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Response to vanlassie (Reply #84)

Mon Mar 4, 2013, 04:15 AM

89. Well, of course, no one who has a lick of sense imagines that governments of any kind

invariably operate on behalf of the public good: powerful organized interests always exist, and they always exert a very definite pressure on their own behalf; blowhards and complete idiots and demagogues and wacko ideologues are not unknown in politics either; and there are also always more than enough people who are entirely sure that they alone are good and that they alone possess Eternal Truth

The Iraq war has been a shameful disgrace IMO, in dozens of ways, from the very beginning: it is true that the Bush administration with great cynicism lied us into a war, which they then tried to convert into a general conflation in the region, beating their wardrums against Iran and Syria and other countries as well, and for what? well, probably to increase Bush's power as President, for one thing, but also to hand wads of cash to their friends in the defense industry

None of this is surprising. I do not say you must accept it, because I hope you do not accept it. But to me, not accepting it means approaching the world with steely-eyed realism: it is critically important to have an accurate and detailed analysis of what happens, based on actual verifiable fact, in order to plan responses with even limited chance of success. In particular, our responses to the status quo cannot be based simply on our emotional reactions: they must be based on efforts to understand and to communicate with people whom we do not understand and who do not understand us and with whom our communication is arduous and strained. This is true at the level of popular politics in the US, and it is also true in international relations

I screamed with rage when Kissinger, who had made his reputation as a strategist of nuclear war, was awarded the Nobel Peace prize; he is IMO a criminal who belongs behind bars; but I grit my teeth and consider the possibility that those who awarded him the prize were as opposed to the Vietnam war as I was and that they might have been shrewder political thinkers than I ever was

You are welcome to support Mr Manning if you so choose. I will not, because he seems to have no coherent analysis and because the justifications I hear of his behavior never seem to me to be supported by actual facts. An fact-based analysis of the world as-it-is, accurate enough to begin to suggest definite tactics and strategies to move us towards the world as-we-hope-it-will-be, is not particularly easy to construct: instinct and economic interest and social pressure and media propaganda all militant against clear thinking. But without a coherent fact-based analysis, we hardly ever win

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LineLineLineLineLineLineNew Reply Well, of course, no one who has a lick of sense imagines that governments of any kind
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