Deliberate ambiguity

"You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. … You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall."

The above is from the famous speech by Jack Nicholson's character in Aaron Sorkin's A Few Good Men. Nicholson's Col. Jessep was a "tough" guy in the sense of "tough" conveyed by the current euphemism for torture: "tough interrogation techniques," which is to say tough in the sense of "brutish, counterproductive and not too bright."

It's worth noting that "the wall" that Nicholson's Col. Jessep was defending was Guantanamo Bay, which means the truth that Jessep can't handle is this: Nobody needed him on that wall. Controlling that tiny slice of Cuba used to stand as the last line of defense between us and … well, between us and not controlling that tiny slice of Cuba. In any case, after decades of military service on "that wall," we were ultimately unable to defend Guantanamo from lawlessness and tyranny because we put it there ourselves.

All of which is to say that The Los Angeles Times was asking the right question yesterday in the editorial, "Do we use torture?" The answer to that question is not something that any American has the luxury of not knowing.

The Times notes that the Bush administration has produced "ambiguity about a subject that cries out for clarity." I think that ambiguity is deliberate. I figure on one end of the spectrum there are X-percent of us who are completely opposed to torture, and on the other end a similar percentage of us who have no qualms about it at all. The rest of that spectrum is a big chunk of people who don't approve of it, but don't want the responsibility of disapproving of it either. They prefer to have, as Col. Jessep put it, "the luxury of not knowing."

President Bush's deliberate ambiguity about torture is partly a matter of legal CYA. The Geneva Conventions are the law of the land — binding, American law — so he can't flout them openly. But this deliberate ambiguity is also a bargain struck with that middle swath of the spectrum. "We don't torture," Bush says, winking broadly and crossing his fingers, and that seems to be good enough for them. Maybe they don't fully believe it, but they want to believe it — or at least they want to live in a world in which they could fully believe it — so they go back to luxuriously not thinking about it.

The somewhat hopeful thing is this: I believe these folks in the middle can be persuaded to come over to our side — that if they can be made to acknowledge what it is they're trying not to know then they will come to oppose the perverse use of torture. I do not think they can be persuaded in the other direction. They may now be acting like the citizens of Sunnydale, desperately denying that the monsters are real, but they would never choose, instead, to become monsters themselves. Take away the deliberate ambiguity and Mitt Romney's despicable "double Guantanamo" nonsense won't produce much applause. (At least, I hope not.)

  • the opoponax

    well, there you go, i guess.
    is it just because i’m a girl that i honestly wouldn’t know what to do with a pike if you gave me one and told me to waste somebody? i mean, sure, pointy end first, but what do i do with it? do i go for the heart, or just poke their eyes out? do i run it through somebody or is bludgeoning a better way to go?
    this is getting silly, and i see your point. i correct myself with the addendum that “i can’t think of any situation in my entire knowledge of (euro-centric, to be fair) military history except medieval infantry where large numbers of soldiers went into battle completely untrained”. though at this point i forget what i was even trying to say, there.

  • 85% Duane

    is it just because i’m a girl that i honestly wouldn’t know what to do with a pike if you gave me one and told me to waste somebody? i mean, sure, pointy end first, but what do i do with it? do i go for the heart, or just poke their eyes out? do i run it through somebody or is bludgeoning a better way to go?
    When you figure it out, lemme know. Where I come from we eat pike.

  • bulbul

    is it just because i’m a girl that i honestly wouldn’t know what to do with a pike if you gave me one and told me to waste somebody?
    No, it’s because you’re a big city girl living in the 21st century. You don’t throw a pike, you thrust it or poke with it. Men armed with pikes were usually standing shoulder to shoulder marching or running at the enemy when attacking, just holding their ground when defending. It’s all very intuitive if you’re a peasant working in the field all damn day.

  • Jeff

    the Israelis hated Teh Evil Muslims so bad that they wouldn’t touch their land with a 10-foot pole (as Bugmaster suggests), they never would have annexed it,
    I’m not Bugmaster, either, and I don’t agree with the premise that “the Israelis hated Teh Evil Muslims so bad that they wouldn’t touch their land with a 10-foot pole”. In the 30′s and 40′s, there were to two (overlapping) types of anti-Zionists: those who believe that the State of Israel (the Promised Land) can’t come into being until the coming of the Messiah (and therefore, “artificial” attempts to create Israel are blasphemy), and those who said “You’re going to put us WHERE?”
    per wikipedia:
    When the Balfour Declaration was issued in 1917, Edwin Montagu, the only Jew in the British Cabinet, “was passionately opposed to the declaration on the grounds that (a) it was a capitulation to anti-Semitic bigotry, with its suggestion that Palestine was the natural destination of the Jews, and that (b) it would be a grave cause of alarm to the Muslim world.”
    I found this interesting:
    In 1873, Shah Nasr-ed-Din met with British Jewish leaders, including Sir Moses Montefiore, during his journey to Europe. At that time, the Persian leader suggested that the Jews buy land and establish a state for the Jewish people.
    King Faisal I of Iraq supported the idea of Zionism and signed the Faisal-Weizmann Agreement in 1919. He wrote: “We Arabs, especially the educated among us, look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. Our delegation here in Paris is fully acquainted with the proposals submitted yesterday to the Zionist organization to the Peace Conference, and we regard them as moderate and proper.”
    All jokes about Miami beach aside, there’s historical precedent for Khazaria (now Khazakstan) as a place of refuge (if not a “homeland”) for the Jews:
    The history of Khazaria presents us with a fascinating example of how Jewish life flourished in the Middle Ages. In a time when Jews were persecuted thruout Christian Europe, the kingdom of Khazaria was a beacon of hope. Jews were able to flourish in Khazaria because of the tolerance of the Khazar rulers, who invited Byzantine and Persian Jewish refugees to settle in their country. Due to the influence of these refugees, the Khazars found the Jewish religion to be appealing and adopted Judaism in large numbers.
    But then, I’m “really” Jewish (as per SuperJew aunursa)!

  • bulbul

    Jeff,
    Faisal was the obvious exception since he had absolutely no stake in the whole deal. What’s more interesting is how Palestinian Arab elites responded to Zionism. My buddy is currently writing a dissertation on the subject, I can ask him whether I can quote some interesting tidbits.
    And don’t forget Birobijan!

  • the opoponax

    (a) it was a capitulation to anti-Semitic bigotry, with its suggestion that Palestine was the natural destination of the Jews, and that (b) it would be a grave cause of alarm to the Muslim world.
    this doesn’t seem to have anything to do with what Bugmaster said, which is that ‘everybody knows’ inter-ethnic/religious conflicts aren’t about territory or resources because group X (Israelis being one of his examples) would see said resources/territory as being tainted and unfit for use. if the Israelis really thought Muslim lands were tainted, they’d be living in Khazaria or Berlin or any number of other chunks of real estate not held by Muslims which were suggested at various times, and they sure as hell wouldn’t have gone to war over the acquisition of adjoining bits of said tainted real estate, and even if they really went to war defensively, they wouldn’t have accepted said bits of real estate, and they certainly wouldn’t have established settlements there which they were then forced to abandon later.
    Montagu seems to be saying that it reeks of anti-Semitism to propose a solution to “The Jewish Problem” which basically amounts to “go back where you came from”, and that the people who currently held the land would be potential enemies. not that land held by Teh Mohammedans is unfit for delicate Jewish toesies to set foot on.

  • Jeff

    In the eyes of the Palestinians, Abbas is a traitor – and, consequently, so is Fatah. Contrary to what aunursa and his likudnik friends might believe, the Palestinians voted Hamas in not because they wanted to drive the Jews into the sea, but because they had had enough of the corrupt Fatah (ever seen the cars their ministers drive?) and hope for a change.
    So driving Jews into the sea was just a side benefit? (BTW, I seriously doubt that Hamas isn’t going to be just as corrupt as Fatah. They’ve just never had an opportunity to find out.)
    No one does. Not even Hamas.
    “Hamas has made a major political climbdown by agreeing to sections of a document that recognise Israel’s right to exist and a negotiated two-state solution, according to Palestinian leaders.”
    I believe this like I believe that Bush wants the best for America and the world. To me, this “document” isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. When they ACT like they believe in a two-state solution, I might start to believe it.
    Like what? Give up some 20% of the West Bank?
    Seriously, Jeff, farkakteh concessions? Talk about khutzpeh…
    I said that Israel is going to have to give up settlements. Don’t cast me as a likudnik, because I’m not. But if the deal is “land for peace”, there has to be a lasting, verifiable, tangible peace. If Israel gives up Gaza and most, if not all of the West Bank, and gets rockets from the north and south and bombs in Tel Aviv, it will have been one of the worst deals ever.

  • the opoponax

    oh, and i wonder if Sasha Baron Cohen knows about this Khazaria thing, or if he picked Khazakstan at random as the home country of Borat?

  • the opoponax

    oh, and i wonder if Sasha Baron Cohen knows about this Khazaria thing, or if he picked Khazakstan at random as the home country of Borat?

  • Jeff

    What’s more interesting is how Palestinian Arab elites responded to Zionism. My buddy is currently writing a dissertation on the subject, I can ask him whether I can quote some interesting tidbits.
    I’d be interested in that as well.
    And don’t forget Birobijan!
    I think Khazakstan has a better claim — it was, at least in part, a Jewish Kingdom:
    About the year 740, many of the Khazars, a powerful Turkish tribe occupying the steppes of southern Russia, became converts to Judaism. More than two centuries later, the report of the existence of this Jewish kingdom aroused the curiosity of Hasdai ibn Shaprut (about 915-970). Ibn Shaprut was not only the personal physician of the Spanish Califs Abd-al-Rahman III (912-961) and his son Hakam II (961-976) but was also inspector-general of customs and an adviser in foreign affairs. To satisfy his curiosity he wrote to the ruler of the Khazars about 960 and some time later received an answer from Joseph, the reigning king. The letters of Hasdai and Joseph, both originally written in Hebrew, are given below in extract.
    But Birobijan has the advantage that you never have to look for a pen!
    this doesn’t seem to have anything to do with what Bugmaster said
    It absolutely doesn’t, because I don’t agree with the premise any more than you do.

  • Jeff

    What’s more interesting is how Palestinian Arab elites responded to Zionism. My buddy is currently writing a dissertation on the subject, I can ask him whether I can quote some interesting tidbits.
    I’d be interested in that as well.
    And don’t forget Birobijan!
    I think Khazakstan has a better claim — it was, at least in part, a Jewish Kingdom:
    About the year 740, many of the Khazars, a powerful Turkish tribe occupying the steppes of southern Russia, became converts to Judaism. More than two centuries later, the report of the existence of this Jewish kingdom aroused the curiosity of Hasdai ibn Shaprut (about 915-970). Ibn Shaprut was not only the personal physician of the Spanish Califs Abd-al-Rahman III (912-961) and his son Hakam II (961-976) but was also inspector-general of customs and an adviser in foreign affairs. To satisfy his curiosity he wrote to the ruler of the Khazars about 960 and some time later received an answer from Joseph, the reigning king. The letters of Hasdai and Joseph, both originally written in Hebrew, are given below in extract.
    But Birobijan has the advantage that you never have to look for a pen!
    this doesn’t seem to have anything to do with what Bugmaster said
    It absolutely doesn’t, because I don’t agree with the premise any more than you do.

  • Bugmaster

    Bulbul gave me a great idea: “the opoponax is just wrong !” There, I win the argument. Sweet !
    Anyway, I’ve never said that inner city/religious conflicts are not about resources at all. Of course, taking resources from people is a major incentive in any conflict. However, I did say that religious/ethnic conflicts are not only about resources, and I’d go so far as saying that they’re not primarily about resources, either. In modern Baghdad, taking over a city block from the Sunnis (or Shiites) won’t give the Shiites (or Sunnis) all that many new resources, unless you’re really into brick collecting for some reason.
    My point about military training was that, in our society, untrained people are often reluctant to use violence. If your neighbour has an annoying dog, you ask him to keep it contained; you don’t shoot him in the head (you don’t even shoot the dog in the head). In situations where violence is already underway, many people would “freeze up”, or attempt to negotiate, etc. It takes military training to overcome these impulses. In war-torn societies, a large majority of the population effectively receives such training; only, as pecunium (?) said, they aren’t trained to discriminate between civilians and combatants. Everyone’s a likely combatant.
    I think it’s a bit disingenuous to rephrase my argument as, “Bugmaster hates brown people” (though it sure sounds good). If our country had the kind of history that Afghanistan did, we’d be in the same boat. Skin color is irrelevant.

  • Bugmaster

    Bulbul gave me a great idea: “the opoponax is just wrong !” There, I win the argument. Sweet !
    Anyway, I’ve never said that inner city/religious conflicts are not about resources at all. Of course, taking resources from people is a major incentive in any conflict. However, I did say that religious/ethnic conflicts are not only about resources, and I’d go so far as saying that they’re not primarily about resources, either. In modern Baghdad, taking over a city block from the Sunnis (or Shiites) won’t give the Shiites (or Sunnis) all that many new resources, unless you’re really into brick collecting for some reason.
    My point about military training was that, in our society, untrained people are often reluctant to use violence. If your neighbour has an annoying dog, you ask him to keep it contained; you don’t shoot him in the head (you don’t even shoot the dog in the head). In situations where violence is already underway, many people would “freeze up”, or attempt to negotiate, etc. It takes military training to overcome these impulses. In war-torn societies, a large majority of the population effectively receives such training; only, as pecunium (?) said, they aren’t trained to discriminate between civilians and combatants. Everyone’s a likely combatant.
    I think it’s a bit disingenuous to rephrase my argument as, “Bugmaster hates brown people” (though it sure sounds good). If our country had the kind of history that Afghanistan did, we’d be in the same boat. Skin color is irrelevant.

  • Drak Pope

    It’s more than a ‘bit disengenuous’. It’s a downright fabrication and a shame to see such good upstanding people such as the readers of the slacktivist blog resorting to character distortion and petty insults in order to get a point across.

  • Drak Pope

    It’s more than a ‘bit disengenuous’. It’s a downright fabrication and a shame to see such good upstanding people such as the readers of the slacktivist blog resorting to character distortion and petty insults in order to get a point across.

  • bulbul

    Don’t cast me as a likudnik, because I’m not.
    I’m not and I know. Just to be clear: I do not presume any bad faith nor ideological preconceptions on your part. I understand you feel strongly about these issues and that our opinions may and do differ.
    But sometimes, like in the case of the latest bruhaha in Gaza, you seem to accept what is being fed to you by the media without questioning it.
    If Israel gives up Gaza and most, if not all of the West Bank
    Gives up? Neither Gaza nor the West Bank are Israel’s to begin with.
    I seriously doubt that Hamas isn’t going to be just as corrupt as Fatah. They’ve just never had an opportunity to find out.
    Well, their fundamentalists, not socialists/pragmatists. And Islamic fundamentalists are harder to corrupt. Especially if they keep in mind what happened to those before them who gave into the temptation.
    I believe this like I believe that Bush wants the best for America and the world.
    Well, over the past year, i.e. since the elections, I have seen Hamas/Palestinian representatives repeat a couple of times that they are ready to recognize and accept the existence of Israel in one way or another. What was the response? “It falls short of international requirements.” Or even “So what?”, as one Israeli government official put it.
    It seems that people are willing to accept Hamas rhetoric at face value in one case (We will never recognize Israel!), but reject it – as political posturing perhaps? – in another (Yeah, ok, you exist and may continue to do so). On what basis do they make that distinction? Are they familiar enough with how politics is done in the Arab world? Do they see Do they realize that Hamas does not want to take the PLO path and accept an questionable deal? Do they realize that Hamas don’t want another Oslo, but a real solution and that’s why they’re very careful to comit to anything?
    IMHO, hardly.
    When they ACT like they believe in a two-state solution, I might start to believe it.
    What would it look like?
    And a related question: what would it look like if Israel really believe in the two-state solution? Would they perhaps stop building illegal settlements in the West Bank?

  • bulbul

    Don’t cast me as a likudnik, because I’m not.
    I’m not and I know. Just to be clear: I do not presume any bad faith nor ideological preconceptions on your part. I understand you feel strongly about these issues and that our opinions may and do differ.
    But sometimes, like in the case of the latest bruhaha in Gaza, you seem to accept what is being fed to you by the media without questioning it.
    If Israel gives up Gaza and most, if not all of the West Bank
    Gives up? Neither Gaza nor the West Bank are Israel’s to begin with.
    I seriously doubt that Hamas isn’t going to be just as corrupt as Fatah. They’ve just never had an opportunity to find out.
    Well, their fundamentalists, not socialists/pragmatists. And Islamic fundamentalists are harder to corrupt. Especially if they keep in mind what happened to those before them who gave into the temptation.
    I believe this like I believe that Bush wants the best for America and the world.
    Well, over the past year, i.e. since the elections, I have seen Hamas/Palestinian representatives repeat a couple of times that they are ready to recognize and accept the existence of Israel in one way or another. What was the response? “It falls short of international requirements.” Or even “So what?”, as one Israeli government official put it.
    It seems that people are willing to accept Hamas rhetoric at face value in one case (We will never recognize Israel!), but reject it – as political posturing perhaps? – in another (Yeah, ok, you exist and may continue to do so). On what basis do they make that distinction? Are they familiar enough with how politics is done in the Arab world? Do they see Do they realize that Hamas does not want to take the PLO path and accept an questionable deal? Do they realize that Hamas don’t want another Oslo, but a real solution and that’s why they’re very careful to comit to anything?
    IMHO, hardly.
    When they ACT like they believe in a two-state solution, I might start to believe it.
    What would it look like?
    And a related question: what would it look like if Israel really believe in the two-state solution? Would they perhaps stop building illegal settlements in the West Bank?

  • bulbul

    “the opoponax is just wrong !” There, I win the argument. Sweet !
    Dang it, you got a point there…
    In modern Baghdad, taking over a city block from the Sunnis (or Shiites) won’t give the Shiites (or Sunnis) all that many new resources, unless you’re really into brick collecting for some reason.
    No, it won’t. But what it will give to them is a little bit more control over the city. And with another city block and another city block and another and another, they will be able to control the whole city and maybe even the whole country.
    Ever heard of long-term strategy?
    untrained people are often reluctant to use violence. If your neighbour has an annoying dog, you ask him to keep it contained; you don’t shoot him in the head
    Wow, what a stupid line of reasoning! Kudzo, Bugmaster, you’ve outdone yourself yet again. I don’t shoot my neigbor’s annoying dog because
    a) I don’t have a gun,
    b) even if I had one, I’d still remind myself that I do not live in a lawless society and that the society I do live in has other ways of dealing with this problem.
    Now if the structures of our society should collapse (God forbid!), you’d see how fast people would resort to solving their problems with violence. In fact, there have been many excellent works of fiction dealing with this.
    It takes military training to overcome these impulses [to solve a situation in a non-violent manner].
    No, it doesn’t. If you’re in the right state of mind, it takes the right word. Or a wrong look.

  • bulbul

    “the opoponax is just wrong !” There, I win the argument. Sweet !
    Dang it, you got a point there…
    In modern Baghdad, taking over a city block from the Sunnis (or Shiites) won’t give the Shiites (or Sunnis) all that many new resources, unless you’re really into brick collecting for some reason.
    No, it won’t. But what it will give to them is a little bit more control over the city. And with another city block and another city block and another and another, they will be able to control the whole city and maybe even the whole country.
    Ever heard of long-term strategy?
    untrained people are often reluctant to use violence. If your neighbour has an annoying dog, you ask him to keep it contained; you don’t shoot him in the head
    Wow, what a stupid line of reasoning! Kudzo, Bugmaster, you’ve outdone yourself yet again. I don’t shoot my neigbor’s annoying dog because
    a) I don’t have a gun,
    b) even if I had one, I’d still remind myself that I do not live in a lawless society and that the society I do live in has other ways of dealing with this problem.
    Now if the structures of our society should collapse (God forbid!), you’d see how fast people would resort to solving their problems with violence. In fact, there have been many excellent works of fiction dealing with this.
    It takes military training to overcome these impulses [to solve a situation in a non-violent manner].
    No, it doesn’t. If you’re in the right state of mind, it takes the right word. Or a wrong look.

  • bulbul

    I think Khazakstan has a better claim — it was, at least in part, a Jewish Kingdom:
    Not to open a giant can of worms, but how Jewish? Religion Jewish or ethnicity Jewish?

  • bulbul

    I think Khazakstan has a better claim — it was, at least in part, a Jewish Kingdom:
    Not to open a giant can of worms, but how Jewish? Religion Jewish or ethnicity Jewish?

  • Jonathan Edelstein

    And don’t forget Birobijan!
    Technically, Birobijan is still the capital of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast. Yes, there are two nominally-Jewish political entities in the world, and there are even still a few Jews in Birobijan to give it verisimilitude! The project was probably doomed, though, once Stalin started closing down the institutions and sending all the settlers to the gulag.
    In any event, as a lifelong Zionist of the Peace Now variety and a somewhat-more-than-casual student of Israeli politics, I’ve never once heard of any ideological or religious statement that formerly-Muslim land is tainted. If anyone did have such an absurd opinion, though, Khazaria would be right out as an alternative, because it’s Muslim-populated today.
    BTW, Opoponax, the only Israelis in Sinai for the past 25 years have been there on vacation. You probably know that, but just making sure.

  • Jonathan Edelstein

    And don’t forget Birobijan!
    Technically, Birobijan is still the capital of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast. Yes, there are two nominally-Jewish political entities in the world, and there are even still a few Jews in Birobijan to give it verisimilitude! The project was probably doomed, though, once Stalin started closing down the institutions and sending all the settlers to the gulag.
    In any event, as a lifelong Zionist of the Peace Now variety and a somewhat-more-than-casual student of Israeli politics, I’ve never once heard of any ideological or religious statement that formerly-Muslim land is tainted. If anyone did have such an absurd opinion, though, Khazaria would be right out as an alternative, because it’s Muslim-populated today.
    BTW, Opoponax, the only Israelis in Sinai for the past 25 years have been there on vacation. You probably know that, but just making sure.

  • Jonathan Edelstein

    Not to open a giant can of worms, but how Jewish? Religion Jewish or ethnicity Jewish?
    Opinions vary as to whether the Khazar conversions went beyond the ruling class and, if so, how far. My semi-educated guess is that Judaism never put down deep roots, because it didn’t take long for the Khazars to disappear as a distinct people once they were conquered. When you consider how many centuries the Copts or Armenians remained distinct, that would seem to argue in favor of a lightly held and easily abandoned religious identity among the Khazars.
    The religious-ethnic dichotomy wasn’t really a meaningful one for Jews at that time.

  • the opoponax

    @ Bugmaster: “I’ve never said that inner city/religious conflicts are not about resources at all.”
    O, RLY?
    earlier today — “…many of them consider that land which has been touched by filthy Sunnis/Shiites/Jews/Kurds/whatever is not land that is fit to live on.”
    you have yet to substantiate this claim, which implies that you’re saying that most ethnic/tribal/religious conflicts are not much about resources, because any infrastructure/territory/resources/property/whatever captured would be considered “not fit to live on”.
    @ Jonathan Edelstein — between ’67 and the early 80′s there were Israeli settlements in the Sinai, which had to be abandoned when Israel gave the territory back to Egypt. that is what i was referring to, sorry if it wasn’t clear.

  • the opoponax

    oh, and for Bulbul – from what i could garner from the Wikipedia article, the Khazars invited Persian Jews to settle there, liked what they saw, and decided to convert. which to me implies that we’re talking religious practice.

  • the opoponax

    oh, and for Bulbul – from what i could garner from the Wikipedia article, the Khazars invited Persian Jews to settle there, liked what they saw, and decided to convert. which to me implies that we’re talking religious practice.

  • bulbul

    opo,
    to clarify: mine was more of a rhetorical questions. Most accounts that I know of (including, say, Jehuda ha-Levi’s Kuzari) imply that the Khazars converted to Judaism.
    Jonathan,
    I’ve never once heard of any ideological or religious statement that formerly-Muslim land is tainted
    Neither have I, as a student of Islam and – tangently – Judaism. Please take anything Bugmaster writes with a grain block of salt.

  • bulbul

    The religious-ethnic dichotomy wasn’t really a meaningful one for Jews at that time.
    Very true. That dichotomy is a relatively new invention in any case.

  • bulbul

    The religious-ethnic dichotomy wasn’t really a meaningful one for Jews at that time.
    Very true. That dichotomy is a relatively new invention in any case.

  • bulbul

    OK, seriously, what the hell is wrong with me? I’ve been missing suffixes and adding them where they shouldn’t be all day.
    Waaaay past my bedtime, anyway. Night all.

  • bulbul

    OK, seriously, what the hell is wrong with me? I’ve been missing suffixes and adding them where they shouldn’t be all day.
    Waaaay past my bedtime, anyway. Night all.

  • Jeff

    you seem to accept what is being fed to you by the media without questioning it.
    I do question it, but I try to put it in context of what I [think I] know. The problem with Hamas is the problem with Hezbollah — the terrorist part is intricately tied with the charity part. I believe (wrongly, perhaps) that Fatah was at least attempting to isolate itself from the terrorist part.
    If we could turn back the clock some 70 years, I’d be in favor of going back to about 600 to 800. The rule of the Caliphates in Jerusalem has been stated by many to be a time of peace and tolerance. Then came the First Crusade, and here we are today.
    What would it look like if Israel really believe in the two-state solution? Would they perhaps stop building illegal settlements in the West Bank?
    Duh, yeah. I’ve said so on nearly EVERY. SINGLE. POST! I’ve even said that existing settlements should be returned to the Palestinians.
    As for Hamas, I believed that Sein Fein was serious about negotiating when they started dis-arming the IRA, and cracking down on splinter cells. Hamas/Fatah/the PLO/KAOS/THRUSH needs to do the same — crack down hard on Islamic Jihad and other splinter groups. Outsourcing terrorism doesn’t make it go away.
    “Kuzari” is funny to me because “kazuri” (spelling approximate) is something made up of disparate elements thrown together without thought.

  • the opoponax

    THRUSH?
    these people name their splinter cells after fungal infections of the tongue??
    wow. what’s next, STAPH?
    CANDIDA?
    ATHLETE’S FOOT?
    RINGWORM?

  • the opoponax

    THRUSH?
    these people name their splinter cells after fungal infections of the tongue??
    wow. what’s next, STAPH?
    CANDIDA?
    ATHLETE’S FOOT?
    RINGWORM?

  • aunursa

    Jeff,
    I am not, as aunursa is, an Israel-can-do-no-wrong type.
    in that case we have something in common.
    You also are not a Palestinians-can-do-no-wrong or Israel-can-do-no-right type … characteristics I have found common to most anti-Zionists.
    bulbul,
    Well, over the past year, i.e. since the elections, I have seen Hamas/Palestinian representatives repeat a couple of times that they are ready to recognize and accept the existence of Israel in one way or another. What was the response? “It falls short of international requirements.” Or even “So what?”, as one Israeli government official put it.
    The international demand is not that Hamas must recognize Israel, a deed that is contained in the virulently anti-Semitic Hamas Charter (i.e. The Charter states, “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it…”) The demand is that Hamas must recognize Israel’s right to exist … something Hamas leaders have vowed will never happen. In accordance with Islamic law, Hamas views all temporary truces as just that — temporary — viable only while they are weak, to be dissolved when they are strong enough to once again attack the enemy.

  • aunursa

    Jeff,
    I am not, as aunursa is, an Israel-can-do-no-wrong type.
    in that case we have something in common.
    You also are not a Palestinians-can-do-no-wrong or Israel-can-do-no-right type … characteristics I have found common to most anti-Zionists.
    bulbul,
    Well, over the past year, i.e. since the elections, I have seen Hamas/Palestinian representatives repeat a couple of times that they are ready to recognize and accept the existence of Israel in one way or another. What was the response? “It falls short of international requirements.” Or even “So what?”, as one Israeli government official put it.
    The international demand is not that Hamas must recognize Israel, a deed that is contained in the virulently anti-Semitic Hamas Charter (i.e. The Charter states, “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it…”) The demand is that Hamas must recognize Israel’s right to exist … something Hamas leaders have vowed will never happen. In accordance with Islamic law, Hamas views all temporary truces as just that — temporary — viable only while they are weak, to be dissolved when they are strong enough to once again attack the enemy.

  • pecunium

    opponax: re training and medieval warfare:
    There are a number of things going on.
    Levies were told to grab what was handy, and fall in. They basically stood in groups and got slaughtered.
    But levies weren’t the usual thing. They had to be freemen, as a rule, and would have done some training. That’s not a whole lot.
    Men at arms were trained, and that was what the obligation to provide mandated (X number of mounted men, with equipage; and attendants, X number of men at arms). Being a footsoldier, in the height of feudalism was a tough row to hoe.
    By the time the renaissance shows up, things are different. Pikes require training (contra Bulbul… pikes were no small part of the death of cavalry as the arm of decision, horses won’t charge pikes [or even bayonets]). I’ve trained in pike. It’s gruesome. The pikeman isn’t fighting the guy directly in front of him. He’s trying to stick the guy 1-3 files to the side. He is also defending the guy to his left (or right, depending on the way that company has trained). So you can attack the guy 1-3 files away, because you trust the guy 1-3 file from you will be keeping the in front of you from turning you into a shishkebab.
    Different parts of Europe had different requirements (the English Fyrd, the German Jarls; and freimen, the French villeins, etc.), but the local levy was untrained. Called from the fields, and expected to stand. They usually didn’t. Since the big thing was ransom, and they couldn’t pay (as well as being without real armor) they died out of proportion to their number.
    re THRUSH: That was the name of the bad guys in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

  • pecunium

    opponax: re training and medieval warfare:
    There are a number of things going on.
    Levies were told to grab what was handy, and fall in. They basically stood in groups and got slaughtered.
    But levies weren’t the usual thing. They had to be freemen, as a rule, and would have done some training. That’s not a whole lot.
    Men at arms were trained, and that was what the obligation to provide mandated (X number of mounted men, with equipage; and attendants, X number of men at arms). Being a footsoldier, in the height of feudalism was a tough row to hoe.
    By the time the renaissance shows up, things are different. Pikes require training (contra Bulbul… pikes were no small part of the death of cavalry as the arm of decision, horses won’t charge pikes [or even bayonets]). I’ve trained in pike. It’s gruesome. The pikeman isn’t fighting the guy directly in front of him. He’s trying to stick the guy 1-3 files to the side. He is also defending the guy to his left (or right, depending on the way that company has trained). So you can attack the guy 1-3 files away, because you trust the guy 1-3 file from you will be keeping the in front of you from turning you into a shishkebab.
    Different parts of Europe had different requirements (the English Fyrd, the German Jarls; and freimen, the French villeins, etc.), but the local levy was untrained. Called from the fields, and expected to stand. They usually didn’t. Since the big thing was ransom, and they couldn’t pay (as well as being without real armor) they died out of proportion to their number.
    re THRUSH: That was the name of the bad guys in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

  • Jeff

    THRUSH: That was the name of the bad guys in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
    Yup. I figured that was a natural progression from KAOS, although I suppose I should have added SPECTRE as well.

  • Jeff

    THRUSH: That was the name of the bad guys in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
    Yup. I figured that was a natural progression from KAOS, although I suppose I should have added SPECTRE as well.

  • Jeff

    Here’s a LOLScott for this thread.

  • Jeff

    Here’s a LOLScott for this thread.

  • Bugmaster

    O, RLY?
    earlier today — “…many of them consider that land which has been touched by filthy Sunnis/Shiites/Jews/Kurds/whatever is not land that is fit to live on.”YA, RLY, though I can see how my wording could’ve been confusing. What I meant was that $people1 are seen as a sort of corruption by $people2 — a sort of toxic spill, only more evil. You won’t live on a toxic spill, but once it’s properly cleaned up, it’s all good. Destroying the corruption, and eliminating its source, is a top priority, but it helps that you capture resources in the process.
    NOTE: this is an analogy, I’m not saying that anyone literally believes that $people1 are toxic or radioactive.

  • Bugmaster

    O, RLY?
    earlier today — “…many of them consider that land which has been touched by filthy Sunnis/Shiites/Jews/Kurds/whatever is not land that is fit to live on.”YA, RLY, though I can see how my wording could’ve been confusing. What I meant was that $people1 are seen as a sort of corruption by $people2 — a sort of toxic spill, only more evil. You won’t live on a toxic spill, but once it’s properly cleaned up, it’s all good. Destroying the corruption, and eliminating its source, is a top priority, but it helps that you capture resources in the process.
    NOTE: this is an analogy, I’m not saying that anyone literally believes that $people1 are toxic or radioactive.

  • damnedyankee

    THRUSH: That was the name of the bad guys in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
    Yup. I figured that was a natural progression from KAOS, although I suppose I should have added SPECTRE as well.
    COBRAAAAAAAAAAA!

  • damnedyankee

    THRUSH: That was the name of the bad guys in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
    Yup. I figured that was a natural progression from KAOS, although I suppose I should have added SPECTRE as well.
    COBRAAAAAAAAAAA!

  • the opoponax

    bugmaster, you have GOT to move past this whole “actually, what i meant was…” thing. it does not serve you well. say what you mean in the first place, and if people call you out for being wrong, just cop to it, ok?
    people “misunderstand” your posts so often that it cannot at this point be a coincidence.

  • the opoponax

    bugmaster, you have GOT to move past this whole “actually, what i meant was…” thing. it does not serve you well. say what you mean in the first place, and if people call you out for being wrong, just cop to it, ok?
    people “misunderstand” your posts so often that it cannot at this point be a coincidence.

  • Bugmaster

    Sorry, opo, I’m a programmer, not a writer. I can write my posts in C, if you’d like, but beyound that, you’re going to have to make a better effort of listening.


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