Is there a duty to not be stupid?

The editors wrote, in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer:


Editorial: Let them go¹

A despotic Iranian regime that has consistently shown a closed fist to President Obama’s offers of engagement and has been busy slaughtering its own people in the streets may be deaf to appeals for justice based on humanitarian grounds.

Nevertheless, let’s add one more voice to the growing chorus calling for the release of three American hikers who allegedly strayed into Iran and have been held for almost six months now by the mullahs and their extremist henchmen who masquerade as a justice system.

On July 31, Joshua Fattal, 27, a Cheltenham High School grad; Shane Bauer, 27; and Sarah Shourd, 31, were hiking near a waterfall, a popular tourist attraction in Iraqi Kurdistan, and apparently crossed the border into Iran inadvertently.

They were arrested and have been in Tehran’s Evin prison since. They have had no contact with their families. Swiss envoys had been allowed two short visits but have been denied access since Oct. 29. A lawyer retained by the families has yet to be granted permission to see his clients.

More at the link.

The State Department is working, mostly quietly, to try to get these three Americans released; the only thing they did wrong was to cross an international border they shouldn’t have crossed. But we have no diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic, and some of the work to get them released has to be done through intermediaries. From what we know now, the Obama Administration has handled it well: there have been some public statements, but so far nothing has been given away, and the diplomatic effort is mostly quiet.

I’ve written about this before, and noted how former President Bill Clinton got two of Al Gore’s naïfs released after they crossed into North Korea. There was no quid pro quo to get the CurrentTV journalists released, no, none at all, but then, surprisingly enough, the Obama Administration changed its policy shortly thereafter, and agreed to bilateral talks with North Korea.

The Iranians know that Messrs Fattal and Bauer and Miss Shourd aren’t double-nought spies; they know that they’d just gotten lost. But the Iranians also know that these three Americans have a value, as hostages, as bargaining chips; President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Iranian leadership know that they can get some form of ransom for these three.

And make no mistake about it: the Muslims know the value that civilized Western nations put on their citizens, as Israel has offered to trade hundreds of imprisoned Palestinian terrorists to free just one Israeli, IDF Corporal Gilead Shalit. (And even that wasn’t enough; Hamas is holding out for a better offer.)

The end result is obvious: Messrs Fattal and Bauer and Miss Shourd will be released — possibly, like the two CurrentTV reporters, after they have been tried and convicted of espionage and served more time in prison — and the State Department will say that there was no “deal” made. Then, about 2½ weeks later, on page A-4 of The Philadelphia Inquirer, there will be a small story, perhaps in the In The World brief section, we’ll see — if we don’t miss it — that the United States has made some small change in policy that benefits Iran, but of course it won’t have the slightest thing to do with the release of the three hikers.

At some point, you have to ask: don’t Americans traveling abroad, especially to dangerous areas, have some obligation not to do stupid things? The taxpayers are already out many thousands of dollars, probably in the hundreds of thousands, in the quiet efforts to get the three hikers released; how much else this will cost us is unknown so far. And all of this is because three intelligent, educated and well-to-do Americans didn’t have enough common sense not to go hiking near the Iranian border.

Our government routinely spends a good amount of money rescuing Americans abroad who have done something stupid; this has been going on for 200 years now. But at some point Americans traveling abroad have to be responsible for themselves, have to step out of their insular shell and realize that not every place in the world is safe, not everyone in the world thinks like good, well-meaning Westerners, and not everything they could do in Yellowstone can be done abroad. One of these times, the cost of rescuing these naïve travelers will be too high; that time might have already come.
__________________________
¹ – The Philadelphia Inquirer, Monday, 11 January 2010, p. A-10

127 Comments

  1. “Bauer”?

    To quote, “Is life too fucking wierd or what?” – Bill Hicks.

    You are, however, overlooking the previous incursions of US soldiers into Iran that might just possibly have left Iran… sensitive… about these matters.

    Of course this was reported on the BBC – it’s understandable if Americans are ignorant of what their country has been up to.

  2. As if on queue Pho steps forward to blame America. And just as predictably she infers ignorance on us for not watching BBC.

  3. A large part of the problem is that modern man doesnt believe the things that get him in trouble. I have seen this as a constant all over the left liberal modern world. its a symptom of being out of touch with reality and seeing it in terms of what more in touch people would say was a fairy tale view.

    in this case, taking borders seriously. the US only takes their borders semi-seriously. so is it any surprise that westerners dont think other states keep their borders a lot tighter and care? in fact taken one level out, if the Us is this big evil thing and they dont keep their borders closed, then others who are less evil dont keep theres.

    then there is the “once they understand it will all be ok”. except that the wrong party is expecting the wrong party to understand.

    over and over in our culture you see this as a rampant desease and yet no one draws them together.

    from the woman who kept poking a gun toting theif in the night till he shot her… to the german woman who thought it would be nice to hug a real bear in a zoo… to macandles starving to death in a yellow school bus.. to grizzley man, basically professing that since the bears havent ate him yet, he and we sort of have this cosmic thing going. that is till a bear tore him and the girl with him to pieces.

    our population, through liberal edumacation, is now disconnected from reality in that they are so sure of their ideas as reality that they ignore actual reality.

  4. From Reuters dated 12/18/2009:
    Well Pho, I just spent a half hour skimming BBC and found nothing about the US incursions of which you speak. I did find several links to the following item when I googeled :”incursions into Iran” but as yousee it’s about Iraq.

    BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq demanded on Friday that Iran immediately withdraw its soldiers from a disputed oilfield on the two countries’ border, but Tehran denied any incursion.

    Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said 11 Iranian soldiers had taken control of the Fakka oilfield in a remote desert area of southeastern Iraq, in a “violation of Iraqi sovereignty.”

    I don’t know how to post a link so if you locate it please hook me up. Meanwhile, I don’t excuse bad behavior because of other bad behavior. For example, I won’t give Obama a pass just because Bush was a liberal idiot. Plus in this situation, they are bringing civilians into the mix. Kids who were freeking hiking already. Let’s be real about what an “incursion” is. Not kids hiking, I assure you.

    But Artfldgr is right. When people blindly go through life believing “This is how it SHOUD be”, instead of seeing reality, they are destined to be disappointed (or shot by Irani’s.)

  5. Dana, ask your two Army experts that one thing the Army teaches is always be aware of your surroundings. What may be ironic, is apparently one of these wanderers is from Philly and that is one place where your head must be able to do a 360º swivel to cover your surroundings. Didn’t he learn a thing from his home turf??? I know when in Baltimore, that’s the norm there.

  6. Actually Yorkshire, in Philly there are places you don’t go, period. They are not sovereign nations but they may as well be. I’m from South Philly and (way back) when I was a kid, we didn’t cross Washington Ave. If you did, you best have an army with you because it was treated as an incursion.

  7. JohnC.:
    As if on queue Pho steps forward to blame America.

    Left wingers always blame America. They’re too dumb to think for themselves, so they just parrot what their Marxist masters tell them to think.

  8. I don’t know how to post a link so if you locate it please hook me up. Meanwhile, I don’t excuse bad behavior because of other bad behavior.

    “Bad behaviour”? Dude, the Iranians have caught you putting soldiers on the sly into their country. Being paranoid about other Americans caught crossing the border isn’t “bad behaviour” – it’s only to be expected.

  9. Well Pho, again I’ve seen no evidence of these acts by us or anyone else. At least not since Carter and the hostage fiasco. Believe me, I’ve been looking. The reports I’ve been able to dig up are all about Iranians going into Iraq. Even on the BBC web site.

    And if being paranoid about previous acts is an excuse to jail goofball hikers:
    1. The US should jail indefinitely all Mexicans crossing our boarder.
    2. The US should expel all Moslems and refuse entrance to any future Moslems. On this one we actually have a right to be paranoid. Perhaps, a duty. After all they do tend to blow things up more than other groups.

  10. There is no reason to assume Fattal, Bauer, and Shourd are either “stupid” or “naïve travelers.” Sure, the cover story sounds stupid enough to be the basis for an episode of “The Three Stooges,” but yet to be revealed is any even remotely compelling reason for them to have ventured within 1000 miles of Iraqi Kurdistan, much less to the border with Iran.

    So far all I’ve heard is that they “were hiking near a waterfall, a popular tourist attraction,” as if that explains everything. Well, no sale! It doesn’t explain anything.

    There are lots of waterfalls and terrific places to hike that aren’t half way around the world, in or near combat zones, and adjacent to hostile nations. Why did the “hikers” go to Iraqi Kurdistan in the first place?

    Small, light weight, battery powered, GPS units are readily available and would have been pretty much standard gear for hiking in rough country, any country, much less near the border of Iran. I see no excuse for these 3 adult American civilians to violate Iran’s national border.

    That region is a known war zone, conflict between and among any number of factions has been off-and-on for hundreds of years. To put yourself in that situation is asking for trouble. To say you were out hiking and strayed over the border just doesn’t have the ring to truth. It’s not believable. Clearly, the Iranians don’t believe it, and neither do I.

    There’s something happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear. Nothin’ about this story passes the smell test.

  11. BTW Pho. Since when does common sense and logic get tossed out of the equasion? You’re telling me the Iranians can’t distinguish between “soldiers on the sly” and a few idiot hikers? Are they that stupid? You know they are terrorizing a few kids and their families to make a political point. Or get political concessions.

    Some day I hope you explain to me and the others on this blog why you loathe America and Americans so much that you always side with our adversaries and seem to revel in our failures and defeats. You seem to want us to be destroyed as a people to the last man. If that can’t be done you seem to want us controlled by a totalitarian regime to sap as much freedom from us as possible. Why? What has America done to you or NZ that causes such seething hate?

    I’ve seen in your posts you have communist and/or fascist political proclivities and that you see youself as an all knowing elitist. Is that part of the reason you hate America? Because here a trash collector has the same rights and input to our system as an intellectual? But it’s that way in NZ too. Why do you single out America as the great satan? Why not the UK, NZ, Canada, Australia?

  12. Ropelight, if you are insinuating these clowns are spies I have to disagree. If the Iranians caught spies they would be plastered all over every TV channel in the universe, just like the Soviets with Gary Powers. It would be a Cartman moment; na-na-na-na-na, we got your spies. America is stupid. Na-na na-na-na.

  13. Ropelight, if you are insinuating these clowns are spies I have to disagree.

    Me too. If we really wanted to spy on Iran, I’m sure we could do a far better job than to send in these three. I mean, what was there to spy on where they were hiking? I think this story is pretty much as reported – these three are innocent (if maybe not too smart) and are being used as pawns, just as those two women reporters who got caught in North Korea. I think Rope is being just a wee bit paranoid here.

  14. Rope, the difference is that you are attempting to use logic in a situation where there is none. Yeah, if these fine people wanted to go hiking near a waterfall, there are a lot better places to do it than Kurdistaan.

    But American tourists have shown a remarkable sense of stupidity insularity,. of ethno-centrism, in seeming to believe that everybody in the world is really nice, and will treat them nicely if they are polite in the first place. We have taken our freedoms for granted for so long, and they are so much second nature to us, that a lot of Americans just have no concept at all that other places might be different.

    We’ve seen it plenty of times before, though it usually comes in stories where American tourists, who saw drug laws as no big deal, because they were treated as no big deal in the States — a fine, usually, for simple possession — and they get busted and start crying the blues when they find out that they’re looking at twenty years at hard labor in some place like Guatemala or Singapore or Turkey.

    I’d add here that American tourists are normally pretty well off; the people from South Philadelphia don’t have the money to go hiking in Kurdistan. These are kids who (usually) grew up privileged, who had everything they needed and most of what they wanted, without a whole lot n the way of worries. They get caught with pot? No public defenders for them, but someone with connections who can make sure that they pay a $300 fine! Then they find out that what works in Egypt, Pennsylvania doesn’t work in the real Egypt.

  15. Is that part of the reason you hate America?

    This is why, as I explained just a few minutes ago in a post to Perry, that I distinguish between liberals and left wingers. Liberals, I think, are mostly patriotic Americans who love their country as much as we do, they just have different political ideas on how it should be run. Left wingers just seem to loathe America (and freedom in general) on principle, for reasons I really can’t fathom. There also seems to be a real seething anger on the Left. It’s like they just can’t enjoy life, and are only happy when they’re trashing something, usually something America is doing. Honest criticism is fine, and we’re a big enough country to take it, but when it’s just bash, bash, bash 24/7/365, well, it just gets old, and our best response is to just tune it out.

  16. Then they find out that what works in Egypt, Pennsylvania doesn’t work in the real Egypt.

    Are you saying they’re in de Nile …?

  17. Why do you single out America as the great satan?

    I’m guessing the operant term here is “Great”. America is still a great power, and we act like a great power, and that just seems to really bug some people. It could be that we also believe our system and, more important, our ideals, are fundamentally good, and that we are justified in taking action against evil. This offends the moral relativists, and also those, who for reasons of ideology, want to cast everything America does as bad.

  18. BTW Pho. Since when does common sense and logic get tossed out of the equasion? You’re telling me the Iranians can’t distinguish between “soldiers on the sly” and a few idiot hikers?

    Uh-huh. 3 members of a unfriendly power which has snuck troops onto your territory before, physically fit, aged 27, 27 and 31, found where they shouldn’t be with a weak excuse – and you think any government would just assume they were innocent?

    If the US found three unknown Iraqis in a restricted area scouting out the Green Zone, would they accept an explanation thast they were bird watchers and just let them go?

  19. JohnC, Eric, Dana,

    No. I’m not insinuating they’re either clowns or spies. Nor am I willing to accept 27 & 31 year old college grads as “kids” out for a hike who just happened to stray into Iran. I wouldn’t accept that story at face value from 3 Iranians caught south of the Canadian border, and not many Americans would either.

    BTW, Dana got it right. The story we have now is so devoid of logical elements as to be unbelievable. Even if they were teenagers I would still want to know why they were anywhere near the Iranian border. These 3 are young adults, and they don’t get a free pass.

    The simple fact is, they left the US and traveled to Iraqi Kurdistan, then they crossed the border into Iran. Why?

    Did they do exactly what they intended? Given their actions, I’d have to say it’s a distinct possibility that has yet to be forthrightly addressed.

    But, if there’s another explanation, I’m all ears, lets hear it.

  20. Did they do exactly what they intended? Given their actions, I’d have to say it’s a distinct possibility that has yet to be forthrightly addressed.

    I’m not quite sure what your point is. If they deliberately crossed over into Iran, then they had to be beyond dumb. That would be like breaking into East Germany and expecting nothing bad to happen. And, like I said, if they were in fact spies, and not simply civilians who couldn’t navigate real well, then what were they spying on? Waterfalls aren’t exactly strategic assets.

  21. Eric, like you, I don’t think they were spies, but I can’s dismiss them as dumb either. Clearly, they did intend to go to Iraqi Kurdistan, why is yet to be satisfactorily explained.

    Did they also intend to cross the Iranian border? Who knows? I don’t, and until I hear a lot more about who they are and what they were up to, I don’t have enough information to even begin to form an opinion.

  22. BTW Pho. Since when does common sense and logic get tossed out of the equasion? You’re telling me the Iranians can’t distinguish between “soldiers on the sly” and a few idiot hikers? Are they that stupid?

    Good point, except “Stupid” isn’t the issue. If three Americans had been hiking in France, and accidentally crossed over into Germany, the whole thing would have been cleared up in a few hours. The problem is with the nature of the Iranian regime itself. All you have to do is look at their leader, whose history of Holocaust denial, explicit threats against Israel, and dogged pursuit of nuclear weapons puts him in the category of being either a seriously bad actor or else just certifiably crazy. Add to that an obviously rigged election last year, and this sort of crap comes as no surprise. They’re not holding our people because they can’t tell the difference between hikers and spies, they’re doing it because that’s what thugocracies DO.

  23. Eric, like you, I don’t think they were spies, but I can’s dismiss them as dumb either. Clearly, they did intend to go to Iraqi Kurdistan, why is yet to be satisfactorily explained.

    A good guess is that they were thrill seekers. When you’re young and adventurous, it’s fun to take risks and seek out danger. That’s my explanation for why they were in Iraq instead of Yellowstone. You read about these kind of people from time to time, they book trips to go white water rafting in some African country that’s in the middle of a civil war, and, being young and convinced of their immortality, they figure nothing bad will happen to them. I can’t read their minds, of course, but I’m guessing their motivation for being there was along similar lines.

  24. Eric, you say it’s likely they’re young and adventurous, that they might be thrill seekers. Is there any support for that assumption? Had they done this sort to thing before? Is there any record they sought out danger on previous occasions? If not, why assume so?

    For me the question is do we have any reliable information on who these people are and what they were doing? I haven’t see any.

    I’m not looking for assumptions, I’m looking for background information, and it’s not readily available.

  25. Eric, you say it’s likely they’re young and adventurous, that they might be thrill seekers. Is there any support for that assumption?

    I’d say the fact there were there in the first place is pretty good “Support”. Why go all the way to Iraq in the first place if you’re not into thrills and a sense of exotic adventure?

  26. For me the question is do we have any reliable information on who these people are and what they were doing? I haven’t see any.

    For me, it’s the opposite. This story has gotten fairly good reportage, and until and unless some startling new development breaks, I see no reason not to accept things as they seem to be, namely, three hikers off on an innocent, if somewhat foolhardy, jaunt, and not people who were up to anything mysterious or sinister.

    Just because Iraq is a rather unusual place to be vacationing, doesn’t mean there’s anything more to the story that what we’ve been told so far.

  27. If you follow the link to the Inquirer’s original, you can find photographs of the three. You can see more at FreeTheHikers.org Spies? They’d stand out like sore thumbs among the Iranian population; there’s no way they could ever conceal themselves. I haven’t found an stories indicating whether any of them spoke or understood Arabic or Farsi, and there have been no stories stating that they were caught with any communication equipment; if they were spies, it was a pretty inept mission.

    Joshua Fattal obviously had plenty of money:

    As a teaching fellow with the International Honors Program, he visited England, India, the Philippines, New Zealand, and Mexico.

    The three, all graduates of UC Berkeley (see, they were all far-leftists!) got together when Mr Fattel met the other two, who were living in Damascus. You can see the story developing: typical American expatriates, finding out that not every place is America.

  28. The three, all graduates of UC Berkeley (see, they were all far-leftists!) got together when Mr Fattel met the other two, who were living in Damascus. You can see the story developing: typical American expatriates, finding out that not every place is America.

    Actually, getting back to the original point, I wouldn’t blame them too much. We have plenty of idiots right here in America, indeed, the news is often about some pinheads who needed to be rescued off Mt. Hood or Mt. McKinley or from Death Valley or whatever. These rescues invariably cost thousands of dollars, and we taxpayers end up footing the bill. Why should these particular idiots be any different?

  29. As I asked Pho and she declined to answer:
    “The U.S. on Tuesday was dispatching disaster rescue teams to earthquake-stricken Haiti, where a U.S. official said a “serious loss of life” was expected.

    President Barack Obama said his thoughts and prayers were with the people of Haiti and that the U.S. stood ready to help the impoverished Caribbean nation.

    While telephone lines were down in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince and cell phone communication was spotty, U.S. officials there reported “significant damage.”

    “There were some people (from the embassy) in the city when the earthquake first happened,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. “They reported structures down. They reported a lot of walls down. They did see a number of bodies in the street and on the sidewalk that had been hit by debris. So clearly, there’s going to be serious loss of life in this.”

    Frank Thorp, a retired rear admiral who ran the Navy’s public information office until recently, said he believed his daughter-in-law was trapped in the rubble. Thorp said he was told late Tuesday that his son’s wife, Jillian Thorp, 24, had used her cell phone to call from help from a Haitian Ministries mission house run by Norwich Missions based in Norwich, Conn.

    White House officials said Obama had asked aides to make sure U.S. personnel at the embassy were safe. There are fewer than 20 U.S. military personnel in Haiti, largely working with the embassy there. Officials said Obama told them to start preparing in case humanitarian assistance was needed.

    The State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development and U.S. Southern Command have started to coordinate. USAID said it was sending a disaster assistance response team and had activated its partners, the Fairfax County (Va.) Urban Search and Rescue Team and the Los Angeles County Search and Rescue Team. USAID disaster experts also would assist.

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said from Honolulu that the U.S. was gathering information about the quake and its impact, and that the U.S. was offering full assistance _ civilian and military _ to Haiti.

    Clinton spoke with the deputy chief of U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, David Lindwall, before making a speech in Honolulu.

    “We have been in touch with the embassy,” State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid said in Washington. “They report significant damage in town, but the embassy is unaffected. The embassy is working to get in touch with Haitian government as well as trying to … account for Americans.”

    “Haitian phone lines are down and cell phone coverage is understandably unreliable,” he said.

    The U.S. ambassador to Haiti was in the country, but was at his residence, which is in Petionville, and the phones lines were out.”

    Boy Pho, we Americans are the worst people on the earth. So tell me, why do you hate America? Still no answer. (by the way, I hope Perry is watching this disarchange). I know the rest of CSPT is.

  30. Common, baby! Tell me how America is an evil nation. You can do it. How did you and you country respond? That’s right, they were paying for your operation. A-hole. Free markets help others not just themselves. Socialists only care about…..socialists. You are feelin’ good….screw Haiti.

  31. Now tell me, which is the Greatest Nation on Earth? Which is the Greatest Nation in Histiory? Not NZ, fur sur!

  32. Boy Pho, we Americans are the worst people on the earth. So tell me, why do you hate America? Still no answer. (by the way, I hope Perry is watching this disarchange). I know the rest of CSPT is.

    You’re wasting your breath, John. Left wingers hate America, indeed, they hate everything. There’s no logic or reason behind it, it just is.

  33. If three Americans had been hiking in France, and accidentally crossed over into Germany, the whole thing would have been cleared up in a few hours. The problem is with the nature of the Iranian regime itself.

    Gee, it wouldn’t have had anything to do with the recent history of America in the region, and against Iran?

    Again, if you found three unknown Iraqis poking around in the Green Zone, would you automatically consider them innocent? Use your head.

  34. Phoe, even if you think the Iranians would be right to be initially suspicious, wouldn’t you have thought that, by now, this could have been cleared up, if they weren’t looking to hold them for some form of ransom, whether monetary or policywise?

  35. Dana: Not to defend the Iranians on this matter, but Phoenician’s point is really about assumptions. You assume that the three Americans are innocent, but you don’t really know. None of us do. That said, I wouldn’t put it past the tyrannical regime in Iran to use these three for political purposes, even if they are innocent.

    Which brings to mind the fact that the path to tyranny in Iran was greased by our (and the Brits’) actions to depose, by an organized military coup d’etat in 1953, the democratically elected President Mohammad Mossadegh with Shah Mohammad Rezi Pahlavi. What right did we have to do that? This led finally, in 1978, to the forceful overthrow of the Shah, with the government taken over by Ayatollah Khomeini, whose anti-Communist, anti-West, dictatorial Islamist regime remains in power to this day. Granted, however, that the situation within Iran has been/is much more complicated than this.

    Especially in the post WWII era, we seem to think we have the right to interfere into the internal affairs of any country, backed by our military power. We have almost 1.5 million active duty military stationed at 820 cites in at least 135 countries, funded by a DoD budget of $675 billion. Not that I would want us to be isolationists, but is all this necessary? Obama is addressing this, intending to decrease the DoD budget by 15% in the next five years. This is good!

  36. Gee, it wouldn’t have had anything to do with the recent history of America in the region, and against Iran?

    I don’t see why you keep making excuses for the Iranian regime. I used the example of hikers going to France and accidentally crossing into Germany as a way of pointing out how civilized democracies handle such matters. Iran is neither.

    Dana is right. The Iranians have had months now to clear this up, and it’s pretty obvious at this point that they’re just playing games, not responding to any genuine threat to their security. You may remember this same regime pulled a similar stunt with an American reporter of Iranian descent, a Roxana something-or-other, charged her with being a spy (totally bogus) and held her for several months before international pressure finally got her released.

  37. Which brings to mind the fact that the path to tyranny in Iran was greased by our (and the Brits’) actions to depose, by an organized military coup d’etat in 1953, the democratically elected President Mohammad Mossadegh with Shah Mohammad Rezi Pahlavi. What right did we have to do that?

    C’mon, Perry, 1953?? That’s ancient history. What possible relevance does that have to today, in 2010?

    As to “What right”, well, it was the Cold War, and both sides played rough when it came to installing or propping up friendly regimes. The Shah was pro-West and loyal to us, never mind he wasn’t exactly a paragon of human rights. And, let’s not forget, Iran was actually pretty progressive under the Shah, especially on things like women’s rights, all of which has gone downhill under the Mullahs.

  38. Again, if you found three unknown Iraqis poking around in the Green Zone, would you automatically consider them innocent? Use your head.

    I would expect that US forces would “Use their heads” and be able, in a lot less than 6 months, to look into the matter, examine the facts and the evidence, and conclude whether or not these people were actually a threat or simply in the wrong place by mistake. Does that answer your question?

  39. Very recent history in Iran:

    June 12, 2009 Iranian elections result in charges of voter fraud. Wide spread demonstrations break out, the government unleashes a harsh and often violent campaign of suppression complete with threats of imprisonment and even death. Iran blames the US for the demonstrations, and further charges the US with attempting to disrupt government authority along Iran’s border with Iraqi Kurdistan.

    The US State Department continues to emphasize the dangers to Americans of travel in Iraq from a wide variety of sources. Yet, Fattal, Bauer, and Shroud, along with fellow American, Shon Meckfessel, travel to Iraqi Kurdistan to hike in the picturesque mountains, and to look at waterfalls and pistachio trees.

    Meckfessel separates from the group while the others cross the border into Iran. They call Meckfessel to let him know, “We’re surrounded.” Iranian border guards take the 3 into custody and charge them as spies.

    Information on the 3 is scanty. The stated reasons for being in dangerous proximity to Iran’s border are not credible. Their background is fuzzy. Their employment is unclear, Bauer and Shroud are variously described as English teachers or freelance journalists. Fattal is called an environmental worker and a teaching fellow.

    They certainly aren’t spies. Real spies would know better than to offer such lame excuses, real spies would have a well organized and cogent cover story. No, they aren’t even wannabe spies, they’re much too well educated for such a stunt, and they aren’t crazy kids seeking adventure either.

    Most likely there is an agenda concealed behind the Fattal family’s campaign to generate public sympathy, which might evaporate if the facts were known. It’s curious no MSM journalists are looking into it, which is rather odd since it’s a natural human interest story for them.

    Speculation is the 3 are connected to left wing politics and it’s a bit too inconvenient to let that cat out of the bag just now. Maybe Iran wants to hold them for a possible trade with Obama later on, down the road.

    At this point, who really knows anything?

  40. Dana is right. The Iranians have had months now to clear this up, and it’s pretty obvious at this point that they’re just playing games, not responding to any genuine threat to their security.

    Oh Jesus – do you want to make comparisons with American prisoners held for *years* despite being determined to be innocent?

  41. Eric: “I don’t see why you keep making excuses for the Iranian regime.”

    I make a distinction between making excuses and attempting to understand the forces of history. So you’ll have to show me where I am making excuses. It took the Iranians 25 years of foment to finally depose the Shah. People don’t forget events like the 1953 coup against a duly elected leader. How long do you think we will remember the assassination of JFK (1963)?

    I suggest you review the Wiki reference I provided, as you might be surprised by what you learn about Iran’s post WWII history.

    Or, you might be interested to read about the rich history going back to three millenia BC:

    Iran or Persia: A Brief History

    Pre-Twentieth Century

    “History is a mirror of the past
    And a lesson for the present.”
    (A Persian Proverb)

    The country has always been known to its own people as Iran (land of the Aryans), although for centuries it was referred to as Persia (Pars or Fars, a province in southern Iran) by the Europeans, mainly due to the writings of Greek historians. In 1935 the Government specified that it should be called Iran; however, in 1949 they allowed both names to be used.

    Most people today, know Persia or Iran through its carpets, its caviar, its costly war with its neighbour Iraq, or through its importance as one of the world’s major oil-producing nations. Yet, Persia has one of the richest and oldest cultures in the world.

    For more than three thousand years Persia was a melting pot of civilizations and demographic movements between Asia and Europe. Under Cyrus the Great, it became the centre of the world’s first empire. Successive invasions by the Greeks, Arabs, Mongols and Turks developed the nation’s culture through rich and diverse philosophical, artistic, scientific and religious influences.

    Persia’s first vigorous growth began in the Neolithic era, and by the third millennium B.C. it had developed into a civilization of great sophistication. The infiltration of the Aryan peoples into Iran during the second millennium B.C. paved that way for the Achaemenian dynasty, whose achievements were gloriously represented in the great palaces of Persepolis.

    These monuments had been built to testify to the absolute power of the Achaemenian Empire, and yet they were razed to the ground in just one night by Alexander, who conquered Persia and begun the Hellenistic period. This was followed in less than two hundred years by the Parthian and then the Sassanian Empires…

  42. Phoenician is so right!“Oh Jesus – do you want to make comparisons with American prisoners held for *years* despite being determined to be innocent?”

    How quickly you forget! How hard it is for you to be unable to place yourself into the shoes of others.

    It is also so true that:

    “History is a mirror of the past
    And a lesson for the present.”

    Does Eric really believe this? “C’mon, Perry, 1953?? That’s ancient history. What possible relevance does that have to today, in 2010? “

  43. Oh Jesus – do you want to make comparisons with American prisoners held for *years* despite being determined to be innocent?

    Well, if you want to believe the guys we still have at Gitmo are “innocent” be my guest …

  44. I make a distinction between making excuses and attempting to understand the forces of history. So you’ll have to show me where I am making excuses. It took the Iranians 25 years of foment to finally depose the Shah. People don’t forget events like the 1953 coup against a duly elected leader. How long do you think we will remember the assassination of JFK (1963)?

    What does JFK have to do with Iran? It’s not like were basing our foreign policy decisions on the fact he was shot. I mean, really, Iran’s population is quite young, the vast majority weren’t even born before 1953, so to them it IS ancient history. They have a lot more important things to worry about than digging up some old grievance that goes back to the early days of the Cold War.

  45. Perry wrote:

    Does Eric believe that? “C’mon, Perry, 1953?? That’s ancient history. What possible relevance does that have to today, in 2010? “

    The Islamists have been using the Crusades as justification; King Richard Cœur de Lion left the Holy Land in 1192, rather a long time ago. Perhaps this whole thiing could have been avoided had King Richard been able to seize Jerusalem from ?al?? ad-D?n Y?suf ibn Ayy?b in 1191.

    The icon I use for my Gravatar is from a 12th century codex, a portrait of King Richard.

  46. Well, if you want to believe the guys we still have at Gitmo are “innocent” be my guest …

    Again, your ignorance shows, Eric.

    Oh, and a nice attempt at weasel-wording, too. I assume that by attempting to throw “still” in there that you admit that you know full well that the US has released innocent prisoners they held for *years* without evidence.

    So you’re whining about Iran holding people for months, and you know that the US holds them for years – and, of course, tortures them as well.

    But, of course, it’s alright for Americans to do it to swarthy Islamics, right?

    [Released from moderation -- JH]

  47. Exactly, Phoenician! And, this business of fighting our wars on the lands of other nations, is not only a failure of the Right, although on this blog it is the Right that are the more obvious. This practice has become a traditional aggressive response by us Americans, causing potential friends to become adversaries. Is it this that is keeping us safe? I doubt it! For example, it is a well known fact that a majority of Afghanis immensely dislike the Taliban and their al-Qaeda cohorts. Polls show that a less corrupt Afghani government would be far preferable to Taliban rule.

    The point: Put yourselves in the boots of the adversary, before you decide to support our too often arrogant/aggressive/inhumane policies. Even Obama, who is attempting to change this mindset of ours, has not gone far enough, in my view. He escalated the war in Afghanistan, now in Yemen too, as we continue to see innocent Afghani and Yemeni citizens perishing and injured, another reason that I, Eric, favor putting our emphasis on homeland defense and diplomacy.

    I do applaud Obama’s outstretched hand, even to our enemies (Iran), and, his continued emphasis on the Israel-Palestine problem.

  48. John H.: “… SEER training is not torture.”

    No one says it is, John. But the use of some of the methodology used in SEER training, like waterboarding, is torture, as demonstrated by some people who have volunteered to try it in order to find out.

  49. Eric attempts an answer: “What does JFK have to do with Iran?”

    Eric, you totally missed the point, but Dana answered it quite well!

    “It’s not like were basing our foreign policy decisions on the fact he was shot.”

    On the contrary, our continuing hostility toward Cuba is, I believe, based, at least partly, on the JFK assassination, as there is lingering suspicion that Castro had something to do with it.

  50. Again, your ignorance shows, Eric.

    Sorry, but the word on ONE GUY, who presents zero actual evidence of his claims, doesn’t carry a whole lot of weight.

    But again, if you want to believe this stuff, then, whatever …

  51. But, of course, it’s alright for Americans to do it to swarthy Islamics, right?

    Linking to your own site as “Evidence”? Weak, Pho.

  52. On the contrary, our continuing hostility toward Cuba is, I believe, based, at least partly, on the JFK assassination, as there is lingering suspicion that Castro had something to do with it.

    I don’t think that has a thing to do with it. For one, we know Oswald lived in the USSR for a bit, and seemed to be a Communist sympathizer, but there’s little evidence he was acting on Castro’s orders. I don’t think even Fidel would have been that dumb.

    More to the point, our hostility toward Cuba started when JFK was very much alive, and reached a high point during the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was the Cold War, Castro picked sides and allied with our enemy, which made him our enemy, too. I think it’s really about as simple as that. Kennedy’s later assassination had little to do with it.

  53. The point: Put yourselves in the boots of the adversary before supporting our too often arrogant/aggressive/inhumane policies. Even Obama, who is attempting to change this mindset of ours, has not gone far enough, in my view. He escalated the war in Afghanistan, now in Yemen too, as we continue to see innocent Afghani and Yemeni citizens perishing and injured, another reason that I, Eric, favor putting our emphasis on homeland defense and diplomacy.

    Well, you may not have noticed, but the Yemeni government actually wants our help. On yesterday’s news, they interviewed their top general, and he wants to be even more aggressive in fighting Al-Q, and complained we’re not doing enough to give them aid.

    Point being, as long as Al-Q has an overseas presence, we’re going to be fighting them overseas. Your approach, if applied to WW 2, would have been to build up our shore defenses in case of a Nazi invasion, but to have done nothing to fight them in Europe. Pacifism didn’t work then, and it won’t work now.

  54. I do applaud Obama’s outstretched hand, even to our enemies (Iran)

    I don’t. It’s foolishly naive at best. Stretching out your hand to an enemy is a good way to get it bitten off, as Neville Chamberlain found out. “Peace in our time” is no way to run foreign policy. And, at worst, it means we end up on the wrong side of history, as Obama did last June when, being more interested in “Engaging” Iran’s leaders, he did nothing to show support for that country’s pro-democracy demonstrators, who were being crushed by that regime after their rigged elections.

  55. and, his continued emphasis on the Israel-Palestine problem.

    Yeah, THAT’s going real well. Not that I totally blame Obama, both Bush and Clinton tried the same, and got nowhere. Maybe the lesson is – we should just butt out, and let the Israelis and Palestinians solve the problem themselves.

  56. Sorry, but the word on ONE GUY,

    Ooops. That should be “the word of one guy”. Sorry for typo. Carry on …

  57. Of course, blu does a 911 twoofer thread-jack. I suspected it even before I hit the link. Blu, if all you’re going to do is thread-jack with your 911 twoofer bovine byproduct, I suggest you get help. You’re insanely obnoxious.

  58. John H.:“You’re insanely obnoxious.”

    Is that your rebuttal, John? Is that the best you can do, John?

    I think the video shows that there is significant distrust remaining regarding the behavior of the Bush Administration and lock-step Republican Congress.

    The debate ought to center on their actions leading up to and following the horrendous 9/11 event and the decision to invade Iraq, because I don’t think the public yet has all the answers, assuming that there may be more within the confines of government secret files.

    I will always question why Bush did not react to the August 8, 1991 PDB which clearly stated that Osama bin Laden was going to attack the US.

    One has to wonder, if he did act, would dots have been connected and the attack thwarted. Like the Christmas ‘bomber’, we had information, but the dots were not connected.

    So Blubonnet raises the possibility of a sin of commission by Bush et al, whereas I tend to feel/hope it was a sin of omission. That said, the behavior of the neocons indicates a group of pretty radical thinkers/actors. I am talking about the likes of Cheney, Chrystal, Wolfowitz, Pearl, Kagan, and Rumsfeld. Ask Colin Powell about these radicals.

    There still remains enough confusion about 9/11 and the Iraq War (the neocon’s war) that I am not surprised that there are people who think there may have been some conspiracy involved with these events.

    Interestingly enough, the neocon “Project for a New American Century”, in effect a call for American worldwide hegemony, closed its doors and books in 2006, when the Dems took control of Congress.

    Did you know anything about this, John H.? I doubt it!

  59. Perry, did you watch that video? I got through the first two minutes and quit, because it was clearly the product of loons. They quote Charlie Sheen and Rosie O’Donnell?? These are credible people, experts?

    Blu seems to be a nice person, but she has a very long history of buying into these 9/11 conspiracies, then posting stuff about it here. It’s gotten to where we all just ignore it because it’s become so predictable.

  60. I will always question why Bush did not react to the August 8, 1991 PDB which clearly stated that Osama bin Laden was going to attack the US.

    You’ve raised this before, and it’s been answered before. Indeed, Dana has explained it quite thoroughly. You might go back and read his answers, rather than keep asking the same question.

  61. Obviously, Eric didn’t take note that the “loons” have become over 80% of the population. The knowledge of government complicity is now international, as well. Why? Because anyone that looks honestly, puts all preconceptions aside, sees the obvious. Explosions are not only apparent in the many videos, but scientists have identified nano-thermite (military grade incendiary material) in ALL the WTCs’ dust around the city, where several inches of pulverized cement, iron microsperes, all evidence of explosions. Heck, anyone with half a brain that saw WTC7 go down in perfect implosion style, having not been hit by a plane can see it, but peer reviewed scientific papers confirm the military grades explosives in the dust. The buildings all have characteristics of explosives material, especially WTC7, having classic, well executed implosion, and of course, WTC7 NOT having been hit by a plane.

    Also, Eric, mentions Rosie O’Donnel, and Charlie Sheen not being experts.Well, dozens of professionals of numerous fields have declared BS on the government story, and Eric still chooses ignorance. Heck, 41 military intelligence people, terrorist-counter intelligence people have stated it. Links for those individuals’ statements have been left here, only to be treated like cartoon characters.

    People who have to understand thoroughly the structural, weight bearing aspects of construction of such enormous structures, being part of their creation, architects and structural engineers, and mechanical engineers, of which there are nearly a thousand, call BS.

    Numerous physicists, demolition experts recognize the ridiculousness of the government story.

    It must take work to continue staying in denial. There is a great deal more evidence, data in general on the side of 911 truth. Heck, we have video documentation. The other side has computer generated hypothesis in which they didn’t even use properly.

    Unless stupidity is your choice, all ought to start researching and also reclaim your capacity for independent observation. Look at both sides of the debate.

  62. Unless stupidity is your choice, all ought to start researching and also reclaim your capacity for independent observation. Look at both sides of the debate.

    blu, sometimes there aren’t “Both sides” to a debate. To argue that terrorists didn’t cause 9/11 but rather the government blew the buildings up is like arguing whether gravity exists. One side is simply right, the other side is off the deep end.

    I know you believe this stuff, but note you’ve been posting these links and videos here for years now, and so far, not a single person has taken this stuff seriously. That should tell you something right there.

  63. “…our continuing hostility toward Cuba is, I believe, based, at least partly, on the JFK assassination, as there is lingering suspicion that Castro had something to do with it.”

    On the other hand maybe it has something to do with the fact that Cuba is a communist state run by a stalinist dictator and enemy of humanity who we should have destroyed years ago.

  64. DNW emotes:“On the other hand maybe it has something to do with the fact that Cuba is a communist state run by a stalinist dictator and enemy of humanity who we should have destroyed years ago.”

    And on the other hand, it is up to the Cubans to oppose their government and overthrow it if they don’t like it, correct?

    But DNW, I understand your viewpoint quite well, as being the neocon approach to establish an American hegemony globally. I don’t agree with it! In fact, I think their temporary dominance of our foreign policy has caused us huge problems that will take a long time for us to restore our honor. Obama is making inroads along these lines!

  65. And on the other hand, it is up to the Cubans to oppose their government and overthrow it if they don’t like it, correct?

    That’s kind of hard when they live in a dictatorship that allows no elections, freedom of speech, or political opposition of any kind.

  66. But DNW, I understand your viewpoint quite well, as being the neocon approach to establish an American hegemony globally. I don’t agree with it!

    I think “Hegemony” is a rather strong term, as if Republicans want to establish an empire. If the neocons made an error, it was in the opposite direction, i.e., they were excessively idealistic in believing that Iraq was ready to be liberated, and that people who had known no freedom would welcome it with open arms. The reality turned out to be not so rosy, but I don’t think it was for lack of honorable intentions.

  67. “And on the other hand, it is up to the Cubans to oppose their government and overthrow it if they don’t like it, correct?”

    So, you are willing to endorse the use of violence against collectivist coercionists, as long as it is directed by and against members of the same supposed political “community”?

  68. “DNW, I understand your viewpoint quite well, as being the neocon approach to establish an American hegemony globally. I don’t agree with it! In fact, I think their temporary dominance of our foreign policy has caused us huge problems that will take a long time for us to restore our honor.”

    The “little brown people” of the non-European nations don’t have the same moral need or human capacity for freedom and self-direction, eh?

    Sort of like a majority of those living in Delaware and Massachussetts?

  69. There are plenty of videos on the Project for the New American Century. An excerpt from the document states specifically a need to have a “New Pearl Harbor”, to get the people to go along with the plan to take over the middle east. Lucky them. 9-11-01 presented itself. But the plans for invading Afghanistan and Iraq were already set up before 9-11-01. Do some of your own research. Preferably from sources not owned by the same “news” agencies owned by the weapons industries. MSM, forget it.

    This is one movie about PNAC.

    Incidentally, those in the PNAC are the ones that were called the “crazies” by fellow Republicans during the GHW Bush presidency. Start using some scrutiny. Research. Stop being sheep. Recognize that defense industry people are not sweet, well meaning folks. Unfortunately, in the last administration, they were the ones that ran the show. That would be despite what Eisenhower said: “Beware the influence of the military industrial complex, their threat exists and will persist”.

    The brilliant political commentator, Jim Hightower said: “The corporations don’t have to lobby the ogvernment anymore, they are the government.”

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3776750618788792499&ei=lAlRS9LiOprIqAPI94z5Bg&q=Project+for+the+New+American+Century&hl=en&view=3&client=firefox-a#

  70. I know, I know, you think that no one could be that awful. Well, guess again. Remember that we were there bringing democracy? We “cared” about the Iraqis. Why would caring individuals use depleted weapons (or any if we truly cared) on these people, causing this? Reconsider their “compassion”. This is about 5 minutes long only. I warn you ahead of time. This is frightening.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2009/nov/14/falluja-children-iraq-conflict

  71. There are plenty of videos on the Project for the New American Century. An excerpt from the document states specifically a need to have a “New Pearl Harbor”, to get the people to go along with the plan to take over the middle east. Lucky them. 9-11-01 presented itself. But the plans for invading Afghanistan and Iraq were already set up before 9-11-01.

    There’s one word that comes to mind here – paranoid. If you see plots and conspiracies everywhere, then your a kook, and nothing rational people have to say will change your mind.

  72. Perry wrote:

    And on the other hand, it is up to the Cubans to oppose their government and overthrow it if they don’t like it, correct?

    In other words, as long as a dictator or military government or whatever kind of non-democratic regime has the physical power to keep its people in check, it’s really the fault of the people that government controls for not rising up and overthrowing the regime, and we really have no business interfering with such a government.

    Of course, if an entire democratic government except for the President rises up and deposes a president who has violated that country’s constitution, and the remainder of that government continues on with previously scheduled elections, why it’s perfectly OK to work against that!

    Blubonnet raises the question of the Project for the New American Century.

    The Project for the New American Century is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to a few fundamental propositions: that American leadership is good both for America and for the world; and that such leadership requires military strength, diplomatic energy and commitment to moral principle.

    The Project for the New American Century intends, through issue briefs, research papers, advocacy journalism, conferences, and seminars, to explain what American world leadership entails. It will also strive to rally support for a vigorous and principled policy of American international involvement and to stimulate useful public debate on foreign and defense policy and America’s role in the world.

    To me, those are good things! However, PNAC lapsed in 2006, replaced with the Foreign Policy Initiative. Blu, you need to keep up on these things! :)


  73. Dana: “In other words, as long as a dictator or military government or whatever kind of non-democratic regime has the physical power to keep its people in check, it’s really the fault of the people that government controls for not rising up and overthrowing the regime, and we really have no business interfering with such a government.”

    Exactly, although it is dangerous to generalize, because each situation should be viewed separately, examining the particulars in each case.

    Take the Iranians as a current example. There we see the people rising up against tyranny. It will only be a matter of time before they prevail, though violence may ensue. We can support their uprising without invading the country as we did in Iraq. The Soviet Union came down without our direct intervention, and there’s been a quiet revolution in China. In both cases, Communism has evolved to incorporate Capitalism in a manner consistent with their culture.

    Dana, the fact that you would cite favorably the PNAC based on these few quoted words means to me that you either are not very knowledgeable about them, or you are a neocon yourself. It was the neocons that got us into Iraq, a mistake of enormous proportion that has cost us plenty in life, limb, and fortune. And it is the neocons who have promoted and supported our unbalanced policies favoring Israel which I believe, by the way, was a major reason we went into Iraq to begin with, to establish an American military presence in the Middle East to support and protect Israel. Diplomacy is a word absent from the neocon dictionary!

    I think Blubonnet is correct about Iraq; I’m not sure about Afghanistan, as it did not take long for the neocons to abandon that country to focus on Iraq. Going after bin Laden turned out not to be their top priority, an historical fact now!

  74. DNW: “The “little brown people” of the non-European nations don’t have the same moral need or human capacity for freedom and self-direction, eh?

    Sort of like a majority of those living in Delaware and Massachussetts?”

    Sorry, but I am going to have to say it: DNW, you are indeed an educated idiot, therefore undeserving of a more thoughtful discussion or debate!

  75. Perry wrote:

    Dana, the fact that you would cite favorably the PNAC based on these few quoted words means to me that you either are not very knowledgeable about them, or you are a neocon yourself. It was the neocons that got us into Iraq, a mistake of enormous proportion that has cost us plenty in life, limb, and fortune. And it is the neocons who have promoted and supported our unbalanced policies favoring Israel which I believe, by the way, was a major reason we went into Iraq to begin with, to establish an American military presence in the Middle East to support and protect Israel. Diplomacy is a word absent from the neocon dictionary!

    Generally speaking, sure, I’d be proud to claim the label neoconservative. In some ways, it wouldn’t fit, in that the neoconservatives were (often) former liberals who changed their opinions, and don’t hold all that much in common with the social conservatives; that part isn’t me. But when it comes to foreign policy, I certainly do believe in American exceptionalism and the right of the United States to intervene where we see it beneficial, both for ourselves and others.

    Sure, Iraq was messier than we had hoped it would be, but, in the end, the war in Iraq has been won. The Ba’athists are out, and Iraq is a growing democracy; we have liberated 25 million people from despotism. That’s a heck of an accomplishment.

    As for supporting Israel, absotively, posilutely. Israel is the one bastion of Western civilization in that region, and should be supported.

  76. Perry wrote:

    Take the Iranians as a current example. There we see the people rising up against tyranny. It will only be a matter of time before they prevail, though violence may ensue.

    Maybe, and maybe not. A lot of people had some real hopes for the summer uprisings, but they were squelched, at gunpoint. In the meantime, the Iranian people continue to be oppressed. I do see more hope for Iranian self-liberation than I did for the Iraqis, because Iran is at least partially democratic; and that’s a huge weak point for the regime.

    We can support their uprising without invading the country as we did in Iraq. The Soviet Union came down without our direct intervention, and there’s been a quiet revolution in China. In both cases, Communism has evolved to incorporate Capitalism in a manner consistent with their culture.

    Unfortunately, the Chinese Communists learned from the fall of the Soviet Union: they were willing to give up the economic idiocies of Communist in order to maintain iron-clad political control. The Chinese — at least in the urban areas — have some recourse to the positive economic benefits of capitalism, which dampens revolutionary fervor, but they remain completely repressed politically, and the regime takes every step it can to abort out any political pluralization it can find; the recent episode with Google shows how strongly they are committed to continued political oppression. Patrick Henry had some wise words about whether life was so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery.

    But, perhaps you do consider a semi-capitalist economic model combined with thorough political oppression as being “consistent with their culture.” Do people who have never known freedom somehow not deserve freedom?

  77. DNW: “The “little brown people” of the non-European nations don’t have the same moral need or human capacity for freedom and self-direction, eh?

    Sort of like a majority of those living in Delaware and Massachussetts?”

    Sorry, but I am going to have to say it: DNW, you are indeed an educated idiot, therefore undeserving of a more thoughtful discussion or debate!”

    It finally dawns on you (with a few helpful rhetorical slaps upside your head from others) that you have painted yourself into a logical corner; so, your panicked solution is to start screaming at me.

    That’s what happens to lefties like you Perry, when they are finally forced to confront the logical incoherence of their professed sociopolitical beliefs and values.

    So is it ok if some Cuban kills Castro, but not if I do it?

  78. Speaking of Castro (which one?), it is interesting that while the Castro brothers were busily murdering their own people, the Castro sister was busily secreting Cubans out of the country to prevent her brothers from murdering them. She had to finally flee to US for her own life.

  79. Take the Iranians as a current example. There we see the people rising up against tyranny. It will only be a matter of time before they prevail, though violence may ensue.

    That’s a questionable assumption. It took over 70 years for the Russian people to become free of Communism, the Germans never mounted a successful resistance to Nazi rule, and there’ve been plenty of other dictatorships and tyrannies that have proven to have a long shelf life.

  80. Dana, the fact that you would cite favorably the PNAC based on these few quoted words means to me that you either are not very knowledgeable about them, or you are a neocon yourself. It was the neocons that got us into Iraq, a mistake of enormous proportion that has cost us plenty in life, limb, and fortune. And it is the neocons who have promoted and supported our unbalanced policies favoring Israel which I believe, by the way, was a major reason we went into Iraq to begin with, to establish an American military presence in the Middle East to support and protect Israel. Diplomacy is a word absent from the neocon dictionary!

    Perry, an assertive American foreign policy hardly began with the “Neocons”, one needs only look at the policies of FDR and JFK, who, if you remember, boasted that we would “Pay any price, bear any burden” to help spread liberty across the world. Indeed, you can trace it all the way back to Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt, he famously of the “Big stick” approach to foreign policy.

    In contrast, what you seem to favor (and correct me if I’m wrong) is a sort of neo-isolationism, ironically, the same thing promoted by Pat Buchanan. Do you really want to be in the same camp with Pitchfork Pat?

  81. It finally dawns on you (with a few helpful rhetorical slaps upside your head from others) that you have painted yourself into a logical corner; so, your panicked solution is to start screaming at me.

    I hate to say it, Perry, but DNW does have somewhat of a point.

  82. But, perhaps you do consider a semi-capitalist economic model combined with thorough political oppression as being “consistent with their culture.” Do people who have never known freedom somehow not deserve freedom?

    Careful, Dana. Start talking about promoting freedom abroad, and they’ll call you a Neo-con …

  83. That’s what happens to lefties like you Perry, when they are finally forced to confront the logical incoherence of their professed sociopolitical beliefs and values.

    In fairness, DNW, I think Perry is a liberal, not a “Lefty”. That would be Pho.

  84. ” ‘That’s what happens to lefties like you Perry, when they are finally forced to confront the logical incoherence of their professed sociopolitical beliefs and values.’

    In fairness, DNW, I think Perry is a liberal, not a “Lefty”. That would be Pho.”

    You’ve, in your attempt at evenhandedness, broached an interesting subject; but one that probably can’t be addressed in a few moments taken out from a Saturday office session.

    The question you implicitly raise, is whether it makes sense to assert that there is in modern American, Democrat Party, so-called liberalism, a philosophical core that goes back to and is consistent with and still maintains, the tenets of classical liberalism.

    I think that it can be convincingly and correctly argued that classical liberalism has for all practical intents and purposes completely disappeared from the Democrat party scene; to be replaced by more or less virulent strains of welfare statism; strains, containing totalitarian presuppositions and assumptions that the proponents of this no-limits social management and direction philosophy, don’t even bother to deny anymore.

    Thus, what is socially remarkable in this latter regard, is that when “a Scalia” – or even an average citizen like JohnC or myself – observes that the sword that chops away, say, the principle of stare decisis cuts, it cuts both ways; the lefties confronted with these implications, begin to fly to emotional pieces.

    They simply are not competent enough logicians, to deduce the necessarily implied conclusions from their own operative premisses.

    Either that, or they rested on the assumption that no one else was smart enough to catch on to the scam they were running.

  85. That’s kind of hard when they live in a dictatorship that allows no elections, freedom of speech, or political opposition of any kind.

    Two questions:

    i, Which is worse, Cuba under Castro or El Salvador under Duarte?

    ii, Which did the US support and which did they oppose?

    Come to think of it, can you demonstrate that Castro was worse than Batista?

  86. Come to think of it, can you demonstrate that Castro was worse than Batista?

    In general, yes. Batista was merely authoritarian, and somewhat corrupt. Castro is a totalitarian. It’s like the difference between Mussolini and Hitler. Both were bad, but one was a whole lot worse than the other.

  87. DNW, I do think fairness dictates noting the difference between modern “Big Government” liberals and flat out leftists. As I said on another post, a liberal looks to Sweden as being the ideal government, the leftist looks to Cuba. Or, in other words, the liberal still values things like democracy and freedom of speech, the leftist does not. You can favor a European style social welfare state and still be a liberal, but the leftist wants a Marxist run political and economic system. One is still within the bounds of Western values, the other rejects them entirely.

    Hope that helps.

  88. In general, yes. Batista was merely authoritarian, and somewhat corrupt. Castro is a totalitarian.

    Gee – biased ideology instead of facts. Why am I not surprised?

    Wikipedia:

    Just over a year after Batista’s second coup, a small group of revolutionaries attacked the Moncada Barracks in Santiago on July 26, 1953. The assault was easily defeated and many of its leaders executed, while others were jailed. Among those jailed was the primary leader of the attack, Fidel Castro, a young attorney who had been running for parliament in the canceled 1952 elections. In the wake of the Moncada assault, Batista suspended constitutional guarantees and increasingly relied on police tactics in an attempt to “frighten the population through open displays of brutality.”[8]
    [...]
    By late 1955, student riots and anti-Batista demonstrations had become frequent. These were dealt with in the violent manner his military police had come to represent. Due to its continued opposition to Batista, the University of Havana was temporarily closed on November 30, 1956.[citation needed] (It would not reopen until early 1959, after a revolutionary victory.) Student leader Jose Antonio Echeverría was killed by police outside a radio station he had taken over to make broadcasts, in concert with an attack on the Presidential Palace on March 13, 1957.
    [...]
    The purge of the officer corps contributed to the inability of the Cuban army to successfully combat Castro and his guerrillas.[18][19] Batista’s police responded to increasing popular unrest by torturing and killing young men in the cities; his army, however, was ineffective against the rebels based in the Sierra Maestra and Escambray mountains.[8] Another possible explanation for the failure to crush the rebellion was offered by author Carlos Alberto Montaner: “Batista does not finish Fidel out of greed … His is a government of thieves. To have this small guerrilla band in the mountains is to his advantage, so that he can order special defense expenditures that they can steal.”[8]

    Batista’s rule became increasingly unpopular among the population, and the Soviet Union began to secretly support Castro.[20] In an effort to gather information about Castro’s army, people were pulled in by Batista’s secret police for questioning. Many innocent people were tortured, while suspects, including children, were publicly executed and left hanging in the streets for several days as a warning to others who were considering joining the insurgency.[15] The behavior of Batista’s forces backfired and increased support for the guerrillas. In 1958, forty-five organizations signed an open letter supporting the 26th of July movement, among them national bodies representing lawyers, architects, dentists, accountants and social workers. Castro, who had originally relied on the support of the poor, was now gaining the backing of the influential middle classes.[15]

    So we have a military strongman who tortured innocents, and executed children and left their bodies hanging in the streets – and Eric calls him “merely authoritarian”. You’ll drop to your knees before any right-wing dictator and start sucking, won’t you?

    Much as Castro can be rightfully criticised (see Amnesty International for details), Cuba’s literacy and health levels are now among the best in Latin America. Even given the sheer torture of having to listen to Fidel speechify, the Cubans were considerably better off under Castro than Batista, and also better off than the citizens of other Latin American countries whose governments the US supported.

    I would hope that Raul and Fidel die off quietly and the regime dies with a mere whimper – but that doesn’t mean that the Cubans are not better off having had the revolution than they would have been if they’d remained a puppet of the US and organised crime.

  89. So we have a military strongman who tortured innocents, and executed children and left their bodies hanging in the streets – and Eric calls him “merely authoritarian”. You’ll drop to your knees before any right-wing dictator and start sucking, won’t you?

    Go read my post again. I compared Batista to Mussolini, and Castro to Hitler. I suggested neither was good, but that Castro was far worse. Read the accounts of the mass murders in Cuba after he and Che took over. Look at the total lack of human rights under 50 years of his rule. Castro is the Stalin of the Caribbean, a totalitarian thug who controls everything within his grasp. Cuba under Batista at least had some economic freedom, some freedom of speech, and the freedom to emigrate. Under Castro, they have none of these things. But I guess you don’t care about freedom for Cuba, you’re too interested in sucking left wing dick.

  90. John Hitchcock:
    Pooter, if you ever want anyone who knows the truth to value any of your opinions, never, under any circumstances, quote wiki.

    Well, they’re like, a reliable news organization and stuff. Or actually, maybe not. But why let that stop a left winger, who wants to suck butt with Communist dictatorships … ?

  91. PNAC or its newly named FPI is just a plan, by military means, to take over the middle east. We may bomb them and such, but “we mean well”. (??????????????????????????????????????????????)

  92. Blu wrote:

    Obviously, Eric didn’t take note that the “loons” have become over 80% of the population. The knowledge of government complicity is now international, as well.

    Really? Then why, with the government now having changed hands from the Republicans to the Democrats, hasn’t the government taken any steps to investigate this? Why aren’t (serious) Democratic challengers running against Republican incumbents making an issue of this if “over 80% of the population” believes what you do about September 11th? After all, if what you believe could actually be proven, that would be it for the Republican Party; we’d be completely gone, done, toast, debris on the ash-heap of history. I would think that the Democrats would absolutely love to eliminate the GOP as a rival for political power!

    And if “knowledge of government complicity is now international,” why aren’t foreign governments, many of which don’t like the US very much, pushing forward with investigations, either through the United Nations or in other fora?

  93. The Phoenician wrote:

    Come to think of it, can you demonstrate that Castro was worse than Batista?

    Well, in the 1950s, Cubans didn’t risk their lives on unseaworthy rafts trying to get from Cuba to freedom. Under Fulgencio Batista. His regime was oppressive and unpopular, and he used police-state tactics to suppress his opponents.

    But the bringing of dictatorial control down to the neighborhood level was the accomplishment of Fidel Castro and the Comités de Defensa de la Revolución, which keep files on every resident.

    Fidel Castro himself proclaimed it as “a collective system of revolutionary vigilance” to report about “Who lives on every block? What does each do, who lives on every block? What relations does each have with tyrants? To what is each dedicated? In what activities is each involved? And, with whom does each meet?”

    Yeah, I think that’s worse.

  94. What do you want us to learn from a site which sell t-shirts, Blu, that war isn’t a very pleasant thing? We all knew that! But sometimes war is better than not fighting, better than leaving things the way they were.

  95. The Phoenician wrote:

    Much as Castro can be rightfully criticised (see Amnesty International for details), Cuba’s literacy and health levels are now among the best in Latin America. Even given the sheer torture of having to listen to Fidel speechify, the Cubans were considerably better off under Castro than Batista, and also better off than the citizens of other Latin American countries whose governments the US supported.

    I would hope that Raul and Fidel die off quietly and the regime dies with a mere whimper – but that doesn’t mean that the Cubans are not better off having had the revolution than they would have been if they’d remained a puppet of the US and organised crime.

    Really? Well, with a few notable exceptions, the military dictatorships which ran most Latin American countries disappeared a couple of decades ago. If the Batista regime was run for the benefit of a few, and organized crime had a heavy hand there, much similar stories would have been true about almost every country south of our border, yet most of them achieved some sort of political freedom and democracy by the end of the 1980s; even Augusto Pinochet stepped down, in 1990, to be replaced by a democratically-elected successor.

    The odds are that, had the Communists been defeated, that Cuba would have remained a dictatorship for ten, fifteen, maybe twenty years under Fulgencio Batista and a successor or two, but that Cuba would have had some form of democracy long before now. There are no guarantees, of course, but even when the Castros go to their eternal reward, the probability is that some other strongman (Carlos Lage Dávila?) will continue to be able to use the mechanisms of Communist Party control over the people of Cuba for yet another decade.

  96. Really? Then why, with the government now having changed hands from the Republicans to the Democrats, hasn’t the government taken any steps to investigate this? Why aren’t (serious) Democratic challengers running against Republican incumbents making an issue of this if “over 80% of the population” believes what you do about September 11th?

    That’s nice, Dana, but using logic on a Twoofer is like trying to teach the violin to a dog.

  97. Dana, where is the power really coming from? It’s not our government. It’s where the dollar sign glows the biggest and the brightest. Our government and sadly, our military (mostly unknowingly) are serving corporate mafiosos, which our forefathers, and even more recent ones like Eisenhower warned ominously of. Unfortunately you all kiss the will of those corporate mafiosos. They also have bought the media, or they are paying media.

    Why have other media sources internationally looked at this, and ours has not, unless they. ours that is, throw in some derisive comments?

    Why is it that throughout history, concentrated power has been shown to be corrupt, and yet when the concentration of power happened in this last decade, our government was “clean” ?

    Why haven’t any of you looked honestly at the truth? All you’ve see are the tidied up, whitewashed versions of it. Why did most of the 911 Commission themselves say they were lied to by our government? They said they were set up to fail.

    Those with testimonies of explosions, addressing the 911 Commission not mentioned, why not?

    Why was ample evidence of nano thermite found all throughout the many inches of pulverized cement, iron microspheres, and pulverized contents of WTCs?

    So, who here had the cajones to listen to soldiers’ testimonies in above links? Who here is not a coward, when it comes to honest objective analysis? No comments on that. Spineless wusses! Show your mental, emotional fortitude, if you have any.

    Those soldiers’ testimonies say alot about our government which reflects on what happened on 9-11-01.

    Or cower.

  98. Dana, it never was about anything more than obtaining resources. It’s not about “freedom” or “democracy”. It’s about thking over countries for our global elite. The fat cat bastards that own our government, our media, and our agenda for our military, while those serving do not. It’s egregious. You think it’s fine your daughters go into the bloody quagmire, and won’t look at all sides of the discussion. You’ll deeply deeply regret if if she dies. I’m sorry to bring that real possibility to you attention, but you do need to look further. I only wish the best for your daughters, but don’t betray them, by giving them insufficient awareness. You have the ability to do research. Research ALL sides. And, hey take me out of MQ, from a ways up there. Thanks.

  99. Obtaining what resources, blu? Can you name any resources other than oil that comes out of Iraq? Especially since US corporations didn’t get the oil contracts? How many conspiracy theories must one Washingtonian dimwit girl believe before nobody at all listens to her insane and inane rants?

  100. Blu, my own daughter told you she looked at your stupid conspiracy theories and she even owns DVDs of your stupid conspiracy theories. And she knows the truth despite all the lies that are your stupid conspiracy theories. Oh, and my daughter is due to go back to Iraq in September of this year. Go take your stupid conspiracy theories to some other site where they’ll believe all the lies you believe and are pushing.

  101. you are children argueing about nothing…….the crux of the matter is this….we are trying to initiate a healthcare program in america…..we already provide for israelis to have free healthcare and free education thru university………the people that pay the taxes for israelis to go to college cannot afford to send their own children to college………..does this make sense to you???? probably cause you are so stupid……..how about the healthcare debate????? socialism the republicans say……..but not when it come to paying for israelis to have free national healthcare…..then its ok……they just dont want my taxes to pay for americans to have healthcare………..hummmmmmm……..double standard????????

  102. John H.: In my view, Blubonnet has a point, as indicated in this citation of hers.

    The allegations by these scientists in their letter to NIST are serious and merit further investigation by NIST before their final report is issued. If the allegations are true, they suggest that the terrorist operation was even more involved than we have to date imagined. If true, we need to know the details, wrt our taking measures to prevent future terrorist attacks upon us.

  103. As far as blu is concerned, she’s such a loon that those of the left, even here, have told her to back off, so to speak.

    Channeling Doc Brown, “please excuse the crudity of my model. I didn’t have time to build it to scale or to paint it.”
    If you, Perry, write 300 comments, I’ll wholly disagree with 298 of them.
    If blu writes 3000 comments, I’ll wholly disagree with 2999 of them. And I’ll have to get a second opinion on the blueness of the sky.

    Blu is all about her conspiracy theories. She rarely has anything else to offer other than her conspiracy theories. As a result, I and many others have no use for her comments other than to point and laugh.

    You are different. Most of the time I still point and laugh when you comment but there have been several times when your comments have had real value to my mind. I don’t think your position is that of a totally wasted conspiracy theorist like blu. I think you’re way out there, like living on one of Jupiter’s moons. But blu lives on Pluto’s moon.

    And that, in my opinion, is why blu’s comments are valued as comic relief while your comments are valued by others as worthy of discourse (some even I value as worthy of discourse).

  104. Eric responding to the the NZ troll’s misrepresentations:

    “Go read my post again. I compared Batista to Mussolini, and Castro to Hitler. I suggested neither was good, but that Castro was far worse. Read the accounts of the mass murders in Cuba after he and Che took over. Look at the total lack of human rights under 50 years of his rule. Castro is the Stalin of the Caribbean, a totalitarian thug who controls everything within his grasp. Cuba under Batista at least had some economic freedom, some freedom of speech, and the freedom to emigrate. Under Castro, they have none of these things. But I guess you don’t care about freedom for Cuba, you’re too interested in sucking left wing dick.”

    You have characterized the collectivist version of a “common good” mentality better than you may consciously realize. Eric.

    Your description probably goes some way to revealing the virtually erotic fascination leftists and other collectivists have with Castro’s Cuba. No matter what the evidence, the Collective Beloved, where human alienation and marginalization is supposedly unknown (as are individual rights and self-direction)is always beautiful to the neurotic, who fears facing it’s own existence, and seeks refuge from such a prospect, in the notion of the mandatory universal huddle of the collectivist and totalitarian state.

    The average salary here is about 20 U.S. dollars a month. Education and health care are free, and everyone gets monthly rations of subsidized food. But in the capital, relatively healthy, well-educated Cubans sidle up to tourists to quietly beg for money. Even people who vigorously support the communist system say putting food on the table each month is a constant challenge.

    Yet after Castro’s speech, Marali Senida Martinez Riega said the communist society established by Fidel Castro is a miracle.”

    RENAISSSANCE AND DECAY: A COMPARISON OF
    SOCIOECONOMIC INDICATORS IN PRE-CASTRO AND
    CURRENT-DAY CUBA

    Was Cuba predominantly illiterate in 1957; maybe with 10 percent literacy?

    ” Since the 1950s, Cuba has increased its literacy rate from 76 to 96 percent, which today places it second only to Argentina among those 11 Latin American countries for which comparable 1950s UN data are available (UN 1957, pp. 600-602; UN 1997b, pp.85-86).”

    Were Cuba children dying like flies?

    Cuba’s infant mortality rate of 32 per 1,000 live
    births in 1957 was the lowest in Latin America and the 13th lowest in the world, according to UN data. Cuba ranked ahead of France, Belgium, West Germany,Israel, Japan, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Portugal,all of which would eventually overtake Cuba in this indicator during the following decades

    Table 1. World: Infant Mortality(Deaths per 1,000 live births)
    1957
    Japan …………….40
    Iceland …………..16
    Sweden…………….18
    Norway ……………21
    Switzerland ……….23
    Finland …………..28
    Netherlands ……….18
    Canada ……………31
    Germany, West ……..36
    Luxembourg ………..39
    Australia …………21
    United Kingdom …….24
    Ireland …………..33
    France ……………34
    Austria …………..44
    Denmark……………23
    Belgium……………36
    Italy……………..50
    Spain……………..53
    New Zealand ……….24
    United States ……..26
    Israel ……………39
    Greece…………….44
    Portugal…………..88
    Cuba ……………..32
    Source: UN 1979, pp. 67-188; UN 1997b, pp. 93-100. (Source same as above)

    But they had no medicine in the old days did they?

    In terms of physicians and dentists per capita, Cuba ranked third in Latin America in 1957, behind only Uruguay and Argentina—both of which were more advanced than the United States in this measure. Cuba’s 128 physicians and dentists per 100,000 people in 1957 placed Cuba at the same level as the Netherlands, and ahead of the United Kingdom (122 per
    100,000 people) and Finland (96)

    At least with the “common good” being the most important thing, the Cubans are now eating better …

    Rationing has been a feature of Cuban life since the early 1960s. During the early 1990s, the variety and amount of food consumption deteriorated sharply, when massive amounts of Soviet aid were withdrawn and food imports plummeted. On its own without Soviet largesse and abundant food imports, Cuban
    agriculture was paralyzed by a scarcity of inputs and poor production incentives resulting from collectivism and the lack of appropriate price signals.

    In pre-Castro Cuba, by contrast, food supplies were abundant, and its people were among the best fed in the hemisphere. The UN’s Statistical Yearbook, 1960 (pp. 312-316) ranked pre-revolutionary Cuba third out of 11 Latin American countries in per capita daily caloric consumption. This was in spite of the fact that the latest available food consumption data for Cuba at the time were from 1948-49, almost a decade before the other Latin American countries’ data being used in the comparison. Looking at the same group of 11 countries today (see Table 3), Cuba ranks last in per capita daily caloric consumption, according to the most recent data available from the UN Food and Agricultural Organization. Indeed, the data show Cuba with a food situation slightly worse than that of Honduras (UNFAO 1998).

    A closer look at some basic food groups reveals that Cubans now have less access to cereals, tubers, and meats than they had in the late 1940s.

    And technology and transportation are surely much improved …

    The number of automobiles in Cuba per capita has
    actually fallen since the 1950s, the only country in
    the hemisphere for which this is the case. Indeed, the
    latest available UN data for Cuba used in this comparison
    are for the late 1980s, a period when Soviet aid to Cuba was at its peak and the rest of Latin America was in the midst of the “lost decade,” a period characterized throughout the region by economic stagnation. …

  105. It is disgusting that we on the Left, no matter what credible evidence we bring, we are met with such trivial responses, which hold no water, other than “My daughter said…” Not what dozens of soldiers in battle said. “Nyah-nyah-nyah” is the factor of debate you use.

    When “Mr. Potatohead” brings intelligent factual considerations to the discussions, with zero, anti-semitism, John Hitchcock, hollers “anti-semitism”.

    Pathetic. Oh, I guess I should “go back to Pluto”. My plentiful presentation of credible sources, gets met with “Blu lives on Pluto”.

    Derision is used when one has nothing else to contribute. It doesn’t work, Hitchcock.

    You need to go back to elementary school, Hitchcock.

  106. Jan 17, 2010
    AE911Truth Presents at St. Mary’s College of California
    — Graham Pardun

    It’s important to distinguish evidence from opinion.” – Professor John Albert Dragstedt.

    His sleeves are rolled up, he’s back at the chalk board, he’s shedding light on “the Architecture of Destruction,” the subtitle of his latest DVD. For the third consecutive year, Professor John Albert Dragstedt has brought in Mr. Richard Gage, AIA, to give a lecture as a part of his January term course at St. Mary’s College. Prof. Dragstedt’s course, “The Mythologies of Capitalism,” necessarily deals with difficult, and oftentimes controversial, topics over its intense month-long duration* – and for Prof. Dragstedt, 9/11 is an “unparalleled atrocity” that must be understood, no matter how difficult or controversial. Mr. Gage has made it his goal to contribute to that understanding everywhere from the halls of academia to the halls of Congress.

    In Sichel Hall, at 9:15 AM on January 7, only three out of twenty-four students believed that the World Trade Center buildings were destroyed by controlled demolition. By 11:45, fifteen students agreed with the controlled demolition theory. Seven remained unsure, while two still held onto the official story. Students of all viewpoints asked insightful questions. Some typical questions included: “How would someone have gotten all those explosives into the buildings?” and “If 9/11 was a conspiracy involving someone other than al Qaeda, why did Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confess to being the mastermind?” In response, Mr. Gage relayed that the largest elevator modernization project in the world was being undertaken in the Twin Towers during the months prior to 9/11, which could have given the perpetrators unlimited access to the interior columns and beams of the buildings – of course the security company would have to be investigated as well. And as for the alleged confession of 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, Gage noted “Whatever he may or may not have said as the result of being waterboarded 183 times – that doesn’t negate the forensic evidence or the laws of physics.”

    We look forward to returning to Professor Dragstedt’s new group of students next January – on the heels of a real investigation commencing in the US Congress.

    * The college has a unique intense January term. On-campus January Term classes meet at least as often as a full-credit class during the regular semester, and many travel courses meet over three times as often.

  107. John H.: In my view, Blubonnet has a point, as indicated in this citation of hers.
    The allegations by these scientists in their letter to NIST are serious and merit further investigation by NIST before their final report is issued. If the allegations are true, they suggest that the terrorist operation was even more involved than we have to date imagined. If true, we need to know the details, wrt our taking measures to prevent future terrorist attacks upon us.

    The problem is, Blu really believes the US government planted explosives in the World Trade Center buildings and blew them up on September 11th. That’s not science or credible journalism, it is insanity pure and simple.

    Which is also why no one here takes Blu seriously, and why she is pretty much dismissed as a nut.

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