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 Post subject: US continues arms sales to Bahrain PostPosted: 2012-02-02 10:46pm
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Obama Administration Quietly Selling Arms to Bahrain Despite Continuing Human Rights Abuses
- Common Dreams staff

As the Arab Spring unfolded last year, protesters in the streets saw something startling about the tools of repression being used on them. The Humvees, tanks, helicopters were from the US government; the canisters of chemical agents used to attack them said, "Made in the USA."

Bahrain, home to the US Fifth Fleet and close ally of Saudi Arabia, brutally suppressed the uprising among their citizens. More than 40 pro-democracy protesters were killed and thousands more were arrested and tortured. While speaking out loudly on Libya's brutality, the Obama administration remained largely silent on Bahrain.

Last fall the Obama administration announced plans to sell Bahrain $53 million worth of military weapons including bunker buster missiles, armored vehicles and wire-guided missiles. The Pentagon said at the time the sale "will improve Bahrain's capability to meet current and future armored threats. Bahrain will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense."

Congressional opposition to the sale forced Obama to delay the weapons transfer. Now, sources have leaked, the Obama administration is quietly moving forward with the arms sales to the Bahraini monarchy - despite their on-going human rights abuses.

* * *

Foreign Policy magazine reported Friday:

President Barack Obama's administration has been delaying its planned $53 million arms sale to Bahrain due to human rights concerns and congressional opposition, but this week administration officials told several congressional offices that they will move forward with a new and different package of arms sales -- without any formal notification to the public.

"The Bahraini government has shown little progress in improving their human rights record over the last few months and in some ways, their record has gotten worse... Protesters are still being hurt and killed, midnight arrests are still happening and the government continues to deny access to human rights monitors... the U.S. should not be rewarding them" The congressional offices that led the charge to oppose the original Bahrain arms sales package are upset that the State Department has decided to move forward with the new package. The opposition to Bahrain arms sales is led by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), and also includes Senate Foreign Relations Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee chairman Robert Casey (D-PA), Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), and Marco Rubio (R-FL).

Wyden and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) have each introduced a resolution in their respective chambers to prevent the U.S. government from going through with the original sale, which would have included 44 armored, high-mobility Humvees and over 300 advanced missiles. [...]

"The Bahraini government has shown little progress in improving their human rights record over the last few months and in some ways, their record has gotten worse," Wyden told The Cable on Friday. "Protesters are still being hurt and killed, midnight arrests are still happening and the government continues to deny access to human rights monitors. The kingdom of Bahrain has not shown a true good faith effort to improve human rights in their country and the U.S. should not be rewarding them as if they have."

"Supplying arms to a regime that continues to persecute its citizens is not in the best interest of the United States," Wyden said. "When the government of Bahrain shows that it respects the human rights of its citizens it will become more stable and a better ally in the region; only then should arms sales from the U.S. resume."

That point was echoed by McGovern, who pledged to oppose any arms sales to Bahrain.

"The government of Bahrain continues to perpetrate serious human rights abuses and to deny independent monitors access to the country," McGovern told The Cable. "Until Bahrain takes more substantial and lasting steps to protect the rights of its own citizens, the United States should not reward its government with any military sales."

* * *

Jim Lobe of the Inter Press Service writes today:

The decision by the administration of President Barack Obama to approve limited transfers of military equipment to Bahrain is coming under renewed fire by human rights and pro-democracy groups here.

The groups, as well as a number of lawmakers who have opposed renewed arms transfers to Bahrain, are demanding that the administration publicly disclose precisely what it intends to provide the Gulf kingdom.

And they are warning that any military transfers at this time will almost certainly be seen by pro-democracy opposition forces as support for a repressive regime.

"Even a limited sale of military items to the Bahraini government sends the wrong message," said David Kramer, the president of Freedom House, a pro-democracy group that receives support from the Congressionally funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

"Until the Bahraini government ends systemic human rights abuses, allows unfettered access to media and international organizations, and begins implementing meaningful political reform, the United States should not consider the sale of any military items," Kramer said Monday. [...]

Reinforced by some 1,500 troops and police from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the monarchy, which claimed that Shi'a-led Iran was trying to subvert the country, cracked down hard against the month-old pro-democracy movement beginning in mid-March.

Over the following months, more than 40 protesters were reported killed, thousands were arrested – many of them tortured while in detention – and hundreds more were dismissed from their jobs in a wide-ranging campaign of repression.

Although the administration initially denounced the crackdown, it remained relatively quiet through most of the rest of the year.[...]

"A little more transparency from the administration on what this transfer is would be very helpful. But you really have to question the timing of this. February looks extremely ominous. What will happen probably will be at least one and probably more attempts at large- scale protests, and the government shows no sign of being able to police those protests properly. Much smaller protests this month have been routinely attacked with excessive force." -- Brian Dooley, Human Rights FirstIn September, however, the administration quietly notified Congress that it intended to sell 53 million dollars worth of mainly anti-tank missiles and armored Humvees to Bahrain, drawing strong protests from rights groups and lawmakers who argued that the Humvees, in particular, could be used against protestors.

While Congress did not stop the sale, enough questions were raised to persuade the administration to promise to delay delivery until an international commission appointed by the king to investigate the spring's events issued its report in November. [...]

The administration notified a number of Congressional offices last week that it is going ahead with the transfer of some items, including "spare parts and maintenance equipment …needed for Bahrain's external defense and support of Fifth Fleet operations," according to the State Department.

It said that the value of these transfers "are not large enough to require Congressional notification".

"None of these items can be used against protestors," it said in a prepared statement.

But, amid concern that the administration may be breaking up the original package into smaller pieces so as to avoid formal Congressional notification requirements, the rights groups say they want to know what the items are.

"A little more transparency from the administration on what this transfer is would be very helpful," said Brian Dooley, a Gulf expert at Human Rights First who was one of those who was denied entry into Bahrain earlier this month.

"But you really have to question the timing of this," he added, noting that tensions are once again on the rise in the run-up to the one-year anniversary of the first big pro-democracy demonstrations on Feb. 14.

"February looks extremely ominous," he told IPS. "What will happen probably will be at least one and probably more attempts at large- scale protests, and the government shows no sign of being able to police those protests properly. Much smaller protests this month have been routinely attacked with excessive force."

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 Post subject: Re: US continues arms sales to Bahrain PostPosted: 2012-02-02 11:32pm
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I had always been under the impression that the "pro-democracy" forces in Bahrain were in fact Shiite demonstrators angry at the Sunni government, and that people from outside that group did not even think about participating in the demonstrations.

This article doesn't seem to address that issue at all.

As for the US supplying the government, it makes sense considering 5th fleet is stationed there. The US isn't going to want political unrest that might jeopardize its naval base. Especially considering what's going on with Iran.

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 Post subject: Re: US continues arms sales to Bahrain PostPosted: 2012-02-03 12:48am
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Shia are something like 70% of the population; the Sunni government has been shipping in more Sunni’s for decades to slowly dilute them but they remain by far the majority. The fact is Bahrain has been an autonomous province of Saudi Arabia since it became ‘independent’ from the British, and that’s why it was very straightforward for the Peninsula Shield force to roll into the country soon after the uprising began. The Shia had had a number of uprisings in the past and coup attempts to install a theocracy, they’ve all been put down because hell if the rest of the Sunni’s in Arabia are going to allow an Iranian and Hezbollah backed toe hold on the south shore of the Persian Gulf. That will turn into another gulf war real quick.

But Bahrain is indeed a lot more complicated then its given credit for. For example the ruling government, when it reformed itself and made the monarchy constitutional with a parliament partly elected by universal suffrage… many Shia actually opposed this move. Too secular, not crazy islam enough. Some of the Shia Islamist parties, who control the elected half of parliament, are basically completely against women’s political rights among other things and have zero female politicians. The 2011 uprising wasn’t sprung out of nothing or just simmering discontent, it was just the breaking of a wave which had been growing for years ever since Bahrain liberalized its politics and reduced repression in the first place, and some rather violent vents before that nobody ever talks about. If the Shia took over, we have little reason to think they’d get any better, they might get worse assuming it isn’t just outright ethnic cleansing didn’t break out. So nobody gives a damn about Bahrain putting down the uprising. For the moment Bahrain is still more democratic then Qatar or Saudi or the UAE unless I am grossly mistaken.



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 Post subject: Re: US continues arms sales to Bahrain PostPosted: 2012-02-03 05:52am
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Thanks for that Sea Skimmer. I didn't realize that the Shiites made up that much of the population, I'd always thought they were the relative minority. Learn something everyday. Reminds me of a saying that boils down to: "when you tolerate intolerance in the name of a tolerant society, tolerance is destroyed." With regards to the crazy Islamists.

This also feeds into something that I've noticed regarding reporting of what's been going on in the Middle East, namely that it must fit into the narrative of freedom-loving democratic rebels against an oppressive government. And if the reality doesn't then the press makes it fit. Syria seems to be the other major offender in that regard. From some of the reports that I've read it's more along the line of a Sunni uprising against an Alawite government that protects the other religious minorities in the country. I've always assumed that was one of the reasons that the Syrian military hasn't really balked at what they've been ordered to do.

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 Post subject: Re: US continues arms sales to Bahrain PostPosted: 2012-02-03 06:16am
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Thanks for clearing that up, Sea Skimmer. I wasn't very familiar with Bahrain. I still frown on this a bit but I guess I'm glad to know it's not exactly the above described black and white narrative that the media really loves.



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 Post subject: Re: US continues arms sales to Bahrain PostPosted: 2012-02-03 09:22am
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Ah, what do I see here. When islamists rise up in Bahrain, they are Shiite scum which needs to be grinded to death under the glorious iron heel of U.S. weaponry. When islamists rise up in Libya or Syria (or Afghanistan, shall we recall the 1980s), they are brave fighters for democracy, glory be to Allah and Mullah Omar Abdelhakim Belhadj is his prophet on Earth.

Thank you Sea Skimmer. God bless America.



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 Post subject: Re: US continues arms sales to Bahrain PostPosted: 2012-02-03 09:45am
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So are you saying that the one in Bahrain is a legitimate one and the others weren't? Or that all were illegitimate? Or that all were legitimate but US hypocritically backs only the ones that are in its interests?



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 Post subject: Re: US continues arms sales to Bahrain PostPosted: 2012-02-03 10:00am
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Stas?

Do you deny that multiple types of Islamic fundamentalists exist, and think that they are a uniform mass who should all get identical treatment? Because you seem to be denying that they could exist, by implying that they're a myth invented to justify fighting Muslim fundamentalists sometimes and not other times.

Or do you think Islamic fundamentalists should all get identical treatment (all opposed alike) even though they aren't all the same, and the alternative isn't always the same either?

Or is there a third option I'm missing here because my coffee hasn't kicked in yet?

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 Post subject: Re: US continues arms sales to Bahrain PostPosted: 2012-02-03 10:36am
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Kane Starkiller wrote:
Or that all were legitimate but US hypocritically backs only the ones that are in its interests?

Or that all are islamist and quite probably bad from a secular viewpoint regardless of legitimacy, but the US hypocritically backs only the ones that are in its interests.
Simon_Jester wrote:
Or is there a third option I'm missing here because my coffee hasn't kicked in yet?

What I mean is that the islamist bogeyman can be used by the US in any fashion to further the goals of the US in an entirely hypocritical fashion. Islamist uprisings and militant islamist movements against dictatorial secular regimes can be supported or not depending on how Reagan Bush Clinton Obama, or shall I rather say the US elite in its entirety, farted today when walking round their homes. Secular dictatorships in threat of islamist uprisings can be supported (e.g. Musharraf) or abandoned or even actively crushed depending on the same. Even theocracies can be supported (Saudi Arabia) or pressured (Iran) depending on the US interest and that alone.

It is always fun to see US citizens getting confused due to the apparent support of democratic uprisings in one place and support of dictatorship which crushes uprisings in another place, and then they're being explained that "but see these are islamists" and then it is suddenly okay. Or when Thanas posts another thread about how the new semi-Islamist government of Libya obviously tortures its prisoners, people get surprised that this is a result of US intervention of behalf of islamist forces financed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia, of all places...

I guess I'm just sort of laughing how people's opinions are easily swayed.



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 Post subject: Re: US continues arms sales to Bahrain PostPosted: 2012-02-03 10:41am
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So US is doing a good thing here in Bahrain regardless of the motivations? So you basically agree with Sea Skimmer?



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 Post subject: Re: US continues arms sales to Bahrain PostPosted: 2012-02-03 10:44am
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Kane Starkiller wrote:
So US is doing a good thing here in Bahrain regardless of the motivations? So you basically agree with Sea Skimmer?

I may agree with that (just as no matter how fucked up the US intervention into Afghanistan is, if it brings secularism and progress in women's rights, it has at least one redeeming quality). The point is not whether I agree or disagree. See above. :lol:



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 Post subject: Re: US continues arms sales to Bahrain PostPosted: 2012-02-03 11:19am
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Stas Bush wrote:
What I mean is that the islamist bogeyman can be used by the US in any fashion to further the goals of the US in an entirely hypocritical fashion. Islamist uprisings and militant islamist movements against dictatorial secular regimes can be supported or not depending on how Reagan Bush Clinton Obama, or shall I rather say the US elite in its entirety, farted today when walking round their homes. Secular dictatorships in threat of islamist uprisings can be supported (e.g. Musharraf) or abandoned or even actively crushed depending on the same. Even theocracies can be supported (Saudi Arabia) or pressured (Iran) depending on the US interest and that alone.
I will note only this- some of these religious movements (and even theocracies) are less outwardly hostile than others. I don't like theocracy, but the nation-state model was invented as a tool for dealing with theocracies you don't like, acknowledging their legitimacy as a government without approving of their internal politics.

In a place like Egypt, there were fundamentalists mixed in with the pro-democracy uprisings, but they weren't the only thing going on- today, if the military junta's power over the country is broken, it is not a foregone conclusion that the fundamentalists will get to turn the country into a theocracy at all, let alone a violent theocracy.

In a place like Iran, where the fundamentalists define themselves in opposition to all foreigners, and where the government has an acquisitive attitude about other people's territory in the neighboring countries, it's harder to deal with them evenly and there's more reason to exert pressure.

I don't think it's entirely hypocritical, although the rhetoric used to justify it may be.

Quote:
Or when Thanas posts another thread about how the new semi-Islamist government of Libya obviously tortures its prisoners, people get surprised that this is a result of US intervention of behalf of islamist forces financed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia, of all places...

I guess I'm just sort of laughing how people's opinions are easily swayed.
Now that part does not surprise me- but then I knew while it was happening that the Libyan rebels were a mix of Islamic fundamentalists and pro-democracy people.

You get the same blend all over the Middle East- basically, Islam is (surprise!) the most popular thing in the Muslim world and has been for 1300 years, so there will be an active "church militant" religious party anywhere you go there. And since about the only kind of political expression the dictators of that area can't suppress is the preaching of Islamic fundamentalists, it's no wonder that they pop back up whenever the status quo shifts.

Honestly at this point I'd be in favor of the developed world throwing up its hands, ending interference in the "secular dictator versus fundie lunatic" squabbles, walking away and letting them gnaw on each other for a few decades. Maybe they'd be ready to try something else after a few decades of that, but picking at the scabs like this just keeps the region inflamed.

I think everyone would have done that years ago if it wasn't for the oil.

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 Post subject: Re: US continues arms sales to Bahrain PostPosted: 2012-02-03 12:10pm
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I don't think it's just the oil. Often pure geopolitics. Even after the Cold War was over, for example, the West chose to intervene on behalf of the heavily islamist Albanian separatists of the KLA. Or the whole criticism levelled against Russia for the suppression of the separatist military units in Chechnya, while Saudi Arabia's and Qatar's sheikhs were financing the islamist underground (and probably still are), and the islamist rebellion has been anything but nice. On the other hand, Pakistan's Musharraf continued to enjoy U.S. support even after the partly democratically-minded, partly islamist opposition to his rule started gaining steam. Pakistan isn't an oil-rich nation too.



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 Post subject: Re: US continues arms sales to Bahrain PostPosted: 2012-02-03 02:10pm
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Stas Bush wrote:
It is always fun to see US citizens getting confused due to the apparent support of democratic uprisings in one place and support of dictatorship which crushes uprisings in another place, and then they're being explained that "but see these are islamists" and then it is suddenly okay. Or when Thanas posts another thread about how the new semi-Islamist government of Libya obviously tortures its prisoners, people get surprised that this is a result of US intervention of behalf of islamist forces financed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia, of all places...


What I think its funny is the way people denounce the US for causing 'instability' if it overthrows a dictator, denounces the US if it doesn't overthrow one, denounce the US if it merely backs sanctions of one kind or another as interfering in internal affairs or 'hurting the people' more then the government, and denounce the US for treating different countries in different situations differently while claiming the US doesn't understand anything in the world. Yeah, that is all very funny to me. You wonder why nobody in the US really gives a damn about what the world says, that's why. Of course best and most funny of all, all you all can't do a fucking thing to stop us because even after the US imploded its own economy and spent two trillion dollars fighting random wars, it still leaves us an order of magnitude more powerful then any other crap hole on earth. Anyway like I was saying, the best the Shia in Bahrain can do is get the gulf states to turn a limited intervention into full scale war. The US could cut off all aid, and they'd just buy everything they needed from China to arm all the Pakistani mercenaries they already use.



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 Post subject: Re: US continues arms sales to Bahrain PostPosted: 2012-02-03 02:17pm
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I, personally, am glad that there are Americans who perceive our pattern of imperialism and like what they see. It's always good to have someone that you can unreservedly hate without any of this "Well they have some good points to them" mitigating factors. Oh, but you're still dumb enough to think that people should love us when we try to put the boot on their neck, so you're even more fucking contemptible.

It's also great that people are now only allowed to determine their own destinies if they're ideologically pure enough.



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I mean, how often am I to enter a game of riddles with the author, where they challenge me with some strange and confusing and distracting device, and I'm supposed to unravel it and go "I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE" and take great personal satisfaction and pride in our mutual cleverness?

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 Post subject: Re: US continues arms sales to Bahrain PostPosted: 2012-02-03 02:22pm
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Bakustra wrote:
I, personally, am glad that there are Americans who perceive our pattern of imperialism and like what they see. It's always good to have someone that you can unreservedly hate without any of this "Well they have some good points to them" mitigating factors. Oh, but you're still dumb enough to think that people should love us when we try to put the boot on their neck, so you're even more fucking contemptible.

It's also great that people are now only allowed to determine their own destinies if they're ideologically pure enough.


They can do it if they can kill enough people, how about that? Only took what, 250,000 dead bodies to make the united states independent in a rather less then revolutionary fashion, and 600,000 more to capitalize it as a proper union? Who said anything about expecting people to love it anyway? People will hate the US no matter what it does, thinking anything else is more then a little delusional. I don't expect people to like it, I do expect people to realize that the contradictions in criticism of the US are just as wide as the contradictions in US policy. People love pointing out that the US often expects nations to favor US over local self interests, but they never do seem to ask why the US should favor anything that is massively against its own critical interests. Of course, its not like the US in Libya really was in US self interest anyway, we trade a known dictator who really wanted to be our friend and pump oil like crazy for a big fucking question mark of violent self determination. Europe meanwhile literally had people argue at times in the lead up to western involvement that intervention would be cheaper then caring for about two million refugees for years, which is probably was.



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 Post subject: Re: US continues arms sales to Bahrain PostPosted: 2012-02-03 02:31pm
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Man, you must be patting yourself on the back thinking about how realistic you are right now. "Critical interests", huh? I sure am glad that an unelected set of people who believe themselves a superior elite decide what the nation should do without any of this democracy bullshit, and with the national security state, they soon won't have to bother lying to get people to do what they want! I'll never understand why so many of the proletariat eagerly lick the boots of the bourgeoisie who only view them as warm bodies to be fed to the State, but at least you're self-consistent enough to be willing to die for the NSA, right?



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I mean, how often am I to enter a game of riddles with the author, where they challenge me with some strange and confusing and distracting device, and I'm supposed to unravel it and go "I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE" and take great personal satisfaction and pride in our mutual cleverness?

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 Post subject: Re: US continues arms sales to Bahrain PostPosted: 2012-02-03 02:45pm
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Bakustra wrote:
Man, you must be patting yourself on the back thinking about how realistic you are right now. "Critical interests", huh? I sure am glad that an unelected set of people who believe themselves a superior elite decide what the nation should do without any of this democracy bullshit, and with the national security state, they soon won't have to bother lying to get people to do what they want! I'll never understand why so many of the proletariat eagerly lick the boots of the bourgeoisie who only view them as warm bodies to be fed to the State, but at least you're self-consistent enough to be willing to die for the NSA, right?


If you don't think avoiding a major war in the Persian Gulf is a critical US interest you've been missing from reality since the 1960s. Of course if you paid any attention to the topic at all you'd also realize that the Arabs were only willing to back action against Libya if they got a free hand in Bahrain, and since we fucking know they'd do anything it took to retain control of Bahrain and keep Iran out anyway it was pointless to oppose it. So, deal with one, or deal with zero. Amazing that someone choose one, and only then because Europe was so damn fond of it and also happened to attack first without telling anyone, France to be specific.

It'd depend on what the NSA needed me to do BTW. We created them to crack communist codes in the fucking Korean war you know, another totally unwarranted US interference in the domestic affairs of another country I'm sure you must believe. That really did involve nothing important to the US, we had said as much not long before Kim decided to attack.



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 Post subject: Re: US continues arms sales to Bahrain PostPosted: 2012-02-03 02:57pm
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I think you're genuinely delusional if you think that the US needs to do this to avoid a major war in the Persian Gulf, and I think that characterizing you as able to see things clearly was far too generous if that was the case.

The Korean War was in fact an unwarranted UN/First World interference in the domestic affairs of Korea when the Korean people on both the right and left didn't want the US or Soviets there, and tens of thousands of Koreans died protesting this. But clearly they couldn't have governed themselves, right?

EDIT: I want to know why you'd be willing to die for people that think of you as inherently inferior to them. Is it a personal problem? A brain one?



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I mean, how often am I to enter a game of riddles with the author, where they challenge me with some strange and confusing and distracting device, and I'm supposed to unravel it and go "I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE" and take great personal satisfaction and pride in our mutual cleverness?

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 Post subject: Re: US continues arms sales to Bahrain PostPosted: 2012-02-03 03:59pm
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Jaina Dax
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Sea Skimmer wrote:
What I think its funny is the way people denounce the US for causing 'instability' if it overthrows a dictator,

...usually either by starting an illegal war of aggression or invading a foreign country on threadbare grounds,
Quote:
denounces the US if it doesn't overthrow one,

...wait, are these the same people? Do such people even exist? Oh, I see. You were expecting praises to be heaped on the US for not assaulting such foreign countries as it doesn't currently assault, and interpreted the lack of such praise as denounciations? Or did you mean "denounces the US if it actively supports a dictatorship in oppressing and killing its population"? It's really hard to see which of many possible interpretations I should pick here, but I tried to be as charitable as your post allowed.

Sea Skimmer wrote:
Yeah, that is all very funny to me. You wonder why nobody in the US really gives a damn about what the world says, that's why.

I doubt anyone in this thread still wonders, given your... illustrative behavior. It's plain that you see the world as somehow beholden to the US, but it's more than that. The statement, "People love pointing out that the US often expects nations to favor US over local self interests, but they never do seem to ask why the US should favor anything that is massively against its own critical interests," only really works when you consider both sides equally reasonable, which it really only is if either (a) both have equally strong claims or (b) you're a raging sociopath. And no, Skimmer, if position A is "I want my country to remain standing" and position B is "I want my country to take your country's resources", then the dispute is not remotely even. This is at the heart of why people hate America: because its cheerleaders seem to think it's all just a matter of "interests".

So guess what? I happen to have a great interest in owning the contents of Fort Knox, and I think the disinclination of the Financial Reserve to allow that is unreasonable. Really, of course, both sides of the argument have equal merit. Perhaps I should get half.

Sea Skimmer wrote:
Of course best and most funny of all, all you all can't do a fucking thing to stop us because even after the US imploded its own economy and spent two trillion dollars fighting random wars, it still leaves us an order of magnitude more powerful then any other crap hole on earth. Anyway like I was saying, the best the Shia in Bahrain can do is get the gulf states to turn a limited intervention into full scale war. The US could cut off all aid, and they'd just buy everything they needed from China to arm all the Pakistani mercenaries they already use.

Whatever I choose to write, no matter how condemnatory, wouldn't hold a candle this fetid jingoist diatribe. Thank you, I suppose. I got to see exactly what kind of creature you are, and all it cost me was a mouthful of Listerine.



"Travelers with closed minds can tell us little except about themselves."
--Chinua Achebe


Last edited by Eleas on 2012-02-03 04:02pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: US continues arms sales to Bahrain PostPosted: 2012-02-03 04:00pm
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Glamorous Commie
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Sea Skimmer wrote:
What I think its funny is the way people denounce the US for causing 'instability' if it overthrows a dictator, denounces the US if it doesn't overthrow one, denounce the US if it merely backs sanctions of one kind or another as interfering in internal affairs or 'hurting the people' more then the government, and denounce the US for treating different countries in different situations differently while claiming the US doesn't understand anything in the world. Yeah, that is all very funny to me. You wonder why nobody in the US really gives a damn about what the world says, that's why. Of course best and most funny of all, all you all can't do a fucking thing to stop us because even after the US imploded its own economy and spent two trillion dollars fighting random wars, it still leaves us an order of magnitude more powerful then any other crap hole on earth. Anyway like I was saying, the best the Shia in Bahrain can do is get the gulf states to turn a limited intervention into full scale war. The US could cut off all aid, and they'd just buy everything they needed from China to arm all the Pakistani mercenaries they already use.

Wow, that was one hell of a macho jerkoff. I don't think this requires any comment, it is beautiful as it is.

"US supports islamists here and supports them being crushed there, and that "democracy uber alles" talk is really nothing but unimpressive bullshit" = "me being funny". *laughs* Yes, I am funny that way.



Misereor

A short story of humanity's first contact

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 Post subject: Re: US continues arms sales to Bahrain PostPosted: 2012-02-03 05:28pm
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Ruthless Genocidal Warmonger
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Bakustra wrote:
The Korean War was in fact an unwarranted UN/First World interference in the domestic affairs of Korea when the Korean people on both the right and left didn't want the US or Soviets there, and tens of thousands of Koreans died protesting this. But clearly they couldn't have governed themselves, right?


Remind me who crossed the 38th Parallel first, hmm?



"If scientists and inventors who develop disease cures and useful technologies don't get lifetime royalties, I'd like to know what fucking rationale you have for some guy getting lifetime royalties for writing an episode of Full House." - Mike Wong

"The present air situation in the Pacific is entirely the result of fighting a fifth rate air power." - U.S. Navy Memo - 24 July 1944

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 Post subject: Re: US continues arms sales to Bahrain PostPosted: 2012-02-03 06:50pm
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MKSheppard wrote:
Remind me who crossed the 38th Parallel first, hmm?
All those North Korean T-34s were part of a giant flower-gathering expedition, part of Great Leader Kim Il Sung's effort to modernize ancient Korean traditions. The UN Security Council resolutions were a horrible and unwarranted interference in the will of the Korean people.

Eleas wrote:
Sea Skimmer wrote:
What I think its funny is the way people denounce the US for causing 'instability' if it overthrows a dictator,
...usually either by starting an illegal war of aggression or invading a foreign country on threadbare grounds,
Respectfully, how the hell else are you supposed to overthrow a dictator? Dictators hold their power by force, it's practically the definition of dictatorship. How do you remove them from power against their will, except by hitting them with a big hammer?

If the US (or anyone else) doesn't overthrow dictators by force, the US (or anyone else) doesn't overthrow dictators at all. I'm willing to live with that, at this point- just don't try to have it both ways.

Quote:
Quote:
denounces the US if it doesn't overthrow one,
...wait, are these the same people? Do such people even exist?
Yes. They say "Why do you have dealings with this foul tyrant? Why aren't you trying to free the people from his rule?"

And Skimmer's reply seems to be: "This foul tyrant is the legitimate government of the country. Are we supposed to just pretend he doesn't exist and hopes he goes away on his own?"


So the net effect is, yes, pretty much what Skimmer says: The US will be denounced if it fights a war to overthrow a dictator, if it engages in peaceful trade and negotiation with a dictator. Sometimes the US will not be denounced if it hovers in a weird "no war no peace" state of sanctions and blockade toward a dictator (North Korea) but other times, it gets denounced anyway (Cuba).

Does this mean the denunciation is unfair? Maybe not. Probably it's fair a lot of the time. But there's no one policy the US could follow toward all dictators, or even most dictators, that wouldn't get denounced.

If you always denounce someone, can always find reasons to condemn them no matter what broad policy decisions they make, then either they're fucking Mordor and no nation on Earth has ever been as utterly, inexpressibly evil as them... or you start to sound like a broken record. The broken-record aspect of criticism of America can start to pall. The longer it goes on, the harder it gets to believe that the critics would actually stop if America just stuck to reasonable and benevolent actions.

Keep it up long enough and you get people so sick of listening to it that they start turning crazy. How long could you listen to someone who hates you before you started taking jabs back out of irritation?
___________________

Quote:
Sea Skimmer wrote:
Yeah, that is all very funny to me. You wonder why nobody in the US really gives a damn about what the world says, that's why.
I doubt anyone in this thread still wonders, given your... illustrative behavior. It's plain that you see the world as somehow beholden to the US, but it's more than that. The statement, "People love pointing out that the US often expects nations to favor US over local self interests, but they never do seem to ask why the US should favor anything that is massively against its own critical interests," only really works when you consider both sides equally reasonable, which it really only is if either (a) both have equally strong claims or (b) you're a raging sociopath. And no, Skimmer, if position A is "I want my country to remain standing" and position B is "I want my country to take your country's resources", then the dispute is not remotely even. This is at the heart of why people hate America: because its cheerleaders seem to think it's all just a matter of "interests".
If the US is a warmonger for bombing Libya and a friend of tyrants for not bombing Libya, or a war profiteer for selling weapons to Bahrain and a fomenter of instability if they help the rebels and Bahrain turns into an Iranian beachhead on the west side of the Persian Gulf, then the moral lines get blurred: you will be damned by much the same group of people if you do as if you don't.

Most countries will look at a situation like that, decide that if they're going to be damned anyway they'd rather be damned in a world they're happy living in, and act accordingly- bomb Libya, but keep selling missiles to Bahrain. The US is not unusual in this respect. What, do you think the White House is really run by the worst people in the world, compared to what half the other governments on the planet would do given the same muscle?

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 Post subject: Re: US continues arms sales to Bahrain PostPosted: 2012-02-04 05:32am
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Simon_Jester wrote:
And Skimmer's reply seems to be: "This foul tyrant is the legitimate government of the country. Are we supposed to just pretend he doesn't exist and hopes he goes away on his own?"

That's not what his "reply" is when it came to Iraq or Libya whatever. In essence, sometimes "legitimacy" is enough for Skimmer to say "why bother", in other cases he would gleefully ignore legitimacy if America already used arms anyway.

Like I said, Skimmer is just an American who has no opinion of his own. The direction of White House farts is the only thing which determines his opinions. If tomorrow America invades Iran or Syria he'd ignore that the rulers are "legitimate government". If America would have ignored the Libyan civil war, I wouldn't be surpirsed if he would say the exact same thing he's saying about Bahrain now.

That's what happens if your opinion is like a flag which waves in the direction America's masters tell it to wave.
Simon_Jester wrote:
Sometimes the US will not be denounced if it hovers in a weird "no war no peace" state of sanctions and blockade toward a dictator (North Korea) but other times, it gets denounced anyway (Cuba).

As far as I know, the US does not engage in an analogue of the Cuban embargo with the DPRK. The DPRK's autarky is self-imposed. So perhaps there's nothing weird here at all.



Misereor

A short story of humanity's first contact

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 Post subject: Re: US continues arms sales to Bahrain PostPosted: 2012-02-04 07:50am
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Jaina Dax
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Simon_Jester wrote:
Eleas wrote:
...usually either by starting an illegal war of aggression or invading a foreign country on threadbare grounds,
Respectfully, how the hell else are you supposed to overthrow a dictator? Dictators hold their power by force, it's practically the definition of dictatorship. How do you remove them from power against their will, except by hitting them with a big hammer?

You attain a consensus between nations, or you determine (honestly determine) that this is indeed a defensive war. This is the difference between an officer getting a warrant before breaking into someone's home, and a civilian just plain breaking down doors at random.

Simon_Jester wrote:
If the US (or anyone else) doesn't overthrow dictators by force, the US (or anyone else) doesn't overthrow dictators at all. I'm willing to live with that, at this point- just don't try to have it both ways.

I don't. Simon, you're not stupid. Why, then, would you choose to write something like this?

Sea Skimmer is whining. He is whining that "some people" outside the US want the US to do one thing, and other people outside the US feels the US should not, and that this makes the rest of the world a cruel and hurtful place. The thing is, no one person is stated to be "trying to have it both ways." It's simply "the world" as a group, and in some way this justifies ignoring this "world" in its entirety, because "the world" hasn't made up its mind.

Then he congratulates himself with the reminder that no matter what, at least his team could totally kill all the naysayers if they wanted to. Which is creepy beyond words.


Quote:
So the net effect is, yes, pretty much what Skimmer says: The US will be denounced if it fights a war to overthrow a dictator, if it engages in peaceful trade and negotiation with a dictator. Sometimes the US will not be denounced if it hovers in a weird "no war no peace" state of sanctions and blockade toward a dictator (North Korea) but other times, it gets denounced anyway (Cuba).

Correction: the US will be denounced if it fights a war to overthrow a dictator on arbitrary grounds while dismissing the rest of the world as irrelevant. If it engages in peaceful trade and negotiation with a dictator it will also be denounced simply because the US is known to trade with dictatorships such items as directly contribute to human suffering. My own country has done and likely does similar things as we speak, and that is also deserving of criticism, which I will happily accept because I'm not a flaming hypocrite. However, don't try to suggest that those are the only options. They aren't.


simon_jester wrote:
If you always denounce someone, can always find reasons to condemn them no matter what broad policy decisions they make, then either they're fucking Mordor and no nation on Earth has ever been as utterly, inexpressibly evil as them... or you start to sound like a broken record.

The bolded pronoun is what's wrong with this post in general: the assumption that all criticism coming from outside your borders may be condensed and attributed to a single entity.


simon_jester wrote:
Keep it up long enough and you get people so sick of listening to it that they start turning crazy. How long could you listen to someone who hates you before you started taking jabs back out of irritation?

In that case, Simon, I wonder if I should ask you why you hate me for being from a (partially) socialist country. In short, if we only evaluate our interlocutors as a group, the end result becomes ridiculously blunt.


Quote:
If the US is a warmonger for bombing Libya and a friend of tyrants for not bombing Libya, or a war profiteer for selling weapons to Bahrain and a fomenter of instability if they help the rebels and Bahrain turns into an Iranian beachhead on the west side of the Persian Gulf, then the moral lines get blurred: you will be damned by much the same group of people if you do as if you don't.

"Much the same group" is astonishingly vague for being the most precise definition you or Sea Skimmer offered.


simon_jester wrote:
The US is not unusual in this respect. What, do you think the White House is really run by the worst people in the world, compared to what half the other governments on the planet would do given the same muscle?

No. I think the US is largely run at the whim of various corporations who (following the nature of corporate behavior) are predisposed toward sociopathic behavior.

"Other people would be even worse if they were on top" isn't a valid excuse for what your people are doing right now. If the clichéd alien invasion happened and the US was at the mercy of a capricious power capable of eradicating it at will, would you go, "well, I guess that's how realpolitik works, fair is fair"? I suspect not.

Still, this has nothing to do with what I actually addressed. No, Sea Skimmer's macho posturing made pretty damn clear that he was trying to justify not the stance of the government but that of the population, which -- as Sea Skimmer puts it -- "[doesn't really give] a damn what the world says", because the world has the temerity to demand the US honors its obligations. And that's just the problem: the US promises too much, much of it wildly self-contradicting. The US is peace-loving... except when it wants to fight. The US is opposed to tyranny... except when not being so is convenient. The US is your friend... unless you don't do exactly what it tells you.

In vacillitating between Virtue ("we do this because we must liberate the oppressed!") and Vice ("this is in our country's best interests, so screw you!") as dictated by convenience, the US sends out an awful lot of mixed messages. If that means you get to suffer unrealistic expectations, then I submit it's not the fault of the rest of the world.



"Travelers with closed minds can tell us little except about themselves."
--Chinua Achebe


Last edited by Eleas on 2012-02-04 07:54am, edited 1 time in total.
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