In my utopia, everyone is armed

Regarding Judith Hallock's letter [“No Nukes: Asheville Resident Explains Why She Protested at Oak Ridge, July 28, Xpress]: While I sincerely respect her patriotism, dedication to [the] cause and [the] courage of conviction demonstrated by facing the shame and inconvenience of arrest and prosecution (in a huge constitutional compromise, considering the supposed right to assemble and speak), Judith's reluctance to accept the reality of the nuclear dynamic is childishly naive. I might respectfully add that driving an air-conditioned-cum-bumper-sticker-clad Subaru to eventually arrive in an equally air-conditioned holding cell in East Tennessee doesn't exactly rival the sacrifice of Martin Luther King Jr.’s/Ghandi's ilk. I'm certain many if not most of us would love to Barbara Eden-blink atomic fission-fusion right out of existence, but surely as the sun shines above (heady simile, eh?), it's a genie that is not going back into the bottle.

What should be of general concern is the way relatively exclusive development and possession of nuclear arms has allowed our supposedly peace-loving America to evolve into a cowardly, subtly imperialist aggressor-nation. Ever notice how (even with our inconceivably powerful military machine and equally potent belief that “we're right, damn it!”) we have only had organized armed conflict with entities that don’t have nuclear capability? We're like Toby Keith running around pistol-whipping the likes of Jack White. "It's the Amuhhhrican way!" (Maybe I should have gone with Ted Nugent/Marilyn Manson, eh?)

Nukes are to nations what guns are to citizens: As long as they exist (and, arguably unfortunately, they do), legal restriction of their availability only serves to promote individual (and international) inequality as it pertains to the sadly ever-present potential for human violence. Allow me to further analogize ('cause I love to): I'd say florists are not high on the list of targets for armed robbery, but I'll bet they edge out gun shops! In my Utopia, everyone is armed, and has the peaceful reciprocal respect for sovereignty that mutually assured destruction counter-intuitively cultivates.

— Norman Plombe
Asheville

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136 thoughts on “In my utopia, everyone is armed

  1. Dionysis

    Does your vision of Utopia screen out miscreants, psychopaths, Sadists, violent felons and other fringe characters (found in society as a whole), or do you envision everyone, regardless of anything else, being armed?

    If this vision of Utopia becomes reality, please let readers know just where it’s located. Some of us would seek to avoid it.

  2. dhalgren

    Norman, allow me to analize (cause I love it!)
    Your letter contains the kind of muddled and simplistic thinking that is causing problems the world over. Not everyone in this world is afraid of mutual destruction, there are some who would welcome it! And bye the bye Norm, gun shops do get robbed! http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=fab_1195132074

  3. normanplombe

    TO DHALGREN: the kind of muddled and simplistic thinking that allows me to cite these?
    http://www.thesbnn.com/?p=11830 http://www.sdnn.com/…/2010…/suspect-arrested-in-flower-shop-robbery http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2010/06/1-shot-critically-wounded-during-robbery-on-sw-side.html
    http://www.northshoreoflongisland.com/Articles-i-2009-07-02-80518.112114-sub18240.112114_Man_pleads_not_guilty_to_flower_shop_robber …halgren, that took me 15 seconds to google “flower shop robbery”…didn’t really want to get all bibliographical on this…i was using the ol’ conceptual thinking thing to illustrate my point. you should try it…and consider for a moment (as we all should from time to time)..’hey, i might be wrong!’

  4. normanplombe

    TO DIONYSIS: the fbi estimates about 200 million firearms in private hands in the u.s….i’d say they’re way LOW in this estimate…and, i’m sorry to inform you that a gun doesn’t know who’s holding it…so as long as the miscrants, psychopaths, and sadists have them, we might as well all have them….and i DO include felons (like jesus, ghandi and desmond tutu)

  5. normanplombe

    TO WHO: every human birth is, by definition, a death sentence, so we’re all eventually gonna be “dead people”… but…could we all remember that my point was about NUCLEAR WEAPONS, as they apply to nations? all i see here are brain-dead people who have hair-trigger responses to constitutionally-based gun rights arguments. i’m not a nuke nut, nor a gun nut…as a matter of fact (if you READ what i said) i believe both potentially lead their posessors into cowardly behaviour) ….i just acknowledge that they can, do and will be here for the forseeable future. this is an empirical fact.

  6. normanplombe

    and one last thing to DHALGREN before we get into a pi$$ing contest…i, too, googled ‘gun shop robbed’ and acknowledge it happens (didn’t deny this in my initial comments)…but i’ll go all-in on a bet that NOBODY has ever stopped an armed intruder with a flower…(and i just know you’re gonna find someone who cracked a vase over someone’s head to foil the crime…i’ll play the ‘exception that proves the rule card!’)

  7. dhalgren

    Okay,you had me going for a while there, I get it, no one could be that dumb…is that you travelah?

  8. normanplombe

    and as long as you revisited the human destruction scenerio….i’m gonna go ahead and predict that our downfall will be not from over-KILLING, but from over-BREEDING. i hate to resort to taking philisophical cues from any keeanu reeves film, but, friends, we are effectively a virus….we have no sense of populational equilibrium. our destruction of this planet will be averted as soon as we quit saying ‘congratulations’ everytime a friend announces pregnancy. another friggin’ miracle, eh?…hey, 41 years ago, i was a miracle too….BEAUTIFUL baby boy…perfect skin, bright smiling blue eyes…stop by tall gary’s any friday and see what a beer-soaked wretch i’ve become…some miracle…but i’m sure YOUR kid is exceptional!

  9. who

    For a sound argument, it would be better to not make universal statements such as saying “everyone”. There are too many variables. If you qualify your statements it would show a more thought out position.

  10. Dionysis

    “TO DIONYSIS: the fbi estimates about 200 million firearms in private hands in the u.s….i’d say they’re way LOW in this estimate… ”

    Of course, what would the FBI possibly know about such things?

    “and, i’m sorry to inform you that a gun doesn’t know who’s holding it…”

    I had no idea. I appreciate that enlightenment.

    “so as long as the miscrants, psychopaths, and sadists have them, we might as well all have them….and i DO include felons (like jesus, ghandi and desmond tutu)”

    Yep, that sure sounds like Utopia alright. No doubt Jesus, Ghandi and Desmond Tutu would all be packing.

    Swell idea of yours.

  11. chops

    I wish all these insecure gun-lovers would just give it a rest. Try to find comfort in knowing that “birth is a death sentence”.

    For the rest of us, we need to try to remember that gun toters are not the only imbeciles of the world.

    I’m pretty sure that’s what Plombe is saying here.

  12. Piffy!

    In MY Utopia, arms manufacturers are held liable for crimes committed with their products.

    Oh, and to ward off the ASSumptions. I own multiple guns.

  13. JWTJr

    As much as some people would like all guns and nukes to just go away, it won’t ever happen. You will never get everyone in the world to give them up. How would you enforce it? The cow is out of the barn.

  14. JWTJr

    “In MY Utopia, arms manufacturers are held liable for crimes committed with their products.”

    If the mfgrs got caught selling guns out the back door, I agree.

    The biggest gun manufacturers in the world are in Russia, China and South America. They are inexpensive, highly functional and coming of the assembly lines in super quantities. International gun control can never happen without them participating. They don’t care who they sell to and prob never will. Get used to having them around.

  15. JWTJr

    Most of the dirty work in the world is done with AK-47s, SKS’s and machine guns of the same non-US caliber. Look at every militia all over the rest of the world. They are carrying foreign weapons. US weapons are too expensive to buy and maintain. US ammo is more expensive also. The foreign guns are at least 4x cheaper and by many standards better.

  16. Piffy!

    No. I think ANY crime that can be connected to a manufacturers weapon should be the partial responsibility of the manufacturer. IT would be an effective way to cause real deterrence. Just my opinion. I know its not a popular one.

  17. dhalgren

    My god jr., not only a brain surgeon, but an international arms expert! The “dirty work” being done these days, is done by the good ol’ u.s. of a.

    (as an aside jr., all this man of the world macho talk of guns and bombs is making me all warm and tingly in the man parts)

  18. “all this man of the world macho talk of guns and bombs is making me all warm and tingly in the man parts”

    Some of us say that the need for numerous, bigger and more potent guns is compensatory behavior.

  19. shadmarsh

    Equating firearms with nuclear weapons is a pretty poor analogy, if not exceedingly dangerous.

  20. One observation in the letter has not received comment, and I think it is apt. We haven’t gone to war with other nuclear powers, though nuclear powers frequently duke it out by proxy. But it shines a clear light on our (and others’) governmental efforts for nuclear nonproliferation. We want them unarmed so we can push them around. Hence nonproliferation is enforced with trade embargoes and even bombs, while disarmament is relegated to pleasant chit-chat between the superpowers. We agree to reduce our nuclear stockpiles only insofar as our targeting becomes more accurate and our bombs more horrendous. We politely agree to eliminate the ones we don’t think we need.

  21. normanplombe

    SHADMARSH: equating the word “equating” with “anologizing” demonstrates poor understanding of English vocabulary. now read my comment again, and try to make a more inetelligent criticism…F-!

    CECIBOTHWELL and DAHLGREN: thank you thank you thank you for for getting my point. this is the kind of thinking i expect from ashevilleians…ites??…people from asheville.

    we live in the ONLY nation that has ever unleashed nuclear fury on civilians…and we want to police the world!…and if anyone comes up with that cliche “it actually saved lives” argument, i want them the name the soldier who would prefer to kill women and children to make his enemy surrender rather than face him square on the battlefield..

    don’t miss my point..i think there is a dignity and manliness to combat (personal or international) but the real honor comes from entering a fight you’ll probably LOSE in an effort to demonstrate your dedication to whatever you’re fighting for…as i get older, i’m finding fewer things that meet that criteria….long as you’uns keep offa my blue suede shoes.

  22. Piffy!

    [b]Some of us say that the need for numerous, bigger and more potent guns is compensatory behavior. [/b]

    And some of us say that is an old, flaccid cliche.

  23. Sunday, Aug 15, 2010 19:01 ET

    “In Utopia”: Modern-day adventures in utopian living
    J.C. Hallman traveled from rural communes to futuristic cities looking for utopias that — surprise! — work

    By Thomas Rogers

    Off the coast of Korea, a utopian new city is rising. New Songdo City, which is slated to be finished in 2015, is the most expensive private real estate venture in the world. The city is being built on reclaimed land in Incheon Bay (site of the famous Korean War landing), and, when it is complete, will include the “world’s largest twin tower,” a 100-acre “central park,” full city-wide integration into wireless technology (which one of its architects describes as “a municipal concierge service”), and groundbreaking levels of environmental sustainability (with wind turbine power and rainwater collection, it aims to be the world’s first LEED-certified city). If all goes well, New Songdo will be the first of 20 privately built, fully wired and ecologically friendly utopian cities built on six different continents by the same group of architects.

    New Songdo is the most ambitious of the six examples in J.C. Hallman’s “In Utopia,” his new book about modern-day utopian projects. Fascinated by the decline in utopian thinking over the past century, and inspired by his own suburban upbringing, Hallman wanted to look at far-fetched ideas that are pushing the boundaries of our social imagination — and, to varying extents, succeeding. Among other places, he visits The World, a cruise ship co-op with a permanent population made up of millionaires; Twin Oaks, a commune in the Virginia woods that supports itself by making hammocks; and the soon-to-be-built Front Sight, a town centered around universal gun ownership that bills itself as “the safest community in America.”

    Salon spoke to Hallman over the phone about the reasoning behind New Songdo, a project to introduce elephants into the United States, and what it’s like to live on a rural utopian commune.

    What’s the idea behind New Songdo City?

    Continued here;
    http://www.salon.com/books/nonfiction/index.html?story=/food/feature/2010/08/15/in_utopia_interview&source=newsletter&utm_source=contactology&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Salon_Daily Newsletter (Not Premium)_7_30_110

  24. JWTJr

    “We want them unarmed so we can push them around. Hence nonproliferation is enforced with trade embargoes and even bombs, while disarmament is relegated to pleasant chit-chat between the superpowers.”

    Cecil – that may be partially true. What is more true is that lots of countries that want them are massively unstable and likely to use them on their neighbors if they get them. Its a bigger issue than you recognize.

  25. chops

    “Superpowers”?.. hmpf. The most powerful force in the world is my wife. Seriously.

    You cannot win against her. I’ve tried everything over the years… diplomacy, covert operations, dirty tactics… I haven’t tried guns and nukes yet, but my past experience has taught me that would probably fail, too.

    When I finally did discover what works, I was reminded of the advice my father-in-law gave me on our wedding day. He said, “No husband has ever been shot while doing the dishes”.

    I now know with absolute certainty that the only way to overpower and defeat your enemy, is to be kind and serve them. Since I have learned this, I have never been happier in my marriage.

    Mutually-assured satisfaction is a much more effective incentive for peace than mutually-assured destruction. Make your adversary love you, then everyone wins. There is the old adage, “you catch more flies with honey” – maybe Plombe has yet to learn – his utopia is doomed unless it sweetens up!

  26. Indeed. Imagine if we had built schools in Afghanistan BEFORE 911, and had pulled our troops out of Saudi Arabia of course (since that seemed to be Bin Laden’s main gripe).

    And we could go further and legalize drugs so American farmers could grow poppies instead of funding the Taliban via illegal sales of heroin. (This would have the wonderful effect of defunding the Mexican cartels as well, which would stabilize the much bigger mess on our border. Afghanistan, at least, we can — and will eventually — walk away from.)

  27. JWTJr

    “I now know with absolute certainty that the only way to overpower and defeat your enemy, is to be kind and serve them. Since I have learned this, I have never been happier in my marriage.”

    Its so easy! The world is so simple. Satisfying everyone is a piece of cake. Geez.

  28. shadmarsh

    Yes, but then how would the MIC and the prison industries make a living?

  29. Just imagine if we as a nation had not propped up despotic regimes in the middle east for cheap oil, since the mid 1930, or supported the Russian against Afganistan or had not rolled out the red carpet to the Saudi’s and gave them any thing they wanted. The Saudi supported Wahabi sect is behind all the terrorism. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wahhabi

    We just might have had a hand in training some of their Al Qaeda. My husband taught in the Infantry School at Ft. Benning, Ga., the infantry school was training Saudi’s back in the mid 70’s in military tactics. We knew what they were like….back then. one Saudi failed the training and was executed when he returned home. What did the officials at the school do???? They simply didn’t fail any more Saudi students, and went on to be entertained/ wined and dined regularly by a Saudi Prince who had moved to Columbus, Ga. to “oversee” the training.

  30. JWTJr

    “Indeed. Imagine if we had built schools in Afghanistan BEFORE 911”

    Oh yes, the Taliban would have welcomed that with open arms … and rusty knives to cut off the heads of those who tried.

  31. Piffy!

    [b]Oh yes, the Taliban would have welcomed that with open arms … [/b]

    I think the point, JW, is that maybe instead of ARMING and TRAINING Al Queda (like we did in the 80’s and even 90’s), we had built infrastructure for the population, we might not be dealing with these issues today.

  32. JWTJr, you have no historical memory, perhaps you are 17?

    In the first months of the GWB administration, the idiot prince hosted Taliban leaders at his Texas Ranch. Afghanistan was then one of the top recipients of U.S. foreign aid, but mostly for weapons. Bush was reportedly angling for an oil pipeline from Tajikistan, the Afghans pushed too hard on the bargain, and whammo, we were no longer drinking buddies. But the U.S. was deeply complicit with the Taliban leadership in the spring of 2011.

    And it should also be remembered that when the U.S. demanded that Afghanistan turn over Bin Laden, the Afghan government agreed and sought negotiations which were rejected by the U.S. in favor of invasion. Oil. Oil. Oil.

  33. who

    Cecil, can you point to a source of Bush hosting Taliban leaders at his ranch? I couldn’t find anything myself. Also, was it the Taliban that was getting weapons from U.S. or was it those who were fighting the Taliban at the time in the civil war? And when was it, and the particulars, that the Afghan gov. offered to turn over Bin Laden? I’d also like to know more about the deep complicit relationship between the Taliban and the U.S. in the spring of 2011. I couldn’t find anything on that- anywhere. I’d like to tap into those prescient sources.

  34. JWTJr

    You guys don’t get it. The US doesn’t like to give things unless cultural strings are attached. Regardless if its weapons or infrastructure. Weapons come with fewer strings. That’s why they took them. Roads, hospitals, schools are not of interest to the Taliban. Not from us anyhow.

  35. JWTJr

    Cecil – So W rejected Bil Ladin’s turnover? He messed up in Tora Bora, is that what you are talking about?

  36. JWTJr

    who – I’ve been looking too. Maybe Cecil found it on a Truther site?

  37. shadmarsh

    need a basic history lesson?: http://www.historycommons.org/timeline.jsp?geopolitics_and_9/11=centralAsia&timeline=complete_911_timeline

    and a nice Cheney quote:Dick Cheney was then CEO of Haliburton Corporation, a pipeline services vendor based in Texas. Gushed Cheney in 1998, “I can’t think of a time when we’ve had a region emerge as suddenly to become as strategically significant as the Caspian. It’s almost as if the opportunities have arisen overnight. The good Lord didn’t see fit to put oil and gas only where there are democratically elected regimes friendly to the United States. Occasionally we have to operate in places where, all things considered, one would not normally choose to go. But we go where the business is.” Would Cheney bargain with the harborers of U.S. troop killers if that’s where the business was?

    from here: http://www.counterpunch.org/tomenron.html

  38. Would Cheney bargain with the harborers of U.S. troop killers if that’s where the business was?”

    But of course…this is always how it’s been. The powerful need and use cannon fodder. And with their power, they get their way. Happens all the time.

  39. JWTJr

    How did this turn into a Cheney and W bashing party? Not that I’m here to defend them.

    Its kind of off topic. Moderator!!

  40. JWTJr

    I want to know Cecil’s source on that very bold statement. He threw the grenade and then ran off.

  41. Barry Summers

    I want to know Cecil’s source on that very bold statement. He threw the grenade and then ran off.

    “When the government employs grenades, only government employees will… have.. um, grenades. To employ.”

    Charlton Heston

  42. Dionysis

    For what it’s worth, I can find no record of Bush hosting the Taliban during his presidency. I did, however, find where he reportedly hosted them as governor of Texas:

    “The Taliban was a construct of the CIA and was armed by the CIA, ISI and the Saudis as a counter to a resurgent Russian-backed communist party and an antidote to the civil war in Afghanistan. Pakistan supported the Taliban in conjunction with the CIA who were arming it right up till 2000. The Taliban also visited Governor Bush’s ranch in Texas.”

    http://rupeenews.com/usa/the-taliban-was-a-construct-of-the-cia-and-was-armed-by-the-cia/

    As for Bin Laden being handed over by the Afghans:

    “George Bush, the man whose prime campaign plank has been his ability to wage war on terror, could have had Osama bin Laden’s head handed to him on a platter on his very first day in office, and the offer held good until February 2 of 2002. This is the charge leveled by an Afghan American who had been retained by the US government as an intermediary between the Taliban and both the Clinton and Bush administrations.

    Kabir Mohabbat is a 48-year businessman in Houston, Texas. Born in Paktia province in southern Afghanistan, he’s from the Jaji clan (from which also came Afghanistan’s last king). Educated at St Louis University, he spent much of the 1980s supervising foreign relations for the Afghan mujahiddeen, where he developed extensive contacts with the US foreign policy establishment, also with senior members of the Taliban…

    Kabir Mohabbat’s final trip to Afghanistan on the US government payroll took place on September 3, 2001. On September 11 Mohabbat acted as translator for some of the Taliban leadership in Kabul as they watched tv coverage of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Four days later the US State Department asked Mohabbat to set up a meeting with the Taliban. Mohabbat says the Taliban were flown to Quetta in two C-130s. There they agreed to the three demands sought by the US team: 1. Immediate handover of bin Laden; 2. Extradition of foreigners in Al Qaeda who were wanted in their home countries; 3. shut-down of bin Laden’s bases and training camps. Mohabbat says the Taliban agreed to all three demands…”

    http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn11012004.html

  43. Piffy!

    [b]Moderator!! [/b]

    There are no moderators. Only drunken monkeys with poor eyesight

  44. Piffy!

    [b]You guys don’t get it. The US doesn’t like to give things unless cultural strings are attached. Regardless if its weapons or infrastructure. Weapons come with fewer strings. That’s why they took them. Roads, hospitals, schools are not of interest to the Taliban. Not from us anyhow.[/b]

    But that’s not the point AT ALL. You are merely talking in circles to avoid the point you brought up, which is: WE did arm, fund, and train these guys. IF we had spent such money in other ways, as Mr Bothwell has stated, we might not be dealing with this issue now.

    Those darn Taliban… er… Al Queda. They hate Freedom, and we are in Afghanistan to Get Al Quada, er, stabalize the country, er… liberate the women and children. Yes, thats it. Those poor, oppressed womens and chidlrens.

  45. Margaret Williams

    Moderate?! Heck, y’all seem to be enjoying yourselves here, despite (or because of?) the wandering off topic by unmoderated participants…

  46. I’ll be back with links. Have been slammed the last couple of days. Didn’t run off.

    And, heck yes, Margaret, we’re having fun now.

  47. Off topic maybe…but Mr. Plombe’s “Utopia” is just a microcosm of the world in which we live. How can we not jump from local to international….and thus bring in all the “players” ?????

    I stand by my word….old white powerful men with talcum powdered hands have always sent young men off to be killed in order to enrich themselves.

  48. dpewen

    I am not interested in living in the writers Utopia … sounds like Nazi Germany to me! I am German but would have never been part of that scene. Guns are not needed in my world … nor religion!

  49. JWTJr

    “If we had spent such money in other ways, as Mr Bothwell has stated, we might not be dealing with this issue now.”

    Caleb – The Taliban does NOT want roads, schools or hospitals from us. What makes you think they ever did?

  50. Barry Summers

    i think there is a dignity and manliness to combat (personal or international)

    One of the saddest comments by the author of this letter, and I almost missed it. International combat is “manly”? That’s grotesque. Strike that – if there’s a word that’s a couple of orders of magnitude worse than “grotesque”, that’s the word I would use.

    “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”
    Isaac Asimov

    The Taliban does NOT want roads, schools or hospitals from us. What makes you think they ever did?

    True, Junior, and a sad legacy of the proxy war between the US and USSR. Our current Defense Secretary Robert Gates (still overseeing American military policy in Afghanistan 30 years later) admitted in his book “From the Shadows”, that the US was arming the most radical Islamists in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviets even invaded in 1980. As his pal Zbigniew Brzezinski bragged:

    “It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war… What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire?”

    This manly, chest-thumpin-good idea led to the creation of al qaeda and the Taliban. As to Cecil’s point about maybe sending the Afghans schools, etc., instead of guns – in 1979, it might have led to a completely different world if we had at least not sent them the guns. But oh wait – Reagan and the other red-baiters back here in the US wouldn’t have let Carter get away with that.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/brzezinski.html

    BTW, Our Man in Afghanistan, Robert Gates, also advocated selling arms to Iran in 1985, the kernel of the idea that led to the hilarious consequences of the Iran-Contra Affair…

    http://www.nytimes.com/1987/02/23/world/cia-nominee-tied-to-85-memo-urging-iran-arms-deals.html

    I tried to post a direct link to the NYT article on that issue, but MtnX keeps saying that the link is ‘blacklisted’ – you’ll have to copy & paste it to read it…

  51. Barry Summers

    Interesting. I stripped the ‘http://’ off the link, because it kept coming back as “blacklisted”, but after chewing on it for a second, it posted as a link after all. hmm…

  52. JWTJr

    “As to Cecil’s point about maybe sending the Afghans schools, etc., instead of guns – in 1979, it might have led to a completely different world if we had at least not sent them the guns.”

    I guarantee this … the Taliban does not want schools from us. At any time in the past or the future, so Cecil’s point is just naive and fantasy. His social engineering strategies don’t apply over there. Heck, what if we sent flowers?

    If we hadn’t sent stinger missiles to them … lots of things would have been different in the world for sure. Better? No way to replay that scene. The USSR was winning til then … if you define winning as scorching all the earth and people there.

  53. “i think there is a dignity and manliness to combat (personal or international)”

    There are certainly times when combat cannot be avoided….but it’s not romantacized manly dignity, ever.
    http://www.world-war-pictures.com/war-poet-wilfred-owen.htm

    The repurcussions of participating in war stays with the combatants and their loved one for their life and beyond. I know…I’m from a long line of military men… all the way back to the times of the “Atilla the Hun.”

    War should always be a last resort andJUST endeavor. Because the cost is long lived and dear. To pussyfoot around and not go in for a quick win has been our pattern since WW11. Think we got a bit arrogant as a warrier nation???

  54. Barry Summers

    If we hadn’t sent stinger missiles to them … lots of things would have been different in the world for sure. Better? No way to replay that scene. The USSR was winning til then … if you define winning as scorching all the earth and people there.

    Did you read the article? The US was sending weapons to the Mujahadeen before the USSR sent troops into Afghanistan. They (Gates, Brzezinski, etc.) were thinking about drawing the Soviets into a war they couldn’t win, and they appear to have been very careful at first to not arm the Mujahedeen sufficiently enough to actually beat the Soviets, but simply bleed them. The Stingers you referred to, and the other heavy weapons, didn’t get to the Afghans until after a couple of years of slaughter. I can’t find the reference just now, but I also remember Brzezinski saying there was a conscious choice to arm and train the most fundamentalist groups of Afghan fighters, because they were the ones least likely to come to an accommodation with the Soviets after ousting the local communist Afghans.

    The communist government of Afghanistan was brutal and clumsy, and was an embarrassment to the USSR. If our goal in the US was to actually help the Afghan people, instead of turning them into pawns to kill Russians, something else would’ve emerged. But we were more interested in proxy war, so we sent the Afghans into the blender. We’re still experiencing blowback from those choices, thirty years later.

  55. JWTJr

    The biggest real problem with Afghanistan and their relationships with the outside world is that there has never been a central government. Ever. Even now, regionalism runs the place.

    Its basically like they are several small countries each with very limited government and no infrastructure. The terrain is the most brutal in the world and it essentially forms walls between the smaller groups.

    I think assuming you can galvanize them into one relatively single minded country is a mistake. W and Obama’s COIN strategy were both horribly wrong on that.

  56. Barry Summers

    And, as Cecil alluded to, there is no discussion about Afghanistan or our military policies in that region that don’t include oil. Who did Bush appoint as our first Ambassador to the new Afghanistan after we drove out the Taliban? Zalmay Khalilzad, a guy who used to work for Unocal/Chevron on the pipeline deal.

  57. JWTJr

    Until we develop an oil/energy alternative, oil rules the day. Its the most useful natural resource ever discovered. Every economy in the world is completely addicted to it. Small and large. If you cut it off now, 100s of millions would die … fast. Economics starts wars. Its a complicated world we live in.

  58. shadmarsh

    Until we develop an oil/energy alternative, oil rules the day. Its the most useful natural resource ever discovered. Every economy in the world is completely addicted to it. Small and large. If you cut it off now, 100s of millions would die … fast. Economics starts wars. Its a complicated world we live in.

    Eerily similar to the anti-abolitionists rhetoric of 160 years ago. #justsaying

  59. Barry Summers

    Yes, oil and slavery are exactly the same thing.

    In the sense that they are a “useful natural resource”, as you put it, yes. The reliance on each of them are/were significant economic realities, that take/took powerful changes and sacrifice to escape from.

    Pretty lame attempt at evasion, junior – you know very well that shad wasn’t saying they were “exactly the same thing.”

  60. JWTJr

    Barry … piffy has been absent so long you miss the snark. Maybe an upcoming article will resurrect him/her.

    My point with the oil/slavery thing is that not every single solitary country in the world relied heavily on slavery the way they do on oil today. There is no comparison economically and economics starts most wars.

  61. JWTJr

    And by the way Barry, you misquote me right under my post. I didn’t say both were useful natural resources. I said oil was the most natural resource useful ever. Big difference.

    Why would you do that?

  62. JWTJr

    Most resource natural useful ever.
    Most ever resource useful natural.
    Most natural ever useful resource.
    Most useful natural resource ever.

  63. shadmarsh

    I’m afraid I’m going to have to disagree with you on your police work there Jr. I’d say the sun is the most useful natural resource we have.

    As far as the oil/slavery thing I was talking about the argument, not the two “resources.”

  64. Barry Summers

    And by the way Barry, you misquote me right under my post. I didn’t say both were useful natural resources.

    I didn’t say that you said they were both useful natural resources. You only said that about oil, obviously – I used your phrase to make the comparison that both slavery and oil have been treated equally as mere natural resources, to be exploited at will, no matter the cost.

    And, as shad pointed out, the argument in both cases is that it’s just too damn hard/expensive/whatever to change. That’s a phony argument propped up by those who are invested in keeping things the way they are. The extent that oil has permeated the world economy vs. slavery is irrelevant, if you agree that it’s a moral issue. We’ve evolved (mostly) past the reliance on slave labor on this planet. We have the technology to get off of fossil fuels – we’re only lacking the will. Future generations will wonder why we’re dragging our feet on pulling the oily black needle out of our veins.

  65. Barry Summers

    I’d say the sun is the most useful natural resource we have.

    Yes, shad, but it has one (glaring) defect. Nobody can “own” it. That makes it “uneconomical”.

  66. shadmarsh

    what are you talking about? Everyone knows the sun is property of the USA.

  67. normanplombe

    BARRY SUMMERS: please don’t over simplify my point, and edit-quote me as if i’m glorifying or admiring violence arbitrarily…(i’m the centipede guy, for heaven’s sake!) my point was that there is a dignity in exposing oneself purposefully to the physical risk related to combat (personal or internationa), given that one is a true believer in the cause…if he would do it without financial compensation, at his own peril…

    if a man’s not willing to take an a$$whuppin’ (as a last resort) for something he believes in…well, nature, god, or a series of random mutations sure wasted a few million years making him the strongest adult in the clan.

  68. Barry Summers

    Yeah right… I had a bigger-than-life sculpture teacher once, who built this giant array of reflecting mirrors. He was interviewed by the local news at the unveiling, and he said, without batting an eye, “Since my sculpture uses the Sun as an integral part of it’s structure, it is therefore, the biggest thing ever built by Man.”

    If the USA wants the Sun, they have to pay royalties to that bozo, because he “appropriated” it as a piece of his art, back in 1983…

  69. normanplombe

    DPEWEN: you really oughta do a little objective research before making a vague and poorly developed argument for gun control and dismissal of religion vis a vis the national socialist movement in germany…a well-armed and devoutly religious society is rarely hearded into ghettos, boxcars, or gas chambers.

  70. normanplombe

    …and in case my reference to the sun wasn’t clear enough for the unwashed… the sun IS a nuclear fission-fusion reactor…a sunburn IS radiation poisoning.

  71. “what are you talking about? Everyone knows the sun is property of the USA. “

    Ok…who owns the moon and stars?

  72. JWTJr

    I don’t think its too expensive to fix. I think we should devote resources like we did with NASA in the 60’s to find an oil alternative. The sooner the better. We can’t expect the oil companies to do it. They shouldn’t have to. They shouldn’t, however, get in the way either.

  73. dpewen

    In my Utopia there are no churches, no religions, no guns, no electronic music, drugs are legal, no tv,no fast food places, no speed limits, beer is free.

  74. In my Utopia, day temps are 75 to 78 degrees. It only rains at night, days are partly cloudy, with a buttermilk sky. Everyone has a secure home with no mortgage and no debt. Property taxes would be very low. Having a secure roof over ones head with no mortgage frees people to pursue their goals without worry.

  75. dpewen

    Not bad although I would prefer warmer days and some daylight showers. Peace,

  76. Barry Summers

    Davynne – In your Utopia, people pay property taxes? Yikes…

  77. Barry Summers

    dpewen – Careful what you wish for…

    Two guys are out in the lake, fishing. They are each nursing the last beer they could afford – one of them rubs the empty bottle sadly, and a genie appears: “I am the Beer Genie! You get one wish for setting me free!” The first guy jumps up & says, “I want you to turn this whole lake into beer!” The genie snaps his fingers, & Bing! The lake turns into beer! The second guy looks up & says, “Why did you do that, moron? Now we’ll have to piss in the boat!”

  78. “Davynne – In your Utopia, people pay property taxes? Yikes…”

    Yes, but reasonable taxes…we need fire, police, roads and sidewalks. Taxes are a sad fact of life.

  79. Barry Summers

    In my Utopia, no guns, bombs, or taxes, and no need to drink beer (although it’s free if you want it)…

  80. dpewen

    Good one Barry but I do not mind paying taxes … it keeps my Utopia well my Utopia!!

  81. Barry Summers

    Hey – this might be an interesting Utopia to visit (briefly): where everyone is armed, and beer is free.

    But seriously, one last word from me on the notion of everyone going around armed… I wouldn’t want to live in a world where everyone had abandoned the ideal of a peaceful society. I think one thing that helps keep the lid on our violent tendencies is the clear intention of the majority that this is what we should aspire to: a society where one doesn’t have to carry a deadly weapon in order to survive. There will always be a violent extreme minority, but what stops the majority of us from drifting towards those impulses? The knowledge that violence is abhorred by the majority, that laws exist to punish transgressors, and a desire to conform to the ideal of a peaceful society. What kind of distrust and tension would become the norm in a world where everyone knows that their neighbors, co-workers, and strangers have abandoned that hope and are walking around prepared for mayhem?

    I suspect if this ‘Utopia’ of everyone carrying a gun actually existed, you’d find people more willing to use them, and a downward spiral of violence would be the rule. Let’s keep our minds and hearts aimed for a better world, and those intentions might lead, however haltingly, to that better world.

  82. “I think one thing that helps keep the lid on our violent tendencies is the clear intention of the majority that this is what we should aspire to: a society where one doesn’t have to carry a deadly weapon in order to survive.”

    Good point Barry. Precisely why I moved away from New Orleans over 20 years ago. Everyone was packing heat and didn’t seem to feel uneasy about that. Lots of those packing, had no formal firearm training. When I came here to check out the town, first thing I noticed was how few homes had burgler bars. Even with all it’s flaws, Asheville seems a bit like Utopia to me.

  83. JWTJr

    I still want to know Cecil’s sources for the OBL/Taliban/W factoids earlier.

    Are we just going to let another politician say something ridiculous and then let it go?

    What say you Cecil?

  84. I have spent a few hours searching for links. It appears that my memory was slightly faulty (no surprise there). (And note my obvious typo … I meant spring of 2001, not 2011).

    It was 1997 when Unocal hosted Taliban leaders in Texas, a lavish affair intended to demonstrate the wealth they could enjoy if they played ball. I remain convinced that I read somewhere that Bush was involved in that visit, and that it included a visit to his ranch, but can’t find documentation.

    In 2001, Bush administration people began meeting with the Taliban in Washington, reportedly five times, negotiating for a pipeline for Unocal. When the Taliban refused, Bush threatened war through a representative “you can accept a carpet of gold or expect a carpet of bombs”. After 911, war was justified and Bush installed former Unocal employee Hamid Karzai.

  85. JWTJr

    Excellent sources Cecil … your faulty memory.

    What about W turning down OBL so he could invade instead? That’s the source I really want to see.

  86. “. Afghanistan was then one of the top recipients of U.S. foreign aid, but mostly for weapons. Bush was reportedly angling for an oil pipeline from Tajikistan, the Afghans pushed too hard on the bargain, and whammo, we were no longer drinking buddies. But the U.S. was deeply complicit with the Taliban leadership in the spring of 2011.

    And it should also be remembered that when the U.S. demanded that Afghanistan turn over Bin Laden, the Afghan government agreed and sought negotiations which were rejected by the U.S. in favor of invasion. Oil. Oil. Oil.”

    I’d like to see this documentation / verification, also.

  87. dickyfauge

    I must say that I’m no expert on international politics-but I get the feeling most of you people lack even the rudimentary knowledge required to intelligently discuss the subjects you are addressing.

  88. Barry Summers

    I must say that I’m no expert on international politics-but I get the feeling most of you people lack even the rudimentary knowledge required to intelligently discuss the subjects you are addressing.

    Travelah puppet, is that you? Sounds like you…

  89. “Travelah puppet, is that you? Sounds like you… “

    I knew he couldn’t resist the lure of this forum. He sooo needs the feeling of superiority he gets from us.

  90. JWTJr

    Cecil – all that article talks about is hot air between the US and the Taliban. There was no deal to hand over OBL. I don’t believe for a second the Taliban was ready to hand him over. They would have rejected any evidence the US provided and killed the deal themselves. No one was ready to do anything.

  91. bobaloo

    “Mullah Mohammed Omar said there was no move to “hand anyone over”.”

    From the article Cecil linked.

  92. Barry Summers

    Mullah Mohammed Omar said there was no move to “hand anyone over”.

    And of course, he would have no reason to lie.

  93. Google it. Bing it. Ask.com it.

    This isn’t an isolated report, it actually received pretty wide reporting (globally) in the early part of this decade. If I have time I’ll find some more links. But, of course, if you prefer to trust the reported word of Omar, well, we all choose our sources.

  94. JWTJr

    You really believe the Taliban had OBL all trussed up ready to hand over to W and that the deal fell thru and they let him free? They would have had to fight him and his forces to capture him. That article is all hot air.

    I’m no fan of W and his f’d up war strategy, but your Bush derangement syndrome is flaring up again.

  95. dhalgren

    “I’m no fan of W and his f’d up war strategy, but your Bush derangement syndrome is flaring up again”

    Jeez jr., you’ve been given the links and references you asked for and you’re still buzzing around this issue like a bluebottle fly! Obviously you don’t believe Cecil or his story. We get it. It’s also apparent that you were at one time at least, a supporter of all the neocon crap that has been the near ruin of our nation. Noted! Take your blinders off jr.

  96. JWTJr

    I’m not the only one who called bs on that statement and the article he sited didn’t say that OBL was ready to be handed over.

    Read up on Pashtun and its culture and you will see how big a stretch that Cecil is clinging on to.

    BDS pure and simple.

  97. normanplombe

    Fighting a war in the Mideast (or even discussing details of it) is like wiping one’s self in the dark–You’re sure you’re making progress, but you’ll never, NEVER know when you’re done.

  98. Barry Summers

    Let it go, Junior. Cecil said this:

    And it should also be remembered that when the U.S. demanded that Afghanistan turn over Bin Laden, the Afghan government agreed and sought negotiations which were rejected by the U.S. in favor of invasion.

    And the article he cited said this:

    In Jalalabad, deputy prime minister Haji Abdul Kabir – the third most powerful figure in the ruling Taliban regime – told reporters that the Taliban would require evidence that Bin Laden was behind the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US, but added: “we would be ready to hand him over to a third country”.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/oct/14/afghanistan.terrorism5

    I know what it’s like to be all pit-bully and think you have something in your jaws, but in this case, believe me, you have nothing. The article backs up what Cecil said.

  99. Barry Summers

    And what is “BDS”? Bull Damn S***? BoonDock Saints?
    British Dragonfly Society? Buddha Dharma Sangha?

  100. JWTJr

    You need to read up on Pashtun too Barry. That was hot air you quoted there.

  101. JWTJr

    It says “they would be” ready. It didn’t say they had him. There’s a tiny difference there … since they didn’t have him. They were negotiating and that’s all.

  102. JWTJr

    dicky … looks like his rifle is a single shot. One shot is boring. I prefer a semi auto.

  103. bobaloo

    “This isn’t an isolated report, it actually received pretty wide reporting (globally) in the early part of this decade. If I have time I’ll find some more links. But, of course, if you prefer to trust the reported word of Omar, well, we all choose our sources.”

    Wait, so what source are you believing? The Bush Admin, Omar or his underlings?
    Omar, being the top Talib at the time, said this. Then you’ve got his cronies saying that they would hand him over after evidence was produced that OBL was the chief architect of the attacks.

    Either way, I’m simply pointing out that you have some interesting nuance in your statements, namely that the Taliban would hand OBL over but the US declined in favor of invasion. Yet the article clearly states that the Taliban were considering handing him over after the invasion had already begun.

    From your source:

    “The Taliban would be ready to discuss handing over Osama bin Laden to a neutral country if the US halted the bombing of Afghanistan, a senior Taliban official said today.”

  104. JWTJr

    You are correct bobaloo. The whole thing is just rhetoric from both sides. They weren’t even close to a deal. BDS is in play here and Cecil is infected.

    The Pashtun culture would never hand over somebody who has been there years … OBL … to an outside force. They wouldn’t and they didn’t.

  105. “dicky … looks like his rifle is a single shot. One shot is boring. I prefer a semi auto. “

    Something odd about the photo, girls looks like she’s being held hostage. And with a single shot skinny tool. She’s cute and can do better.

  106. caleb

    [b]You guys don’t get it. The US doesn’t like to give things unless cultural strings are attached. Regardless if its weapons or infrastructure. Weapons come with fewer strings. That’s why they took them. Roads, hospitals, schools are not of interest to the Taliban. Not from us anyhow.
    [/b]

    Yes, and there is no connection to the
    Taliban’s ability to cause us harm, and us ARMING and TRAINING them.

  107. JWTJr

    D. Dial …. you are correct, his mullet … if you can call it that … is kind of weak. She could do much better.

  108. Barry Summers

    Yes, that’s what he needs – a grander mullet. Then he’d be a fine catch.

  109. dhalgren

    Holy christ on a stick, is that a picture of you jr.? Is that your sister or your girlfriend? Just kidding. But anyway, about this love affair you have with bush and his idiotic warmongering. Your defense of him and his tragic (and failed I might add) policies is tiresome.

  110. JWTJr

    I’m not defending W. He screwed us over. I’m saying that if you believe that the Taliban was really going to hand over OBL for anything, I’ve got some Arizona swamp land for you at a real good price.

    The Taliban would love nothing more than for you and Cecil to negotiate so they could sell you a bill of goods and then laugh in your face and double cross you. Try reading some history in that region. Double cross is the name of the game.

  111. dhalgren

    Yes jr., you da expert, you da pactum culture go to guy. whatever. Cecil was accurate in his statement, please find a way to live with this.

  112. Barry Summers

    Cecil was accurate in his statement, please find a way to live with this.

    Yeah, or else we’ll start calling you ‘Jejunior’.

    Get it? It’s a mashup of jejune (tiresome, vapid) and Junior. Get it? Hello? Is this thing on?

  113. bobaloo

    “Cecil was accurate in his statement, please find a way to live with this.”

    I am in no way endorsing anyone’s opinions here, but no, Cecil was not accurate at all.

    If I’m missing something, which is entirely plausible, please enlighten me.

  114. Barry Summers

    Either way, I’m simply pointing out that you have some interesting nuance in your statements, namely that the Taliban would hand OBL over but the US declined in favor of invasion. Yet the article clearly states that the Taliban were considering handing him over after the invasion had already begun.

    Seriously, bobaloo? Seems like splitting hairs. The US was bombing Afghanistan, but hadn’t yet put boots on the ground in a full-on invasion when this article was written. Is that really your only reason to say that “Cecil was not accurate at all.”? geez…

  115. JWTJr

    Cecil was not accurate because the article didn’t say that the Taliban actually had OBL and that they were in a position to give him over. It said they would consider giving him over if there was evidence they believed. They never said they had him. Those two things are light years apart. They were just posturing.

    Cecil, Barry and dh are just as naive to think all that as W was thinking his plan would work. Either that or BDS has their brains in a fix still. None them has/had any idea about the culture over there. Obama is learning now its not so simple over there.

  116. Barry Summers

    OK, there it is. Cecil provided the news article to back up what he said earlier. You dispute the truthfulness of the statements of the Taliban leaders quoted therein, fine. But that doesn’t support you saying that “Cecil was not accurate”. You can’t call someone “not accurate” because he believes a reputable news report, and you don’t. Can’t you be a man (assuming that you are a man) about this, and admit that he backed up his earlier comments, and the rest is a disagreement on interpretation? No? I thought not.

    You’re betraying your own “Bothwell Derangement Syndrome”.

  117. JWTJr

    Ok I’ll say this. Cecil is a dupe for believing the Taliban’s statement to really mean what he said. They would be laughing at him and whoever thought like him.

  118. Barry Summers

    Yes, I forgot. You are WNC’s registered Pashtun expert. Sorry. Your wisdom in that region’s affairs is unquestioned, and anyone who dares venture a differing perspective is a dupe, including those fools over at the Guardian, who came to the wrong conclusion despite interviewing and reporting on the Taliban.

    BDS

  119. JWTJr

    “And it should also be remembered that when the U.S. demanded that Afghanistan turn over Bin Laden, the Afghan government agreed and sought negotiations which were rejected by the U.S. in favor of invasion. Oil. Oil. Oil. ”

    This is not what that article says. The only conclusion, Barry, is that you and Cecil jump to them.

    Yes, BDS.

  120. JWTJr

    Also Barry … just because you know nothing of the Pashtun culture, doesn’t mean others haven’t taken the time and effort to learn.

  121. bobaloo

    The US was bombing Afghanistan, but hadn’t yet put boots on the ground in a full-on invasion when this article was written. Is that really your only reason to say that “Cecil was not accurate at all.”? geez…

    So bombing isn’t part of an invasion? Who’s splitting hairs here?
    And no, that wasn’t the only reason.

    There’s this:
    “Mullah Mohammed Omar [the leader of the Taliban] said there was no move to “hand anyone over”.”

    To which Cecil said “But, of course, if you prefer to trust the reported word of Omar, well, we all choose our sources.”
    In the meantime, Cecil is taking the word of the Deputy Prime Minister who said: “If the Taliban is given evidence that Osama bin Laden is involved” and the bombing campaign stopped, “we would be ready to hand him over to a third country”, Mr Kabir added.

    So Bothwell is taking this statement from one of Omar’s underlings -which Omar contradicts completely- and basically concluding that, had we never shown aggression toward the Taliban and simply had a discussion with them, they would have gladly handed over OBL without any trouble.
    That is some serious nuance.

    You can’t call someone “not accurate” because he believes a reputable news report, and you don’t.
    Yes I can, because the “reputable news report” didn’t say what Bothwell says it did.

    Anyway, I respect your difference of opinion and look forward to splitting hairs again (seriuosly).

  122. normanplombe

    sincerely, how ’bout we all meet for breakfast tomorrow a.m.? maybe even weekly…argue topics like this… we could form a think tank, maybe a consulting firm…or at least have a helluva food fight.

  123. JWTJr

    Now Cecil is against self defense. I definitely don’t want him negotiating for me.

  124. JWTJr

    I heard a media story and was compelled to believe it. Just like you and that OBL article.

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