Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by jazzabel, Sep 16, 2014.
Well, you shouldn't give terrorists (I don't throw that word around. They literally rule by terror) what they want.
They want USA to back off so they shouldn't. They should help and arm people of Kurdistan. Independent Kurdistan is the key to achieve peace in that area.
Turkey is going to hate that though.
It's been my opinion that the word 'terrorist' is a buzz word for 'anyone against American interests'. ISIS are pretty fucking terrifying. I'm glad I'm not in Israel right now, and their goal is to create an Islamic empire. It is America's fault they are there, so I'm not honestly sure what I think about the whole thing.
I must admit, too, I cannot stand Russell Brand.
@Lemex: I wasn't overtly keen on him either, and I am allergic to the whole 'cult of personality' but since he started doing social commentary, I agree with every single word he said. So far. About everything (that I heard). I even started following him on facebook, so it's official Russel Brand for Jesus!
@Mike Hill : Can you explain why 'independent Kurdistan is the key to achieving peace in that region"?
I like Russell Brand. And I'm not convinced we are doing the right thing bombing the Middle East yet again.
But I didn't watch past the ludicrous claim the beheadings only started when the US started bombing ISIS soldiers.
Spoiler: Warning, don't look if you don't want to see beheaded people.
That's a very tame image. I found so many images of beheaded men, women and children by just searching "ISIS beheadings" it would have looked like ridiculous overkill had I posted more of them.
I must agree, and it almost pains me to say that. I agree with him, but I'm not a pacifist. I haven't still made my mind up about what should be done, but how it started I cannot fault Brand at all.
I think there's been so much BS talk in the media, you just pointed it out on another thread, something like this happens and all of a sudden 20 yo art students are sounding like 'experts'. It's evidence of how effective the propaganda campaign is. It's no longer adequate to confuse the public into wishing that somebody else 'dealt with it' although there's still a bit of that, mainly catered for older generation who are used to it. These days, people prefer to think they are making their own decisions, so the government has to work harder on providing information that is logical (albeit only to those who know nothing about the issue) so they have ordinary people's righteous support for whatever they choose to do.
This is why I like Brand. I'm pretty amazed he is capable of seeing through the propaganda so well. For a Brit (no offense, I love you guys but your media is wtf?? especially the BBC). Brand is as eloquent as Noam Chomsky, but more passionate in his delivery.
ps. Being from the Balkans, I can't be a pacifist even if I wanted to, since every dickhead drunk on power has a habit of charging in, demanding his piece of cake, so my people have self-defense in their genes. But I'm for peace, always.
It's really amazing, and amusing. It seems the best way to keep people in line is to tell them just enough to make them feel they are autonomous and self-sufficient. It is actually ingenious. Modern democracies need more propaganda than any other system that has ever existed - because it's designed to look like anything else. I'm reminded of a line from Gravity's Rainbow 'If they can get you asking the wrong questions they don't need to worry about the answers'.
I'm becoming more amused by people who presume to know things they don't. I'm seeing this with undergraduates. And I'm sure after this MA year I'll see it with MA students.
That was an interesting video, and I agree with many of Brand's points. I agree that because bombing will lead to more civilian deaths, it will just provide further fuel in the ethnic conflict in Iraq and the perceived West v. Middle East conflict. The same goes for arming and training the Iraqi government's military. And I liked that he brought up the economic interests that can lead to war--including the Kurdish-owned oil fields which I had not even thought of before as an incentive. Overall, that was a strong critique.
However, I see two problems with what he said: 1) He didn't offer a viable solution. He said something about diplomatic solutions at the end, but he didn't provide any evidence that a diplomatic solution could work. If that is not feasible, then are the only options bombing or doing nothing? Bombing still is a horrible choice, but solutions always need to be framed in terms of what other solutions are available. Just as it's easy to say that losing 2) He seems to really not like political rhetoric. I can understand him not liking the avoidance of the word "war" because that's as close to as a lie as one can get, but his critique of other rhetoric like "cancer" sounds hollow. Like it or not, political rhetoric is part of the system. If you want to be effective at politics, you need it because you can bet your opponent will. A candidate who avoids all rhetoric and sticks to emotionless/rational thoughts will either be a less effective politician or much more likely not be able to become one at all. That's why I think the means of some rhetoric (once again, I'm not talking about the false-war-definition kind) are easily justified by the ends of being able to induce positive change in politics.
I'm reminded of a story that happens to be one of my favorites, due to the fact that it represents how I approach my education throughout my life.
In Plato's Apology, the character Socrates recounts a story about when the Oracle told him he was the wisest man in all of Greece. The Oracle was a religious figurehead who was supposed to be able to see into the future and tell regular mortals of their fate. (Now we know that the Oracle stayed in a cave where constant exposure to gases caused him to have hallucinations, aka "visions.")
When Socrates heard this from the Oracle, he decided to go find out whether this was indeed true. Over years, he visited expert artists, bakers, warriors, etc. When he visited artists, he found that they had more knowledge than him in the specific skill of art. When he visited the bakers, he found that they had more knowledge than him in the specific skill of baking. Etc, etc. As he talked to each of best people in their perspective fields, he found that they all in their own way had more knowledge than him. But as the conversations with the experts drew on, he found that they also confessed to have much more knowledge than their expertise. Upon manner of his (awesome) dialectical questioning of their expanded knowledge, he realized they all believed many things which were false.
After years of these dialogues, he finally reached a conclusion about the Oracle's vision--he was right. Although Socrates did not claim to have special knowledge more extensive than the experts that he had visited, he was still most wise because he at least knew what he didn't know.
I always loved that story.
My MA induction was yesterday, and the course leader said to us 'You'll learn, one day, that we are little better than you. No one knows everything, even about they things they are experts in. The only difference between you and I who am a professor is that I've been doing this longer. That's it'.
That is one of those comments I can just feel I'm going to remember for a long time.
@Ben414 : I understand what you mean, however, stating that 'diplomacy might not work' is as much a statement of fact as 'war might not work'. From the point of view of those people thousands of miles away, on whose heads US lead war will be falling (because it won't be on ours!) I can guarantee you that they'd rather see diplomacy fail than war, fewer lives lost and all that.
He pointed out that US government resorts to war in most situations by default, to such a degree that they are by far the nation more involved in wars on foreign territories than any other. Couple this with the 'war economy' and military-industrial complex and all ambiguity about motivations disappears, despite all the threadbare rhetoric about 'spreading democracy'.
I agree with him about pointing out how propaganda works - by using specific type of emotionally charged language, like 'terrorists' and 'cancer', they dehumanise their opponents, who (if we are considering drone strikes' victims) are often unarmed civilians. Deliberately dehumanising victims of your own violence is not 'fair play' for toxic political rhetoric, it's actually being accessory to war crimes (enter Tony B-liar, the Clintons, Albright, Bushes etc).
As a general observation. It's amazing how many people know politicians lie, but don't care. That apathy is one worrying aspect of democratic propaganda machines.
@Lemex : The science and psychology of propaganda is very robust and well developed since after the Great Depression (although arguably the Church's been waging its own propaganda war for 2000 years). The science started in the US, and it initially concerned itself with rebranding the image of the Rockefellers, then to change buying habits of people, and what was learned through that was since then systematically employed by the nazis, the Allies, and since then, the PR and marketing companies. Nothing is sacred anymore, not the truth, not the human life. Anything can be branded and sold, even genocide. That's where we are. Human mind is easy to manipulate, it's almost too tempting to resist. And there are no laws governing this kind of behaviour, anything is fair game in propaganda and PR, so we have what we have.
I always recommend this American documentary, for a glimpse into development of the propaganda as we know it today
Thank you @jazzabel.
Kurdish people have played a part in most conflicts of the middle East. If they can govern themselves and sell their own oil then they can establish democracy. If in elections they choose Fundamentalist way we in the outside should respect that.
Though that is not very likely 'cos Kurdish are compered to others quite moderate.
Anyhow is very unlikely that they would attack anyone. They are already very much against the idea of them liberating North Iraq.
The Iraqi people can focus on their own problems. Iraq with current borders is not going to ever work.
Fighting propaganda with what is propaganda. Someone tell me what fallacy that is.
This is a completely self-serving premise that has no basis in logic or fact. A quick example, Saudi Arabia is more than capable of governing itself, and sell their own oil and yet they are the most undemocratic, misogynistic, sheriat law country this would has at the moment. And that doesn't preclude them to be great friends, financiers and allies with the democracy-loving NATO countries. I recommend you research the origins of Sunni-Shiah conflict, and its effect on the issues in the Middle East.
Enter the well known MO - arming the extremist factions all over the Middle East, removing democratically elected governments through subsequent 'uprisings', putting extremists in power in exchange for access to oil, then losing control of the extremists, then declaring war on the account of them being extremists, then destroying the country all over again with relentless drone strikes. So when you say 'we should respect the fundamentalist option' (no need to capitalise), why didn't we do just that before we destroyed the hell out of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya (not to mention publicly executing their leaders, and celebrating it nationally). It makes no sense.
Can you provide us with any credible evidence for this belief of yours (someone's opinion isn't evidence)?
If you research 'Kurdish terrorist groups' you will find that several of them have been fighting various others, including the military of a sovereign country of Turkey, for many years, and death toll is in tens of thousands. So much for them 'not attacking anyone' ha?
Who is liberating North Iraq? The Kurds or 'us'? Or IS? How do you know the totality of 'they', whoever they may be, is against this?
NATO has modified many borders using violent means in the last several decades, what makes you think they are more competent at drawing borders that work than someone else? What do you even know about history of Iraq, or about predicting what borders will or will not work?
While I support the Kurdish will to self-determination, they are not innocent at all. Terrorism is not beneath them. They cannot be called moderates. Believe me, I have personal experiences of their war in Turkey.
Good points. When I was making my diplomacy v. war distinction, I was using a rough dichotomy of "will work" versus "might work" in terms of solely ending the threat. Upon more consideration, I agree with you that distinction was wrong as war might limit ISIL short-term, but socioeconomic/political reasons could still very easily bring them up again. I'm not sure why I didn't think of that earlier, but thanks for setting me straight.
I was starting to write about how I disagree with your views on dehumanizing rhetoric saying things like "it's a minor thing since that group does need to be prevented from killing and terrorizing people in their area" and "what we really need to focus on is educating people that civilian deaths is not only immoral but is also against the US' interests because it empowers radicalism," but then I realized that I agree with you again. I still think that last point about educating the public is important, but I agree that dehumanizing rhetoric produces negative effects and doesn't serve the populace in any meaningful way (since it always pushes war when diplomacy may be the better thing to do).
Thanks for helping me improve my logic when thinking about war!
@Ben414 : I'm really glad. War is something I've been thinking about a lot, not by choice.
I'm sorry I didn't make my self very clear. I should have said: If they are allowed to govern themselves and sell their own oil then they can establish democracy.
What I mean is that if other countries accept Kurdistan they can create wealthy democracy.
Why do I believe this? First off all I'm biased. I know few Kurdish people here in Finland and their opinions have of course affected. Also Kurdish people have to live in many countries were they are suppressed. Still have been more peaceful than most minorities in similar situations. Their culture is more peaceful than most ff you research it. Also even Irish people did terrorism when they thought something had to run.
Everybody should look in to way Kurdish were/are treated in Turkey. Not so much different of this situation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_Genocide
I have actually studied middle-east issues and cultures and history of those nations so there is no need to insult my knowledge of that area.
I take no responsibility for those actions and even though I'm more conservative than liberal it doesn't mean that I support what NATO has done.
West should have respected that option before but they didn't. Past cannot be changed but we can allow fundamentalists to be part of decision making now. I think that makes sense.
They have done less terrorism that others. Still, this is just my believe that is based on their culture and what regular Kurdish and their leaders have said. I don't claim that it is a fact.
Again look at the way Kurdish have been treated. Their area that is currently part of Turkey shouldn't be. When Ottoman empire ended Kurdish sadly didn't get their own country.
This map that I found from the web is quite accurate. If Kurdish can decide for themselves I don't think they are threat to anybody. Sure they are not angels they are humans too and when humans are treated too bad for too long some of them turn in to terrorism.
My point was that according to some of their leading figures they don't want to fight much beyond Kurdistan. That just shows that they are not threat to anybody. Not even for ISIS.
I don't know what we should do about North Iraq, I just know that free Kurdistan is going to help peace in Middle-east because ethnic battles will in long run lesser.
I do not think that NATO should do that. I want west out of the Middle-east. You should not put words in my mouth. I was just saying that Iraq is not going to work with current borders. Iraq should accept Kurdistan as a independent nation and possibly North Iraq should become it's own nation. People their should negotiate about borders. Not anybody from the outside.
Again your point doesn't become more valid when you question what I know.
Ok, thank you for explaining @Mike Hill. I know that Kurds haven't been treated fairly, but they have been involved in long-term terrorist activity, and on the back of behaviour of our countries (mine and yours) I found any calls to arms unpalatable. I think your opinion as well-intended as it may be, is biased and one-sided and hence, based on belief and limited perspective rather than evidence.
Iraq burned to the ground, its President executed like a criminal, because of a 'belief' there were weapons of mass destruction, when there were none. Syrian army has been fighting the ISIS whilst West was arming ISIS calling them 'freedom fighters' (where have I heard that before..) now all of a sudden West is fighting...ISIS? What about them contributing to destruction in Syria by arming them in order to force change of government? It's unacceptable, imo.
Sorry for jumping in, but I agree with many points. Civilian deaths, though, would be quite minimal. ISIS are smart, they placed all their offensive goods such as bombs and guns in obvious places, in schools and other buildings (that are no longer in use). We roughly know exactly where to bomb, now, in order to take out their militia.
I'm not American, and all I know about this is what I see on the news (namely Al Jazeera) and the Britain First website. But what I do know is that the US and the UK's terror level have hit severe, and Obama has taken too long to respond. Not two weeks ago, he said he wanted to just 'get the problem to a manageable state'. Where did that get us? At the conference in Wales, he changed his course of action abruptly.
From where I'm sat, I can firmly say that I believe things have not been done quickly enough, and that Obama's new plan probably won't work. IS members are everywhere, now, and they are in places of notoriety, such as Juarez, Mexico. If you follow a timeline of all their threats, it's evident they have branched more, into actually developed countries. Paul Golding, leader of the Britain First campaign, was arrested and is currently set to go to trial in Essex. Why? He located and proved a man was a terrorist, working with IS. So, unless Obama's going to bomb the UK and Mexico, too, I guess his plan won't work.
Also, on the note of a diplomatic solution, it wouldn't be wise. It simply would not work. IS aren't diplomatic, peaceful people, they're brutes! British Muslims have been moving over to IS, saying that David Cameron will let them back in and that the only reason they want to come back is to kill non-believers and raise the black flag. Sounds like a Pirate of the Caribbean fan, to me.
Also did you hear about the man that killed his seven year old daughter? He was evidently a peaceful man. He shot his daughter in the head when his wife told him she didn't want to join IS. Diplomacy won't work with ending this crisis, because even they don't know what they want. Giving into terror demands is never a viable option, but sadly, we don't have a choice in giving them what they want. Because what do they want? They're running around with guns with no idea in their skull. First of all, it was something about wanting free land? I can't remember. Then they wanted to take their horrible anti-everyone ideas and put them onto others (success!), now they want to kill everyone and take over everywhere - or so it seems. They only have 30,000 members, what do they expect to achieve? But again, I really don't know a single thing about this, as it saddens me to watch anything about it or read anything about it. But this is just my little side on this argument which may be wrong, but I think it's better than 'talking them out of it'. (And I'm swayed by the influence of a politics and law course three years ago)
@KristinJames : Feel free to contribute, that's what the thread is for I agree that one can't negotiate with terrorists. These people are fanatics and need to be contained, with minimal casualties. However, there's another thing that can be done apart from diplomacy or all-out war - cooperate with individual governments of countries like Syria, Iran, Iraq, Egypt who are already fighting many of these extreme groups, rather than helping terrorists rebranded as 'freedom fighters' to overthrow legitimate regimes of sovereign countries. Although, considering how many weapons the West has provided for the various extremists in the Middle East over the years, it may be too late for that.
Each country needs to clean up their own back yard, in my opinion. So UK dealing with domestic terrorists -absolutely. UK participating in carpet bombing of schools and hospitals thousands of miles away, on CIA's 'intelligence' about where the former allies terrorists are - not so much.
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