The following is a casual unedited email exchange between me and a penpal (DK) I donít know very well (and so Iím reminded) and with whom I correspond with rather infrequently and sporadically. Itís regrettable to me that it descended into bad feelings (on my end for certain) but at the same time, I am not going to back down from defending myself or my views once Iíve chosen to engage in a debate (however measured) Furthermore I am disinclined to turn the other cheek when I believe Iíve been unfairly insulted, ad hominem, not that insults have a place in legitimate debate anyway. I had not heard from this person in quite some time, and then suddenly I receive an email with a note and a heated petition. There were far too many claims in both the note and the petition (many which I found both baseless and base) for me to address in a reasonably short space and I didnít even want to do it considering the warning-of-sorts that preceded it, advising recipients not to respond to the email but rather to sign the petition or delete it. But I felt I had to at least explain to this penpal why itís inappropriate and wrong to just send over a petition for people to sign or delete, but not opine on. It should be obvious that this aura of intimidation, while possibly unintentional(or mistated), stifles debate. Do we really only want to seek out people who keep us completely comfortable in our views? And shouldnít there be standards for making a valid point versus offering up painfully chopped or outright incorrect "facts", knee-jerk allegations/ responses or resorting to purely emotional manipulations? I haven't heard back but it's only been a short time since I answered the most recent email. I am not deliberately conniving for the last word, although hey, he had the first!
ďIt is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.Ē
This clutter, like pretty much everything I post, is difficult to follow, so I will color code the emails for easier reading.
(the penpal I will call)DK*
*any similiarity between the color codes I've chosen and those of the terror alerts are purely coincidental.
Date: Saturday, April 5, 2003 8:35 am
NEVER done anything controversial before...
> do NOT misconstrue
this as my denouncing what is going on in iraq
> right now, as i neither condone nor condemn the current
> i am merely sending this to you as something to consider about the
> way the u.s. goes about doing their "business" abroad.
> the united states owes a crapload of money to the united nations, is
> a massive fraud when it talks about freedom and liberty (locally and
> abroad) and still manages to bully their way into doing whatever they
> want. i guess that comes with being the ONLY bully/superpower on the
> in any event, read what these people have put together and if you
> agree, sign it....if not.....delete it. but please don't bother
> berating me over this. my thoughts aren't completing formed, but i
> still LOVE the attachment i got a few weeks ago (a few times) and
> i've heard before:
> "fighting for peace is like f**king for virginity."
> be well,
Date Sun, 06 Apr 2003 10:48:51 -0700
Subject Re: i've NEVER done anything controversial before...
I won't berate you over this (you probably accomplished what you sought out to, most people wont rebut an issue thoughtfully if they believe the listener doesnt want to hear it) but do you think its fair to send someone a petition (a charged one at that), ask them to sign it, and if not to delete it but at the same time not ask them to rebut the content and charges or express their views. Its not like someone was flipping through the radio or received some random spam. I would just ask you to consider how you would feel in the reverse situation. It isnt right to send this out with a note asking people not to do anything but sign it or hush. A small but crucial point for your contemplation. Hope all is copacetic. Deb
Date: Sunday, April 6, 2003 11:08 am
Subject: you truly move me
Ø and in a COMPLETELY different way from fibre.
> i wasn't looking to shutdown dialogue, rather i was stating that my
> thoughts aren't completely formed, but i do believe in peace versus
> armed conflict.
> here is an email i got from an ex-boss of mine, and my reply.
> (i didn't think you were "around".....had i known i would have tried
> to hook up with you in nyc. i was there over march break. my loss,
> and i TRULY mean that!)
> life is copacetic. it's good all-in-all. kindergarten seems to be
> agreeing with me right now, so that's always a good start. and
> how are the wood nymphs treating ms deb?
> p.s. someone reminded me that the cost of this is about $1 Billion
> U.S. a day. if only that money could be spent on hunger, education,
> job training......
> (THE RESPONSE TO MY EMAIL)
> You definitely picked the wrong guy.
> I stand for the U.S.A and I am Canadian. Because of our governments
> position, I'm truly ashamed at this moment to be a Canadian. Every
> reasonable person I know stands for the U.S. and it's gutsy stand in
> being the only country ever - willing to go out on a limb to protect
> other countries, and yes the rest of the world from assholes like
> Saddam Husein. The notion that this country won't stand with it's
> banker, protector/defender, employer - yes all of those - is beyond
> comprehension to reasonable people. Most especially to us David. Yes
> us. Where would Israel be without the U.S. At what point would the
> U.N. have supported a war to make Saddam give up his weapons?? The
> U.N has never in it's history supported a war effort. Not once. Not
> Yugoslavia, not Panama, not the slaughters in Africa where millions
> were butchered without U.N. intervention, not once. France said that
> they would veto any resolution that authorized war. What choice was
> there?? Back down again as had been the case for the last twelve
> years? Do you or any of these so called peace freaks have any doubt
> that Saddam if given the chance would drop a nuclear bomb or chemical
> or bacterialogical weapn on you, me, the U.S.A, Israel, even his
> neighbours?? Do you think that was necessary or not? What exactly was
> going to stop him from doing so if not an invasion. When was that
> invasion supposed to happen if France was forever going to veto
> Saddam was supposed to come clean 12 years ago. Thois e were the
> terms of surrender for the Gulf War. He never did, and the U.N. in
> spite of hundreds of resolutions without teeth, failed to force him
> to come clean. Perhaps we should have waited for him to drop a
> nuclear bomb on us????? Want to hear more. Want to hear all of the
> reasons France won't support the U.S., or for that matter any measure
> that compromises it's position in the Arab world? Do you have any
> idea how much arms the French sell Saddam Husein and other Arab
> countries? Do you have any idea how many Arabs live in France????
> Want to hear how many Muslim countries are in the U.N? As for "the
> popular will" although I can't support it I'm willing to wager that
> the vote on my side of the fence is the vast majority in this
> country, and in the U.S. - problem is we're the establishment, and
> we're not protesters and marchers. We don't lie down in the streets.
> Wake up man. Now is definitely not the time to do something
> controversial, and if you want to do something controversial then
> maybe you should think about reconsidering your position.
> (MY RESPONSE TO HIS EMAIL)
> truthfully, it's not about standing alone, which they are and that
> does take a fair bit of courage.
> it's about the u.s. having propped up saddam hussein for years, and
> now they're going in to clean up a mess they made in the first place.
> it's about oil, not about freedom, truth, justice, democracy, etc.
> that bush keeps spouting on about. they're not going to protect
> other countries, rather going to make sure their allies stay safe so
> they can trade with them.
> that said, you're right...it's REALLY messed up that canada isn't
> supporting the u.s. more, but that doesn't mean that sending canadian
> troops would make a fiddler's fart worth of difference.
> where did saddam get his weapons from? the u.s.
> the fact that the french said they'd veto any sort of action means
> nothing to me because the french have traditionally done ass
> backwards things. look at the way they rolled over for the nazis in
> (i'm not a peace freak though...)
> you are 100% right about the u.n. doing diddly regarding post-gulf
> war disarmourment that iraq did not do, according to the terms of
> i don't protest either. it's not my style.
> that said, i'm a fan of dialogue, discussion and rational thought.
> with your email i've been given a lot to think about. while it
> doesn't necessarily make me any happier about what is going on in
> iraq right now it does make me pause with thought.
> i'm going to keep your email for future discourse with others.
Sent Tuesday, April 8, 2003 3:41 pm
Subject Re: you truly move me
Can't complain. I like to use that cliche just to freak out old Jewish relatives. "can't complain." "vy the hell not?"
Wood nymphs have been fairly good to me, knockwood.
Wasnt there a bestselling book "All i ever needed to know I learned in kindergarden?" I remember kids arm wrestling over the highly coveted pink frosted cookie in the stella doro assortment. When it comes to piece of cookie, precious few are willing to give peace a chance.
What I was trying to point out to you was the unfairness, intellectual and emotional, of sending over a -highly- charged petition and then asking people to sign it or delete it but not to counter it or comment on it. That will invariably give people who don't agree with you, amd maybe even some who do, the wrong impression about who you are and how you operate.
Mainly Im pissed at you for sending over canadian weather!
One good turn deserves another. The posts I put below cover some of my thoughts on the war.
Good luck on the battlefront (i.e. kindergarden) sweetie, you'll need it! ;-)
Debbie 4/8/2003 01:04PM PST
Conditions in Iraq's prisons are reported to be unconscionably terrible, torture common...considering the position of the Iraqi government, I wonder if we're seeing the best of it, if there is such a thing. This should be an eye opener to many who don't understand that saddam has punished huge numbers in his own population in an effort to keep people intimidated and under control. There were legitimate antiwar arguments but one that I found particularly narrow and curious was "what about the iraqi children?" Yes, what about them indeed?
Debbie 4/8/2003 02:27PM PST
from an unlikely
source(see end)...Scott Ritter, once passionately railing against the inefficiency
of the inspections bureaucracy and Saddam's blatant obstructions, had this
to say after the "cheese-eating surrender monkey" alter ego took control...it's
incredibly difficult to swallow a 180 degree about-face of opinion that
is unaccounted for by new credible reasoning or even a holy sign on a baked
good or implantation of a brain chip.Incidentally, when someone[Ritter]
facing child sex charges, same someone who, for his film work, accepted
a large contribution from a saddam sympathizing iraqi American, does a
complete about face of opinion, you have to wonder if there aren't payoffs
involved, or conceivably, blackmail. I hope not. But at least some truths
aren't completely whitewashed.
Again, there are legitimate arguments against the war which I dont agree with but at least are rooted in a sound rational position, some have assessed the threat saddam poses and concluded tha t the U.S. would be better off with prolonged inspections and continued containment. I'm not sure how many people have done the calculations on what it has cost to contain saddam and also to patrol and safeguard the north, how much it will all total over a span of decades(it's an enormous figure), costly sanctions have been a tragic failure continuing to enrich saddam and starve significant numbers of iraqis, the flip side is green lighting the money flow to saddam and letting him do what most fascist totalitarian dictators do, spend it disproportionately on weapons. We are seeing in the Saddam regime now a peculiar, possibly even political-cultural denial of their war achievements and there is no reason to rely on a self preserving saddam to keep the bloodshed inside his own borders, his imperial ambitions (which he likely rules as essential to his self preservation) have already been thwarted in iran and kuwait but those wars illustrate that he did calculate for military su ccess, wrongly in iran and rightly in kuwait (before the Gulf War). His payments to suicide bombers in the West bank and Gaza should illustrate his willingness to employ or facilitate the plans of destructive middlemen. If anything, he has acted rationally as an ambitious despot, and only irrationally in accepting defeat. He likely figured he could wield world opinion to prevent a second Gulf War and probably relished the opportunity to return to inspections he could thwart indefinitely, notably with the tacit approval of France and Russia, whose political maneuvers go beyond power playing, and to their own economic interest in Iraqi oil contracts. Not surprisingly, it is these two countries, not America as it has been propagandized, that have accounted for the bulk of Saddam's weapons supplies and intelligence in the last few decades. The American government bungled in its incompletion of the first Gulf war and also in its coddling of or indifference to Saddam and his polici es over the years, which is all the more reason to reverse course. Obviously nuclear proliferation the world round needs to be addressed but it first needs to be addressed as a blackmailing and potential war tool in the hands of hostile oppressive and possibly expansionist regimes (North Korea comes to mind, and how much more intractable the Koreas problem is now that NK is apparently nuclear) After 9-11, mutual deterrence can't necessarily be deemed as effectively counterbalancing the threats nations pose to each other, especially when considering the varying degrees of rogue states, their power and intentions upheld through arms, strict media control and heavy, often sadistic, repression. Assuming the U.S. succeeds in winning the war, a fair assumption except to Iraqi pundits who will either go down with the ship or flee abroad and somehow claim victory...the road ahead is by no means certain, secure or just. And danger-wise, you can never know for sure what would have been or could have been, there are only weighted speculations, a terror attack following the invasion of Iraq could have been in place before the invasion of Iraq or notwithstanding it, and even if it were put in place because of it, you couldnít claim that it wouldnít have happened otherwise eventually, if that remains to security planners, a credible scenario, especially considering our opposition to saddam before the second Gulf War. And I believe it is a very likely that even with all the potential dangers and setbacks ahead, the outcome overall will be one of increased security and justice, the people of Iraq will live better lives than they lived under Saddam and that the world will be a quantitatively and qualitatively safer place owing to the removal of his regime.
The article posted is encouraging to that end. I wish the two finger peace sign were enough to "Wage peace" but its rarely to never effective on those with a finger on a trigger.
"In a September
interview with Time magazine, here's what Scott Ritter had to say about
Iraq's children's prisons:'The prison in question is at the General Security
Services headquarters, which was inspected by my team in Jan. 1998. It
appeared to be a prison for children--toddlers up to pre-adolescents--whose
only crime was to be the offspring of those who have spoken out politically
against the regime of Saddam Hussein. It was a horrific scene. Actually
I'm not going to describe what I saw there because what I saw was so horrible
that it can be used by those who would want to promote war with Iraq, and
right now I'm waging peace.'"
Date: Tuesday, April 8, 2003 3:55 pm
Subject: it's not my fault
Ø do i look like mother nature? (don't answer that!)
> it wasn't intended to stifle any sort of debate, opinions or to think
> that you (the royal you) weren't allowed to reply to the email.
> rather, i was looking to avoid being attacked for sending it out.
> that said.....
> as i wonder outloud about the role, or lack thereof, of canada in the
> current coalition assault on iraq i wonder how this will affect
> canada's trading role with the u.s.
> potential anti-canadian backlash in the u.s. over our not joining in
> on the "fun".
Sent Tuesday, April 8, 2003 4:09 pm
Subject Re: it's not my fault
Was my email offensive to you? Because this email is offensive to me and I fail to understand where it's coming from.
My weather comment was a joke and I wonder if your rebuttal was considering the tone of the rest of this letter. Clearly I could've addressed you as "the holier-than-thou self proclaimed peacenik", the same kind of slap as the condescending "the royal you"
What if someone sent you an offensive petition? And then on top of that, asked that you not berate them or even reply at all. You're being absolutely irrational. Really, all you could've fairly asked of people is that they reply to you reasonably and not merely fire out insults. Of course this is mostly what you've done to me with this email.
The cliche that comes to mind here is that you can dish it out but you can't take it.
I resent your
use of the word "fun", putting it in quotes has the implication that American
soldiers and American people who support the war consider it such. Speak
for your own self.
Alls well that ends well?
Date: Tuesday, April 8, 2003 6:29 pm
Subject: NO! NO!
> your email was TOTALLY NOT offensive to me. i was kidding with the
> "fun" in quotes. tone gets lost in email.....
> the "royal" you was addressing people including yourself, not
> specifically you. hence more than one "you".
> i love you 18 ways to sunday, and am TOTALLY not giving you the
> gears. i'm cool with what you've said regarding my original email.
Date Tue, 08 Apr 2003 19:16:30 -0700
Subject Re: NO! NO! NO!
Your ending metaphors confuse me but they sure sound nice. David, bubela, North American neighbor and global attache (/sarc off) I can accept that tone is lost in email, I hate emoticons but they can serve a purpose. Especially the elvis emoticon. @8^) OK that serves no purpose but it's cute no? Which one of us rained on the protest parade? It's still a bit difficult for me to understand where you were/are coming from on many of your own assertions and reflections (as for the petition, I seriously would not know where to begin commenting on what I perceived to be a barely developed but thoroughly distorted and self-contradicting American-bashing invective that also manages to reduce political activism of all sorts to something uninspired and maudlin, then again why should every brand and shade of political activism relate to the war on Iraq except that the authors intend to promote themselves (and the signatories) as guardians of 'everything good', and I happen to consider this broad we're-saving-the-world-from-EVERYTHING-destructive vein weak and puerile (I think my next cheezoid tee shirt is going to read "Down with the U.S. of Assholes. The American empire is arrogant and so am I!") I am sorry I utterly misinterpreted your intention, I thought you were resorting to a bitchslap, and this conclusion I think bore out contextually, please understand your musing aloud is at best sardonic and at worst obnoxious even if you thought you were being light and funny (I completely missed the joke at the end and still don't get it) I've a sneaking suspicion that long winded debates would put us at odds with eachother, possibly quite unfriendly but I didn't relish being miffed at you, I propose an immediate resumption of good vibrations, and if there's a lesson we both learned from this it should be, quite simply, that elvis is not dead.
18 ways to Sunday, @8^)
is where the heart is (all my other junk's there too)