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Response to the beheading

 
Leverager of our synergies
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Warren: Now, you could argue that glasnost was an error on Gorbachev's part, and that without it, he might have been able to continue a rule by fear. On the other hand, the intellectual liberty from glasnost may have helped compensate for the continued downward Soviet economic spiral in the 1980s; it's possible that without glasnost, the revolution would only have been accelerated.

I don't see it this way. I think, you underestimate the level of conformism 70 years of censorships caused. People grumbled, of course, but people always grumble. I think, Russians dreamed to overthrow their government no more than Americans are ready to overthrow theirs. It could be different in non-Russian parts of the Soviet Union, though, I don't know. It all was started by Gorbachev and his glasnost. Out of a sudden books and articles appeared, that described what horrible crimes the Communist Party committed, and naturally, people were shocked. Then there was simply an excitement of something new in the air, some new ideas and new possibilities. I remember, when the first freely elected Parliament had its sessions, it was shown on TV in real time -- the whole days of debates, day by day. I had a radio on work to listen, and then when I went home, I would miss nothing either, because there were TVs working in each house on my way, so you could just listen to them non-stop from one house to another.

Then people became impatient with Gorbachev's speed of reforms, who probably was busy intriguing and performing some sophisticated manoeuvres on his fellow members of Politburo. Yeltsin sounded more radical, so he got more support from people. He is simply a demagogue, as I think now, but in a country when there were no free elections last 70 years, the political culture is mostly composed of naivete and wishful thinking.

Then the country went out of control and Gorbachev's sophisticated manoeuvres became obsolete. He probably went through a tragedy of Shakespearean caliber.
[ May 15, 2004: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
Greenhorn
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:
[QB]
Just to be technically correct, the Iraqi prisoners in almost all cases are not POWs and therefore not subject to the same level of protections under the Geneva Conventions that soldiers enjoy. In most cases they are likely either criminals or illegal combatants. The Geneva Conventions are pretty specific about what a lawful combatant is


Sounds like US combatants are lawful technically

Geneva Convention is also very specific defining that unreasonable and unprovoked attack of another country is NOT lawful in any way

Technical terms disagree with your statement and give more lawfulness to those who struggle against unprovoked and brutal foreign occupation

Then, don't you miss temporal sequence what is the reason and the sequence? Jessica Linch, cobatant, was kept in hospital and US deny basic civil rights even to your own compatriots - the same about the reason that beheaded couldn't withdraw itself

I was quite striked by an explanation of the guards maltreates inmates that they were from US prisons and was not instructed on POW treatment. No comments requires

Another fact that striked me is all about those photos - ivolved even did not think that they were doing something ugly.
Or explanation that it was psico treatmente and no painful activitywas done. By this reasoning, it is possible to drug someone and explain that no pain was done. Or come even to ultimate reasoning - it is chemical light who sadomized and not guards themselves. Or just remote bombing of countries' infrastructures, putting in havoc the country by dismantling police and security forces, anything that functioned - no harm to civilians implied(?)

According to evidences collected by to International Red Cross representatives, 90-95% of prisoners in Iraq are there without any reason (including the case with beheaded) - just routine massive bringing all around to the values of freedom and democracy

Or in order to liberate, one can kill, torture, bring to starvation millions

How those with such distorted mentality and pricnciples can have any lawfullness
[ May 15, 2004: Message edited by: Sporwik Zoid ]
 
Mapraputa Is
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Thought that I need to say I am impressed with your, guys, knowledge of Russian rather remote events. Have you monitored them all?
 
Greenhorn
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Originally posted by Joe King:

In the context of this document, the UK is more guilty then the US - the UK signed this convention, but the US didnt.



No comment about US policy - I'm UK and I love the americans I met, but you don't sign anything - Koyoto, etc. Blame US first compared to UK, cos you call shots.

Me.
UK.
 
mister krabs
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I was quite striked by an explanation of the guards maltreates inmates that they were from US prisons and was not instructed on POW treatment. No comments requires

Actually, I believe it was the opposite. The guards who had experience in US prisons did a good job with the prisoners and treated them well. The guards involved in the abuse were military reservists in the military police with no prior prison experience.
 
Sheriff
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
[b] The guards involved in the abuse were military reservists in the military police with no prior prison experience.



From what I'm hearing, not even all of them were trained as military police. For example, one claims he was trained to drive trucks. That wouldn't particularly surprise me, since I know that the military often uses people trained in one specialty to augment other forces when needed, often with very minimal training given.

The double standard over this whole affair is quite striking. For example, the US populace is quite horrified with both the prisoner abuse (minus those who wish to turn the even to their political advantage) and the beheading of Berg. Judging from the Arab media though, it seems that while they are up in arms over the humiliation handed out to the prisoners, they really don't seem to care about the beheading of Berg. These crimes aren't even close to the same order of magnitude in my book, but maybe it's a cultural thing.
 
blacksmith
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Johna Watsonb:

No comment about US policy - I'm UK and I love the americans I met, but you don't sign anything - Koyoto, etc. Blame US first compared to UK, cos you call shots.

Plus the scandalous UK prison abuse photos were shown to be faked by the tabloids for a good news story....

With regard to where the U.S. problems came from, this story indicates that the problems were not from the active duty military police (MP) units which had training in how to deal with POWs, but from a reserve MP unit which did not have such training, and instead took their cues from members who had civilian prison backgrounds:

The real trouble started after Oct. 15, when the 372nd Military Police Company, a segment of the 320th Battalion based in Cresaptown, Md., took over Abu Ghraib from a military police company based in Henderson, Nev. The 372nd soldiers, reservists from small-town America, were not trained to be prison guards. An MP officer from another unit at Abu Ghraib said he was struck by their unprofessionalism....

With little experience in corrections, the unit deferred to MPs who had civilian prison backgrounds. "Detainee care appears to have been made up as the operations developed with reliance on, and guidance from, junior members of the unit who had civilian corrections experience," Taguba later found.
 
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Originally posted by Johna Watsonb:


No comment about US policy - I'm UK and I love the americans I met, but you don't sign anything - Koyoto, etc. Blame US first compared to UK, cos you call shots.

Me.
UK.



Hey! I'm English!

I was pointing out that legally the UK is probably slightly more wrong than the US on any prisoner maltreatment, but morally is a different matter. What is most confusing is that the US said that the prisoners are not POWs so the Geneva Conventions dont apply, but then Rumsfeld said that more photos cant be released to the public because the Geneva Conventions do apply...

Kyoto is a whole other topic..... I think the treaty is slightly flawed, but its better than nothing - more people will die because of pollution in the next 100 years than because of terrorism, so I think we may need to evaluate our priorities slightly. Countries like the US and China which contribute a huge amount to world pollution really need to get their act together....
[ May 18, 2004: Message edited by: Joe King ]
 
Joe King
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Originally posted by Warren Dew:

Plus the scandalous UK prison abuse photos were shown to be faked by the tabloids for a good news story....



This didn't suprise me in the slightest. I once met the now ex-editor of the paper who published the pictures, and he came over as a very arrogant man. Having heard more about some of the decisions and practices used by that paper, it wouldn't suprise me if they had a large suspicion that the pictures were fake but published them anyway.
[ May 18, 2004: Message edited by: Joe King ]
 
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:


Judging from the Arab media though, it seems that while they are up in arms over the humiliation handed out to the prisoners, they really don't seem to care about the beheading of Berg. These crimes aren't even close to the same order of magnitude in my book, but maybe it's a cultural thing.



Bizarrely enough, it seemed that while some supposedly moderate newspapers refused to condemn the beheading, Hezbollah came out solidly against it.

But isn't that the same group that has targetd buses with little school children and supports suicide bombers blowing themselves up in public places??

Must be a cultural thing...
 
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Originally posted by herb slocomb:


Bizarrely enough, it seemed that while some supposedly moderate newspapers refused to condemn the beheading, Hezbollah came out solidly against it.

But isn't that the same group that has targetd buses with little school children and supports suicide bombers blowing themselves up in public places??

Must be a cultural thing...



More likely they are angry because they weren't invited to the party...
Or maybe the murdered person was in the ME on business for Hezbollah...
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Warren Dew:
herb slocomb:


My reading of The Prince, by the way, is that the techniques described therein do not have a goal of "minimizing human suffering", but only of allowing the prince to gain and retain power as efficiently as possible. Sometimes that involves minimizing human suffering, sometimes not.



In his other writings, Machiavelli clearly denounces princes and tyrants who maintain their rule but bring suffering and death to their subjects (Discources, I, 10).

Furthermore from The Prince;

"... for with a very few examples of cruelty he will be more compassionate than those who, out of excessive mercy, permit disorders to continue, from which arise murders and plundering; for these usually harm the community at large, while the executions that come from the prince harm particuular individuals."



Machiavelli further states that the methods appropriate for use by the ruler of a Principality - what we would today call an autocracy - were very different from those appropriate to a Republic, and his other writings pretty clearly indicate that he thinks Republics are better for the people.



Yes, he clearly thinks a Republic superior, yet just as clearly he would recognize Iraq today as a "corrupt state" incapable of being a true Republic. Iraq needs a virtuous prince willing to temporarily "enter into evil" for the purpose of establishing control and uniting the country so that it may be made ready for a Republic. Until the various rebellions in Iraq are effectively crushed by whatever means, there is no hope for the country. The future will be more rebellion as other factions grow bolder seeing the lack of real punishment, increasing chaos, then open civil war, and finally a tyrant or cleric of the winning faction assuming complete control.

I picked up a little gem of a book called "Machiavelli on Modern Leadership" which gives modern examples of how the same tactics advocated in the Prince have been successful in the last century. One fascinating example of many was that Churchill once knew in advance of the Nazi plan to attack the residential area Conventry, yet took no actions to alert the citizens so that they might prepare. Certainly sacrificing your own citizens is more cold blooded than sacrificing enemy citizens, yet I hope we can realize that a Nazi victory would have had a net effect of more suffering. The same resolve will be needed in Iraq, but short-sightedness, stupidty, and political attacks at home and abroad will never allow the US to adopt the effective tactics that are needed.
 
Jeroen Wenting
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Of course according to Machiavelli Saddam would have served perfectly as that unifying factor until such time a trusted advisor could assassinate him and take over, leading the country towards a true republic.
 
Oid Sporschik
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When someone commits atrocities, he tries to hide them (using masks, banning cameras), americans film themselves and smile
 
Jason Menard
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"Sporwik Zoid",

Welcome to JavaRanch. We have a naming convention here which you read when you created your account. That convention states that obviously fake names are not allowed here. Your name appears to fall into that category. Please change your display name to comply with our policy. I would also strongly recommend you read the document titled Meaningless Drivel which contains a brief although by no means exhaustive outline of guidelines relevant to this forum.
[ May 27, 2004: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
 
Oid Sporschik
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It is my artist name (pseudonym). Even in USA it is widely used and legal to use
 
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Originally posted by Sporwik Zoid:
It is my artist name (pseudonym). Even in USA it is widely used and legal to use



But not on JavaRanch. Please change your name.
 
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