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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Rhetoric (Score:3, Insightful)

    "Depression" means something very specific in economic terms. Looking at the latest BEA [doc.gov] data for GDP (not GNP; that's a little harder to find in Google) shows increases in 3Q and 4Q 2002. That's not even a recession.

    I agree that war is an ugly thing, that unemployment is terrible, and that things like Total Information Awareness are nasty, horrible things.

    There's really no excuse for an intelligent, reasonable person to make things up to support an argument. "The White House wants to kill orphans

    • Re:Rhetoric (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ovid (2709) on 2003.03.16 17:12 (#17971) Homepage Journal

      chromatic, I consider you a friend, so I trust you won't take this personally!

      When I used the phrase "further depressing the US economy", I did not mean that we were experiencing a depression. I meant, very explicitly, to "Lessen the activity or force of; weaken". In fact, for this definition, dictionary.reference.com [reference.com] specifically uses the example feared that rising inflation would further depress the economy. I was not implying that we were experiencing a depression. As reported in the Washington Post [washingtonpost.com] and many other news sources:

      The Federal Reserve said Wednesday economic activity around the country remained subdued in January and February as concerns about a possible war in Iraq slowed spending by consumers and businesses.

      I must confess that I do not understand your comment that "There's really no excuse for an intelligent, reasonable person to make things up to support an argument." If you're referring to my comments (I assume you are), then I can assure you that I am not making any of this up. I wholeheartedly agree with you that much of the anti-war movement is a joke. When a congressman from Georgia, John Lewis, spoke at the peace rally, I thought that he spoke well, but still provided a completely content-free speech. Yeah, I know war is a bad thing. I didn't need to hear it again. I wanted the speakers to lay out their case. The anti-war movement, in this regard, has done as pitiful a job as the Bush adminstration has.

      Perhaps you are suggesting that the British did not plagiarize any intelligence reports? This has been widely covered in the news and since Colin Powell cited this paper further evidence that we should go to war, it's important to acknowledge that plagiarism [bbc.co.uk] gussied up as an "intelligence report" does not lend credibility to the "pro-war" cause. If the British government is copying a post-grad student's papers from the early 90s, I think it's only fair that this be admitted up front.

      It's also fair to ask why we claimed that Iraq was trying to covertly buy uranium and Powell cited documents that our intelligence agencies uncovered as further proof of the need to go to war. When it turned out that these documents were crude forgeries [google.com], we again have to be honest and ask ourselves, why is the US government so intent on rushing into a war when we don't know what we're facing in Iraq but we do know what we're facing from the rest of the world?

      I do have to say that the League of Nations analogy is not totally wrong. The League of Nations was crippled, in part, because the US refused to support it. If we were to be honest and eliminate the veto power held by the five permanent security council members, the UN would be more likely to act. Of course, the US would have pulled out a long time ago, too. Some, though, feel that ignoring Hussein is similar to the appeasement of Hitler in the 30s that led to World War II. This is ridiculous. Iraq was pushed out of Kuwait in the early 90s and we've not had any indication that their impoverished country is in a position to launch a war. As soon as Italy invaded Ethiopia or Germany reoccupied the Rhineland, action should have been taken. If Iraq decided to reclaim anything outside of it's territory, action would be taking -- again. (Though this begs the question of why we focus on Iraq and ignore so much of this behavior in the rest of the world.)

      If, however, we use the "Hussein is a really, really bad man" argument (which I concede that he is), then why do we remain silent about many other nations headed by brutal dictators? Pakistan, our newfound friend, is hardly headed by a benevolent man and why don't we try to suppress their Weapons of Mass Destruction -- or ours, for that matter?

      I have to ask, is this what Bush meant by "kinder and gentler"? Of course, it's hardly out of character given past US behavior [bowlingforcolumbine.com].

      • I misunderstood your intent with "depressing". It's a word with connotations in this context.

        Most of my rant is against the simplistic logic found on protest signs and in the editorial pages of the Oregonian. Too few people seem to understand either economics (your focus) or history (mine). Whether that's due to institutional bias, concidental accidents, or the simple realities of publishing, it's not a place to find well-supported arguments.

        Like you, I'm uncomfortable with the idea of going to wa

      • Re:Rhetoric (Score:2, Insightful)

        • If, however, we use the "Hussein is a really, really bad man" argument (which I concede that he is), then why do we remain silent about many other nations headed by brutal dictators?

        I don't think anyone but those wishing to knock down a strawman use the "Hussein is a really, really bad man" argument.

        I feel that we must enforce the conditions of the original armistice [fas.org]. Iraq has been in non-compliance, and been warned about serious consequences for quite some time [fas.org].

        I believe Iraq has failed to live up