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Monday, October 24, 2005

The Last Refuge of a Scoundrel

I recently heard a local talk show host use the term “last refuge of a scoundrel” and it got me to thinking. What exactly is the last refuge of a scoundrel? Where do they turn when facts elude them and the truth they don’t want to hear is closing in from all sides?

Recently I ran an article on the Atlantic Seal hunt and another on the financial activities of the animal rights group, Sea Shepherd Society. Both pieces generated more response from outside Atlantic Canada, in fact from outside the Country, than any other article I have ever written. They also highlighted the use of various “refuges” that some try to employ.

The initial online debate of the issues began as most do, with a simple give and take of concepts and facts (some loosely called). A thrust and parry, point/counter point kind of process ensued. Eventually however some of the less educated, or perhaps less forthright, folks on the animal rights side of the equation simply gave up debating the issues and resorted to attacking the intelligence of their opponents.

In fairness, some on the animal rights side of the argument did stick to their guns by quoting quasi-facts, but others (one of whom was later proven to be connected directly with Sea Shepherd, though she had hidden this fact) simply began a campaign of name calling and generally attempting to portray those who supported the seal hunt as everything from barbaric imbeciles to uneducated in-breeders.

When facts fail you, discredit your opponent in the eyes of the gullible. This to me would perhaps qualify at the very least as a “safe haven” if not the “last refuge of a scoundrel”.

By and large refusing to take the bait offered or to be drawn into a virtual shouting match, to their credit, the pro hunting contingent simply laughed off this vicious assault and continued to debate the facts.

“OK thinks the scoundrel, if the facts are against me and I can’t discredit my opponent, then maybe I should bring out some bigger guns.”

Suddenly anyone who questioned the animal rights ideology was immoral, against God and against all that is good in the world. The scoundrels in the bunch claimed that anyone who would dare harm a seal was no better than a bigamist or a child molester or even, get this one, a Scientologist.

Perhaps not the “last refuge of a scoundrel” but at the very least weighing in as “haven” number two, none other than morality.

When all else fails, appeal to the public’s sense of morality. The approach has two key functions that work well for the scoundrel. Everyone wants to be seen as morally strong and who can argue something that is purely subjective?

Arguments are hard to make when none exist. After all moral standards vary widely from person to person, religion to religion, culture to culture, place to place and time to time. Morality provides a nice warm place for a tired scoundrel to curl up in, but is it the last refuge? No.

According to some the “last refuge of a scoundrel” is nothing more than a few yards of coloured cloth. That’s right, the flag itself.

“Wrapping yourself in the flag” as some would say, is much like morality in the sense that it tugs at the heart strings and is all but impossible to argue. An interesting approach that we’ve all seen over and over again but perhaps never paid much attention.

George Bush like all Presidents before him has done it and continues to do it.

No, there are no WMD in Iraq, but it’s the patriotic thing to do to roust out the regime “over there”.

Don’t forget that you shouldn’t change leaders in times of war. That wouldn’t be patriotic, now let’s all rally round the flag and salute proudly as we send our boys into an oil rich hell.

Our own leaders are not immune either. Remember the flag flap? Premier Williams pulled down the Canadian flag in protest of the fact that Paul Martin had promised a fair deal on offshore oil revenues, only to twist himself in knots in an effort to weasel out of it. Williams protest became fodder for Martin and a scoundrel’s refuge.

Martin couldn’t deny that he had made the promise, nor could he deny that he was fudging on it, but he could call Williams and the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador unpatriotic in an effort to take some of the heat off himself.

Of course anyone who remembers Paul Martin’s historic address to the nation during Gomery cannot help but recall his “best interest of the Country” statement either. Oh, a scoundrel and his flag. Is there any cozier relationship?

Of course invoking the flag is an especially interesting approach for a scoundrel like Paul Martin who has flown every flag of convenience possible on his company’s ships for decades. Flying the Canadian flag might be patriotic, it just costs to darn much.

Telling lies to discredit the opposition, playing the morality card and calling for patriotism are indeed the “havens” of scoundrels and politicians alike. They can and have been called on to save the day when all else has failed, to hell with the truth.

We are seeing it more and more in our politics over the past couple of years. It effects every facet of our lives from politics to business and even to some special interest protest groups. It's a fact of life that isn’t going to change, but at least an informed public is an armed public. Besides, it’s nice to clear the air on the issue, ensure that people recognize the tactic when it’s used and to take a deep breath before contending with it once again.

Well, with that off my chest I leave you and return to my overflowing email files in an effort to see if the fine animal rights folks writing in, who have already utilized “havens” one and two, have actually found a creative way to invoke the flag itself as “The last refuge of a scoundrel”.

I’ll keep you posted.

23 comments:

BNB said...

Great article Myles. It ties together your recent articles and the discussions they invoked. I might be tempted to say that the true last refuge of the scoundrel is the Internet. Although it is a tremendous publishing resource and opens the world to the common man - the likes of which have not been seen since the invention of the printing press made books accessable to all classes. Unfortunately it is open to the faceless masses. You may engage the conversation of a nine year old from Germany or a Doctor from Maine. No one really knows who we are dealing with. I post using by blogger ID; others can read my other opinions and can comment or e-mail me directly. That's perhaps a little self-righteous but I use my blogger ID only so that others reading can know who they are responding too and the value system I maintain. My opinions may be right or wrong, but they're mine, and I'm prepared to answer to it.

Healthy debate should always be welcomed but unfortunately sensible debate finds its own bred of scoundrel all too quickly on the web.

Anonymous said...

Until you cowardly Canucks want to stop up to the plate and do your share in the War on Terror, all us Yanks would appreciate it if you'd keep your wussy little mouths shut on Iraq and leave your national security in the hands of those of us with the balls to keep your worthless, cowardly little countryu safe.

Your neighbors to the South, The Good Old USA and the proud Americans, wrapping ourselves in our flag.

BNB said...

Thanks for illustrating my point anony. Not that I want to engage the rep of the faceless masses in conversation but I will remind you that this part of the country was overwhelmed with stranded Americans on September of 2001. We took them into our homes and welcomed them as family. We were also very ready to fight the actual war on terror in Afghanistan and Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are well represented there.

I don't need to defend my people but I will.

Brave and patriotic behind the veil of anonymity. That's rich. I know many Americans who are trully brave and patriotic - you don't represent them.

Thanks for bringing this posting so quickly to the Scoundrel level and illustrating Myles' point.

Anonymous said...

The War on Terror is GLOBAL you cowards.

You CANNOT fight a global war on terror within one landlocked country.

We Americans are sick of you Frenchmen, Canadians, Germans, bitching about our willingness to do what needs to be done.

I get Myles point about Patriotism. I think he's right. But every time you all take a shot at the USA, just be thankful WE'RE THE ONES willing to make sure you all have the right to do so.

And you had stranded travelers on 9/11? WE HAD 3,000 DEAD.

So all you doubters sleep sound under the blanket of our protection and leave us to do our work for the world.

ISDABY said...

anonymous...(your rant has a familiar ring to it...your not "Mt. Hood" by any chance?? that would be too funny!!)

...apparently more than half of you Americans agree with all the bitchy Canadians, Germans, Frenchmen, etc...so, less than half of Americans, against the rest of the world...I guess the rest of the world was misinformed about Saddams WMD and ties to Al Queda...?

Patriot said...

Not that I really want to get into a debate with somone who immediatly, in his/her first comment resorted to "the last refuge", but I will say something to Anon.

Number one: yes, you may have had 3000 dead during 9/11, and for that I'm sorry, but in this part of the country we did indeed take in hundreds if not thousands of stranded passengers aboard stranded flights. What also needs to be mentioned in this context is the reason for taking in these people.

The fact is, the U.S. closed its airspace in fear that there would be more planes that were hijacked or containing explosives or whatever. The government of your country was afraid to let them into their airspace. Without regard for our own safety, we did let them in and took the risk of having those terrorists come here. If that is cowardice the you can call me a coward any day.

Next: If you read my article you would see that it was not an attack on the U.S. Rather it was an attack on anyone wrapping themselves in a flag and using it for justification. The only reference to anything American was to George Bush specifically, not the Country or its people.

If you think George Bush IS America then I have nothing but pity for you and wish you the best of luck. You are going to need it.

For the sake of arguement, I also identified our Prime Minister as a flag wrapper. That doesn't mean all Canadians are.

I would also like to say something about your last comment: "...leave us to do our work for the world"

Although I do not make a practice of speaking out against our American neighbours, I do have one pet peave about the Country and you have brought it to the lime light.

The U.S. government always feels that it is the "Leader of the free world", that they must be the "World's police" and that they must involve themselves in the politics of every other nation on earth. What gives the U.S. the right to feel this way?

Would the U.S. government put up with some other nation meddling in their domestic affairs? No.

Would the U.S. government allow another government to dictate to them how they should behave in their own country? No

The U.S. (as a country, not necessarily all individuals) feels that it must push its political, moral and social standards on the rest of the world.

Other nations and other peoples that do not fit the American ideal are somehow less "right".

I know this next comment is going to raise the hackles of many Americans, but here goes anyway.

The reality is that if the U.S. limited its meddling in other nations affairs then it would be much less of a target for these extremest groups. It would not have to spend billions in world wide conflicts and its people would be much better off.

The money used in these endeavours could be used to improve the economy at home and increase social spending rather than being used to prop up friendly dictatorships and overthrow those that do not play along.

Money and American lives could be saved.

BNB said...

One final thing to add to Patriot's comments. Remember that the first four Canadian's killed in the "Global war on terror" were killed by American "friendly fire". The first Canadian killed by Terrorists in Afghanistan was a Newfoundlander.

This is a final thought on Patriot's words, not a response to the one who hides behind a veil and calls others cowards.

NL-ExPatriate said...

Well it's always been my view that we did contribute to the war in Iraq.

We sent I believe it was two navy frigates to the gulf to help police the embargo against Iraq, and extra troops to Afganistan to relieve the pressure on American troop deployments. We also had several troops on the ground as apart of exchange plans.

IMHO this was about as much as we were capable to contribute to any military action. Considering we only have a mandate for 60,000 military (10,000 generals?) Of which we can only manage to fill 50,000 and some. You can divide that even further between Navy Airforce and Army the numbers are pretty dismal.

Just because we didn't go blindly into the night doesn't mean we weren't there.

Anonymous said...

You make some good points (I assume you are Myles).

Here's why America must meddle.

Because it is our responsibility.

It is our responsibility to protect freedom and democracy, individual liberty and popular expression. It is our duty to safeguard the world from despots and tyrants, to protect the weak and oppressed from ethnic cleansing and genocide, to open borders, to free trade, to stand up for human rights.

It is our duty to lay our lives on the line in Kosovo, Bosnia, South Korea, Germany, Iraq, Afghanistan, Phillipines, Colombia, and wherever else we are needed.

It is our duty to take sides - of Israel against the Arab World, of Pakistan against Islamism, of Taiwan against China, Nepal against China, Tibet against China, South Korea against the North, and on and on...

Its our duty because we did it first.

It is our duty because the World demands we do it again. And again.

It is out duty because only we can.

Don't get me wrong. We don't do all we should, and we manage to royally screw up a lot of what we should do. We were criminal in ignoring Rwanda, way too late in the former Yugoslavia. A lot more I'm forgetting.

But nobody else even tries.

What you're getting at, as all dissenters do, is Israel.

Would America be better off if we left Israel to itself? No.

You know why? Because there'd be a nuclear war. Our "meddling" as you call it, makes us enemies, sure - but we also keep those enemies alive.

Our economy is fine. Our social fabric is fine. We can do more at home, but the world cannot afford an isolationist America, and America can't afford for us to be one.

Canada, like most nations, immediately signed up for the Global War on Terror, and jumped into Afghanistan right along with us.

Canadians, like too many Americans, fail to see that a Global War cannot be contained within one landlocked country.

And don't make any mistake about it, Myles. We are not targeted by Terrorists because we "meddle", or because we prop up the Saudi's or let women drive humvee's through the streets of Mecca.

We are targeted because we - the USA - is the major barrier between a modernizing Middle East and the establishment of the Great Caliphate.

And for that, all people's should be grateful.

And for the record, I choose to be anonymous cause I can't figure out how to register this blogging thing.

crazy american said...

Crazy american here

I admit that my thoughts are all over the board on what follows. That's what comes from too little sleep, too much tension and too much to reply to... so take what you will and forgive the offense if any is taken for none was intended.

These thoughts occur to me as I write to comment on the thoughts of others.

To patriot.. I do remember well the folks in Gander who put up the americans who couldn't get home, opening their homes and hearts to those in need. It gave me a little bit of solace in the dark days when it would be far too easy to begin to hate. I began to think about visiting Newfoundland right around then, especially because it was all too obvious that those who had little to share, didn't hesitate when the need was there. THANK YOU NEWFOUNDLAND!!!

Someone once told me, that when you pick at a scab long enough it starts to fester. When you let the skin grow over a splinter it still stings and sometimes becomes more of a pain than if you had pulled it out from the beginning.

I do not consider myself a war monger, but I also consider that the situation in many places in the world today has a very real potential today to become the start of the next world war. And that statement was as true in 2000 as it is today, and it was as true in 1990 as 2000. Actually it's been true since 1917 in some ways.

One splinter was Europe deciding what were borders in the middle east. This then got covered over, then was picked, and the scab has festered.
(I mean who ever said that the British had a right to tell middle easterners that the Jewish people had a right to a homeland in someone elses yard?) But we covered over the scab and the splinter is still paining us all.

Indeed there are those who think that another world war has already commenced. And whether you agree with the premise, the justification, or the goals, when the term global war on terror is used, aren't we all hiding from saying that there is in fact a world wide conflict?

Patriot, I've come to the conclusion that you are almost always sincere in what you write,,, (the exception being when I think you may have a little imp of sarcasm just grabbing your fingers and running them across a keyboard. :) )

As an business and systems analyst, I look at how processes and information in systems got the way they were, not to assign blame, but to figure out whether the origin will assist in putting things into a system to make it work better, or work at all when things are really in chaos. And I believe today that things while not in complete chaos can easily get there with the next change however well or badly intentioned it may be.

I know it's simplistic, but I also know that if we simply withdraw today from engaging that we are once again allowing the festering to continue. The question that ought to be asked now is how do we arrive at an international situation which is back to a lessened risk not only for the US, but for families in Baghdad, Kirkuk, Tel Aviv, and even Gander.
How do we cure the infection without killing the patient if you like analogies?

Do I have answers? No, but I think that focusing on who started the fight after this many years is somewhat an exercise designed more to make each group feel better about their own errors, than to make a better sense of what to do next.

It would be a much better world if everyone followed a couple of very simple rules.

These are.

1. No one can be allowed to dictate what others are allowed to think and say except when what they say can reasonably be expected to cause harm to others.

2. You have no right to make me accept your views. I have no right to make you accept mine.

3. Do not hurt others, and do not allow others to be hurt.

4. You are free to live your life the way you want. And I have the right to live the way I want, except for the first three rules.

and lastly.. either an additional rule or just an opinion.

Failure to always follow all of the above rules only proves that you are a member of the human race.
And following these rules inconsistenly is better than not following them at all.

When someone breaks the rules, it doesn't mean the rules are no good, it means that the rules need to be enforced. In my family as a child it was my father. In my family as an adult, it's me (just don't tell my wife :)

The problem is that we tend to not think about countries the same way.


The UN was originally intended to get the rules to be followed on a "for the good of all" basis. That hasn't worked. Anyone got any better rules? I'd be happy to hear them. Any one got any better ideas of how to get the rules followed more often? I'd be happy to hear that too...

Just don't start by saying that I haven't the right to think the way I do. And I promise I won't say that you don't have the right to think the way you want.

Just my two cents worth.

Patriot said...

Response to Anon and C-American.

The following is VERY long winded, but there was a lot to say. Really there are no great revalations in it so read it if you choose.

First to C-American:

As usual, very astute comments all. I have to agree with you 100% and no offense taken on any of it.

Indeed, the international community is the place where issues of international concern should be addressed and yes, unfortunately the U.N. currently functions about as well as a $500.00 car with two flat tires.

There needs to be a major overhaul of this organization or it should be replaced by something that will work.

Continuing with this thought and in response to Anon, the fact remains that it is not, as you say, "...our responsibility." (meaning the U.S.). It is an international responsibility to detemine if problems in a country or region demand intervention. Just because someone does not have an American style democracy for example does not warrant intervention. Just because the U.S. government does not like a particular leader does not warrant intervention. No, if the cause warrants it then something needs to be done.

Did you notice that during the first gulf war there was massive international support. This was because another country had been invaded, albiet an oil rich one. At the end of that war the U.S. encouraged the people of Iraq to rise up and take control from the regime. When they did so the U.S. governmet walked away and let them be slaughtered.

In the current war in Iraq there was very limited international support simply because it was a case of the the U.S government invading a country without proper justification. Yes, the people there were under a dictator and executions etc. were happening, but that is not the reason given to the world for invasion. Instead it was WMD which we all know did not exist. Apparently many other countries weren't convinced either.

You go on to say:

"It is our responsibility to protect freedom and democracy, individual liberty and popular expression. It is our duty to safeguard the world from despots and tyrants, to protect the weak and oppressed from ethnic cleansing and genocide, to open borders, to free trade, to stand up for human rights."

I ask you, who died and made you the one country that has the duty to mold the world in its image?

It is not your duty, in fact it is, if anything, the duty of all countries to work for harmony. The U.S., whether or not you believe it, is just another country like the rest. Yes, we should all take action when atrocities occur but no one country has the right to do this unilateraly.

It is not just the wars either. At least these actions are out in the open. What concerns me more is the covert operations the U.S. feels it has the right to undertake around the globe. The meddling in other governments and so on.

As for it being your responsibility because you were the first one to do it, I don't mean to dredge up history, but were you the first to take on the Nazis? No, in fact world war 2 started in 1939 and most countries, including Canada were involved. The U.S. sat idly by until Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941 and after the war it made darn sure that it had control over as much of Germany as was possible. It would have taken control of all of it if the Soviets had not gotten in the way.

You say it is your duty because the world demands that you do it. Have you asked the world? I don't believe you have any concept of how the rest of the world views the U.S. I can guaratee you that by and large they are not seen as the "knight in shining armor".

Canada is perhaps the closest U.S. ally, one of its biggest trading partners and geographically closer than anyone else. Even with all of that we can see how many in the world, including many in Canada view the U.S. and it is not in a good light.

Why did the U.S. move so quickly on Iraq with such questionable evidence? Please don't say it was because of the tyranny happening there. If this were true they would have invaded North Korea or China years ago. No, the U.S. invaded Iraq in the hope that democratizing the country would provide two key benefits.

1. Access to the country's oil reserves and

2. Begin a domino effect across the middle east.

They will not attack Korea because there is no monetary gain and because Korea has (or at least is suspected to have) nuclear capability.

From this its apparent that the U.S. wants to spread its own brand of diplomacy but not if the price is too high. People are being terrorized in countries around the world yet the U.S. government does not step in because there is nothting in it for them.

Anon goes on to say:

"Our economy is fine. Our social fabric is fine."

Do I even need to respond to this one? The U.S. has massive debt, the economy while recovering is not functioning where it was a number of years ago.

How can you say that the social fabric is fine when you have more murders in your country year after year than any other country world wide. Per capita there are countries, including Canada that have as many guns in the hands of its people, yet only a very small percatage of the murders.

You have tens of thousands of homeless, there is racist organizations, milita groups and domestic terrorists.

The country has a health care system that is too expensive for many of the poorer classes to utilize and your prisons contain about a 70% black population while stats show that blacks only account for less than 40% of the crimes. (those numbers may not be precise as I am recalling them from memory, but the concept is sound).

I hope anyone who reads this will not take it as U.S. bashing, although it sure sounds like it. Rather it is a commentary on U.S foriegn policy and government attitude, not the people themselves.

C-American is a prime example of the kind of open minded American citizen that is not heard enough. I get the distinct impression that Anon is what many see as the stereotypical "Ugly American"

Anyway, Anon, I don't intend to continue this line of debate for one simple reason. The article to which you keep commenting had nothing to do with this topic. It was about how scoundrels use specific tactics to cover their butts. As simple as that. If you want to continue to plead the case of U.S. God given right to manage world affairs then feel free.

BNB said...

Far be it for me to speak up for Anon but I think I'm about to. First of all I think Myles is correct in all his assertions. What I will say in agreement with Anon (now that he/she has recognized Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador specifically in the war on terror, and refrained from the name calling) - I do belief that there is indeed a great expectation of the US to intervene, contribute, aid, finance etc. in the global community. It has always been a big player in disaster relief and humanitarian aid, as well as peacekeeping. And for that the US is owed a great debt of thanks.

The problem of course is that the US is not enough involved with the international community in decision making. Which battles to take on, which to leave alone. What plan of action is necessary in each case... This speaks to UN reforms as Myles has mentioned.

Case in point there was tremendous support behind the US after the cowardly attacks on 9/11. But there is a very strong feeling in Canada and elsewhere that your president dropped the ball and called attention away from the true enemy. Hussein was found but the mastermind of 9/11 is still in the caves of Afghanistan or Northern Pakistan?

Anonymous said...

My comments in blue - Anon

Response to Anon and C-American.

The following is VERY long winded, but there was a lot to say. Really there are no great revalations in it so read it if you choose.

First to C-American:

As usual, very astute comments all. I have to agree with you 100% and no offense taken on any of it.

Indeed, the international community is the place where issues of international concern should be addressed and yes, unfortunately the U.N. currently functions about as well as a $500.00 car with two flat tires.

There needs to be a major overhaul of this organization or it should be replaced by something that will work.

Such as? The UN only works as long as it is open, free from prejudice, and working to satisfy (as best it can) the needs and desires of its member states.

It has, and continues to fail miserably on all these counts. The UN is blatantly anti-semitic and anti-Israel, corrupted by oil money, shows no interest in Africa and proven useless in managing the major conflicts of the last two decades.

NATO has done better. The US has done better. And where the UN fails to serve the US interest, as in Iraq, the US must ignore the UN and do what it needs to.

As should all countries.

Continuing with this thought and in response to Anon, the fact remains that it is not, as you say, "...our responsibility." (meaning the U.S.). It is an international responsibility to detemine if problems in a country or region demand intervention. Just because someone does not have an American style democracy for example does not warrant intervention. Just because the U.S. government does not like a particular leader does not warrant intervention. No, if the cause warrants it then something needs to be done.

Not only is this stupid, Myles, it is insipidly stupid. Remember Bosnia? How many Muslims you remember crying, “UN, Save us?” Somalia? Rwanda, Kosovo. When people need help, they pray for the United States, not the UN.

We are friends with many countries that don’t mimic our democracy. Some leaders need to be removed – for our national security and that of the world (Milosevic, anyone?).

When the cause warrants it, something MUST be done. Usually, that something is ignoring the UN.

Did you notice that during the first gulf war there was massive international support. This was because another country had been invaded, albiet an oil rich one. At the end of that war the U.S. encouraged the people of Iraq to rise up and take control from the regime. When they did so the U.S. governmet walked away and let them be slaughtered.

In the current war in Iraq there was very limited international support simply because it was a case of the the U.S government invading a country without proper justification. Yes, the people there were under a dictator and executions etc. were happening, but that is not the reason given to the world for invasion. Instead it was WMD which we all know did not exist. Apparently many other countries weren't convinced either.

More than 35 countries on the ground at one time or another, Myles. Sorry you Canucks don’t have the balls of the Polish.

And every nation – even Canada – believed Iraq had WMD.

You go on to say:

"It is our responsibility to protect freedom and democracy, individual liberty and popular expression. It is our duty to safeguard the world from despots and tyrants, to protect the weak and oppressed from ethnic cleansing and genocide, to open borders, to free trade, to stand up for human rights."

I ask you, who died and made you the one country that has the duty to mold the world in its image?

George Washington. Thomas Jefferson. 6 million Jews. Half a million Bosnians. 2 million Rwandans we should have saved. Its not molding the world, Myles, its saving it.

It is not your duty, in fact it is, if anything, the duty of all countries to work for harmony. The U.S., whether or not you believe it, is just another country like the rest. Yes, we should all take action when atrocities occur but no one country has the right to do this unilateraly.

We are not just another country. And yes, when atrocities occur, one country does have that right. EVERY COUNTRY has that right.

It is not just the wars either. At least these actions are out in the open. What concerns me more is the covert operations the U.S. feels it has the right to undertake around the globe. The meddling in other governments and so on.

Talk to China. Talk to Russia, India, Pakistan, Great Britain. Great powers meddle. What makes us great.

Obviously, Canada doesn’t understand.

As for it being your responsibility because you were the first one to do it, I don't mean to dredge up history, but were you the first to take on the Nazis? No, in fact world war 2 started in 1939 and most countries, including Canada were involved. The U.S. sat idly by until Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941 and after the war it made darn sure that it had control over as much of Germany as was possible. It would have taken control of all of it if the Soviets had not gotten in the way.

Great point. We were isolationist up until Pearl Harbor. If we hadn’t been, millions would have lived. We learned.

You say it is your duty because the world demands that you do it. Have you asked the world? I don't believe you have any concept of how the rest of the world views the U.S. I can guarantee you that by and large they are not seen as the "knight in shining armor".

We who carry the cross must also bear the burden.

Canada is perhaps the closest U.S. ally, one of its biggest trading partners and geographically closer than anyone else. Even with all of that we can see how many in the world, including many in Canada view the U.S. and it is not in a good
light.

Why did the U.S. move so quickly on Iraq with such questionable evidence? Please don't say it was because of the tyranny happening there. If this were true they would have invaded North Korea or China years ago. No, the U.S. invaded Iraq in the hope that democratizing the country would provide two key benefits.

1. Access to the country's oil reserves and

2. Begin a domino effect across the middle east.

To this day, it amazes me how anyone can find the second reason not worth fighting for.

They will not attack Korea because there is no monetary gain and because Korea has (or at least is suspected to have) nuclear capability.

Well, that, and we might accidentally start WWIII with China, instead of working WITH THEM to avoid it. I for one would love to see NK liberated. At this time, geopolitically, it doesn’t make sense. However, if NK decides to start spreading nukes to nut jobs who might enter the US through Canada’s ignored borders, then we might have to ignore all you fence sitters and do what we need to. Again.

From this its apparent that the U.S. wants to spread its own brand of diplomacy but not if the price is too high. People are being terrorized in countries around the world yet the U.S. government does not step in because there is nothing in it for them.

Partly true. We screw up, no question. The price is high in Iraq, but we’re paying it. Its high in Afghanistan, but we’re paying it.

Anon goes on to say:

"Our economy is fine. Our social fabric is fine."

Do I even need to respond to this one? The U.S. has massive debt, the economy while recovering is not functioning where it was a number of years ago.

How can you say that the social fabric is fine when you have more murders in your country year after year than any other country world wide. Per capita there are countries, including Canada that have as many guns in the hands of its people, yet only a very small percatage of the murders.

You have tens of thousands of homeless, there is racist organizations, milita groups and domestic terrorists.

What is this, 1964? Militia groups, racist organizations? Not all Canadians are newfies, and not all Americans come from Idaho. Get your head out of your ass.

The country has a health care system that is too expensive for many of the poorer classes to utilize and your prisons contain about a 70% black population while stats show that blacks only account for less than 40% of the crimes. (those numbers may not be precise as I am recalling them from memory, but the concept is sound).

Called the Free Market. Defeated Communism, toppled the Soviet Union. You ought to look into it (past trying to mess with the MMPA).

Jail stats - I’m always amazed by this – is it that we should put less black criminals in jail, or breed more white criminals?

I hope anyone who reads this will not take it as U.S. bashing, although it sure sounds like it. Rather it is a commentary on U.S foriegn policy and government attitude, not the people themselves.

I don’t see it as US bashing. I see it as second grade jealousy toward first grade powers. Kind of how the French and Germans view the Brits.

C-American is a prime example of the kind of open minded American citizen that is not heard enough. I get the distinct impression that Anon is what many see as the stereotypical "Ugly American"

Anyway, Anon, I don't intend to continue this line of debate for one simple reason. The article to which you keep commenting had nothing to do with this topic. It was about how scoundrels use specific tactics to cover their butts. As simple as that. If you want to continue to plead the case of U.S. God given right to manage world affairs then feel free.

Which is why it is apropos. You are covering your ass in a Maple Leaf in order to lob criticisms at the Country your Country depends on for its economy and its security. 70% of what your province exports come here, remember?

It is hard for non-great powers to understand the needs of Great Powers. It is hard for Canadians to think like Americans, or the Chinese. That said, saying, “America is an imperialist bastard while Canada is the great Wilderness Commune Wavy Gravy never made it too…” is simple ingratitude.

And I can’t think of a bigger scoundrel than the ungrateful bastard child.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, my comments NOT in blue. Hope you can decipher what's mine

Patriot said...

Too funny Anon. I have to admit that your ugly american routine has baited me into responding again, but really, you need to stop, my sides are hurting.

I just wish I had read these comments before responding to you on the other thread. If I had, I would have had more to say on your claim that you agree with tolerance.

Like I said, you claim in one breath to be tolerant yet you spout things like:

"...the ungrateful bastard child."

"...is it that we should put less black criminals in jail, or breed more white criminals?"

In response to my contention that the U.S. has racist organizations, militias and domestic terrorits, that "this is not 1964" and that I should get my "head out of my ass".

First off it is physically impossible for me to put my head up my ass and secondly, if you are trying to deny that these groups exist then, not withstanding point number one, you might want to do the same.

Finally, and this time it is finally because I don't argue with hot heads who cannot be reasoned with. So, finally, with referece to why the U.S. invades smaller countries with lesser "fire power" and avoids confronting human suffering in places like North Korea and China, you say:

...we might accidentally start WWIII with China, instead of working WITH THEM to avoid it."

My comment to that is simply that you are rationalizing to yourself. Basically what this says is that if the opponent is powerful then they can abuse all they want and you will try to negotiate solutions however if they are small then it's "pull the six guns festus, its time for a invasion. He-hawwwww"

Patriot said...

Bye the way Anon, are you one of the multitudes who showed up for the Seal Hunt debate and just decided to stick around?

You sure sound like one of them.

Anonymous said...

No. I actually found you in a google search of Paul Martin, read a few things and liked what I saw, so I dropped by every so often.

To your points - racism is NOT a problem in this country to the extent people think. There are irrational socialistas who believe that urban decay, crime rates, Hurricane Katrina, etc...are somehow indicative of an overtly racist American posture.

And Americans know this is pure, unadulterated crap.

People make the same argument with the death penalty (which I oppose), that somehow the fact that more blacks are executed means the system is racist-instead of arguing that its deficient in executing white people.

My point on North Korea is that we, like all nations, need to take geopolitical forces into account. In Iraq, the positives for action far outweighed the dangers of inaction, including allowing wimpy countries like Canada, Germany and France to subvert the UN Sanctions while the US & GBR enforced the no-fly zones indefinitely.

NK sits on the Chinese border. Most sane people would consider NK a Chinese Satellite. Much like attacking East Germany would have been an attack on Soviet Russia, we also must consider that an attack on NK might be considered, by the Chinese, an attack against them - especially, since you conveniently forget, we all did this once already and that's exactly how China interpreted the act. So, no, the two (NK and Iraq) are not the same.

What is irrational are hinky-dink nations trying to dictate national security to the USA under the rubric of being "Allies".

And yes, there are certainly things I am intolerant of. Foreigners trying to tell my country what is and is not in our interest (which, for the record, is not to say I mind being told we are wrong - okay, I do mind, but not in the same way). I mind shmucks trying to inculcate or proselytize to my kids, even and especially when they share the same faith as me. I am intolerant of the kumbaya lot who want peace, love and the brotherhood of man and can't get their puny little brains around the fact that 1) most people are assholes we don't want to be related to and 2) peace comes through war, love comes through hate and brotherhood doesn't come at all.

This is a very dangerous world, Myles. More dangerous for Americans and Israelis and Brits and Iraqi's and Africans than it is for Canadians, Germans, or Frenchman. We struggle to do what's right, and we do it in the face of a pacificist world that relies on US to do your bidding. Our world changed on 9/11 - the same way Spain's changed on 3/11 and Britain on 7/7.

When you get to bury the few pieces they could find of your best friend, then you can bitch about the US meddling.

Until this war comes home to you, shut up.

Patriot said...

Thanks for that tyrade Anon. Now let me tell you something. I, as much as anyone am a supporter of the free exchange of ideas. This blog is a testement to that. In that light I let you spew your venom and narrow minded crap as much as you want but here is where I draw the line.

Not you or anyone else tells anyone on this site including me to "shut up". You sir/madam or imbicile have no right (no, the flag, the bomb and pappy Bush don't give you the right) to tell anyone on this site to "shut up".

Now here is the deal. You will be allowed to continue making your convoluted points as long as you wish, but that is all you do. The minute you use any derogatory language toward anyone and more importantly, the minute you tell anyone to shut up, your comments will be deleted and will continue to be deleted until the cows come home.

How's that for power anon.

Anonymous said...

Imbecile.

The power of knowledge. And Webster's Dictionary.

You Newfie's must all have really small penis's to be such little men.

Delete that, you uneducated, incompetent fonce.

Anonymous said...

Better yet, delete this. Newfies and Facts obviously don't mix.

From http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2004/05/11/pf-455210.html

MD threat: PM
SADDAM'S MISSING WEAPONS IN TERRORISTS' HANDS: MARTIN
By STEPHANIE RUBEC, OTTAWA BUREAU, SUN MEDIA



Prime Minister Paul Martin addresses a luncheon in Montreal. (CP PHOTO/Andre Pichette)
Prime Minister Paul Martin says he believes Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and they've fallen into terrorists' hands. Martin said the threat of terrorism is even greater now than it was following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, because terrorists have acquired nuclear, chemical and biological weapons from the toppled Iraqi leader.

"The fact is that there is now, we know well, a proliferation of nuclear weapons, and that many weapons that Saddam Hussein had, we don't know where they are," Martin told a crowd of about 700 university researchers and business leaders in Montreal. "That means terrorists have access to all of that."

Yeah, Myles. It was only OUR mistake.

Anonymous said...

And, quite frankly, when it comes to American security, the War on Terror, Iraq, et al -

Yeah. Go shut the fuck up. Our business not yours.

And when your pussy little country starts seeing your buildings knocked down, you will have every right to turn to your neighbors to the South and tell us to shut the fuck up.

Way the world works, you arrogant, deluded little asshole.

NL-ExPatriate said...

Mr Anonymous.

When you get to bury the few pieces they could find of your best friend, then you can bitch about the US meddling.

I have buried two of my fellow comrades (best friend) or like you allude to parts of them. I also knew personally 4 others who died fighting for the freedom you say Canada isn't out there defending and trying to promote.
Not to mention the countless others who will be forever haunted because of their involvement in the worlds dirty laundry.

Fact of the matter is no country will ever have peace until they want it! It is then and only then that the world can become involved on the ground. Otherwise you risk being like the third man in a bar room brawl you will end up being the only one hurt.

Having served my country and done two tours. One in Yugo, Vukovak and one in Africa, and one in Eritrea/Ethiopia.

I can attest to the need for a reformed UN. Start by removing the Veto's for one. That and a 24 hours a day 365 days a year staff!
It really sucks when your in a foreign war zone and you get an answering machine stating hours of operation are from 9-5 mon to fri?

Personally I think Mr Bush was and is a big stumbling block to enlisting the support of other nations like Canada. Even now that no WMD have been found or before by the UN inspectors.

As for your link about PMPM comments, he had nothing to do with Canada's behind the scenes involvement or uninvolvement depending on your viewpoint.

I prey to god he doesn't get to serve any more time leading this country. How can anyone who was minister of finance during the time of the sponsorship scandal claim ignorance unless he is ignorant! Deriliction of his duties as finance minister is what he should be charged with.

Please keep it civil if for no other reason than to show respect for our fallen comrades in the hope that there will be no more! In the hope that through discussion and open civilized debate to find alternate solutions that work.

Patriot said...

Acually Anon, I have thought the situation over and have decided to let you continue to spew your twisted, narrow view of the world all you want. As a matter of fact feel free to tell anyone you want to shut up.

I have re-read some of your comments and I have come to one very clear conclusion. Simply put (cause I know you need it put simply so you can understand it), you make my case for me better than I do.

Your narrow, american-centric view of the world speaks volumes. Thanks for helping me illustrate the concept.

Bye ;-)