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My own "battle of the Blogs" between myself and a Deutsch friend: He sent the 14 Oct article by NYT's pundit Frank Rich. (linked at the bottom)

Karl Heinz,
It has been obvious from the beginning that we will probably never agree on this but I persevere. The difference being that I do this everyday for a living, and you (and most of those who believe such as you) pick and choose articles and references from the comfort of living in the west, that reinforce your preconceived notions, and demand that their/your broadbrush of understanding, observing from Europe, or New York be accepted as the only and gospel truth.
It is not surprising to me that when the reporters were really embedded with the coalition troops and experiencing the war that the soldiers were experiencing the coverage was overwhelmingly positive. After the whirlwind overthrow of the criminal hussein regime, they moved back into their usual 4 star hotel suites, started spending their evenings in the hotel bar, and chopping their copy back through New York and Washington DC and . . . though it has taken those "objective" editors almost two years with the exact same sort of Rube Goldberg metaphorical contructions that Rich attempts here, those smug progressive liberal editors, (c'mon Karl, if the VRWC controlled the media, as you all say, wouldn't all the news coming out of Iraq be positive?) while sitting safe, cozy and well fed in New York and Washington have consistantly chipped away at the success of the coalition, with their necessary little half truths and lies, focusing only on the negative, until now even the American people are about 50%-50% in their questioning of it.
It never surprised me that so much of the European continent was not behind it. They weren't much behind the Balkans war either, even with the civilian slaughter happening on their doorstep and to their soldiers. Interestingly enough the governments that did support the liberation of Iraq were the recently liberated nations of Eastern Europe. I suppose the liberation of Iraq would quite naturally resonates more with people who have recently, in their own memory, had the boot of tyranny lifted off of their necks. And I would speculate that the EU will have it's hands full and it's pockets emptied these next few years as the East becomes more vocal in their questioning of why Western Europe stood by, watching from their borders, fecklessly wringing their hands for 50 years while allowing it to happen and then demand a guilty compensation.

Frank Rich's article is the usual litany of necessary little lies and bullshit half truths. A partisan screed so anecdotal in it's construction that Rich is forced to speak allegorically of the Nixon adminstration in a pathetic attempt to both smear by association and create an impression of criminality in the Bush administration. But that Rich could have named one single law broken by those bad ol' Bushies, his case might seem less than just another cheap tawdry democrat election season smear. Lots of allusion, lots of allegory, lots of implication, but in your own bias you failed to notice he doesn't list or ref a single civil right violated or a single law broken. Spiro Agnew, Pat Buchannon and John Mitchell have nothing to do with what is going on today but hey, if you can't really find anybody really breaking any real laws . . . I guess they will have to do.

Rich makes quite a case too. I mean John Ashcroft and the Bush adminstration are so successfully crushing freedom of speech in America that Michael Moore's movie has been distributed and made tens of millions of dollars, while his new screed "Will they ever Trust us again" is climbing up the NYT best seller list.
The Bush administration is so busy "stifling" dissent that Joe Wilson has sold hundreds of thousands of copies of his book, "the Politics of Truth," even though the 9/11 investigative report proved to be abject lies, (and how does one "out" an "operative" who has appeared in a Harper's magazine photo spread and made the morning TV infotainment show circuit repeatedly.) The "Chain of Command" by Seymour Hersch, "Democracy Matters" by Cornel West, "Bush World" by Maureen Dowd are all by degrees anti-Bush and on the NYTs best seller list. Ashcroft and his "brownshirts" are so successfully crushing freedom of expression in American that Bruce Springsteen is currently leading a cabal of aging rock stars in a thinly veiled "Rock the Vote" anti-Bush tour throughout the U.S.A.
Oddly enough, (and inspite of the ubiquitous control of the media by the dreaded "conservatives,") all of these books (and the coming CD) are available throughout America and even at the military exchange bookstores and CD racks . . . (to no doubt further confuse those young, poor and stupid service members who were tricked into fighting in Iraq) . . .
I just don't know how much more of this "oppression" America can stand.

By the way, a curious question, can you send me a mainstream media German news byline about Abu Ghraib when saddam's thugs ran it? or about the UNITED NATIONs Food for Oil scandal? Or about the recent unearthing of more mass graves in Kurdish Northern Iraq, Or how about one positive story on the successful elections in Afghanistan last week? Or about the hospitals and schools opening in Iraq? I keep getting told that Americans are "propagandized," but I can send articles on all sides of all these topics from the supposed "rightwing controlled" U.S. media. Can you do the same from the mainstream German media?

Rich froth at the mouth over "Representative Joe Barton, Republican of Texas, has threatened to seek Congressional "safeguards" regulating TV news content and, depending what happens Nov. 2, he may well have the political means to do it." Oh my God, Joe Barton has spoken out loud and the sky is falling, granted nothing has happened, but for Rich's sensitive progressive ears simply hearing those words means the sky is falling . . . as opposed to the reality of the McCain-Feingold bill that doesn't allow "paid political advertisements" prior to the election.
Yep, good call on that one. Now the "objective" mainstream medias can keep us "objectively" informed with kitty kelly's gossip on Good Morning America three mornings in a row to discuss Laura Bush "selling drugs in college." And Dan Rather can keep us "objectively" informed about Bush's National Guard Service with forged documents that he says "no one has challenged the jist of!" Good point Dan, and when did you stop having sex with little boys, granted I got the information off of fake documents that I can't prove are true, but nobody is questioning the underlying assumption, so, why don't you just answer the questions Dan, what are you hiding?
In Frank Rich's "objective" world the 200 decorated Swift Boat Veterans are automatically suspected liars ~ while Kerry's conflicting and continually changing stories are automatically beyond reproach.
In Frank Rich's "objective" world forged documents are "fundamentally true" if they support his political position ~ and the truth is meaningless and to be discounted, deconstructed if necessary, if it doesn't.
In Frank Rich's "objective" world fairness in the media means what's mine is mine and the 10% of the media that is conservative requires government legislation to "balance" it.
In Frank Rich's "objective" world words spoken from the right are equal to if not worse than actions behaved on the left.

And no, I don't recognize and don't think I sent you those letters from soldiers. Even if I had sent those letter why are the negative letters from scared soldiers more believeable to you than letters from other soldiers who have a different and optimistic opinion?
Again I have to say, I find it most interesting listening to those who want to argue
strongly based on selective articles they have read, with those of us who do this for a living, and then pretend to know and/or understand more than we do, while (necessarily?) dismissing out of hand every opinion different than their own. Is it out of the realm to consider that there is another possible allegory to Iraq other than their one Vietnam horse that they obsessively beat over and over and over again? And why were all the same horses beaten first and exactly the same way for Afghanistan?. . . another "example" of "U.S. aggression," perpetrated to "steal all the oil," that just last week . . . held it's first recorded election in history.
I don't know how much more of this imperialistic "oppression" Afghanistan can stand.
Iraq will hold it's first election, since the overthrow of the criminal hussein regime in January. The very explicable violence will not stop it. The leftover Ba'athist are angry, they had everything and have now lost it and fear retribution for how they have treated everyone. The Sunni are scared of the coming Shi'ite victory and the possibility of retribution for how they have treated the majority shia, the extreme islamic terrorists and assorted psychopaths are flowing in from across the islamic world because they recognize and are using Iraq as a testcase that they know they can not afford to lose! All of the self appointed kings and criminal tyrants of the middle east have a stake in Iraq's failure, to stop this ripple from becoming a wave and washing all of their illegitimate regimes into the dustbin of history.
Granted it is simpler and feeds so many
western "progressives" preferred myths about revolution, the "haves and have nots," and their sophomoric kneejerk anti-Americanism to call them "insurgents," or "freedom fighters but when you ask a "nuanced" euro; "ok, then where were the so called freedom fighters' during the 30 year ba'athist dictatorship?" their sputtering and dissembling is palpable and embarrassing.

Do you know where Germany stood 20 months after the Eisenhower declared "major combat operations are over?" Sure the Allies and Axis called it a "surrender," but the fighting certainly didn't stop, why should Iraq be different, except that it suits your argument?

The begged question for me are;
- What should Iraq look like right now and can you cite any historical example to reinforce the point?
- What definition do you have of "winning the peace" besides a free and stable Iraq?
- What positive historical examples can you reference to support the various contentions of "failure" in liberation of iraq? ie.. what nation ever created a stable and functioning democracy in 2 years, after 30 years of dictatorship?
- Were more people killed in Baghdad or in the U.S. capitol, Washington DC last month? And if the numbers were close, would you propose the government fold up shop and pull out since that would, by your own definition, prove they are not wanted there by the local populace?

Another simple ami just trying to make sense of
those oh so "sophisticated" Euro-opinions.

Tyranno

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/14/arts/17rich.html?ex=1098921920&ei=1&en=5a5287fa5d16108a

"Plus at this point, we have gone from liberators to occupiers in Iraq. They now hate us and hate all we do and stand for."
Kurt,
That statement is correct only if you listen to the MSM, read the web sites of soldiers on the ground and Iraqi bloggers, and for the most part you will get a very different picture. The fact that thousands of Iraqi'a are lineing up every day to become sodiers and police officers to provide for their own defense, in spite of the dangers posed to them by Anti-american/anti-freedom Islamofacists proves that the average Iraqi wants to take the opportunities afforded them by a new democratic Iraq, and they realize that in the final analysis, it will be up to the Iraqi people;HELPED by the Americans,to forge that free state. Most don't believe it will come to full fruition in their lifetimes, but hope it will accru to their children.

The Iraqis are running their OWN elections, all we are doing is providing security to allow the voters to have a modicum of safety when they exercise their new rights to vote. THEY pick the candidates by their own rules.

"Most of the country is not controlled by the Iraqi/US government. It’s a chaotic mess."

Again, Kurt you are swayed by the MSM...,only three of the fourteen provences are held in sway by the Islamofacists...trouble is, only the events in those areas are reported...to make an analogy:

Iraq is roughly the size of California, the three provences are only slightly larger than South Central Los Angeles. If the MSM only reported on the events of violence that are a daily way of life in S-C LA; what would your impression of California be?

"And I will tell you why Mr Soros doesn't like Mr. Bush. He sees the Wolfowitz Doctrine/Current Bush Administration Policy of Pre-emptive, unilateral action as an excuse for empire"

Kurt, the US has NEVER had an interest in having an empire, the American people certainly don't, and without the support of the people, no American president could build one. Show me ONE instance where America has fought a war in any land and has asked any more than the land to bury her dead.

"..unilateral action..."
tell that to the OTHER 30+ nations in the coalition...I'm sure THEY would be surprised to know that by joining us they were considered a part of the US now...Read more than the Democratic memes at DU and talking points of the Kerry campaign. You just might be surprised at what you might learn.

What is your "Truth"? Bush lied? If he did, then every major Democrat figure lied, as they agreed with what Bush said in public statements
...as early as 1998! War for oil? oil IS a partof it, no doubt,try to run you car on iced tea sometime and see how important oil is to our economy, hense our national security, BUT oil was NOT the major reason for going to war...If it were, it would have been much cheaper to join France and Germany AND the UN in participating in the OFF scam.

I know I'm not your friend idiologically, but maybe I made YOU think, just a little?

Soro's was not only involved in the anti-drug effort (where by the way he just spent an inordinate amount of money to oust a local US prosecuter who would not support his views.)

Soros was an active campaigner for the McCain-Feingold campaign finance legislation. Now we have Soros spending multi millions supporting every organization which will campaign against Bush.

Who would thought that Soros's Democracy Now work in the Eastern Bloc would finally be turned to the USA. Someone needs to look at whether there are hidden aspects to his work in Eastern Europe.

We need to worry about the real motives of people like Soros.

Ray D.

You present excellent arguements. Well thought-out and logical. No ranting, no raving. You also give credit to Mr. Soros where credit is due. You are an excellent spokesman for our side.

Hartmut Lau commeted on 15OCT04 at 7:44 PM:

By contrast, the US Army had prepared and put into place what were essentially civilians-in-uniform to establish a military government in Germany post-8 May 1945. Those people, not trained infantry, armor & artillerysoldiers but trained "military government" lawyers, administrators and educators, undertook the "introduce a democracy" work. Unlike 1945-49, the current effort (and I by no means wish to denigrate the hard work by the stalwarts doing it) is more ad hoc in nature - with the attendant difficulties.

The US Army has a few soldiers with a bit of experience: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/army/ca-psyop.htm

4th Psyops group
96th Civil Affairs Battalion
2nd Psyops group
7th Psyops group
350th Civil Affairs Command
351th Civil Affairs Command
352nd Civil Affairs Command
353rd Civil Affairs Command
412th Civil Affairs Battalion
451th Civil Affairs Battalion

That's over 10,000 troops, mostly resevist "civilians in uniform" who perform the exact mission Hartmut says the US can not perform. This does not include the thousands of Soldiers and Marines who have civil affairs training and experience who are not assigned to these units. And all of these units are deployed, refurbishing, or getting ready to deploy.

Note from Davids Medienkritik: This comment is not from David of Davids Medienkritik.

Unfortunately, reference to "democracy" by both you and Soros indicate neither of you understand the true nature of freedom. The United States has become the freest, richest, most powerful nation in the world (the three are intimately linked) - yet one that refuses to engage in conquest - because its Founders created, not a democracy, but a republic in which _property rights_, including _individual rights_, were held supreme, unalienable & unassailable.

Of all the liberties & rights we as Americans hold, voting has to be among the least important. Indeed, in many cases - where the majority votes to enslave or loot the minority - voting is actually deliterious to freedom.

If either of you examine the Japanese constitution, you'll see that General MacArthur understood quite well the distinction between a nation based on democracy and a nation based on property & individual rights.

If we ever hope to win over the peoples of the world who are oppressed by tyranny, we had better get it straight in our own minds first exactly what is the fundamental basis for freedom and how we in the USA achieved it and (for the most part) maintain and defend it today.

And that fundamental basis is NOT the ballot box.

Styeven Brockerman. MS

I''m relatively new to blogging debates, but what astonished me about the exchange between Soros and Ray D. is Soros' disturbing lack of substance. I thought I would read an argument I respected and one that posed important points. Instead, I'm left wondering if it's true that Soros just hates George Bush because he believes in God. It that's what's behind Soros' politics, all I have to say is "Team America, F*ck Yeah!"

Soros "Shorts" the US

It's quite clear to me where Mr. Soros is coming from. He has taken a classic "short" position on the US, primarily because he has so much money invested in China, Russia and other developing nations. For those nations to do well economically, he needs them to counter the weight of the US, thus his position against anything the US does on its own.

For someone who lived through some very tough times in the 20th century, who was liberated by US power, Soros is an amazing hypocrite and a profiteer, nothing more. He is not about democracy, he is only about making a buck.

The problem I have with using the argument that one could become an imminent threat is that we could use that against anyone. If they're not a threat to us we have no right to interfere. No matter who's president I don't want them deciding that a country could become an imment threat, and therefore we should go to war. Iraq was only a threat to itself. There have been only minimal and questionable ties to Al Qaeda, but now that the US is there it's perfect place for terrorists to act, they don't have to take a plane to the US, the US is in their backyard! Every action we take in the Middle East just makes extremists hate us more. I think we should just stay out of there unless we know there is an imminent threat to us, and let them deal with their own problems.

@Applesweet
It's so hard to fathom how a whole continent can not remember the hard and fast lessons of WW2. They have lost so much that is not replaceable. So why is it they think they can continue on the same reckless path of denial and irresponsibility without severe consequences?

I worked in Germany back in '80 + '81. I remember very well a conversation I had with a German colleague. I believe he is very representative of German attitudes. He believed that the world would be a better place, if it were run by the Germans. I was a target of his ideas, because I was an American and he saw that Americans were running the world and screwing things up.

OK, for sake of argument I accepted his premises and compared and contrasted the then 35 years after 1945 with the 35 years before 1945. Before: German/Europe run world; Two massively destructive in every way world wars and a Great Depression. After: US run world; no world war, almost continuous growth in prosperity, not to mention technology. Who has the better record? Who has avoided destructive wars between the major powers?

This shut him up for awhile. The assumed superiority of the Europeans and their ways over American ways just gets to me. It's based on nothing. They just claim it. Just as John Kerry, who has to be seen to be believed, claims that he will just do just everything better than George Bush. Based upon what record? What has John Kerry ever done in his life to have any sentient being believe that he is so omnicompetent? Europeans also think that America is European and will act like European countries would act, if they had the power of America. Euros, learn this: America is NOT European and does not ACT European. Try to fit that into your multi-culti mindset. It seems every culture is legit, except American. Grow up!

Your arguments are well taken and full of sound reasoning and historical insight. However, in reading your exchange with Mr. Soros, his thoughts and your trying to reason with him, I am reminded of what Proverbs says about dealing with fools:

"Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding him like grain with a pestle, you will not remove his folly from him" -- Prov. 27:22

"Do not speak to a fool, for he will scorn the wisdom of your words" -- Prov. 23:9

@Kurt
I think what Mr. Soros is trying to say is, you can't impose a democracy on a society that’s not ready for it by force.

70%+ of Iraqis support elections in January, another percentage support elections, just later. You underestimate the Iraqis. Did you see the Afghan elections last week?

Plus at this point, we have gone from liberators to occupiers in Iraq. They now hate us and hate all we do and stand for.

Iraq regained sovereignty in June, which is amazingly fast. It took 4 years post WWII for Germany and 7 years for Japan. I know the German media has become simply a propaganda outlet, so I forgive you for not seeing the reports of over 100,000 Iraqis, who've put their lives on the live for their new government and the new Iraq by joining the new Iraqi Army, National Guard and Iraqi Police. 90%+ of Iraqis want peace, want freedom and want a chance for a better life for themselves and their families. They know the best way to get their is with Coalition help, then the US and Coalition can go home. The violence keeps the US in Iraq longer. Zarqawi and the Baathists are killing more Iraqis than Americans.

Elections we sponsor will not be seen as legitimate and all we do will be held suspect in the mind of the Iraqi people.

Kurt, you're amazing. You known what Iraqi people think. Last week, Afghan elections were held, seen as legitimate. I seen no reason to think Iraqi elections will be any less successful. Indeed, Iraqi cities, towns and villages have all ready been holding elections. Kurt, wrong again.

At this point, it’s not about politics to me, it’s about the truth.

Yup, I just feel your thirst for truth, you've been so accurate so far.

Are you winning or losing in Iraq right now. Most of the country is not controlled by the Iraqi/US government. It’s a chaotic mess.

Yup, more truth. 97% of the violence in Iraq takes place in the Sunni triangle, which makes up about 25% of the population. Kurdistan in the north is making tremendous progress. The Shiite south is peaceful and forging ahead. Kurt, you've made a good start by making it to David's Medienkritik, now you have to expand your reading to other sites and expand your knowlege.

And I will tell you why Mr Soros doesn't like Mr. Bush. He sees the Wolfowitz Doctrine/Current Bush Administration Policy of Pre-emptive, unilateral action as an excuse for empire. It’s a dangerous slipper slope and one, by the way, used by Hitler to invade Poland. Go figure why he is nervous. Well I am sure I won’t find any friends here but may be I made you think, maybe.

I love this one. All these 'anti-Preemption' people think that this is a Bush Policy. Folks, John Kerry stated clearly (if you can believe him) that he nor any President, would ever give up the right of Preemption. Kurt, do you know something 'we' don't? To the drivel about empire, once again, America is NOT European and does not act like a European country would, if they had America's power. This I think is the source of alot of European anti-Americanism. Euros know what they would do and project that onto America. Folks, don't worry, ain't gonna happen.

And Kurt, look in the mirror, you're the one who needs to start thinking.

Karl B -- it sounds as though we are (cough) largely in agreement, other than my apparently higher level of cynicism w.r.t. Europe.

Re: Soros -- I'm surprised only one commenter seems to have come fully around to the conclusion that Soros's extravagant push on behalf of John Kerry is probably just a business strategy. I think that commenter is correct, and share his/her view. Say what you will about Soros, he's clearly a financial genius. He knows that the best way to make his enormous "short" on America turn a profit is to get Kerry elected.

It's possible he's found the liberal version of the True Path, I admit. But if he's really acting on moral impulses now, and spending his carefully hoarded wealth on what he thinks are good works, it's a new thing for him.

I agree, Soros is shrewd, and the European impotence issue makes it impossible to argue that Soros is acting for "the good of the world." Soros must still have a short position on the U.S. and spending a bit here and there to influence the election is his way of helping his investment.
We are talking about a VERY careful investor (see also Krugman's coverage here).

I wonder how Soros feels about introducing communism by military means.

Certainly democracy demands more from a population, education, awareness and a willingness to defend their rights. But what we are doing now makes far more sense than encouraging the Kurds and Marsh Arabs to rebel and then leaving them to the tender mercies of Saddam.

People like Soros and Anan only deplore the deaths caused by interventions, never those genocides and atrocities occurring in places like Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur or Cambodia. If this is the liberal answer to traditional morality, it stinks.

I was in high school when our English teacher informed us there would be no war in Europe because Neville Chamberlin had returned from Munich with a pledge from Hitler. Hitler simply went the other way to begin his conquest of Europe. We know now that if England had made just the slightest move toward neutralizing Hitler, it would have stopped him. They didn't and were forced to fight the battle of Britain. France had the Maginot line of defense, which Hitler simply went around and into Paris; the second time Germans had conquered France.
Germany never attacked the US. I was one who hought, like Westbrook Pegler, that FDR lied us into WWII. Japan, having no natural resources, had to attack Pearl Harbor to neutralize the Pacific fleet, because FDR had shut off their importing of oil from the Philipines. Being naive, we never dreamed they could do it. Preemption is the best way rather than waiting, as Kerry proposes, to equalize things. The muslims want all non-muslims dead! If we lose this war, it will be the last one we will ever be in, because we will be sunk. Clinton let the military starve; but in the years since it has made a remarkable recovery. We can be thankful. They don't want a draft. These people are professionals. Many long-time soldiers cannot reenlist because they can't pass the exam.

I think the Germany and Japan analogies are a bit off too. I think the American Revolution is a better one. We know the democratic revolutionaries exist in Iraq - after all, we turned our back on them after the first Gulf War. Their small, ragtag efforts couldn't hope to remove Saddam. So now, if militarily intervening to accomplish what they could not is the wrong way to go about creating a democracy, then it must also have been wrong of France to intervene in the American Revolution and help out the colonists, who couldn't have beaten the Brits without them.

Apparently Mr. George Soros thinks that you are not his social equal; therefore, you cannot possibly understand his perspective, and you should not criticize him because you're just American white trash. You have to be rich and European to understand his malaise and his ennui.

Last Christmas, at the department party, The Boss (an Oxford "man") told me that his countrymen were against the war in Iraq because they had suffered unbearably during WW2, and they were tired of war (he was born in 1950!). I'm a few years younger than that, and I was raised in North Arkansas where I visited outhouses on a daily basis, but somehow his understanding of poverty is greater than mine! He also told me "You're going to get nationalized health care. It's not a matter if if, but when." Over my dead body!

Europe is full of lazy people. They're on the dole, they can't handle poverty, and they can't be bothered to take on any new problems. I sure hope we don't turn into a bunch of slackers like these bloody Europeans.

"The cowards never started and the weaklings died along the way." RAH

Charlie

Excellently done, sir. There are not enough pages here to do justice to a thorough Soros critique. This will have to do - a man who is willing to bankrupt an entire nation and impoverish its people through currency raiding is not a man with whom you can bandy Morals. His is soul-less, amoral, and empty. And here is the telling point - any of our Founding Fathers stands on the merits of their understanding of the great issues of Life and their hard won reasoning through the epics, classics and Histories of God and man. Our Fathers did not apply money as their raison d'tre. They applied a superior understanding. They rose to inestimable heights on that Understanding. Soros' only gimmick is his money. Without the money, Soros is just a rabid dog barking and frothing in the alley. That...is the crucial difference.

Final, someone sprayed that Soros Bug with RayD.

Hmmmm.

1. "... Soros is correct - you cannot "introduce a democracy with military means. ...".
Post WWII Japan was ruled as a military dictatorship by the US Army until a democracy was imposed by that same army. That disproves Soros.

2. The Theory of Reflexivity is interesting to me because I was doing some minor thinking on something similar to it for the past couple weeks. Not stealing any credit btw as what I was doing wasn't anything as codified as that.

What's interesting is that the normal view of the financial markets vs the world is one of a scale in balance. As events unfold and the market moves to reflect conditions in the world the scale eventually balances out. Risk vs profit, immediate vs. long-term, all are balanced out on the scale in a natural process.

The Theory of Reflexivity on the other hand views the relationship between the financial markets and the world as a scale with a thumb on each side trying to manipulate not just the relationship but the mechanism of that relationship itself.

The real reason why it's interesting to me is that I'm working, half-heartedly, on an essay on the intersection of terrorism and market manipulation. We've all seen those terrible "B" movies where the bad guys create a crime wave that reduces local property values so that the land could be bought cheaply. It was even parodied in Mel Brook's seminal Blazing Saddles. But as much as that is a joke, the reality is that it does work and seems to work particularly well when combined with terrorism. Crime is something that we're all familiar with and don't have a special horror of. Terrorism though has a far greater impact than the actual numbers of dead and injured. America loses 3,500 people each month due to automobile accidents. In America about 3,200 people die each year of minor accidents in the home's bathroom. More people die of simple murder in America than died in 9/11.

Yet 9/11 had an impact, an especially a financial impact, far beyond what damage was actually inflicted. Additionally the most prevalent terrorist threat today, a dirty bomb, is far more hype than a deathdealer. A dirty bomb would contaminate a large portion of a major city and would force immediate evacuations and disruptions that would reverberate throughout the world and the financial world. But the reality of a dirty bomb is that such radioactive particles can be decontaminated relatively easily and that any residual radiation would take decades to actually kill anyone. The technology for dealing with surfaces contaminated with radioactive particles has been taken to a high art by the more modern militaries. But the immediate impact on the financial markets and the property values in the affected areas would be very significant.

Just look at the hype and hysteria over asbestos. I don't think that anybody would argue that everyone who sues over asbestos exposure is actually seriously ill from it.

Then there's the oil futures market. The current political instability in Venezuela has impacted the oil futures market, but the instability and terrorism in Iraq has affected them even more. If I were an unscrupulous commodities trader with ties to terrorists then I could predict how the oil futures market would react to future events because I could have a direct hand in shaping and the timing of those events. There were rumors that AQ and Osama did something similar to this prior to 9/11. That they took advantage of the incipient attack to short certain stocks in the knowledge that those stocks would fall significantly in price. I don't know if those rumors ever panned out, but the concept does seem solid to me.

A person could make enormous amounts of money under these circumstances, but only as long as the ability to control and effect the relevant terrorist acts. If some means of halting the terrorism if effected then the technique becomes worthless and something of a liability that could lead to prison or worse. If the control is lost then the predictive quality cannot be maintained as independent, or rogue, terrorist groups act in unknowing or uncaring opposition.

...

It's all wildly speculative of course. But there has to be a source for all that money flowing into the hands of terrorists. I wonder if the basis for at least some terrorism isn't ideology at all but money.

born in germany in 66 I never expierienced anything else than 68ers' diseases. Its indeed some sort of collective psychose taking place here. They hate their parents for failing in defeating Hitler (and they are right till here) and they hate, like most of the french, the US for having proofen this failure. And then they ran for a kind of posterior, sublimated 'Ersatzwiderstand' against the establishment. Some did it outside of the 'system' (APO: außerparlamentarische Opposition), others inside (Marsch durch die Institutionen). Since 1998 both wings are finally reunited: The APO ones (Fischer ...) now in Governement, the others (beside of teachers and others, fighting for social reeducation...) as media-jounalists; the laters, still a little ashame to habe taken the more comfortable way, were and are now willing to pay back. Since then, things got really bad. Having the privilege and the duty, granted by the constitution (thanx USA!), to control the governement, the media do all the opposite. And if, from time to time, the 'quality' of administration and legislation is so evidently poor, that they cant avoid to critizise the governement, they do it always in the following way: Yes, it was not very well done by the governement, but the opposition (CDU) is still less capable to do it. Often not true and first of all not argued in a rational, analytic way, they push people by there to not participate in elections or to go to the extremist parties. And they dont care, no, they claim that the lack of difference in politics between SPD and CDU, that they themselves construct(ed)/invented, makes people feeling disgusted by politics. They are literally antidemocratic hypocrits and the only 'excuse'I can see, is the poor analytic capabilities that are wide spread in this milieu. I know them from school, and I can asure you, they are the very same, that hated mathematics, physics or any other subject demandig logic capabilities; the very same that hated any intellectual topic that leads to answers or solution, verifieable under the strict rule of proof and methodolgical survey.
And dont get me wrong: I'm a liberal artist, not willing to get trapped in the idiotic left/right matrix. I just try to accept the burden of dealing with dilemma and contradiction, I just accept the non anthropological nature of reality.

without approving every thing written on this blog (how could one in general), I'm greatful for your work and I can assure you: I felt very lonely for long years.

markus

It's still there:

http://www.georgesoros.com/index.cfm?Fuseaction=ViewEntry&EntryID=24

WoW! That's the best summary I have ever read. That Soros answered you and then felt obligated to remove it from his website shows that he is not proud of his own stance. If he believed his argument was better than yours, he would have left it up for others to read.

can Soros be so ignorant to not know the invasion of Kuwait was the beginning of this war we decided to end?

there was never a peace treaty or surrender signed by the Iraqis, they signed a cease fire that was violated throughout the 12 years of UN impotence.

the UN has run its course of usefulness. especially seeing what the US is getting in return for its investment.

Call me a cynic, but George Soros made all his money capitalizing on the stupid financial things Clinton did. Maybe he just wants the stupidity back..

This blog has been quite an exciting find... not just totally rabid conservatives, but a few reasonable leftys. I have read some (a little bit anyway) legitimate criticism of President Bush, while not letting "Old Europe" off the hook for the fraud it perpetuates regarding multilateralism. You can find no better disciples of Machiavelli then Chirac and Schroeder.

Regarding Schroeder's re-election campaign run on anti-americanism... he relied on an old German trait:
1. their economy has been sputtering for years now, 2. Einheit with the East-German Nanny/STASI-state hasn't worked out so well,
3. all those nasty foreigners were not leaving Germany when the economy went sour, etc.,
...so time to look for a third party to blame (or at least somebody to flog while we deliberately do nothing to repair our inflexible labour markets and our slumping competitiveness). For the German media and (sadly) its elected officials Americans are behind all of "our" problems.

One point worth underlining is this myth of Europe turning away from us because of President Bush. Not so... Reagan was vilified (remember, we were all going to end up in flames?!). I travelled around Europe in summer '84 after finishing college. German's were the least hospitable. At the time, I wondered what kind of socialist kool-aid have they been drinking? Now I realize the full impact of the '68'ers and what they have wrought. Their BS is in the schools, its on TV, it's in the newspaper and even in the Kanzler's office.

"Unfortunately, had we followed your plan to deal with Saddam through the United Nations, his regime of mass murder and torture would likely still exist today."

And most probably sanctions would have been lifted
by those interested in keeping him safe from GWB's hands and so permitting him to renew his efforts to obtain those WMDs.
Given the hindsight we have is this so outrageous a conjecture?


Soros said:

The analogy with Post-war Germany and Japan is a false one. We didn't attack them in order to introduce democracy. They attacked us and were soundly defeated. We then treated them generously [The Marshall Plan] - not the way we treated Germany after the First World War - and they responded positively.

"not the way we treated Germany after the First World War"

???? - I suppose by "we" he means America...

The US Congress NEVER signed the treaty of Versailles, from the American standpoint, we never did anything. Europeans wanted and received money from Germany as war reparations, the USA as not having signed it, never got a dime. Shamefull reparations was one of the many axes Hitler used to grind in his rise to power.

Soros' comments are not even historically or factually correct.

If anything, Post WWI Germany should have been "happy" with America as we wanted nothing and angry with France and the UK who wanted money. Ironically, Soros observes the opposite and ignores that today, American wants and receives nothing from Europe for the years of dedication to thier own existance.

Shamefull also considering he is European and has grown rich in America.

Interesting discussion. What gets left behind is the one simple fact, that it is we the Americans, and Europeans who put these brutal dictators into place, so actually when they start to go wrong, it is our responsibility above all else to get shut of them. Saddam was just one of several such. So one can say that we Westerners are responsible for the deaths of millions in Africa in particular by installing despots.......

I, too, would like to send Mr. Soros an email, but I can't find an address for him. There is no contact link at www.GeorgSoros.com. Could you please send me the email address you used to contact him?

Thanks.

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