Re: Burma-Save

1

Iraq.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:00 PM
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Pacing (of puns you totally stole from me)!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:01 PM
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Black helicopters / Are welcome here / Please keep us from / This constant fear / Burma Save


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:02 PM
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Gengligence.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:02 PM
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It pains me to say that 3 is great.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:03 PM
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An evil junta/ An oppressed nation/ Does it call for/ Occupation?/ Burma Save


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:04 PM
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Can one be pwnd by a major newsmagazine?
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1739053,00.html


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:05 PM
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My favorite:

A quarter mill
Won't help the needy
But compared to Katrina
It sure came speedy!

Burma Save


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:05 PM
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Fuck you, ben. I was all over that shit and looking up the goddamn syntax of a Burma Shave ad and fuck you I'm derivative.

Cyclone in / Myanmar / calling all cars / 100 customers / 99 jars / Burma-Save


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:06 PM
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Friedman's op-ed: Myanmar? / Who's heard of that? / Go back to when / The world was flat / Burma Save


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:07 PM
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Water everywhere / who'da thunk/ our offer of help / would be sunk

Burma-Save


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:07 PM
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9: Ben was just aping the poor man thread (damn right I wuz robbed!).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:07 PM
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Um, yeah, in all seriousness, the plight of the Karen people is pretty redolent of genocide. Burma/Myanmar is certainly not genocide-free.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:07 PM
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Burma is not anything free.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:08 PM
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looking up the goddamn syntax of a Burma Shave ad

Only when you have internalized the practice and can act without deliberation will you be a true πωνιμος.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:09 PM
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Katrina was/a little splash/you really think/they'd want our cash

Burma-Save


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:09 PM
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Burma is not anything free.

Freedom-free?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:09 PM
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Genocide/says the UN/is just what happens/now and then

Burma-Save


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:10 PM
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Fuck me, 15 is also great. Stop it, w-lfs-n.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:11 PM
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Cyclone Nargis / Thousands drowned / At least we aren't / Michael Brown'd / Burma-Save


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:11 PM
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21

Not to pwn you all or anything, but.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:12 PM
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22

Ben's on a tear!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:12 PM
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23

Wave to the troops / blow them smoochies / remind them to pick up / Aung San Suu Kyi

Burma-Save.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:12 PM
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There should also be a name for the subset of people-too-young-to-have-personally-experienced-a-given-cultural-phenomenon nevertheless riffing off of it for jokes. I would have thought a grand total of four people here would be familiar with Burma Shave.

My serious response:

1. Unclear American strategic interest
2. Insufficient preciptating event by military rulers (slow genocide = less galvanzing than single photogenic event)
3. Charasmatic, familiar-to-Westerners nonviolent leader likely to be attacked/killed as a result of any invasion
4. Little apparent threat to other countries (except its neighbors)
5. (distantly) American distraction with other foreign-policy efforts


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:14 PM
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23 is great.

I am only familiar with the Burma Shave phenomenon due to a Quantum Leap episode.

Myanmar?/Why invade?/There is no oil/We won't get paid

Burma-Save


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:20 PM
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||
Travis Childers, the conservative Democratic city official in Booneville, Miss., who has called for an end to the Iraq war, just was declared the winner in a special election, totally invalidating the Times' dingbat coverage and proving just how universally unpopular the war is. Also, the Republicans go into the elections with less than 200 members of the House. Ha ha!
|>


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:21 PM
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26: yup!! So awesome.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:22 PM
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Holy crap. That dude should not have stood a chance.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:23 PM
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Anyone who read Mad Magazine as a kid knows Burma Shave. Well, maybe that detail is a little dated, but still. Like "follow the bouncing ball" when the audience actually sang in theaters. I only know that from the cartoons on tv, but TCM shows them sometimes when they need to fill space.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:26 PM
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I guess the Cheney bump was (duh) overrated.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:27 PM
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Let us not understate this - the Bush administration has been so comprehensively inept that it is now difficult for Republicans to win elections in the white conservative parts of Mississippi.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:28 PM
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"Bush fucked up so bad he made it impossible for a white man to become President."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:29 PM
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33

Yeah, it's weird how humanitarian interventions don't happen when they're actually needed. Maybe it's because the whole idea is a crock of propagandistic shit.


Posted by: Zippy the Comment Frog | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:37 PM
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33: China and Russia are actively blocking a humanitarian intervention in the UN, lest we set a precedent. It's a flawed institution (but fixable! maybe!). Humanitarian intervention is not, however, inherently, a flawed idea.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:44 PM
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Wikipedia says the Burma Shave campaign ended in 1963. I think I remember some signs after that for a few more years, as the brand was still available. American-only, we'd have seen them on the road from Messina or Ogdensburg to Watertown in the early sixties.

At least a dozen people who've commented today are old enough to remember them and probably do.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:44 PM
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there ought to be a word for genocide by negligence

How about malign neglect?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:49 PM
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On the original topic, Anne Applebaum was on the case in this morning's Post. I'm not really persuaded, but she lays out the issues sensibly enough.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:53 PM
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"there ought to be a word for genocide by negligence"

The word is "democide," although invading Myanmar would be terrible idea.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:56 PM
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39

The Burmese have enough problems surviving right now without getting a fricking war added in. Violence would only make it more difficult to deliver aid. As far as why we don't invade Burma before or after this disaster - well, even if there were no Iraq to destroy our legitimacy, and an army available, pretty much everybody in the region would oppose it. It's not just the Chinese that have good relations with the ex-SLORC, it's also India and Thailand and Malaysia. Even if none of that were the case it would still be a borderline case. As it is it's insanity.


Posted by: tkm | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 8:59 PM
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40

Yeah, I think we've done more than enough invading recently and should try focusing our energy on a different strategy alogether.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 9:00 PM
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We'll bring lunch / so grab your fork /we'll dredge the sludge / and fuck the SLORC.

Burma-Save.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 9:00 PM
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If Anne Applebaum is for it I'm against it. There must be some reason why it's a really, really bad idea even if it's not obvious at first. (She might well be for it just because Russia is against it, for example.)


Posted by: Matt (not the famous one) | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 9:01 PM
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43

ex-SLORC? Aw, man. What are they called now?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 9:01 PM
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How about we try to help people the way normal people do, by giving them food and medicine and shit, instead of dropping bombs on their heads? Radical idea, I know, but it could be worth a shot.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 9:08 PM
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42 Are you badmouthing my foreign minister's wife? And for all the lefties who despair over your choices in American elections - cheer up, you could be Polish! Your choices are: the ex-apparatchik mutual aid society who combine vaguely neoliberal policies with massive corruption and cronyism, the hard right - think neocon on foreign policy, paleocon on everything else (though they did give me my pseudonym), and the hardcore neoliberals.


Posted by: tkm | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 9:10 PM
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How about we try to help people the way normal people do

According to the Applebaum and the Guardian pieces linked above, we're trying, but the military junta is preventing it.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 9:12 PM
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(Also, per 42 I'm not sure if I have an opinion about Anne Applebaum. I am pleased to note that she is not Ann Althouse.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 9:13 PM
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||

People of California, I bring you news from the future: the Mt. Everest thing on Frontline tonight is visually impresive.

|>


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 9:17 PM
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I used to read Applebaum regularly, but stopped for some reason. Unlike with Brooks, I can't think of anything in particular that put me off. She can - at least back when I read her - be hackish, but not in every column.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 9:18 PM
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46: I mean in general. If we can't get aid to people in Myanmar, that doesn't mean that bombing Myanmar will help the people of Myanmar. It also doesn't mean we can't help any of the hundreds of millions of impoverished, malnourished, and generally miserable people elsewhere in the world that we presently aren't doing anything about.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 9:23 PM
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Anne is conservative and married to a Polish politician Radek Sikorski. Both have had American Enterprise Institute affiliations. I don't remember her ever doing anything completely disgusting, but nothing very good either.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 9:24 PM
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50: I agree with that, stras. What are your policy prescriptions for international intervention/aid? I'm genuinely curious, even setting aside for the moment the horrific scene unfolding in Myanmar?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 9:26 PM
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Here's the problem with invading Burma: armies are for killing & threatening people. That's what they're trained to do; that's what they're for. It's possible for them to avert more suffering than they create in situations where the people they're killing are massacreing large #s of civilians. But other than that....of course, they can be good at delivering aid & so forth in emergencies. And maybe the UN coming in with a bunch of aid & sufficient armed force threatening the junta into letting them distribute it would actually work. It's not implausible. But it's equally plausible to me that it would screw things up even worse.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 9:58 PM
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Humanitarian intervention is not, however, inherently, a flawed idea.

It's normally best to use positive-seeming ideas for propaganda. For instance, I think we can all agree that "freedom" is a good thing.


Posted by: Zippy the Comment Frog | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 10:01 PM
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It's kind of messy, though.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 10:07 PM
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54: Yeah, what do we have to lose?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 10:09 PM
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57

Just another word.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 10:12 PM
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58

This is unfogged. We're all smart people. Yet here is a discussion of invading a foreign country with an army which has had 57 varieties of opinion not one of which takes into account the fact that you want to start a war, which is what armies do, without any definition of victory and peace at the end of it, unless this would be "when they're all happy and grateful". If this is how smart young Americans think of imperialism then Chomsky is entirely wrong and you really haven't had an empire for the last seventy years.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 05-13-08 11:39 PM
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oh good god:

why hasn't the case been made for the UN invading Myanmar?

BBBBEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEcositsafuckingstupidideaithenkyow!

If there's one place where I think people would be greeting us with cheers and flowers in the street as liberators, that would be it

Think in one hand and shit in another and see which one turns into a disastrous quagmire first.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 12:34 AM
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Yeah, dsquared is right, of course. Some people need to get over the liberator complex and stop dreaming of flowers strewn in the street.

Which doesn't mean some countries shouldn't provide whatever aid they possibly can to some other countries, of course. But if you think you're a saviour, almost by definition you are not.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 12:44 AM
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Iraq and Afghanistan show how easy it is to provide humanitarian aid when you're also engaged in a shooting war with the people you're supposedly saving.

There were some who hoped that at least there would be one positive consequence of the War on Iraq, that the memory of it, like Vietnam, would restrain future American presidents from foreign adventure for a generation. But here we are still in the middle of the war and already people are thinking invading Birma might be a good thing?


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 12:44 AM
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I haven't seen anyone sane actually call for invading (sorry, Becks). War is obviously not going to help anything; I think it's an interesting and somewhat open question as to whether delivering medical supplies or food or whatever into disaster-stricken areas via airdrop or helicopter against the wishes of the Burmese government would accomplish anything.

Probably they'd be pissed enough to reject further aid that they might have otherwise accepted for a net negative effect, but it's hard to call the air force guy who thinks "Hell, we have a plane and some food - it's not like they're going to shoot us down, why not give it a go," insane.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 12:54 AM
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Robert Kaplan has an article in the New York Times about how the USA might be able to carry out a very limited intervention (he appears to believe that this wouldn't be an invasion, though frankly I find it hard to see why). Have a read of it and note the number of times you think to yourself "yeah, that would probably go wrong".


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 12:54 AM
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Also, do you trust "the UN" (by which we mean the USA I presume) to just carry out an aid operation without turning into a big old "democracy promotion" exercise and a resources grab? The official position of Canada is apparently that they are only going to provide aid if they can be assured that the Burman regime will not gain politically from its distribution, which is IMO absolutely disgusting.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 12:57 AM
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Can I just add my voice to the "invading would be a world-historically stupid idea" camp?

I mean, ffs, it's so monumentally dumb [sorry Becks] it beggars belief.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 12:57 AM
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worst.motherfucking.idea.ever. people struggling in the wreckage of their homes and livelihoods are surely thinking, "you know what would help things out around here? a sustained bombing campaign." when you wage war, a lot of shit gets blown up and a lot of people get killed. I can't stress this highly enough. the killing people and blowing things up is not separable from the war. that's just what wars are. I stupidly supported the invasion of iraq, like a fucking asshole, but at least I've been able to learn a lesson here and it's: if you have several courses of action before you and one of them involves starting a war CHOOSE ONE OF THE OTHER OPTIONS. WAR IS NOT A ZERO-SUM GAME; EVERYBODY CAN AND WILL LOSE!!!!


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 1:02 AM
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How do you feel about the UN's record in Sierra Leone, Dsquared?


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 1:04 AM
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Also, do you trust "the UN" (by which we mean the USA I presume) to just carry out an aid operation without turning into a big old "democracy promotion" exercise and a resources grab?

The UN obviously can't do anything like this on its own.

Oddly enough, and again assuming that you are talking about aid distribution into areas that are so devastated that the government can't exert control rather than some doomed regime change misadventure, I think that the US might be simultaneously afraid of getting tied down and desperate to show that their military can be used for something useful to carry out an aid operation as such.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 1:16 AM
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That said, the earthquake in China is pushing the cyclone out of the news, so I suspect that this talk is going to die down in a hurry.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 1:17 AM
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Awesome. We should invade the pants off that fucking earthquake.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 1:20 AM
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I highly recommend China Matters on this subject.
http://chinamatters.blogspot.com/2008/05/fools-rush-in.html
http://chinamatters.blogspot.com/2008/05/myanmar-confusion-fear-angerand.html

Short version:

1) The western media is misrepresenting or completely missing a great deal
2) Our options for helping are all bad
3) The Burmese government are a bunch of murderous bastards, but they and the local NGOs are the people in the best position to help despite what the French Foreign Minister says
4) Helping the people who are suffering is the priority not scoring political points on a bunch of murderous bastards
5) While not ideal, doing what China and Thailand are doing right now - dropping as much aid as possible at Rangoon airport and letting the Burmese military take care of the rest is better for the people of Burma than dropping bombs on them
6) The ICRC is able to enter and do its work. Robert Kaplan should ask himself why that is?

My two cents - I can understand why those murderous bastards would be hesitant to let in US aid workers given various adminstrations' past experience with stacking independent institutions with CIA agents [cough]UNSCOM[cough].


Posted by: Juicy Lurker | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 1:28 AM
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The DEC says that one of the pre-conditions for it to launch its appeal was confirmation of access from the Burmese authorities.

The Burmese government is currently giving access to agencies on a piecemeal basis. Some flights have been given the go-ahead, and agencies are starting to get visas through for some personnel.
Whilst the DEC acknowledges that access is not being granted at the speed it would like, it is confident aid will reach those in need.
The Red Cross said on Friday that it had been able to distribute about 2,000 of the household kits containing items such as cooking pots and blankets so far.
Merlin said it had been able to provide some medical supplies.
Save the Children said it was imperative people did not stop their donations for fear supplies would fall into the wrong hands.

Which isn't to say that the Burmese junta aren't genocidal motherfuckers, but the agencies aren't just whistling through their teeth.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 1:41 AM
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How do you feel about the UN's record in Sierra Leone, Dsquared?

Not sure why you think this is relevant. UNAMSIL was a peacekeeping force put into SL with the agreement of the then government (an uneasy coalition between the democratic government and Foday Sankoh). That government then fell apart as Sankoh's forces starting taking UNAMSIL representatives hostage. Because of this, the UK launched Operation Palliser, which ended up arresting Sankoh; after that, there was some work in stabilising and clearing up RUF holdouts. But at no point was there anything particularly like an invasion of Sierra Leone, and the UN didn't do it.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 4:10 AM
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"do you trust "the UN" (by which we mean the USA I presume) to just carry out an aid operation without turning into a big old "democracy promotion" exercise and a resources grab?

Obviously, all proxies are inexact, and I certainly don't intend to argue for an invasion of Burma on any grounds. My question really arose because you've expressed great skepticism about humanitarian intervention. Particularly in its potential to serve as cover for imperialism. I am certainly no student of Sierra Leone, but my sense is this is a case where that didn't much happen, despite what seems like largely an intervention in a civil war. Just to reiterate: I don't mean to suggest, in any way, that the example of Sierre Leone suggests that an invasion of Burma is a good idea. I was just wondering how Sierra Leone fit into your model of humanitarian intervention. Do you agree that Sierra Leone is an example of outside military force more or less "working" for humanitarian ends? If so, what factors do you think led to success?


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 4:42 AM
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If so, what factors do you think led to success?

Sarcastically, but not entirely unfairly, the US wasn't involved. Also, the goals were pretty limited and the mass of the local population not opposed to the action.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 4:58 AM
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the US wasn't involved

In the words of our queen and master Tina Fey "So, in conclusion, who should solve the North Korean problem? How about any country but us?"


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 5:09 AM
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This is an example of something that would have had more plausibility before 2001. No on;y is the US tied down elsewhere, but no one would trust American intentions, and no one would trust Americans todo a good job. One would expect Blackwater, Halliburton, and various other contractors tp do well, however.

In short, this is a ridiculous hypothetical, like a trolley-car problem.

More realistically, what should we do if China decides to invade for humanitarian reasons? Because they're a lot closer and have more familiarity ith the area, and they have reserve capacity, and they even have a Yuan-dynasty precedent.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 5:14 AM
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re: 76

How about, 'stop looking for military solutions to all the world's problems'?

Very few countries have anything other than a very mixed history when it comes to (military) humanitarian intervention and/or regime-change and/or counter-insurgency type military actions.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 5:22 AM
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ex-SLORC? Aw, man. What are they called now?

Fluffy Kitten Group. Or something along those lines.

Meanwhile, to substance; the US Marines, currently in the area on USS Essex, have loads of useful things for this situation, like big helicopters and landing craft, as well as stores and ships with sickbays and reverse osmosis plants an stuff.

However, trying to start handing out scoff in the Irrawaddy delta against the government's wishes is just incredibly stupid. "Airdrops"...well, let's not go there. You can, just about, deliver useful quantities of stuff effectively that way if you have people ready to receive it, but parachuting wastes stuff like hell, and having to fly from whereever to the DZ and back means you need to carry more fuel, which means you can carry less stuff.

And you don't necessarily want C130-sized deliveries either; for bulk, you'd want ship-sized or 747 (or AN124-sized) loads of single commodities, but for delivery you'll want as many small loads as there are places to cover, and of course they'll need a mix of supplies - and a different one each.

So you need to have a logistics head somewhere - like Rangoon airport! - where you can bring in bulk stores and break them down into deliveries, then ship them out by truck/boat/heli/drop/donkey/whatever.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 5:22 AM
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Anne Applebaum is specifically not trustworthy on matters like this, since her entire political universe boils down to "Better dead than Red."

If the US really wanted to destabilize the Burmese military government, then pressing for more and better humanitarian aid would probably be the best long-term solution.

On the other hand, I'm not even sure I trust the US to aid anyone effectively. Not just because of Katrina, but because virtually everybody we "aid" inevitably winds up becoming a big client for the US and EU weapons industries, often with disastrous results down the road.

You know when you're in a collective meeting, and the facilitator says "let's hear from the people who haven't spoken yet"? I think that would be a great way to do the whole foreign aid/intervention thing in the future. Let Costa Rica and Portugal and South Korea handle this, with Thailand as a staging ground. If they need money and materiel, then the US and UK and Russia and France can provide it, but the people running the show have to be folx who haven't had such an awful record on bolloxing up this kind of thing.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 5:42 AM
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Do you agree that Sierra Leone is an example of outside military force more or less "working" for humanitarian ends?

No not really, and less and less the more I look into it. UNAMSIL was in Sierra Leone at the request of and with the agreement of the Sierra Leonean government. Palliser was a UK mission to protect UNAMSIL. If you're going to use a set of analytical categories which includes situations like this in the same general space as the controversial kind of "outside military force" then you're bound to get a lot of wrong answers.

I think the China Matters links above are excellent - the more I look at this, the more I conclude that the issue is about 25% Burmese intransigence and 75% desire by the rest of the world to use emergency aid as a vehicle for destabilising the Burmese junta. Which is in and of itself a laudable aim, but pretty tough luck if you're one of the Burmese being used as scenery for a morality play.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 6:29 AM
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||

In Mississippi the Democratic Congressional candidate won by 8% in a district which had gone for Bush by 20%+. Granted that white Southern Democratic Congressmen are usually more conservative than Democratic Presidential candidates (and Northern Democratioc COngressmen), that's a tremendous swing.

What strikes me is that voters, including "heartland voters", seem to be rejecting the Republicans even though the media still is not. To my knowledge, on national commercial TV and radio only Keith Olberman is reliably non-Republican. There are a lot of fucked-up centrists like Matthews and Stephanopolous, but mostly it's Limbaugh / O'Reilly / Savage types.

This goes against the idea that the voters are slaves to the media. On the other hand, it confirms the idea that the media are in the tank for the Republicans. Even in conservative districts in Mississippi, the average ignorant voter is wise to the Republicans in a way that the media are not.

Because, of course, for whatever reason the media are working for the Republicans. Maybe they're just sucking up to the ones in power and actually have no principles of any kind, but they're far behind the curve.

And this shows us the media doesn't control public opinion entirely, certainly their efforts to prop up Bush and his semi-criminal gang have had a considerable harmful effect.

|>


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 6:29 AM
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83

82: This is just shocking to me. I understood that Hastert's old district and the district in Louisiana were heavily Republican, but I know this district, having lived in two bordering districts. For a variety of reasons, the makeup of this district requires that a Republican be elected. My mind is boggling.

As for the media, I was fascinated with this in the Washington Post this a.m. The normal Republican mode would be to deny reality in an effort to shape it. But look at this:

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, sounded an alarm for all GOP candidates "to take stock of their campaigns and position themselves for challenging campaigns this fall" while lashing themselves to the presidential candidacy of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). The political environment is such that voters remain pessimistic about the direction of the country and the Republican Party in general. . . . Time is short," Cole said in a statement.

Childers endorsed Obama, for Chrissakes, and the Republican tried to make this an issue in campaign commercials. Childers successfully distanced himself from Obama, but holy cow, I just can't imagine a world in which a Northern Mississippi Democrat endorses a black man for president and wins election.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 6:56 AM
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If you're going to use a set of analytical categories which includes situations like this in the same general space as the controversial kind of "outside military force" then you're bound to get a lot of wrong answers.

What's interesting to me is exactly this issue: what are the "analytic categories" that make any kind of sense. In Sierra Leone, it looks like the UK basically took the government's side in a civil war. That's clearly not the same as taking the insurgency's side in a civil war. Or any number of ways in which an outside military force can be involved in a country's affairs, of course.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 7:06 AM
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In Sierra Leone, it looks like the UK basically took the government's side in a civil war

Not a difficult choice though since it was Foday's side that were killing UN peacekeepers.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 7:24 AM
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Although it should be conceded that the number of times the UK has taken the insurgents' side in a civil war since 1918 can be counted on the fingers of one foot.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 7:27 AM
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Which is in and of itself a laudable aim, but pretty tough luck if you're one of the Burmese being used as scenery for a morality play.

I think this is actually the best secondary argument against intervention. I saw an early news report that said something to the effect of other aid was getting in, but not American aid, because there were too many conditions attached. A couple days later all the coverage was blaming it all on the junta, but it seems the problem is that we don't want to deliver the stuff unless we can hand it out.

Perhaps there's something obvious I'm missing, but it really sounds like we're a bunch of dicks.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 7:28 AM
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Not a difficult choice though since it was Foday's side that were killing UN peacekeepers.

Yeah, totally agree. Didn't mean to imply an objection there.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 7:36 AM
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In Mississippi the Democratic Congressional candidate won by 8% in a district which had gone for Bush by 20%+. Granted that white Southern Democratic Congressmen are usually more conservative than Democratic Presidential candidates (and Northern Democratioc COngressmen), that's a tremendous swing.

He went around proclaiming "I'm pro-life and pro-gun!"

Are they Democrats just because they say they are?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 7:37 AM
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82, 83: Yes, I think this result is so telling that even people as out-of-the-loop as Washington insiders are getting the message. I was complaining here earlier that the WaPo's Chris Ciliizza was basically saying this was the "real test" (as if 2 out of 3 Dem victories in Repub districts would have been a tie), checked this AM, he is at least acknowledging that this really does signal problems for the Republicans. One of the excuses, the Republicans keep using (and the media has been generally buying up until now) is that their various candidates are not "very good". The media analysis that goes begging is that this lack of "good" candidates is one clear consequence of the National Republican party and Congressional caucuses being utterly corrupted by soulless criminal hacks, opportunists and warmongers.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 7:39 AM
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The conditions were primarily that the junta wanted cash it could spend rather than aid it had no intention of distributing.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 7:40 AM
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Presumably the Republican candidate wasn't pro-choice and anti-gun, so they must have liked something.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 7:40 AM
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89: we have Democrats on this site who claim to be both of those things (maybe not simultaneously).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 7:46 AM
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Pro-gun is no big deal.

If too many conservative Democrats are elected, the Democratic party might move right. On the other hand, liberal Democrats will feel safer if the Democrats are stronger, and the bigger the Democratic majority, the less the leadership will have to cater to individual conservatives (since they won't need every single conservative vote).

The only long term solution is primary challenges to conservative Democrats in unconservative districts.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 7:54 AM
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91: This doesn't appear to be what the news reports I've seen are saying - what's your source here? China and Thailand have already distributed planeloads of aid, leaving it at Rangoon airport (actually, so has the USA). My understanding is that the US has put its main $3m of aid funding at the disposal of a UN WFP team with instructions not to disburse it unless and until they're allowed into the country. This is of course a lot better than the stated Canadian policy, which is that they're refusing aid unless they can be sure that the junta won't gain political advantage from it.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 7:54 AM
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Are they Democrats just because they say they are?

I think they have to stomp on a flag pin first.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 7:54 AM
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Are they Democrats just because they say they are?

If they vote for Speaker Pelosi, that's all that matters to me.*

*This offer of blanket absolution is not available to members of Congress from blue districts. Prices and participation may vary. Void where prohibited.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 7:54 AM
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For example, my district. Collin Peterson is a major Blue Dog.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 7:54 AM
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Will, I'm guessing you aren't one of the Dixie Unfoggetariat. Southerners are very aware of the difference between white Southern Democrats and white Southern Republicans - and the differences aren't small. Think Franco vs. Hitler.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 7:58 AM
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I think they have to stomp on a flag pin first.

That's only required for party-switchers. For first time registrants, it suffices to show a register receipt from Whole Foods or an abortion clinic.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 8:00 AM
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The NYT Online has two headlines right now:
"Some Myanmar Aid Reportedly Stolen" - one of the ultimate dog bites man stories of all time ion any disaster
and
"Myanmar Government Still Blocking Relief" - unsurprisingly the article itself shows the situation to be much more convoluted.

The situation sucks, no doubt. But this is one where the US just needs to STFU. You reap what you sow.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 8:07 AM
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Speaking of Southern complexities, Brent Staples has a fascinating piece in today's NYT about the background to Loving v. Virginia.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 8:09 AM
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PF:

I am in Virginia so I am well aware.

I'm ok with pro-gun. My preference is keeping government out of most things.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 8:09 AM
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82 John Emerson

Because, of course, for whatever reason the media are working for the Republicans. Maybe they're just sucking up to the ones in power and actually have no principles of any kind, but they're far behind the curve.

The media are controlled by their owners, the major corporations, so that is who they are sucking up to.

Sadly political parties have become less relevant and so switching from Republican control to Democrat control will not mean all that much.

Granted there will be some changes that will mean a lot to some people but the root problem we are facing is that the power shift from people and governments to corporations is well underway. Where do you think this whole 'globalization' thing came from? From corporations, not people or governments.

But the day of reckoning is coming for global development and globalization. They are simply not sustainable, but what happens then? Will the corporations relinquish the resources they have gathered, giving them back to the people as we transition back to a smaller population? I doubt it. We are heading back to the feudal stage with corporations as Kings, Executives as Lords and Ladies, and the rest of us as peasants.

It is not yet time for the real revolution that ultimately will come.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 8:13 AM
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Sadly political parties have become less relevant and so switching from Republican control to Democrat control will not mean all that much.

Wrong on both counts.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 8:17 AM
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It is not yet time for the real revolution.

Tripp is just trolling mcmanus here.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 8:19 AM
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106.2 wasn't supposed to be italicized.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 8:19 AM
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Presumably the Republican candidate wasn't pro-choice and anti-gun, so they must have liked something.

IIRC, the Republican took the urban areas in that district and Childers won by rolling up the rural areas. Not the Democrats' usual route to victory.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 8:25 AM
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"Myanmar Government Still Blocking Relief" - unsurprisingly the article itself shows the situation to be much more convoluted.

This is probably one of those cases where even paranoids can have enemies. If you're the Junta, your fear that foreign powers will try to use disaster relief as a means to build their intelligence capabilities and strengthen non-state actors is probably well founded. Sadaam wasn't just blowing smoke when he said that the international inspection teams were infiltrated by the CIA.

None of this is to justify the Burmese government's response to the catastrophe. But if you're pretty much indifferent to the welfare of the people to begin with, it strikes me as quasi-rational to do what they're doing.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 8:26 AM
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But if you're pretty much indifferent to the welfare of the people to begin with, it strikes me as quasi-rational to do what they're doing.

This also explains U.S. Republicans.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 8:27 AM
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IIRC, the Republican took the urban areas in that district and Childers won by rolling up the rural areas. Not the Democrats' usual route to victory.

Those areas aren't urban per se, but the outer ring suburbs of Memphis. It's classic McMansion & Megachurch country.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 8:28 AM
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111: This pattern has repeated itself elsewhere (remember this Dems v Repubs, not Hillary Dems v Obama Dems), the "exurbs" are the Republican base, true rural is much more competitive.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 8:33 AM
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105:

To clarify - the US government has lost power. The real powers are backing both Republicans and Democrats, at least at the highest levels.

This is fairly obvious once you dig into it. Look at Obama's listed economic advisers. Look at Hillary's and McCain's. Look at how much money it takes to get elected to President or Congress. It will take a massive collective action to unseat the corporations, and we've got a long way to go before we shed the illusions that have been drummed into us since '73.

What illusions? "Personal responsibility," "an Army of one," "unions are bad and outmoded," "it is much better to keep your tax money rather than pool it," the glorification of "Superstars" over team players.

Also, admittedly, for awhile now our standard of living, at least in the US and Europe, has been pretty high. At the cost of the third world, of course, but we ignore that. As this standard continues to fall dissatisfaction will increase, but obviously it has a long way to go before people care enough to revolt.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 8:34 AM
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Genocide means the attempted destruction of an ethnic group not one's own. The Burmese leaders are perpetrating mass murder by negligence, maybe.

Unless you're referring to their treatment of the Karen people, Chin people, Shan people, etc.


Posted by: Fatrman | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 8:37 AM
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But if you're pretty much indifferent to the welfare of the people to begin with, it strikes me as quasi-rational to do what they're doing.

You don't have to be a hopeless conspiracy theorist to notice that the worst affected area is where the junta has been fighting an insurgency for decades. I don't suppose they'll be in too much hurry to get aid in there.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 8:37 AM
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108: The Republican was mayor of Southaven, a Memphis suburb and a primitive, nasty place (where the people are quite nice, I feel compelled to add.) Southaven is probably the biggest "city" in the district.

This is an interesting detail from The Hill:

Turnout increased substantially over the 67,000 voters who cast ballots in the April 22 open special election, with more than 100,000 voting in the runoff.

After the runnoff, I pretty much assumed that turnout would skyrocket and the Republican would win. In actuality, turnout and the Democrat's margin both increased. I really don't know what to make of this, but it has to be good.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 8:38 AM
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Anyone who read Mad Magazine as a kid knows Burma Shave.

So, anyone over 50, then.

But I know it from Warner Brothers cartoons, and reading an entire book about it that I found at the thrift store.


Posted by: Fatrman | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 8:47 AM
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Oh fuck, there's another cyclone forming off Burma.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 8:49 AM
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116: Southaven was originally South Whitehaven, just across the state line from Whitehaven itself, which was originally a farm community named for a fellow with the name of White, but which became a whites-only suburb of Memphis in the 50s and 60s. Whitehaven is now part of Memphis proper and almost entirely populated by blacks, much of the white flight ending up in Southaven. (Graceland is in Whitehaven.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 8:49 AM
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While military action against the Burmese junta is obviously a bad idea, let's not assume there's nothing we can do here at home. For example, we could take the small but helpful first step of publicly shaming lobbyists who work for tyrants.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 9:00 AM
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How would one publicly shame a lobbyist? I would describe that as impossible by definition.


Posted by: Fatrman | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 9:04 AM
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Wikipedia advises that Mississippi's first congressional district is the second-whitest of the state's four districts - 70.5% white. The state overall is 62% white.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 9:06 AM
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121: You could start here.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 9:07 AM
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Okay, niggling pet peeve: cyclone, typhoon, or hurricane? Why don't we pick one and stick to it?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 9:11 AM
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So, anyone over 50, then.

I read MAD as a kid.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 9:13 AM
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124: The terms are apparently ocean-dependent. What it's called depends on where it is.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 9:15 AM
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I know of Burma-Shave from the Tom Waits song. That's it.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 9:23 AM
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Sigh.

When passing
School Zones
Please drive slow.
Let the
Little shavers grow.

Burma Shave

Does no one study trivia anymore?

I never actually drove (or rode) past any of these signs but they were pretty standard trivia fodder.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 9:30 AM
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I read MAD as a kid.

Yeah, me too.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 9:32 AM
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re: Mad magazine

Heck, I used the Mad lampoons of movies as the basis for my reviews in the school paper.

I college Freshman year I signed up late for the school dorms so ended up in a Catholic dorm called "Newman Hall, Residence for Men." No, I'm not Catholic. I'd routinely add to the sign so it said "Alfred E. Newman Hall, residence for Mentals."

I didn't like the place and pledged a frat Sophomore year. To this day I still get literature from Newman Hall asking for donations.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 9:41 AM
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The evil dentist of my childhood had MAD magasines in his lobby.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 9:43 AM
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The terms are apparently ocean-dependent. What it's called depends on where it is.

I'm aware of this convention; I'm just saying it's a stupid convention. A storm is a storm is a storm.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 9:45 AM
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125: But MAD had already begun its long descent into suckitude then, even though Gaines was still helming it (at least he was when I was a kid, that is).

But I've seen an actual set of Burma Shave signs next to a road. I believe there are more than a couple touristy/historic places that have preserved them. Probably not Colonial Williamsburg though, 'cause the Burma Shave ads back then were a little blue.

Goodman Tinker hath a rod/ Goody Button knew no better/ She took his rod and/ Now she wears a scarlet letter/ Burma Shave


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 9:46 AM
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The terms are apparently ocean-dependent. What it's called depends on where it is.

Yeah, kinda like in Australia they call trucks Sheila's and baby Kangaroo's Lauries. Oh, and French Fries are chips and chips are crisps and crisps are, I dunno.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 9:47 AM
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When I was very young I saw a few of the pre-Comics-Code Mads. They were fantastic. I just gave a few I got around 1960 (but older than that) to my nephew.

I do remember Burma shave signs too. They passed the time on boring road trips. I think that the Wall Drug signs are still up.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 9:49 AM
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104- Sadly political parties have become less relevant and so switching from Republican control to Democrat control will not mean all that much.

In context of Tripp's hypothesis, this is definitely arguable.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 9:50 AM
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It's all lesser-evil stuff, but a Southern Democrat is normally lesser than a Southern Republican. Less into Armageddon as a goal to pray for.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 9:52 AM
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132:

I'm just saying it's a stupid convention.

Well yeah. I mean why don't we change to metric? Hardly anyone knows what a chain times a furlong is anymore, why do we still use it?


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 9:52 AM
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Cyclone is more the scientific term, I think, including the others. I believe that it's a pattern of weather and includes some milder forms, whereas hurricanes and typhoons are defined by being extreme.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 9:55 AM
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Hardly anyone knows what a chain times a furlong is anymore

4840 sq. yards. Do you Yanks have acres? I think using different names for storms in different oceans is a good think. It tells you where they are before they hit land.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 9:57 AM
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When the Rolling Stones were first interviewed in the US they gave their weights in stones. I never could tell whether they were trying to be funny.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 9:59 AM
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Here comes the story of the hurricane...

I think it's really otherizing when we interpellate weather patterns like this. We need to construct a meteorological imaginary that transcends the Symbolic in order to create a vital praxis of water, air and energy.

/theoryspeak


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:02 AM
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I mean why don't we change to metric?

Cutting off nose to spite face, mostly.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:03 AM
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Do you Yanks have acres?

Yes. They are bigger in Texas though.

And at least a couple guys in England in the 90s told me their weight in stone. The one guy was heavy so I thought maybe he did it to seem lighter.

One thing I really liked is that packaged food in England listed the "(k)Calories" as "Energy." It sounded so much better.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:05 AM
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re: 141

Nope. Brits all think of their weight in stones. I am about 16 stone. Which makes me a bit of a porker.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:05 AM
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minneapolitan,

Hey, another Minnesotan. You have a point, but we DO give them human names, so we are already getting kinda familiar with hurricanes. Plus you mess with that and the next thing you know tsunamis are called tidal waves and we all will call ourselves numbers instead of names.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:09 AM
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It was so wonderfully appropriate.

Tripp, there's you, me, Minneapolitan, Chopper, Frowner, B's boyfriend, and maybe more.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:12 AM
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138, 140: the internet knows.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:13 AM
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Less into Armageddon as a goal to pray for.

To wit:

As for Iraq , Childers believes it is time to bring the troops home "honorably, safely and soon," while providing them with material support until that happens.

This guy wins an election in Northern Mississippi. Pardon me while my mind boggles.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:15 AM
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stone is a pretty natural unit for weight of humans I guess, as it has about the right precision. Can't say it has much else going for it than momentum.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:16 AM
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Cyclone is more the scientific term, I think, including the others

"Cyclone" was originally the term for any low pressure, counter-clockwise, weather system - as against high pressure, clockwise, anticyclones, which are still with us.

I believe the terms were introduced by Robert Fitzroy, formerly Darwin's captain on the Beagle, who was the first boss of the British Meteorological Office.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:16 AM
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why don't we change to metric?

Measuring America tells the story of the madcap series of events that led to the U.S. not adopting the then new-fangled metric measurements. It also mounts a spirited, contrarian defense of measuring land in traditional units, citing the practical utility of Gunter's chain.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:18 AM
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143 -> 152


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:19 AM
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the speed of light = 1.49025918 × 10-8 chains per femtosecond

Google calculator rules so much if you're easily amused.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:20 AM
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147: Also the Suomi one.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:23 AM
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Do you Yanks have acres?

House lots and farmland are always measured in acres.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:26 AM
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House lots and farmland are always measured in acres.

Our city lots are measured in square feet, but yeah, before moving here I was used to acres.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:29 AM
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Who's the Suomi? Slipped my mind.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:29 AM
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156: In the north, I've heard of people doing house lots by the quarter section or eight seciton, no point in surveying smaller lots. This didn't mean you were going to grow anything, really.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:30 AM
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A rather complete discussion of tropical cyclones (the generic term) and names here

• "hurricane" (the North Atlantic Ocean, the Northeast Pacific Ocean east of the dateline, or the South Pacific Ocean east of 160E)
• "typhoon" (the Northwest Pacific Ocean west of the dateline)
• "severe tropical cyclone" (the Southwest Pacific Ocean west of 160E or Southeast Indian Ocean east of 90E)
• "severe cyclonic storm" (the North Indian Ocean)
• "tropical cyclone" (the Southwest Indian Ocean)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:34 AM
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Our city lots are measured in square feet

Probably for the same reason that London apartment rentals are quoted as a weekly price, even though the rent is collected monthly.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:39 AM
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86: Although it should be conceded that the number of times the UK has taken the insurgents' side in a civil war since 1918 can be counted on the fingers of one foot.

All the anti-Nazi and anti-Japanese resistance movements in WW2, for one thing. Various anti-Soviet insurgencies - Admiral Kolchak in 1918 and the Baltics after 1945 - also, I think, Ukraine, though not sure about that. Kosovo. Also, arguably, Bosnia - the Bosnian government was 'insurgent' in that they were trying to break away from the federal government, which didn't want them to go. The support given to the Kurds and the Marsh Arabs in Iraq from 1991 through the establishment of the no-fly zones. East Timor (diplomatic support only, but hey).


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:40 AM
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Isn't cyclone the term for what we call a tornado in the Little House books?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:42 AM
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163: No. Cyclone = hurricane = typhoon. "Tornado" is something quite different.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:46 AM
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I think that "cyclone" includes tornados, which are always on land and are smaller and even more intense.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:46 AM
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"So why not? ..."

Because the proper response to a dumb Republican war is not a dumb Democratic war. There is a better case for invading Cuba. Which is not to say that would be a good idea.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:50 AM
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162. In most of those cases the Brits didn't recognise the incumbents, which is a bit different.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:53 AM
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164: Actually per folks above, a cyclone is a generic term for any pronounced low-pressure system (which are large-scale "storm" systems of all kind). It rotates counter-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere, opposite in the Southern. Tornadoes can be classed as small-scale "cyclones", but are generally not. I do recall seeing tornadoes sometimes called cyclones in early literature.
Tornadoes are almost exclusively a New World phenomenon, no word for them in European languages before the age of discovery.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:54 AM
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In most of those cases the Brits didn't recognise the incumbents, which is a bit different

Also, none of those cases involved fermentation.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:54 AM
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167: Iran in 1953 they invented the insurgents (okay, with US help).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:55 AM
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162: I think it's stretching things a bit to refer to the French Resistance vs Petain as a "civil war"


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:55 AM
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158: Nakki? Hakku? Something like that.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:58 AM
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I think it's stretching things a bit to refer to the French Resistance vs Petain as a "civil war"

But ajay didn't cite France specifically, and in the former Yugoslavia under the Nazi occupation, "civil war" is close to apt.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 11:00 AM
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Ukko, I think.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 11:01 AM
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There is no way we should send a massive military force into Burma, when all we need is Rambo.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 11:24 AM
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There was a Nakku. But I think Ukko is the one actually in Finland.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 11:25 AM
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There is a better case for invading Cuba.

Comparing two empty cases doesn't really get you far.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 11:27 AM
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177-con't. Not that I'm disagreeing with your main point, i.e. throwing more stupidity on top of existing stupidity isn't going to help


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 11:29 AM
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Pile enough stupidity on top of stupidity you get a region of incredibly high-pressure stupidity at the base which, over millions of years, undergoes a series of chemical processes which eventually result in Jonah Goldberg.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 11:31 AM
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all we need is Rambo

That terrain's going to be tricky with his walker.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 11:32 AM
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That terrain's going to be tricky with his walker.

Yeah, but he can put extended legs on it so he looks taller.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 11:34 AM
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...undergoes a series of chemical processes which eventually result in Jonah Goldberg

You're misrembering your chemistry/geology, Sifu. That's the process by which Bill Kristol is formed.

Jonah Goldberg is formed by heating stupid with an organic solvent under high heat, thus releasing the volatile stupid from its stable ammonium salt base and yielding stupid in its pure, unprotonated amine form.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 11:44 AM
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I saw an early news report that said something to the effect of other aid was getting in, but not American aid

Episcopal Relief and Development claims to be getting aid in there. They always work with local partners, in this case the Anglican Church of the Province of Myanmar, and have been involved in some microfinance initiatives there.

I was somewhat surprised to learn that they're also active in China, since the Anglican communion isn't particularly strong in mainland China, but they appear to have partnered with an independent Christian organization.

(These people don't try to convert others when they provide aid.)

I don't know how they're getting it in.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 11:58 AM
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171: Carmen Calil makes a fairly good case for this in Bad Faith, that the struggle between the Vichy Milice and the Resistance was a French civil war in which conflicts going back to the Revolution, by way of the secularisation of the Third Republic and the Commune, were fought out. In this analysis, the Liberation was the definitive victory of the republicains.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 12:19 PM
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Jonah Goldberg is formed by heating stupid with an organic solvent under high heat, thus releasing the volatile stupid from its stable ammonium salt base and yielding stupid in its pure, unprotonated amine form.

Heating stupid salts, I assume.

If you already had pure stupid, the process wouldn't be necessary.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 12:24 PM
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"Can I just add my voice to the "invading would be a world-historically stupid idea" camp?"
"I mean, ffs, it's so monumentally dumb [sorry Becks] it beggars belief.""

Add my name to the camp that believes it's a good idea.

1) why would you spend any mental energy defending SLORC?

2) after all that the Buddhist monks and Aung San Suu Kyi have be through, they should be forced to watch the corpses of their fellow citizens float around in the water?

3) any junta that named itself SLORC deserves to be toppled.

4) it's never ever going to happen so this is all academic, which makes it really special when people stick up for SLORC and rhetorically protect it from an imagined invasion.


Posted by: Peter K. | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 12:25 PM
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re: 186

Are you kidding or taking the piss? Or just really really stupid?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 12:29 PM
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186.4 to 187


Posted by: peter non-k | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 12:32 PM
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177

"Comparing two empty cases doesn't really get you far."

Considering the case against invading Cuba may clarify why invading Myanmar is also a bad idea.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 12:33 PM
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Heating stupid salts, I assume. If you already had pure stupid, the process wouldn't be necessary.

You know what else is fucked up? People talk about "calcium tablets", but the pills typically contain calcium carbonate and not elemental calcium! And people often say "peroxide" to refer to "a dilute solution of hydrogen peroxide in water"? Lunkheads!


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 12:37 PM
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why would you spend any mental energy defending SLORC?

Who's defending SLORC? Nobody was defending Hussein before that invasion either, just pointing out that it was a stupidstupidstupid idea.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 12:41 PM
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I had the same argument at CT. Anyone who says "We should not invade Country X", in any circumstance, for any reason, is accused of supporting the leaders of country X.

Apparently invading countries has become the default response, and the burden of proof is on anyone proposing non-invasion.

A frightening number of American really seem to think that way. Patriotism requires us to "support the troops" even during the early planning stages.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 12:50 PM
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re: 192

Yes. I read the CT thread [I never really comment there any more because I can trust myself not to unleash thermonuclear levels of swearing on a couple of the shite-bags who inhabit the CT comments]. It's rampant idiocy.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 12:54 PM
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can't trust myself, etc.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 12:55 PM
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192: This is an ongoing danger in a country that that accounts for nearly half the military spend in the world. Don't want our Asset Utilization Metric to fall below plan.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 12:55 PM
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186:

1) Nobody is "defending SLORC"; do you really think that your mate Hitchens has had such good luck trying to pin this one on opponents of the Iraq War with respect to Saddam that you thought you'd try it out yourself?

2) Since there is no way of preventing this from happening (certainly, removing the entire Burmese state would ensure that things got a lot worse) this would appear to be a prayer to Almighty God, who doesn't post here anymore after taking offence at a cock joke. HTH.

3) SLORC is an English acronym for a Burmese name. You can't even get a joke right apparently.

4) this is just (1) again, plus an unfounded implication that something of the sort is utterly impossible; it has, actually, been scheduled for discussion at the security council.

I think that's all.

No, wait! There's more!

I just realised that you have effectively accused me of being an apologist for the Burmese junta. So I'd like to add:

go and fuck yourself, Peter.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 12:59 PM
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Yglesias and CT get the worst loons. Kevin Drum used to, but he seems to delete now.

The reason? Civility and the belief in dialogue. If you practice discursive charity, there are sure to be people who will take advantage of you You really need to use the discursive lead pipe to the face occasionally.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 1:00 PM
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Anyone who says "We should not invade Country X", in any circumstance, for any reason, is accused of supporting the leaders of country X.

A related, equally infuriating phenomenon is to ignore cost-benefit analysis and pluck some genuine, though incidental, positive consequence of military action and accuse the skeptics of opposing that: "So you would be happier if the rape rooms were still in operation, would you?"


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 1:02 PM
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oh, last knockings for 186:

2) you appear to have recruited Aung San Suu Kyi and every currently practicising Burmese monk to the cause of an invasion of Burma; I would appreciate some citation for this otherwise outrageous claim.

3) and as I've said in the past, demanding "action" without a specific plan is the height of pud-knocking irresponsibility.

taxi for K!


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 1:07 PM
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Kobe knows that Buddhists are all about a good invasion, d^2.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 1:09 PM
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re: 197

Yeah. Definitely.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 1:11 PM
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"2) you appear to have recruited Aung San Suu Kyi and every currently practicising Burmese monk to the cause of an invasion of Burma; I would appreciate some citation for this otherwise outrageous claim."

No more outrageous than supposed leftists arguing on behalf of SLORC. But really, it's quite possible that when threatened SLORC would give in, after considering what happened to Saddam. That's what Muammar al-Gaddafi did over his nukes. That's what the North Koreans have done. And no Burmese babies would need to be bombed.

dsquared, seems like your rhetorical skills have declined since the glory days on Doug's LBO list. Is ad hominem all you got? I'm looking forward to when President Obama proposes to do some humanitarian intervention and the anti-war left cries "not another Vietnam quagmire!!!" Where you for any intervention? Afghanistan? Bosnia? Darfur?


Posted by: Peter K. | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 2:38 PM
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I for one could really go for some cake.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 2:41 PM
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I would like one of the proposers of invasion to answer the question of whether the junta would resist by force. It is not outside the realm of possibility that a C 130 would be shot down as it violates Burmese airspace to deliver the airdrop. So unless it is anticipated to do a preemptive strike on the Burmese air defense system, I am afraid we need to play by their rules.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 2:43 PM
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Troll effort rating: FAIL.

So much concentrated strawman-punching in 202 that it's almost impressive.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 2:43 PM
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The only way to save Burma is to nuke it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 2:45 PM
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202 is sort of endearing [in a slightly sad way]. It's like little troll-baby-steps.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:14 PM
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John Emerson:
Yglesias and CT get the worst loons. Kevin Drum used to, but he seems to delete now.

The reason? Civility and the belief in dialogue. If you practice discursive charity, there are sure to be people who will take advantage of you You really need to use the discursive lead pipe to the face occasionally.

Drum's lame. He was dismayed when Hillary lost Iowa and felt it meant the vast right wing conspiracy had won, when in fact Hillary tranformed into the vast right wing conspiracy. Race-baiting? Nice.

What I like to imagine is that tough-talking internet trolls get habituated to talking trash and when at the pub after a few forget they're not on the Internets and mouth off and get their ass kicked.

It'd be poetic justice. Usually the tough talkers on the internet are pussies in person whereas the more level-headed, charitable people are physically tougher. They don't need to prove themselves.

Oh, and dsquared is definitely defending the Burmese junta. This callous govenment has just stood by while its people die. It's Katrina squared. Actually it's Katrina raised to the tenth power, but since it's a foreign dictatorship whose to blame rather than Bush, it's all "nothing to see here, move along." Luckily as someone said the Chinese earthquake is knocking it off the front page, so everyone will forget about it, and Aung San Suu Kyi will continuely to languish under house arrest. Whew! Close one!


Posted by: Peter K. | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:16 PM
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Peter K, the US doesn't have some sort of magic ability to replace a foreign country's government with a better government. If it did, why would it do so now after refusing to do so in Iraq and Afghanistan?


Posted by: Fatrman | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:18 PM
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Usually the tough talkers on the internet are pussies in person whereas the more level-headed, charitable people are physically tougher.

Just keep telling yourself that, Peter, if it makes you feel better about yourself.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:19 PM
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dsquared, seems like your rhetorical skills have declined since the glory days on Doug's LBO list

I'm kind of curious see what a cleverer dsquared would be like, but not enough to read about leveraged buy outs. Is it true, Daniel, have you gone downhill in this respect?

Is ad hominem all you got?

As they say in the movie: "That'll do, pig. That'll do."


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:19 PM
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When your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When invading Burma started to be proposed as the obvious answer to the aftermath of the typhoon, you could tell what kind of country we had become. And then the opponents started to be called supporters of the Burmese regime.

The Burma invading folk didn't even quit talking about war with Iran.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:21 PM
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Fatrman, I'd argue that the current Iraqi government is better than Saddam's dictatorship and that the current government in Afghanistan is better than the Taliban, as bad as those governments are and as bad as things have gone. Iran should be much happier now that its neighbors aren't so crazy.


Posted by: Peter K. | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:22 PM
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No more outrageous than supposed leftists arguing on behalf of SLORC.

pls to help leftist in my hed r arguin


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:23 PM
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It's Katrina squared.

So someone should have invaded the US? China maybe? I don't get your point.

One reason why we're more attentive to Bush's fuckups than the Burmese junta's fuckups is that we are American and not Burmese citizens. There's a deep and subtle principle there for you to ponder.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:23 PM
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I might have supported a military conquest of the US by the E.U. in the aftermath of Katrina, but only because the US, unlike Burma, has a robust opposition that could easily be given the reins of government after the decapitation of the current executive branch.

But even then, I would be a bit concerned that instead of the Democrats being put into power as an act of charity, the Europeans might want to perpetrate some sort of colonialism or at least extract some sort of tribute as a reward for their selfless act of conquest.


Posted by: Fatrman | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:25 PM
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Usually the tough talkers on the internet are pussies in person whereas the more level-headed, charitable people are physically tougher.

Seriously, are we meant to believe that you regularly meet up with your dialectical opponents on the Internet to test this hypothesis?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:25 PM
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Besides the success of the Iraq war, Peter, what other reasons do you have for being confident that an invasion of Burma, supposing that we had the troops, would do more good than harm? After all, these are two different countries.

How about we ask China to invade? They have the capacity, and they owe us some favors.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:26 PM
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Cala, Peter is a very, very tough guy. Don't mess with him.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:28 PM
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regularly meet up

Can't, underage.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:29 PM
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In my extensive research I have determined that people who make stupid claims on the internet can be crushed by my powerful thighs.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:29 PM
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Obama can levitate at will.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:30 PM
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220: gram the one eyed snake


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:30 PM
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Usually the tough talkers on the internet are pussies in person whereas the more level-headed, charitable people are physically tougher.

Just keep telling yourself that, Peter, if it makes you feel better about yourself.

That hasn't been your experience?


Posted by: Peter K. | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:30 PM
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re: 217

Remember the first rule of fight club ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:30 PM
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None of us have researched the question, Peter. But let's get back to the question.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:32 PM
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225: Ah, now it makes sense. If after losing fights on the Internet to strawmen, one punches himself in the face....


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:32 PM
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re: 226

I was sworn to keep my inside-door bouts with Hitchens and Nick Cohen a secret. Although I can say that one should beware the exploding gin-blossom fist.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:35 PM
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Isn't Hitchens a seventeen-Dan in the Drunken Monkey tradition?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:37 PM
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re: 229

I think we'd have to check with Tweety, to see if he can confirm it on the Sifu grapevine.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:39 PM
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Also, I can kill you with my brain.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:41 PM
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229: his drunken style is illegitimate. His wounded honky form is passable, but that is among the less useful of your martial arts.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:44 PM
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re: 232

That's good. I was worried I'd have to use my cheese-eating form to counter his drunken.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:47 PM
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I've heard that he can focus 40 pounds of flab on the tip of one of his fingers and put someone on the ground with a single touch.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:47 PM
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But even then, I would be a bit concerned that instead of the Democrats being put into power as an act of charity, the Europeans might want to perpetrate some sort of colonialism or at least extract some sort of tribute as a reward for their selfless act of conquest.

Maybe we could buy them off with territorial concessions. The Germans get Florida (sorry, Jews of Boca!), Spain gets the Gulf Coast and Texas, and France gets the Caribbean and Pacific Island territories. We'd probably also have to agree to give Alcatel all our telecommunications contracts and Siemens the reconstruction of the electrical grid, but we'd come to appreciate that in a few years anyway.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:50 PM
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One reason why we're more attentive to Bush's fuckups than the Burmese junta's fuckups is that we are American and not Burmese citizens. There's a deep and subtle principle there for you to ponder.

Did you say that during the Rwandan genocide too? Not our government, not our problem!

So we are expected to ignore everything that happens beyond our shore? Seem shortsighted. The US is not somehow immune to what happens overseas. 9/11 demonstrated that. I agree we pay taxes here so are somewhat more responsible for the bloody wars of empire like in Afghanistan.

I see myself as a member of the human race, not just an American. So, what happens to dusky foreigners concerns me also. We are members of the same race. I try not to be solipsistic.


Posted by: Peter K. | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:50 PM
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236: So, as the only non-racist involved in this dialogue, what's your plan, then? And it had better cost less than the Iraq war, because one more act of charity like that will bankrupt the US entirely.

The difference in approaches here seems to be "err on the side of not starting wars" versus "err on the side of starting wars".


Posted by: Fatrman | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:55 PM
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Jesus Christ, Peter. By now you seem like a practical joke perpetrated by one of our friends.

I do not see you as a member of the human race. You're a terribly tough, streetsmart comment bot who could devastate the whole lot of us in a bar fight. Why don't you scram, and hit the bars looking for us?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:57 PM
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So, what happens to dusky foreigners concerns me also.

I'll ignore the implication that the rest of us harbor a racist indifference to the rest of the human race and remind you of the principle of primum non nocere.

Now go troll somewhere else; you're solipsism is getting on our collective nerves.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:57 PM
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your. grrr.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 3:58 PM
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Hey, the Iraq telecoms contracts - the only ones out of the lot that worked - went to one Egyptian, one Turkish, and one Kuwaiti-British operating companies, and all the kit came from Lucent. And that's an Alcatel division these days.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 4:51 PM
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Actually, Pete, why not?

As the Specials sang: Just as long as you don't want to do it with me.

You ruined our armed forces, you corrupted our institutions; go ahead, knock yourself out, get into more trouble. Don't expect help, that's all.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 4:54 PM
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Peter, no one is saying you have to ignore Burma. Just avoid making it worse. You say Iraq is working out: there are several hundred thousand to whom your petty justifications are worse than hollow, and 2 or 3 million who would quite likely beg to differ with you, but at least they're still alive.

I'd be interested to hear by what measure you can say that Iraq is better today than on January 1, 2003. The fact that it's not as bad as it can possibly get -- avoiding which state is our only policy at this point (actually the policy is avoiding that state until the end of January 2009) -- is no answer.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 4:56 PM
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John Emerson:
I do not see you as a member of the human race. You're a terribly tough, streetsmart comment bot who could devastate the whole lot of us in a bar fight. Why don't you scram, and hit the bars looking for us?

Point of fact you began the tough talk at 194
The reason? Civility and the belief in dialogue. If you practice discursive charity, there are sure to be people who will take advantage of you You really need to use the discursive lead pipe to the face occasionally.

I was just disagreeing. And if Becks is sincere in the blog post under discussion, it is you who is being a troll. And not even doing a very good job at it. And if Becks was sincere, he should take the discursive lead pipe to you among others, according to your theory. I'd volunteer if he wasn't up for it.


Posted by: Peter K | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 5:34 PM
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Peter K is sexist.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 5:37 PM
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Peter, Peter. A discursive lead pipe is different than a physical lead pipe. That's how adjectives work. But you're a tough rather than a smart guy, so you didn't understand that. You can bring out your own discursive lead pipe if you wish.

And Becks is a lady.

Nobody's responding to you very seriously because you're just cranking out pious boilerplate. This was all argued at Crooked Timber earlier today and we're tired.

In brief:
1. No one in the world trusts Bush's motives, and quite rightly so.

2. No one in the world trusts Bush's competence, and quite rightly so.

3. The U.S. does not have the resources to do a good job on its present wars.

4. Most people here are Americans, which means we have a special interest in the policies of the American government, and theoretically even an influence on them, but not on the Burmese government, regardless of how many people we care about. That's internationalism for you.

5. In general, invading a country is a dubious way of delivering disaster relief.

6. This whole exercise is a pious, cheap, hypocritical attempt by discredited hawks to put non-hawks on the spot. It's a slight variation on dozens of similar attempts made during the last five years.

7. You're full of shit. Fuck off and die. This has been a waste of time for everyone.



Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 8:25 PM
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246

"This whole exercise is a pious, cheap, hypocritical attempt by discredited hawks to put non-hawks on the spot. It's a slight variation on dozens of similar attempts made during the last five years."

Is that why Becks posted? I don't think so. This exercise doesn't put non-hawks on the spot, it puts liberal hawks like Yglesias on the spot to explain why their ideas won't lead to wars just as stupid as the Iraq war (if not the Iraq war itself).


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 8:46 PM
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Peter K's appearance does remind us how the "liberal"vs."conservative" axis has changed on issues like this since the Iraq War started. He comes in here and says "If you guys weren't so racist you'd understand that saving people in foreign countries from their own government is something that our military ought to spend its time doing, for moral reasons", and we all say "Get the hell out of here, neocon/warmonger/Halliburton fan".

But 10 years ago you'd be more likely to find liberals saying "Somalia was a good idea, Kosovo was a good idea, it's a crime that we didn't do anythng in Rwanda, and we should be intervening in the Sierra Leone civil war right now", whereas conservatives responded with "Holy crap, you want American servicemen to risk their lives for poor foreign nobodies? These schemes sound more like utopian one-world socialism to me."

For five years or more, Brent Scowcroft, who is basically the same person as George H.W. Bush, has been one of the guys liberals point to in explaining why the Iraq War was a bad idea. But HE explains it from the perspective that every large-scale "humanitarian intervention" is a bad idea, military or not, unless it's done expressly to make our nation more powerful.

Here George Packer vacillates, but ends up expressing the old-fashioned "We have a duty to use our military to help others" attitude which Iraq has driven out of everyone else on earth.

What if this Burma situation was taking place with a Democratic president?

My opinion is that basically, a military force will have hardly any power to help people who are not very similar to the people who make up the military force. And intervening in a civil war is a bad idea unless all that needs to be done is restore order back to how it was a short time before. And removing a government without anything to replace it with is also a bad idea.


Posted by: Fatrman | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 8:53 PM
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Pwned by James B. Shearer, of all people. But at least I linked to an example of something, from George "liberal hawk like Yglesias" Packer.


Posted by: Fatrman | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 8:54 PM
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I don't remember it much, except for all the opportunistic BS spouted by Lott, Gingrich et al. during the Kosovo debate, but apparently "isolationist" used to be one of the stereotypes for Republicans?

Looks like the neocons actually conquered that tendency entirely.


Posted by: Fatrman | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 8:59 PM
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Not the whole exercise, just the Peter K exercise. We regret the error.

The Bush administration has tremendously distorted the whole foreign policy debate, because every real-world argument about what to do now has to put Bush's bad faith and ineptness right at the center. That's what Peter K failed to do.

I'm weakly on Yggy's side on this, in that I wouldn't want to draw a theoretical hard line on liberal interventionism based on the Bush example. But I am much more skeptical about the possibility of liberal or humanitarian interventionism than I was.

Talking about invading Burma right now, though, is just hackish stupidity. If your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Someone recently suggested (jokingly!) that we also invade the Chinese earthquake. That's how stupid it is.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 9:27 PM
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What does the word "invade" mean?

I guess it means "enter the country without the government's permission".

Would this necessarily involve a shooting war occurring? We should assume so. Packer admits that nothing like what he thinks the Burmese people need has ever successfully occurred.


Posted by: Fatrman | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 9:28 PM
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251

"Talking about invading Burma right now, though, is just hackish stupidity. If your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Someone recently suggested (jokingly!) that we also invade the Chinese earthquake. That's how stupid it is."

Becks reads Yglesias's book and the next thing you know she is talking about invading Burma. I don't think she is a stupid hack so this suggests there is something deeply flawed about Yglesias's arguments.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 9:35 PM
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253: Matt doesn't spend that much of the book on necessary and sufficient conditions for invasion, it's mostly a review of recent political history of U.S. foreign policy along with some discussion of the virtues of international cooperation through multilateral institutions.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 9:37 PM
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this suggests there is something deeply flawed about Yglesias's arguments

You might consider reading the book, James. Just in case your transitive property of flawed theses may itself be a flawed.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 9:47 PM
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James didn't read
Yglesias' book
Ari says nicely
James is a schnook
Burma Save


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:00 PM
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Well,I'd like to meet the person left, right, or center who thinks the Somalia business a success. Somalia in the 90s, not the current intervention, which I'd guess Admin supporters like.

Kosovo? Ongoing if incipient civil war where one faction begs us to intervene on its behalf? Where factions are culturally distinct? People who can't tell the difference between that and a situation where no one but exiles wants us ought to stick to issues they understand.

Back in the 90s, I was frustrated by the amount of time it took to intervene in Bosnia. It was always obvious that dropping some bombs on some Serb bullies would bring them to the table in a way that UN plans and protection forces never could.

I supported inaction in Rwanda, though, because I wasn't sure what we could do that would work. It was a mistake, I guess, although I still haven't heard a very convincing description of how our military stops people killing with machetes.


Posted by: Napi | Link to this comment | 05-14-08 10:32 PM
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dsquared, seems like your rhetorical skills have declined since the glory days on Doug's LBO list. Is ad hominem all you got?

no, but it's all you're getting, cunt.

"defending the Burmese junta". I mean, yawwwn. Am I gonna argue passionately "no, being opposed to an invasion doesn't mean that you support the junta, you must understand this, Peter, it is vitally important that I convince you of this"?

The hell I am. Maybe five years ago this was an important current in modern liberal thought that had to be argued against, but today? It's on the level of 9/11 truthers and people who think that measles vaccine gives you autism. So carry on mate, you can probably even still find somewhere to publish your claim that I'm an apologist for Burmese generals but nobody will care. Why don't you pretend to have had a magic solution for the Rwandan genocide? Oh no, there it is. Hey maybe you can make us feel like hypcrites by saying that if the Democrats were in power we'd think differently! No, as you were. It all seems so five years ago, doesn't it?

Taxi! Taxi! Taxi for K!


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 12:42 AM
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208: What I like to imagine is that tough-talking internet trolls get habituated to talking trash and when at the pub after a few forget they're not on the Internets and mouth off and get their ass kicked.

You're helping me picture that right now. It's beautiful.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 12:51 AM
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251: I am much more skeptical about the possibility of liberal or humanitarian interventionism than I was.

The privileged Canadian perspective has allowed me to be more skeptical since the days of the First Airborne Division scandal in the early Nineties. (The halcyon days when Canada armed and trained a group of white supremacist skinheads -- literally -- and sent them off to keep the peace in Somalia. Famous quote from one of our boys, on asking how he thought the tour was going: "It sucks cock, man! We ain't killed enough niggers yet!")


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 1:09 AM
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235. Can we have the east coast back, then? We'd sub-let it to Canada, promise.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 1:41 AM
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261: Hell no, OFE! That would go against the whole rationale of my plan, which is designed to give the Democrats a durable 3/5 majority in the Senate.

If you want a couple of Great Plains states, OTOH, that's something we can negotiate over. There would have to be some boundary adjustments, of course: the Kansas side of Kansas City would go to Missouri, and Omaha would go to Iowa. The rest can be yours, mate.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:29 AM
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KR, the point about Great Plains states is that nobody in their right mind wants them now. Their industrial base is dead, agriculture is going to die as soon as the water runs out, and basically they'll be uninhabited/able in our lifetime. Which presumably is why they consistently vote short termist.

Peter K's appearance does remind us how the "liberal"vs."conservative" axis has changed on issues like this since the Iraq War started.

I don't know if I'm a liberal, but I've always been anti-interventionist, if the intervention is by a western power to re-arrange things in a third world country for their own convenience. If anybody can show me an example of any western power acting against the interests of their own ruling class to help people on the other side of the world out of sheer good will, I might reconsider this, but I'm not holding my breath. Intervention is only ever seriously on the table when it's "good" for the interveners, and the odds against it ultimately being "good" for the intervenees under those circumstances are pretty shit.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:51 AM
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BTW, Glenn Greenwald is laying down merciless and well-deserved beatings on Joe Klein and Tom Friedman.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 6:09 AM
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KR, the point about Great Plains states is that nobody in their right mind wants them now.

Even without the aquifers, the Plains states will continue to be suitable for a lower-intensity form of agriculture (including range grazing--think bison!). Remember, you've got the whole Missouri River watershed. To pay for the costs of the colonial administration, you could generate adequate revenue by charging for overflight rights as well as transit charges for the transcontinental rail lines, the fiber optic cables, and the gas pipelines. Plus, you get a fabulous airbase in Minot, North Dakota.

All in all it's a great deal for the UK, even if the land-based ICBM's are not included.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 6:39 AM
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Oh, we'll move the ICBMs safely across the Atlantic, so the Yanks don't get their hands on them. I like the idea of overflight rights etc. £100 per furlong, I think, payable in Sterling.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 6:51 AM
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Famous quote from one of our boys, on asking how he thought the tour was going: "It sucks cock, man! We ain't killed enough niggers yet!"

And it was printed? Wow. I assume that "our boys" are saying appalling things like this all the time but that editors of respectable media consider them not fit to print.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:22 AM
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If you want a couple of Great Plains states

Would we get British citizenship under this deal? I could be OK with that.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:03 AM
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Would we get British citizenship under this deal? I could be OK with that.

Not automatically. But if you serve with distinction in one of the colonial regiments (the Royal Flatland Cornhusker Grenadiers, for example), you might be rewarded with a special dispensation from the Governor General.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:41 AM
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Not automatically. But if you serve with distinction in one of the colonial regiments (the Royal Flatland Cornhusker Grenadiers, for example), you might be rewarded with a special dispensation from the Governor General.

This deal kind of sucks then.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:46 AM
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OTOH, if you're a sufficiently big landowner, you can purchase the Lordship of the Manor for a few guineas, and nobody's going to ask awkward questions. And given that population density is likely to be about 1 per five square miles in the areas affected, that souldn't be too hard.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:50 AM
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OTOH, if you're a sufficiently big landowner, you can purchase the Lordship of the Manor for a few guineas, and nobody's going to ask awkward questions

My family does own some land ...


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:06 AM
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OTOH, if you're a sufficiently big landowner, you can purchase the Lordship of the Manor for a few guineas, and nobody's going to ask awkward questions.

Think about it, CJB: your own rotten borough!

I think for me it comes down to what the Europeans do with W. after they depose him. Does he get the Akbar Shah II treatment, or the Ismail Pasha treatment?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:15 AM
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dsquared, seems like your rhetorical skills have declined since the glory days on Doug's LBO list. Is ad hominem all you got?

no, but it's all you're getting, cunt.

Wow, between you and John Emerson's repeated "fuck you"s it really goes to show how far the isolationist "left" has fallen since the end of the Cold War twenty years ago. Stewing in its impotence, bleating insults.

So I was wrong about Becks being sincere in her original blog post? She was being sarcastic and thinks Ygelsias is a warmonger?


Posted by: Peter K. | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:23 AM
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Hey Peter K., fuck you!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:23 AM
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(And I'm only doing that because it's the only way to wring any entertainment out of your boring ass. Go back to troll school.)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 10:24 AM
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Stewing in its impotence, bleating insults.

Fuck you, man. I can get it up anytime I want to. It's just that I've had a lot to drink tonight, and I've been tired lately. And I'm probably deficient in some trace minerals or something. I swear, this has never happened before.

Anyway, I'm sure I could get it up if you would...


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:24 AM
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. . . B L O W M E, Y O U C O C K S U C K E R !


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:25 AM
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So Becks was being completely sarcastic?

Dan Davies = defense lawyer for dictators


Posted by: Peter K. | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 1:15 PM
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One of these times here you're going to pin us down, Pe-K, and then boy what a sound rhetorical trouncing you'll have favored us with.

Just you keep on keepin' at it, coach.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 1:21 PM
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258: Sometimes I really just love D2 a little bit.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 1:27 PM
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Just you keep on keepin' at it, coach.

Whatever you say, buddy!

I'd just like to know if Becks was sincere. Looks to me like she was, hence you pathetic fucks are the trolls.


Posted by: Peter K. | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 1:57 PM
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