American Imperialism


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Re: American Imperialism

Postby jazzcyclist » Mon Jul 04, 2011 6:42 pm

kuha wrote:
jazzcyclist wrote:When asked if waterboarding was torture during the 2008 Presidential campaign, Rudy Guiliani answered, "It depends on who's doing it." That's the American nationalist attitude in a nutshell.


Total bullshit. Absolute, total, and outrageous bullshit. That was Rudy Guiliani's attitude--and the attitude of those who thought like him. It's an insult to a very large group of people to say that it was "the American nationalist attitude."

You obviously didn't catch which definition of nationalist I'm using. I'm not talking about definition #1 which is a synonym for patriot. I'm talking about definition #2 which is a synonym for jingoist. This is the definition that George Orwell was using when he wrote his Notes on Nationalism which included ideas like this:

All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage-torture, the use of hostages, forced labor, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians-which does not change its moral color when committed by ‘our’ side.… The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.... A known fact may be so unbearable that it is habitually pushed aside and not allowed to enter into logical processes, or on the other hand it may enter into every calculation and yet never be admitted as a fact, even in one’s own mind.


Based on your post history, I definitely would not classify you as an "American Nationist", kuha.

kuha wrote:I'll repeat my comment on an earlier page. Your stirring of the pot here really isn't going anywhere. You're pretending to deal with deep ethical and philosophical issues, and you simply aren't. There MAY well be interesting and enlightening ways to deal with these matters, but you haven't discovered them.

Regardless of how you feel about me, I enjoy reading you posts and look forward to reading more of them in the future, KUHA. Thanks for keeping it civil. :)
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby bman » Mon Jul 04, 2011 6:46 pm

Marlow wrote:I hate to break it to you, but the VAST majority of the world's population sees the rest of the world through a filter called nationalism, squarely centered on national self-interest. The USA has no monopoly on it.


Yes but many other nations tend to be better at expressing this self interest in less harmful ways.
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby Daisy » Mon Jul 04, 2011 6:51 pm

jazzcyclist wrote:Regardless of how you feel about me, I enjoy reading you posts and look forward to reading more of them in the future, KUHA. Thanks for keeping it civil. :)

For crying out loud jazz, here I am waiting for the knock out punch and this is the best you can do! We want blood! GH, I want my money back :twisted:
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby kuha » Mon Jul 04, 2011 7:18 pm

jazzcyclist wrote:Regardless of how you feel about me, I enjoy reading you posts and look forward to reading more of them in the future, KUHA. Thanks for keeping it civil. :)


I totally respect you and posted what I did because I know you are a very thoughtful and serious guy. I just happen to disagree with the angle you're taking on this issue.
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby Marlow » Tue Jul 05, 2011 3:51 am

bman wrote:
Marlow wrote:I hate to break it to you, but the VAST majority of the world's population sees the rest of the world through a filter called nationalism, squarely centered on national self-interest. The USA has no monopoly on it.

Yes but many other nations tend to be better at expressing this self interest in less harmful ways.

Only because they don't have the 'power' to back up their self-interests. Their attitudes are identical.
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby jazzcyclist » Tue Jul 05, 2011 4:08 am

Marlow wrote:
bman wrote:
Marlow wrote:I hate to break it to you, but the VAST majority of the world's population sees the rest of the world through a filter called nationalism, squarely centered on national self-interest. The USA has no monopoly on it.

Yes but many other nations tend to be better at expressing this self interest in less harmful ways.

Only because they don't have the 'power' to back up their self-interests. Their attitudes are identical.

That is true. There's no nation in history that once it became a superpower, didn't eventually abuse its power and overextend itself. In that regard, the U.S. is very unexceptional. A truly exceptional nation would be a nation that didn't abuse this power IMO. Will China be any different once it passes us up?
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby Marlow » Tue Jul 05, 2011 4:27 am

jazzcyclist wrote:That is true. There's no nation in history that once it became a superpower, didn't eventually abuse its power and overextend itself. In that regard, the U.S. is very unexceptional. A truly exceptional nation would be a nation that didn't abuse this power IMO. Will China be any different once it passes us up?

How many nations have done as we did in the first Gulf War, when we defeated a country and left the guy who instigated it in power? Not many. And it was a mistake.
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby jazzcyclist » Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:38 am

Marlow wrote:
jazzcyclist wrote:That is true. There's no nation in history that once it became a superpower, didn't eventually abuse its power and overextend itself. In that regard, the U.S. is very unexceptional. A truly exceptional nation would be a nation that didn't abuse this power IMO. Will China be any different once it passes us up?

How many nations have done as we did in the first Gulf War, when we defeated a country and left the guy who instigated it in power? Not many. And it was a mistake.

Well, we did have other allies to consider, but I don't think it was a mistake. The mistake was the second Iraq War. After Saddam had been neutered and was no longer a threat to anyone in the region, we should have done what the French wanted to do, which was go back to doing business with Iraq as usual instead of punishing the Iraqi people with s decade of sanctions. Just think of all the business opportunities that were lost during that period and all the blowback that was created by the suffering of the Iraqi people.
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby jazzcyclist » Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:03 am

kuha wrote:I totally respect you and posted what I did because I know you are a very thoughtful and serious guy. I just happen to disagree with the angle you're taking on this issue.

Maybe one day when you lose the red, white and blue tinted glasses, you'll come around.
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby kuha » Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:12 am

jazzcyclist wrote:the red, white and blue tinted glasses


Now, that's just funny. I honestly don't think I remotely qualify for that role.
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby catson52 » Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:44 am

Interesting discussions and views. Two comments.
"Will China be different"? Absolutely no, they have already showed by many of their actions that their "we" and "they" attitude is perhaps worse than those of others. Small hints hold the key. As a long term democrat voter, I dropped John Edwards like a hot potato, as soon as I heard his reactions to taking $800-$1500 haircuts at others' expense. I had serious arguments with members of my family. Have not heard anything from them after Edwards' true colors were revealed.

The First Gulf War may have been justified, though many will argue re driving oil interests. But the way things were conducted, leaves something to be desired. Incinerating soldiers and tanks that were running away like in a video game, leaves a lot to be desired. Getting children of advertising agency people (from the Middle East) to give totally concocted evidence to Congress, about Iraqi soldiers pulling babies off breathing apparatus in hospitals, is indefensible.

Ultimately, when no action is taken against those who commit crimes, it is an open invitation to others to try and top it. "Imperial" powers have long suffered from this, be it the Brits in their colonies in the 19th and 20th century (a particularly bad example is that the British Foreign Office has destroyed its notes/communications on what went on during the Mau-Mau rebellion in Kenya). We Americans have also been guilty, be it in the Phillipines early 20th century - Mark Twain's devastating comments, or My Lai, just to quote two examples. Given their past record, I for one am not looking forward to China's hegemony.
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby jazzcyclist » Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:18 am

TN1965 wrote:Truman certainly would not have liked the idea of allowing USSR to have a stronger position on the postwar settlement of Japan (or Korea for that matter). He already knew that USSR would start attacking Japan three months after Germany's surrender (Aug. 9), and wanted to force Japan to surrender as soon as possible. And given how quickly USSR conquered the Kuril islands, it is not hard to imagine what they might have done to Hokkaido had the war continued even for a few extra months.

Of all the many reasons given for nuking Japan, this one is by far the most believable, logical and understandable. Truman's sense of urgency would have meant that even a land invasion would have not been quick enough. Why do you think we don't hear this more from pundits and historians? Is it because it doesn't sound noble and altruistic enough? And that it doesn't match the pious platitudes that politicians like to use when describing the US's conduct during WWII?

One thing I like about James Baker is that he spoke to us like adults when he was Secretary of State. When asked why were going to war with Iraq back in 1990, he said, "It's about the oil". No pious platitudes out of his mouth. This country really needs more leaders like him who will give it to us straight.
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby Conor Dary » Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:21 am

kuha wrote:
jazzcyclist wrote:the red, white and blue tinted glasses


Now, that's just funny. I honestly don't think I remotely qualify for that role.


Yes, kuha, the well-known American Jingoist. The only historian, I know, who has his own militia. I hear he wants to buy a truck. Maybe he can see if Ted Nugent has one for sale. :D
Last edited by Conor Dary on Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby Conor Dary » Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:31 am

jazzcyclist wrote:Why do you think we don't hear this more from pundits and historians? Is it because it doesn't sound noble and altruistic enough? And that it doesn't match the pious platitudes that politicians like to use when describing the US's conduct during WWII?


It might also be because it is not true.

Truman wanted to end the war. Full Stop. He had a weapon, a horrible one, that might end it. He used it twice and it ended the war.
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby jazzcyclist » Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:44 am

Conor Dary wrote:
kuha wrote:
jazzcyclist wrote:the red, white and blue tinted glasses


Now, that's just funny. I honestly don't think I remotely qualify for that role.


Yes, kuha, the well-known American Jingoist. The only photo historian, I know, who has his own militia. I hear he wants to buy a truck. Maybe he can see if Ted Nugent has one for sale. :D

We're probably all guilty of this to some degree. After 9/11, I'll admit that my inner-jingoist reared its ugly head for a little while. Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who represents the People's Republic of Berkeley was the sole member of Congress to vote against invading Afghanistan. Even Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul voted for it. Perhaps Congress should have waited a few weeks to take their vote instead of doing it only three days after 9/11 with the rubble still smoldering at the Pentagon and WTC. Back then I was so certain that an Afghanistan invasion was the right thing to do, but now I'm not so sure.
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby jazzcyclist » Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:49 am

Conor Dary wrote:
jazzcyclist wrote:Why do you think we don't hear this more from pundits and historians? Is it because it doesn't sound noble and altruistic enough? And that it doesn't match the pious platitudes that politicians like to use when describing the US's conduct during WWII?


It might also be because it is not true.

Truman wanted to end the war. Full Stop. He had a weapon, a horrible one, that might end it. He used it twice and it ended the war.

But what gave him that sense of urgency, believeing that he only had hours or days to make something happen and not weeks or months? Japan was no longer a threat to us. Why couldn't he have given Japan a little time to come up with a face-saving way to surrender which is what Ike recommended?
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby bman » Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:15 am

jazzcyclist wrote:
Marlow wrote:Only because they don't have the 'power' to back up their self-interests. Their attitudes are identical.

That is true. There's no nation in history that once it became a superpower, didn't eventually abuse its power and overextend itself. In that regard, the U.S. is very unexceptional. A truly exceptional nation would be a nation that didn't abuse this power IMO. Will China be any different once it passes us up?


A few comments here. First of all, to Marlow, their attitudes are not identical, because they do not equate self-interest and violence like we do. Self-interest is peaceful cooperation (creation of the EU, recent efforts at increased South American partnership). My thinking here is that we had to use violence to build and maintain our "superpower" status and we now justify it by saying we do it out of "self-interest". Fact is there are more sensible attitudes toward self-interest that many other places seem to have. Not China though. Although they are not all bad.

To Jazz, I would argue that power is a function of violence.
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby Marlow » Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:22 am

jazzcyclist wrote:
Conor Dary wrote:Truman wanted to end the war. Full Stop. He had a weapon, a horrible one, that might end it. He used it twice and it ended the war.

But what gave him that sense of urgency, believeing that he only had hours or days to make something happen and not weeks or months? Japan was no longer a threat to us. Why couldn't he have given Japan a little time to come up with a face-saving way to surrender which is what Ike recommended?

Say what? WHAT gave him a sense of urgency?! Maybe it had something to do with the WORLD WAR we were in that was killing more Americans every day. This is going to sound very callous, but it's a war truth: all 'bad guys', military and civilian, are expendable. OUR soldiers are not. If killing 300,000 Japanese civilians is the the price we have to pay (sic) for an unconditional surrender (which we asked for 2 weeks before the first bomb dropped), so . . . be . . . it. Dropping the bomb was not a decision ANYone made, least of all Truman. When the bomb was ready, we dropped it, simple as that. It was certainly NOT a matter of morality. It was the expediency of WAR!
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby Conor Dary » Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:23 am

Let us not get off topic here and try to compare our present military lunacy to WW2, a war we didn't start.

Oops, this is not a comment on marlow, who I agree with on this point.
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby jazzcyclist » Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:32 am

Marlow wrote:
jazzcyclist wrote:But what gave him that sense of urgency, believeing that he only had hours or days to make something happen and not weeks or months? Japan was no longer a threat to us. Why couldn't he have given Japan a little time to come up with a face-saving way to surrender which is what Ike recommended?

Say what? WHAT gave him a sense of urgency?! Maybe it had something to do with the WORLD WAR we were in that was killing more Americans every day.

Americans were not dying when we nuked Japan because there was no mainland invasion taking place and the other battles had been wrapped up.
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby Conor Dary » Tue Jul 05, 2011 9:41 am

jazzcyclist wrote:
Marlow wrote:
jazzcyclist wrote:But what gave him that sense of urgency, believeing that he only had hours or days to make something happen and not weeks or months? Japan was no longer a threat to us. Why couldn't he have given Japan a little time to come up with a face-saving way to surrender which is what Ike recommended?

Say what? WHAT gave him a sense of urgency?! Maybe it had something to do with the WORLD WAR we were in that was killing more Americans every day.

Americans were not dying when we nuked Japan because there was no mainland invasion taking place and the other battles had been wrapped up.


No Americans dying? What do you think Okinawa was all about? To get ready for an invasion of the mainland.

The bomb was ready in July 1945. Truman said surrender or else and Japan said no, and the rest is history.
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby Marlow » Tue Jul 05, 2011 10:07 am

jazzcyclist wrote:Americans were not dying when we nuked Japan because there was no mainland invasion taking place and the other battles had been wrapped up.

F- in History

July 29, 1945 - A Japanese submarine sinks the Cruiser INDIANAPOLIS resulting in the loss of 881 crewmen. The ship sinks before a radio message can be sent out leaving survivors adrift for two days.

That's after Japan's rejection of the surrender and just before Hiroshima.
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby jazzcyclist » Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:15 pm

Conor Dary wrote:No Americans dying? What do you think Okinawa was all about? To get ready for an invasion of the mainland.

The bomb was ready in July 1945. Truman said surrender or else and Japan said no, and the rest is history.

Let me rephrase my original statement. No Americans were dying in America when Truman nuked Japan. Of course American soldiers, marine and sailors continued to die in Japan, but the home land was secure.
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby jazzcyclist » Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:17 pm

Marlow wrote:
jazzcyclist wrote:Americans were not dying when we nuked Japan because there was no mainland invasion taking place and the other battles had been wrapped up.

F- in History

July 29, 1945 - A Japanese submarine sinks the Cruiser INDIANAPOLIS resulting in the loss of 881 crewmen. The ship sinks before a radio message can be sent out leaving survivors adrift for two days.

That's after Japan's rejection of the surrender and just before Hiroshima.

Where was the Indianapolis when it was sunk? Was it a civilian cruise ship or a killing machine?
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby odelltrclan » Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:02 pm

jazzcyclist wrote:Where was the Indianapolis when it was sunk? Was it a civilian cruise ship or a killing machine?


http://www.ussindianapolis.org/story.htm

Of course you could always watch "Jaws" and learn part of the story.
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby Conor Dary » Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:10 pm

jazzcyclist wrote:
Conor Dary wrote:No Americans dying? What do you think Okinawa was all about? To get ready for an invasion of the mainland.

The bomb was ready in July 1945. Truman said surrender or else and Japan said no, and the rest is history.

Let me rephrase my original statement. No Americans were dying in America when Truman nuked Japan. Of course American soldiers, marine and sailors continued to die in Japan, but the home land was secure.


So, what. My father was in the South Pacific during the war. You make it sound like the Americans fighting in the Pacific had volunteered to go there. War is hell, and fighting the Japanese was no different.

We went over all this last year. I have nothing new to add...
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby jazzcyclist » Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:15 pm

Conor Dary wrote:
jazzcyclist wrote:
Conor Dary wrote:No Americans dying? What do you think Okinawa was all about? To get ready for an invasion of the mainland.

The bomb was ready in July 1945. Truman said surrender or else and Japan said no, and the rest is history.

Let me rephrase my original statement. No Americans were dying in America when Truman nuked Japan. Of course American soldiers, marine and sailors continued to die in Japan, but the home land was secure.


So, what. My father was in the South Pacific during the war. You make it sound like the Americans fighting in the Pacific had volunteered to go there. War is hell, and fighting the Japanese was no different.

We went over all this last year. I have nothing new to add...

So your father was there. What does that have to do with anything?
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby kuha » Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:25 pm

Seriously? It means that REAL Americans were in harm's way. Not a trivial fact.

For the umpteenth time on this subject, the horse of "controversy" can be beaten here, but very little will be accomplished. Truman made a tough call, but a totally defensible one.
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby Conor Dary » Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:06 pm

jazzcyclist wrote:
So your father was there. What does that have to do with anything?


Lots, you make it sound like WW2 was some war of choice. Everyone was some soldier of fortune.
The soldiers were just ordinary Americans doing a job. Whether they were in the States or on Okinawa, makes no difference. Truman had a tough call to make and he did it. And David Halberstam, who knows a lot more about war than you or I, agrees with what Truman did.

Jazz, I appreciate your posts, but if that is all you have to say, I am done.
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby jazzcyclist » Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:10 pm

kuha wrote:Seriously? It means that REAL Americans were in harm's way. Not a trivial fact.

For the umpteenth time on this subject, the horse of "controversy" can be beaten here, but very little will be accomplished. Truman made a tough call, but a totally defensible one.

I like both you and Conor, but you talk as though the lives of Americans, including American servicemen, are more valuable than the lives of anyone else on this planet, and thus gives us the right to ignore the principles that American Presidents love to brag about in speeches full of pious platitudes. In other words, "if you have good reasons, you're allowed to do anything, but only if you're American". Why shouldn't other nations be allowed to nuke people if they feel their reasons are good enough?

You never compromise your true moral principles, you only find out what they are.
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby Conor Dary » Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:29 pm

Jazz, that is really not the point at all. But I said all this last year....

Anyways, I don't see any point in going on. I really have nothing more to add. We will just have to disagree.
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby kuha » Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:55 pm

I agree with Conor. If our points aren't clear, then there's no point in writing another word.

It is curious, to me at least, that this 67-year old episode seems so important for some. There are PLENTY of issues (in fact, a nearly unending number of them) to get morally incensed about. They're all too common, in fact. On this one, however, I give Truman the benefit of the doubt and move on.
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby JRM » Wed Jul 04, 2012 5:13 pm

Perhaps it helps to shed some historical/military perspective on the atomic bomb. At the time, it was perceived as an ordinance -- nothing more, nothing less. It was either tens of thousands of pounds of TNT, or one ten-thousand pound bomb. There was no nuclear specter. There was no social or moral association with this weapon. It was deemed the most efficient to deliver, in terms of the potential payoff. Remember, this is from a country that fire-bombed much of Germany and Japan. Effect of a nuclear weapon (whatever that is)? Pshaw.

The nuclear nightmare emerged longer after WWII was finished, thanks in (no) part to "concerned scientists."
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby jazzcyclist » Wed Jul 04, 2012 5:43 pm

Conor Dary wrote:Jazz, that is really not the point at all. But I said all this last year....

Anyways, I don't see any point in going on. I really have nothing more to add. We will just have to disagree.

Reasonable minds can agree and disagree. On the one hand, you, kuha and I agree that the U.S. in general, and Truman in particular, had the moral authority to massacre civilians in order to achieve its political goals in WWII. On the other hand, we seem to disagree on whether other nations and subnational groups have the moral authority to massacre civilians in order to achieve their political goals.
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby kuha » Wed Jul 04, 2012 5:49 pm

jazzcyclist wrote:On the one hand, you, kuha and I agree that the U.S. in general, and Truman in particular, had the moral authority to massacre civilians in order to achieve its political goals in WWII. On the other hand, we seem to disagree on whether other nations and subnational groups have the moral authority to massacre civilians in order to achieve their political goals.


Jazz, I reject your logic throughout this thread; and I reject this characterization of the issue. It is YOUR characterization, and yours alone.
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby Conor Dary » Wed Jul 04, 2012 5:53 pm

jazzcyclist wrote:
Conor Dary wrote:Jazz, that is really not the point at all. But I said all this last year....

Anyways, I don't see any point in going on. I really have nothing more to add. We will just have to disagree.

On the one hand, you, kuha and I agree that the U.S. in general, and Truman in particular, had the moral authority to massacre civilians in order to achieve its political goals in WWII.


No, I don't agree on that at all. Truman wanted to end the war. End of story. I quit.
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby Marlow » Wed Jul 04, 2012 5:58 pm

Too lazy to look back, but I'm sure I made this unalterable point - there was NO decision. The bomb was made to deploy and it was deployed. In a WAR, it was the ONLY option.
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby jazzcyclist » Wed Jul 04, 2012 6:52 pm

kuha wrote:
jazzcyclist wrote:On the one hand, you, kuha and I agree that the U.S. in general, and Truman in particular, had the moral authority to massacre civilians in order to achieve its political goals in WWII. On the other hand, we seem to disagree on whether other nations and subnational groups have the moral authority to massacre civilians in order to achieve their political goals.


Jazz, I reject your logic throughout this thread; and I reject this characterization of the issue. It is YOUR characterization, and yours alone.

Well, there's no doubt that you think it's morally acceptable to massacre civilians. In which way am I misrepresenting you?
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby Pelpa » Wed Jul 04, 2012 6:54 pm

I think gay marriage is wrong.
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Re: American Imperialism

Postby jazzcyclist » Wed Jul 04, 2012 6:54 pm

Conor Dary wrote:
jazzcyclist wrote:
Conor Dary wrote:Jazz, that is really not the point at all. But I said all this last year....

Anyways, I don't see any point in going on. I really have nothing more to add. We will just have to disagree.

On the one hand, you, kuha and I agree that the U.S. in general, and Truman in particular, had the moral authority to massacre civilians in order to achieve its political goals in WWII.


No, I don't agree on that at all. Truman wanted to end the war. End of story. I quit.

And he ended the war by massacring civilians. You can't sweep that little inconvenient truth under the rug.
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