Terror, Denial and a Reality Check

David Schraub writing recently on denial has a interesting view of history. In part, I think, this is due to a certain “denial” on his part. This is in some sense his defense of Mr Wright’s accusation that 9/11 is America’s crimes “coming home to roost.” He has two propositions from which he draws a conclusion. The problem is, that his thesis are false so I’m going to ignore the conclusion for now. His ideas are that denial (by a Nation or group) is implicitly a harm and then he notes how weak are the methods usually used. Now, in the past, Mr Schraub and I have argued somewhat extensively on whether Nation’s are culpable … and I think that largely they are not and he disagrees. I’m going to attempt to bypass that argument for this, for we’ve hashed that over quiet a bit not getting very far, except to each individually become more convinced that the other was wrong I think. In this latest sally, his location of denial as implicit harm is can be addressed without considering the personal/group axis. Denial is harmful on an individual basis, I’m not going to contest that. I’m not interested here in the individual vs group/national responsibility. The problem is, denial isn’t the problem. The problem is one of will.

Mr Schraub locates one of the principal crimes of America as supporting terror and death squads in Latin America. This instance is much like the firebombing of Tokyo or Dresden. These were part of a larger conflict in which the decision to do these things was placed. Removing it from context is in itself a form of denial. The left, of which Mr Schraub is a proud card-carrying member, is it seems still in the throws of a complete denial of the omnipresent harm concomitant with Communism. 100 million in less than a 100 years in the past century are ascribed directly to Communism and far more were punished by forced labor gulags, privation, and the dehumanization that comes with a police state.

Mr Schraub’s insistence that the political decisions in South America were context free. My guess is that he might agree that the Dresden/Tokyo firebombing were part of the horrors of war. But he might understand the thought processes in which the leaders and people in that time found that the decision to go ahead with those actions choice of the lesser evil. A London, having endured the blitz, felt justified in retaliating via similar attacks on civilian targets in Germany. Post-World War II NATO nations, in particular the US, were in a struggle against communism. There was both a national and humanitarian reasons for strongly opposing communism. Marxist dogma entailed the necessity of world wide struggle between its “system” and the free-market world. National strategies of both sides, because of nuclear stockpiles, hinged in a large part of swinging developing nations and the third world into their “camp” or sphere of control. In that context, the decision of nations like Vietnam and South American states to “go communist” mattered in the larger context. Furthermore there was a humanitarian concern as well. Communism, without exception, slaughtered, enslaved, and victimized millions of its own people. 100 million deaths have been ascribed to Communism in the 20th century, not to speak of the millions more who survived various horrors.

In that context, denial comes into question. Why did America use questionable tactics in South America? In part it was a question of allocatable resources. The useful idiots on the left, themselves (still it seems) as I denying the true extent of the horrors of communism, would not allocate the necessary resources to battle communism in many arenas such as South America honestly. However, it was still imperative to confront them … so the decision was made to resort to the only means available. So in the specific example of the terror/death squads in South America … the left is largely to blame. Too much in love with the “romance” of bloody handed murders like Lenin, Che, and the like, they saw no imperative to allocating the resources to halt and combat the spread of communism in South America. Like Dresden it was a question choosing the lesser of evils and needs to be put in context.

Furthermore Mr Schraub feels that there is a denial/atrocity cycle. That acceptance of denial enables atrocity. This is pop-psychology at its worst. It is not the denial of past atrocities that enable current ones. It is a failure of will, which Solzhenitsyn suggests is endemic to all Western democracies that is the problem. Our willingness to confront forcefully the horrors that occur in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia is what allows them to continue. It is unlikely that by America or any exterior past actions are convincing for example Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army that its continued pattern of atrocities is permissible. Mr Schraub cites Armenia’s (un-confronted) atrocities as Hitler’s justification for his atrocities. Without reams of support for that particular contention, that idea is somewhat weak. Other sources have suggested that Lenin’s successes in his reign of terror encouraged Hitler on his. It might suggest that the success and effectiveness of these horrors (like Lenin’s being encouraged by the ‘wonderful’ results of the French Terror, which for him erred in “not going far enough”) that encouraged Hitler and others as well as the tepid response by outside entities that encouraged them. It wasn’t the memory (or lack of it) of the Armenian atrocities that encouraged Hitler it was the Western warships in the harbor with their screws clogging with human bodies and the hair or the dead and doing nothing that encouraged him.

Mr Schraub want’s to have his cake and eat it too. He opposes the notion that we should have confronted evil in Vietnam (communism) or in Nicaragua. Does he want to somehow magically confront the evil of this word by paralyzing us into further inaction to halt evil by making sure that we don’t ever act because war is hell? What tools are left? The problem of Hitler’s being enabled to commit horror wasn’t that past atrocities were forgotten it was because they are rarely if ever confronted. The paradox, unsolved by Mr Schraub, is that the confrontation is itself … horrible but that it is the lesser of evils.

Mr Schraub’s putative solution to the problem is it seems, is to weaken our resolve to act. Brilliant. Not.

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19 comments

  1. There’s a reductionist quality to your argument here (not to mention a whole lot of Green Lanternism — but we won’t get into that) — our atrocities are justified because we’re fighting people who engage in atrocities. Are their atrocities then justified because they’re fighting people (us) who engage in atrocities? Could Communists use the experience of American (North and South) slavery, colonialism, and brutality to justify the gulags? I’d hope not. Can we use the gulags to justify death squads? I’d also hope not.

    But such is the cycle you create. Everybody inexorably must go towards total war, because we’re fighting evil, dammit, and they do it too. The flaw is not noting the logic is reciprocal. Free markets, capitalism, western democracy — these have quite their share of blood on their hands, just as Marxism does. And yet, Marxist purges to kill the “counter-revolutionaries”, or building gulags to decimate the enemy bourgeois, or dictatorships that subvert the democratic rights of all people — they remain unjustified even in the face of Western imperialism, colonialism, slavery, peonage, sharecropping, terrorism, and the myriad other atrocities the Communist world used as their mirror-image justificatory schema to enact their evil.

    And so, I think your post bears out my “pop psychology” very well. We engage in ridiculous counting games of who killed more (once the number crosses 7-figures, I stop caring), whose deaths are “incidental” or “accidental” or “deliberate” or who actually killed whom, when everyone is bound up in the machinery of death that keeps on humming along. In the end, we assert, our atrocities are exceptions, there’s are rules. Ours are responsive, there’s are premeditated. It’s circular in all senses — logically, and situationally, and nobody sees the need to combat the killing because fundamentally you don’t recognize that we did anything wrong (or if we did, it’s because liberals stopped us from nuking Vietnam till it glowed greener than Christmas tree lights). If you don’t see anything wrong, we shouldn’t not do it again. What you’re telling me is that if you were in charge, in the US in the same situation with the weak-willed leftists who weren’t willing to send 500,000 marines on a march from the Rio Grande to Tierra de Fuego (is there anything in your vision of American Will that would stop of us from literally taking over the world?), you’d sign the order for the death squads. Faced with an analogous decision in the future, you’d do likewise. You’d support death squads. “For the greater good,” sayeth the hand that signs the paper (be it communist or capitalist).

    And where does this bring us? I use Chile as my key example because it demonstrates how far we can fall. This was where we showed that “will” you love so much. Henry Kissenger said it himself: “We’re not going to stand idly by and let a country turn communist due to their irresponsibility of its own people!” And we didn’t! No sir. In Chile, we overthrew a democratically elected socialist government (because we’re fighting communism, dammit!), and installed a military junta that cut a bloody swath through the nation for decades. That’s some serious American will.

    Aside from the popular conceptional dodge that America is definitionally the good guys (because the alternative is communism) … how are we the good guys in this scenario? There was no indication that Allende would be violent, or would suspend democratic elections, or would refuse to give up power if elected out (none of which applies to our side). There were no allegations of voter fraud or election rigging. Chile was operating within normal, democratic parameters — America acted like imperialist thugs. Generously, we plunged an entire nation into darkness based on speculation that Allende’s relative distance to communism made it possible that bad things would happen in Chile (beyond that which are justified by democratic decision making). More likely, we precipitated the darkness for no other reason than to deny the opponent a position on the chessboard you exalt above all else. The people of Chile literally became nothing more than pawns in our chess match. If they had to be sacrificed…so be it. It only matters that we win, and they lose — the pieces are just that, pieces (Needless to say, nobody ever asks what pawns think about their predicament).

    This, I submit, is ungodly. It is not consistent with a view that respects the human dignity of all persons. It is expediency wrapped in justificatory ideology, whether capitalist or communist. And, manifesting itself in the deaths of millions of people, it is wrong. Simple as that.

  2. The left is making us use obscene tactics? Isn’t that like, “Boy, your mother spoils you so I have to whip you with this chain. It’s all her fault!”

    Is the only difference between us and them the fact that we are us and they are them? If terrorism is okay for us, why not for them? If it’s okay to murder democratically elected leaders in favor of tyrants for us, why not for them? If Hiroshima and Nagasaki were legitimate targets, why not the world trade center?

    Mark, you can’t really believe we fought communism to save non-American lives. We as a nation clearly don’t care enough to do that, unless you subscribe to the theory (which I don’t) that we care only if they’re white/asian/latin. The domino theory then was as silly as the neocons’ reverse-domino theory was in 2003.

    Finally, “Our chickens have come home to roost” is simply factual in a lot of respects. We provided material support for Osama and Saddam and countless other murderous thugs.

  3. Mark says:

    David,
    Where did you get the idea that military solutions are the only way to firmly confront evil in the world? I never said that. You’re making unfounded assumptions. I never said, “therefore send in 500,000 marines” or “nuke Vietnam”.

    You claim the key point of the problem is denial. I think you’re (a) in denial about the horror inherent in communism, (b) wrong in that our will to confront evil is the root of the problem not our denial of atrocity, and (c) that your notions of “turning the bayonet inwards” will provoke less will, less action and permit more evil to thrive.

    Confront those point instead of misinterpreting what I’m trying to say and trying to score points against that.

    JA,
    Did you see Charlie Wilson’s War? The lack of will/funding to follow through is the problem “chicken coming home to roost” not support for the Afghanis fighting the Soviets.

    As to why to oppose Communism (and now Jihad), I can only speak to my motives and yes, for myself, I think non-American lives are a thing to fight for.

    Isn’t that like, “Boy, your mother spoils you so I have to whip you with this chain. It’s all her fault!”

    No. It is not. First communism is nothing like spoiling its the reverse. And it’s like we will deny you the resources to do the job “right”, so you have to use what’s left.

  4. Mark says:

    JA,
    It seems to me that Mr Schraub would encourage us to allow the Korean communists in 1950 (North Korea) to engulf the entire peninsula instead of confronting them … because after all we firebombed Tokyo and aren’t sufficiently confronting the wrong we did there.

    50 years later comparing the outcome, including all the atrocities likely committed by us in the defense of South Korea … perhaps the biggest question is why didn’t we push harder? Why did we allow a stalemate to end the situation instead of pushing for the win? How many generations and millions are still suffering under communism in North Korea?

    If the domino was “wrong” … are you implying that we should not have gone into Korea?

    Mr Schraub contends that numbers don’t matter. He won’t count or compare the thousands which suffer “our atrocities” with the millions (or billions?) under those that need to be confronted. That doesn’t parse. Orders of magnitude are always important.

  5. I have to assume your “will” is the use of military force, because, well, that’s the only example you’ve given. Sending troops to Korea and Vietnam, funding death squads in Central America, violently overthrowing governments in Chile… I’m not seeing a lot of trade sanctions or UN resolutions or diplomatic protests here. All the rhetoric you use about “confrontation” seems to strongly imply a military response. But if you can give some examples about how the US should exert its “will” in non-military fashion, I’m all ears. But from the sounds of it (“We should have pushed in North Korea!” I’m guessing you’d have supported the MacArthur position that we should have bombed China), this is about flexing military muscle.

    In the meantime, you’re putting positions in my mouth you know I don’t hold. You know I supported US engagement in Korea, and I can do so while thinking the fire-bombing of Tokyo was quite a bad thing. There’s nothing in my advocacy of not denying American atrocities that inherently prohibits American engagement (even militarily) in the world. Indeed, I’d say that American intervention, when we do it, is better off if it recalls its past atrocities and commits to check against their repetition, both inherently (not slaughtering civilians is, um, good) and instrumentally (it’s easier for America to act when the world doesn’t view us as vicious imperialist monsters).

    The position you could hold, however, is that admitting American atrocities will effectively paralyze the American people, making us too guilt-ridden and insecure to act. This would demand that we deny our atrocities on the theory that the truth has worse consequences. To this, I’d say that denying the responsibility for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people on the account of potential mopiness is rather twisted, and I think we do better than an emo foreign policy. If we both agree that the proper response to American atrocities is admission and a commitment (back by legal and institutional barriers) never to do it again, can we get over the guilt-fest? Because otherwise this is just remarkably self-indulgent.

  6. Mark,

    Did you see Charlie Wilson’s War? The lack of will/funding to follow through is the problem “chicken coming home to roost” not support for the Afghanis fighting the Soviets.

    I did see it and I did get that that was the message the movie was pushing at the end, but that’s unfair. It’s like invading Iraq in 2003 and saying, well anything bad that happens is your (leftmost 70% of the country) fault if you don’t want to occupy the country for the next hundred years. Um, no. The people planning the invasion knew that America would never go along with an indefinite occupation. If you take action based on an impossible plan, you’re the one responsible. It was the same thing with Charlie Wilson’s war.

    As to why to oppose Communism (and now Jihad), I can only speak to my motives and yes, for myself, I think non-American lives are a thing to fight for.

    First of all, don’t be disingenuous. Nobody’s saying we shouldn’t have “opposed” communism or jihad. We’re saying we shouldn’t become terrorists and war criminals in our opposition to those things. Second, I believe you about your motives. I don’t believe that those are the primary motives of the decision-makers, or else the responses to various African conflicts would have gotten much, much more attention than Iraq.

    No. It is not. First communism is nothing like spoiling its the reverse. And it’s like we will deny you the resources to do the job “right”, so you have to use what’s left.

    Okay, so mom won’t let dad have a switch to hit her son, so he uses a chain. Her fault?

    If the domino was “wrong” … are you implying that we should not have gone into Korea?

    Maybe we should have gone to defend the South Koreans, although again, that was never our primary motive. We definitely shouldn’t have gone under the theory that if Korea went all-Communist, the rest of the world was next, which likely was our motive.

    I’ll let Mr. Schraub answer your questions about him.

  7. Interesting conversation. The nations’ problems are beyond human solutions, and only God himself can bring salvation. However, I really believe that America has done the best she can in most situations, in our messy world, and it’s my faith in the good intentions of my country that is my filter.

    It seems like if one has a basic hatred of America (like I think many Americans on the far left, actually), that colors one’s view of every action taken by America.

  8. Mark says:

    David,
    We didn’t use explicit force in the Cuban missile crises. When you noted statutory rape-as-marriage in the Middle East the other week, I noted that there are ways in which we could influence that situation, such as much as the Saudi’s are doing by supporting and spreading Islam in the West through support of extra-national churches, we could in turn support the Chaldean, Coptic, and Orthodox churches in the Middle East as well as other ways of spreading Western values via economic means in the region.

    I’ve repeatedly been flagging Mr Collier’s book The Bottom Billion and I think that he is spot on. Military action is sometimes exactly the right thing to do. Sometimes it is not. Just as diplomatic pressure, aid, and other methods are also sometimes warranted sometimes not. These things are situational. Read the book. Please. Seriously.

    The root problem is one of will, not denial or recognition. I’m unconvinced that either recognition or denial matters very much at all. But I think that dwelling on our past failures is not a good way to encourage action or strengthen our will. I haven’t seen any indication on your part that recognition of past error encourages one to act. Whatever makes you think that admitting to wrongs in Chile will encourage us to put our foot down, put pressure on, or fix things in Uganda regarding the Lord’s Resistance Army by whatever means.

    I think Solzhenitsyn is right when he identifies failures of will as a primary fault of liberal democracies and the West. I don’t know the cure, but am unconvinced we need more introspection to fix that.

    JA,
    You forgot the problem at the end of the Charlie Wilson’s War. He wasn’t calling for “indefinite occupation” just a small measure of infrastructure building, some small funds of money for some schools and so forth.

    I disagree with your dismissal of domino. It seems my accusation that the left tends to dismiss the threat and evils of Communism is correct.

  9. You forgot the problem at the end of the Charlie Wilson’s War. He wasn’t calling for “indefinite occupation” just a small measure of infrastructure building, some small funds of money for some schools and so forth.

    Hey, I’m all for that sort of thing. It’s the unnecessary wars and the war crimes that I’m against.

    I disagree with your dismissal of domino.

    In 2008? Really?

    It seems my accusation that the left tends to dismiss the threat and evils of Communism is correct.

    Because I don’t buy the domino theory?? Why can’t you stick to what I say and not exaggerate it into a straw man? I don’t oppose opposing communism and jihadism and I don’t dismiss the threat and evils of communism.

    Sometimes I feel like I’m arguing with Stephen Colbert. One can be against American war crimes, stupid wars, and atrocities without being anti-American, pro-Communist, or pro-Jihadi.

    George Bush really did more harm to America than bin Laden did. You may argue that he did so in order to prevent potential future harm, but that central fact is unavoidable. This war has cost us over 4,000 lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, not to mention hundreds of billions of dollars. It’s destabilized an already volatile region, strengthened the Iranians’ hand, and has been a PR nightmare. It’s made torture, preventative war, and spying on Americans without warrants that much easier for future administrations and other democracies.

    In all seriousness, this administration has been a blow against democracy and the rule of law — the very two things that have kept democracies from going to war with each other for the last century. You think communism and jihadism are the evils, but they’re just kinds of evil. The evil is anything that rolls back the progress towards liberal democracies. We weren’t better than the USSR because we were capitalists and they were communists, we were better because we had more freedoms. (Admittedly, a lot of that is a result of capitalism. But let’s not confuse the active ingredient, as it were.) We’re not better than the jihadis because we have different religions, we’re better because we have more freedoms.

    The way to beat the jihadis is the way we beat the USSR: contain the threat and let them destroy themselves. Show by example what they could be having if they got rid of their idiocy. Free speech. Freedom of and from religion. Freedom to pretty much do whatever the hell you want. And yes, freedom to get very, very rich.

    You can’t go to literal war against a goddamn ideology.

  10. “One can be against American war crimes, stupid wars, and atrocities without being anti-American, pro-Communist, or pro-Jihadi.”

    Oh Lord Thank You! All JA and I demand is that when the US acts in the world (or domestically for that matter), we do so in a way that doesn’t involve committing war crimes or terrorism (I’d add to that a presumptive effort at not sparking WWIII). My thesis is that denial of past atrocities facilitates the perpetuation of future ones. None of that denies that the US should engage actively in the world to make it a better place. We just can’t use “making the world a better place” as an excuse to justify terrorism.

    I don’t say admission makes us more or less likely to intervene in any given conflict. I merely say that admission makes us less likely to engage in atrocities ourselves when we do choose to intervene.

  11. Mark says:

    David,

    My thesis is that denial of past atrocities facilitates the perpetuation of future ones.

    OK. And that’s what I disagree with. I don’t think that “denial of past atrocities” hampers the “bad guys” or those inclined to evil in the slightest. Furthermore, I think it tends to put the brakes only on the good ones, i.e., if war leads to things like Dresden … war must be the height of evil and is the thing to be avoided at all costs.

    One can before active intervention in general and think military intervention is sometimes necessary and preferred without being a booster of terrorism and war crimes. And that further understand that Dresden, while horrible, does not mean the entire enterprise is wrong.

    If, for example, a nation was to support insurgents (bad guys) in order to oppose Killing fields because the other party won’t allow or sanction the resources for any other sort of action. That seems a difficult problem and not one that is so easily countered by “let’s not commit war crimes and terror.”

    JA,

    One can be against American war crimes, stupid wars, and atrocities without being anti-American, pro-Communist, or pro-Jihadi.

    ?? huh? Where’d that come from. I never questioned your patriotism or anything of the sort. I never accused you of being pro-Communist or pro-Jihadi. Oh, wait were you referring to Jennifer’s remark? Are you self-identifying as a person on the far left? I think you’re more moderate than that, even if you have unrealistic notions on abortion. 😉

    “The way to beat the jihadis is the way we beat the USSR: contain the threat and let them destroy themselves.”

    Which is domino theory put quite succinctly I think. Actually I think we can use additional perhaps better tactics against Jihad. We can try to help make them prosperous. Marx had it wrong, religion is not the opiate of the masses (see Jihad). Prosperity is the opiate of the masses.

  12. ?? huh? Where’d that come from. I never questioned your patriotism or anything of the sort. I never accused you of being pro-Communist or pro-Jihadi.

    You wrote, addressed to me:

    As to why to oppose Communism (and now Jihad), I can only speak to my motives and yes, for myself, I think non-American lives are a thing to fight for.

    and

    It seems my accusation that the left tends to dismiss the threat and evils of Communism is correct.

    I’m not “far left,” but I am left.

    Which is domino theory put quite succinctly I think.

    Not at all. My version doesn’t have us engaging in proxy wars.

    We can try to help make them prosperous. Marx had it wrong, religion is not the opiate of the masses (see Jihad). Prosperity is the opiate of the masses.

    That I agree with, 100%. Prosperity + freedom of (and from) religion is even better. Turns out letting (e.g.) Christianity branch into hundreds of denominations is a lot more effective at detribalizing people than forbidding religion is.

  13. (Not that I would ever have supported forbidding religion, of course.)

  14. Mark says:

    JA,
    “tends to dismiss the threat of Communism” = pro-Communist? … whatever.

    Look, it may not be you, it may not be the next guy. But there is a reason the Left in the West was termed “useful idiots” by the Soviet. Very very many on the Left have consistently ignored, made light of, and otherwise been an apologist for the Soviet regime and Marxism in general.

    I (surprise) disagree that freedom “from” religion is a good thing.

  15. Look, it may not be you, it may not be the next guy. But there is a reason the Left in the West was termed “useful idiots” by the Soviet.

    Were they?

    Now I’m not denying that there were useful (to the Soviets) idiots on the left, but there were also useful (to the Nazis) idiots on the right, like a Mr. Henry Ford. In more recent times, “useful idiots” might perfectly describe the way Ahmed Chalabi probably felt about Bush and the neocons.

    Your general point is tautological. Communism is on the left side of the spectrum, so obviously every sympathizer was on the left. Big deal. That has nothing to do with the American left in general.

    Very very many on the Left have consistently ignored, made light of, and otherwise been an apologist for the Soviet regime and Marxism in general.

    I just object to the conflation of actual Soviet sympathizers with people who, e.g., thought Vietnam was stupid and SDI was a waste of money. And don’t be coy — the whole reason you brought up the issue was in response to complaints about the U.S.’s engagement in stupid wars, terrorism, and other serious war crimes. You may not have specifically spelled out the idea that people who oppose those things are commie sympathizers, but it’s clearly there in your argument. And if that’s not your argument, then you’re just on a long tangent from the question of atrocities perpetrated by the U.S.

  16. Mark says:

    JA,
    Look, in the 80’s I was in the Physics department at the U of Chicago. The politically active members of the left in that sector of Academia were unapologetically Marxist in bent.

    Marxism is evil. There’s no two ways about it.

    Your dismissal of “domino” is problematic. If you “hold fast” that means you have to oppose the spread of Marxism being thrust into every third world nation that the Sino/Soviet bloc tries to insert it because if you don’t, pretty soon it will be “America Alone”, to borrow a phrase from Mr Steyn (suggesting the incipient situation regarding holding our line against Jihad and Islam). And being alone … it’s not so clear the “rest of the world” will just “destroy itself” or whether that’s the best strategy.

    As I’ve said above, “commie sympathiser” which you attest I’m claiming is not the same, in my eyes, as “too willing to make light of the evil inherent in Communism.”

    Having made light of it, the resources to fight “on the up and up” were not available to those who recognized the problem … and they therefore decided to use what was available. However to be fair, that may be a smaller part of the failure. The generic failure of democracy to do what is necessary and right may be the real root of the problem.

  17. Look, in the 80’s I was in the Physics department at the U of Chicago. The politically active members of the left in that sector of Academia were unapologetically Marxist in bent.

    Marxism is evil. There’s no two ways about it.

    Were they apologists for the USSR? Or were they just wrong on economics? Because that’s a pretty big difference. Regardless, a few academics don’t represent the left. Hell, the whole Democratic party would probably be right-of-center in most Western European countries.

    Your dismissal of “domino” is problematic. If you “hold fast” that means you have to oppose the spread of Marxism being thrust into every third world nation that the Sino/Soviet bloc tries to insert it because if you don’t, pretty soon it will be “America Alone”

    Please stop using the word “oppose.” We both support “opposing” the spread of Marxism. We differ in whether it’s worth going to war to prevent communists from taking over a single, relatively unimportant country or not. I say not.

    As I’ve said above, “commie sympathiser” which you attest I’m claiming is not the same, in my eyes, as “too willing to make light of the evil inherent in Communism.”

    Your lesser claim is untestable and irrelevant.

    Having made light of it, the resources to fight “on the up and up” were not available to those who recognized the problem … and they therefore decided to use what was available

    See there you go again. Aren’t you equating those who opposed the Vietnam war (or entering into conflicts in Latin America) with people who “make light of the evil inherent in communism??” That’s just ridiculous and insulting. I might as well call everyone who doesn’t support a massive invasion of the Congo “people who make light of the evil of genocide.”

    Regardless, being denied the ability to launch a conventional war does not justify using atrocities to achieve an end!

    The generic failure of democracy to do what is necessary and right may be the real root of the problem.

    What you see as a generic failure of democracy I see as one of its most important features. We’re generally slow to war. There are always some hawks that think invading everybody is always necessary and the most violent solution is always the correct one. Outside of democracies, those people tend to rise to the top and then start those conflicts. Inside democracies, the people might get cowed into supporting such a leader once a generation or so, but only up to a certain extent, and never for that long. America had no trouble doing what was necessary and right in WWII, and America has no trouble doing it today. We will never fail to defend ourselves. What we have “trouble” with is doing what YOU think is necessary and right. That is not the same thing.

  18. I mean how is your argument different from various terrorist groups’ argument that because they are denied the ability to fight conventionally, they must resort to terrorist tactics? Isn’t it the same damn thing?

  19. Mark says:

    JA,

    Were they apologists for the USSR? Or were they just wrong on economics?

    Yes to both. And I mention them, because they were the people I was in contact with who were politically sensitive. I really have no good way of judging leftists attitudes I don’t know or interact with.

    I’m sorry, I think there is a difference between support a thing and thinking that it is wrong, but something we don’t have to worry about.

    That’s just ridiculous and insulting. I might as well call everyone who doesn’t support a massive invasion of the Congo “people who make light of the evil of genocide.”

    Uhm. No. The people “who make light of the evil of genocide” are the ones on think we should do nothing. Massive invasion is not the only response.

    I’ll respond to your remarks on terrorism and tactics tonight.