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Author Topic: Bush, Al-Qaeda, Iraq, Truth & Justice, and...Superman  (Read 17726 times)
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nightwing
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« Reply #24 on: June 08, 2004, 01:44:57 PM »

Aldous writes:

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Well, your average American has the reputation of being the most poorly informed person (in respect of current affairs and foreign cultural matters) in the developed world, and it's probably deserved. I don't know if it can be blamed wholly on the media. People will seek out what they are interested in.


You'll get no argument from me, there.  People in America are, on the whole, ignorant about what goes on abroad and they're happy that way.  I just sensed an insinuation in wellsy's remarks (and I may have misinterpreted them) that it's a case of our government keeping us in the dark.  On the contrary, I think it's a combination of voluntary ignorance nurtured by a media that's interested in turning a buck rather than upholding journalistic ideals.

Put it this way: if the American people can be conditioned to want multiple cars in their driveways or the most expensive shampoo on the shelf, then they could also be conditioned to give a hoot about world events.  The problem is that the media follows rather than leads.  It checks to see what we want to hear and then gives it to us.  Bored by news of foreign lands?  Confused about the legislative process?  Not to worry, here's a nice juicy story about a rich doctor who killed his young mistress.

This has backfired on them, of course.  Liberal-minded as they are, the press has tried to impugn Bush by doing stories about how much foreigners hate him.  But since they've nurtured an apathy about world events, their viewers merely respond, "Who cares what those people think, they live in some other country!"

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There is little doubt, I think, that far less consequential countries (like ours) have a more developed sense of how interdependent and interconnected the events of the world are, whereas Americans are narcissistic and really get off on themselves.


Well, "less consequential" seems harsh, but I see where you're going.  And I'll agree in the sense that countries like yours understand that if you're going to survive and get ahead in the world, they're going to have to get along with other nations.  America is powerful enough that it doesn't have to understand or sympathize with the needs of other lands, so it doesn't bother, by and large.  Power may or may not always corrupt, but it does tend to make for a sense of self-satisfaction and complacency.  Americans don't care about world events because they don't see how it all relates to them.  9/11 changed that for a while, but already people have largely fallen back into their attitudes of indifference.

Oh, and back to the media.  It should be noted that with incidents like the Bali bombing, the press is always sure to mention how many Americans were killed (even if it's just a comparative handful).  Every time I hear that, I get the impression they're saying, "We're really sorry to have bothered you with news of foreign events, but Americans were involved, so it's not totally off-topic.  Now about that sex scandal..."
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India Ink
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« Reply #25 on: June 08, 2004, 10:34:02 PM »

The big mistake of Bush was verbally beating up on countries that didn't support his war with Iraq--especially his traditional allies like France and Germany (and Canada--although in that case Bush simply ignored Canada, and sent his ambassador, Paul Celluci, in most un-diplomatic speech to yell at Canada within our borders, as if he were Tony Soprano addressing another wiseguy in the mob, instead of a diplomat who enjoys special status in a foreign and sovereign nation).

Even when non-traditional allies like Russia do wrong things (from the American perspective), the usual approach is to use strong, diplomatic speech (such as, "The actions of Russia are not in the best interests of the United States and its allies").  Every president knows that no matter what the current crisis he will at sometime have to talk with those traditional allies in the future.  It does him no good to stir up the American people against a country which has done so much for the United States in the past and will likely do more in the future--the concept of "Freedom Fries" is insulting!

And this week, Bush is talking with France and Germany--and their co-operation is needed in the handover of power in the Iraqi occupation.

France and Germany could just say go to hell--and who would Bush have to turn to?  Only Britain--where Tony Blair has his own problems thanks to Bush's war--and as Britain is part of the alliance its continued presence in Iraq would be seen as part of the occupation, not part of the pull-out.

Yes you need allies to go to war with (Bush should have tried harder to get some Arab states onside in the war), but you also need nations which are perceived to be neutral to broker and oversee the peace.

Bush had to know that having some countries declaring qualified neutrality in the war would allow him some wiggle room later on.  As Canada is known for its peace-keeping and diplomacy in such matters, it's probably a good thing that Canada didn't commit troops to the war (although not part of the alliance, our ships did patrol the Persian Gulf for Nato, and our boys were in Afghanistan risking their lives to hunt down terrorists--but Americans never appreciated or acknowledged such efforts).  I expect that Canada will be sending peace keeping troops to that unstable region within the next year or two--and when Canadian lives are lost, as most probably they will be, I doubt any Americans will pay any attention or care.

Bush simply beat up on those neutral countries because he knew it made him look like a big man to the American people--and diplomacy be damned.
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« Reply #26 on: June 08, 2004, 11:28:55 PM »

Everyone is entitled to their own opinons whether I or anyone else agrees with them.  

The problem with the media in this nation and many other things really comes down to the fact that we are not a patient people as we once were.  The Greatest Generation of the Second World War devoted years to developing the military machine which destroyed the Japanese empire and assisted in the destruction of Hitler's Germany (I honestly believe that the Soviet Union played a larger role in the destruction of Germany than the U.S. on the battlefield).  They experienced the Great Depression and then the second world war - they scarified and worked long hard hours and believed in what they were doing  - saving the world from the evil of Hitler and the Axis Powers.  

The following generations haven't had to live through the hardships of the greatest generation and we have developed a "we want it now attitude about things (what I call the McAttitude - McDonald's fast food which is available cooked and prepared as we want it but without us doing anywork to make it).  This was best shown during the Iraqi war when the U.S. forces slowed down after days of advancing against the Iraqi forces - the media reports were that the U.S. battleplans were incorrect, that we did not have enough forces and so many other wrong things.  The fact was the U.S. was resupplying, regrouping and preparing for the final push.  

The media doesn't want to report on the news of the day they want to make news themselves and focus the attention on the negative and not on the positive.  For example we hear all the time about possible terror groups in the U.S. usually moslem in faith but where are the reports of the individuals and groups of Arab Americans who serve in the military, are doctors, fireman, policeman, teachers and others who are making a positive impact on their community and on the lives of others?
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wellsy
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« Reply #27 on: June 09, 2004, 09:42:32 AM »

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You also have a fundamental lack of understanding about the refugee problem in your own country. They are not prisoners. They have attempted to enter Australia illegally and have been stopped at the borders. They claim they are refugees. Whether or not they really are refugees (most of them are not) is a matter for the Australian government to decide. While the government is deciding, the people who have breached Australia's borders are detained, ie. they are being prevented from actually entering the country. Do not call them prisoners. They can actually turn around and leave, back to where they came from, any time they like
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well alduous , i have heard that more than 90% of ppl in detention centres are deemed to be actual refugees. ur thoughts that most of them are not are based upon a load of cr@p, and despite deominising them in the media, the government really buggered themselves on this issue. for some1 who only lives a few hundred kilometers away, i thought u would have known! and the problem is twofold:
1) it takes us an extended amount of time to find out who they are
2) the facilities are so poor its a wonder they can contribute to australian society when they do come out.
so think before u speak, make sure that u actually have some fact to back up ur statements, ur opinion is based on media opinion!

India Ink, i completely agree with u. russia played a much bigger role in wwii than we think - if russia had fallen, then germany and japan would have been linked up, and the german and japanese armies could have helped each other. hence, political windbaging of states that actually help u is not good in the long term. however, its difficult to decide who is more vain - the french or the americans...

lastkryptonitehere, ur comments on how the media always ignores the positives is only too true. in australia, there have been articles that demonised the refugees (if u want to look at some1 gullible enough to believe them, aldous is ur man), and we have been alienated from our multicultural heritage. almost every nation on the planet has some sort of ethnic minority, and when bad things happen, then majority will blame it on the minority (in the early christian church, a fire in rome lead to the declaration that it was caused by christians who were from then on persecuted). it is sad that we cannot in the modern day acknowledge other cultures, its the ideas of a certain thing being good, and everything else being bad (such as being fat is bad, being big, broad and lean is good), and that is where i believe the problem lies.
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lastkryptonianhere
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« Reply #28 on: June 10, 2004, 02:40:31 AM »

No contest the French are more vain.  Period.  

As for the refugee problem in your nation I checked with a friend I work with from Australia (one year work programing ending at the end of June).  She told me about the situation and it sounds like the same problem the U.S. had in the late 1970's with the Cubans coming to America - we put them in dentention centers, some which were actually prisons and reviewed ech of their cases.  Many turned out to be criminals Castro had released and were sent here.  I don't know much about the situation down there other than what we talked about today at work and what I have read here in this forum but it doens't sound as simple as you make it to be.
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Aldous
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« Reply #29 on: June 10, 2004, 07:09:21 AM »

The problem with refugees in the present day (especially the flotsam washing up against Australia and New Zealand) is the term itself. Its meaning has been lost. Are most of them taking refuge from political persecution or imminent political danger? No, they're not. They know they can have a better life economically by getting into Australia or New Zealand (or wherever), but they choose to circumvent the normal immigration procedures the law-abiding have to go through. They keep burning down the accomodation at the detention centres and going on hunger strikes because they know the left-wing media will pump up the pressure to have them admitted, no questions asked. They have no legitimate reason for calling themselves refugees. They want a better life for themselves and their families (and who doesn't), but this doesn't make them refugees.

Let's look at what they get and then what they do. These rabble arrive on our shores by the thousands, they are detained so their stories can be checked, and, while in detention, they repeatedly burn down everything that can catch fire, they go on hunger strikes, they smuggle children out who can then be exploited by the media, etc. Now, if the place they left behind is so terrifyingly bad, how come they aren't glad to have a roof, somewhere clean and warm to sleep, and three square meals a day? The answer is, because they are not refugees. They are immigrants, and illegal ones at that.
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wellsy
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« Reply #30 on: June 10, 2004, 10:43:25 AM »

aldous, these people are fleeing the taliban and saddam hussein. they are looking for a better life where they CAN express their opinions and can state their voice without someone coming up to them and saying "Off with your head!" the fact that they are selling all of their possessions to get enough money to put their FAMILY (some men stay behind in refugee camps and send kids/wife/etc) into and overcrowded boat to come here for a life free of persecution. sure we have to be certain of their stories, but the least we can do is help them and give them uncrowded, fairly modern facilities. most of the detention centres are tin sheds! and being out in the desert, this makes things worse, as they can't get enough cool air into the indoor areas, resulting in heatstroke.

your thoughts on how these people are just coming for the better life is partly true. some people do come here for a better life. but did you ever consider that these people could be fleeing economic depravity, and persecution? that they might not be able to get an actual visa? do you think these people don't actually try to get in the legal way? some don't, but some do. the fact that they cram thmselves into boats that are quite likely to sink, just to come to australia or new zealand or america shows a measure of their desperation.

the economic and social security is a byproduct of being in a stable democracy. their desperation is what gives them the motivation to get out and make their way here. their desperation to get out of what they see as treatment as bad or worse than what they fled from leads them to all sorts of radical acts. the australian government is playing on the fears of the ordinary australian: that if these refugees came in, they would steal all of our jobs. they actually create jobs, as when they can't get their own job, they try to start a small business. they add to society as much as any citizen would, but we still demonise them. like i said in my last post, it is the "This good, That bad" ideology. the conservatives have painted a picture of these refugees (or asylum seekers) that demonises them. aldous, answer this: if you were locked up in Woomera, and knew would would be there for an indefinite period, what would you do? would you try to put pressure on the government to speed up the research, or sit with your hands in your pockets and wait for months, even years?

tell me your answer, and if you want to know what the circumstances are like, try 1000s of people crammed into a hot, stuffy god-forsaken hole of a detention centre with an average temperature of 30 degrees celsius, in which you are pushed around by guards, kept in poor conditions and being served by only a handful of immigration officers, having all professional and charitable advice to the government on your behalf ignored. these people, the professionals, are doing their job, but the government simply won't listen.

i really hope howard goes: at least latham will get the children out of there (and hopefully expand and upgrade the whole system while he's at it!)
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