guess they were going to do it to themselves anyway, you just beat them to the punch.

isn’t that what saddam did? now it is totally unacceptable. the power of the spin has been alive and well for hundreds of years now.

Posted by: mar at October 17, 2006 2:36 PM
Comment #188599

Yes McKinney got re-elected once. So did Bush. There are many on each side that regret such mistakes. Still, if you want to think every non-white rep is out to get whitey, you only have to look at reasonable fellows like Barack Obama to see that this is not the case.

Though all discrimination cases should be investigated and properly dealt with, I would tell you right out that whites in America clearly have less to worry about than any other racial group. Reverse discrimination is mostly just a way for the bare minority of racists in the Republican party to smuggle their prejudices back into the political mainstream. It’s a term you should know has roots in the white supremacist movement, which used it to describe remedial measures against the institutional racism that was policy in America’s businesses and governments.

As for prisons, It’s likely mandatory drug sentences that got folks into trouble in the first place. You, as a conservative, should be disturbed by the spread of sentencing guidlines and mandatory sentences, because it essentially lets the legislature dictate sentences formulaically, pre-empting the judges discretion on such issues. Now before you accuse me of wanting criminals out on the street, the truth is, what I want is judges able to hand out sentences according to their judgment of the case. We would have far less overcrowded prisons, and fewer serious offenders going free if judges were free to fit the punishment to the cases.

1LT B-
The problem with harsh brutality replacing moral authority is that you can never quite kill enough people to kill the opposition itself. Foreign wars are quite expensive, and unless you can defray those costs by taking over territory on a permanent basis (if people will let you in this day and age) sheer economics will force defeat on you. We need the Moral High ground, because our reputation thereby allows us to negotiate agreements with allies and other parties that bring folks to do that work for us at their own expense, and likely better than we could do ourselves from the outside.

I like Von Clausewitz’s definition of destroying forces. For him, it’s not just attrition, its also supplies, communications, strategical centers of gravity like capitals and political support. What it comes down to, is that not only should we abstain from reaching our enemy’s level of barbarism, we should turn it against them. To do that, though, to take the mote out of the Middle East’s eye, we have to take the beam out of our own, and abandon methods that make it difficult to distinguish us from our enemies.

Moreover, we’re facing an enemy for whom death and torture are expectations. We might make a terrorist we get our hands on real sorry for whatever we want them to be remorseful for, but it won’t faze most of them, any more than the thought of death in Iraq fazes a committed soldier back here. What’s more, as told in Ron Suskind’s The One Percent Doctrine, they’ve found that treating our prisoners well actually yields dividends. These are people taught to believe that their enemies will torture them and put them through ordeals.

What happens then, when we turn out to be decent people, rather than the monsters we were supposed to be? We get their mothers operations. We ply them with Quranic verses, or flattery for their ambitions.

We get results. Why? Because these are people whose organization was founded in regions of the world where being captured meant torture and death. They’ve developed a tolerance for such methods, not our humane and clever approaches.

We don’t get the false leads. We don’t get people admitting to stuff they didn’t do because they wanted the paint to stop.

Moreover, if he wants to, he can lie, but he will not have to lie to tell people that we treated him well. If we are only dealing with a suspect, that could be crucial aid in gaining hearts and minds.

The alternative is an approach that turns people against us at a point where we most need allies. In the end, what got Rome sacked was that it depended on fear and its wealth to protect it from its enemies. When it lost both, it was done for.

On the subject of double standards, you should ask us what our standards are before telling us we have two of them. The interaction between Europeans and the Native Americans was a complex affair, the Native Americans not always peaceful, the Europeans not always belligerent. That said, we would be getting far too politically correct about matters to neglect the fact that the European arrival on the scene started epidemics that wiped out much of Native American civilization, and that those who remained were often the subject of policies and practices among whites that did great harm to them, and left few survivors to our time.

It wasn’t so much the organized brutality of the Nazi’s Holocaust, nor was it simply offhand. There were campaigns of conquest. There were systems of subjugation, which in the case of Hispaniola ending up depopulating the entire island of its natives. Our spread west came at the expense of the natives there.

What can we do about it now? preserve the remnants of that society, make amends, and not B.S. about how dark this side of America, as we founded it, became. Our respect for our adversaries lives and humanity will reflect in other’s respect for ours, or will at the very least make it clear that our response to their failure to reciprocate is entirely their fault. let our enemies make the mistake of shocking people with their brutality, not us. We have little to gain, especially in any quest to spread democracy, in acting uncivilized.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 17, 2006 3:00 PM
Comment #188605

the relationship that the europeans had with the americans is not that complex. europeans showed up to a land they did not own, and were not invited, but stayed anyway, and brought with them warfare, and disease. they were not greeted as liberators (shocking huh).

i do, want to thank you stephen for the diplomatic effort. and, i am glad a republican is not out touting brutality. very nice change.

Posted by: mar at October 17, 2006 3:18 PM
Comment #188615


I hate to break this to you, but the Americas that the Europeans came to was not the garden of Eden you seem to envision. Native Americans knew how to wage war and did so on a regular basis and had some brutal tactics of their own. Read about the Incas and Aztecs. As far as disease goes, yes Europeans did bring pandemic diseases, but this was not a calculated plot. Hell, they thought getting sick was God’s punishment and they didn’t have a germ theory of disease. Even if they did, they had no way of knowing the Americas were in the way of China and India, so it would’ve happened anyways. Its sad, but not a result of some genocidal cabal.


Good post. I’d like to answer it tonight, but I need to be up early tomorrow morning and I’ve been up about 17 hours so far today, so I’ll try tomorrow. Do me a favor and try not to write too much more, it already looks like I’ve got plenty to do when I get in as it is.

Posted by: 1LT B at October 17, 2006 4:06 PM
Comment #188618

spring, it is true that the U.S. has done some good in the world.

Still, if people want to “picked on” the U.S. it’s because they personally believe we are hurting more than helping. It is not our place to say whether they are right or wrong, but the overwhelming number of people that feel this way is cause for concern.

We need to come to a consensus on why so many people dislike or even hate us and solve the issue as best we can.

(Note, I copy-pasted here)

Posted by: Zeek at October 17, 2006 4:29 PM
Comment #188633

I am always concerned when I hear the left bashing America as the evil empire. While far from perfect it would seem to me that the world is far better off being dominated by the US as opposed to a world dominated by Communism, Nazism, Islam, an impotent Europe or a corrupt UN which is becoming more and more dominated by 3rd world dictators. If not for the US stepping up to assume the leadership role in the world what makes you think our enemies would not seize that role?

Posted by: Carnak at October 17, 2006 5:12 PM
Comment #188640

1lt b - hate to break this to you but please look up the name amherst. yes, it was a calculated plot. did you miss the part about small pox infected blankets? please do not fool yourself and others by glossing over this fact.

now, i do not want to be the lone voice for indians, that is not my intent. my point being that some certain people in high places have always been brutal, hateful, and war mongers. and i believe that this president is one of them. and undoubtley will lead us straight to collapse.

Posted by: mar at October 17, 2006 6:03 PM
Comment #188644

Mar, Do your research, Man had yet to discover how diseases were transmitted yet. They knew not that it was a virus. They had no way of “putting” it on blankets, they did not know that they “could” put it on blankets. It would have not lived long enough to last the trip it would take to get it to the “Natives”.That is an old wives tale that is easily debunked with just a little research.

In the late 19th century Charles Chamberland developed a porcelain filter. This filter was used to study the first documented virus, tobacco mosaic virus.
virus -wikipedia

The part you dont get is that you are angry with a nation of whom none of those who did do attrocities are alive.

Anger always keeps us from viewing the facts.

Like I said before do some research and if you are honest with yourself, you will find that many of the things you believe happened, either didnt happen at all, or the story has been stretched. As will many things you believe really happened.

I just encourage you to investigate your self before you spend the rest of your life angry and hostile with the “white man”

I have Jewish heritage. I cannot hold resentment to the modern day German, neither can I hold the Egyptians responsible for holding my people

Posted by: springvillecofc at October 17, 2006 6:18 PM
Comment #188649

I would argue that the prepetual war is more of a prepetual police action. In that we play a serious role in policing the world either on behalf of the U.N. or on our own. So is that perpetual war?

Nobody has authorized us, not the UN, nobody else, to police the world. As a matter of fact, we attacked Iraq on NO AUTHORITY at all, not even the U.S. Congress.

Bush was given authority by Congress based on the agreement that he would exhaust all options. If you recall, at the time Bush insisted on having “the strongest possible language” when dealing with this situation. Bush said that he had to have the power of the government, of the Congress, behind him as he dealt with this “imminent threat,” this “gathering threat.”

At the time: “…lawmakers charged the resolution was too broad and premature. The resolution requires Bush to declare to Congress either before or within 48 hours after beginning military action that diplomatic efforts to enforce the U.N. resolutions have failed.”

The UN never declared that diplomatic efforts had failed - as a matter of fact, two days before Bush launched the attack: “UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Monday ordered UN inspectors and support staff, humanitarian workers and UN observers along the Iraq-Kuwait border to evacuate Iraq after US threats to launch war.”

Bush pulled the diplomatic rug out from under the UN (to those of us who were paying attention and not caught up in CNN’s and MSNBC’s new graphics and military music, it was a staggering act of aggression, an internationally criminal act), and Bush became no different than Hitler attacking Poland in 1939.

The Congressional resolution also “requires the administration to report to Congress on the progress of any war with Iraq every 60 days” - The Bush administration has NEVER done that. NEVER.

Bush not only lied to Congress once (about Saddam’s having nuclear capability and WMD), he lied twice - No sooner did Congress give Bush what he wanted (with the promise that he would “exhaust all efforts” - he didn’t), he moved the attack on Iraq on the fast track.

Also, how would you explain the aid America provides the world (From Pocket World Figures 2007 Edition, The Economist Magazine). It shows the good old empire as #1 in bilateral and multileral aid: $19.7 billion, #2 Japan @ $8.9 billion, #3 Frane @ $8.4 billion? Can we assume if we look at China, Russia, Imperial Japan, etc. that they were also top on the aid list?

One of these days, I need to do a flow chart to show how U.S. aid (taxpayer dollars) to ‘developing nations’ doesn’t go into developing the people of those nations, but rather goes into developing infrastructure for U.S. and multi-national corporations’ businesses that actually exploit the native population and steal them blind. Of their resources, their labor - this is why they never seem to get a leg up.

The American taxpayer doesn’t see any return on this investment, either. Either the corporations aren’t American, or if they are, they’re offshore to avoid paying taxes. 17 of Halliburton’s subsidiaries are offshore - This whole war, on Iraq and Afghanistan, has been privatized (meaning, we pay about 1000% more) and the companies providing the war (mercenaries, not bound by U.S. military law, but making new enemies by torturing in our names, equipment, housing and food, etc.) don’t pay U.S. taxes.

I think the US is the biggest kid on the block, defends the rights of others, so gets picked on for being an Empire but there is very little here to prove the US is a lopsided power monger. Just a nice theory with some relavent points.

We are one of the smallest kids on the block, with about 5% of the world’s population. We squander about 1/4 of the world’s resources. We have the biggest war machine, and with Bush as Commander in Chief, we have become the bully on the block. He is exactly who you don’t want in charge of the nuclear arsenal. He has shown that he doesn’t have the maturity, the intelligence, the wisdom or the patience that someone with that kind of power available to him must have.

Edge, you talk like you are very young and very naive. What I wouldn’t give to be that young again, to believe in “truth, justice and the American way,” like in Superman comic books of my youth. But I’m not, and being an adult requires sober assessment of what my government is doing in my name. The U.S. government has been, for a very long time (since the end of WWII) been hijacked by dynastic opportunists who have gamed the system, feathered their own (and their friends’) nests and have committed atrocities against humanity, behind a noble icon that has lost all of its moral authority - the U.S. flag.

Posted by: Sharon Eder at October 17, 2006 7:01 PM
Comment #188659

The problem as I see it is that we have seen how our courts work. Too many murderers, rapists and predators are back on the streets in 2+ years to make it an option. Maybe if they adopt truly mandatory sentences and closed trials, then I could probably go with this.

Closed trials? You want star chambers? How American of you. This is the America that “people from every other country in the world are on waiting lists” to come to? I take issue with that claim - there are people on waiting lists wanting to go to other countries, too, and anybody on a waiting list to come to the U.S. is in a country with a failed economic system, a failure that the U.S. has had a lot to do with. If you want Mexicans to stop sneaking over the border to find work, stop letting American politicians make legislation and treaties that let’s corporations rob them in their countries. Stop buying fruits and vegetables out of season. Learn what the effect of who you’re voting for has really has on your life and the life of people in other countries. Once you learn about what deals like NAFTA really do, it’s not such a surprise that people hate us for rational reasons.

Increasing numbers of people in prison aren’t the result of a failed criminal justice system, but a failed society that is growing too fast, not providing support (physical, financial and emotional) to the citizens. Instead of spending money to build prisons, we should be spending money on prevention - family support, education, job training. The rich get richer, and the poor and middle class keep losing economic ground. It won’t be long before it takes not only two salaries to support a household, but child labor, too.

I despair over the general knowledge base and intellect of the posters online.

Nobody posting here has the future or the earning potential that you seem to think you have, and yet you have bought the establishment’s cliches, hook, line and sinker. The problem that we’re facing in the U.S., what is going to destroy us within a generation, is that the people don’t realize that they need to be fighting a class war. You’re worth more than you’re getting paid, and yet you allow Corporations to demonize unions and the power of your voices collectively.

The only problem in America is getting the truth out to the people.

Posted by: Sharon Eder at October 17, 2006 7:50 PM
Comment #188669

Sharon Eder:

“The problem that we’re facing in the U.S., what is going to destroy us within a generation, is that the people don’t realize that they need to be fighting a class war.”

Obviously, you’ve missed my posts—I always welcome another class warrior. The populist, grassroots kind, as opposed to the Republican/corporatist kind.

American politics, thanks to the Republocrats, is no longer a Right/Left argument. It’s top vs bottom. And has been for some time.

Posted by: Tim Crow at October 17, 2006 8:21 PM
Comment #188679

Sharon, you must feel better.

Regardless of my age I’ll admit to be optomistic.

Your post is a tirade of all things negative.

You would argue that the world does not want or ask the US to intervene? We have both offered our help to police the world and been asked to help. I believe that is a role we should continue.

I understand your point on how the money is spent that the US donates to the world. It is misused no doubt. However, that is is difficult for us control once it is paid out.

You have some good points on Iraq. I don’t like where it stangs today and our entry is suspect. Unfortunatley I still support trying to stabilize the country before we leave. I find myself getting tired of the results though.

And help me out, how can you say that people are waiting to get into America in your last post however describe a USA that is such a failure in the prior post? And I think you are right, people want to get in because they are better off in our country with our rules and our flaws.

Let’s agree to disagree, I see the US as a fundamentally postive country that does far more for this world than it takes. You see the opposite. I respect your point of view. Glad we can argue and make this place better eh? Half full Sharon, try it!

Posted by: Edge at October 17, 2006 9:22 PM
Comment #188683

Ah Sharon,
It’s always refreshing to hear someone whose not afraid to speak the truth. It sucks to see a country you love run into the ground by a bunch of flunkys!

Posted by: Ralphy D at October 17, 2006 10:02 PM
Comment #188920

Joe, the thingy about Iranians somehow wanting to badge all non-Muslims turned out to be a hoax perpetrated by one of noted neo-con Conrad Black’s newspapers. When the Jewish member of Iran’s parliament was reached by AP, he expressed puzzlement, saying that he’d not heard anything about such a law and certainly would have objected to it and most likely blocked it as the representative of Iran’s Jewish community (yes, Iran has a Jewish community, albeit smaller than in 1948 due to emigration to Israel… in fact, close to 10% of Iran’s population is religious minorities).

Both AP and Reuters confirmed that the Iranian law that they heard discussed on Iranian radio and saw posted on the Iranian parliament web site (whoa! their parliament has a web site!) had no such thing as badges, but rather was an effort to deal with the fact that women were importing lots of clothes from outside Iran and they wanted to cut out all that Western clothing coming into the country and go back to native-sewn clothing, mostly as an effort to stimulate the Iranian economy. Numerous expatriates contacted family members back home, and similarly verified that the revised dress code merely banned import of certain articles of clothing (note that Iran has had a dress code since the Iranian Revolution, but it applies equally to all). The National Post finally had to withdraw the article, saying they could not verify it, but insisted that they were sure it was true anyhow because they wanted it to be true.

Always beware of propaganda, whether it is spread by notorious right-wing outlets or notorious left-wing outlets. If I see something in the National Post or on Fox News, I won’t believe it until I verify it with multiple sources with multiple differing ideologies, and if it’s incredible enough, I might even try EMAIL’ing some bloggers from that country and see what they’ve heard (expatriates, if it would be dangerous for those inside the country to respond). If you simply accept whatever drivel is spooned out to you by the media, you are a fool, and deserve to be called such. You have been warned :-).

- BT

Posted by: BadTux at October 19, 2006 2:48 AM
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