Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Trip_Wire, Aug 1, 2006.
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F*ck off and develop a brain, you neo-con twat.
Do you just throw around such badinage in order to avoid engaging with the issue?
Whether one likes it or not, there is a great degree of truth and common sense in what Trip_Wire posted.
Sticks & Stones.... you know the rest.
I post this type of article for general information and other points of view(s) on various situations around the world. Some times I might agree with what the article has to say, other times I will not.
In this case, as some other user has pointed out, there are many truisms in the article.
Try to keep am open mind, that is if you have one!
I agree with the article's sentiments on TV news. Before I went on a long car journey I bought a copy of John Simpson's Iraq memoir on CD. Had I not been in the channel tunnel at the time I would have lobbed it into the sea when I reached the chapter about his getting engaged by a CAS sortie.
Granted, he's allowed to get a little emotional about losing his translator and friend and at nearly being killed himself but his attitude towards the US Army or Marines who called in the strike betrays stunning arrogance. His assumption that he can cut around an area where combat operations are taking place at will and without any risk to himself in order to satisfy his ambition to repeat his one man liberation of Kabul is typical of the monstrous self importance we have allowed the media to assume.
I have no qualms with his and other journalists' personal courage and drive, it is our happiness to allow dramatic footage to be the story, rather than any analysis of what is occuring and why.
I haven't seen many journalists in Lebanon trying to track down Hezbullah rocket launch sites and film them.
Not awfully pro or anti Israeli, but can't disagree with Trip Wire.
The Israeli's are not being very bright but they are targetting the people who are targetting them, oh and us.
The Islamofacists (not to be confused with the ordinary Moslem in the street) are quite happy to see lots of Moslems die so long as 'World Opinion' is against Israel and America and anyoneone else they want to hate.
I hope the rest of the Moslem world is taking note of what is happening because these people are as greater threat to them as they are to the rest of us.
Much as I hate to ruin a good rant, I think you will find that "world opinion" was somewhat put out by most of these events.
Not usually, I would be a bit of a fence-sitter, preferring to digest what people have to say on both sides of the arguements and make up my own mind. However, in this case, I made the exception. Tripwire has a habit of posting up some defiant nonsense; in this case, with a thin veil of racism thrown in for good measure.
Some of the article did make sense, however the sensible parts were heavily outweighed by the 'F*ck it, we're going to continue doing what were doing, and f*ck the rest of you' sentiments expressed. A Badge of Honour to go against world opinion does not make for stabilisation; it creates distrust, and though the US may act with good intentions, doing it without backing is potentially catastrophic. All that article is doing is justifying the blinkered world view the US has had under the Bush Administration.
I'm not going to say I can entirely agree with the overall direction of it, but there are certainly some valid points within.
Danger: long post and some big words. Apologies in advance.
The first part, I can more or less agree with. There is a tremendous inconsistency regarding the issues that are considered important- both by the international media, governments and the public. I was wondering only this morning the reasons for the news media focusing on Lebanon and not, for example, Sudan and the Darfur crisis.
I think that the blame that is placed on the media is misguided however. Successive waves on research on the so-called CNN effect has suggested that it is by and large governments that determine which stories get covered. Obviously, once the coverage starts governments have traditionally had a problem determine which way the story breaks, but in general, they are the ones that determines what is a story and what isn't. The great powers don't want to talk about Darfur, it doesn't get covered. The media can't report on the TCB and the Shaved Chimp going somewhere and doing something if nothing is going on.
Secondly, why the focus on the actions of the US et al? Well, I'd argue that a lot of it has to do not with journalistic laziness, but rather the level of public interest. In places where there is a free press the profit motive is what's most important. Oddly enough consumers of news tend to have a fairly narrow interest in that they are chiefly concerned with things that concern and happen to them. Why should Joe sixpack give a sh1t about Rwandan's dying? I doesn't affect him one bit. However, if his taxes and/or his kids are being sent to Iraq, you can bet your arrse he's going to want to know what's going on. So perhaps in a democratic state it is perhaps not surprising that they want to know details about what is being done in their name. And, when the largest global news gathering organisation are Western dominated, guess which countries are going to draw the most attention.
I'm going to leave the media question to one side for the moment and deal with the perennial question of order and justice in the international system. Identifying with the English School, I would argue that world opinion matters to differing degrees and extents depending on the issues. the formation and functioning of international society depends upon it. For example, it is only through negotiation, agreement and exceptance of the provisions of the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 that brought about the modern states system and such concepts of sovereignty. It was international agreement through the UN Charter, the Geneva and Hague Conventions and all manner of treaties and accords that run from the formation of the ICAO to agreements on the handling of international mail that govern the manner in which states and peoples deal with each other.
Now then, some of you are probably wondering what this has to do with World opinion. Well, it's quite simple- world opinion both informs the manner in which international society is established in the first place, but moreover, it helps determine what is and isn't considered to be acceptable behaviour.
These norms can and do shift in time and space. For example, slavery was once considered to be a legitimate practice. 60 years ago, the levelling of a city by bombing was generally considered to be an unfortunate, but acceptable part of warfare. Both, I'm glad to say, are no longer accepted. Taking the interventionist/ neo-con argument, until as late as the early 1990s armed intervention in the actions of another state when one's own security was at risk was considered unacceptable, to an extent the peace enforcement operations of the mid and late 1990s changed the rules of the game somewhat and helped create the permissive conditions for the neo-con agenda of this decade- and it is held in some circles that states that behave "irresponsibly" have the right to sovereignty as enshrined in the Westphalian Treaty and the UN Charter.
This brings us onto the moral question. As I have already indicated, ideas of what is and is not acceptable behaviour change in time and space. By definition therefore, what must also change are ethical and moral frameworks. Note the use of plurals since I while I can agree on the existence of certain universal moral principles, I disagree with moral absolutism. A universal morality can be developed through discourse and debate- I am reluctant to believe that there are self-evident moral truths. For example, children are taught right and wrong- as regards development a moral frame work, I would put a very small percentage down to genetics or a "higher power" (if you're into that sort of thing). As regards moral absolutism, I think it's clear to anybody who has spent any time thinking about it that people regularly face ethical and moral dilemmas and there is no clear cut course of action. Different frameworks will produce different outcomes. for example, a "rules-based" ethical framework (where you follow the letter of the law) frequently have a different outcome from and ends-based framework (where you do whatever's necessary to achieve your goal) and different again from a car-based framework (where the effect on all around you is of prime concern).
While I can guarantee that anyone who tries to "accuse" me of moral relativism really isn't qualified to engage in a philosophical debate, I should perhaps discuss another reason why it is that "world opinion" takes such a dim view of US/ British (TCBs)/Israeli actions. It really is quite simple- the first deals with the resentment caused by the rather patronising manner in with the morals and values (or lack of them) that the West have are thrust upon other cultures and civilizations as if they have nothing to offer. In otherwords there is no discourse taking place. I am not necessarily talking about war and peace here. I am talking about general attitudes and approaches to life.
We should remember that the moral compasses we in the West have today are derived from 2-3000 years of philosphy, not handed down from God on tablets of stone (expect for maybe one particular 10 point plan that has got an awful lot of attention). The West has the Torah; the Bible; a whole bunch of dead Greek guys who thought a lot about the human condition when they weren't inventing right-angle triangles, melon sex and buggering the village idiot; Romans, Roman Catholic Scholars, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Hegel, JS Mill etc. etc. all of whom have led us down a particular path. Would it really be so surprising that different peoples who have been exposed to different thinkers might come up with some different ideas? What makes us so certain that we have it right? For example, what makes us so certain that the key unit of reference for humankind is the individual? A Confucian tradition would place greater emphasis on the family and the community. As people who have devoted their lives to public service, including demonstrating a preparedness to die for one's country and colleagues, I think most Arrsers could quite easily relate to such an idea.
The last moral problem that a lot of what "world opinion" sees with the West is the disconnect between words and deeds. The author of the article mentions all the atrocities that have passed by almost unnoticed, well the US, Israel, the UK and a host of others in the "civilized" world didn't take any notice either. Over 90 years after the event, the US Government still refuses to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. As an example of the contradiction between word and deed, let us examine the key concepts of jus ad bellum as developed in the Western intellecual and philosophical tradition:
War must not be entered into with undue haste. War is an option only if all other means of resolution are exhausted.
Any decision to go to war must be made by a duly constituted governmental authorities not any disgruntled groups or unofficial communities.
Right intention and just cause
War is unacceptable if motivated by aggression or even revenge. Self-defense, recovery of possessions, righting a wrong, and responding to an aggressor are examples of just causes.
Chance of Success
Only when there is a reasonable chance of success of an acceptable outcome is war justifiable.
Goal of Peace
It must be possible to envision a peace that is preferable to the situation that would prevail if the war were not fought.
Can we honestly say without equivocation that each of these, our own "rules", were followed in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Vietnam etc. etc. and that there is no defensible case to suggest otherwise? I rather feel that all too often we get hoisted on our own petard.
And what did the 'World' do about these murders?
WWII for the bold.
Protests for the italicized
In the other cases, nothing
I more or less agree with the sentiment expressed in regard to this bit
I think in some cases Governments only take note if it is in their self interest to do so and not because it is the right thing to do. Many genocides in Africa spring to mind where not a finger was lifted to stop it.
I'm sure I read somewhere that WW2 was kicked off by Germany's invasion of Poland. If it was to stop genocide in Germany it was a bit late.
Better late then never though!
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