The stupidest war

Posted 31 Jan 2006 at 20:22 UTC by proclus Share This

Hi, I am working on a follow-up to my anti-war rational paper from three years ago, the start of the war. I'm hoping to take it public in a big campaign at the March anniversary, but maybe we will break it before then ;-}. It is still a little in the rough, so if you have suggestions, I would welcome them plenty.

not good for the health of GNU-Darwin, posted 1 Feb 2006 at 18:07 UTC by atai » (Journeyer)

proclus, avoid such articles on forums unrelated to the topic, like advogato. Not good for the health of your project, GNU-Darwin.

I agree with atai, posted 1 Feb 2006 at 19:00 UTC by deekayen » (Master)

It looks like you've done a good job presenting your propaganda. Too bad you didn't do any research as to what's really going on, or you'd never have written it. You might want to actually interview some US military personnel who've been over there before you embarrass yourself worse.

Granted, the Iraq war was wrong-headed..., posted 1 Feb 2006 at 19:40 UTC by bi » (Journeyer)

...but problem is, I'm not sure pulling out of Iraq at this juncture is a good idea.

Maybe fight for something more directly useful to us. Like, um, removing the patent encumberances surrounding MP3 and what not?

(In the meantime, to bring Balance to the Force, deekayen can show us the great scholarly research and the exclusive interviews that he's done on the subject of Iraq. I'm sure his work will serve as a prime example of what it means to do top-notch academic research in the political sciences.)

Re: not good for the health of GNU-Darwin, posted 1 Feb 2006 at 19:43 UTC by proclus » (Master)

> Not good for the health of your project, GNU-Darwin.

I hope that you are not planning to do anything naughty, because that sounded scairy ;-}.

Anyway, you should see the homepage. The story top news, right where we like it.


Re: Granted, the Iraq war was wrong-headed..., posted 1 Feb 2006 at 20:18 UTC by deekayen » (Master)

> deekayen can show us...

I've made my position obvious. Do your own research.

Re: not good for the health of GNU-Darwin, posted 1 Feb 2006 at 23:02 UTC by atai » (Journeyer)

proclus, just to make it clear, I don't mean to do anything nasty to GNU-Darwin. I just mean you as the leader of GNU-Darwin talks about unrelated things here do not make GNU-Darwin look good. I don't use Darwin myself but my impresssion of most free software "ports" to the Darwin platform seem associated with Fink or some such rather than GNU-Darwin.

infinitely more important than the health of GNU-Darwin, posted 2 Feb 2006 at 03:40 UTC by mentifex » (Master)

Proclus is now a hero to me for his stand against the illegal occupation of Iraq. On the other hand, academics who hide in their ivory tower and refuse to take a stand on politics are like the "good Germans" who let the Nazis kill millions of innocent victims. America has become the modern-day Nazi Germany. The freedom fighters of the Resistance in Iraq are the good guys, and we invading Americans are the bad guys.

I dont see anything wrong with this, posted 2 Feb 2006 at 03:43 UTC by zanee » (Journeyer)

Contrary to the other posts I don't see anything wrong with someone voicing their own opinion. I do it all the time; who cares if its technical or not. If everything were always techincal it'd make Advogato a boring place to be; its not the way people should live or act.

I also tend to agree with the articles premise. I say this as an ex US army soldier who has fellow soldiers over there right now wanting to come home. Not because they are afraid to fight for their country, but because they have no idea what they are fighting for anymore. Top brass will espouse the "my unit is doing great!!" but you never hear from the people doing the work.. The pvts, the specs, the sgts and master sgt's. You only hear from the LC's and 1 stars. Per the usual.

Glad i'm out; hope everyone of my friends follows suit and doesn't return. I don't know what sort of follow up you plan to write, but I think the first one said it all to begin with.

Re: infinitely more important than the health of GNU-Darwin, posted 2 Feb 2006 at 14:01 UTC by deekayen » (Master)

> The freedom fighters of the Resistance in Iraq are the good guys

So I guess by your definition, the thing who tried to blow up a wedding could be a "good guy" in your eye? How does it compare to the thing who blew up a couple of children who wanted candy and toys from a US soldier?

> and we invading Americans are the bad guys

Yeah, sure, this guy looks real bad. I dare you to go tell one of the few remaining Holocaust survivors you think the US is comparable to Nazi Germany. That insinuation is grossly abhorrent and and unjust to what Jews went through. The only way this war is like Nazi Germany is Saddam's mass graves.

Re: infinitely more important than the health of GNU-Darwin, posted 2 Feb 2006 at 14:31 UTC by proclus » (Master)

deekayen: > The only way this war is like Nazi Germany is Saddam's mass graves.

Actually that is a subtle point of the article, that the US as a conquering and invading army is just like Nazi Germany, complete with torture camps.


I wish there were a way to ignore an author on the front page, posted 2 Feb 2006 at 16:18 UTC by Omnifarious » (Journeyer)

I'm against the war, and I'm not shy about saying so, but I think this is an inappropriate place to post this.

As for deekayen's comment... If you want to use that as a justification, there are places that are a lot worse that we should've invaded instead. For example, Burma or couple of different African countries that have outbreaks of genocide. And not only did we continue in that country with various torture tactics (though less severe ones than Saddam, that doesn't make it any less torture) we used the same facilities! About the only of Saddam's sins we seem to be able to avoid also committing in Iraq is genocide.

But, largely I think this is an inappropriate place to post this. And I intend to continue ignoring the GNU-Darwin project over it, despite the fact I actually have a Mac and might otherwise be interested.

the stupidest peace, posted 3 Feb 2006 at 20:57 UTC by badvogato » (Master)

i happened to believe that war broke out for the benefit of people enjoying the stupidest peace. Until peaceful people arduously go after revolution on a daily basis, bloody war is inevitable. War is never stupid but grave and bloody. Peace deal is stupid meal. When true peace come, it needs no dealers, for GOD's sake.

where do we stand, posted 4 Feb 2006 at 13:36 UTC by lkcl » (Master)

we (free software developers) are in a minority: we actually think. it just so happens that, as reasonably bright and inquisitive and creative people, we think about the world around us, and find it, at the present time, to be a bit scarey.

so, whilst this forum says "discuss free software", it's where "free software people" - the ones most likely to _think_ - can be found - people who _will_ be interested in topics like this one.

america reminds me of the wraith (stargate) and smith's diatribe in the matrix (humans are a disease, and we... we are the cure). consume all natural resources, oblivious, move on.

has it _ever_ occurred to anyone with half a xxxxing brain cell that someone who SERIOUSLY considers that things are so bad that, for the good of humanity, they are prepared to kill themselves - and take as many people with them to make their point - has it ever occurred to anyone what their life is LIKE that they consider death an acceptable option???

did it _ever_ occur to you that the people who prefer to die actually might actually have a _point_????

that most of american culture really _is_ the most evil powerful ignorant selfish destructive greedy despicable lazy arrogant self-deluding wilful society in recent existence, and that they really _do_ need to take into consideration how much damage they're doing to the planet, and they need to STOP before it's too late.

think about it: the suicide bombers are DEAD. they KILLED themselves to get your attention and to make you THINK.

you CAN'T fight that sort of thing with "wars". it hasn't been possible to fight any suicide bombings since they first began, to our knowledge, a few centuries ago. and linking in all the CCTVs in a country as a way to pin-point possible terrorists isn't going to help either - it'll just help build a 1984 society, ripe for the plucking by neo-Nazi and fascist goverments, which, personally, i actually consider to be much WORSE than the risk of randomly being blown up.

any intelligent person who doesn't scare themselves shitless thinking about these sorts of things will be able to tell you, if you don't consider them to be too weird, paranoid or to be terrorist-sympathisers, that the "solutions" of declaring "crusades" or "war on terror" is pointless, and that the _real_ solutions are to get rid of the levels of corruption, greed and ignorance in the antagonistic societies that are causing so much "morally justified" world-wide friction.

and by antagonistic, i mean the ones with a "think they are absolutely and inalienably right, and have a god-damn right to take whatever resources they can get, and fuck the rest of you" attitude.

there is. a global. threat. it comes. from one. country. get used to it. because they're not. going. to believe. that they might. be in the wrong.

the all-important question is: how do we solve their problem _for_ them, without killing anyone, or reducing the quality of life for habitants of this planet for decades, centuries or millenia?

hurrah for the atrocity we are about to commit..., posted 4 Feb 2006 at 14:26 UTC by lkcl » (Master)

there is a very bitter-sweet footnote in one of terry pratchett's books, that goes something like this:

"remember the atrocity committed against us a decade ago that justifies the atrocity we are about to commit today. hurrah!"

it reminds me of the ever-misinterpreted "eye for an eye" quote from the christian bible, which _actually_ means "if you take an eye, so will yours be taken".

the quotation is not an excuse to justify revenge, retribution or retaliation, it's a warning: that what harm you do to others will be done to you.


let's compare the two situations, before-and-after, shall we?

mother-of-all-paranoid bad guys, mr saddam hussein, best of bad bunch of murderous killers, gets picked by the U.S. goverment as the person they would least detest to be doing business with, and back him up when he comes to power in iraq.

he then sets about murdering most of the murderous opposition, clearing up the "other" problems, and stabilises the region with oppression and assistance from the U.S. government who, not least, supply him with chemical weapons which (surprise) he uses to good effect.

he keeps most of the _other_ murderous people (chemical ali) close to him, where he can keep an eye on them, and at the very first whiff of betrayal and they're dead, and their families.

several attempts by opposition parties are made to kill him, and they are so ruthlessly suppressed that the rest stay clear of him. nobody "outside" in the neighbouring countries attacks him, because he is, as far as they can tell, being "suppressed by the west" with their "sanctions" (ahhh, diddums).

mr saddam quite blatantly attempts to bribe people (oil-for-food scandals) and in this way, enough oil actually gets out the country to satisfy the countries whose economies are absolutely and totally dependent on it.

all in all, it's a pretty good, pretty stable - if distasteful - scenario.

on the "outside" (the public external propaganda) it's all "mr bad guy this, mr bad guy that", but when you compare the alternatives, whoo-hoo hooo do you _so_ not want to go there.

now let's look at the present situation.

report on cost of iraq war which puts the monetary cost somewhere around three TRILLION dollars, and includes CONSERVATIVE estimates based on the rise in oil prices, the long-term cost of medicare to veterans, the recruitment costs to replace lost military personnel, and the effects of recession caused by hikes in taxes to cover the costs.

civilian death 58 times more likely in iraq since war, with the total toll put somewhere around 100,000 (at time of publication of the report, which was october 2004).

iraq's political landscape is disintegration despite attempts to create "democracy" _which_, by the way, is exactly what you put into place when you want a country to remain weak. (side-note: only "true" democracy really works, where you treat the presidency like jury service, and pick people for a short term of office using a high-grade pseudo-random number generator, because then you get people who _don't_ crave the position).

what's _particularly_ of concern to me is that this report by the independent indicates that "religious fundamentalists" are winning the elections.

you know - we must look like complete fucking idiots to the leaders of the middle eastern region.

anyway, that's enough to be getting on with: are you beginning to get the point? that whilst things were "distasteful", they at least were stable and they weren't costly.

iraq was a _first_ world country, with cell-phones. they had _hospitals_ that, y'know, _worked_, and had (before sanctions limited the supplies only to the corrup) like... _modern_ stuff, y'know? (you might have heard of it, although if you live in america you've probably never seen that stuff because it costs too much for you to go near it). they had _museums_ with some of the most valuable artefacts dating back to the times of the mesopotamian era SMASHED by looters.

and you wonder why... never mind. my head is going numb from contemplating how much shit the iraqi people have to put up with. caused by us.

oh. and the best bit? for every iraqi civilian that dies, the debt on the heads of the remaining civilians goes up.

think carefully..., posted 4 Feb 2006 at 15:06 UTC by lkcl » (Master)

I dare you to go tell one of the few remaining Holocaust survivors you think the US is comparable to Nazi Germany.

if you think about this carefully, i think you will find that the remaining holocaust survivors would agree with this comparison.

That insinuation is grossly abhorrent and and unjust to what Jews went through.

yes it is abhorrent. however, that it is abhorrent doesn't make the comparison any less valid.

your comments indicate, to me, a confused empathisation with holocaust survivors: i believe that you yourself find the comparison abhorrent, and you then substitute "holocaust survivor" for yourself.

i'm really sorry: i just don't see the connection that you are trying to make.

yes, this stuff is upsetting. whilst we sit here, enjoying a lifestyle that others envy, our "leaders" are out there killing people and depriving others of their livelihoods in order that we may carry on swanning around.

what is the difference between that situation, and any of the following: british colonialism, nazi germany, alexander the great, the roman empire, napoleon, apartheid...

the difference is that it's much more insidious, has far greater detrimental and destructive effect, and far far less people know about it.

this period of history will be noted, in fifty years time (if we haven't killed everyone on the planet by then) as being particularly bleak. as the "dying throes of a fascist american imperialistic" empire, masquerading under "neo-christian moral virtues".

at best.

*sigh*, posted 8 Feb 2006 at 01:08 UTC by Pseudonym » (Journeyer)

I promised myself that I wouldn't get involved, but I couldn't let this comment go:

The freedom fighters of the Resistance in Iraq are the good guys, and we invading Americans are the bad guys.

If the War on The Latest Ill-Defined Thing has taught us nothing else, it's that there is no such thing as "good guys". If you think the Iraqi insurgents are the "good guys", then you're in favour of blowing up innocent bystanders. If you think that the Americans are the "good guys", then you're in favour of torturing prisoners and protecting the Oil Ministry while the museum containing the oldest relics of this planet's civilization is looted and destroyed.

As has been pointed out many times, the old left-wing vs right-wing choice is unreasonable. (Do you feel closer to Stalin or Mussolini?) The new anti-war vs pro-war choice is just as unreasonable. (Which are you in favour of: evil or incompetence?)

But I really shouldn't expect people to be reasonable, because in a time ruled by paranoia on all sides, reason is inevitably the first casualty. The world, especially the world of human interaction, is enormously complex. You don't tame inherent complexity by oversimplifying it.

Programmers should understand inherent complexity and its implications better than anyone. Perhaps we're just Visual Basic script kiddies at heart.

breakdown of cognitive coherence, posted 8 Feb 2006 at 07:45 UTC by lkcl » (Master)

i'm going to do something unusual, which is to actually mention, on a public forum, something from a source which i have up until now decided to keep quiet about, but first, i'm going to mention this, which was referenced via slashdot recently:

democrats and republicans both good at ignoring facts

it gives a glimpse into a wider picture: namely that people don't use their brains properly. putting it bluntly: most humans on this planet are cognitively dysfunctional.

this is exactly the sort of thing that maraharishi mahesh yogi's programmes are intended to address. maharishi mahesh yogi (leader of the transcendental meditation programme which was made famous by the beatles, in the mid-60s) advocates meditation and a support infrastructure which increases brain coherence.

in short, you get to use more of your melon.

now, whilst this guy's programmes aren't necessarily the _only_ solution, they're about the best shot at "peace" that i know of. i haven't heard of _any_ other rational (or irrational) solutions that make any kind of attempts to start at the "root cause" and work up from there.

the trouble is that the people that are needed to be convinced are those who will listen the least. consequently, nearly two years ago, a "peace government" - a parallel government infrastructure - was proposed, bypassing the present systems in place by those governments who refuse to listen.

if anyone's interested i can do a summary post but for now a google search on "TM peace government" will show up stacks of leads if you care to read about what this bunch of aimiable loonies want to achieve :)

Re: breakdown of cognitive coherence, posted 8 Feb 2006 at 10:11 UTC by bi » (Journeyer)

lkcl: hmm... but before we throw wads of moolah to Maharishi, let's find some people who use the "reason" parts of the brain for every political party, and find out what they think. I'm guessing the result won't go down well with many people, but ah well.

(And while we're at it, do the adherents of TM also make use of the "reason" portions when confronted with material that's gushing or critical of TM? That'll be an interesting thing to find out.)

In the meantime, let's go back to being VB script kiddies. Because finding the one ridiculously simplistic way to solve all the world's problems is definitely fun... :)

skript kiddies wheeeee, posted 8 Feb 2006 at 18:41 UTC by lkcl » (Master)

oh, the TM movement gave up with political parties _years_ ago, dude: they're a _significant_ waste of time. you only have to look at how twisted (and by that i mean actually physically grotesque in some cases) the people who like to vie for power in UK parliament to appreciate how they simply are _not_ going to get it.

lots of people already _have_ given the TM movement loads of wonga - the last fund-raising drive was for $108 million dollars, and it was successful (and the transfer of some of that money to holland actually caused massive currency fluctuations in the dollar-sterling rate!!! :)

so they _are_ setting up parallel peace government initiatives in various countries. the only one they are _not_ going to set one up in is - get this: Britain. the reason: when the UK population voted Blair in power again, maharisi mahesh yogi ordered the UK TM movement to be shut down in the UK and asked all its members to LEAVE the country.

the UK has been declared "scorpion nation" (it's a long story which was covered about 3 months _after_ it happened by the guardian and also on panorama, who noted the guardian's story).

regarding your point about adherents of TM using "reason" centres about criticism of TM? they find it _hilarious_. TM people find jokes about TM exceptionally funny (why won't you take pain killers when going to the dentist? i'm trying to "transcend dental medication"). short answer: yes, they do :)

they're the best at absorbing criticism: various attempts have been made to hammer TM into the ground for over forty years now - none of them successful.

my favourite one that people i've heard like to introduce themselves with when talking to Government Officials: "Hi, I'm with the TM movement, and we're into miiiind controlll" :)

btw i should point out that their proposals are not "the" solution... it's just that i haven't come across _anyone_ else with what i would genuinely call a workable from-the-ground-up approach to making our planet a decent place to live for generations to come.

and it don't take much (when billions are spent on wars, anything measured in tens of millions is peanuts..)

Reply, posted 8 Feb 2006 at 19:06 UTC by nymia » (Master)

IMO, the article was inspired by the ugliness and horror of war, and is written based on opinion, how can they be verified and validated? I don't know.

Anyway, in my view, war has one, perhaps two or more and I'll just mention two, of the following:

  1. Liberty of Error - widened the distance between adherence to the truth and freedom. See Dignitatis Humanae for more info. You are basically free to believe and express these beliefs to anyone, provided that no harm or intention of harm happen.
  2. Man Acts At His Own Peril - Speak and act at your own peril. This freedom allows you to commit error that just might cost the ruin of lives and property.

A Solution is Obvious, posted 8 Feb 2006 at 23:17 UTC by mirwin » (Master)

Lots and lots of pebble bed fluid reactors. This simultaneously attacks the roots of several extremely large problems: Excessive U.S. demand for foreign oil. Excessive CO2 released into atmosphere. Foreign rule and exploitation via globalization interests and negotiating positions created or protected via resort to force ... military, union, mafia or terrorist.

Best of all. This solution requires no further effort from our dazzling heroes beyond continuing development of adequate free engineering tools to assure cheap locally controlled sets of competing energy providers emerge in every neighborhood, building, or region wishing to self isolate from some ill defined subset of the rest of the species. Also helpful would be a willingness to help create initial markets by purchasing the inexpensive blackmarket energy to help sustain and operate world wide Terran Computing Grids adequate for free reactor and feul enrichment design propagation.

Protection of physical feul supplies from dirty bomb freedom fighters or other corrupt self serving local, national, or supranational government or corporate agencies is left as an exercise for the reader.

Next week: Oversight and effective regulation of microbiology, nanotech and human geriatrics. Can it be done without early detection and extermination of secretive billionaire wanna bees and/or Nobel prize seeking P'hds? If not, is this detection best done via semi public Congressional subcommittee hearings broadcast only in part on Cspan or local vigilante groups already dedicated to lynching politically incorrect freedom fighers crossing poorly maintained intellectual borders on late night map reading or coding exercises?

THEORY OF FLIGHT - Muriel Rukeyser Reader, posted 18 Feb 2006 at 21:23 UTC by badvogato » (Master)


Kitty Hawk is a Caesar among monuments ; the stiff bland soldiers predestined to their death the bombs piled neatly like children's marbles piled sperm to breed corpses eugenically by youth out of seductive death. The hill outdoes our towers we might treasure a thistle grown from a cannon-mouth they have not permitted rust and scum and blossoms to dirty the steel. However we have the plane the hill, flower among monuments.

"To work intelligently" (Orville and Wilbur Wright) "one needs to know the effects of variations incorporated in the surfaces...The pressures on squares are different from those on rectangles, circles, triangles, or ellipse... The shape of the edge also makes a difference."

The plane is wheeled out of the hangar. The sleeves shake fixing the wind, the four o'clock blue sky blinks in the goggles swinging over his wrist. The plane rests, the mechanic in cream-colored overalls encourages the engine into idling speed. The instructor looks at his class and begins the demonstration.

"We finally became discouraged, and returned to kite-flying. But as we grew older we had to give up this sport, it was unbecoming to boys of our ages."

On the first stroke of the piston the intake valve opens, the piston moves slowly from the head of the cylinder, drawing in its mixture of gas and air. On the second stroke the piston returns, the valve closes. The mixture is compressed. spark occurs, igniting America, opening India, finding the Northwest Passage, Cipango spice, causing the mixture to burn, expanding the gases which push the piston away on the power stroke. The final exhaust stroke serves to release the gases, allowing the piston to scavenge the cylinder. We burn space, we sever galaxies, solar systems whirl about Shelley's head, we give ourselves ease, gentlemen, art and these explosions and Peter Ronsard finger-deep in roses ; gentlemen, remember these incandescent points, remember to check, remember to drain the oil, remember Plato O remember me the college pathways rise the president's voice intoning sonnets the impress of hoofmarks on the bridle path the shining girls the lost virginities the plane over a skeletal water-tower our youth dissolving O remember romantically dissolving remember me.

from 3/ The Lover Answer with me these certainties of glands swelling with sentiment the loves embittered the salts and waters mixing a chemic threatening destruction.

Answer the men walking toward death leaping to death meeting death in a kiss able to find of equilibrium none except that last of hard stone kissing stone.

Answer the lover's questioning in the streets the evenings domed with purple, the bones easing, the flesh slipping perfume upon the air : all surfaces of flight are pared to planes. equal, equilibrated, solid in fulfilment. No way is wanted to escape, no explosions craved, only this desire must be met, this motion be balanced with passion ;

in the wreaths of time given to us what love may reach us in the streets the books the years what wreaths of love may touch our dreams, what skeins of fine response may clothe our flesh, robe us in valor brave as our dear wish.

lover haunting the ghosts of rivers, letting time slide a fluid runner into darkness give over the sad eyes the marble face of pain do not mourn : remember : do not forget but never let this treason play your mate.

take to yourself the branches of green trees watch the clean sky signed by the flight of planes know rivers of love be flooded thoroughly by love and the years and the past and know the green tree perishes and green trees grow.

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