Friday, April 11, 2003

From the extropy list -

S writes:
> Are you going to attempt to say that the cost of living in say
> 1970 dollars has not risen and risen dramatically in the last 32
> years?

The issue is not the cost of living by itself, but the cost of living
compared to income. Both have increased due to inflation.

The way to get an objective measure is to use constant dollars.
These are dollars adjusted by the consumer price index, which reflects
price changes in a typical package of consumer expenditures. The CPI
takes into consideration increases in costs of food and housing, as well
as clothing and the other things that people spend money on.

So what your question boils down to is, has per-capita personal income,
measured in constant dollars, increased since 1970? Luckily, the answer
is easy to find. Looking at the Statistical Abstract of the United
States, at,
table 647 shows per capita income in both current (i.e. the currency of
the time) and constant dollars.

In then-current dollars, per capita income rose from $4,101 to $30,069
from 1970 to 2000. Applying the inflation factor vs constant 1996 dollars
(not shown in the table but it can be calculated from other columns as
3.44 for 1970 and 0.94 for 2000) gives a constant-dollar per capita
income increase from $14,114 in 1970 to $28,121 in 2000. Per capita
income has roughly doubled during the time period when inflation is
taken into consideration.

In other words, the cost of living for a typical family is about half
as much today, relative to their income, as it was in 1970, just the
opposite of what you claimed.

First China not only sells Iraq fiber-optic links to improve that country's surface-to-air batteries, but it even provides the workers to install them. The French are caught selling parts to Iraq for F-1 Mirage fighters. Now we've found that the Russians have been selling Saddam anti-tank missiles, night vision equipment, and jamming equipment. What a strange coincidence that these are the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council who threatened to veto a U.S. liberation of Iraq. So what are the messages here? First, none of these countries constitutes a friend or an ally of ours. Second, if there ever was any purpose to the U.N. Security Council it has long since lapsed. We must never again allow American policy to be directed in any way by those who actively seek to profit from killing Americans.
(Posted 03-24-2003)

from -

Thursday, April 10, 2003


> > (SA):> >
> > Are you going to address housing and the other implied
> > necessities or just harp on your understanding of food
> > abundances (but not necessarily food prices). If I have no home
> > or cooking facilities the types of food I can buy are also
> > severely limited and per unit of nutrition much more expensive.
> > Are you going to attempt to say that the cost of living in say
> > 1970 dollars has not risen and risen dramatically in the last 32
> > years?
> If he doesn't, I will. Life is much better and cheaper than it
> was in 1970, by the only measure that matters: amount of labor
> for goods comsumed.

Indeed, it is better today than it has been at *any* time in the past throughout human history. Everyone is living longer, fuller, healthier lives with more free time today than at any point throughout human history. I am sure you know this, but I think it is a point not emphasized enough today as we are overun by doom and gloom naysayers in our culture of fear.

Take my favorate example, for instance, farming. In 1650 some 98% of the worlds entire population farm, making just enough food for themselves. They worked long, back breaking days laboring in the fields from sunrise to sunset. There was no free time for art, poetry, music, science, or progress, let alone any effort to bring about a singularity, you spent your entire existence toiling away just to stay alive, and died around 35 - 40 years old. By 1850, it was some 80% of the population farmed, by 1910, with the advent of nitrogen fertilizers and the recognition of the value of mechnization, rapid changes took place. In that year, probably som 70% of people farmed, but by 1950 it was more like 30%. Today fewer than 2% of the entire world farms, and we produce more food at less cost than ever before. Which means through technology, today your average farmer does the work of some 100+ farmers of a century ago. Amazing. And now that we dont have to toil away in fields all day, we have time for hobbies, for nurturing interests in things that make life better, longer, and more enjoyable. 'Retirement' did not even exist 60 years ago. We now spend more time learning and in retirement than we do working, at least in the post industrialized west, and current trends show this will eventually spread to all people.

Michael Dickey

Monday, April 07, 2003

Excellent site, Starship Scale Reference. Hundreds of vessels from every genre, in IE you can click on and drag them next to faimiliar objects. Very well done.
LC wrote:
> or, taxes amounting to (797 + 186 + 518)/12854 = 11.7 percent.
> Shocking, really. There's no escape even for the poor---this is
> even a little beyond the tithe extracted by theocracies!

> I don't have any direct experience, but I seem to remember that anyone
> earning more than $750 a year had to pay income tax.

I have in front of me the Kiplinger Tax Letter, Dated Nov 8, 2002. It says:

"High Incomers are paying an even larger share of income taxes than in past years, according to the new IRS data from tax returns for 2000, the most recent set it has analyzed.
The top 1% of filers paid 37% percent of all income taxes, up from 36% the year before. But they made just 21% of the total adjusted gross income. An AGI of at least $313,400 was needed to be classified in the top 1%.
The top 5% paid 56% of the total income taxes, and made 35% of all AGI. The each had an income of $128,300 or more. The upper 10% of all filers, those with an AGI of at least $92,100 bore 67% of the income tax burden.
The bottom 50% of filers paid just 4% of income taxes in 2000."

While I am opposed to progressive taxes, (and involuntary taxation for that matter) if we are going to have both, then I have a suggestion. Why not just elimate that bottom 50% of wage earners from the income tax, I mean, c'mon! It would amount to a 4% tax cut to income tax revenue, some of which would be negated by how much would be saved by the IRS only dealing with 140 million people instead of 280 million. Any politician who proposed this on a presidential ticket could get 140 million votes. This would be a particularly wise move for republicans in congress to present, as the overall change in the tax burden is minimal (or nill if a 4% budget cut is associated with the relief for the bottom 50% of wage earners) and Democrats will have a significant thing to whine about wiped off their agenda. Though they still may cry 'those tax cuts only benefit the rich' if any further cuts occur.

Michael Dickey
An additional conversation from a 'warmonger' perspective

by Mike Lorrey

WM: Why is it that you are protesting against the war?
PN: Because war is wrong.
WM: War is always wrong?
PN: Some think so, but I think there might be some wars that were and
are just.
WM: What sort of wars would you say are just?
PN: Wars to oust unelected tyrants who invade their neighbors and
commit mass murder and genocide, like Hitler.
WM: Really? What other reasons might be just?
PN: If such a leader used chemical or biological weapons on enemies or
on his own people, and tortures and murders political opponents.
WM: But isn't Saddam guilty of all of these things?
PN: Maybe, but you can't take the word of what exiles say, they are
WM: Why would they be prejudiced?
PN: Because they have been tortured and had their families gassed and
murdered by Saddam, so their opinions are obviously unobjective.
WM: If War on Saddam is so wrong, why did you not protest how the
Clinton administration attacked Iraq, at the height of the Lewinski
PN: Because Clinton feels the pain of women and minorities and fuzzy
bunnies and anti-gunners.
WM: That doesn't sound very consistent or principled.
PN: Our principle is that war is wrong unless it is condoned by the
United Nations.
WM: Wasn't WWII not condoned?
PN: The UN didn't exist then, which is why we had to have a war.
WM: But the League of Nations did exist, and specifically passed
resolutions outlawing war, and limiting the weapons nations could
build, among many other things that were not obeyed by Germany and
Japan, who acted much like France, Germany, and Russia have acted today
in preventing the UN or League of Nations from doing anything to avoid
PN: But they did do something, they signed the Munich Pact.
WM: And how well did Germany abide by that?
PN: This is beside the issue. War is still wrong unless it is condoned
by the UN.
WM: So nations do not have any sovereign rights anymore?
PN: They have rights, but only to defend themselves if attacked
WM: So what is it you don't like about war?
PN: Silly, its because so many people die.
WM: But you say that in order for a nation to defend itself justly,
they must first submit to being attacked directly?
PN: That is right.
WM: So, you are saying that a lot of people, and generally people who
are innocent civilians, must die before a nation can defend itself.
PN: Correct.
WM: So if a criminal comes after you with a weapon, do you have to let
him stab you or shoot you dead before you are justified in defending
PN: We don't believe you should defend yourself. Police are there to
protect you.
WM: But in the case of nations, where are the world's policemen, and
how do they decide when to protect someone?
PN: The UN votes, and member nations are then justified in acting.
WM: What happens when some nations with veto power have a vested
commercial interest in vetoing a resolution to do so?
PN: National governments do not act on crass commercial interests.
WM: So the 300 companies that have done business with Saddam's regime
have absolutely no influence in the governments that vetoed Bush's
second resolution?
PN: That is correct.
WM: But don't you claim that Bush is only going to war for oil
PN: Yes, the Bush administration is controlled by US oil company
interests, and is going to war only to increase their profits.
WM: But the Chirac administration is not controlled by French oil
company interests who actually have contracts in Iraq?
PN: That is correct. France is a far more civilized country.
WM: Now, please tell me how these US oil interests are going to
increase profits from the war.
PN: When the US oil industry controlls Iraq's oil, they will increase
WM: But if the sanctions against Iraq are lifted, won't they be able to
sell far more oil than they currently are?
PN: Yes, and this will increase US oil company profits.
WM: But if they sell more oil, won't world oil prices go down at a time
when the costs (repairing sabotaged facilities) are going up? Won't
this lead to decreasing profits and cheap oil?
PN: We are never surprised at how oil companies are able to fix prices
to earn more profits and hide income. Just look at Enron.
WM: Hmmm, so the French oil companies would never do such things?
PN: The French are so much more civilized, just look at how they
distain country music.
WM: So, tell me, what are Russias altruistic interests in opposing war.
Are you telling me that it isn't just to hide the fact that they've
been selling night vision technologies, GPS jamming technologies, and
new anti-tank missile technologies, all in violation of UN resolutions?
PN: We accept Russias statements that those were sold before the first
Gulf War.
WM: Despite the fact that the products in question did not even exist
PN: Look, the basic fact is that the US is trying to use its position
as the dominant power in the world to establish an American empire
around the world.
WM: Really, when was the last time we added any territory to the US or
accepted a new state?
PN: The 1940's.
WM: And when the Archbishop of Canterbury accused Colin Powell of such
things at a London news conference, didn't Sec'ty Powell respond, "We
have sent many of our best young men and women around the world over
the years to fight for freedom, and the only land we have ever asked
for in return is enough to bury those that did not return."
PN: The US is the preeminent agressor in the world today, that is a
fact, and has been since the Reagan administration.
WM: Really, just what countries have we agressed against?
PN: Thats easy: Grenada...
WM: Who we freed from a communist coup and Cuban invaders.
PN: Nicaragua...
WM: Where we funded Nicaraguans to fight to demand the communist
Sandinistas honor their commitment to the OAS to establish a
constitution and a pluralistic multi-party electoral system.
PN: Afghanistan...
WM: Where we funded the native people to fight against communist Soviet
PN: Panama....
WM: Where we arrested a drug smuggling thug who killed President
Trujillo and refused to recognise the election of his opponent.
PN: Libya...
WM: Whose government was funding and training airline hijackings and
terrorist attacks all over europe and the Mediterranean.
PN: You placed nuclear tipped Pershing II and Tomahawk missiles in
WM: Which helped win the cold war and freed eastern europe from Soviet
PN: Somalia...
WM: Under UN auspices, at the request of Somalis, and only to protect
aid workers.
PN: Bosnia...
WM: Uh, there had been a civil war going for several years before we
stepped in and ended the war.
PN: Kosovo...
WM: To end the genocide of albanian Kosovars by the Milosevic
PN: This doesn't prove anything.
WM: Actually, it does prove something. Peaceniks, like yourself, never,
it seems, protest against the unjust acts of fascist tyrants. You
always protest against the just acts of free nations to spread freedom
around the world into areas that are under the iron fisted control of
fascist tyrants. You are the best friend of fascists. You might release
statements about what disagreeable individuals they might be toward
their own people (unless they are good socialist tyrants) but you
never, ever, ever do anything to change the world for the better. You
never take action to free anybody.
You condemn and act against anybody who takes a stand against tyrants.
Whether those tyrants are the tyrannies of foreign governments, or the
domestic tyrannies of paternalistic bureaucracies, excessive taxation,
gun control, luddism and restrictions on technological progress, it is
you who are the opponents of progress.
This is the true irony. Those who most widely claim the title of
"Progressives" act the most against real progress in the world, whether
it is making more of the worlds people free or increasing the quality
and quantity of freedom through technology that people already have.
You are not progressives, you are regressives.

Mike Lorrey
"Live Free or Die, Death is not the Worst of Evils."
- Gen. John Stark
"Pacifists are Objectively Pro-Fascist." - George Orwell
"Treason doth never Prosper. What is the Reason?
For if it Prosper, none Dare call it Treason..." - Ovid

Saturday, April 05, 2003

WAR Conversations.

A thread going around is a fictitious conversation between a 'peacenik' and a 'warmonger' told form the obvious side of the 'peacenik' here is that conversation and another one, this time reversed, to tell it from the side of the 'warmonger' Provided from a member of the extropy list.


At 05:08 PM 4/1/2003 +0200, you wrote:
>PN: Why did you say we are we invading Iraq?
>WM: We are invading Iraq because it is in
> violation of security council resolution 1441.
> A country cannot be allowed to violate security
> council resolutions.
>PN: But I thought any of our allies, including Israel,
> were in violation of more security council
> resolutions than Iraq.
>WM: It's not just about UN resolutions. The main point
> is that Iraq could have weapons of mass destruction,
> and the first sign of a smoking gun could well be
> a mushroom cloud over NY.
>PN: Mushroom cloud? But I thought the weapons inspectors
> said Iraq had no nuclear weapons.
>WM: Yes, but biological and chemical weapons are the issue.
>PN: But I thought Iraq did not have any long range
> missiles for attacking us or our allies with such
> weapons.
>WM: The risk is not Iraq directly attacking us, but rather
> terrorists networks that Iraq could sell the weapons to.
>PN: But couldn't virtually any country sell chemical or
> biological materials? We sold quite a bit to Iraq in the
> eighties ourselves, didn't we?
>WM: That's ancient history. Look, Saddam Hussein is an evil
> man that has an undeniable track record of repressing
> his own people since the early eighties. He gasses his
> enemies. Everyone agrees that he is a power-hungry
> lunatic murderer.
>PN: We sold chemical and biological materials to a
> power-hungry lunatic murderer?
>WM: The issue is not what we sold, but rather what Saddam
> did. He is the one that launched a pre-emptive first
> strike on Kuwait.
>PN: A pre-emptive first strike does sound bad. But didn't
> our ambassador to Iraq, Gillespie, know about and
> green-light the invasion of Kuwait?
>WM: Let's deal with the present, shall we? As of today,
> Iraq could sell its biological and chemical weapons to
> Al Qaida. Osama BinLaden himself released an audio
> tape calling on Iraqis to suicide attack us, proving
> a partnership between the two.
>PN: Osama Bin Laden? Wasn't the point of invading
> Afghanistan to kill him?
>WM: Actually, it's not 100% certain that it's really Osama
> Bin Laden on the tapes. But the lesson from the tape
> is the same: there could easily be a partnership
> between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein unless we act.
>PN: Is this the same audio tape where Osama Bin Laden labels
> Saddam a secular infidel?
>WM: You're missing the point by just focusing on the tape.
> Powell presented a strong case against Iraq.
>PN: He did?
>WM: Yes, he showed satellite pictures of an Al Qaeda
> poison factory in Iraq.
>PN: But didn't that turn out to be a harmless shack in the
> part of Iraq controlled by the Kurdish opposition?
>WM: And a British intelligence report...
>PN: Didn't that turn out to be copied from an out-of-date
> graduate student paper?
>WM: And reports of mobile weapons labs...
>PN: Weren't those just artistic renderings?
>WM: And reports of Iraqis scuttling and hiding evidence
> from inspectors...
>PN: Wasn't that evidence contradicted by the chief weapons
> inspector, Hans Blix?
>WM: Yes, but there is plenty of other hard evidence that
> cannot be revealed because it would compromise our
> security.
>PN: So there is no publicly available evidence of weapons
> of mass destruction in Iraq?
>WM: The inspectors are not detectives, it's not their JOB
> to find evidence. You're missing the point.
>PN: So what is the point?
>WM: The main point is that we are invading Iraq because
> resolution 1441 threatened "severe consequences." If we
> do not act, the security council will become an
> irrelevant debating society.
>PN: So the main point is to uphold the rulings of the
> security council?
>WM: Absolutely. ...unless it rules against us.
>PN: And what if it does rule against us?
>WM: In that case, we must lead a coalition of the willing to
> invade Iraq.
>PN: Coalition of the willing? Who's that?
>WM: Britain, Turkey, Bulgaria, Spain, and Italy, for
> starters.
>PN: I thought Turkey refused to help us unless we gave
> them tens of billions of dollars
>WM: Nevertheless, they may now be willing.
>PN: I thought public opinion in all those countries
> was against war.
>WM: Current public opinion is irrelevant. The majority
> expresses its will by electing leaders to make
> decisions.
>PN: So it's the decisions of leaders elected by the
> majority that is important?
>WM: Yes.
>PN: But George B-
>WM: I mean, we must support the decisions of our leaders,
> however they were elected, because they are acting in
> our best interest. This is about being a patriot.
> That's the bottom line.
>PN: So if we do not support the decisions of the president,
> we are not patriotic?
>WM: I never said that.
>PN: So what are you saying? Why are we invading Iraq?
>WM: As I said, because there is a chance that they have
> weapons of mass destruction that threaten us and our
> allies.
>PN: But the inspectors have not been able to find any
> such weapons.
>WM: Iraq is obviously hiding them.
>PN: You know this? How?
>WM: Because we know they had the weapons ten years ago,
> and they are still unaccounted for.
>PN: The weapons we sold them, you mean?
>WM: Precisely.
>PN: But I thought those biological and chemical weapons
> would degrade to an unusable state over ten years.
>WM: But there is a chance that some have not degraded.
>PN: So as long as there is even a small chance that
> such weapons exist, we must invade?
>WM: Exactly.
>PN: But North Korea actually has large amounts of
> usable chemical, biological, AND nuclear weapons,
> AND long range missiles that can reach the west
> coast AND it has expelled nuclear weapons inspectors,
> AND threatened to turn America into a sea of fire.
>WM: That's a diplomatic issue.
>PN: So why are we invading Iraq instead of using
> diplomacy?
>WM: Aren't you listening? We are invading Iraq because
> we cannot allow the inspections to drag on
> indefinitely. Iraq has been delaying, deceiving,
> and denying for over ten years, and inspections
> cost us tens of millions.
>PN: But I thought war would cost us tens of billions.
>WM: Yes, but this is not about money. This is about
> security.
>PN: But wouldn't a pre-emptive war against Iraq ignite
> radical Muslim sentiments against us, and decrease our
> security?
>WM: Possibly, but we must not allow the terrorists to
> change the way we live. Once we do that, the
> terrorists have already won.
>PN: So what is the purpose of the Department of Homeland
> Security, color-coded terror alerts, and the Patriot
> Act? Don't these change the way we live?
>WM: I thought you had questions about Iraq.
>PN: I do. Why are we invading Iraq?
>WM: For the last time, we are invading Iraq because the
> world has called on Saddam Hussein to disarm, and he
> has failed to do so. He must now face the consequences.
>PN: So, likewise, if the world called on us to do
> something, such as find a peaceful solution, we would
> have an obligation to listen?
>WM: By "world", I meant the United Nations.
>PN: So, we have an obligation to listen to the United
> Nations?
>WM: By "United Nations" I meant the Security Council.
>PN: So, we have an obligation to listen to the Security
> Council?
>WM: I meant the majority of the Security Council.
>PN: So, we have an obligation to listen to the majority of
> the Security Council?
>WM: Well... there could be an unreasonable veto.
>PN: In which case?
>WM: In which case, we have an obligation to ignore the veto.
>PN: And if the majority of the Security Council does not
> support us at all?
>WM: Then we have an obligation to ignore the Security
> Council.
>PN: That makes no sense:
>WM: If you love Iraq so much, you should move there.
> Or maybe France, with the all the other cheese-eating
> surrender monkeys. It's time to boycott their wine and
> cheese, no doubt about that.
>PN: I give up.

Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity. Don't assign
to stupidity what might be due to ignorance. And try not to assume you
opponent is the ignorant one-until you can show it isn't you.
-M.N. Plano

A wandering, mischievous, and distinctly unFriendly AI sees these two, and
decides that it would be fun if he switched their opinions. Suddenly the
intelligent peacnick sees why the invasion is necessary, and the straw
warmonger has an attack of conscience. They become, respectively, WM' and
PN', and continue their debate, now on opposite sides.

PN': I was so wrong, this war it totally illegal! Its against the UN charter!
WM': How so? We have resolution 1441 saying that we can invade.
PN': Nonsense! Serious consequences doesn't mean *war*! It means... well
France definitely wouldn't have voted for it if it meant war! And besides,
now the Security Council is "seized of the matter" and so invading is illegal.
WM': And I suppose that the US voted for resolution 1441 thinking
that it would legally prevent them from going to war? Anyway, how is the
Security Council "seized of the matter" now that they are no longer even
planning a vote related toe Iraq, much less demanding any action of any party?
PN': Never mind! The point is that one country can't invade another just
like that! We were at peace with Iraq, we can't just suddenly declare war!
WM': And how did we achieve peace, given that we never signed a peace treaty?
PN': So what! We have a cease fire!
WM': Whose terms resolution 1441 says that Iraq has broken.
PN': Even so, we have no evidence that Iraq has any of those weapons.
WM': So why won't Iraq offer anything but the most token assistance, and
defectors form Iraq consistently say that Iraq is hiding more weapons?
PN': Even if they have weapons in violation of the cease fire, we can get
rid of them with inspections.
WM': And if he just kicks out the inspectors again?
PN': Well he let them back in didn't he? He must have turned over a new leaf.
WM': Or maybe it was just the threat of war?
PN': In any event he is cooperating now.
WM': Will he continue to cooperate when he realizes that we aren't willing
to go to war?
PN': Moving on, those are all just excuses to go to war, we don't have any
good reasons though.
WM': Iraq's support of international terrorism?
PN': What evidence do we have of that? None.
WM': There is that mockup of a 747 that for terrorists to practice
hijacking, and the fact that they give money to the families of suicide
PN': But that isn't necessarily related to Osoma Bin Ladin, who doesn't
seem to be showing his face anymore anyway, so that doesn't matter.
WM': Even if Saddam can supply nuclear weapons to terrorists?
PN': There hasn't ever been any nuclear terrorism yet, so there never will be.
WM': And then there is freeing the Iraqi's from a brutal dictatorship.
PN': Whoever we put in will be worse, just look at those guys we supported
during the Cold War.
WM': None were worse than Saddam, and why would we continue to do the same
now that the Cold War is over?
PN': Even putting in a democracy will be antidemocratic, since the Iraqi's
won't have chosen that government.
WM': Even if they can change their constitution?
PN': Countries are supposed to have revolutions and achieve democracy
without any outside help.
WM': Like the US did?
PN': I still have objections!
WM': Go ahead.
PN': The US is a bad country and has no right to impose its will abroad.
WM': Would you say that bad people shouldn't be allowed to do good deeds?
PN': Moving on, we put Saddam where he is now.
WM': No we didn't, and even if we did wouldn't that make him our
responsibility to remove.
PN': But we gave him permission to invade Kuwait!
WM': How is telling him that he can solve the problem himself the same as
telling him to invade?
PN': We should adjudicate all disputes between all other countries just to
make sure that this doesn't happen. And we did sell him weapons.
WM': But didn't we sell him less weapons than France or Russia?
PN': Doesn't matter, and there are lots of worse countries out there that
we should get first, like North Korea.
WM': Do you think that China would agree to that?
PN': They might but...Our sanctions on Iraq are heartless and cost the
lives of tens of thousands of Iraqis each year.
WM': If Iraq used the money for food instead of weapons that wouldn't
happen, and besides, isn't that an argument *against* the status quo?
PN': But people will be killed if we invade Iraq.
WM': Yes, but far less than will be killed if we don't.
PN': It doesn't matter, if we do something the blood will be on our hands,
while if we do nothing we won't be to blame.
WM': But any action can unintentionally cause someone's death, so if you
believe that, isn't your only moral choice to never take any action?
PN': Well, there will be too many civilian deaths.
WM': The top of the range of the largest independent count is 724 so
far. Even assuming that 7000 civilians die in this war, it will be less
than Iraq's police kill in an average year.
PN': We should have offered Saddam a peaceful way out.
WM': Like our offer to let him leave?
PN': But we'll get Iraq's oil if we win!
WM': Won't being able to sell their oil help the Iraqis just as much as us?
PN': But that's *why* we're invading!
WM': Couldn't we get Iraq's oil by just supporting Saddam? Why go through
this whole "war" thing just to get something Saddam seems perfectly willing
to sell?
PN': But Bush and Cheney are oilmen!
WM': How does that effect the above?
PN': But we don't have international support!
WM': Have you heard the phrase "coalition of the willing?"
PN': But that doesn't include the US's traditional rivals like France or
WM': Doesn't it have most of Europe though?
PN': I know, wasn't it horrid how they just stabbed France in the
back. Europe should be unified.
WM': But didn't the majority of European countries vote to support the US?
PN': They should be unified behind what France wants! You're just a
bloodthirsty lunatic; I just hope Iraq defeats the US just to take them
down a notch.
WM': I give up.
MaxPlumm Said:
>> All of these accusations are to some degrees true. However, I do not see any perspective given to >> any of these judgments you have passed. For instance, the United States "propped up" the regime of >> Syngman Rhee in South Korea in 1950. Rhee was certainly an authoritarian and a thug.

To which DS responded:
> And in 1950 we couldn't know how bad North Korea would turn out to be. So we accepted mass murder
> by our ally

You miss the point entirely. 1st off, at no point in history do we know exactly how the future would turn out, however, everyone was pretty confident that communism sucked and democratic capitalism did not. Whether history would prove them to be true was yet unknown, but it did in fact prove them so. Considering more than 30 million chinese died in the cultural revolutions there, the fewer cultural revolutions the better. 2nd, as Max is trying to emphasize, it was not a choice between mass murder of 2,000 people and NO mass murder, it was a choice between mass murder of 2,000 people and mass murder of 2 MILLION people. To criticize the US for supporting a thug but not appluaud it at preventing the enslavement and murder of millions of people is rediculous.

I invite you to read Christopher Hitchens description of North Korea.

Liberal Author Christopher Hitchens calls North Korea 'The Worst of the Worst', it is the worst possible combination of absolute despotism, totalitarianism, and state failure. It is a living example of the nightmare portrayed in Orwells 1984 and predicted result of runaway nationalization in Rand's Atlas Shrugged, he says of North Korea -

"All films, all books, all newspapers and all radio and television broadcasts are about either the Father or the Son[Kim Jong Il]. Everybody is a soldier. Everybody is an informer. Everybody is a unit. Everything is propaganda...Children are drilled to think of Japanese and Americans, in particular, as monstrous...The old justification for the Stalinist forced-march system was that at least it led to development. But even in Pyongyang, the capital city which is reserved for approved citizens, one can see that this excuse doesn't work. Neither does anything else; the place is stalled and hungry and subject to constant blackouts. There are no cars on the streets; there is no construction except of tawdry shrines to the Holy Family. A very small window of dollar bribery has opened up in recent years, but there's nothing to buy and no black market. Corruption at the leadership level is exorbitant, with palaces and limos and (a special obsession of Kim Jong Il's) megalomaniacal movie projects...I saw people scavenging individual grains from the fields and washing themselves in open sewers. On the almost deserted roads, animals do a good deal of the hauling. Domestic pets are nowhere to be seen. Perhaps most have been eaten, for the fact is that North Korea is a famine stat...Nobody knows the death toll-the best guess is between 1.5 and 2 million-but in addition a generation of physically and mentally stunted children has been "fathered" by the "Dear Leader." Well-attested rumors of cannibalism have filtered across the border to China, where a Korean-speaking minority has lately been augmented by refugees so desperate that they will risk shooting in order to brave the river. A system where you can't live but you can't leave is the definition of hell...deserted towns, empty factories, wandering and neglected children and untilled fields...the country's once productive coal mines have been allowed to flood, and that there are no pumps that can be brought to bear" (from -

The latest estimates are that the state has killed 2 million people in the recent famine. This would make it the worst state killing since Cambodia in the 1970s. It would push the total killing by the communist regime since its origin to about 4 million people, making communist North Korea the 6th greatest killer since 1900.

Now compare North Korea with South Korea, which started with similiar populations nearly identical climates, land area, people, and culture. Yet South Korea, which embraced capitalism and democracy at the end of the Korean War is now the 11th largest economy in the world, a bustling hub of progress and growth which recently hosted the Olympics. North Korea, on the other hand, embraced massive statism, it is the only full fledged communist state intact, its people are desperately poor and millions have starved to death, while factories and fields remain unused and empty it receives billions in international aide while maintaining a standing army of 1 million with artillary constantly aimed at South Korea's capital. A truly sad state of affiars.

If the United States had not supported a 'totalarian thug' which murdered 2000 of his own people, All the people of South Korea, which numbers 48 million today, would be living under the same horrific hellish conditions, where every year is 1984, that the people of North Korea live under.

Michael Dickey

Wednesday, April 02, 2003


We all ready know that you dont like the war, so perhaps instead of posting these long diatrabes and desciptions of your previous days lunch's you could just say 'I dont like the war'. When you realize that you would end up with multiple posts each day that simple say 'I dont like the war' you will see why your arguments are getting your opinion no where. We know you dont like the war.

> If you cannot understand that I am against the US/UK troops *and* against
> Saddam Hussein at the same time

You pay lip service to disliking Saddam, but have presented no evidence indicating as much. If you dislike him so much, then why the concentrated effort to dissuade people from voluntarily choosing to oust him?

> but what can be more tasteless than
> this current war on Iraq?

Here you find an essential dividing point between you and us. Those who support this war see it as more tasteless to leave a murderous dictator in power than it would be to remove him. As Robert Bradbury pointed out, leaving Saddam in power will cause more deaths of Iraqi people then taking him out of power. He asked anyone to present a reasonable challenge to that notion, and received no responses as of yet. A few months back another poster presented an eloquent list of the reasons why extropians should want Saddam removed.

We do not support war because we like to see people die, or get our jollies off of watching bombs fall in Iraq, and until you understand the reasons *why* those of us who actually support this effort support it, and address those points, your comments will not persuade anyone.

For starters, in no particular order

1) Saddam is a murderous tyrant dictator, his Anfal campaign was a systemetic attempt to wipe out the Kurdish population (aka genocide) conservative estimates has him responsible for 200,000 murders, 50,000 of which were perpetrated when he squashed the Shiite majority uprising post Gulf War I

2) UN Security resolution 1441, signed as a unanimous vote in the UN, dictates that he should disarm peacefully and immediately and expose all previously discovered chemical, biological weapons and delivery systems. If he did not, he would face 'serious consequences'

3) From an American perspective, Saddam poses a threat to the American People. 9/11 demonstrated the domestic American vunlerabilities, that small parties can inflict large casualties. We need not see an IRAQI battleship cruising up the Hudson to consider Saddam an immediate and direct threat, which leads into the next one

4) Saddam is a despotic west hating tyrant, and it is reasonable to suspect that if he gets the capability to attack the US, he will. He has been actively trying to acquire nuclear weapons, attempted to build an artillery cannon capable of launching projectiles into orbit.

5) Saddam controls the worlds second largest energy supply, and as a murderous tyrant, uses it for, surprise, murder and tyranny.

6) There are no Arab Democracies, and a democratic IRAQ could potentially become a 'shinning beacon of democracy in an arab sea of tyranny, oppresion, and despair' When arab peoples see the life that can be lived in a free Arab nation, it can help to diffuse the anti-west hatred and anti-progress attitude that many arab theocracies, monarchies, and dictators have imposed upon their people. (Optimistic admittedly, but everyone is so pessimestic, its nice to have a little optimism)

There are many other reasons to support the effort to remove Saddam Hussain from power, but unless you address and/or invalidate these points (or whatever other ones other supporters have) you will not change any ones minds. So I guess it boils down to what your goal is, reminding everyone that you dont like the war, or trying to change other peoples minds about it. We know you dont like the war, so dispense with your creative efforts at saying as much, and just post 'I dont like the war' Pointing out to supporters the dismay that the Iraqi people undergo dissuades no supports because they believe, legitamtely, the more suffering will be caused by inaction than by action.

Additionally, no one has a *right* to be a Dictator, and that is what Saddam was. He could have walked away and saved all of the causalties and deaths now caused. He is morally culpable now for each and every death this War causes, simply because he wanted to remain a murderous dictator.

Michael Dickey

> -----Original Message-----
> From: RJB

> On Sat, 29 Mar 2003, matus wrote:
> > As RJB pointed out, leaving Saddam in power will cause more
> > deaths of Iraqi people then taking him out of power. He asked anyone
> > to present a reasonable challenge to that notion, and received no
> > responses as of yet.
> Actually Michael I did receive a couple of offlist posts questioning
> (validly I think) some of my assumptions.

Sorry, I should have specified no *public* responses as of yet.

> The most significant of
> which (IMO) is the question of whether the U.S./U.K./Au will have
> to completely eliminate the Republican Guard (probably 100K+ individuals,
> similar to the casulties in Gulf War I) in order to take out Saddam
> and the ~100 top level individuals that constitute his "regime"...
> If that turns out to be necessary then my calculations may be
> somewhat more questionable from a utilitarian perspective.

That seems a good point, if the justification of this war relied on a dead through action vs. dead through inaction comparison based on drawing out rates of dead in the past linearly into the future, this would definately deserve some deep consideration. Note my qualifier of drawing out past rates linearly.

> > We do not support war because we like to see people die, or get
> our jollies
> > off of watching bombs fall in Iraq, and until you understand the reasons
> > *why* those of us who actually support this effort support it,
> and address
> > those points, your comments will not persuade anyone.
> I think this the key point that Hubert, Max and others need to understand.
> I refused to return my draft card during the Vietnam war until my father
> (who had served in WWII) made it clear he would throw me out of the house
> if I did not do so. I am *NOT* a "fan" of war. *But* I am very aware
> (much more aware than most people on the list) of how the technologies
> for developing/producing WMD are becoming increasingly available to
> both rogue nation-states as well as terrorist organizations.

I guess it should not surprise me that you received very little response to this concern. You hit the nail on the head. This is, indeed, the primary reason why I support this in addition to the previous ones mentioned. There is nothing that scares me more than realizing that in the future fewer and fewer people will be able to committ mass tragedies easier and easier. We need, ASAP, to remove the primary cuases of all this animosity. Giving everybody in the world an avenue to better themselves will remove a LOT of the animosity that breeds terrorists, hatred, and intollerence. Nothing would benefit the Arab community more than a wealthy free democracy in IRAQ. While in the short term, this will cause more animosity, in the long term, it will open up the Arab world to freedom and democracy, which will stem animosity.

This whole scenerio scares me honestly, as there are a lot more 'tribes' who animosity could wipe out life on earth. The greens, for example, may one day see it better to wipe off all humans on this planet, we are just raping and pillaging it, after all. And what does a 'reasonable' person do to someone who is raping and pillaging? *shudder* I can not think of a way to work to diminish the animosity of some of these groups, which is why I am involved in and support the lifeboat foundation (

For starters though, lets try to bring the arab nations out of the corrupt, oppressed middle ages their murderous dictators and theocracies keep them in. Right now one must be a motivated billionaire or have connections to one to really wreak mass havoc and thousands of deaths. In 10 years, one may need only be a millionaire, 10 years after that, a moderately intelligent well motivated individual could wipe out thousands to millions of people. I see it in my head as a graph, the resources (intellect, money, time) etc needed to commit massive tragedies continues to decline, while an opposing line, how many people one can kill, rises. Linearly? Exponentially? Logorithmically? Scary stuff. This was the reason why I added my optimistic outcome in my list

6) There are no Arab Democracies, and a democratic IRAQ could potentially become a 'shinning beacon of democracy in an arab sea of tyranny, oppresion, and despair' When arab peoples see the life that can be lived in a free Arab nation, it can help to diffuse the anti-west hatred and anti-progress attitude that many arab theocracies, monarchies, and dictators have imposed upon their people.

> People who promote "peace at all costs" simply do not recognize
> that these technologies have the capacity for eliminating civilization
> as we know it (note my recent posts on SARS -- and that is probably
> a natural situation).
> I'll make an assertion to people who object to my position (or the
> activities of the U.S./U.K./Au) -- *you* are *clueless* with respect
> to how bad it could get and how close people who have virtually
> no respect for "human dignity" are to bridging the gap to the point
> where they are executing your worst nightmare. How long do you need
> to watch Al-Jazeera before you figure out that they are promoting
> the "unextropic" concept that they want you ("us") dead?

Well said.

And this leads of course back to the question of assessing the causalties of inaction vs. action, and why a linear projection of current rates isnt valid. In the future, a pissed of terrorist could wipe out *the entire human population* Yeah, some Iraqi civilians will be killed in this attempt to overthrow a murderous dictatorial regime, but if we dont provide a democratic peacefull aveneue for arabs and middle easterners to grow, they may very well wipe humanity off the face of the earth. The most clinching moment for this was probably reading Robert Wrights "A Real War On Terrorism" ( which some list members have cited to support an stance against this war. I found it the opposite, especially Wrights description of what Mohommad Atta went through in various Arab countries trying to find a positive productive outlet for his efforts and intellect, and was blocked every step of the way, eventually finding the only avenue offered, terrorism. In fact, Wright recommends democraticization in authoratarian Arab regimes to stem this tide of growing animosity, along with globalization. Basically acknowledging that these efforts will lead to resentment among arabs, Wright still recommends to 'Take your bitter medicine early' saying "But in the case of terrorism, I have a decided preference because in 10 or 20 years, terrorism will have much more lethal potential than it has now. So, if there are burdens we can bear now—in money, even in lives—that will dampen future terrorism, they're probably worth it." While some or much of this essay to some will lead them to not support the current war, I found it a more compelling argument to support it, although critical of particulars of some of Bush's actions.

> And thank you Michael for detailing points that need to responded
> to (i.e. the rationale behind a pro-war position) much better than
> I might have done.

Thank you for the positive comments RJB. I am not surprised that no one has yet respoded to these points with anything except "I dont like this war"


Michael Dickey
"Four hundred years ago, Francis Bacon could see clearly enough the need to move beyond idolatry of tribes. He suggested we think of ourselves as citizens of the Human Republic. Yet that notion has practically disappeared. That meme cannot hang on amidst the near universal colonization of human minds by nationalisms."

Lets be fair here and compare *types* of tribalism. When some nationalisms include such memes as murder, oppression, and torture of political dissenters, and are opposed idealogically to human progress and the general increase in the standard of living, embrace genocide, are west hating racists and want nothing less the destruction of freedom, progress, and modern civlization, it is easy to understand why one should prefer *tribalism* that embraces the value of human life, values free speech, progress, rule of law, representative governments, and objectively makes the lives better of all its tribal members.

Yes, the US and the democratic market based western nations are *tribalistic* in that they value there way of life over the alternative presented by fanatical islam and murderous tyrant dictators of oppression, enslavement, and murder.

To simply discount all forms of *tribalism* because they are tribalism is absurd, and ignores the fact that many are actually a heck of a lot worse than other forms. I invite you to imagine a *world* where the strongest power in the world is any one of the following

despotic communist dictators
murderous oppressive theocracy
Saddam Hussain

And then compare that world to the one in which the strongest world power is a democratic constitutional republic which embraces (albiet tribalistically) such values as free speech, rule of law, and individual civil liberties, in *at least* orders of magnitude greater levels than any of the other systems out there.

In short, lets bring everybody up to a better form of tribalism, and then worry about erradicating tribalism all together.

Michael Dickey
"I already told you: they hate Saddam and want him removed too, but by peaceful disarmament. It could have worked out this way: 300.000 British and US troops stay in Kuwait. The costs for this threatening scenery could be split up between all nations - and Germany would gladly pay for it, too. Then let the inspectors in and do their job."

Humania, something you neglect to acknowledge is that a 'peaceful disarmament' did not work. Hussien did absolutely nothing until the credible threat of force was presented to him, and then, and only then, did he let inspectors in. He continually stalled and delayed the inspectors, as all that was needed was to show the inspectors the thousands of banned weapons, chemical warheads, and growth media that the 1994 UN inspection team had found. His co-operation was continually declining, even though he continued to give small snippets of co-operation, primarily to politically divide the world. His behavior was far from full co-operation, and Blix even said as much. The UN resolution called for full co-operation, and if not there would be 'serious consequences'.

You keep parroting this mantra of peaceful disarmament, yet I had asked you before, what if peaceful disarmament doesnt work? What if an aggressive despotic nation has absolutely *no* interest in peaceful disarmement? You seem to tout this mysterious universe where peaceful disarmament will *always* work if given enough time. There is no evidence to suggest this is the case. Saddam only co-operated with the real threat of force presented to him. You talk about the 300,000 british troops 'staying in kuwait' If they are not there as a threat to Invade Iraq, Saddam would stop co-operating. As soon as he saw they were only present as a bluff, he would cease co-operating all together. You fail to understand this simple point, THERE ARE *NO* INSPECTIONS WITHOUT A CREDIBLE THREAT OF FORCE.

You can continue to live in happy hippy la la land, or you can live in the real world of complex geopolitical issues, tough decisions, and dangerous murderous dictators.

Michael Dickey

>And please correct me if I'm wrong Charles, but if you accept that Hussein
>"is (or was) evil" then you must then accept the conservative estimates that
>he is responsible for the deaths of at least 200,000 of his own people. If

"I don't have any basis to accept or reject any particular set of numbers. But there's a big difference between his doing it and our doing it. If he does it, then he is the villian. If we do it, then we are. "

Many would argue that it is unethical to NOT intervene in such attrocities. If he is murdering his own people, intentionally and directly, he is a villian. However, if we attempt to stop him, as a murderous ruler, and kill civilians in the process, we are 'the villian'? I am curious if you equate these two circumstances in terms of 'villany' equally, or is one action worse or less worse than another?

A strict utilitarian would probably say you should definately behave in a manner that will cause the least number of deaths, and thus the Iraq war would be justified. A Kantianist abides typically by catagorical imperitatives, that is, behaving in a manner that you feel all others should be required to behave in a similiar situation. If we consider Saddam as a person instead of a regime, then killing him would both be kantianist and utilitarian, to prevent the further murders he in all reasonable manner is exepected to perpetuate. If I were being beaten and hacked by Saddam, I would expect you to intervene if you had the capability to, a Kantianist would probably say you had the moral requirement to intervene.

In other words, if you are sitting there cleaning your guns, and you are watching your neighbor get beaten and raped, is it moral for you to sit idly by and do nothing? I think most systems of ethics would in fact call you immoral for not interveneing.

The situation is obviously complicated when innocents are involved. But again, if someone starts shooting at me and holds a child in front of him in hopes of getting me to not shoot back, should I be held morally culpable if that child is killed in my self defensive actions? Its rediculous to think I should be, but that is essentially what you are saying. The morally culpable party is the one who initated the act of force *and* used innocents as sheilds.

Saddam, as protocol, does this. Military installations are routinely placed inside of civilian areas, If a country performs such an attrocious act, then initates violence, is the defending party held morrally culpable when thier retaliation kills civilians? Thats absurd, and I cant believe you truly hold that mentality, it just seems to fly in the face of reason. The morally culpable party is the shitbag that put radar installations next to hospitals.

Another dividing factor is that many do not percieve this as an act of 'self defense' and that 'pre-emptive strikes' are not self defense. Some list members, such as Samantha, go so far as to insist that absolutely no 'pre-emptive' strike is moral.

It again seems absurd to insist as much, to think that absolutely *any* conceivable scenario could ever make 'pre-emptive' strikes morally valid. Yet people who may have never heard of Kant or Rawls might insist as much. Id like to hear someone 'prove' that a pre-emptive strike is never morally valid. I would, in fact, argue that in many cases a pre-emptive strike is a moral requirement, especially in a Kantianist catagorical imperative sense. For instance, should someone pull a gun and aim it at me, and act in a threatening manner, must I wait for him to actually pull the trigger before I shoot at him?

For all intents and purposes, Saddam is a crazy man waving a gun around, shouting angrily at the US, has a clear track record of murder and tyranny, and has been trying to acquire means to increase his murder counts by orders of magnitude. He is a despotic ruler, and as such is not answerable to his people. What part of this behavior makes a 'pre-emptive' strike morally invalid to you?

The US is taking all possible measures to avoid civilian causalties, Saddam's forces are intentionally putting *their own* civilians in harms way, Saddam has already killed 200,000 - 1,000,000 of his own people (exiles claim numbers as high as 1,000,000) His Anfal campaign was a deliberate attempt to exterminate the Kurds (genocide) and resulted in nearly 200 chemical weapons attacks against the Kurds, his systemetica rape, tortue, and execution of political opponents is documented, his has invaded neighboring nations, attacked neighboring nations, and stands in all likelyhood to continue committing these acts.

One should be morally REQUIRED to stop such a madman from continuing such horrendous acts.


Michael Dickey

Afghanastan and the US

ML said:
>The Soviet experience in Afghanistan is a good example of such a
>conflict, yet it can be seen from the US experience there a decade
>later that a certain degree of technical superiority, in both equipment
>and training, can largely eliminate any advantage the local anarchists
>may have once had, even when the conqueror is under both media scrutiny
>and feels bound by international standards of behavior.

AG said:
"There was almost no "media scrutiny", and the Afghans defeated the Soviets with guerilla tactics, intelligence, and after the moderates died or escaped, a brutal extremism that was the end result of a decade of fighting."

The Afghans won against the soviets from the tremendous amount of guns, missiles, and supplies sent by the United States to supply the Afghan resistant against the tyrannicall murderous expansionist soviets. Leftists no longer felt it necessary to even attempt to defend people from murderous tyrannical regimes post vietnam. Your statements parrallel the same arguments made just before the US's ousting of the Taliban, that 'the Soviets fought them for years and these hardened warriors who knew the terrain fought them off!' Never mind the help they received from the other world superpower. Note that skeptics predicted similiar difficulty with the US defeating the Taliban, but with no military backing from a superpower, all the 'intelligence and guerilla tactics' of the hardened war machine of the Taliban fought off the fall of Kabul for, what, a month?

Just as the victory in Vietnam belongs to the Soviets, and not the North Vietnamese civilians fighting for a 'revolution' (using soviet tanks, guns, mines, and artillery) the victory in Afghanastan against the soviet invasion belongs to the US.

This further supports ML's statements, no amount of intelligence and perserverence from guerilla tactic anarchists can defeat a massive statist invasion with advanced weaponry and overwhelming firepower.

Michael Dickey

>This further supports Mike's statements, no amount of intelligence and
>perserverence from guerilla tactic anarchists can defeat a massive statist
>invasion with advanced weaponry and overwhelming firepower.

"I did not see any attempt by him or you or others to look at what Dan and I pointed links to regarding the definition of anarchocapitalism. I only saw some bizarre references by Mike to who he thinks are 'anarchists'. The Afghan comment was really the one that got me upset, though"

Your comments on Afghanastan were the focus of my attention. I dont really know if a anarcho capitalist defense is feasible against a statist totalatarian invasion, but I found The Private Production of Defense by Prof. Hans-Hermann Hoppe to be full of compelling arguments (as I said in an earlier post to Samantha). However, the events in Afghanastan seemed to superficially support what ML was suggesting.

Honestly, I dont care if such a system could adequately defend itself, since we aint gonna see one any time soon. Instead I am much more concerned about the proliferation of terrorist organizations, the expansion of groups that want nothing less than the destruction of western civilazation, technology, progress, and freedom, and the reign of murderous oppresive regimes. Hopefully one day I will feel it necessary to concern myself with the functional capabilities of an anarcho capitalist system and its capabilities for defense. However, I note, the number of anarcho-socialists probably exceeds the number of anarcho-capitalist 10 - 100x.

"If anyone is wondering why more enlightened topics not often-enough make into broad discussion on extropians, then here is one reason why. For me, it takes too much energy to talk about that here, fighting against narrow-minded views and I see little interest with these people to look into it further and study the sources."

I think at one point in time, each of us has felt we could justifiable say this about everyone else. In this case I think your assessment of the Soviet Afghan US situation was a gross oversimplification of what actually occured there and why, which is why I felt compelled to respond.

"The title of the message is of course, referring to what the Afghan people called the invasion of the Soviets in 1979. How many millions disappeared? Nobody knows. By the crudest estimates, some 10 million Afghans by 1986 no longer existed and a generation of Afghans mostly gone (dead, in prisons, in refugee camps, escaped to the west). The largest population of refugees in the 1980s were the Afghan population. The world was very silent during this time. Please read some history and please talk to some Afghan refugees from that time. There is no better source than the people who were actually there."

I could just as easily make the same suggestion to you, and probably feel as justified about saying it as you do to me. Perhaps my comment was a little brash, but it is at the very least intellectually dishonest not to acknolwedge the critical role that the US's assistance played in Afghanastan. Despite how I may come off on the list, I am not a cold hearted impassionate callous hate monger. I dearly empathize with the attrocities that people face at the hands of murderous tyrannical governments, which is why I am so vocal about telling the correct history of Vietnam, where millions upon millions of people were enslaved or murdered.

A quick search on the subject reveals

"By 1983, the CIA was purchasing assault rifles, grenade launchers, mines, and SA-7 light antiaircraft weapons, totaling 10,000 tons, mainly from 1985, President Ronald Reagan made a secret decision to escalate covert support to the mujahidin. Soon after, the CIA began to supply an extensive array of intelligence, military expertise and advanced weapons to the Muslim rebel forces...Furthermore, Reagan made the decision to equip the mujahidin with sophisticated U.S.-made Stinger antiaircraft missiles. By 1987, the CIA was sending a steady supply of 65,000 tons of arms to the mujahidin. In all, the United States provided over $2 billion in weapons and money to seven Islamic mujahidin factions in the 1980s, making this last Cold War battle the largest covert action program since World War II"

from -

"This military aid mostly stemmed from the US, but China, Egypt, Israel, and Saudi Arabia also funded the anti-Soviet efforts. By 1985, military aid reached an estimated $500 million, half of which came from the US; in 1986 the number doubled; and the total amount from the US for the years 1980-86 was around $625 million. During the same period, an additional $400 million from the US went to aid Afghan refugees.[8]"

from -

Would these Afghan Refugees tell me all this equipement and weaponry was not used? Btw, I have never come across a Afghan refugee, but if I ever did I would not miss an oppertunity to hear everything he/she has to say.

A history note:
"The Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979. The Afghans fought them with little help, surprisingly successively for a large part of that war. Please look to Soviet sources or talk to Russians for how difficult of a time the Soviets were having. The U.S weapons to the Afghan fighters were not until some 7 or 8 years later. We all know how that turned out, don't we?"

As noted above, the invasion took place in 1979, the US was providing 10,000 tons of equipement *by* 1983, a mere 4 years later. But assistance started nearly immediately, with the US providing through China and Pakistan a much needed quardaped gastrobot capable of carrying large loads over rough terrain for great distances with little maintence. The US supplied thousands of these devices, also known as 'mules' to aide the mujahadeen in 1980.

"Oh yes, it's lovely to have two superpowers using an innocent people for their political goals."

Yes it is, unfortunately you seem in this statement ambivalent as to who the oppresive murderous tryannical expansionist regime was that invaded Afghanstan in the *FIRST* place.

Michael Dickey

"The Soviet and US Wars in Afghanistan: Why They Differed"

from -

noteable excerpts -

"It is easy to romanticize the guerrilla. From T.E. Lawrence to Che Guevara, guerrilla leaders have often become figures of legend; the late Ahmad Shah Mas‘oud, who was indeed a highly skillful fighter and tactician, emerged as the legendary figure from the war against the Soviets. But Lawrence (who, despite his legend, was only an advisor, not a commander of Arab forces) did not defeat the Turks merely through the guerrilla tactics mentioned above. The Arab irregulars with whom Lawrence fought used armored cars, artillery, and aircraft, and even so it was ultimately British and Australian forces (along with Arab regulars who are often forgotten) who beat the Turks. Mao Zedong's guerrillas might swim like fish in the sea of the people, but it was regular People's Liberation Army units which defeated Chiang Kai-shek. No Afghan mujahedin leader ever took a city or even a major town from the Soviets."

"Overall, the military technology of the Soviets was massively superior to that of the resistance, but the Stingers provided a force multiplier that negated some of the Soviet edge. Without the Stingers and the financial support of the US, as well as military and other support from Pakistan, the mujahedin might well have been crushed by the Soviets long before 1989"

And from some more accurate estimates on aide provided to Afghanistan

"This war began toward the end of Jimmy Carter's term as President of the United States. Carter provided some US military aid to the guerrillas fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan while he was president. He did not provide a huge amount--about $30 million for 1980. Under Ronald Reagan this went up $50 million for 1981, $50 million for 1982, $60 million for 1983, and $140 million for 1984. These figures do not suggest a huge differenc in policy between the Carter and Reagan administrations. One would not expect deliveries in the first year after the Soviet invasion of December 1979 to have been huge; it could legitimately take some time to get the pipeline going. For the first-year deliveries to have been half of the fourth-year level actually looks to me as if Carter got things off to a pretty fast start. (Figures from Cordesman & Wagner, The Lessons of Modern War, vol. 3, The Afghan and Falklands Conflicts, p. 20).

The big break was between Reagan's first and second terms. US military aid jumped to $250 million in 1985, and in succeeding years to $470 million, $660 million, and $700 million. In 1986, the US began supplying Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to the guerrillas. These imposed such heavy casualties on low-flying helicopters and assault planes that the airmobile tactics were largely abandoned in 1987, and the Soviet troops returned to a strategy of defending strongpoints and supply routes."

In short, the guerrilla fighter often thought of as the hero of the Afghans and the North Vietnamese was nothing short of a romanticized flight of fancy. It was the millions to billions in aide that these fighters recieved that kept them fighting.
Samantha, I am also most inclined to a minarchist position, but one of the best papers I have read on the anarchocapitalist position and defense is here:

The Private Production of Defense
by Prof. Hans-Hermann Hoppe
I wonder if anyone has read some of the Libertarian arguments supporting the war?

Here are some that showed up on FND or RRND


Lincoln's lessons - "War is not the answer." Not the answer to what?
Tech Central Station
by Duane D. Freese
"But as the ancestors of slaves and children of Holocaust survivors know, an aversion to war can pave the way to a crueler despotism. Their pain doesn't fit neatly on a bumper sticker." (3/5/03)


Libertarianism in One State?
Does freedom stop at the water's edge?
By Ronald Bailey


The neo-hawks' secret shame
Weekly Standard
by Lee Bockhorn

"So, to our neo-hawk liberal friends: Welcome to the club; we're happy to have you along. But remember that the objects of your scorn -- even that notoriously 'flighty thinker,' George W. Bush -- were right about Iraq months or even years before you saw the light. So please, check your smugness and condescension at the door."


Fascist Pigs!

From -

Demonstrations over the weekend show the left's dedication to preserving murderous, dictatorial regimes--no matter what the cost. by Fred Barnes


9- You're darn right it's about oil
Frontiers of Freedom
by Kerri Houston
"Anyone in America with any sense ... would tell you that the possible war in Iraq is not about oil, but has to do with protecting Americans ..., presenting a clear and resolute foreign policy, and protecting Saddam's neighbors and his own people from attack by his nasty weapons of mass destruction. But they would be wrong." (2/24/03)


by Cathy Young
"Both the prowar and the antiwar camp have some solid arguments -- and sometimes each camp acts and talks in a way that is likely to make one root for the other side." (2/26/03)

1- Undeclared wars
Town Hall
by Thomas Sowell
"It is a painful reminder of human folly, irresponsibility, and exhibitionism that millions of 'anti-war' demonstrators have somehow convinced themselves that they have some special aversion
to war. No sane human being wants war."

From -


Anti "top ten bogus justifcations for the IRaqi War" conspicuously absent from these 'top ten' are 1) Saddam is a murderous tyrant and has killed >200,000 of his own people 2) Saddam is a murderous Tyrant that controls the worlds second largest energy supply and 3) no one is free unless everyone is free, corrupt murderous tyrants need to go ASAP. Included, however are arguments such as (which I have never heard) 1) A War Will Save the US Economy 2) Because We're Already There. Funny how some of the best pro war arguments are left out, but some of the lamest are included. -

Top ten bogus justifications for the Iraqi war
by Christopher Deliso
"[T]oppling the flimsy foundations on which the pro-war edifice rests is not a very difficult matter. While the War Party's fraudulent justifications for war are myriad, debunking the top ten will suffice." (3/5/03)

See also

Tony Blair's Comments
From -

"If I took that advice, and did not insist on disarmament, yes, there would be no war. But there would still be Saddam. Many of the people marching will say they hate Saddam. But the consequences of taking their advice is that he stays in charge of Iraq, ruling the Iraqi people. A country that in 1978, the year before he seized power, was richer than Malaysia or Portugal. A country where today, 135 out of every 1000 Iraqi children die before the age of five - 70% of these deaths are from diarrhoea and respiratory infections that are easily preventable. Where almost a third of children born in the centre and south of Iraq have chronic malnutrition. "


"But as you watch your TV pictures of the march, ponder this: If there are 500,000 on that march, that is still less than the number of people whose deaths Saddam has been responsible for. If there are one million, that is still less than the number of people who died in the wars he started."


Letters from two exiled Iraqis
From -

"We have listened to the latest announcements from your government and opposition stating that your main objective is not the regime change but disarmament! This is worrying for the Iraqi people. We believe that the only way forward is simultaneous removal of any weapons of mass destruction and
regime change. This would be the starting point of restoring any peace in the Middle East."


"I want to ask those who support the anti - "war" movement (apart from pacifists - that is a totally different situation) their motives and reasoning behind such support. You may feel that America is trying to blind you from seeing the truth about their real reasons for an invasion. I must argue that in fact, you are still blind to the bigger truths in Iraq. I must ask you to consider the following questions:

-Saddam has murdered more than a million Iraqis over the past 30 years, are you willing to allow him to kill another million Iraqis?

-Out of a population of 20 million, 4 million Iraqis have been forced to flee their country during Saddam's reign. Are you willing to ignore the real and present danger that caused so many people to leave their homes and families?

-Saddam rules Iraq using fear - he regularly imprisons, executes and tortures the mass population for no reason whatsoever - this may be hard to believe and you may not even appreciate the extent of such barbaric acts, but believe me you will be hard pressed to find a family in Iraq who have not had a son/father/brother killed, imprisoned, tortured and/or "disappeared" due to Saddam's regime. What has been stopping you from taking to the streets to protest against such blatant crimes against humanity in the past?

-Saddam gassed thousands of political prisoners in one of his campaigns to "cleanse" prisons - why are you not protesting against this barbaric act?

-An example of the dictator's policy you are trying to save - Saddam has made a law to give excuse to any man to rape a female relative and then murder her in the name of adultery. Do you still want to march to keep him in power?
A short while back I recall a few extropians discussing the cataloging of the state of freedom in the various nations in the world. Today I came across this site.

"Freedom House, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization, is a clear voice for democracy and freedom around the world. Through a vast array of international programs and publications, Freedom House is working to advance the remarkable worldwide expansion of political and economic freedom."

In particular are the current 'scores' of countries located in the spreadsheet

Political rights and civil liberties are measures on a scale of 1 - 7, one being the best and 7 the worst. The site contains more information about how these figures are arrived at. Those two numbers are then averaged for a 'Not Free' 'Partly Free' or 'Free' qualifier. Unfortunately it does not seem to chart economic freedoms. This particular group started tracking this information in 1973, which facilitates the tracking of the progress of a nation. It is good to note that there seem to be more and more nations with high ratings as the years go on (at least superficially)

The Highest rating is 1,1,F, lowest is 7,7,NF

Of Note

Australia 1,1,F
Cambodia 1972 6,5,NF
2002 6,5,NF
Canada 1,1,F
China 7,6,NF
Cuba 7,7,NF
France 1,2,F
Germany 1,2,F
Iraq 7,7,NF
The Koreas 1972 North - 7,7,NF South - 5,6,NF
1987 North - 7,7,NF South - 4,5,PF
2002 North - 7,7,NF South - 2,2,F
UK 2002 1,2,F
USA 2002 1,1,F

No doubt the US will drop to 7,7,NF once that Patriot II bill is passed!

China is one reason why I would like to see an economic freedom indicator.

And the Winner...

The Vietnams 1972 North - 7,7,NF South 4,5,NF
1977 Unified - 7,7,NF
2002 Unified - 7,6,NF

At this rate Vietnam should reach the level of freedom enjoyed by the south by 2050.
A post that resulted in some research into the question of IRAQ and IRAN's involvment in the Gassing of Kurds at Halabja

>You support the unconditional removal of Bush for something he
>*might* do but care not about Saddam who *has* done those things!

Amara - "I suggest to look at all sides of the story, gather information
from as many sources as you can, and not to swallow, hook, line
and sinker what you hear coming from the White House and from
American media. It might help to put Iraq in perspective
with what is occurring elsewhere in the world, too."

"Practicing a healthy skepticism especially with regards to what
comes out of the mouths of politicians and especially when the
alternative is some thousands/more precious lives gone might
make it easier to look at oneself in the mirror in the morning."


I appreciate your comments and suggestions to indulge in a healthy skepticism. I do, in fact, believe I do. I certainly do not uncritically support everything the US has done, nor do I ceremoniasally criticise everything it has done. My opinions on Vietnam, for example, are probably only shared by .001% of the US population, but likely shared by a majority of the former South Vietnamese people. But I retort with a suggestion to heed your own advice. I meant to comment on this earlier when another list member posted Stephen C. Pelletiere New York Times Editorial. Some cursory googling reveals some interesting facts on the Saddam gassing the Kurds or not gassing the Kurds. Simply googling until we find an article that hints that Iran and not Saddam was resposible for Halabja does not, I feel, constitute 'healthy skepticism'.

To start with, the pretty liberal French Le Monde Diplomatique ( relays the theory that Saddam was responsible for the attacks, outlining a history by Hussain, and in particular Hassan Al Majid's efforts to erradicate the Kurds.

"Hassan Al Majid's chemical experiments began on 15 April. They were directed against thirty or so villages in the provinces of Suleimaniyeh and Erbil and proved devastatingly effective. Hundreds died. On 17 April, after a chemical attack that killed 400 people in the Balisan valley, 286 wounded survivors set out for Erbil in search of medical attention. They were stopped by the army and shot."

This particular article tells the story of a systematic campaign of attacks and the use of chemical weapons against the Kurds, with the incident at Halabja being the height of the attrocities.

Note the west, including the US, France, and Germany did little about this at the time.

Next I would point you to this article published in the Kurdistan Observer ( It is made clear in this article that the Kurds are no fan of the US, as the chemical weapons used were supplied by the US, the original event was ignored by the US (note is was also ignored by France and Germany) and now the US is using it as a rallying call against Saddam. This particular article estimates ~7,000 died instantly in the attack on Halajba, and relays that Human Rights Watch estimates that 500,000 to 100,000 people died during the Anfal campaign.

Next I would point you to this page ( which details responses sent to the New York Times editorial section after Pelletiere advertisement for his book, er, I mean, editorial was published. The first response is from the former United States Ambassador to Croatio, it reads:

"In 1988, as a staff member working for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I documented Iraqi chemical weapons attacks on 49 Kurdish villages in Dihok Province along Iraq's border with Turkey. These attacks began on Aug. 25, 1988, five days after the Iran-Iraq war ended, and were specifically targeted on civilians. As a result of the committee's report, the Senate unanimously approved comprehensive sanctions on Iraq. Between March 1987 and August 1988, Iraq made extensive use of chemical weapons against Kurdish villages as part of a campaign aimed at depopulating rural Kurdistan. These attacks have been well documented by human rights groups, forensic investigators and the Kurds themselves. Many occurred in places far from the front line in the Iran-Iraq war. The Kurdish survivors of the Halabja attack all blame Iraq, and many report seeing Iraqi markings on the low-flying aircraft that delivered the lethal gas. While the most deadly, the Halabja attack was *one of between 60 and 180 such attacks* that took thousands of civilian lives."

Note again the reference that this was one of up to 180 such attacks.

The next response came from the executive director of Human Rights Watch Kenneth Roth. it reads:

"Stephen C. Pelletiere writes that Iran, not Iraq, might have been responsible for the 1988 gassing of Kurdish civilians in Halabja. Human Rights Watch researchers interviewed survivors from Halabja and reviewed 18 tons of Iraqi state documents to establish beyond doubt that the attack was carried out by Iraq. Iraqi forces used mustard and nerve gases, as well as mass executions, to kill some 100,000 Kurds in the genocidal 1988 Anfal campaign. The commander, Gen. Ali Hassan al-Majid, said of the Kurds, in a taped speech obtained by Human Rights Watch: "I will kill them all with chemical weapons! Who is going to say anything? The international community?" The evidence is incontrovertible: Iraq is responsible for the crime of genocide, committed against its own Kurdish population. The gassing at Halabja was part of that crime"

The very site you linked for Pelletieres article has this link as a comment ( These are the official statements by the Kurdish Regional Government on the incident at Halabja. It says:

"What happened in Halabja? On March 16th 1988, Iraqi jets bombed the town of Halabja with chemical weapons. At least 5,000 people were killed and 7,000 severely injured. Fourteen years on, thousands are still suffering the affects of the chemical weapons"

The Kurds, as I mentioned, seem to be no friend of the US, but are also highly critical of Saddam (understandable, given his Anfal campaign was a systematic effort to wipe them off the face of the Earth)

For brevity, I would point you to only one more article. ( This particluar article was written in response to Jude Wanniski's incorrect parroting of Pelletiers argument. It is made clear that Pelletier only questions the involvement of Iraq in Halajba in particular, note as mentioned before that more than a hundred other gas attacks by Iraqi's on Kurds *also* occured, and even Pelletier does not question these. This article states:

"Last year, Pelletiere published a book (*) that Wanniski seems to think argued that Iraq never gassed Iraqi citizens. But as one can plainly see by scrolling down to the portion of Wanniski's memo (*) that quotes Pelletiere at length, Pelletiere's claim is that in March 1988, both Iran and Iraq gassed the Kurdish city of Halabja, which they were fighting over. Pelletiere's view—which is not widely shared by others—is that the Iraqis used mustard gas, while the Iranians used a much deadlier cyanide-based gas, and that it was this cyanide gas that killed most or all of the thousands of Kurdish civilians who died at Halabja"


"Joost Hiltermann of Human Rights Watch is writing a book about Halabja and other incidents in which the Kurds were gassed. He says that he's seen no evidence that Iran used chemical warfare during the Iran-Iraq war and plenty of evidence that Iraq did. Much of the latter is available online. Here"


"United Nations reports from 1986, 1987, and 1988 confirm (based in part on reports from Iraqi soldiers who had been taken prisoner) that Iraq used mustard gas and nerve agents in the Iran-Iraq war and that these killed a growing number of civilians. In 1993, Physicians for Human Rights found evidence (*) of nerve agents in soil samples in the Kurdish village of Birjinni and cited Kurdish eyewitnesses who said that one day in August 1988, they saw Iraqi warplanes drop bombs emitting "a plume of black, then yellowish smoke" and that shortly thereafter villagers "began to have trouble breathing, their eyes watered, their skin blistered, and many vomited—some of whom died. All of these symptoms are consistent with a poison gas attack." The March 24 New Yorker carries a lengthy account by Jeffrey Goldberg (*) of Iraq's systematic gassing of the Kurdish population, based on extensive eyewitness interviews that Goldberg recently conducted in Halabja and other Kurdish-controlled areas in Northern Iraq. None of those interviewed seem to doubt that it was Saddam Hussein's army that gassed them"

(*) - links provided on source page

Finally, for an additional commentary on the subject see - (

In summary, the MTV News Byte Claim that "Saddam Gassed his own people" is clearly still true. There is some question about wheather Halabja was only an attack by Saddam which intentionally targeting Kurdish civilians, with Pelletiers seeming to be one of the few people that still believe this in an apparent sea of overwhelming evidence, as suggested in the letters above. But given Saddam's systematic effort to wipe out Kurds in perhaps 180 other chemical attacks that were in no way involved with the Iran Iraq war, and not even quesitoned by Pelletier, the trumpeting of this particular article of Pelletiers as a anti-war trophy is clearly an egregiously incorrect interpretation of the facts.


Michael Dickey
> Hubert Mania wrote:

"You[r] political leaders are way beyond simple paranoia. They are inhuman future war criminals. Calling them just paranoid would be a bit too polite."

Hubert, If they were 'War Criminals' I wonder what you would propose doing about them, exactly. Say, for example, Bush murdered 100,000 of his own people, or attacked a neighboring country, what would you propose the international community do about it? Should an international coalition be formed to remove him from power, or demand he be removed? Perhaps the UN could present a resolution declaring that he must lose his capability to attack other nations by some certain deadline, and if he does not by that deadline members of that coalition can remove his capability by force if necessary. Or perhaps a resolution originating from Germany might read "please, please refrain from such war criminal activity in the future, with sugar on top"


Michael Dickey

> Apparently, Mr. Mania, you have no sense of irony. The respondent was
> using acts that Saddam has committed, and which you and your country
> seem blithely unwilling to bring him to task on. The fact that you are
> so willing to remove Mr. Bush for acts which Mr. Saddam has committed,
> and not willing to remove Mr. Saddam, exposes your hypocrisy and hidden

"Yes, you are right, I failed to see the irony here. But anyway, your fine President will be responsible for the deaths of American soldiers and for invading a country. So, the reasons for accusation remain just the same,
no matter if I failed to detect ironic statements or not."

So you now recognize the irony, but do nothing to answer the question? Why would you support a move, unilitarerally or multilaterally, to depose Bush as a war criminal but CALL Bush a war criminal for trying to do exactly that with Saddam, who IS in fact a war criminal. Do you not recognize your own hypocricy?

"I also want Saddam to be removed but not on the cost of a mountain of civilian Iraqui corpses, which will be a war crime."

So you want Saddam removed, but at the cost of not a single Iraqi Civilian? I would ask then, how many corpses has Saddam himself racked up? Conservatives estimates, as others on list have mentioned, are around 200,000. How many need he rack up before losing one Iraqi civilian (Perhaps one he has tied to his front door) to remove him becomes just? Your policy of absolutely no civilian casualities if implemented in *any* past war would have lead to the immediate and catrastrophic rise to power of any and all totalatrian regimes, we would today be the peoples planet of the soviet union. If you considered Bush a war criminal, would killing one civilian be just in ousting his tryannical regime, what if he has all-ready killed 100,000s of thousands, and there is no reason to suspect he will stop?

In short, you seem ready to jump on the 'remove the murderous bastard' bandwagon only if it is Bush who is the 'murderous bastard'. Please outline also a course of action that you would consider just in removing murderous tyrants from power.

"I never would have thought that I would ever have to defend a pacifist attitude here on the list when I started reading extropian mails in 1996."

I never thought it would be overun with moral relativist apologist hippies who don't care for the lives of anyone but the individuals in thier own countries. Take a look at the number of human kills racked up by murderous tyrannical regimes. R.J. Rummels excellent site "Power Kills" estimates that in the 20th century alone these governments have killed 170 million people. I have heard of no german forces fighting the murderous North Vietnames attemptes to slaughter and enslave the entire population of Indochina.

"I am amazed how many rednecks are assembled here."

I am amazed at your lack of understanding of these geopolitical issues. Your absolute pacifism is irrational and illogical, and would lead to a system that actually rewards murderous expansionist regimes. Try plugging 'always cooperate' into any game strategy program and see how long it lasts. Cooperate with a force invading your country? Coopoerate with a force invading another country you are allied with? Cooperate with a murderous government killing its own people? Where does this cooperation lead?

"but I do support their stance against the Iraq war which is a disarmament founded on peaceful methods and more patience."

You seem oblivious or ignorant of the fact that the inspectors would not even *be* in Iraq were it not for the credible threat of force from the US. Note 'Credible' in that statement. This is why the inspectors were absent for the past 12 years. What if Saddam, as a murderous tyrant, is not interested in 'disarmament founded on a peaceful method'? What would you propose be done then, just wait and hope he changes his mind, while he contiues to kill thousands of people?

Why so ready to depose Bush for the same crimes that Saddam routinely commits?

And for the record, I am proudly quite pale.

Michael Dickey

Humania said

"Allright. I give up. No more communication possible. A complete waste of time and energy. The falcons on this list live in a giant bubble and don`t even realize that they are isolated in the world. You are lost, my un-friends! I am too exhausted to answer the false arguments on this list anymore. It is pure disgrace. So let there be war. Let there be celebrations of killing children. Let us sit in front of the TV and watch the apparently surgical precision of the bombs. What a great laugh! Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!"

Suffice to say, and not surprisingly, you answered absolutely none of the questions. Can you not even justify your own opinions beyond 'war = bad' You call for the ousting of murderous tyrants as war criminals *only* if its Bush, and you expect others on this list to think that sounds like a reasonable and we thought out opinion? You support the unconditional removal of Bush for something he *might* do but care not about Saddam who *has* done those things! Please try to help us understand, cause, speaking for myself, I am quite confused about your line of reasoning.

You said "but I do support their stance against the Iraq war which is a disarmament founded on peaceful methods and more patience."

I say again, what if Saddam is not interested in disarmement founded on peaceful methods, what would you propose be done then?

Alas, given the news breaking today it sounds as if all your efforts have been wasted anyhow.

Michael Dickey
Samantha said "I am working in my spare time on an exhaustive list of what rights we now on paper have lost and how those changes have in fact been used. It will be in website form when I am done."

I would be very interested in seeing such a list. A clear objective and quantifiable observation of the rights that have been lost is valuable no matter what ones opinions are on the subject.

I would also be interested, however, in seeing a similiar list of rights lost by the people of south vietnam when the communist North Vietmanese finally overtook the south directly because of the US abandoment of the region. (An abandoment, which I remind you, that you found just) Any interest in compiling such a list Samantha?

Michael Dickey


From: "AFB"

[quote from: on 2003-03-16 at 14:51:32]
I would also be interested, however, in seeing a similiar list of rights lost
by the people of south vietnam when the communist North Vietmanese finally
overtook the south directly because of the US abandoment of the region.
(An abandoment, which I remind you, that you found just) Any interest in
compiling such a list Samantha?

"Screw Vietnam."

Well that certainly seems to be the general attitude of most Americans, then and now. Who cares? They arent people, right? Never mind that millions of Indochinese people were slaughtered and enslaved. They werent Americans, we didnt know any of them, right?

"Let the Vietnamese compile their own lists."

They probably would if they didnt have to worry about being killed for it. Im sure such a list of lost rights just after the fall of saigon might have read:

- the right not to have your skull bashed in by the but of rifle
- the right to not have to dig your own grave before being executed as an 'enemy of the people'
- the right to property, speech
- the right to not be enslaved and forced into peasant farming
- the right to life of nearly 1 million people

A similiar list in cambodia might have added

- The right to more than a quarter cup of rotten corn every day
- the right to express feelings of an emotional nature to loved ones (The khmer rouge would often execute anyone for public displays of affection, as it demonstrated that they valued something more than the state)
- the right to express sorrow at the news of the loss of a child without being executed, a child who had been carted off to a distant slave labor farm and surprisingly died despite his healthy quarter cup of rotten corn every day (again, expressing grief at the loss of a child demonstrated that someone loved themselves or their children more than the state)
- the right to life for 2 - 3 million cambodians

- Excerpt -

"[Tan Samay's] pupils hanged him. A noose was passed around his neck; then the rope was passed over the branch of a tree. Half a dozen children between eight and ten years old held the loose end of the rope, pulling it sharply three or four times, dropping it in between. All the while they were shouting, "Unfit teacher! Unfit teacher!" until Tan Samay was dead. The worst was that the children took obvious pleasure in killing.
----A Khmer Rouge execution "


"The devastating history of Cambodia during the 1960s and 1970s is intimately bound up with the Vietnam War. Communist North Vietnamese provided military aid and soldiers to Cambodia's own communist guerrillas, the Khmer Rouge or Red Cambodians. Cambodia was an avenue for war supplies from North Vietnam to the Viet Cong guerrillas fighting under their command in South Vietnam against South Vietnamese and American troops. As a result, the United States systematically bombed Khmer Rouge guerrillas and Viet Cong supply routes, and in a final attempt to destroy these routes, invaded Cambodia from South Vietnam. But, American Congressional and public opinion hostile to the invasion soon forced American forces to retreat back to South Vietnam.

In proportion to its population, Cambodia underwent a human catastrophe unequaled by any other country in the twentieth century (see Figure 1.2 of my Death By Government). It probably lost slightly less than 4,000,000 people to war, rebellion, manufactured famine, and democide--genocide, nonjudicial executions, and massacres--or close to 56 percent of its 1970 population. Between 1970 and 1980, from democide alone, successive governments and guerrilla groups murdered almost 3,300,000 men, women, and children, including 35,000 foreigners. Most of these, probably as many as 2,400,000, were murdered by the communist Khmer Rouge, both before and (to a much greater extent) when they took over Cambodia after April 1975. These statistics are shown in Table 6.2 here.2

The United States had supported and supplied the Cambodian military government of General Lon Nol. But the American Congress ended all aid to him with the withdrawal of the United States from the Vietnam War in 1973. After successive retreats, Lon Nol could no longer even defend the capital, Phnom Penh, against the Khmer Rouge guerrillas. The Cambodian army then declared a cease-fire and laid down its arms. "

- end excerpt - from

"Sorry if I sound insensitive or selfish... it's probably because I am. And precisely because of said selfishness, I do retain a keen interest in my rights."

I value my rights dearly as well. Do you not also value the rights of other human beings as well?

"So, power to you, Samantha. I definitely hope you keep your focus, get it done soon, and make it known far and wide. The world (me especially) needs to know!"

In this I also totally agree, If Samantha's list is accurate and objective, by all means, spread it far and wide, I myself will be glad to spread the link to her list as well. The world does need to know, but the world also needs to know the attrocities that befell the people of Indochina, the attrocities caused by a general abandomnent of those people by the US at the insistence of its people and its politicians to the hands of known terrible, murderous, and horrific regimies. Do we not value freedom for all peoples? Some members of this list supported this abandonment and actually refer to these events that followed as a 'victory for the good guys'

"Ignore the attacks from people who will go to any lengths and justify anything under the sun for the sake of ideology."

Do you mean to imply that I am 'going any length' to 'justify anything under the sun' Please read the above links of the hell that befell the cambodian people and then try to determine what idealogy in particular I am trying to promulgate at 'any lengths'


Michael Dickey