Catastrophic equivalencies

Catastrophic equivalencies

: We’ve been hearing a lot about equivalencies lately: People are comparing the money pledged to tsunami relief to the money spent on the inauguration. People are equating the money dedicated to tsunami relief to the money spent on the occupation of Iraq.

Well, let’s look at this tragic equivalency, too:

By the latest count, 160,000 people have died in this tsunami.

A month ago, Tony Blair said that 400,000 victims of Saddam Hussein’s tyranny and murder have been found in mass graves in Iraq.

Both are humanitarian tragedies, humanitarian issues, humanitarian needs.

But, of course, we heard little outcry demanding support, sympathy, and American resources brought to bear for Saddam’s victims; quite the contrary. Neither do we hear sufficient outcry about the scores of Iraqis killed day after day by the terrorists in their midst. Instead, we hear that everything in Iraq is America’s fault. And we hear that America is stingy. We hear political equivalencies.

It is wrong to politicize the tragedy in south Asia as if it should be seen as anything other than a humanitarian crisis without sides. And it is wrong to ignore the long-standing humanitarian issues in Iraq as if it were nothing more than a political football.

Could we have handled and be handling Iraq better? Of course. But remember that fighting a war, defeating terrorists/insurgents, and building democracy are not inexpensive.

Could we do more to help the victims of the tsunami? We could never do enough.

What’s the point of comparing all these tragedies except, each in its own way, to exploit them to make a political point?

There is one equivalency that matters: human suffering and the need to help.

: See also Matt Margolis.

: UPDATE: A commenter corrected me and I was away from the Internet until now to update this. I heard a BBC show this weekend on which Tony Blair said there were 200,000 Iraqis found in mass graves; this was cited in a larger discussion about new geopolitical realities of dealing with tyrants and terrorists without countries. When I went to find the comment, I found the USAID link above and did not realize it was from a year ago, not a month ago, and since then the number has changed.

: LATER: See much discussion in the comments on the accurate number of bodies in the mass graves in Iraq. It’s somewhere between 5,000 and the unknown. The complainers are right to push me on the accuracy but they are wrong in that they miss the point: It’s not about numbers. It’s not about equivalencies. It’s not about competition. It’s about individual human lives, no matter how many. So pick your number: 5,000 in a mass grave or 290,000 disappeared and presumed dead. Does freedom matter? Is freedom worth money? Is humanitarian relief worth money? Yes.

  • http://mediachannel.org Tim Karr

    Much of this has been muted by the US administration’s wise decision to up our contribution from $35 million to $350 million. Nonetheless, it’s worth noting that this increase likely would not have occurred had the critics (some of whom were politically motivated) stayed mute on the topic. Jeff, I agree with your points regarding the equivalence of a human life (be it an Iraqi’s or a South Asian’s). I, however, disagree, that the criticism of Bush’s initial, and yes “stingy,” response was intended to “exploit” the tragedy.

  • http://RuthCalvo Ruth

    Thanks for valuing all human life.
    Political motivation is used as a dirty word, when we have particular political leanings for basic moral values. Say, respect for quality of life being basic Democratic party leaning.
    Most people when confronted with incredible human suffering will feel compelled by their own decent revulsion to emit some expression of concern. When that kind of expression is not forthcoming, it does inspire a reaction of shock.

  • PaulG

    For what it’s worth, Tony Blair quoted the 400,000 number in Nov of 2003, and gave it as the high end of the scale. I haven’t heard anything recently.

  • tb

    You bring up a valid point comparing apples to oranges. On the other hand you cite as a fact a clearly politically motivated projection by Tony Blair of the deaths in Mass Graves. The number Blair cites is not backed up by fact and some of those deaths occurred with Americas (therefore UK’s) blessing. So even your assessment is a bit wanting for fact. The bigger point I think is that Tsunami deaths are an act of nature and occurred in a matter of minutes (seconds). Further using the Tony Blair method of estimating, those deaths are fully expected to rise well above 200,000. My point is, though I agree with you about the ridiculousness of these comparisons, it is valuable to notice the distinction between deaths that are caused over time by egregious politics and those that occur in an instant of time by the forces of nature.
    Why is that important? Because in a capitalist country we value such things as possessions and the ability to acquire them much more than we do the lives of fellow human beings. I can simply cite Americas complicity in Iraqs politics for the sake of oil. On the other hand a tragedy like a Tsunami is much more an uncontrollable disaster. One that calls on us to be purely ‘christian’ like in our giving. As much as we like to tout those values in politics my observation is we aren’t really very good at that. Maybe it would be more accurate to compare the giving to the Tsunami victims in terms of our political giving to something like the Rwanda deaths. Equally horrific but definitely not an area that furthers our search for the trappings of capitalism.
    Don’t get me wrong, I am no better. But capitalism does breed cynics and hypocrites.

  • http://ancapistan.typepad.com/ tex

    1) The quote you attribute to Tony Blair was made in November of 2003
    2) That claim has since been totally repudiated and proved an embarrassment to Blair.
    Downing Street has admitted to The Observer that repeated claims by Tony Blair that ’400,000 bodies had been found in Iraqi mass graves’ is untrue, and only about 5,000 corpses have so far been uncovered.
    The claims by Blair in November and December of last year, were given widespread credence, quoted by MPs and widely published, including in the introduction to a US government pamphlet on Iraq’s mass graves.
    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/politics/story/0,6903,1263830,00.html
    Nice fact-checking.

  • http://jwgh.livejournal.com/ Jacob Haller

    Is there a fund one can contribute to that helps bring down evil dictators? There are probably lots of people who would contribute, although I don’t know if links to it would appear on Apple’s front page.
    My sister watched ‘The Fog Of War’ recently, in which Robert McNamara describes helping to plan the firebombing of Tokyo: “In a single night we burned to death a hundred thousand Japanese civilians

  • Chris

    At the risk of sounding callous, the deathes in Iraq (and in other oppressed places) are far more troubling to me because they were done by man as an instrument of terror. They were not an accident!
    That said, I have happily contributed $60 to the relief in South Asia and encourage others to do so. Ironically, I haven’t send any $$ directly to Iraq…

  • http://eclecticrefrig.blogspot.com/ David

    Ruth,
    I think “respect for quality of life” is a “basic leaning” for a vast majority of Americans, whether they are Democrat, Republican, or Independent. Many conservatives, despite their portrayal on the left, have a deep respect for quality of life–conservative Christian groups give large amounts in charity in the US and abroad, and over the last few years have been leading supporters of human rights abroad (Sudan for example). I consider myself a Centrist, though I used to be knee-jerk liberal, and have learned a lot from discussing politics this last year with some old friends who are conservative. I think in most cases the political goals, improving quality of life, are the same, the difference is how best to reach that end. Unfortunately, both sides sometimes lose sight of that goal, and cling to ideology instead. And pols on both sides can let their power go to their heads.
    David

  • fred lapides

    Compariwsons are nonsense. Holocaust: 6 million; Gulags? China? We are not going to bring democracy to Iraq! there will be civil war. What happens, then, internally to a country is not the same for our perceptions as that which takes place because of Nature–summoning up the urge to help from all over.
    On Bush and giving: he gave only after America called Cheap. He spoke only after sometone advised him that three days late was making him and America look bad (Clinbton spoke up after two days)…My point: too late on both actions highlighted our behavior. The sqeaking wheel too busy getting the oil elsewhere?

  • dries

    adrew sullivan has a “susan sontag award” for such moral equivalencies and a few people above illustrate his point nicely.
    capitalism breeds cynism, but it creates wealth too which might be a shocker to some. had those countries been able or willing to afford a warning system, like considerably richer US & japan have, results of tsunami would’ve been less catastrophic.
    richer countries have a better infrastructure and are able to respond quickly to such calamities on their own. they’re also more able to absorb any help coming from outside, otherwise we’d have a repeat of haiti debacle from ’90s. (compared to filling a paper cup from a fire hydrant)
    in dec.’03 city of bam, was destroyed by a quake with loss of 41.000 people. a slightly stronger quake in ’89 killed 63 in SF. it’s too obvious to point out differences in wealth/infrastucture in these 2 cases…

  • http://www.modempool.com/nucleardann/blogspace/blog.htm Dann

    tb-
    Capitalism certainly breeds a certain number cynics and hypocrites. Other economic models (i.e. social-ism) are certainly more efficient at that particular task.
    Regards,

  • http://micah.sifry.com Micah Sifry

    Interesting how no one comments on the $40 million flowing from wealthy individuals and corporations with special interests in major paybacks from GOP-controlled Washington that will pay for the Bush-Cheney Inaugural blowouts.
    Even you, Jeff, are more focused on the foreign policy squabbles and moral equivalences. It’s clear we’ve become terribly numbed to the corruption of our own values.
    Personally, having covered both the Democratic and Republican conventions this summer, each of which were obscene in their extravagance and unspoken sense of entitlement (politicos and lobbyists and journalists at all levels, even the newly enfranchised credentialed bloggers, acting like it’s their divine right to feast on top-shelf liquor, tons of fresh shrimp, steaming heaps of everything, not caring whose paying for it)–and all this at a time when American boys and girls are risking their lives–it somehow still shocks me how few people seem to care about the wastefulness and self-indulgence of the American ruling class (what else can you call it?).

  • http://www.mediachannel.org Timothy Karr

    Jeff Jarvis takes issue with MediaCitizen (http://mediacitizen.blogspot.com/) for drawing an equivalence between President Bush’s initial contribution of $35 million in aid to tsunami victims and the cost of the war in Iraq. Jarvis asks: “What’s the point of comparing all these tragedies except, each in its own way, to exploit them to make a political point?” Well ummmm . . . . yes. But didn’t the flood of criticism over the administration’s initial “stingy” response play a part in provoking the president to up aid to $350 million? Even in responding to tragedy, politics has a part.

  • David

    >Nice fact-checking.
    Even if the 400,000 were found in mass graves one has to wonder how many wound up there because the US supported Saddam all those years. It was only when he attacked Bush family friends the Saudi’s and the Kuwaitis that the cared for the dead.

  • dpt

    “…we heard little outcry demanding support, sympathy, and American resources brought to bear for Saddam’s victims; quite the contrary….”
    This points out a failing of some who are proud of their liberal viewpoints. We recall the “human shields” who traveled to Iraq prior to the war in early 2003. Where were these shields when the Iraqi people needed protection from Saddam?
    Reminds me of the so-called peace/anti-war movement during the Vietnam War era. Where were all the peace ‘n love types when hundreds of thousands of boat people needed help following the fall of Saigon? How come the anti-war crowd did not take to the streets to protest the killing fields of Cambodia?
    Some, who proudly wear the sash of love, peace, and tolerance across their chest, need to take a hard look at what truly motivates them to their cause for justice.

  • Ebbet

    I’m a little confused by your post: you seem to critique equivalencies, but then use the tsunami/Hussein equivalency to make a political point (pro-war). I suppose this falls within your “one equivalency that matters: human suffering and the need to help,” but what doesn’t?
    I think the equivalency is valid insofar as it addresses allocation of limited resources. How are we going to help victims of suffering worldwide? How should the United States’ vast economic, political, and military power be used? What are our national priorities?
    We spend *vastly* more in Iraq ($200B total?) than even the $350M the U.S. has now committed to the tsunami. Most criticism of the war focuses on this astonishing cost, in dollars and lives, and questions whether a war instigated by the U.S. was an effective way to help the Iraqi people. Many think it was foreseeably counterproductive, and created a home base for the terrorists you worry about. (And remember that the administration primarily sold the war not as a way to help Iraqis, but as a preemptive necessity to save Westerners from Hussein’s fabled weapons of mass destruction.) So it’s not fair to suggest that critics of the war ignore human suffering or pretend to care when they can score political points; they simply disagree about the right the way to help.
    It’s also not fair to suggest that if we care about the tsunami victims, then we also must care about Hussein’s victims, and thus also must support the war. In fact, I’m pretty offended you would use the tsunami to take a potshot at critics of the war.
    On the other hand, I think it’s perfectly fair to suggest the U.S. should spend more than $35M helping victims of a massive disaster, and to make that point by comparing other expenditures. The issue is how we dedicate fungible resources, and that means that comparisons between expenditures is fair game.

  • http://www.ebbet.com Ebbet

    Dammit. Anyway to get my email address removed from post above?

  • http://www.xrdarabia.org/blog John

    Hate to go all bureaucratic, but it remains a federal crime for any government employee–from the President and the Secretary of State–to commit funds that are not authorized by Congress. They even have major trouble redirecting already allocated funds.
    As I noted in my blog, there are regular steps that are taken in the event of disasters, from the release of emergency funds by US ambassadors, to the sending of Disaster Relief and Assistance Teams, to pledging to raise a certain sum of money, to finally getting Congress (which happens to be out of session) to authorize spending.
    The media got this story by the wrong end, though the Administration didn’t help by dropping the ball on telling about the process in a timely manner.

  • Jeff A

    Why do the math? Because math is an objective tool to make a reasonable comparision. Math works! I’ll try to make it simple for you using your numbers.
    Saddam’s vicious regime murdered 400,000 Iraqis by Tony Blair’s estimate and we have already spent $175,000,000,000 in Iraq now under the auspices of “Building Democracy”. Yea! Unfortunately, that equals $437,000 US Greenbacks spent in memory of the Iraqi souls already counted as dead and towards the effort to prevent further loss of life.
    The vicious tsunami has already claimed 160,000 lives by your estimate and the US has committed $350,000,000 thus far. That equates to $2,188 spent in memory of the Asian souls and towards the effort to prevent further loss of life.
    America has spent nearly a half a million dollars per dead Iraqi so far and the end of this spending is nowhere in sight. Although America initially committed to $220 per dead Tsunami victim, it has now committed to spending $2,200 per dead victim. Both spending plans intend to prevent further loss of life. So what is this math missing?
    Why not do the math? My hunch is because it sheds light on how messed up our spending priorities really are and some of us don’t want to know that.

  • gavin

    To Tim Carr:
    The administration would almost certainly have upped their aid from the initial pledge with or without accusations of stinginess. Unfortunately, those two events will now forever be linked.

  • a_retrogrouch

    You said: “…we heard little outcry demanding support, sympathy, and American resources brought to bear for Saddam’s victims; quite the contrary….”
    Um, notwithstanding the non-existent WMDs, the presence of vast oil fields, and the Zionist neocons who conned Commander Codpiece into committing U.S. military resources to go into Iraq, didn’t the U.S.–by CC’s own admissions–spend >$200B to put Saddam into the pokey for crimes just like this? Didn’t Shrub commit “American resources brought to bear for Saddam’s victims”? What’s your real point, Jarvis? That Bush is somehow innocent of being cheap and insensitive, and that he had to be shamed into committing substantial U.S. resources? Pfffffttt. He’s guilty of all the above, and hardly innocent of anything, including hubris, arrogance, and most of all, insensitivity. I have two final words for you: Fuck Bush.

  • Lisa

    I agree that politisizing this tragedy isn’t right. And drawing comparisons where none should exist isn’t right either. Yes, 400,000 people (and more) died as a result of Saddam Hussein’s regime. But if we had gone to war to avenge those 400,000 deaths, our outrage/cry at the money spent might be less warranted. However, when we volunteer to give to the tsunami victims the same amount as we spend at war in Iraq in 5 hours, you must wonder where our priorities are. The truth is, we went to war for WMD, not to avenge 400,000 deaths. And we give money to aid the tsunami victims to ease their suffering, regardless of number dead.

  • http://www.instarepublican.com Instahack

    Nice link to Matt Margolis there Jeff. You should see his next post, where he gets mad at that librul Nancy Pelosi for having the audacity to point out in her remarks on Bob Matsui’s death that he spent the first years of his life at an internment camp. Can you believe that? Will those libruls say anything?
    He points out that there is a lot more to internment than what people say, and he knows this because Michelle Maglagang told him so. I mean the way liburls speak it’s as if loyal American citizens who had been in this country for generations were rounded up and sent to prison camps based on their ethnicity alone, and given no process whatsoever. . . . Oh wait, that is what happened. Shit.
    What’s next Jeff? Are you going to start linking to Holocaust apologists as well?

  • peter shea

    Tsunami/Iraq and tsunami/other event equivalency, that’s apples and oranges. Try these comparisons, which I beleive are more apt: tsunami aid by the US, Australia, Japan, India and Singapore is almost $1 billion. Tsunami aid by China is $0. The level of tsunami aid directly coming from the UN is an embarrassment and seems to be directed at establishing an in-country senior level bureacracy to handle long-term dispersal of re-development funds with nothing substantive to save lives at this point. Grinding your axe on one of these nonsense “equvalency” arguments in the context of a massive natural disaster, Jeff, is amoral at best as it distracts people from obtaining a better understanding of the world of nature and men, how men and nature interact and who you can count on as a friend in time of peril.

  • http://www.instarepublican.com Instahack

    a_retrograph: “Um, notwithstanding the non-existent WMDs, the presence of vast oil fields, and the Zionist neocons who conned Commander Codpiece into committing U.S. military resources to go into Iraq, didn’t the U.S.–by CC’s own admissions–spend >$200B to put Saddam into the pokey for crimes just like this?” (Emphasis mine).
    Uh, retrograph, I agree with you that we were all lied to, and that the Iraq war has been a disaster, but please leave your anti-semitism out of this, and stop blaming the Jooos for everything. The majority of Zionists (that is people who believe that a Jewish State is necessary, but who don’t necessarily agree with all its policies such as people who are proud Americans who don’t always agree with the US’s policies), such as myself, who opposed the war.

  • http://RuthCalvo Ruth

    Thank you David, yes, I appreciate that as individuals other parties support quality of life, including the libertarian parties’ members. As a formal objective, IMHO only the Democrats have quality of life on the actual agenda.
    Conservatives have my sympathy, the neo-cons have certainly sullied their character. I once wrote an article in support of Barry Goldwater for the newspaper of one of the “7 Sisters’” schools. He was a sound thinker, and no swashbuckler.
    Just heard head of U.N. humanitarian programs note that one day of military activities by the wealthiest 30 nations would end hunger for all the world’s children. A number I can not be comfortable with.

  • a_retrogrouch

    It’s “retrogrouch,” and I am not anti-semitic. I am fully aware that many Jews, including those who I work with and respect greatly, oppose not only the Iraq War but the policies of the current Israeli government. However, Wolfowitz, Perle, Pipes, Kristol, DeLay, Feith et al.–all the usual suspects, Jews and non-Jews tied deeply into hard-right Jewish organizations–talked Bush into going into Iraq in large part to support and protect Israel. Those are the people I identify as Zionists, those who are willing to risk nuclear war in order to play out a particular interpretation of religious texts. Why, I’m not sure; they have something on the order of 200+ nukes and other WMDs, but that was clearly shown by many to be the reason. However, inpugning that I slam all Jews because of the actions of a relative few is the same kind of faulty reasoning that holds that all Christians are as agressive, simple, and stupid as Bush. They’re not, but liberal Christians and Jews don’t have the ear and other body parts of the president at this time.

  • http://ancapistan.typepad.com/ tex

    BBC show this weekend on which Tony Blair said there were 200,000 Iraqis found in mass graves…
    Yes, well, this would still be non-factual, Jeff, since Blair admitted, as the Guardian reported in an article dated Sunday July 18, 2004, that only 5,000 bodies had been found in mass graves. Now, are you saying that 195,000 bodies have been dug up since July 18? If so, I’d like to see where you got that information. The Observer information was right in front of you, Jeff, so you don’t have any excuse for this new number without some documentation.
    tex – AKA A Commenter

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    I find this numbers game offensive. It only makes the point of how “amoral” — to use the word of another commenter — these equilvalencies are. It’s not about which number is greater. Every life is a life. So change the number if you want but then tell the families of those left that you don’t value them.
    Here is Human Rights Watch saying that 290,000 people are missing in Iraq.
    Here is CNN quoting human rights organizations saying that at least 300,000 people were killed during Saddam’s terror.
    Here is a report from Reuters last month on the discovery of yet another mass grave with 500-900 victims.
    How many is enough to meet your standard of equivalency? That is precisely what is wrong with that argument, precisely what is “amoral.”

  • http://ancapistan.typepad.com/ tex

    I’m not arguing about equivalency, Jeff, I’m arguing about the accuracy of your “facts.” I think it would be a good thing if you made your argument with actual, real facts and backed it up with links.
    We all know that many allegations about Iraq have turned out to be less than factual. Now, if you’d used one of those allegations you just posted in your comment in your post and not represented it as fact, I wouldn’t have said anything.

  • http://ancapistan.typepad.com/ tex

    I find this numbers game offensive.
    I might add that your entire post is a numbers game. Exactly when did it become offensive?

  • http://www.instarepublican.com Instahack

    a_retrougrouch:”Wolfowitz, Perle, Pipes, Kristol, DeLay, Feith et al.–all the usual suspects, Jews and non-Jews tied deeply into hard-right Jewish organizations–talked Bush into going into Iraq in large part to support and protect Israel. Those are the people I identify as Zionists, those who are willing to risk nuclear war in order to play out a particular interpretation of religious texts.”
    The Jews you list above are secular. I think you are confusing ultra-religious fundamentalist Christians with secular Jews who identify with the secular Israeli political party, the Likud (though their ultimate loyalty I would believe is to the US, though they are very misguided in their beliefs of what is good for this country). Most orthodox Jews have no particular affinity for the State of Israel, as they believe that only the Messiah can legitimately create a Jewish State.
    Many more besides this small number of people who happen to be Jewish, by the way, including Bush himself mad that Saddam tried to kill daddy, mislead us into that war for varying reasons.
    I suggest you read a little about the history of Zionism before making broad assertions about what a Zionist is. Moreover, there are plenty in the mainstream of Israeli politics, even some in the Likud, who don’t think the Iraq war is or was good for Israel.
    It seems odd that of all the ethnic groups to point to you single out the JOOS. After all, there were two prominent Blacks who were at the forefront of the March to War, why not just say those Black Neo-Cons and their war? Had you said that, it would have seemed a bit odd. You may not be personally anti-semitic, but your remark reeked of it, and plays into the popular anti-semitic canard (popular on the far right, and to some extent, the far left) that Jews are controlling America in order to pursue the goals of Israel to which they owe their ultimate loyalty. Think about it honestly, and I daresay you may agree with me.

  • Jeff A

    Tex, your 200,000 number makes a better apples-to-apples comparison to use with math, even if only 5,000 Iraqi corpses have been dug up. For the sake of argument let’s just say that Hussein killed 200,000 of his own people. It’s coincidental the current number of estimated dead from the Hussein era is the same as the tsunami, but it makes our math comparison easier.
    Ostensibly we are in this Iraq war to stabilize the region and prevent further human suffering. This sounds like a laudable reason to respond with aid to the tsunami victims doesn’t it? So we have the same number of dead, the same reason for responding, the only thing that is different is the US monetary commitment. An Iraqi victim is now worth $1,000,000 US Dollars whereas the Tsunami victim a paltry $2,200.
    What could be cause a difference of 500 fold in US spending to respond to two separate global crises? Did I hear anyone say “oil”? Don’t we have an Energy Task force that can look into this for us?

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Tex:
    I’m not playing a numbers game; I’m trying to show the absurdity of doing it by making other comparisons; that’s the point.
    You’re quite right about getting the facts straight and that’s why I put up the update as soon as I got back online; however, as you and I both acknowledged, “facts straight” is an unfortunate oxymoron in this case; there are many facts and it’s hard to tell what’s straight. So I added the additional links in the comment above. I appreciate the fact-checking very much and sorry I wasn’t more complete before. Also sorry I didn’t name you but instead called you a “commenter” but I was on the road and wanted to get a correction up as soon as possible.

  • tb

    Curious how we try using the deaths by Tsunami as a justification of the war in Iraq. I think its pretty clear to any rational observer the justifications used to invade were simply lies. Iraq was absolutely politically and economically motivated that is without question. Why do we struggle so to try and justify it by trundling out humanitarian gestures that are 15 years too late, if your going to be a capitalist at least be proud of it. At the same time we can be proud that capitalism gives us the might to disperse our largesse as we see fit (thats charity), or where the cameras are turned on (thats Bush). You suppose next we’ll have Bull O’Reilly parading back and forth about the misuse of Red Cross funds.

  • http://ancapistan.typepad.com/ tex

    …that’s why I put up the update as soon as I got back online….
    Yes, but you still refuse to use the only number Tony Blair has ever actually admitted in print, which is 5,000, so that anyone not knowledgeable about Iraq will still come away from reading your post with the impression that 200,000 bodies have been exhumed from mass graves in Iraq, which is not true. If you want to stick with “Tony Blair said…” you should correct the number to 5,000.

  • Karl

    Glad to see so many proving Jeff’s point about the exploitation of this tragedy for politcal advantage. As I’ve already commented on other threads here to refute a number of the silly assertions made again in this thread, I’ll just hit the main assertion made by some in this thread.
    Anyone who thinks that the $35 million was anything but an arbitrary number loosely related to the amount in USAID’s contingency accounts at the moment of the disaster needs to study how disaster aid and its funding happen in the real world. The amount of aid pledged was not increased by cheap political shots taken by partisan hacks using the dead as a platform. The amount was always going to be increased after USAID and affiliated NGOs could reach the area and begin to make estimates of costs. Indeed, the $350 million figure is also arbitrary; the real number the U.S. spends will almost certainly be higher. Colin Powell has suggested it may be three times larger.
    Of course, even before the criticism, our heartless President had dispatched an aircraft carrier, troops, C-130 transport planes and helicopters to actually deliver emergency aid as quickly as possible and begin making assessments for the medium-term. That all costs money, but perhaps more significant is the fact that the U.S. is the only country (and military) with the logistical resources to accomplish this. In that sense, the U.S. contribution is invaluable. Norway can contribute 0.92% of its GDP in ODA, which accomplishes absolutely nothing if the aid doesn’t reach the victims in time.
    As Jeff noted, one common denominator is human suffering. Another is America’s role, for better or worse, as the world’s fire department. Left to its own devices, should I assume that the U.N. would do better here than it did in alleviating human suffering in Iraq, Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur, etc? For the reasons just mentioned, the U.N. simply cannot accomplish these tasks, even if it could stop coddling the dictatorships it legitimizes long enough to authorize action against man-made tragedies.
    Even viewed from a political perspective, the notion that the aid pledge was increased due to criticism from the left represents for some a lack of knowledge and for others a desire to claim a political victory so desperate that it will be claimed for an event that was as sure to occur as the sun rising in the east. Neither is particularly appealing, which is why the people making such attacks are currently in the minority. This is a case where Bill Clinton would say that good policy makes good politics. Focusing on doing the right thing — alleviating human suffering — will ultimately pay higher political dividends than whatever mileage the cheap shots get in the short term.
    PS: President Bush cited bringing freedom to Iraq and providing humanitarian relief as key aspects of U.S. policy before the invasion.

  • grendel

    “But, of course, we heard little outcry demanding support, sympathy, and American resources brought to bear for Saddam’s victims; quite the contrary.”
    Exactly…but that was because the US was helping fund Saddam while your 400,000 (your number) were being killed. Your position is absurd. We (the US) supported Saddam before and after he was used chemical weapons. We supported his regime. We encouraged (i.e. forced) both Saudi and Kuwait to finance Saddam.
    Terrorits in Iraq? Before the US invaded, there we no “terrorists” in iraq.
    Just a note to the clueless: There is ZERO connection between 9/11 and Iraq. None. Zero. Nada. Sheep….

  • http://www.mediachannel.org Timothy Karr

    Well Put Karl in all respects except one: The back and forth between the UN’s point person for mobilizing aid and the White House (and the political and media firestorm that it created) did yield a higher sum for victims of the Tsunami. You report as though all of the administration’s decisions occur in a well-orchestrated political vacuum. Anyone familiar with this administration knows that politics are a prime motivator for its every action, Bush’s humble asides notwithstanding. Their was a considerable amount of political jockeying in the days following the December 26 earthquake, with nations upping their respective commitments (Spain = $68 million, the UK = $92 million) that — combined with UN diplomatic chess and considerable public pressure and attention on the homefront — DID play a role in upping the US ante. It is indeed admirable that the US has been able to speed food, shelter and medical supplies to the hardest hit and most remote regions of Aceh province. The jury is still out whether our efforts, and those of other nations and non governmental organizations, will help make the region a safer and more stable (politically, not geologically) place. Time will tell. But let’s not pretend that political pressure doesn’t play a part in mobilizing America’s response to catastrophe.

  • tb

    There is not a sane person in this country that actually believes that the war in Iraq would have happened for humanitatian reasons.
    With all the carping it is clear that America is a rich nation with a rich heritage of giving people (especially when they have something to gain). You are naive to think that our actions in Iraq have not put a serious taint on our credibility everywhere in the world. I am an idiot and even I can figure that out. With that said why didn’t the shrub simply come out immediately with a figure like 1 billion dollars for aid like Imus was saying this morning. Its inexplicable to me. There is no one in the world that will actually follow up on those numbers after the cameras leave. Oh, maybe Karl Rove didn’t think of that…..get real.

  • J. Peden

    The initial $35 million pledge is like the “Mission Accomplished” statement in that chips reflexly and predictably fell off Leftists’ shoulders, indicating their obsession with being outraged in favor of analyzing conditions and being able to read.
    Likewise with judging the moral equivalence of cost-benefit ratios in radically different situations. Finally we would be arguing over life views, in which the Left is distinctively inferior, in my opinion, since it doesn’t seem to have much of one, save for the idea that outrage itself measures one’s worth.
    So, dropping to that level, I’ll just say that I’m more “outraged” at them than they are at me, anyway.

  • Mike

    Let’s face it, there are people in the country (just look at some of the posters above) who will try and direct blame at GWB and the United States at every opportunity. No matter the reasons, they will find fault with the way something is handled to try and score cheap political points. Karl above was spot on.
    To suggest that the only reason the pledge amount was raised was due to political pressure is really short-sighted. The reason we are hearing so much about the increase is because of political pressure. IMHO, the increase in pledge amounts would have happened as the magnitude of the tragedy unfolded.

  • Karl

    While I’m glad Timothy Karr thought my post was well put, it must have been lacking to the degree that he misssed the main point, so let me be more blunt. The aid pledge numbers to date are meaningless. I do agree that the upping of these figures by the U.S. and others is politically motivated, for there is no other reason to be doing so. No one has any realistic estimate of what the cost will be, and the money needed will be found as needed. But the point of Jeff’s post was to decry the politicization of such matters. Debating, let alone taking credit for, any increase in largely arbitrary numbers unconnected to reality politicizes the tragedy.
    As for tb, we have two disagreements and an agreement.
    First, the disagreements: I noted that spreading freedom and providing relief to Iraq was part of the Bush policy before the war, but I made no claim that these were the sole factors. Moreover, I would suggest that these were given as reasons to invade (in addition to the WMD claim that hasn’t panned out) because the Administration believes that a free Iraq advances its foreign policy goals, not pure altruism. Indeed, for those who believe that the invasion was an act of revenge by Dubya for his Dad (and I’m not saying tb is in this camp), it’s just as plausible to suggest there also may be an element of guilt on Dubya’s part that Dad screwed the Kurds and Shi’ites after the 1991 war.
    As for U.S. credibility, Europe is rapidly figuring out that it has to work with the U.S., in part because they are recognizing the real extent of the terror threat and the potential threat posed by Russia.
    Second, the agreement. tb asks why Bush “simply come out immediately with a figure like 1 billion dollars for aid.” Although I disagree that no one would notice if the billion was not spent (note Leahy harping on unspent funds for Iraq), I agree that it would have been better politics for Bush to come up with a higher, though equally meaningless, number from the start. The problem was that the initial number came from USAID relative to funds already on hand.
    Again, however, the focus ought to be on actually getting the job done, and the U.S. has been doing more of that than anyone else, as noted in my earlier post. The rest is political posturing.

  • http://eclecticrefrig.blogspot.com/ David

    It is amazing how quickly almost every discussion descends into re-debating once again why we got into Iraq. First, everybody from Bill Clinton to the UN to the EU thought that Iraq had WMDs. To lay the bad intelligence totally on Bush is disingenuous at best. Also WMDs was only one of several reasons (war on terror, establishing a democracy in the Middle East, toppling a dictator, protecting US interest) we went into Iraq. WMDs was the reason the Bush administration put at the forefront, but that doesn

  • tb

    Karl I agree with your refinements noting that WMD by itself would have taken us to war, while humanitarian concerns by itself would have been a looser. This is venturing off track more, but even though I am in the camp of those with a knee jerk reaction to finding Dubya distasteful, I really haven’t come to terms with what I feel is the real reason we find ourselves in Iraq. Its undoubtedly oil, influence and power in some form, which in my darkest regions I find admirable from a purely capitalist perspective..
    Just wanted to comment on the U.S. credibility and your comment that Euro nations feel they need to cooperate. I tend to agree, but I see a coming economic war on the horizon Euro vs U.S. for some dominance in world currency markets. My feeling is that if we don’t get our economic house in order the Europeans will make the push to bury us. So I don’t think we can simply leverage terrorism as the road to cooperation. I doubt you do either but just wanted to throw that in. This summers war games cooperation between China and Russia will certainly heighten the chatter and will create more strange bedfellows.

  • http://www.mediachannel.org Timothy Karr

    Thanks for clearing that up Karl. ?? Although your post does read more as an attack on those who would “use the dead as a platform” to take cheap political shots at the president.
    This is about as shrill a claim as the alleged claims made by those you disparage in your previous posts. No, the president fumbled this one and disserves the well-placed kick he received. Though you may be right, in the end the number is arbitrary. But it is our president’s responsibility to demonstrate America’s compassion for others to the world.
    But that’s not what happened. While other world leaders rushed to respond to the crisis caused by last Sunday’s tsunamis, George Bush decamped to his ranch in Texas for another brush-clearing vacation. “Need some wood?”
    Perhaps our performance on the ground in Indonesia and elsewhere will help fix the diplomatic damage done earlier by Bush in Crawford. I certainly hope so.
    But none of this is to the point of Jeff’s post, which takes to task those who seek to politicize tragedy — either in Iraq or on the shores of the Indian Ocean. My point, as repeated in earlier posts, is that our leaders are politicians and, as such, politics plays a part in all of this whether you like it or not.

  • Jerry

    David,
    *I* don’t have any stakes in what happens in the middle east and could care less about the Iraqi people or their civil conflicts.
    *You* want this war? *You* pay for it. I choose to avoid being a busybody.

  • wellbasically

    I’m impressed with Mr. Tex for making it this far. If Jeff Jarvis read that link about the true number of Iraqis in mass graves, his head would explode, and his entire reason for living would go down the toilet. So don’t expect these guys to put it on the front page, Tex, but nice job anyway.

  • Jimmy Robinson

    Jeff,
    Were you employed as a professional writer in the mid to late 1980′s and did you write then or since anything of note about the US support for Saddam Hussein during many of his most notorious atrocities?
    It’s a real test of moral integrity to be able to accept responsibility as a citizen for crimes done by your own side – and supporters of US foreign policy should be viewed with skepticism until they demonstrate that they are capable of such self criticism. If they fail this simple test, then they aren’t worth listening to on the subject – maybe it should be called Orwell’s Razor. Except for Hitchens and a few others, I can’t think of many pundits who could pass.

  • http://ancapistan.typepad.com/ tex

    wellbasically,
    He’s just going to ignore me now and leave his false information up on his post. So much for the “self-correcting blogosphere.”

  • David

    Tex,
    You are right Jarvis screwed up the Blair mass grave quote. But to think only 5,000 died under Saddam is wrong. At least, 5,000 alone were killed when he gassed the Kurds. Human Rights organizations like Human Rights Watch put the conservative estimates at 290,000. Some Iraqis have estimated that 1 million are missing. In 1999 Human Rights Watch reported that 1500 people were killed in Iraq prisons in “Prison Cleaning” operation. Who knows how many died because of the Oil-for-Food scandal? How many were tortured under Saddam? How many lived in fear? Just because the bodies haven’t been found in mass graves, doesn’t mean Saddam’s Iraq wasn’t a 20+ year humanitarian crises. And yes, we supported Saddam during some of that time — all the more reason to help Iraq now.

  • http://ancapistan.typepad.com/ tex

    You are right Jarvis screwed up the Blair mass grave quote.
    That is my point and it is still screwed up. Jarvis refuses to correct information he knows is false. If he wants to uses guesses and estimates and anecdotes, that is fine, as long as he identifies them as such.

  • Faramin

    David,
    There is no doubt that Saddam committed many crimes, but it is also important not to forget the role the US played in that, after all Saddam didn’t do it alone.

  • http://eclecticrefrig.blogspot.com/ David

    Faramin,
    I agree. As I mentioned in my comment, the US supported Iraq while many atrocities were taking place. The US is not blameless in Saddam-area Iraq. However, it does not necessarily mean that a change in policy by a latter administration, even one that does include such characters and past players as Rummy, is also wrong. Arguably, it could be viewed as a correction of past moral failures. I do not believe that democracy and altruism are the only reasons that the Bush administration went into Iraq, though I personally believe those are good reasons.
    David

  • Faramin

    Thanks David for replying without cursing at me, as many people have done in here.
    There are many reasons to be skeptical of the true intentions of the new administration, but I agree that past guilts does not necessarily mean continuation of the same guilts in the future. However, in order to correct past mistakes/crimes, one has to at least admit there were such mistakes/crimes. Then, there can be discussions of whether the newly taken methods are correcting the past failures or worsening them. Unfortunately, the new adminsitartion, as the government of the United States, has never done any self-criticizm and has never admitted that in many of what Saddam did, the US played the role of a partner. That’s why I believe that the first major requirement of the correction is missing.

  • http://eclecticrefrig.blogspot.com/ David

    Faramin,
    Cursing and sniping get us know where, open and honest debate and discussion do. Apologies and admissions would be nice, but if we waited around for states to apologize for past actions before we moved forward, the world would come to a grinding halt. If the world refused to deal with China until they apologized for Mao or more recently for helping prop up the current Sudanese regime by investing heavily in Sudan

  • wellbasically

    David, Halabja was caught in a crossfire during a battle between Iraq and Iran. I think HRW admits this. As for the 290,000, they make estimated claims on numbers killed, based on defector reports (see WMD, see Jumana Hana), but haven’t actually done any counting. So they’re in on the game.
    Do humanitarians like HRW really want to find out that they were used, they were played to get the war going? I don’t think they’ll ever do any real count. They don’t want to know.
    In the end it doesn’t matter if Jeff or you believe the numbers… the Iraqis hate the USA more than Saddam because we are worse killers than him. I am sorry to say these things about the USA, and even to Jeff, who leaves himself so open. But I guess that’s to his credit. Now if only he would learn.
    We are more brutal than Saddam, and that is proven by the fact that they have a popular resistance to us, but didn’t have a popular resistance to Saddam to speak of.

  • Faramin

    wellbasically,
    I agree with many parts of your comment but Halabja massacre wasn’t as simple as you are saying. The link I previously provided, provides a more clear picture of what US’s role was in the events and relations with Saddam’s regime, prior and after the masscare, particularly what was related to the masscare itself.

  • kat

    Yeah, Saddam was a saint and there are all kinds of moonbats who believe that. Those moonbats enabled Saddam to stay in power and cry now that he is ousted.
    “Under Saddam Hussein’s orders, the security apparatus in Iraq routinely and systematically tortures its citizens. Beatings, rape, breaking of limbs and denial of food and water are commonplace in Iraqi detention centers. Saddam Hussein’s regime has also invented unique and horrific methods of torture including electric shocks to a male’s genitals, pulling out fingernails, suspending individuals from rotating ceiling fans, dripping acid on a victim’s skin, gouging out eyes, and burning victims with a hot iron or blowtorch.”
    Why didn’t more Iraqis complain?It could be because of Saddam’s decree in 2000 authorizing the government to amputate the tongues of citizens who criticized him or his government.
    The following were routine in Iraq under your buddy, saddam:
    * Medical experimentation
    * Beatings
    * Crucifixion
    * Hammering nails into the fingers and hands
    * Amputating sex organs or breasts with an electric carving knife
    * Spraying insecticides into a victim’s eyes
    * Branding with a hot iron
    * Committing rape while the victim’s spouse is forced to watch
    * Pouring boiling water into the victim’s rectum
    * Nailing the tongue to a wooden board
    * Extracting teeth with pliers
    * Using bees and scorpions to sting naked children in front of their parents
    Does this sound familiar to you? Medical experimentation? Routine torture for the fun of it?Hitler had followers too–you’d likely be one .
    Too bad the stinking west and their allies stopped him. We were more brutal than Hitler, and that was proven by the fact that they had a popular resistance to us, but didn’t have a popular resistance to Hitler to speak of.
    Letter from an Iraqi to the anti-war terror enablers:
    Dr B Khalaf
    Friday February 14, 2003
    The Guardian
    I write this to protest against all those people who oppose the war against Saddam Hussein, or as they call it, the “war against Iraq”. I am an Iraqi doctor, I worked in the Iraqi army for six years during Iraq-Iran war and four months during Gulf war. All my family still live in Iraq. I am an Arab Sunni, not Kurdish or Shia. I am an ordinary Iraqi not involved with the Iraqi opposition outside Iraq.
    I am so frustrated by the appalling views of most of the British people, media and politicians. I want to say to all these people who are against the possible war, that if you think by doing so you are serving the interests of Iraqi people or saving them, you are not. You are effectively saving Saddam. You are depriving the Iraqi people of probably their last real chance get rid of him and to get out of this dark era in their history.
    My family and almost all Iraqi families will feel hurt and anger when Saddam’s media shows on the TV, with great happiness, parts of Saturday’s demonstration in London. But where were you when thousands of Iraqi people were killed by Saddam’s forces at the end of the Gulf war to crush the uprising? Only now when the war is to reach Saddam has everybody become so concerned about the human life in Iraq.
    Where were you while Saddam has been killing thousands of Iraqis since the early 70s? And where are you are now, given that every week he executes people through the “court of revolution”, a summary secret court run by the secret security office. Most of its sentences are executions which Saddam himself signs.
    I could argue one by one against your reasons for opposing this war. But just ask yourselves why, out of about 500,000 Iraqis in Britain, you will not find even 1,000 of them participating tomorrow? Your anti-war campaign has become mass hysteria and you are no longer able to see things properly.
    Locum consultant neurologist, London

  • http://eclecticrefrig.blogspot.com/ David

    wellbasically,
    You are basically wrong. Your “popular resistance” is not popular, but a group of former Baathist and Sadam-loyalist who want to regain their power, and some foreign jihadist who want to fight a holy war and behead aid workers. If the resistance was so popular it would include the Kurds and Shiites. In fact, for years the Kurds did resist Saddam and the Shiites tried and were put down. Neither of which speaks to how popular Saddam was. Much of the death and destruction is not being carried out by the US but by the former Baathist who were killers to begin with. A recent poll indicates that 54% of Iraqi thought that Iraq was headed in the right direction and 71% intended to vote. This along with other news from Iraq indicates to me not a people full of hate, but a people who want to move on with their lives, which does mean the U.S. leaving, and who are cautiously hopeful about their future.

  • Eileen

    “What’s the point of comparing all these tragedies except, each in its own way, to exploit them to make a political point?” I agree with you, Jeff (again). But why bring the tragedies together in a comparitive post? Once again we end up descending into U.S. ‘transgressions’ vis a vis Iraq and U.S. politics. Shouldn’t we instead be (or not?) focusing on a global disaster of epic proportions? By focusing on the equivalencies, don’t we only perpetuate them? Oh sure, it’s topical.
    How about focusing instead upon how this global disaster might end up actually bringing us Together as human beings and nations – East/West/Christian/Muslim/Hindu/Tamil/Not Tamil? Unfortunately I see no topics on such ‘positive’ possibilities. It’s your blog. I know my suggestion isn’t nearly as fiery and debate inducing….or is it?
    And given the Current topic, there are those lurking around like “wellbasically”, who leaps upon the opportunity to say: “the Iraqis hate the USA more than Saddam because we are worse killers than him.”
    “WE, wellbasically?” Who are you???
    “wellbasically”‘s address leads to nowheresville. Am I surprised? And he is conviently ‘there’ to bolster buddy Faramin, purportedly to discuss ‘Halabja’ related to Faramin’s link, using Faramin’s typical phrases. Faramin, bringing in your troops Again? I smell your rat, Again.

  • wellbasically

    kat etc.,
    The war movement has shown that it is willing to pay off Iraqis with millions of US taxpayer dollars to say anything. Anything re WMD anything re Al Qaeda, anything re Saddam’s genocide.
    If I was reality-based, I would point out that the puppet prosecution has decided not to try Saddam for gassing anybody, but only for invading Kuwait.
    But I’m not reality-based any more, because the War Movement proved that it would make up whatever it needed using a several trillion dollar government to get this and more wars going. All I have to say is that if a statement is made that supports the war, it’s 99% probable that it’s false. And that turns out right most of the time! Wouldn’t you know it.
    Number are important. If 250 get killed, it’s not genocide and it’s ho-hum. If 250,000 get killed it’s genocide. That’s a fact, because 250 got killed yesterday. Anybody who is tapping in a comment here and not running up and down the street shouting proves it.

  • chris harrison

    I think the reason many people including myself are cynical is because we see such hypocrisy coming from our government which is by no means perfect. You fail to mention that we equipped and aided Saddam Hussein when he gassed those Kurds in the 80′s. We sold him helicopters for dubious agricultural purposes. Rumsfeld met with him twice as Reagans envoy. We looked the other way when those 200,000 were being killed. And in 68′ we helped bring him to power. As we did the Shah of Iran. Manuel Noriega and many others. We are as guilty as Hussein and thats why the world looks at us with weary eyes. PLus we’re still in bed with the Saudis for the oil. Its obvious to the rest of the world we need the oil and thats why we’re really there but America has blinders on due to our very rightwing moneyhungry media. Not leftwing as the pundits say but rightwing. The country is not what its supposed to be these days and I personally think Osama Bin Laden is lapping up what Americas becoming. He wants to see us become the worlds bad guy. And Bush plays right into his hands with it.

  • tb

    Then to top it off wouldn’t you know it, the Basra mess teent bombing was a Saudi med student or something. This fact only came to light after the childs father asked for the equivalence of some type of heroes mourning for his sacrificed son. This is Saudi, not sunni, not baathist a saudi, one of Prince Bandars people.
    Bush is in over his head and he really doesn’t appear to have a clue he is drowning. His administration has behaved like war criminals and we reelected him because we just couldn’t stand the thought of a windsurfer at the helm?
    The Tsumnami fallout he is getting is just another symptom of terribly failed leadership.

  • http://ericwood.blogspot.com Eric

    Interesting discussion. Rush said something pretty similar. Linked to from here.

  • Jimmy Robinson

    Looks like Rush is another brave pundit willing to condemn Saddam but not the US role in supporting him during his worst crimes. People who ignore such facts are moral relativists – the morality of an action is dependent on the agent. If the agent is someone we don’t like, such as post 1990 Saddam Hussein, then his actions are horrible crimes worth millions of words of denunciation. If the agent is someone we like, such as Saddam Hussein between 1982 and 1990, then his actions can always be rationalized or ignored. For Rush, GH Reynolds, and apparently Jeff Jarvis, morality is something that most conform with US foreign policy rather than vice versa. “Moral equivalence” is the last refuge of moral relativist – a hypocrite who refuses to hold his nation to the same standards he expects of other nations, especially official enemies. Orwell wrote in his “Notes on Nationalism”
    “All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts…Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by “our” side…The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.”

  • Faramin

    Eileen,
    “wellbasically”‘s address leads to nowheresville. Am I surprised? And he is conviently ‘there’ to bolster buddy Faramin, purportedly to discuss ‘Halabja’ related to Faramin’s link, using Faramin’s typical phrases. Faramin, bringing in your troops Again? I smell your rat, Again.
    Looks like I have plenty of “troops” here. I see your 007 mentality is axcited again. Once you accused somebody to be me, because his name started with same letter as mine. And now, “wellbasicaly” is Faramin, because s/he uses same link, or same argument or his/her address doesn’t lead to anywhere. Oh, you’re just too “smart”, if you know what I mean.
    You are just making a fool of yourself once again Eileen. And as far as rat smell goes, what you smell is your own corrupted and decomposed brain.
    Sorry to humiliate you, again. You just asked for it. Or may be Jeff Jarvis can come to the rescue of his like mindeds who are free to insult but should not be insulted, and can call ME “uncivilized”. Oh, I hope I haven’t upsetted you enough that you ONCE AGAIN refer me to the CIA or FBI as you did last time.
    Get a life. That’s just an advise.

  • kat

    People can ignore one’s comment, but when they decide to address the comment, at least the answer should address the main issue mentioned in the comment as well AND THAT IS WHAT CIVIL DISCUSSION MEANS.
    Posted by Faramin at January 2, 2005 05:01 PM

  • Faramin

    In the same quote that I brought, I don’t see anything even resembling a comment. It’s just a rediculous rant, obviously from a disfunctional brain. However, I have exactly addressed what has been said there. So, no contradiction there.

  • kat

    You are just so quick to accuse anyone who does not agree with you of possessing a dysfunctional brain or a corrupted one or a decomposed one. And then you whine like a little puppy when Jeff says anything and you accuse him of picking on you–you who are always civilized and NEVER insulting. You don’t know what civilized is. I know I piss Jeff off when I allow myself to get down to your level, so I refuse to slum with you, and I’ll let you wallow is your self pity hole all by yourself.
    I’m sure if you dig deep, you will be able to blame America for your being the sad excuse of a human being that you are–an angry little terrorist supporter wallowing in allah hell. God Bless America.

  • Faramin

    I never initiate personal insults, but I make those who insult me regret; by humiliting them. That’s my right.
    I’ve never called your country a “shithole”. You’ve done it many times about mine. You say whatever you want about the leaders of my country. Good for you, I might even co-voice you on that, but hey, insulting my country, is a cheap shut that deservs a prompt reply; humiliation. Under the personal insults of you and your type, Jeff has always been silent. Occationally he calls upon you and me (together), to “take it outside”, But it’s only because you are soooo indefendable. I’ve never insulted your relgion, but you have, of course thinking that I am a Muslim, which you haven’t yet understood that it is not the case. This is the only language you and your type know. Otherwise, a civil disagreement, no matter how harsh, would never bring me down to the level of personal insults.
    And Kat, I am not angry at all. But “sorry” to make YOU and the 007 so angry.

  • kat

    Here is a New Year’s gift from me to you. Made in Canada, too. Enjoy.
    By PETER WORTHINGTON — For the Toronto Sun
    Thank goodness for the Americans. What would this world would be like without the U.S.?
    Especially in times of natural disasters like the Boxing Day tsunami that killed so many and shocked the world into unprecedented humanitarian generosity.
    Such generosity often seems muted. Not this time. The world’s people have responded more ardently than their governments, and in case after case governments have taken a cue from their citizens, and increased their initial aid response.
    Canada is just one example, but typical of the world. Prime Minister Paul Martin started by pledging $1 million, then $4 million, then $40 million and now $80 million — not because our government now realizes as it didn’t before that the catastrophe was so severe, but because Canadians from every strata of society have opened their hearts and wallets.
    The U.S. initial pledge of $35 million, later upped to $350 million is just the start. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell anticipates $1 billion from the U.S. — double the $500 million pledged by Japan, which will likely also up its giving.
    U.S. President George Bush has recruited two former presidents — his dad and Bill Clinton — to head U.S. fundraising for the tsunami victims. It is one of those moments in history where the world is united — and America is leading.
    As well as being the world’s wealthiest nation, Americans are the world’s most generous — $249 billion given annually to various corporate and private charities.
    So a world that failed to anticipate or respond to the genocide of 800,000 in Rwanda, or 2.5 million displaced in Congo, and is still lukewarm in all except rhetoric about Sudan and Darfur, has reacted with humane fervor to the tsunami disaster, which is Hollywood animation come to life.
    Pledging money is vital, but it doesn’t save lives immediately. Again, that’s where the Americans shine.
    The first large-scale international relief to the victims was from a U.S. warship, the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln which sent relays of a dozen helicopters loaded with relief and medical supplies into the stricken area. The U.S. military has field hospitals, and soldiers, Marines, sailors who turn instantly into social workers and bleeding-heart aid workers.
    Every time
    And it’s not just for this tsunami in the South Pacific. It happens every time there’s a horrendous natural disaster — an earthquake in Turkey, Iran, or the Balkans, mud slides, floods, whatever — the Americans are invariably first with direct, on-the-spot aid, no questions asked.
    Some see the tsunami disaster as a chance for the U.S. to mend fences with the Islamic world with its aid — showing the people of Indonesia (the world’s largest Muslim country) that America is not the devil incarnate.
    Maybe this will happen, but not likely.
    Ordinary people in the under-developed world rarely view Americans as anything except what’s desirable.
    The supposed unpopularity of the U.S. is often propaganda and rhetoric, and not shared by the people of the world who, even after 9/11, Iraq, Afghanistan and the war against terror, seek to come to America to live in freedom and prosperity.
    Those anxious to get in have no doubts about what America is — the most desirable country on Earth.
    Canada views itself as compassionate, and we are. To a point.
    Not so rapid
    But we don’t react with the speed and passion of Americans. Out vaunted Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) is supposed to react quickly, to “bridge the gap” until formal aid arrives at a disaster scene. The tsunami underlines that ours is a not-so-rapid response team, partly because it exists mostly in theory and partly because we have no way of getting it to a disaster zone — insufficient transport aircraft.
    The announcement yesterday was that DART would begin leaving tomorrow — 13 days late. Better luck next disaster.
    A world without the U.S. would be a sorrier world indeed, especially when leadership in humanitarian causes is needed.

  • Faramin

    Oh, That’s very generous of you. So let me give you one in return from, Yes, Toronto Sun.
    Well, Unlike you, I won’t copy/paste the entire article in here. Below is the link:
    U.S. prez is an arrogant, wrong-headed fool in the mould of doomed soldier
    Or may be this one, again from Toronto Sun:
    PUT SADDAM

  • Faramin

    Oh, what the heck, let me give you another one:
    2005. AS SEEN IN MY CRYSTAL BALL. and many many more, all from the same Toronto Sun.

  • Eileen

    “I never initiate personal insults, but I make those who insult me regret; by humiliting them.”
    Truly LOL as to the first!!! (Anyone who’s been around here for awhile…) Have not one iota of regret as to the second and I stand by my every word in the above comment, as well as any other observations ever directed your way. As to the third, LOL again…
    You have spewed too much other garbage to bother responding to. Please reread my above statements. There wasn’t a hint of anger there. I stated my observations of you and ‘yours’.
    Sadly, I see a veritable sea of anger in you, and the need to find allies/troops anywhere you can manufacture them. More sadly still, I have never witnessed such depth of bile, hatred and venom in any human being such as that which you regularly exhibit and spout.
    But even You have your ‘soft’ side. Calling me 007 is truly endearing. Thanks :)…
    To quote our host, “Faramin, there are no words for you.” I agree.
    With hope for your better days. May you find a better way to communicate with other humans, including Americans and All your other perceived ‘enemies’; i.e., the “monkey-in-hand” [See Faramin's blog at humanfirstthenproudiranian.blogspot] Jews. Also in 2005, I hope you will find a little love in your heart. The U.S., Bush, 007, etc., are not your nemeses. YOU are your Very Own Worst Enemy.
    XO 007

  • Eileen

    Oops, make that “banana-in-hand”. How utterly sad, indeed.

  • Faramin

    Eillen,
    One has to read all the comments exchanged between you, Kat and me to see who really is spewing hatred.
    BTW, I don’t manufacture “troops”, that is the natural trend of human behaviour that makes more and more Americans who are capable of thinking, start desliking this administration. Only those who are so much filled with hatred are the ones who threaten other people, with whom they disagree, to report them to CIA or FBI to be get rid of. Although no person with a right mind will pay attention to your idiotic spying, that is the indication of the corrupt and undemocratic mentality that you have.
    You know what? This mentality of yours is widely shared by religious fundamentalists called Hezbollahis in Iran. They did the same, when they lost in discussions, they too called the other side terrorist, or threat to national security.
    I’m glad that I managed to expose you.

  • Eileen

    “One has to read all the comments exchanged between you, Kat and me to see who really is spewing hatred.” I Absolutely Agree. I invite anyone here to search the archives with respect to each of our comments, and to examine your blog for more of how Faramin’s brain works. Can you even count how many people by now have observed you to be a terrorist?
    The only thing you have (further) exposed is your absolute facility for hurling vitriol. I guess practice makes… Not.

  • Faramin

    Eileen,
    First of all, the more accurate definition of a terrorist is that a terrorist is the one who threatens people or tries to terrorise people. That definition more accurately matches your cheap qualities. Otherwise, you cannot find one word from me, condoning killing, violence, torturing etc.
    Yeah, same blog that has made you so upset, is the expression of the political opinions, yes, harsh political opinions but still political opinions. Yes, I do believe the US leaders are criminals against the humanity. I do believe, the US leaders should be put on trial for the crimes they have committed against the humanity. There are thousands of Human Rights lawers who think the same. Same goes with Israel of course. Are you going to call them terrorists as well, because they disagree with your sick patriotism? If that’s is the base to identify people as terrorists, then most of the people on earth are terrorists, because most of the people think these leaders are bunch of criminals who should be put on trial. I’ve never hidden my opinion about these issues.
    You have many times attemted to portray me as a Jew hater and every time I asked you to come up with just ONE example indicating that I hate Jews. YOU NEVER DID. YOU NEVER COULD. But you ruthlessly came up with the same accusation again and again. One more opportunity to either embarrass me or be embarrssed: WHER DID I SAY JEWS ARE BANANA-IN-HAND MONKEYS, As you claimed I did? Where? Shame on you to be so cheap. In fact you are so selfish and so arrogant that you wish that I hated Jews so you could prove you were right. In fact, if there is anybody here, hurting Jews, it is you and idiots like you. Otherwise, I am not afraid of expressing myself at all, as I have expressed myself loud and clear many times. If I hated Jews, I would say so, but no, to disappoint you, I don’t. I don’t hate any ethnic groups. I don’t hate any people, even low life people like you who suffer from mulfunctioning brain. I call the leaders of Iran bunch of criminals, does it mean that I consider Iranians to be criminals? Just think for once.
    Yeah, why don’t you reffer people to the same blog to further embarrass yourself?
    Let me give you a few example of how “my brain works”. Here are the latest posts on the blog:
    -Tsunami children must be watched for (Jan. 3)
    -Deserved credit (To the US)- Update (Dec. 31)
    -Tsunami victims: How to help (Dec. 30)
    -

  • Eileen

    “You have many times attemted to portray me as a Jew hater and every time I asked you to come up with just ONE example indicating that I hate Jews. YOU NEVER DID. YOU NEVER COULD.”
    Oh, sure I have. Hatred must affect memory. In fact, whenever I’ve briefly scanned your blog I’ve seen banana-in-hand monkey comments, ‘vulture’ characterizations and etc. regarding those Jews you love so much. For a recent example, check out Faramin’s November 11th entry titled: “Banana-in-hand monkeys celebrating the death of Palestine’s father”. I won’t bother to quote the entire article. Instead, a few choice remarks:
    “… After all, he was in his own land, although practically in a prison surrounded by vultures.”
    “…Today, after the news of Arafat’s death, the camp of fascists, or the camp of banana-in-hand monkeys who were jumping up and down was full of celebration. A combined celebration of crimes, death and stupidity…”
    Here are the first commenter’s words in response, cleaned up a bit. [Note he's also banned me from speaking at his blog. Little Eileen banned by big Faramin? Laughing.]
    “Banned by webmaster. Your comments will not be added [Heehaaaaa]
    “Arafat was a murdere, a terrorist whose filthy hands were dipped in the blood of countless innocents… You are just another piece of rottenb S*** like that murdering filth, you son of a b**** terririst lover filth!
    It seems your times are getting hardere a**hole!
    AIS | 11.12.04 – 5:58 am | #”
    If Faramin insists on misleading and lying about his hatred, so be it. Apparently it’s not only just around here that you’re often called a terrorist or terrorist lover, Faramin. And I guess your definition of ‘love’ is a whole lot different than mine.
    Over and outahere.

  • Eileen

    P.S.
    FARAMIN! You are Not Big! and I am Not Little! All of us humans are part and parcel of each other. Can you identify ANYthing – even one little point of departure, which suggests any souls are superior to any other? I think not.
    That means you, with your ‘political beliefs’ mean Jack Shit. As do my own! We are merely ALL souls here, making our way…….together, Faramin.
    And can any blog topic on disparate ‘equivalencies’ push us even farther apart? For a moment, maybe.
    In 2005, I am asking the Guys (a combination of Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, etccccc.) to bring us together for ONCE.

  • Faramin

    Eileen,
    You have shown numerous times with your comments that you don’t want to see people brought together, only those who share your disgusting beliefs. So don’t deparately try to sound caring.
    In fact, whenever I’ve briefly scanned your blog I’ve seen banana-in-hand monkey comments, ‘vulture’ characterizations and etc. regarding those Jews you love so much.
    Of course! That’s because that’s the only post you hope to extract something against me from it. But you fail, every time. I remember, last time when I asked you to bring one quote proving your claim, you brought the same quote of “sourrounded by vultures”, you are afraid of bringing the whole quote in, because if you do, it will be clear that I am referring to Israeli army and not the Jews, as he was sourounded for 2.5 years in his compound by the Isreali army and not Jews.
    You quote me on this:
    “…Today, after the news of Arafat’s death, the camp of fascists, or the camp of banana-in-hand monkeys who were jumping up and down was full of celebration.
    So? where does it say Jews? I don’t equate Jews with fascists, but why are trying to imply that? As I said, I am not afraid of expressing myself very bluntly and I have proven that many times, so there is no need for me to hide anything, as I haven’t so far. That’s why, I get more than only one comment like the one which has made you so excited to bring that quote in. But so what? What are you proving by that? That you are not alone with the idiotic comments? Congratulations!I knew that already. Yeah, really what’s your point? What does it prove? That somebody else didn’t agree with me too? So what? I won’t lower myself to bring quotes of people praising me for be a caring human being. Because it doesn’t prove anything. It’s just peoples’ opinion. And peoples’ opinions are just, well peoples’ opinions. But you are just so desparate to prove you are right. and every time, you sink further in embarrassment. And as I said, you wish that I was a Jew hater, so you could prove that “Eileen was right”. That’s pathetic. And beleive me, you are not bringing people together, so don’t even pretend. That doesn’t match your behaviour.
    BTW, you still haven’t brought the quote where I called Jews Banana-in-hand monkeys.
    As for who is or can be a terrorist, refer to my previous comment, to see that it matches you more than what you think.
    Oh, BTW, did you check to see “how my brain works”? Did you check my latest posts? That made you embarressed, right? That’s a natural result of your behaviour. You put yourself in that position, but you can always apologize, not for disagreeing with me, but for the way you have behaved.

  • Eileen

    You can deny, deny, deny, and twist and turn all you want, but your words speak for themselves.

  • Faramin

    Eileen,
    I missed this:
    [Note he's also banned me from speaking at his blog. Little Eileen banned by big Faramin? Laughing.]
    Dishonesty again? this is absolutely not true. Think Eileen, Think. Have you ever left any comment on my blog? I presume the answer is no. Then how would I know what your IP is to be able to ban you, even if I want to? Without knowing your IP, I just can’t ban you, even if I want to.
    Beside, if I let AIS, leave so-called comments in there, which are not comments but only insults (see the example you previously provided) and lot of F words, why would I not want to let YOU leave YOUR comments in there?
    BTW, Thanks for being so “nice” to modify AIS’s comments by using ***, to make them sound less insulting. But I wonder why you didn’t do the same on your own comment when you called my political beliefs to mean Jack Shit.
    Having said that all, I have to admit that I liked it when you said:
    … We are merely ALL souls here, making our way…….together, Faramin.
    And can any blog topic on disparate ‘equivalencies’ push us even farther apart? For a moment, maybe.
    In 2005, I am asking the Guys (a combination of Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, etccccc.) to bring us together for ONCE.

    I don’t have any problem with that, I never had, but I see a change in your tone, a change I do appreciate.

  • Faramin

    Ooops,
    It should all be Italic:
    … We are merely ALL souls here, making our way…….together, Faramin.
    And can any blog topic on disparate ‘equivalencies’ push us even farther apart? For a moment, maybe.
    In 2005, I am asking the Guys (a combination of Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, etccccc.) to bring us together for ONCE.