February 9, 2017

"The main characteristic of any American or Western Head of State is that he must be a Machiavellian president and a professional, accomplished liar."

"He must... be an expert in deceiving his audience and the entire nation. In the democratic system, the first station to test his reprehensible talent (lying and deceiving) is the election campaign. If he succeeds in this, then he will practice it during his presidency in the Oval Office and around the world."

From the January 2015 letter from Khalid Sheik Mohammed to "the head of the snake," Barack Obama.

Here's a PDF of the whole letter.

103 comments:

David Begley said...

KSM is a murderer. He started it.

Michael K said...

He should be dead. Why isn't he dead ?

AprilApple said...

Obama is an accomplished and smooth liar. The accomplished liars in hollywood fell for it.

mockturtle said...

When I think 'Machiavellian', Nixon comes to mind, fairly or unfairly. He was probably the most intelligent of the post WWII era presidents. All politicians are professional and accomplished liars.

chrisnavin.com said...

Terror networks on the other hand...

David Begley said...

From the KSM letter, "Before 9/11, the Mujahedeen asked you to lift the unjust sanctions against Iraq, the sanctions that you and the West imposed and which caused the death of a million women and children."

One million dead due to sanctions? Liar.

jnseward said...

Reads a lot like an Occupy Wall Street manifesto.

narciso said...

Carol rosenerg is a devils advocate for gitmo detainees, she's always giving them an out, the Palestinians are despised in Lebanon, in Jordan, in Saudi Arabia, where they have chosen poorly

Curious George said...

"Michael K said...
He should be dead. Why isn't he dead ?"

Be thankful Obama didn't release him.

Mike Sylwester said...

Obama was an excellent liar while campaigning for office.

The one I remember best is that marriage should be between only one man and one woman.

Freeman Hunt said...

As if this is limited to the West.

madAsHell said...

They gave him a pen, and paper?

narciso said...

Obama had the pleas by all the balich clan canceled, so holder could retry them in Brooklyn remem6ber

chickelit said...

I'd be surprised if KSM has not already dictated his own Mein Kampf from prison. He's another time bomb.

Birkel said...

The one million dead comes from The Lancet study. It was propaganda pushed by the Leftist press.

KSM appreciates the support. Thanks, Leftists.

Bay Area Guy said...

It reads like a left wing screed. Has that same "victim" mentality suffused throughout it.

AReasonableMan said...

David Begley said...
He started it.


This is debatable and Robert Cook will no doubt be along in a minute to debate it.

Lyle Smith said...

So the Muslim Brotherhood means to do us harm? CAIR better watch itself.

Michael K said...

"Be thankful Obama didn't release him."

Yes, I did worry about that. I also wondered if Obama would try to give Gitmo back to Castro.

rhhardin said...

Kenneth Burke files Machiavelli under courtship, not evil.

In Rhetoric of Motives, probably.

traditionalguy said...

Sheiks are the commanders in the Hierarchical Armed Force that hides itself temporarily as a Religion while seeking converts, or they will kill you...but they do get the order reversed most of the time.

bagoh20 said...

Well, Duh.

Pookie Number 2 said...

As if this is limited to the West.

It is, kind of. The main characteristic of non-Western leaders is ruthless violence.

The lying sucks, but should be kept in perspective.

Robert Cook said...

"The main characteristic of non-Western leaders is ruthless violence."

If you don't think this is a characteristic of Western leaders as well, you're simply not paying attention.

Drago said...

ARM: "This is debatable and Robert Cook will no doubt be along in a minute to debate it."

We'll be talking about the Barbary Pirates before you know it.

BTW, according to the islamists, not returning Spain to them is grounds for jihad.

Of course, the mere existence of non-muslims is grounds for jihad.

So, there ya go.

rhhardin said...

Malevolence and denigration are the two chief characteristics of the French mind.

- Philippe Sollers

Drago said...

Cookie is here so soon we'll be hearing how theft of supersonic aircraft for nefarious negotiation purposes is a characteristic of western leaders.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

David Begley said...From the KSM letter, "Before 9/11, the Mujahedeen asked you to lift the unjust sanctions against Iraq, the sanctions that you and the West imposed and which caused the death of a million women and children."

One million dead due to sanctions? Liar.


Here's what I always want to discuss, David B: the Left, especially the European Left, loudly criticized the UN-imposed but American-led sanctions regime against Iraq and claimed that it killed tens of thousands of innocent children, etc. The number I remember seeing was that the imposition of brutal sanctions against Iraq killed 100k people each year.
Those very same people then claimed that "George W Bush's illegal war" resulted in 100k Iraqi deaths (per the not-so-great Lancet "study")...and talked about how monstrous and awful that was--how it proves Bush is a war criminal. They then argue "the sanctions were working, Saddam was contained, there was no reason to invade!"
On the one hand the sanctions were killing 100,000 people a year and the US was awful for enforcing them. On the other hand the US didn't need to invade because the sanctions were working so well.
If the deaths from the sanctions count against the U.S., and the deaths from the invasion count against the U.S., shouldn't the post-invasion lifting of sanctions and the subsequent saving of 100k lives/year that must have resulted therefrom be counted FOR the U.S.? By that metric George W. Bush must be a humanitarian hero--look at all the lives he's saved!

Anyway the Left's assertions, as usual, are illogical and inconsistent (self-defeating, really, taken as a whole). But it's important to remember that lots of people around the world really believe that UN sanctions against Iraq were responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of people--KSM isn't making argument up from nothing.

Now, of course, most of those Leftist assertions have been memory-holed...the Left has always supported continued UN sanctions!

bagoh20 said...

Of course they all lie and everyone knows it, but I think Trump is different in that when he lies it's not so much an attempt to effectively deceive as it is simply a refusal to let the truth or his opponents get in his way. Apologizing, being less than sure, or admitting mistakes are not what he does. When Trump lies, the left goes berserk trying to point it out, and everyone else just shrugs and says of course he did. He could say "America is the great Satan" and the Left would go nuts, despite often supporting that view when Republicans are in charge, and the rest of the country would yawn, and the effect of the statement would be absolutely zero, except for the media circus that would go on and on to no effect. The words of politicians are virtually meaningless, including Trump's.

All the talk in our culture is just masturbation with the real work being done to great effect, good or bad, entirely on it's own track almost completely ignored and often directly contrary to the words. So why do we listen so much? Because masturbation feels good, and real work is hard.

WillRobinson said...

"Malevolence and denigration are the two chief characteristics of the French mind.

- Philippe Sollers"

I didn't know Trump was French. He denigrates and maligns the US by equating it with Russia, he denigrates and maligns the Judicial System, because they ruled against him. For that matter he denigrates and maligns anyone If his tender feelings get hurt.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Dude think he a mongoose or what?

Kipling would be proud.

Jupiter said...

I remember something I read on a blog one time, about how we shouldn't give a lot of attention to people who carry out mass killings, because that's what they want. It encourages copycats, I think was the reasoning. Anyone else here read that blog?

Unknown said...

What I want to know is why did KSM think Obama would be open to a letter from him telling him how to lie to the public?

It's kind of like Anne Frank writing a letter to Hitler telling him how to seduce the Jews to come out of hiding so they can be killed.

Did Obama pay attention to this letter?

--Vance

Robert Cook said...

"If the deaths from the sanctions count against the U.S., and the deaths from the invasion count against the U.S., shouldn't the post-invasion lifting of sanctions and the subsequent saving of 100k lives/year that must have resulted therefrom be counted FOR the U.S.? By that metric George W. Bush must be a humanitarian hero--look at all the lives he's saved!"

No, it just means Bush followed Clinton into the membership of war criminals.

"...it's important to remember that lots of people around the world really believe that UN sanctions against Iraq were responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of people--KSM isn't making argument up from nothing."

No, he's not. I've heard the figure reported as about 600,000. I don't know if that's accurate, either.

Apparently, Madeline Albright believed it, as, when she was asked if these deaths were "worth it" to the USA's goals, she replied in the affirmative.


AReasonableMan said...

I want to express my appreciation of Robert Cook's efforts here. I agree with most of his points but rarely step in to support him because if you find the dismal results of decades of US foreign policy unconvincing then no rational argument is likely to prevail.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Robert Cook said...No, it just means Bush followed Clinton into the membership of war criminals.

Right, right, Clinton's admin was fully in favor of the sanctions, exactly. But that's what I mean, Robert: the sanctions were imposed by the U.N. International law, right, from a valid/legal international body, right? So why are our Presidents war criminals for upholding/enforcing those UN mandates?
Also, if it's a human rights crime to impose/enforce sanctions and it's a human rights crime to invade to overthrow a regime, what actions are valid/not human rights crimes when it comes to constraining the behavior of "bad hombres" who run nations? What tool are we supposed to use? Pointy sticks? Harsh language?

The knock against GWBush is supposed to be that he didn't act through the UN. That implicitly argues that actions taken through the UN are OK. When you argue that the UN-imposed sanctions were criminal because they killed so many people it somewhat undercuts the assertion that we must act through the UN, doesn't it?

Stephen said...

1. Machiavelli said the same in Chapter 15 of The Prince--but he said it of all rulers. And he didn't limit it to lying, but added in murder, among other things.

2. Machiavelli also cautioned against taking advice from enemies, and the author of the screed you quote clearly qualifies. It would seem to follow that one oughtn't to give too much weight to an avowed enemy's description of how Barack Obama did or should conduct himself.

3. What can redeem a Machiavellian move--and clearly our great Presidents have made them, is that they serve the public interest. Think, for example, of Roosevelt dissembling to permit help to Britain before American entry into the Second World War.

4. But for Machiavellianism to have any moral credibility it has to be linked to a conception of the public good. Put another way, if you take the pure Machiavellian view, how do you distinguish Trump from Putin? Trump himself resists the distinction. I think that's because he doesn't have a real conception of a distinction between his interest and the public interest--as shown, among other things, by his routine narcissistic conflation of his own ego with national interest and his refusal to take routine steps designed to check his very substantial economic conflict of interests.

n.n said...

The Iraq war was defensive. It was prompted by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. It was sustained under a ceasefire. It ended with the invasion, deposition, and trial of the unrepentant leader, with a segue to restore order in the absence of a dictatorial government.

What followed was creation of a vacuum which birthed an international terrorist organization. Then engagement in non-defensive actions across three continents including elective coups from Libya to Syria to Ukraine and beyond, which were first-order causes of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change, that in the absence of a security force or responsible proxy created the refugee crises and a global humanitarian disaster.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

A distantly-related point for Cook & ARM: which U.S. Presidents aren't/weren't war criminals? Obama, GWBush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan--all war criminals, clearly. Carter too (East Timor, Afghanistan, the Congo), and there's no doubt about Ford, Nixon, Johnson, and Kennedy. Eisenhower? Probably, I dunno. Truman for sure (dropped that f*cker, twice), and FDR most definitely.
Anyway I guess my point is: if everyone's a war criminal/human rights criminal doesn't that diminish the value of the term, as opprobrium? Seems like you need a new word. More importantly, if your scale has every US President (and, presumably, every leader of a modern Western nation) as a war criminal, do you worry that your scale itself my be off and/or maybe not all that useful?

Birkel said...

HoodlumDoodlum:
And if the U.N. doesn't have the ability to issue and enforce sanctions, then the whole pretext of 'international law' is revealed as a lie. It's almost like the whole of the Leftist Collectivist argument is unmoored from principle.

Can I borrow somebody's shocked face? Mine is all out of shock.

AReasonableMan said...

HoodlumDoodlum said...
which U.S. Presidents aren't/weren't war criminals?


This is irrelevant moral preening. The question is, which presidents unequivocally improved our financial and physical security over the long-term? FDR clearly passes that test.

Jupiter said...

AReasonableMan said...

"I want to express my appreciation of Robert Cook's efforts here. I agree with most of his points but rarely step in to support him because if you find the dismal results of decades of US foreign policy unconvincing then no rational argument is likely to prevail."

It is very easy to agree with Cookie, because Cookie's view is that bad people did bad things and that's bad! Bad! Bad! Rolled-up newspaper on the nose bad! Unlike Machiavelli, Cookie offers no advice to those who hold power in a world filled with people who are armed, dangerous and determined. Except, no bad stuff.

Paul said...

Then I guess Trump is in trouble. He ain't lying. He says what he means and means what he says. And he is fulfilling his promises.

Jupiter said...

AReasonableMan said...

"The question is, which presidents unequivocally improved our financial and physical security over the long-term? FDR clearly passes that test."

Right. He made Eastern Europe safe for Stalinism. The Stalinists eventually failed in Eastern Europe, but they appear to be doing very well here in America.

Pookie Number 2 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Limited blogger said...

It was ok for Obama to lie. He knew what was good for us.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Robert Cook said...
"If the deaths from the sanctions count against the U.S., and the deaths from the invasion count against the U.S., shouldn't the post-invasion lifting of sanctions and the subsequent saving of 100k lives/year that must have resulted therefrom be counted FOR the U.S.? By that metric George W. Bush must be a humanitarian hero--look at all the lives he's saved!"

No, it just means Bush followed Clinton into the membership of war criminals.

"...it's important to remember that lots of people around the world really believe that UN sanctions against Iraq were responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of people--KSM isn't making argument up from nothing."

No, he's not. I've heard the figure reported as about 600,000. I don't know if that's accurate, either.

Apparently, Madeline Albright believed it, as, when she was asked if these deaths were "worth it" to the USA's goals, she replied in the affirmative.


2/9/17, 10:19 AM


No, Bob. Your only metric for legitimacy apparently is whether the UN signs off on it. The UN signed off on the sanctions so those 600,000 dead are free.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

ARM said...This is irrelevant moral preening. The question is, which presidents unequivocally improved our financial and physical security over the long-term? FDR clearly passes that test.

Not my preening! FDR was a war criminal by Robert Cook's metric, surely. Are you saying it's ok he was a war criminal since overall he passes the test of improving U.S. physical security? That seems outrageous--a war criminal's crimes can be overlooked or forgiven if his actions (criminal or otherwise) result in helping his nation?! What authoritarian wouldn't say that's why they took the (criminal) actions they took?

We'll leave aside for the moment any argument over FDR's record w/r/t the US' financial security (arguments that he prolonged the Great Depression, etc). Let's say you're fully correct, FDR unequivocally improved the U.S.' financial and physical security over the long term. For that feat which war crimes, or how many criminal acts, should FDR be forgiven. What's the scale--what's the rate of "improvement of one's nation" to "criminal acts"? Does the effect of a leader's actions on other nations play any role (ie if he improved the US but at the expense of other nations would that still mean full credit against criminal acts, or partial credit)?

AReasonableMan said...

HoodlumDoodlum said...
FDR was a war criminal by Robert Cook's metric, surely.


Let's see what Bob says. I'm focused on what makes us more secure over the long-term. The US had a good run after FDR's presidency, which it steadily squandered.

harryo said...

I guess I don't understand why he hasn't been executed yet. I'm certainly not going to read anything from a mass murderer.

I think the guards should have made him eat it, and not bothered the President with it. Just shove it down his throat, and keep beating him until he said thankyou.

gadfly said...

@Paul said...

Then I guess Trump is in trouble. He ain't lying. He says what he means and means what he says. And he is fulfilling his promises.

“Lying is second nature to him,” [Ghostwriter Tony] Schwartz said. “More than anyone else I have ever met, Trump has the ability to convince himself that whatever he is saying at any given moment is true, or sort of true, or at least ought to be true.”

Robert Cook said...

"...the sanctions were imposed by the U.N. International law, right, from a valid/legal international body, right? So why are our Presidents war criminals for upholding/enforcing those UN mandates?"

Because the US was the main driver on the UN Security Council to impose and maintain the sanctions. The US also continued sporadic bombing of Iraq throughout the interregnum between the first and the second wars with Iraq.

"Also, if it's a human rights crime to impose/enforce sanctions and it's a human rights crime to invade to overthrow a regime, what actions are valid/not human rights crimes when it comes to constraining the behavior of "bad hombres" who run nations? What tool are we supposed to use? Pointy sticks? Harsh language?"

A tough question. But, in the end, if a nation is not menacing its neighbors militarily--which Iraq was not--it's probably better for world peace and stability to leave that nation alone. It's up to the people of that nation to take action against their government if they can no longer tolerate it. (Of course, if Iraq had not sat upon land rich with oil, we probably would have ignored it. Our actions against Iraq were not altruistic but were avaricious in nature.)

"The knock against GWBush is supposed to be that he didn't act through the UN. That implicitly argues that actions taken through the UN are OK. When you argue that the UN-imposed sanctions were criminal because they killed so many people it somewhat undercuts the assertion that we must act through the UN, doesn't it?"

No. Actions taken with the approval of the UN Security Council are not always necessarily "ok." The UN was formed in the wake of the devastation of WWII, purportedly as a means for the nations of the world to prevent another similar war of equal or greater violence. So far, it has worked, sort of, insofar as no other comparable war of nations has occurred post-WWII. The UN does have some degree of inhibiting influence on the behavior of most of its members. But some UN Security Council decisions may still be wrong.

The issue with Bush's invasion of Iraq is that--as a signatory to the UN Charter, as a founder nation of the UN and member of its Security Council--the US has a treaty obligation to abide by its charter. As per the Constitution, the UN Charter provisions are the law of the land. So, in violating the charter by invading Iraq without UN Security Council approval, we violated our law.

Yes, how effective can that law be if no entity exists to enforce it? This is a conundrum. But then, if we were a lesser nation and acted as we had, it's probable that other, greater nations would have sanctioned us. We are impervious to the law binding us only because we are the most powerful and violent nation in the world and there is no one who can "arrest" us. (However, there are warrants of arrest for Bush and Cheney and other members of the Bush administration in several countries, and those named in the warrants may not travel to those nations without fear of arrest.)

Angel-Dyne said...

Pookie: It is, kind of. The main characteristic of non-Western leaders is ruthless violence.

The lying sucks, but should be kept in perspective.


It's not an either/or, you know.

And no, Westerners aren't bigger liars than non-Westerners. Peoples do vary in whether or when they think lying is doing anything wrong, though.

Robert Cook said...

HoodlumDoodlum said...
"FDR was a war criminal by Robert Cook's metric, surely."


If it is true that he knew about the impending Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor before it happened and let it take place, or even was instrumental in the diplomatic actions that helped push Japan to decide upon the attack against us, all in order to provide a rationale for the US to enter WWII--as has been alleged--then FDR was a war criminal, without question.

mockturtle said...

What tool are we supposed to use? Pointy sticks? Harsh language?

Pointy sticks were surprisingly effective for Cromwell in the Battle of Naseby.

Sebastian said...

"if a nation is not menacing its neighbors militarily--which Iraq was not" The Iraqi regime had more than menaced its neighbors twice. It also had committed genocide. The removal of the most egregious repeat violator of international law in the late twentieth century was unjustly delayed.

Robert Cook said...

Sebastian,

At the time we invaded Iraq--and in the years up to that point following the first Gulf War--Iraq had not threatened its neighbors militarily. Colin Powell and Condileeza Rice, in instances separate from each other in early 2001 just months before 9/11, were recorded on film stating that Hussein had been successfully contained, and that, his weapons programs having been destroyed and his military capacity undermined, was incapable of projecting military force against his neighbors and posed no threat.

Gahrie said...

--then FDR was a war criminal, without question.

How about Uncle Joe...was he a war criminal?

buwaya said...

He is correct of course - above a certain level politicians are simply power-machines with a human face. This is universal and timeless and inevitable. Human politicians lose through human failings and are purged in the competition.

Seeing Red said...

FDR improved our financial security?



Lolol


He started Social Security.

Gahrie said...

Our actions against Iraq were not altruistic but were avaricious in nature.)

Really? What did we gain? Or at least hope to gain?

Let me guess...the oil we didn't steal when we could have?

The US is the exact opposite of avaricious...we don't loot our enemies, we give them wealth.

mockturtle said...

A few years ago I read the autobiography of Mitsuo Fuchida, of Pearl Harbor fame. He believed Truman should have been tried for war crimes.

It has always struck me rather silly to have such a thing as 'war crimes'. How on earth can we say it's OK to bomb a major city full of civilians but not to shoot up a village in Vietnam?

War is not only a part of mankind's history, I believe it to be part and parcel of our makeup--in our DNA, if you will. We shall always have wars. Best to prepare. Detente is often the best peace one can hope for.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Robert Cook said...Because the US was the main driver on the UN Security Council to impose and maintain the sanctions. The US also continued sporadic bombing of Iraq throughout the interregnum between the first and the second wars with Iraq.

Sporadic bombing in response to either specific violations of those sanction mandates or to military actions taken by Iraq against assets enforcing the sanctions (targeting US planes patroling no-fly zones, etc), yeah. And, more importantly: You're saying that UN actions aren't valid if the actions are supported by the U.S.? What the hell, man? The UN as a body passed several resolutions. The U.S. supported those resolutions, but they were international law, right? What the hell is this hidden asterisk you've suddenly found: International action is valid* where unilateral action by a nation is not. * Except in cases where the U.S. is the "main driver" of the international action/UN resolution, in which case it's still criminal
What's the standard, man, just whatever you happen to dislike is criminal, even when it's done by the UN? Anything the US does or agrees with, even if actually done by/with/through the UN is automatically criminal?

You've repeatedly appealed to international law/actions when questioned on why you call some US action criminal. Now you're saying that UN actions--duly passed international law/resolutions--are themselves criminal. That...that doesn't leave you with much of a standard, Robert.


Robert Cook said...It's up to the people of that nation to take action against their government if they can no longer tolerate it

Tough luck, Marsh Arabs. Hard cheese, German Jews. I get why the Left was ok with Stalin and Mao, though, by that standard: they may have killed tens of millions but they did it within their own nations (mostly). I am learning a lot about ethics!

Seeing Red said...

I seem to remember Iraq going into SA in around the time of the Gulf War.

Pookie Number 2 said...

Angel-Dyne: It's not an either/or, you know.

And no, Westerners aren't bigger liars than non-Westerners. Peoples do vary in whether or when they think lying is doing anything wrong, though.


I don't think it's an either/or - I'm just contrasting the most important characteristic for gaining and keeping power in the Western World against what is displayed elsewhere.

Bad Lieutenant said...

And no, Westerners aren't bigger liars than non-Westerners. Peoples do vary in whether or when they think lying is doing anything wrong, though.


I think the difference is that Westerners HAVE a truth, and at least KNOW they are lying.

Robert Cook said...

"How about Uncle Joe...was he a war criminal?"

Of course.

harryo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bad Lieutenant said...

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Robert Cook said...Because the US was the main driver on the UN Security Council to impose and maintain the sanctions.

Ah, so that's his out? I guess we should quit the UN then.

Or, maybe Bob would prefer, we hand our SC seat over to somebody nice, like Iran maybe, and just be little jerks like Andorra or Tuvalu to be pushed around by our betters (i.e. anyone but the US or its friends). On the bright side, we would be attacked so much that Israel might get a breather.

Of course we still do all the paying and heavy lifting at the command of others.

Nice, Bobby. Nice.

Robert Cook said...

"FDR improved our financial security?

"Lolol

"He started Social Security."


And it saved many older Americans from facing privation or even starvation, and remains the only income many retired older Americans receive.

By the way, what do you mean to convey by "LOLOL?" Laugh out loud out loud?"

Seeing Red said...

The response was long term financial footing.

SS is broke.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Robert Cook said...
"How about Uncle Joe...was he a war criminal?"

Of course.

2/9/17, 12:54 PM


Don't be so hard on your friend, Bob. After June 22, 1941, anyone would have to admit it was self-defense, even if he deserved it and had worked to make it happen. What did the old Georgian safecracker ever do to you?

Seeing Red said...

Women have officially in great numbers been moving up the ladder into well-paying jobs for 40 years now. Women aren't limited anymore. You're talking conditions, which FDR helped to keep going by his regressive policies, which were 80 years ago.

The numbers that women make less have been spewn for at least 25 years, because I remember those arguments.

One shouldn't be comparing Buffet and his secretary, especially Buffet. He's a cheap bastard. Plus he owns the company, she doesn't.

The Greatest Generation is going fast. The boomers have the cash. Women are getting more degrees than men.

But it's all about the image.


At some point you run out of OPM.


Robert Cook said...

"And, more importantly: You're saying that UN actions aren't valid if the actions are supported by the U.S.?"

No. I'm saying that UN, being made up of political entities, is a political entity itself, and its actions are often politically motivated. The US, being a dominant member of the UN, often helps bring about UN decisions that might not have been decided upon without our influence. I'm saying that some UN actions are not by definition "ok" or are not necessarily "ok" just because the US supports them.

The difference between the sanctions regime and the invasion of Iraq--regarding the clear cut criminal nature of the latter--is that our invasion of Iraq was not approved by the UN Security Council, and we thus broke the law. The "crime" of the sanctions regime was ethically/morally criminal, if not "legally" so, insofar as it led to widespread illness and deaths among the young and elderly of Iraq.

Birkel said...

And anybody who bothers to read this far can see all the writing Robert Cook does about international law is blather. There is no guiding ethic. It is grounded in the idiosyncratic mind of Robert Cook.

JPS said...

Robert Cook, 11:39:

"If it is true that [FDR] knew about the impending Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor before it happened and let it take place,"

I've always found that a pretty farfetched accusation. Roosevelt could have been a conspiratorial mastermind, or very, very stupid. This theory requires him to have been both.

"or even was instrumental in the diplomatic actions that helped push Japan to decide upon the attack against us,"

You mean the restrictions we put on supplying the Japanese while their Army was running around China killing Chinese by the million? Of course he was instrumental in those, as he damn well should have been. Is there actually any action an enemy can take against us where you won't say we pushed them into it? If I mention Nanking will you see me, and raise me some atrocity of ours?

"all in order to provide a rationale for the US to enter WWII"

We had it anyway. We'd have been at war with the Germans at most a few months later. By December 1941 we were convoying British merchant ships all the way into British home waters, with orders to shoot on sight any German submarine. That state of "peace" tends not to last long.

Robert Cook said...


"SS is broke."


No, it's not.

(I picked a source you might not automatically reject as "leftist lies" to link to first.)

Here's a source you'll say is only "leftist lies," but I'm providing it for what it's worth.

More info.

And there are plenty more sources out there that show "ss is (not) broke."

And, just as SS was created where it didn't exist before, it can be repaired in various ways to insure its solvency for as long as necessary. It's not as if the funding cannot be readjusted at any time. A car runs out of gas; does the driver abandon it on the road and say, "Well, that one's done!"? No...he refills the gas tank and keeps on driving.

mockturtle said...

I don't think the SS is broke--at least it shouldn't be. It's more a matter of misappropriation of funds.

Birkel said...

Social Security can't be broke. After all, the feds can just crank up the printing presses and get us out of this mess.

/sarcd

Robert Cook said...

JPS @ 1:23:

That's why I said FDR was a war criminal if those allegations are true. I have heard them, but I don't know to what extent they're true, if at all. In other words, my answer was provisional.

buwaya said...

"SS is broke."
"No, it's not."

No its not, because the matter of being "broke" is irrelevant. This is a purely paper exercise regarding theoretical monies the government is alleged to owe itself. SS is simply a tax and always has been, and any investment in government debt it has accrued is a fiction. If the government wanted to modify or do away with or restructure this fiction they can do that. If it is somehow insolvent on paper, well, some new paper can be created to restore whatever fiction is required.

The government makes promises of benefits, which it has at various times unilaterally adjusted at the expense of prospective or even current beneficiaries. This is no private entity with which one has an enforceable contract.

The proper way to look at the whole FedGov is as a black box, with money flowing in and money flowing out. What accounting goes on inside the box, such as SS "investment" is not relevant to anyone outside the box. The problem with SS going forward is that more is flowing out than is flowing in.

Birkel said...

Robert Cook: "...I don't know..."

We have reached an accord.

Mick said...

G Bush deceived everyone that he was "conservative", and that the the Twin Towers and WTC7 were brought down by "Islamic Terrorists", one of who's driver's license was found on the street after the controlled demolition (sure), and that a round hole in the Pentagon was caused by a "plane", and that there was a "plane crash" in Pa. (where no evidence of any plane was found.
The Usurper Obama convinced 1/2 the country that he was "patriotic" and a "golfer" (he sucks at golf even after 500 rounds while in office), and that he is a "basketball player" (even though he sucks at that too)--- all done to convince Americans that he is a "fellow American male", when in reality he is a British subject faggot Muslim Usurper, who hates America.

So yeah the Sheik is absolutely correct.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Robert Cook said...No. I'm saying that UN, being made up of political entities, is a political entity itself, and its actions are often politically motivated. The US, being a dominant member of the UN, often helps bring about UN decisions that might not have been decided upon without our influence. I'm saying that some UN actions are not by definition "ok" or are not necessarily "ok" just because the US supports them.

The difference between the sanctions regime and the invasion of Iraq--regarding the clear cut criminal nature of the latter--is that our invasion of Iraq was not approved by the UN Security Council, and we thus broke the law. The "crime" of the sanctions regime was ethically/morally criminal, if not "legally" so, insofar as it led to widespread illness and deaths among the young and elderly of Iraq.


Ok, this is promising. A action being undertaken by the U.N. is not sufficient to make the action non-criminal (in humanitarian and/or international law terms). The fact that an action is taken unilaterally (by the US) outside of or in opposition to the UN is sufficient to make the action criminal. Ok, with you so far.

You need to answer, though, what IS sufficient to make an action non-criminal. Being done by the U.N. isn't enough, so what is. What is the standard we should use to determine if an action is criminal??

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Robert Cook said...That's why I said FDR was a war criminal if those allegations are true. I have heard them, but I don't know to what extent they're true, if at all. In other words, my answer was provisional.

Oh, I assumed he was a war criminal for indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets, firebombing half of Japan, etc. No?

sunsong said...

Trump is the worst liar I am seen! And what a hypocrite. A liar like him has NO business asking ANYONE to be more honest!

Mick said...

sunsong said...
"Trump is the worst liar I am seen! And what a hypocrite. A liar like him has NO business asking ANYONE to be more honest"!

Trump is the most honest POTUS EVER. He is who he is, and that is why he won. Still butthurt?

Seeing Red said...

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.”


For most of us, more annual outgo than income into the SS account will be misery.

In the world if the common everyday man, broke.

Seeing Red said...

Then don't watch him, sun.

It is that simple.

Life is too short to spend in choosing turmoil.

walter said...

He's saying our pols engage in Taqiyya...

buwaya said...

"Trump is the worst liar I am seen! "
"Trump is the most honest POTUS EVER."

He may well be either of these. Or possibly both of these at the same time. There are ways of reconciling this paradox.

It depends, partly, on just how calculated his statements are.
He certainly shows, or appears to show, more of the human than any of the others.
We may or may not be seeing the uncalculated reality of the man, instead of the facade of the usual politician.

Or it may be he is simply a more effective politician, far more adept at faking authenticity, masking calculation, than the rest.

In any case, this seems a more involved line of inquiry than it seems on its face.

Sunsong doesn't try go beneath the surface, just evaluating casual words as words, which is silly. Any honest man can be condemned on such grounds. To look for liars you first have to examine yourself, be your own inquisitor, to remove easy self-delusions.

Mick goes deeper, but I don't know whether he goes deep enough.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Seeing Red said...“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.”

I feel like there's a Trump "David Cop-a-feel" joke to be made here, but I just can't find it.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Robert Cook said...Actions taken with the approval of the UN Security Council are not always necessarily "ok."

Robert: Please clarify your "not always necessarily." I'm just a simple commenter and I freely admit I'm not a lawyer. I know if the U.S. does something outside of or against the wishes of the UN/international community then that action is wrong and criminal. I know from your sentence I quoted that sometimes when the US does something as part of the UN then that action is still criminal.

Now, for me, can you please explain how to tell if an action taken through or by the UN is criminal?

Thanks in advance.

Earnest Prole said...

You say Machiavellian like it's something bad.

Robert Cook said...

"Oh, I assumed he was a war criminal for indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets, firebombing half of Japan, etc. No?"

Actually, now that you mention it....

Robert Cook said...

"You need to answer, though, what IS sufficient to make an action non-criminal. Being done by the U.N. isn't enough, so what is. What is the standard we should use to determine if an action is criminal??"

I'm afraid I can't provide a ready made fits-all-sizes response. It may require case by case appraisal. Certainly, any actions that result in mass deaths, injury, or dislocation of innocents should be considered criminal before being considered non-criminal.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Robert Cook said...I'm afraid I can't provide a ready made fits-all-sizes response. It may require case by case appraisal.

I mean, thank you for the answer, but that's disappointing. "Something is criminal when I, Robert Cook, decide it is, on a case-by-case basis." Sad.

mockturtle said...

You say Machiavellian like it's something bad.

Yeah! What would history be without, say, Richelieu?

mockturtle said...

I feel like there's a Trump "David Cop-a-feel" joke to be made here, but I just can't find it.

I don't see Trump as Micawber. He certainly doesn't wait until 'something turns up'.

Robert Cook said...

Well, of course HD, as I am the arbiter of all things.

chickelit said...

Well, of course HD, as I am the arbiter of all things.

Arbiter mocked freedom

Jon Ericson said...

All positions committed to 'ETRNLMEM'.
Bring up the spreadsheet.

:-)

mtrobertslaw said...

This guy says President Obama is "a Machiavellian president and a professional, accomplished liar...an expert in deceiving his audience and the entire nation." Outrageous!

This guy can't possibly be right, can he?