November 04, 2006

The Return of the Show Trials

The Commies and Fascists are back and living among us. In fact, it seems they are in charge again. According to the NYT the latest ploy of the US government in its upcoming "trials" of "illegal combatant terrorist suspects" is to prevent them from trying to demonstrate that their confessions were coerced, by stating that the technical process of extracting confessions (which we all know about already) is a matter of state secrecy. The hapless evil-doer running dog would only presumably be able to say "they did some er. . . stuff", which would possibly lessen the dramatic impact. Full disclosure would apparently prevent us winning the GWOT.

Comrade Stalin would be very proud of this elegant formulation, cutting off the defence of the latest set of Volksfeinden, as he was never able to quite get over the problem of coerced confessions in his show trials in the 30s. As the WIkipedia on Show Trials explains:

Such trials can exhibit scant regard for the niceties of jurisprudence and even for the letter of the law. Defendants have little real opportunity to justify themselves: they have often signed statements under duress and/or suffered torture prior to appearing in the court-room.

Fantastic stuff. I wonder if they'll be able to get away with it? Further thoughts after the jump.

Presumably the judge would be able to listen to the defendant outline his version of the events leading to confession in camera, and no doubt would lend a sympathetic ear. Or not, considering he is likely to be a military figure appointed by the prosecution.

I finished Ron Suskind's One Percent Doctrine the other day. It's pretty clear that this administration has been up to some fairly un-american stuff in the past few years. Asuming that the US does not descend into dictatorship, will McCain or Giuliani be the Khruschev to Dubya's Stalin when all this is over?

The other major problem with the CIA position on this, as far as I understand it, is that we already know what types of interrogation techniques are used in the GWOT, namely threats to relatives, drugs, stress positions, exposure, sleep deprivation and waterboarding. There are probably a few more. Only the most extremely dim terrorist, likely with ADD, would be surprised to find this stuff out. I also understand that the recent McCain-Graham legislation does indeed limit torture during interrogation to this sort of level; pulling fingernails out, for instance, is off as it causes permanent harm. Merely convincing someone they are about to die (Yes yes! we tried to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge! Now please stop. . .) does not, and is allowed. Is it possible that the CIA really thinks it can keep the terrorists in the dark? Or is it the public it wants to keep all this stuff from?

Posted by Eurof at 04:24 PM GMT
Comments
#1

As a non-U.S. citizen not in the U.S. and not being charged with a civilian crime in the U.S., he has no standing to make an argument in U.S. civilian court.

Also, you seem not to understand the meaning of the word "show". Your claim that tribunals concerning illegal enemy combatants are "show trials" fails to explain the absence of any "show" character to them. Since they are not publicized their purpose can hardly be likened to Stalin's actual "show trials".

Finally, hardly anyone in the U.S. gives a shit what was done to him in the past or will be done to him in the future. In fact, many Americans (including me) find it inexplicable that this bag of excrement hasn't already been hanged. So unless the EU is willing to stage a rescue mission on the most heavily defended piece of real estate in the Western Hemisphere, it (and you) should STFU.

Posted by: Sterling on November 5, 2006 01:13 AM
#2

The idea of having the trial in the first place is the "show", Sterling. It will be the talking point the people like you, and the Comintern in the 1930s, will be able to point to to justify the horrible things you are doing, ie torturing, determining guilt and locking up people for life without due process.

Think about it -- the judge, prosecuting attorney and defence council are all appointed by the prosecuting agency. The proceedings, according to you, will all be held in secret -- which I doubt given the advance publicity, but have to accept as a possibility. The confessions are likely to have been obtained at least partially using torture. The defence are to have no recourse to descibe the process leading to confessions they will try to assert are coerced so the court will have no basis for judging the likeliood of those confessions being coerced.

The words "civilian", "court" and "US citizen" have no bearing here. The legislation we are talking about also permits the same treatment for US citizens (e.g. Padilla) should the President (whose judgement might be said to be flawed) determines that they are terrorist suspects. As it seems, the proceedings of the "trial" will not conform to standards of MILITARY let alone civilian justice. I mean, we've all seen "A Few Good Men".

Will your "giving a shit" point really hold true in the end? Many Americans might find it inexplicable that certain people haven't been summarily executed, particularly in your social circle in Richmond. But I think most americans are actually decent people, and will eventually mind when the truth emerges and it is forced down their throats, as it was when the germans were forced to visit concentration camps after the war, that their government has been routinely using techniques popularised by Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, the Khmer Rouge and apartheid South Africa in their names.

So as you contemplate the ruin of everything you seem to believe in and have ever argued for on this site, Sterling, I'm not surprised a note of angry hysteria is creeping into your comments. Your last point, that unless the EU is prepared to invade Gitmo, you people can do what you want is reminiscent of Stalin's "how many divisions does the pope have?" You just keep making my point for me.

Posted by: eurof on November 5, 2006 10:00 AM
#3

I'm not going to bother to explain the difference between military and civilian courts to you. You can read up on that yourself. The difference is important but your head is apparently impervious to it.

However, since tribunals have already occurred absent media presence, and since the media has no access to Gitmo, and since the U.S. Government may still not have disclosed the names of everyone held, it is ridiculous to think these men are being detained and tried for propaganda purposes. They are being held because they are dangerous, and the ultimate resolution of their situations will be calculated to best eliminate that danger.

Americans are never going to feel much empathy for the Gitmo detainees, who are murderers and scum. Many are suspicious of those who seem to care too much, like Europeans who use Gitmo as a club for their anti-Americanism.

Posted by: Sterling on November 5, 2006 02:30 PM
#4

And speaking of hangings, awww yeah!

Posted by: Sterling on November 5, 2006 02:36 PM
#5

What, we caught bin Laden? Finally, they did something right.

Posted by: 99 on November 5, 2006 06:51 PM
#6

Sterling used to be a libertarian. I am not aware of libertarians advocating a government that can arrest someone because the president thinks he is a terrorist, try him in a kangaroo court and execute him or leave him to rot in Cuba for the rest of his days. Of course Sterling has long since matured beyond those febrile salad days; the idea that the war on terror is a battle of political ideals rather than a purely military slugfest must seem laughably naive.

Posted by: Jame on November 6, 2006 01:17 AM
#7

Re Show Trials-

If Saddam is hanged, then will they try him for his other murders, especially the Kurdish genocides, in absentia? Would it not be more of a "show" if Saddam were there to justify those crimes?

Eurof, it is remarkably silly to define Gitmo trials as "show trials". The whole synthetic outage about those innocent "dirt farmers" in Cuba is that they have been kept out of the spotlight of legal process by the US government, isn't it?

The Saddam trial would have been a much better opportunity for a proper show trial - Saddam, after all, is by far the highest-profile political adversary of the man you laughably refer to as George "Stalin" Bush - but this opportunity was missed. Also, I don't know whether or not Saddam was tortured, or whether, if he were, that was a state secret too so that we WILL NEVER KNOW. Either way, it doesn't appear to have worked as Saddam is still maintaining his innocence.

Posted by: Claude de Bigny on November 7, 2006 11:16 AM
#8

I am not aware of libertarians advocating a government that can arrest someone because the president thinks he is a terrorist, try him in a kangaroo court and execute him or leave him to rot in Cuba for the rest of his days.

You're right - I am not a libertarian. However, I believe now as I did then that the federal government is responsible for defending the United States from foreign enemies. I do not now nor did I then particularly worry about the welfare of foreign nationals captured while waging illegal war on the United States.

The minute someone raises his fist and shouts "Death to America", he puts himself in the category of enemy of the United States. And it is within the discretion of the United States to deal with him. We owe him nothing, and if the military spares his life on the field because he may have useful information, that doesn't mean the U.S. isn't free to kill him later.

Posted by: Sterling on November 7, 2006 04:09 PM
#9

Sterling, if a US citizen balls his fists up and screams "DEATH TO AMERICA" then he/she is an enemy of the USA? And the military has the discretion now to either spare their life on the field in case he/she has useful information, but the U.S. is free to kill him/her later? Am I reading that correctly? So, you don't believe in the right to free speech? What kind of American are you? Certainly a good question, wouldn't you agree? Now go get your brown shirt on and polish up your boots. Sorry, I'm going to quote one of those un-American "enemy combatants" named Helvetius: "Though I disagree with everything you say, I will defend to the death your right to say it." Don't try to get on me about it being Voltaire's words, they aren't.

Posted by: Sanford on November 7, 2006 06:14 PM
#10

Sorry, that was my mental fart, it was Hall's words.

Posted by: Sanford on November 7, 2006 06:35 PM
#11

Shit, that ruins my plans for the 16th of December.

But it's okay to hate on Sailing, Herr Sterling?

Posted by: 99 on November 7, 2006 08:07 PM
#12

Claude, you are not paying attention to the comments where I write, to Sterling,

"The idea of having the trial in the first place is the "show", Sterling. It will be the talking point the people like you, as the Comintern did in the 1930s, point at to justify the horrible things you are doing, ie torturing, determining guilt and locking up people for life without due process."

You have a remarkably literal mind. It is a case of rhyming history, not history repeating.

Posted by: eurof on November 7, 2006 08:24 PM
#13

Eurof

I feel a bit dense - partly I am reeling at Sterling's latest comments, which seem to me to be bordering on the insane, although one supposes he could just be drunk - you must help me - are you saying the mere fact that the Gitmoes are being unjustly show-tried is so that Stalin-Bush-Sterling can say "Look, we are doing the right thing!"? Or is it that these rhyming Stalinists are simply revelling in their evil power over innocent people, wallowing in their power, just because they can, and perhaps as a terrible warning to us all not to cross them? I suppose that must be it. You are not terribly clear about it, though. I take your point that there may be some technical flaws in the process, but in what way precisely you consider these non-trials to be show trials escapes me. What do you propose should be done with the dirt farmers/enemy combatants, in an ideal world?

Posted by: Claude de Bigny on November 7, 2006 09:43 PM
#14

There are people scattered around the world who are acting to destroy the United States or kill American civilians. The United States has an absolute and total right to kill those people, and ought to.

There are people around the world who support the people who are acting as described above. The United States has a right to kill them as well but should do so with discretion.

Since they are plotting illegal war on the United States, there are no legal niceties involved. Their actions are warfare and their lives are forfeit.

There are American citizens who are in both of the above categories. If they conduct themselves as described above within the territory of the U.S., then they should face criminal prosecution. If they do it removed from the U.S. then they may or may not fall under military jurisdiction, potentially including summary execution.

Posted by: Sterling on November 7, 2006 10:48 PM
#15

Thought-crimes and so forth, eh, Mr Sterling?

I quite see that people who think naty things about the US have forfeited their lives with their "support" of evil-doers. Quite right to dismiss any fancy nonsense about legal niceties, too. And good to see that people who support such anti-US activity should be killed discreetly. Don't frighten the horses and all that. But, yes, wish I'd thought of it myself - kill the buggers who actually DO stuff as indiscreetly as possible. Indiscretion adds to the deterrent effect, although I should warn you that summary execution is only indiscreet if it is filmed, preferably with a large crowd in attendance. Summary executions done on the sly are too discreet to be of any use at all, rather like those Gitmo non-show-trials Eurof's got his knickers into no end of a twist about.

Posted by: Claude de Bigny on November 7, 2006 11:03 PM
#16

I suppose in a very literal sense they are not show trials, Claude. Sigh. But that is not really the issue. They do not have to be exactly like the Moscow Purge trials in every respect, down to the name of the defendants, for my point to be valid, which is: the process of the trials we are talking about is so flawed the defendants are unable to defend themselves. This makes the whole point of having a trial a waste of time in the first place, and the US govt. knows it, they have pre-ordained the guilt of most of the inmates, and are going thru the motions, making a "show" of due process, so as you put it "Stalin-Bush-Sterling can say "Look, we are doing the right thing!".

What I would do with them? Let them go. All of them. Seriously. If no-one can prosecute them under the law no one has a right to hold them at all. Get FISA warrant and spy on them if you want, but you need to find a new crime to try them for. Anything less means the US government is abrogating the right to pick you and I up at any time and lock us away for good.

Posted by: eurof on November 8, 2006 12:23 AM
#17

Maybe we can say we released them but actually drop them in the middle of the Atlantic from 30,000 feet.

Posted by: Sterling on November 8, 2006 01:25 AM
#18

Under what specific law or treaty is it illegal for a foreign national to say 'Death to America'? For that matter, what of our own?

Death to America!!

Posted by: 99 on November 8, 2006 02:17 AM
#19

You were on my list already.

Posted by: Sterling on November 8, 2006 02:50 AM
#20

Eurof

Yes, yes, although I always thought the "show" element of the Stalin trials wasn't so much aimed at the fig-leaf of legality, which is what you accuse Bush of, but of saying, publicly, internationally, highly visibly, "these sorts of people are the enemies of our beloved leader, so toe the line, all you fellow-travellers, or we'll do the same to you." The Stalin show-trials were less legalistic fig-leaves as rub-your-nose-in-it advertisments of ideological power.

This seems to me very far from Bush-Stalin's curent predicament vis à vis these poor enemy-combatant, life-forfeited dirt farmers.

Everyone already knows Bush isn't keen on terrorists, which is what they are widely assumed to be. Bush's attitude to genuine dirt farmers is probably somewhat more generous. So this "show" element I'm harping on about - which you chose to make the key "rhyme" or theme of your post - seems to have precious little rhyme or reason at all. Yes, of course there are parallels, but the differences are more interesting than your hackneyed regurgitation of received-opinion in the form of Bush-Stalin comparisons.

Posted by: Claude de Bigny on November 8, 2006 08:41 AM
#21

Funny!

Posted by: Robin on November 9, 2006 02:53 AM
#22

Claude, maybe the show trials were equally and simultaneously "I am well powerful" nose-rubbing, as well as an effort to convince the wetter parts of the communist and socialist world that the USSR was a nation of socialist law. Don´t forget that at the time most well-meaning intellectuals in the West were happy to view the USSR as the happy future of mankind. Look at Barbara Streisand in The Way We Were, for chrissakes. The Reds were well on for showing this in the very popular tours they laid on for the western intelligentsia throughout the period, who would be shown fields of happy blonde farmers cutting hay merrily using state of the art tractors, before being offered a comradely shot of vodka and carted off for tea to the nearest dacha.

To that audience, which would today include fellow MFers Felix, Stefan. Flake 99, and to some extent Sanford (Sterling would be marching the streets with Spode-Moseley, probably with you in train), your idea of nose-rubbing displays of ideological intimidation may not have played well. Which is why i think my formulation is the better one, though yours is not without some merit.

As for your

"of course there are parallels, but the differences are more interesting than your hackneyed regurgitation of received-opinion in the form of Bush-Stalin comparisons."

which is pure boilerplate, meaningless polemic, please note that at no point do I compare Bush to Stalin. Seeing as I have not so far seen anyone point out the similarity of the Gitmo tribunals to the Moscow show trials in print or on the web, so I fail to see how this could be regurgitation (perhaps you could link if you know of another) or indeed received opinion, so I guess to be honest for once you would have to call my post "hackneyed originality". What would be much more hackneyed would of course be a Godwin -breach comparing Bush to Hitler, which I would never do and as a Godwin-breach would lead to the end of the converstaion. It would also be unfair -- Hitler was at least basically competent in many things and knew how to win a war against 3rd rate opponents.

I think what you might have in mind is a feeling that criticising the current administration for its lack of respect for rule of law and the norms of an open society is now hackneyed, unoriginal and received opinion. Bush-opposition ennui, you could call it. I would like to point out to you all that I have a very strong track record in these pages of doing so, for much longer than the rest of you, and in fact for opposing the war (and for the right reasons) as a very bad idea for much longer than any of you. This makes me much much MUCH cleverer than you, so don´t call me unoriginal or hackneyed you appalling froggy git.

Posted by: eurof on November 10, 2006 07:50 PM
#23

Eurof

You're right, you don't compare Dubya to Stalin, you say that "Stalin would be proud of him," which I'm sure is very very different.

I am sure you have always opposed the war against terror for longer than anyone and for the best possible reasons. Good for you! I'm sorry that, as a mere commentator on these pages, and a fairly recent one at that, I have failed to salute you for this hobgoblin-like consistency.

I am tickled that you should say that "well-meaning opinion" in the 30s is like its modern-day counterpart in its eagerness to support the insupportable - Stalin in those days taking today the role of Bin Laden - as this is v much my own opinion and, come to think of it, only common sense.

You see, at heart, despite all the posturing, you are too intelligent to be a modern-day, fellow-travelling appeaser, even if you may hate that specific terminology.

Posted by: Claude de Bigny on November 10, 2006 08:13 PM
#24

Oh dear, I think you are clumsily trying to compliment me, which makes the necessity of pointing out your error more painful. No I do not say "Stalin would be very proud of Bush", in fact I do not think I mention Dubya in my post at all. In fact I doubt that Dubya has had very much to do with the structure of the Gitmo show trials at all, he probably said, at Rumsfeld's or Cheney's prompting, "yeah, these guys, we gotta try them, make it look good but make sure we get 'em we don't want what we did to them coming out." And Porter Goose, or whatever his name was, was doing his bidding.

I do not think that OBL really is the Stalin of our time at all. Loathsome though left-wingers are (though sadly in this topsy turvey world they are now the friends of all sane people) I find it hard to find many who actively support OBL. I think many of them would like to get him actually, and lock him up with only a figleaf effort at trying to rehabilitate him. Also Stalin was the absolute ruler of the largest nation in the world with the largest conventional army at his beck and call, wheras OBL likely has maybe 50-100 core staff he can rely on and instruct directly from his Karachi apartment, while for the maybe 30,000-40,000 true jihadists in the world he is more a Ronald MacDonald figure -- the inspiration behind the franchise, but not someone you actually take orders from.

Uncle Joe Stalin however really was widely admired by the lefties.

Also complicating your metaphor is at the time Stalin was around there was an equally nasty foreign totalitarian ideology -- Fascism -- to inspire devotion from some and admiration and/or hatred in many. Some of its adherents were equally well-meaning in their way, and the admiration ended with even more of a rude shock. So which is it? Who do we compare to OBL to demonise him good and proper in a way even the ignorant can understand? Hitler or Stalin? Why not Pol Pot or Mao? And you accused me of a clumsy analogy?

Posted by: eurof on November 11, 2006 11:01 AM
#25

I suppose in a very literal sense OBL is nothing like Stalin. Sigh. And the "demonisation" game is to be sure v different these days, perhaps one can posit a modern-day ideology of jihad which finds its fellow-travellers or implicit supporters largely on the left, opposed by the western ideology of democracy, the strenuous defence of which is found largely on the conservative side.

I read in my paper this morning that in the old East Germany, Dubya is identified as the largest threat to world peace by 47% of respondents, whilst only 20% see OBL in this role, with 12% opting for Kim Jong Il. The neoNazis do quite well in that quarter too, with policies which, frankly, closely resemble soft-left, Greeny anti-capitalist tomfoolery more than anything else.

Such results would I'm sure be easy to replicate across large swathes of Europe and to me it suggests that the western ideology isn't shaping up that well against the jihad one. I would suggest that OBL, despite his lack of millions of troops, has disproportionately significant standing as a figurehead of jihad.- maybe Che Guevara is a better comparison than Stalin.

You wittily say Bush's incompetence, as well as Godwin, obviate a comparison of Dubya to the moustachioed Nazi leader. In fact, Dubya had no trouble winning two wars in the Middle east, and if he were in a position truly to use the repressive methods of dictatorship, he would be better equipped to secure the peace there too. But he can't as he is tied to our western notions and has attempted, perhaps foolishly, to introduce democracy into the benighted region. This is yet another reason to dismiss your hackneyed "show-trial" analogy. And if you persist in reading my concise rebukes of your posture as "clumy compliments", I shall soon surmise that you are unwilling to think through the consequences of your woefully weak reasoning.

Posted by: Claude de Bigny on November 13, 2006 10:10 AM
#26

I think you are a **little** too quick to declare victory in both iraq and afghanistan. A teensy-weensy fucking bit. Arguably the wars are still ongoing. Do you seriously think "major combat operations have ended" in Dubya's own words? Have you been paying attention?!?

As for a threat to world peace, you completely ignore past form. You admit yourself that Dubya started 2 wars, and he egged on another just this year, as well as having threatened military action against Iran and Syria. He has a very big army and "throw" capacity, as they call it in the trade. OBL's armies invaded. . . who exactly? Speaking literally, your ossies are correct, and anyone paying attention would have to answer in the same way. Note the questions -- "who is the most evilest nastiest man? Dubya or OBL", "who is the likeliest to commit a heinous criminal terrorist act?" were not asked, and I would be interested in the answer. Here I think any sane person would finger OBL. I do not think anyone I know who is a lefty thinks of OBL as Che Guevara. Trust me on this, most people really really don't like him. Please link to a prominent lefty person saying Che Guevara is all right. Easy. Now find someone responsible who lefties think is reasonable saying OBL is OK. Galloway, Tariq Ali? Maybe someone like Mugabe, but he's on your side. Go on. Please do it. You just can't.

Western ideology is going to shape up very well against the jihadist one, have the courage of the innate superiority of your way of life, man. I'm writing this from Taiwan and everyone here is trying as very very had as they can to be as modern as they can possibly be! The only reason that jihadists exist is because they CANNOT join the rest of us, their polities are growth-restricted because of whatever reason. We have much, much, MUCH more base than the jihadists, and all our base are belong to us. They do not have tanks. The only ones here trying to restrict the liberal freedoms which underly our open society and sodding Bush and Blair!! In the US the president can determine guilt and innocence without trial and torture whoever he wants for chrissake! The position of people like you and Sterling is akin to "we had to destroy our freedoms in order to save them". Western policy in the middle east produces more jihadists than are currently breeding in Western Europe, you Mark Steyn moron. You people are so frightened all the time, you have just got everything backwards.

Posted by: eurof on November 13, 2006 01:51 PM
#27

A Swift butchers at Google reveals that Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington) praised OBL's nation-building skills as recently as 2002! Ha! Touché, boyo!

Actually, you are right, Che got more praise than Bin and so the analogy, by your literal yardstick, is imperfect. What I am referring to is implicit support, usually expresed negatively via rubbishing of the Allied efforts in the ME. I do NOT mean that all criticism à la Sullivan-Eurof of torture allegations, Gitmo and questioning of show trials etc is treasonable or even regrettable per se.

I suppose I am referring to a sort of trahison des clercs - the dreaded liberal bias - and doubtless you will attack this admittedly commonplace view for lack of originality. But to place the putative Gitmo trials in the same bracket as Stalinist show trials is certainly a good example of it in action - an overheated piece of showboating based on prejudice - it ill becomes you, Eurof, and pollutes the gentle pages of Memefirst. I demand an apology.

Posted by: Claude de Bigny on November 13, 2006 02:44 PM
#28

Oh and whilst you're thinking about how best to word your grovel - which war did you think the moustachioed Austrian won? I was always taught that he lost but maybe this is a reflection of my conservative upbringing.

But the point here is that whilst the Wolf invaded a lot of countries, he only kept them under control through use of things like the SS and the kind of repressive aparatus denied to Dubya.

Posted by: Claude de Bigny on November 13, 2006 02:56 PM
#29

You're both equally nutty, so can either Eurof or Sterling take a crack as justifying the relentless canard that though Stalin was admired by leftists in his day, this somehow besmirches the majority self-identified leftists who find him as loathsome as a non-leftists (whatever that may be), since they were all born after he was deposed. It's an interesting exercise to make presumptions about behaviors of mine before I existed. Unless, Eurof, you are some kind of extremist in terms of conception, and believe that my actions precede my material being.

Posted by: 99 on November 13, 2006 03:14 PM
#30

Oh, so "rubbishing of the Allied efforts in the ME" = implicit support for OBL, does it? So when Condi Rice jabbers on about a "thousand" mistakes the US made in Iraq I guess she is declaring her undying allegiance to OBL. I suppose Dubya's acceptance of the need to "consider any option" -- an implicit criticism of past efforts in the ME, he is staking his claim to leadership of AQ. Leave bizarro-world Claude. Do not mistake sanity for jihadism. Gordon bennet, give me strength, it's like arguing with one of the 3 Stooges.

99 -- sorry, as usual no idea what you are trying to say in your 1st sentence. The other 2 are clearer -- yes, you are the type of person who would have quite liked Uncle Joe in the 1930s. No doubt you would have had a problem with him after you found out he had killed 30 million people, though. Don't worry about it, you would have had a lot of company.

Posted by: eurof on November 14, 2006 11:19 AM
#31

Eurof

Noone aside perhaps from Sterling reckons constructive criticism of allied failings equals support of AQ.

But bracketing putative Gitmo trials with Stalin, and saying that "commies and fascists" control US policy goes wildly beyond any sane person's idea of constructive criticism. One would have to be deeply disturbed to think Condi and Bush "rubbish" their own policy - there's a difference between "constructive criticism" and "rubbishing".

A soupcon of petards is in the air, my dear Eurof.

When you write that Adolf's lads won WWII, and that commies and fascists (innovative pairing!) now rule in Washington, less generous readers might conclude you'd hoist yourself with said pesky item. An interesting thread - thanks, 99, by the bye, for the scoop that Uncle Joe Stalin was "deposed". The Three Stooges got nothing on you guys.

Posted by: Claude de Bigny on November 14, 2006 12:01 PM
#32

Oh most sorry, you are right sausage stuffers lost WW2 but won a series of campaigns you could very very arguably call littel wars. Spain, Czechoslovakia, Poland, France, Denmark, Norway etc etc. It was a silly thing to say, though, in mid rant funny things come out. I am most cringingly sorry.

I am less inclined to apologise for using "commies and fascists" in my post, as while it was self-consciously taxi-driver like, it has accuracy in its own way. Clearly I do not think they are literally in charge. Also I am indeed very strongly reminded of Stalinist show trials when I think about the Gitmo processes, and your complaining that is innacurately extreme puts the burden on you to show why it is so. You can't admonish me for feeling that way and blogging it without telling me WHY I am wrong to do so.

So in order to prove my non-AQ credentials, my "criticism" has to be "constructive", does it? Never mind exactly what the difference between being "constructive" and "rubbishing" actually is, but why is showing the similarities between the CIA's plan for Gitmo and Stalin's show trials NOT "constructive"? I think I made it clear I think it is not a good idea, mainly because it is inimical to a free and open society of laws, and pointed out the similarities to processes used by totalitarians in history. That's pretty constructive.

Or do you mean I should restrict my commentary to ways I think it should be done better? This is hard if it is something you strongly disagree with. A reductio ad absurdiam would be you suggesting ways I could better shag your wife. If you don't it means you love Al Quaida.

Your ideas, in short, are nothing but ridiculous. You remain a stooge.

Posted by: eurof on November 14, 2006 04:26 PM
#33

Do you really want me to spell out differences between the US today and Stalin's Russia then?

Do you really suppose that Stalin operated under anything even approaching a miniscule fraction of the scrutiny and challenges which any putative trial of the dirt farmers will occasion?

Details of the putative trials are thin on the ground, by the way, so it is difficult to pontificate on them - but honestly, Eurof, I hope you are rat-arsed on Taiwanese sugarcane brew or whatever it is they drink out there, and that, come tomorrow, you will be blissfully unaware of the distasteful nonsense you've posted.

To compare your intellectual level to that of a cabbie's is an insult almost as gross as daring to mention your sexual prowess in the same breath as mine.

Posted by: Claude de Bigny on November 14, 2006 05:28 PM
#34

Eurof:

Since we can bandy about absurditites in defence of, well, hot air, I guess you would have been a big fan of Kristallnacht. Why do I say that? No reason, same as you. Oh, and convenience.

You probably would have supported the Missouri Compromse too. And killing Jesus. And switching Darrin's on Bewitched. This is kind of fun once you get started! Then again, I think that's what they said after Kristallnacht.

Posted by: 99 on November 14, 2006 06:59 PM
#35

Who is comparing sodding Stalinist Russia to the US in 2006??! Not me. I'm merely stating that a similarity exists in one teensy miniscule nano-fraction of one microscopic iota of what is happening now in the US is vaguely reminiscent of something that happened under Stalin.

"Do you really suppose that Stalin operated under anything even approaching a miniscule fraction of the scrutiny and challenges which any putative trial of the dirt farmers will occasion?"

Actually I thought you and Sterling told me the gitmo trials will be held in secret. Stalin's show trials were public. So no, I think the 30s show trials operated under a lot MORE scrutiny. Challenges are hard if you don't know what's actually the procedure. You're just making noises, aren't you? This is not a refutation of an argument you are enunciating, it is just a series of blustery farts.

In fact I think I wrote I am not sure that the US govt. (or CIA), will get away with this. I hope they do not, and it will be proof that the US is NOT like Stalinist Russia. If however it does happen that way, and a semblance of due process is retained, it will more likely be because of people like me pointing out the eerie reminiscence with the show trials, than some trusting clot like you fully prepared to let government do whatever it likes so long as it assures you it is to keep you safe.

I am writing this from the 56.6k connected public internet point in the very N.Korean-like business lounge in Shenzen airport, so when it comes to Stalinism I know what I am talking about.

Posted by: eurof on November 16, 2006 10:43 AM
#36

Business lounges have that effect, don't they?

Posted by: Claude de Bigny on November 17, 2006 08:26 AM