HoS calls for Bush to invade Burma

May 18th, 2008 at 8:34 am by David Farrar

The HoS editorial calls on President Bush to lead a multinational force to move into and ensure aid is delivered to those that need it.

There does come a point when a Government’s sovereignty becomes less important than the welfare of its citizens. Has this one reached that tipping point?

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92 Responses to “HoS calls for Bush to invade Burma”

  1. davidp (3,320 comments) says:

    Delivering aid is kinda like putting a bandaid on an amputation. The multinational force should be delivering guns… and large quantities of ammunition… to every man, woman, and child in Burma who isn’t wearing a uniform. Then they’d be able to tackle the real problem themselves.

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  2. goodgod (1,363 comments) says:

    Have to agree, davidp. Though distributing guns is a bit like pouring petrol onto a fire that’s burning nicely by itself.

    If there is one thing to be learned about the growing pains of any nation it is that the people must do the hard yards themselves. It’s a hell of an uncomfortable truth, because thousands of innocent people – if there is such a thing as innocence – usually die in what seems to be unneccesary circumstances. But to interfere in any way will just make the peace that follows the storm shorter than it could have been and committ the people to relearning the lessons they missed in another future conflict.

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  3. helmet (807 comments) says:

    Try explaining that to the mother of the dying kids guys.

    It’s a tough call but I believe for purely humanitarian reasons, that alleviating suffering should be the top foreign aid priority.

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  4. Richard Hurst (710 comments) says:

    Forcibly delivering aid at the point of a gun would set quite a precedent. If it was done then one could argue that next on the list would then be North Korea next time they have a flood, snowstorm etc. What country would come after that? Sudan, then Zimbabwe if the presidential run off goes badly.
    The West would soon find itself having to endlessly invade country after country every time a humanitarian crisis developed in third world dictatorships. The West would then end up being responsible for each of those states and re-establishing order. The last time the West tried something similar to this was Somalia. Look at the success that was.
    The best way to change the Burmese govt is to apply pressure to its chief backer: China.

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  5. big bruv (12,359 comments) says:

    The Yanks should go on in, its not as if we can rely on the totally useless UN to do anything about it.

    It is interesting that the left would rather see people die than allow America to go in and save lives.

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  6. radar (319 comments) says:

    Agree with Richard Hurst above. If the litmus test for invasion was simply the welfare of that country’s citizens, then North Korea would have been invaded in the 1990s, because of the Kim regime’s failure to feed it’s citizens (or slaves). China should definitely have been invaded decades ago as the Chinese Communist Party has probably killed more people than any political party in history. I don’t think one can talk about a country’s sovereignty as being “important” but the welfare of the citizens as being more “important”. They are two seperate and different things and should be kept seperate.

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  7. libertyscott (355 comments) says:

    Richard Hurst, if the “precedent” argument was consistently applied then nothing effective would be done internationally. Burma is a tinpot military dictatorship unable to project its military might beyond its own borders, its government has no legitimacy and cannot morally hide behind state sovereignty as a principle whilst it lets it citizens die, deliberately or recklessly.

    North Korea is irrelevant, it is also a nuclear, chemical and biologically armed fortress, so it can’t be dealt with. Sudan could be dealt with, as could Zimbabwe. There is the means, moral justification and few strategic barriers to acting on Burma, it should be done. The means, moral justification and strategic impact of acting elsewhere should be addressed at the time. It would be relatively straightforward to provide armed cover to deliver aid to the affected areas, with military forces dealing with the Burmese military if it stops the aid effort. Presumably, once this exercise has been completed, the remaining areas can be subject to reconstruction and the territory handed back to the regime on certain conditions.

    To be in the 21st century and let a relatively impotent tinpot dictatorship recklessly let tens of thousands of its citizens die is absolutely abhorrent.

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  8. Murray (8,835 comments) says:

    Wait its ok to unilaterally invade one country after a natural disaster (unilateral is the word used to describe a coalition of 26 nations when one of them is America btw) but its all weepy and hysterical to do it when the disater is entirely manmade in the form of a dictator who happily masacres his own people and randomly invades other countries with oil.

    Not the retoric version of leftist conspiracy nutter but the reality version of Saddam.

    A serious case of cake and eatting it too.

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  9. He-Man (270 comments) says:

    What a sick joke. Burma has no oil or minerals therefore Bush and co. don’t give a damn.

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  10. He-Man (270 comments) says:

    Anyway, maybe Bush could give an non tendered contract to Halliburton and Blackwater to do the job!

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  11. libertyscott (355 comments) says:

    He-Man, Afghanistan has no oil or minerals either and it was invaded, Serbia and Bosnia had none either and were attacked for humanitarian reasons.

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  12. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “But to interfere in any way will just make the peace that follows the storm shorter than it could have been and committ the people to relearning the lessons they missed in another future conflict.”

    Yep, should have just left Hitler to exterminate those poor Jewish people. Let them do the “hard yards” Pfft.. what narrow submissive gutless crap. Evil exists. You do not ignore it.

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  13. He-Man (270 comments) says:

    Hi libertyscott, I also forgot that the USA invaded Somalia to deliver food aid to hungry Somalians. Not!

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  14. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    He man is a smearing leftist coward- like all commies, the idea is by propaganda to project the exact opposite of truth, and he even does that in his pseudonym.

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  15. libertyscott (355 comments) says:

    He-Man, what have you done for Burma? Volunteering to go over and fight the scum? Thought not.

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  16. rouppe (852 comments) says:

    And what no-one has said is that Bush invaded Iraq on a humanitarian premise (albeit subsequently shown to be complete bollocks) and he is vilified for it. I’m not interested in arguing whether WMD were a humanitarian premise, but if they had been found, Bush would have been a hero.

    No, if there is a call to ‘invade’ Burma, then the call should go out to the EU. They’ve held back from Iraq so should have plenty of troops and heavy equipment to spare. There is no question on the validity of the need in Burma, so there shouldn’t be any problem.

    Come on you Western Europeans, show some leadership

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  17. Murray (8,835 comments) says:

    He’s sat there tugging himself about Bush.

    She-Man that Clinton that gave us Somalia. Do try and focus.

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  18. Simon (612 comments) says:

    America protected the West with military spending while everyone else in the west spent the money on unsustainable welfare states.

    But something goes wrong no one else except America can do anything about it.

    Americans rightly does not need to heed what the world has got to say about the liberation of Iraq because the rest of the world has no creditability.

    NZ position like most of the European west is to talk loudly as possible and carry a very small stick.

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  19. He-Man (270 comments) says:

    America only protected the Millitary Industry Billionair’s with all the Millitary spending that it does. The wealthiest country in the world should spend that money on Health and Education for ordinary Americans, because millions of American children suffer in poverty and have no health coverage at all.

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  20. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “America only protected the Millitary Industry Billionair’s with all the Millitary spending that it does.”

    But the military spending of the Chicom generals is quite OK by you ain’t it you damn commie propagandist.

    “wealthiest country in the world should spend that money on Health and Education for ordinary Americans,”

    Americans already have the highest standards of health and education in the western world, except where one party state communists like you have worked assiduously to prevent it.

    “because millions of American children suffer in poverty and have no health coverage at all.”

    Yeah, and that’s why the Haitian refugees took their children on boats that went right past the socialist paradise of Cuba on the way to the USA. That’s why all over the globe citizens of other countries are lining up to get entry to the US. You’re a worthless liar and communist propagandist with no respect for truth and no conception of reality. Take your worn out tired old troglodytic soviet crap somewhere else.

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  21. Ryan Sproull (6,661 comments) says:

    There does come a point when a Government’s sovereignty becomes less important than the welfare of its citizens.

    There’s a point where a government’s sovereignty is MORE important than the welfare of its citizens?

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  22. Murray (8,835 comments) says:

    Get another fucking song sheboy.

    Why not bitch about Pakistan invading Somalia, they were in on that one.

    What, not fit your socialist myopic viewpoint?

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  23. KevOB (262 comments) says:

    The Burma junta appear to be guilty of crimes against humanity. The nation needs to be taken of it present rulers, by force if necessary. People must be fed, sheltered and clothed.

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  24. kiwitoffee (383 comments) says:

    The answer to your question is yes.

    (The same principle applies to Iraq, incidentally.)

    If an international force were to remove the gangsters currently running Burma, that in itself – quite apart from any government disaster relief – would mean thousands more people will be saved as the NGOs could get on with their work. The Burmese cyclone victims are now dying slow, painful deaths none of which are of any concern to the Burmese military.

    Such a solution is not likely to happen, though, because our Chinese friends – gangsters too (funny that) – don’t want their Burmese colleagues removed.

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  25. JC (839 comments) says:

    Any invasion would be about forty six years too late. Yep, that’s how long the place has been under military dictatorship.

    JC

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  26. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    The HoS forgets one thing. There’s no strategic advantage in invading Burma. Bush will never do it.

    There’s also the point that bludgeoning a country into accepting democracy doesn’t have a very successful track record.

    [DPF: It is very insightful that Roger Nome thinks democracy is something that people have to be persuaded to accept. He doesn't accept the premise that if given an actual choice, almost everyone wants democracy]

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  27. mudrunner (82 comments) says:

    Forget it!

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  28. jcuknz (648 comments) says:

    Just out of interest I Wiki’d ‘Burma+Oil’ and came up with the info about the Burmese to China oil pipeline which will reduce China’s need for Middle eastern oil …..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sino-Burma_Oil_Pipeline

    I guess that either there is not enough oil in Burma to make it worth GWB’s time, China is too big to mess with, and anyway the US Military is stretched fighting in Iraq without another place for GIs to die in.

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  29. radar (319 comments) says:

    Redbaiter said “Evil exists. You do not ignore it.”

    Pray tell, what exactly are you doing about this “evil”. Other than “nothing” that is? And who is the “you” you referred to?

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  30. Mark (496 comments) says:

    Nice to see the left reliance on the US to get anything done.

    Why not just go to the UN and ask them to achieve something – you could always suggest that they could pilefer the aid and send in peacekeepers to rape and sell women into the sex trade.

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  31. Richard (130 comments) says:

    I simply don’t see military action against the regime doing more good than harm. If the aim’s to help those harmed by the cyclone, starting a war hardly seems to be the humanitarian option.

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  32. Short Shriveled and Slightly to the Left (759 comments) says:

    “He-Man, Afghanistan has no oil or minerals either and it was invaded,”
    an invasion of Afganistan might have been in the “pipeline” for a while

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  33. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    “given an actual choice, almost everyone wants democracy”

    True enough, it’s just that the USA doesn’t have a history of being successful at delivering democracy. i.e. the US’s attempts at delivering “democracy” to countries involves attempting to hire the Mafia to assassinate Fidel Castro – the idea was a right-wing paramilitary force called Alpha 66, trained secretly in Florida would take Cuba after the assassination.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/6259738.stm

    Thus an illegitimate American-sponsored democracy emerges, and because the people don’t view it as legitimate, the government is forced to repress the population. That’s the problem with the US’s way of going about achieving democracy/enforcing their interests through military take over.

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  34. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    DPF:

    “given an actual choice, almost everyone wants democracy”

    True enough, it’s just that the USA doesn’t have a history of being successful at delivering democracy. i.e. the US’s attempts at delivering “democracy” involves attempting to hire Mafia figures to assassinate Fidel Castro. The idea was a right-wing paramilitary force called Alpha 66, trained secretly by the CIA in Florida, would take Cuba after the assassination.

    Thus an illegitimate American-sponsored democracy emerges, and because the people don’t view it as legitimate, the government is forced to repress the population in order to remain in power. That’s the problem with the US’s way of going about achieving democracy/enforcing their interests through military take over.

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  35. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “True enough, it’s just that the USA doesn’t have a history of being successful at delivering democracy.”

    Meanwhile your commie buddies at the KGB were trying hard to keep the murdering totalitarian dictator Castro afloat. Leftists calling anything “illegitimate’” What a joke. Your whole ideology is based on propaganda and lies, like 99.9% of what you write here you waste of space. Most leftist governments in the world are ‘illegitimate’. If they didn’t get control by vote buying or fiddling the count, they got there by murder and corruption and gangsterism. Yet all we hear from fuckwits like you is endless hatred of the US. You shallow disgusting soviet propagandist. You make me nauseous with your rank hypocrisy and your hate driven bigotry. Nobody is a bigger threat to democracy than the power obsessed left. Like you.

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  36. He-Man (270 comments) says:

    Hi Redbiater, just to remind you that there are 9 million children in America without health care. 9 million.

    Bush has enough problems at home and remember that he could not even cope with Katrina, you cannot expect him to be useful anywhere else.

    It’s no coincidence that the American people have lost faith in Bush Good riddance that he will be booted out the door soon!

    Halleujah!

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  37. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Hi Redbiater, just to remind you that there are 9 million children in America without health care. 9 million.”

    Name one.

    “Bush has enough problems at home and remember that he could not even cope with Katrina,”

    I remember no such thing. I remember a typically hate driven propaganda campaign by the left to try and blame Bush for inaction when it was the state administration that was really to blame. Don’t you cowardly half educated bigots and haters ever get sick of your lies and smears? Other people do, believe me.

    “Halleujah!”

    Moron.

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  38. He-Man (270 comments) says:

    Hi Murray, it was Pakistan who were the nobodys in Somalia. Remember the US cowboy’s who filled Mogadishu with lead. Who blasted the hell out of the streets all over the Somali capitol. And remember the cowboys who got their butts kicked out of there, hang their heads down in shame. Have you read the book “Black Hawk Down”? It tells the story of heroes and it is pure magnificence! Have you seen the movie? That is pure propaganda!

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  39. GPT1 (2,042 comments) says:

    I am stunned by this editorial.

    A majority of New Zealanders are (according to the polls) against the US-led invasion of Iraq. Saddam was a prick who starved and gassed his own people but I don’t see the HoS coming out in support of that sojurn. Indeed, there is a vocal minority in this country who are against any military action that has the US involved (Somalia, Balkans, Stan for eg) and, in my experience, a larger number who are somewhat cynical of US military involvement yet when the chips are down who is called upon to act as the World’s policeman? The UN? The EU? Hardly – the US. Ok it is just an editorial but for this country to even think of calling upon the US to led an invasion of Burma is the height of hypocracy.

    And just to bring a bit of reality in to this situation are those who support such an invasion prepared to committ troops and cash (masses and masses of cash) to 1. invade the country and wipe out the bad guys, 2. rebuild the country, 3. stabilise and provide security for the country until it can stand on its own economic feet (ie: potentially decades)? Or is this just a populist call to go and provide powered milk to starving children? Not wishing to undervalue the poor people of Burma BUT the decision has to be made based on facts and the acceptance of a committment long beyond the memory spans of the CNN generation (ie: voters).

    Just thinking in terms of troops, let’s say that NZ decides that this is seriously important and worthy of an East Timor type committment. In other words a battalion (less the Fijians in the current climate). Where is that going to come from? We currently have significant deployments in Stan, Solomons (I think that is solely TA) and Timor. We might be able to get a first rotation together out of Linton (LAVs etc) but what next? Fully mobilise reserves and TA? What about the 3rd and 4th rotations? Will the electorate accept a rough doubling of the defence budget and some form of ballot/draft?

    Or is it all just a bit too hard so we remain on our high horses waiting for the US to do “something”?

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  40. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    He-Man, do you base your ‘Black Hawk Down’ propaganda claim on an eye witness account perhaps?
    If there are 9 million children in America without health care then there are at most 9 million mothers who probably weren’t ready to parent them.
    Have you tried getting a hospital bed in NZ lately – or did you get a stretcher in the corridor?

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  41. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    Bleater:

    “Meanwhile your commie buddies at the KGB”

    Idiot.

    “Most leftist governments in the world are ‘illegitimate’.”

    Pointless. Well, according to you the National party is communist, so there’s no point debating that with you.

    Latin American history is littered with US backed right-wing dictatorships, who came into governance via military overthrow of left-leaning domocracies.

    The US – based “school of the Americas” has been integral in this:

    More than 63,000 Central and South American soldiers from 22 nations have trained at the “School of the Americas” since its inception.

    Some of the more notorious individuals who have trained at SOA include:

    Former Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega, now serving an extended sentence in a U.S. prison on drug charges.

    El Salvador’s Roberto D’Aubuisson, who formed the death squads that killed Romero and thousands of others during the Salvadoran civil war.

    Former Argentine President Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri, accused of making thousands of people “disappear” during Argentina’s “dirty war” of the 1970s.

    The school insisted it was not responsible for the actions of individuals who ignored its training, which has always included instruction on the basic rules of warfare as set out in the Geneva Convention.

    The SOA controversy intensified when a 1992 report declassified by the Pentagon in 1996 revealed the details of a manual used at SOA in the 1980s that advocated tactics such as beatings, false imprisonment, execution and bounty payments for enemy dead.

    According to SOA’s Web site, the curriculum in the late 1990s focused “on supporting the primary foreign policy goals of the United States in the region — consolidation of the effective democratic governance, respect for the rule of law, and economic development along free market principles.”

    http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cold.war/episodes/18/spotlight/

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  42. rouppe (852 comments) says:

    Richard @ 4:30 is spot on. Any military action to depose the junta won’t actually solve the problem of the moment. The problem to deal with now is to get food, medicine and shelter to huge numbers of people. This has to happen inside of a week. It should have happened last week.

    Next is heavy equipment to repair damage to essential services (water, sewage) and prevent health problems (bodies floating in the river). I heard today that the locals are towing the bodies down the river and tying them to stakes to make sure they stay put because they can’t cope with the numbers and the graveyards are water-logged. Shame about whoever is downstream…

    If you are fighting the incumbent army at the same time then you have an immediate breeding ground for looters, bandits and gangs of militia. The ‘rescuers’ will be seen as adding to the problem because of people being shot, bombs going off etc etc. Sound familiar?

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  43. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “The US – based “school of the Americas” has been integral in this:”

    You’re a communist propagandist and a traitor to the western democracies. You attack true freedom fighters at every opportunity yet remain silent regarding the killing and butchery and kidnapping and incarcerations carried out by your totalitarian buddies throughout the globe. Communist China, Cuba and the Soviets were guilty of everything you accuse the Americans of, but you never ever utter a word against them. The difference of course is that they were killing for the cause- totalitarian communism, so you shut the fuck up like the good little commie invertebrate you are. Keep sticking it to the US tho, like every treasonist commie swine in every little ratty yellow backed commie propaganda club all over the globe, you hate democracy, you hate freedom and you hate the US. You’re just a nauseating lying Stalinist propagandist. All you’ve ever been. All you ever will be.

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  44. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    Bleater:

    In case you’ve forgotten, the Soviet Union doesn’t exist any more. Also, you lie, I’m always criticising the Chinese government here.

    My point is that, historically the US has been less interested in promoting democracy than promoting its own imperial interests. Supporting would-be dictators in their efforts to destroy democratic regimes is par for the course where the US are concerned.

    This is why I’m cynical about any purported “liberating mission” on the part of the US (especially by the current administration). True democracy doesn’t come through the use of external violence, but through internal will.

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  45. He-Man (270 comments) says:

    Hi Patrick Starr, I think that the average New Zealander is much better off than the average American in that case. You see the Americans turn sick people away at the hospital doors, often to die, to protect profits for the shareholders. In which case the Americans have no leg to stand on when criticizing the Chinese of their numerous human rights violations.

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  46. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “In case you’ve forgotten, the Soviet Union doesn’t exist any more.”

    Thanks to power crazed low IQ commie fuckwits like you that have fucked up every country they’ve ever got control of that’s right. ..and learn to read you sad desperate half educated time wasting bore. Its why I used the past tense.

    “My point is that,”

    You never have a point. Your writings here are just typical same old same old hate US crap that is the standard output of every brain damaged global commie. Your web references are sourced from the same old same old left wing hate the US sources like CNN, Newseek, the Guardian blah blah blah- all long ago discredited as partisan leftist nests of vipers… You’re tired you’re old, you’re rhetoric is old, you’re a liar, you’re an attention seeking psychopath. Worst of all, you’re boring . Fuck off, I’m done with your worthless shit.

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  47. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “In which case the Americans have no leg to stand on when criticizing the Chinese of their numerous human rights” violations.

    Yeah that’s so right. Because lame fuckwits like you hate America and freedom and democracy and spew lies and smears and malice at every opportunity, it was quite OK for the Chicom generals to shoot all those Chinese citizens in Tienanmen square. Gawd you people are such nauseating lowlife. Nobody can be this repugnant. Only explanation is insanity.

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  48. He-Man (270 comments) says:

    Hi Redbaiter, I find it offensive that you support the murder of all those innocent people in Tianenmen Square.

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  49. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    “Its why I used the past tense.”

    Your example was irrelevant because they are now irrelevant in the world of ideas. Virtually nobody tries to defend Soviet Russia any more.

    “Your writings here are just typical hate US crap”

    I don’t hate the US. Just the plutocratic power elite that infests it. You know there’s a good reason that people like Richard Perle, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld can direct foreign policy in the US for decades-on-end (on and off). It’s a closed authoritarian system.

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  50. He-Man (270 comments) says:

    Now back to the topic. The USA won’t go into Burma because their is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. There won’t be any shock but lots of awwwww. It will be another quagmire embarrassment for the White House. The Chinese would tell them to piss off anyway. And you know how the US doesn’t want to fight into any nation that has the ability to put up a fight or else they would have invaded North Korea long ago.

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  51. Paul (1,315 comments) says:

    “Forcibly delivering aid at the point of a gun would set quite a precedent” Iraq?

    The lies and pretence of war in Iraq was the humanitarian suffering inflicted by the hands of a despot, with side shows about WMDs and 911. I’m sure if that dumb arse was intelligent enough he could have come up with several more reasons to invade just to make it look good. Still nice to see that Western Military power can bring relief of suffering to a nation.

    Pure and simply if Myanmar had any significant reserves of oil, there would have been a force in there by now. Bush and the West have no bollocks over this issue. 50-100K dead and 2.5million lives destroyed with scant respect for relief of suffering is the greatest humanitarian crime imaginable a government can inflict.

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  52. reid (15,545 comments) says:

    Well, sorry I’m not sure what’s been discussed above, but in relation to He-man’s 10:18 comment:

    Here’s a report on the UN resolutions which says in part:

    Last week, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner suggested the 15-member Security Council could use the U.N.’s mandate adopted in 2005 that nations have a «responsibility to protect» their own citizens to bypass Myanmar’s military leaders and drop supplies by air. But that mandate does not mention natural disasters.
    Council diplomats said eight of the 15 members _ China, Russia, South Africa, Indonesia, Vietnam, Costa Rica, Libya and Panama _ had opposed having the U.N. body that deals with peace and security take up a humanitarian catastrophe.

    The aid-delivery Myanmar failure and the responsibility for every life lost as a result, lies exclusively at the door of its military junta and those nations supporting it.

    If you need more evidence here’s the UN Security Council Report on the matter.

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  53. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    He-Man
    Question. Have you been to the USA and Mainland China? and have you had any family in a critical condition in a NZ hospital?.
    I suspect none of the above;
    In the USA you work and pay taxes knowing that healthcare is not part of it,- pay a bit more and you get it. If you cant afford insurance don’t have kids, or alternatively get a job. Don’t expect someone else to do it for you and take responsibility for yourself.
    Here we are supposed to get the best of medical care in our taxes -we don’t. North Shore Hospital had 49 accidental / negligent hospital deaths last year alone. At least in the USA you can sue the crap out of them –not so here.
    Our hospitals are a joke!

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  54. libertyscott (355 comments) says:

    Actually Burma does have oil and gas. While I support humanitarian intervention by Western powers, I’d note that those who wish to throw stones at them can watch and see all of Burma’s ASEAN partners, and its near neighbour India sit back and do nothing. Most of the world likes Western governments sacrificing its men to do the world’s cleaning up, they would rather sit back in their comfortable little governments pointing out how bad the world is and doing nothing, only a few (Japan) have a reasonable excuse for not intervening.

    The culpable body here is the Burmese junta, it is followed by the Chinese Communist regime which has the power and means to change things, but provides succour to the junta (as China does to Sudan and numerous other blood stained regimes). Beyond that the issue is whether Western countries wish to help directly or not, they are not obliged to, but as I said before the means exist, the moral justification exists and the risks are relatively low. You can make a cogent argument not to do it on the basis of there being no obligation to intervene (and there is none).

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  55. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    Scott –

    Myanmar produces a negligible amount of oil.

    Also – I don’t think anyone’s arguing that aid shouldn’t be given. Are you advocating for military intervention?

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  56. libertyscott (355 comments) says:

    Note that humanitarian intervention does NOT mean overthrowing the regime, I simply think aid should be flown and shipped in, with aid workers under military protection. They can help out the local population, but if the Burmese military get aggressive this is responded to appropriately- the mission being simply to provide aid and assistance to the region, help with reconstruction and infrastructure, and then withdraw. Whether you also distribute windup shortwave radios for locals to receive news from outside the regim and arms to those wishing to fight the regime is another point.

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  57. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    That Burmese Junta will be taking swift and serious notice of a HoS editorial – ha ha ha.

    The only reason anyone reads the HoS is because they mowed their lawns on Saturday in stead of Sunday.

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  58. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    Roger; “US backed right-wing dictatorships, who came into governance via military overthrow of left-leaning democracies”

    Here a just a few of those Latin American ‘left leaning democracies’ diplomats.
    Father Camilo Torres- Colombian
    Carlos the Jackal- Venezuela
    Tania la guerrilla- Argentina
    Ché Guevara- Argentina
    Edith Lagos – Peru
    Markus Wolf- East German born Chilean
    Carlos Marighella –Brazilian

    All worked for various latin American ‘left leaning democracies’,

    all were communist, all were terrorists

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  59. libertyscott (355 comments) says:

    The US backed some appalling dictatorships in Latin America, so did the Soviet Union. Anyone who believes in individual freedom and rights can’t for a moment defend either set of regimes, Latin America has, by and large, been governed appallingly during the Cold War and only since the Cold War ended has governance matured in SOME of those countries (Chile and Argentina are perhaps the best examples, Chile being in some cases a role model). Trying to get point scoring against the “right” or “left” by throwing stones about Latin America is ignoring how filthy ones own backyard is in not condemning the other side.

    It was called the Cold War, there is no more reason to throw dirt at the US today for this than there is to throw it at Russia. The US Administrations who did this are long gone, and we are judging with the wisdom of hindsight. Bush today and McCain or Obama tomorrow are no more to blame for this than Putin is for Afghanistan, Angola, North Korea, Cuba et al.

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  60. rightwingprof (10 comments) says:

    I’m trying to visualize a US paper saying that New Zealand should invade another nation, and I’m coming up blank.

    It’s just a bit amusing that the communists who have been running Burma since 62 have slaughtered many, many times more people than have been killed in this natural disaster, and the liberals couldn’t have cared less. It’s great for communists to slaughter people. It’s a “tragedy” when natural disaster strikes. Okay, then.

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  61. Paul G. Buchanan (301 comments) says:

    The Herald editorial is rather extraordinary. Let us disregard for the moment that it calls for the abandonment of New Zealand’s long-held commitment to non-intervention in the sovereign affairs of other states no matter how reprehensible they are, and its commitment to the peaceful resolution of international disputes by multinational means. The editorial ignores that fact that the US is militarily and diplomatically stretched at the moment, and in an election year the US voting public (to say nothing of Burma’s neighbours) will not countenance yet another military adventure in some God-forsaken place no matter what the purported reason. It also ignores the “then what?” question. Let’s assume that a US-led coalition of the righteous forcibly invades and delivers aid to Burma (assuming anyone else gets on board that train–perhaps the Herald editors want NZ to send troops as a measure of our commitment to humanitarian intervention. If not, what exactly is their point other than fill page space with useless drivel? ). But even if the US and NZ invade Burma, overthrow the evil generals and deliver aid to the point that everything is made right again in the stricken areas. Then what? How does the Herald expect the Chinese to react? What will the post-invasion regime look like? Given the failures at imposed democracy building in recent times and the inability of the UNDP to instill notions of egalitarian governance in places that never have had any, what, exactly, does the Herald editorial staff propose for the post-invasion reconstruction of the country as well as in terms of its political reconstitution? Do they believe that power will simply be handed over to Aun San Suu Kyi and all will henceforth be well in paradise? Do they assume that trying to work with the regime in a face-saving manner is pointless? Do they think that once on the ground and involved in a forcible occupation, such foreign forces will be welcomed indefinitely, and if not, that they will be able to leave quickly with peace and stability restored? Do they think that other adversaries of the US would not use the moment to stir trouble elsewhere while the US is occupied with its humanitarian project? The downside to such an adventure is huge.

    Consistent and broad-based diplomatic pressure threatening to cut off further aid unless the Mynamar regime facilitates more open access to the victims is by far a more useful tool than the idle threat of military intervention, especially when those calling for the use of force are effete editorial writers in a far-off place called Aotearoa. In a world where hard-nosed pragmatism is the only real currency of international affairs, calls for military intervention are not only counterproductive because they will put the Burmese regime and its patrons in Beijing on the defensive at a time when they are already so (and therefore may act jointly to resist the usurpation of Burmese sovereignty). It is also downright cowardly because the editorial writers are calling for the US to do what they themselves could and would never do. Above all, it is a bluff that will be called. If anyone has looked at the US election campaign lately, Burma is not even mentioned–not by the Democrats, not by McCain, not by the White House. US military intervention in Mynamar is a non-starter so one can only wonder what the Herald editors were smoking when they dreamt up that argument.

    As it turns out, time is an enemy of the Burmese junta. The more they fail to respond to the disaster , the more politically untenable their rule becomes. They consequently need foreign help, and they know it, but they want to save face in doing so. They key is give them (and the Chinese as patrons) a face-saving “out” that also works to undermine their long-term prospects (if, in fact, regime change is what everyone is truly interested in).

    The solution is to press the Chinese to convince the Burmese generals to follow their lead when it comes to disaster relief, which means inviting expertise and materiel from selected countries that they trust. Perhaps NZ would be one such country, although after that editorial perhaps not. Such an approach may not result in immediate regime change, but the calamity has already exposed the junta’s weaknesses at home and abroad, and there are as a result new windows of opportunity to exploit with regard to those weaknesses. The means of doing so are many and involve overt and subtle means by a number of agencies. Barking loudly from the editorial fringe is not one of them.

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  62. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    rwprof – east timor (but I hear what your saying)

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  63. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    Pat – Nice to see you defending military dictatorship over democracy.

    Scott – the 1980s weren’t that long ago. Surely you haven’t for gotten that the democratically elected Sandinistas were overthrown by the US-backed paramilitary Contras – supplying them with weapons (which they sourced illegally from Iran) in exchange for cocaine. Both Cheney and Rumsfeld were part of that administration in fact.

    Then of course we have the current regime’s Iraq II debacle. Based on false intelligence primarily provided by Iraqi defectors coached to lie by a government-funded PR firm. Their word was considered good enough intelligence to launch the US into a bloody, protracted war and occupation. No concrete evidence was supplied.

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/8798997/the_man_who_sold_the_war/

    Why you would trust the Bush administration with anything is beyond me.

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  64. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Trying to get point scoring against the “right” or “left” by throwing stones about Latin America is ignoring how filthy ones own backyard is in not condemning the other side.”

    So you equate what was done in the name of totalitarian communism with what was done in the name of democracy? You equate Khrushchev and Brezhnev, unelected dictators, answerable to nobody and no legislative system, with Ronald Reagan, democratically elected and with presidential powers curbed by the American house of reps and the senate and subject to four year electoral terms?

    Pfft, what crap.. The commie propaganda that what the US did at any time was a bad as what the Soviets or the Chicoms did is just the usual contorted leftist attempts at moral equivalence. Unless you’re someone else who believes that democracy has no advantages over communism.

    There is a stark difference. The American’s end was a democratic government, even tho in some cases that objective was not clear at the time, or was some time away from being realized. The Soviets were plotting to install totalitarian dictatorships. In most cases, the Soviets lost. That’s why the left, commie lovers like Gnome and She-man, hate the United States, and daily regurgitate here the same old same old clapped out left wing shit designed to smear and malign the US, but never say a word against Russia, China, Cuba or the former USSR.

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  65. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Why you would trust the Bush administration with anything is beyond me.”

    Why anyone would care about the insane drivel or the grotesque distortions of an attention seeking psychopathic liar like you is beyond me.

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  66. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    “Why anyone would care about the insane drivel or the grotesque distortions of an attention seeking psychopathic liar like you is beyond me.”

    And yet you still you continue to comment on blogs.

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  67. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “And yet you still you continue to comment on blogs.”

    ..and you still waste time and bandwidth with comments that almost always show you’ve got absolutely no real idea of what has just been said.

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  68. Paul (1,315 comments) says:

    (this is normally dead time on Kiwiblog, I assume you are all cricket fans too!)

    Red, how is the humanitarian relief going in Iraq. Bush invaded Iraq because the despot leader was committing crimes against humanity. This is the line that Bush spun on the world, and one hard to argue with. So (apart from the fact that there is no oil there) how is this different here. These people have held power equally dreadfully and longer than Sadam, but they are ‘hands off’.

    Ah there’s no relief like Bush styled unilateral democratic/humanatrian relief.

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  69. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Red, how”

    Sorry, I’ve got better things to do with my time than try and talk sense to deranged idiots like you. Lay your extreme left lies and propaganda on some one with the time to deal with (presumed) adults whose perceptions of reality are as undeveloped as those of a six year old who still believes in the tooth fairy.

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  70. libertyscott (355 comments) says:

    Roger nome- The Sandinistas weren’t angels either at all, they were not exactly merciful towards their opponents, but then you’ve picked sides there, I think Nicaraguans were being fought over by two bunches of despicable authoritarians. Iraq I support for multiple reasons, particularly that a pro-Western democratic regime with ample oil supplies would be extraordinarily useful in the Middle East as a buffer against Islamist Iran and Wahabbiist Saudi Arabia, and because the Hussein regime was a criminal gang of murderers without redemption. No doubt you’ll mention how the US, France (and maybe even remember the USSR and China) backed Hussein in the ’80s, which peculiarly denies the right to over turn this, but anyway this thread isn’t about Iraq.

    Redbaiter – Freedom for the West is not won by turning a blind eye to the rivers of blood spilt by the likes of Pinochet, Suharto, Mobutu and the like. To equate defending those murderers with defending freedom and democracy requires an Orwellian contortion of facts that would make Mao proud. Don’t forget some in the Reagan Administration (not Reagan or Weinberger) didn’t want to back the UK in the Falklands because it was concerned about the military regime in Argentina being undermined. I am the first to damn Marxists, I damn the elected Maoist thugs in Nepal today for example. However, by backing evil non-communist dictators the West did, in hindsight, play into the hands of the left. Now some of these were inevitable, South Korea’s thugs were always preferable to Kim Il Sung, but Mobutu? A murdering kleptocratic megalomaniac who pillaged Zaire/Congo and you see the results today. Pinochet? Did much economic good, but was torturing and murdering student protestors necessary? Suharto – another kleptocrat who wiped out whole villages, men, women and children which were deemed “communist”. What did he impose? A nepotistic planned democracy.

    I know the US meant well, and by and large it reacted against the Soviet spread of communism, and some of what I say is wisdom of hindsight. However is it any wonder there is so much ammunition against Western liberal democracy when much of what was done in its name was to support regimes that were little different from the brutal communist dictatorships we were fighting against? The fundamental problem was that while the USSR actively supported communists and argued for communist values (albeit evil ones), the West did not support principled advocates of individual freedom and capitalism, they supported ANTI-communists. This happened to include the South African apartheid regime. Hitler was anti-communist, but that’s because he didn’t like the competition – let’s face it most of these thugs in those countries were control freaks, it was a battle for influence, not freedom.

    Your difficulty is accepting that while it was a fight behind right and wrong (West vs Marxism Leninism), some of those supported in the name of right were anything but – and we are both just lucky we didn’t live under any of them. Some countries are still paying the price (East Timor, DR Congo).

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  71. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Exactly PG Buchanan; the Chinese should be stepping up and sorting out Burma. That they haven’t is evidence thay are still bit players geo-politically.

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  72. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,049 comments) says:

    An invasion would be an additional disaster but it won’t happen for a variety of reasons; for starters the US military is a little preoccupied.

    If they did somehow invade then the US would have to finance the war with additional loans from China which has a nice ironic ring to it.

    They can’t put troops on the ground but they could bomb Burma’s air defenses and then air drop supplies in – they did it in Afghanistan and it worked pretty well.

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  73. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    “Surely you haven’t for gotten that the democratically elected Sandinistas were overthrown by the US-backed paramilitary Contras”

    Roger;
    The Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza Presidency in 1979, establishing a Soviet- and Castro-backed junta in its place. – sure they held elections after that, but same way your friend Robert Mugabe also claims to remain democratically elected!

    “No concrete evidence was supplied. Why you would trust the Bush administration with anything is beyond me.” I supppose the Kurds just died of natural causes? (Halabja poison gas attack 1988)
    Remember at least 2 presidents before GWB attacked Iraq – one of them was your dear Clinton.

    IMO The debt of gratitude the western world owe the USA can never be easily repaid. Without them what language do you suppose we’d be speaking today (or maybe just facing allah?)

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  74. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,049 comments) says:

    The Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza Presidency in 1979, establishing a Soviet- and Castro-backed junta in its place. – sure they held elections after that, but same way your friend Robert Mugabe also claims to remain democratically elected!

    The Somoza’s were a military dictatorship so overthrowing them wasn’t much of a blow against democracy. And the Sandanista elections were certified as free and fair by the international observers. Lets all try and keep our rants vaguely plausible . . .

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  75. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    “The Somoza’s were a military dictatorship so overthrowing them wasn’t much of a blow against democracy.”

    Isn’t that the same as Iraq? – is it only when the USA are involved that its bad?

    “Sandanista elections were certified as free and fair by the international observers” of course, my mistake again, it was only the USA that observed that they were voting down the barrel of an AK47

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  76. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    Nome implied the Sandinistas replaced Somoza through a democratically elected process. whilst I accept the current Sandinista govt is democratically elected it is certainly not the same govt as the 1979 FLSN Nome referred to. pays to check the context before flying into print

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  77. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Your difficulty is accepting that while it was a fight behind right and wrong (West vs Marxism Leninism), some of those supported in the name of right were anything but”

    What I have difficulty with is accepting screeds of propaganda that are sourced from the same old hate America communist/ media /academic conglomerate that has tightly controlled political information for nigh on thirty or fourty years and is mostly responsible for the proliferation of anti US propaganda that you and others glibly repeat like the brainless indoctrinated parrots you mostly are. Leftist re-writes of history are prolific and always breathtaking in their reversal of reality. Whenever I have taken the time to investigate the kind of fabrications that litter your message above Scott I have unfailingly discovered them to be bullshit.

    The fact is that there are two other world powers that always have totalitarianism as their objective, along with a desire to control all of the resources of the globe. Oil minerals, whatever. The question is simple. Do you support these totalitarian dictators, or do you support the only real democratic government that still stands in their way, the US, itself under threat from within like every other western nation (including NZ) by a fifth column of the same totalitarian forces?? ie the hard left pro-communist global socialists. Easily identified because they constantly remain completely silent concerning the transgressions of the anti-human ideologies they cheer for but are found here or a thousand other places, enthusiastically attacking the US at the same time as they work assiduously away for the global cause of leftist totalitarianism.

    Every time you bash the USA and ignore the real evil of Chicom generals, you give these demented and misguided and evil slime another foothold on their beachhead on their battlefront in their global war against democracy and liberty. Once again, your tenet that there is no difference between left and right is shown to be infantile idiocy, and dangerous to freedom.

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  78. He-Man (270 comments) says:

    That Burmese Junta will be taking swift and serious notice of a HoS editorial – ha ha ha.

    The only reason anyone reads the HoS is because they mowed their lawns on Saturday in stead of Sunday.

    Too right.

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  79. unaha-closp (1,033 comments) says:

    Paul,

    “As it turns out, time is an enemy of the Burmese junta. The more they fail to respond to the disaster , the more politically untenable their rule becomes.”

    No, it is not. The Burmese government is tribal/clan based. All power lies in the hands of the Burman tribe junta who have been fighting with or conducting ethnic aggression against the minorities. The Burman live in the central valley, they make up 70% of the total population.

    Some aid is being delivered and this is wholly directed by the junta to the Burman population, some of whom have been pretty hard hit. The regime is delivering effective aid for its own purposes.

    The Irawaddy delta is home to a substantial Karen minority amoung the population who are by default enemies of the regime. If 100,000 Karen are to die in this disaster it will probably benefit the regime. They have been conducting a slow burning ethnic cleansing in the delta for the last 30 years, the cyclone is merely a step forward in their program.

    “The solution is to press the Chinese to convince the Burmese generals to follow their lead when it comes to disaster relief, which means inviting expertise and materiel from selected countries that they trust.”

    They could certainly do with some more aid, it will save lives. People should feel good about giving it. However this will not weaken the regime.

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  80. radar (319 comments) says:

    Redbaiter stated that the United States did what it did in Latin America “in the name of democracy”. To borrow from a few of his favorite words, that is total propaganda bullshit from a complete moron who wouldn’t know a fact if he fell over one.

    The CIA overthrew democratically-elected governments all over Latin America in the name of securing American dominance in the region. They trained their goons at the School of the Americas in Georgia, and then sent them south to do their dirty work. The CIA trained the death squads that committed crimes against humanity in places such as Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. These people killed their political opponents, innocent civilains, aid workers, and in some cases even nuns.

    These are the people who committed the actions that Redbaiter insanely says were “in the name of democracy”. He lambasts the likes of roger nome for not criticising leftist regimes that commit crimes, while glossing over the littany of American crimes himself. He is a hypocrite, a right-wing propagandist, and a liar.

    A link to an article about America’s actions in Latin America: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18920.htm

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  81. He-Man (270 comments) says:

    I went to that link and I was shocked: the U.S. Information Service in Saigon provided thousands of copies of a flyer printed with a ghostly looking eye. The “terror squads” then deposited that eye on the corpses of those they murdered or pinned it “on the doors of houses suspected of occasionally harboring Viet Cong agents.” The technique was called “phrasing the threat” — a way to generate a word-of-mouth terror buzz.

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  82. unaha-closp (1,033 comments) says:

    radar,

    Citing “information clearing house” is really unlikely to present a counter argument to:

    I have difficulty with is accepting screeds of propaganda that are sourced from the same old hate America communist/ media /academic conglomerate

    Other sites you might want to avoid quoting are Znet, counterpunch and codepink.

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  83. radar (319 comments) says:

    unaha-closp, I think your point about sources is a bit irrelevant at this point. You may not have noticed, but when debating with Redbaiter it really doesn’t matter what sources one employs in the defence of one’s point, he is going to label it as communist propaganda. I could use a press release from the CIA itself detailing CIA attrocities in Latin America and he would still cry foul.

    I would argue that “I have difficulty with is accepting screeds of propaganda that are sourced from the same old hate America communist/ media /academic conglomerate” covers a wide range of sources – which I suspect is his goal – with the possible exception of FOX News, who I think you must admit are unlikely to report on the events we are discussing. If you start the argument by saying that all your opponent’s information is biased and untrue, it puts them on the back foot.

    Redbaiter himself has not presented a single link to a single source to back up his claims. That fact speaks for itself. Either he couldn’t find any on FOX, or its nap time at his kindy and he is asleep.

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  84. PhilBest (5,112 comments) says:

    TYPICAL. Who’s the bloody propagandists here? The Cold War involved 2 sides. One involved real democracy, the other involved democracy in name only (ie “Democratic Republic” as in East Germany, North Korea, etc).

    The propagandists of the Left love to claim that the END, that of egalitarianism, justified the various means that THEIR favourite regimes used to gain hegemony over whatever parts of the world. But they don’t allow the OTHER side to claim any such defence, THIS in the face of the collossal disparity between the ENDS in REALITY, between the 2 systems. These people are just sick in the head and there is no point in people like Redbaiter and myself wasting our time arguing with them, except for the fact that there MIGHT be ignorant youngsters online that might just be saved by reason in the face of whatever propaganda tripe that they have been pumped full of already by their teachers, uni professors, the media, or whatever.

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  85. PhilBest (5,112 comments) says:

    Regarding Burma. The world would be a one thousand percent better place if there was a United Democratic Nations that DID make a habit of invading third world totalitarian nations, and establishing decent governments on behalf of the oppressed peoples involved. Invoking “Sovereignty” of the nations involved is just a bad joke, where is the sovereignty of people ruled at gunpoint, tortured and mass-murdured?

    Of course “The United Nations” doesn’t want this sort of thing to happen, an outright MAJORITY of its members ARE totalitarian states. As for leftwingers in the Western world, the reason THEY don’t want this sort of thing happening is that they are IN FAVOUR of ESTABLISHING in THEIR OWN COUNTRIES, the type of regimes we are talking here about overthrowing.

    By the way, our antiNuke policy is actually a little AKIN to the leadership of Burma disallowing foreign aid in the event of a natural disaster, given that the first thing the Yanks always do in these situations, is to send a nuclear aircraft carrier.

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  86. PhilBest (5,112 comments) says:

    Over and out. As I said on another posting today:

    “I’ve been absent from the comments here for a while because I now genuinely believe I’m wasting my time, and I need to concentrate on my own income and future survival strategies. Aussie? Maybe. The US? They’re actually cooked too, and the whole world along with them, if they get a hard-left nut as President this time round. Maybe a move to the Czech Republic? At least THEY still value freedom as a concept, but the downside is that Leftist appeasement-policy nutters all over the leadership of the free world, including the future leaders of the US, tend to throw the hapless Czechs to whatever totalitarian nasties are rattling their sabres, FIRST, in the hopes that THEY will be attacked last. One heck of a LOT rides on the US having a president who is a foreign policy tough, regardless of how stupid people all over the world despise and mock the guy.”

    Very apposite here. Redbaiter, keep up the fight, you’re a gem.

    See the thread about ACT’s 20 Points to get my full doom-and-gloom laden comment.

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  87. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    Pat Star:

    “is it only when the USA are involved that its bad?”

    Actually the Sandinistas were part of the broader coalition (though the Sandinistas did play a leading role in the coup) aiming to overthrow the Somoza regime and create a democracy. This conglomeration of groups was backed by Jimmy Carter’s administration, not the Soviet Union.

    The Sandinistas pledged to work for “political pluralism, a mixed economic system, and a non-aligned foreign policy.”

    http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+ni0024)

    The Sandinistas were ideologically eclectic, but primarily of the left (only a minority were Marxist). Because the US abandoned Nicaragua when it came under left wing leadership (under Somoza Nicaragua received almost all its external assistance from the US), it was forced to rely on Cuba and the Soviets for aid – so the US in effect pushed it into the arms of the Soviets.

    Independent groups from the UN and Western Europe gave the elections a pass. Of course the US condemned the elections, because their paramilitary group (Contras) weren’t part of the new Government.

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  88. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    Pat Star:

    “is it only when the USA are involved that its bad?”

    Actually the Sandinistas were part of the broader coalition (though the Sandinistas did play a leading role in the coup) aiming to overthrow the Somoza regime and create a democracy. This conglomeration of groups was backed by Jimmy Carter’s administration, not the Soviet Union.

    The Sandinistas were ideologically eclectic, but primarily of the left (only a minority were Marxist). Because the US abandoned Nicaragua when it came under left wing leadership (under Somoza Nicaragua received almost all its external assistance from the US), it was forced to rely on Cuba and the Soviets for aid – so the US in effect pushed it into the arms of the Soviets.

    Independent groups from the UN and Western Europe gave the elections a pass. Of course the US condemned the elections, because their paramilitary group (Contras) weren’t part of the new Government.

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  89. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    Bullshit

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  90. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    From your own Wikipedia Roger
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandinistas
    The Sandinista National Liberation Front (Spanish: Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional) is a Marxist Nicaraguan political party. Their organization is generally referred to by the initials FSLN and its members are called, in both English and Spanish, Sandinistas. This term comes from what the Sandinistas termed the anti-imperialist struggle of Augusto César Sandino during the 1930s.
    The FLSN overthrew the Somoza regime in 1979, establishing a Soviet- and Castro-aligned junta in its place

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  91. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    From your own wikipedia roger

    “The Sandinista National Liberation Front (Spanish: Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional) is a Marxist Nicaraguan political party. Their organization is generally referred to by the initials FSLN and its members are called, in both English and Spanish, Sandinistas. This term comes from what the Sandinistas termed the anti-imperialist struggle of Augusto César Sandino during the 1930s.
    The FLSN overthrew the Somoza regime in 1979, establishing a Soviet- and Castro-aligned junta in its place.”

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  92. Paul G. Buchanan (301 comments) says:

    Returning to the subject of the original post, with apologies for writing twice on the matter (I normally am loathe to comment more than once on any one subject). For military planners the issue is one of strategic utility. That is, what is the strategic utility of an armed humanitarian intervention in Burma? For the US and NATO there is none. It diverts military assets away from more pressing missions and does not advance the strategic goals of any member state. It could be argued that diplomatic benefits can accrue from such an intervention, but an equally strong argument can be made to the contrary–that such a use of military force will create diplomatic headaches rather than hugs. The PRC clearly has strategic interests vested in Burma and as expat mentioned, its inability to remedy its client’s disaster relief problems shows its limitations as it attempts to become a major power (although to be fair it has its hands full with a natural disaster of historic proportions, and even the US showed with its handling of Hurricane Katrina that failures can occur in the most advanced states). The UN talk about authorising air drops of relief aid using military aircraft is interesting but begs the question of who will do it and what happens on the ground once the goods are delivered. As for NZ–what strategic interest will be advanced by joining in an armed intervention against the Burmese junta on humanitarian grounds?

    As it turns out, ASEAN appears to be marshaling a response. Military planners within the ASEAN group can, in fact, see strategic (and diplomatic) utility in using regional military assets for humanitarian purposes (stopping short of using force against the Burmese military). It gives members the opportunity to test the operational readiness of their own disaster relief apparatus as well as their military logistics capabilities, and allows them to engage in joint exercises with other member states and UN relief agencies to that end. With the PRC hamstrung by its own disaster, Singapore and Thailand, in particular, have pushed for concerted ASEAN response along lines used in the December 2006 tsunami relief efforts. The important aspect of this initiative is that it is trusted by Myanmar’s rulers, who, however tribal and clannish in orientation, clearly understand that their grip on power is not simply based on in-group allegiances but in fact requires broad institutional foundations and external support (which the junta enjoys, however sad it is to say so, from most of its neighbours). Thus the Herald editorial was not only ill-considered, lacking in fore-thought and unconcerned about the consequences of military intervention. It also ignored the efforts already underway to remedy the situation by means short of war. If humanitarian assistance is what the Herald and global community want to offer to those suffering the effects of the cyclone, then regime change will have to wait and foreign military intervention will have to be limited to operations other than combat.

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