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Dan Simmons on the Iraq/Middle East Situation

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Printed Date: November/30/2023 at 2:14am


Topic: Dan Simmons on the Iraq/Middle East Situation
Posted By: breezit
Subject: Dan Simmons on the Iraq/Middle East Situation
Date Posted: July/15/2007 at 8:02pm
Interesting stuff, I didn't know Simmons was that conservative, I got this from his message board:

I hear this "if Bush had focused on Afghanistan and finished the job there" line all the time and haven't the foggiest clue as to what it means.

The U.S. kicked the Taliban out, secured the nation, instituted international conferences and organizations in collaboration with the EU, the UN, Russia, and even Iran to stabilize the nation, helped them draft a constitution, created the first functioning civil government there in the entire history of the region, oversaw free elections, supported Karzai's government and allowed it to survive birth pangs in a region with no history of democracy or civil gov't whatsoever, got NATO involved in the internal security and defense of the nation . . . what on Earth would "focusing on Afghanistan and finishing the job there" mean?

This is boilerplate far Democratic-left doubletalk. What it means is "Invading Afghanistan was all right, taking Saddam out wasn't." We're not failing in Afghanistan because of the chaos in Iraq. We're not failing in Afghanistan, period. The resurgence of the Taliban and violence there has everything to do with internal (and eternal) Afghan politics and ancient hatreds -- not to mention the opium trade -- as much as it has to do with Pakistan's inability to patrol its border or to eliminate the Taliban and al-Qaeda strongpoints in its wilder provinces. As long as those enemy sanctuaries continue to be allowed to exist by whoever rules Pakistan (or not eliminated by American or NATO airpower and combat teams), Afghanistan will not be secure.

Criticizing Bush's Iraq policy is one thing, but the "if he'd only focused on Afghanistan" argument is specious and silly. (Does anyone really think that the 130,000+ troops now in Iraq would have been deployed to Afghanistan for any useful purpose?)

No one here has really dealt with the pathetic and terrible reality -- but still a reality -- that one of the planet's foulest dictators WAS deposed, that one of the craziest and most aggressive nations in the volatile Mideast WAS eliminated as a threat to its neighbors, and that the people there really WERE presented with a real chance to establish a democracy and a civil society, only to throw it all away. They -- or at least enough of them to speak for the majority -- chose not to live in a free and post-feudal society. They preferred to slaughter their enemies and drag them limbless through the streets rather than do the hard work of subordinating clan hatred and local and personal greed for the good of their nation, future, and children.

If history does treat George W. Bush as a failure -- as well it might -- it is far more likely that he will be judged a failure for thinking too highly of people in the Mideast . . . of actually BELIEVING that an oppressed people liberated and given the chance of a free, sane, and civil society (that option purchased through the blood of American soldiers and paid for by American citizens)would actually discipline themselves and wean themselves away from their long history of senseless barbarism long enough to seize the opportunity never before given to any Arab state or culture. They did not. They chose continued slaughter. Now we all pay for that choice.

"If he'd focused on Afghanistan" may scan on Moveon.org blogs, but it doesn't make sense to anyone interested in the reality of the situation either in the Mideast and in our own political debate. History already knows better than that. It's just so much partisan noise.

DS





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"In the real world as in dreams, nothing is quite what it seems. Dean Koontz




Replies:
Posted By: WhiteWolf
Date Posted: July/16/2007 at 2:48pm
Thanks, breezit. I like Dan Simmons more and more all the time. He makes perfect sense here, and I feel the same way.

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Posted By: christophersnow
Date Posted: July/20/2007 at 4:41pm
I've always laughed at the "if he'd only focused on Afghanistan" bit.

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"It had to be said. The world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing." - Howard Roark
Dean Koontz= Always working!


Posted By: breezit
Date Posted: August/12/2007 at 8:00am
Interesting article in the NY Times today about how we've lost Afghanistan due to diverting resources to the war in Iraq.

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"In the real world as in dreams, nothing is quite what it seems. Dean Koontz



Posted By: WhiteWolf
Date Posted: August/12/2007 at 8:31am
Rubbish. But it isn't surprising to hear the people at NYT talking about "losing" all the damn time. And I doubt you can call it "interesting" in any way other than what Simmons refers to in the article above; anyone who says we should focus on Afghanistan or that we are "losing there" just don't know what they are talking about or they are so lost in their own agenda that they are blatantly ignoring facts.

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Posted By: christophersnow
Date Posted: August/12/2007 at 3:34pm
The New York Times made the news recently. They had an article that actually said the situation in Iraq had some improvements. FOX News reported it.

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"It had to be said. The world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing." - Howard Roark
Dean Koontz= Always working!


Posted By: WhiteWolf
Date Posted: August/13/2007 at 5:48am
That's genuinely funny. When the New York Times says something that is actually true, it's reported as news in other places.

NYT is hopeless. It is the most socialist organization in the country, and posts a net loss every year. WHat I'm saying is, THE NEW YORK TIMES SUCKS.

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Posted By: breezit
Date Posted: October/21/2007 at 4:13pm
Dan Simmons responds to an disgruntled American complaining about how unpopular the US is in Europe, from his message board:

Dan Simmons comments to Sylvain --

You wrote --"And lets say that today everybody thinks in Europe that Americans in general are . . ."

In that phrase, even without having to finish the sentence, you have encapsulated the reason why so many thoughtful Americans no longer give a damn about what "Europeans think."

1)" . . . everybody thinks in Europe . . ." It must be nice to have a 100% smug and absolute consensus on the failings of some other nation, some other people, some other people's national leader. Don't Europeans ever WORRY that such total consensus means that they're dealing from massive prejudice rather than real thought or debate?

2) " . . . that Americans in general are . . ." We've heard this sort of generalizations about "Americans in general" from French, Germans, Brits, and other Europeans for decades now, and the generalizations haven't gotten any smarter. At least Americans, in their ignorance of specific European issues, political parties, and political leaders admit to their ignorance and have the good grace to keep their mouths shut rather than reveal their ignorance. Too many Europeans seem to revel in their ignorance of American realities. Europeans feel they have been gifted by some divine second sight to understand " . . . Americans in general . . ." when there is no such thing as "Americans in general."

I understand that there are valid psychological reasons why Europeans finding solidarity in opposing "American hegemony" (whatever the hell that is) and unanimity in judging America's failings help the many squabbling nations and cultures of Europe feel "more European" (since they haven't found unity any other way), but it's still tiresome.

I confess that it's also wearying to hear -- constantly -- these moral judgments about the United States from European nations that still have the blood of the Holocaust (or from collaborating in the Holocaust) up to their elbows, or from generations of Europeans that have grown up in democracies only because of the sacrifice of so much American blood and treasure during World War II and for decades after.

Many in the States happen to believe -- for a wide variety of reasons that Europeans may not have been exposed to -- that Al Gore is a showboating putz. We obviously argue that point amongst ourselves,(the last time was during the presidential election of 2000,) just as we argue about almost everything else here. We'd be happy to discuss the sepcifics of those arguments (including global warming) with our European friends, but ONLY if they quit thinking and judging en masse and promise to learn a lot more about this country and its people before they launch their absolute pronouncements.

I now return you to the reasoned discussions here with Some Fool and others.

-- Dan S.



Posted By: WhiteWolf
Date Posted: October/22/2007 at 1:27am
Awesome. I like that guy more all the time. I need to get on that board.

Thanks for posting something that starts my day out the right way.


Posted By: Einsteingooddog
Date Posted: October/22/2007 at 3:34am
I love it when "celebrities" don't automatically jump on the European America-Hating bandwagon.

See previous discussion about the Dixie Chicks...bandwagon jumpers for sure.


Posted By: christophersnow
Date Posted: October/22/2007 at 4:46am
Dan Simmons is a meanie.

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"It had to be said. The world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing." - Howard Roark
Dean Koontz= Always working!


Posted By: masha99
Date Posted: October/23/2007 at 3:36am
Another author I now have to read now. Thanks a lot guys, as if I don't have enough on my list.

West Europeans are jealous of American power and success and resentful that we always have to save their butts. East Europeans of course know better but they aren't loud enough or are ignored. It's as simple as that.

Can you tell I'm not in a good mood today?

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Maybe all you've got is what you get to... -- Brad Cotter
Pity for the guilty is treason to the innocent -- Ayn Rand/Terry Goodkind


Posted By: christophersnow
Date Posted: October/23/2007 at 9:47am
No, not really.

You could add George R.R. Martin's A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE to your list if you wanted. They are political intrigue and religious conflict and war books set in a fantasy world. The best series I've ever read. Though I couldn't tell you what his political views are from reading his books.

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"It had to be said. The world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing." - Howard Roark
Dean Koontz= Always working!


Posted By: WhiteWolf
Date Posted: October/23/2007 at 10:05am
I bet I could.

I remember seeing people all over the place saying the things you are now saying about Martin and ASOIAF. Now you are one of them. For shame, Snowman. For shame.


Posted By: christophersnow
Date Posted: October/23/2007 at 11:00am
I made a promise to stop going crazy over Martin and stop raving about him about five days ago. I just can't stop myself. I really do think they put drugs in the book and when you flip the pages they are released and inhaled.

EDIT: So, why don't you read the books and tell me what his political views are?

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"It had to be said. The world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing." - Howard Roark
Dean Koontz= Always working!


Posted By: masha99
Date Posted: October/30/2007 at 2:03am
Yeah, WW, you go first and let me know:)

Chris, I came across a review of Martin that was very positive but said you will like his work if you don't like "standard" fantasy stuff, such as clear cut struggle of good vs. evil and the hero always winning at the end. But that IS what I like about fantasy, so I don't know if Martin is my cup of tea.

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Maybe all you've got is what you get to... -- Brad Cotter
Pity for the guilty is treason to the innocent -- Ayn Rand/Terry Goodkind


Posted By: christophersnow
Date Posted: October/30/2007 at 6:10am
Quote this is the largest literary undertaking I've ever loved to read.
-OSC

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"It had to be said. The world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing." - Howard Roark
Dean Koontz= Always working!


Posted By: christophersnow
Date Posted: November/01/2007 at 6:59am
Well, in Martin there are ambiguous situations. But it's war, come one, there will always be situations like that in war and politics. There are good characters, and there are evil characters. There are evil 'religions' and there are good religions in the books. And I really can't see how that person can say the good guys don't win in the end because the end of the series hasn't come yet. Sometimes the good guys die, sometimes the bad guys die. That's not a matter of winning in the end. That's a matter of reality. Like in Harry Potter; Rowling kills off more good people than she does bad. That is a far worse record than Martin has, his is about 1:1 ratio.

House the show has many morally ambiguous situations, and you like that...

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"It had to be said. The world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing." - Howard Roark
Dean Koontz= Always working!


Posted By: masha99
Date Posted: November/01/2007 at 9:22am
I can deal with a flawed protagonist like House. I can't deal with a flawed moral system within the "good" universe, a la Star Wars prequels.

Martin will have to wait in any case as my library just acquired Queen of Bedlam. And I still have HP, Book 7.

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Maybe all you've got is what you get to... -- Brad Cotter
Pity for the guilty is treason to the innocent -- Ayn Rand/Terry Goodkind


Posted By: christophersnow
Date Posted: November/01/2007 at 11:16am
You must have a nice library. My library never seems to acquire these good books.

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"It had to be said. The world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing." - Howard Roark
Dean Koontz= Always working!


Posted By: masha99
Date Posted: November/01/2007 at 11:54am
Yes, for a small library they are well stocked. I can also order through a county online system, and it usually takes less than a week to get.
With new books, if someone requests it online, they will usually acquire it for the person's home library.
The only thing is, then I have to finish within 3 weeks because they don't normally renew new books.

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Maybe all you've got is what you get to... -- Brad Cotter
Pity for the guilty is treason to the innocent -- Ayn Rand/Terry Goodkind


Posted By: MONSTER
Date Posted: December/19/2007 at 3:04pm
WOW, Simmons is a hard core dude, a lot of the time i dont want to know anything about the auther, so i can enjoy there work without having to like/hate them personaly, but in this case DS rocks!!

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"Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what's right." Isaac Asimov


Posted By: WhiteWolf
Date Posted: December/19/2007 at 3:23pm
Yes he does!

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