This was a conversation I was invited to. I think maybe because the person doing the inviting might have thought he had a slam-dunk on my political viewpoint and a hero of the conservative movement. He could have wanted — as well — an alternative viewpoint. Mind you, the young man is a great kid and an acquaintance of my son, so thinking this was a slam-dunk isn’t that far fetched considering age and early biases accepted. During the exchange one of the people involved in the conversation started to ask honest questions and opened his previous viewpoints to scrutiny. A sign of maturity. Everyone should allow their viewpoint to be placed in the arena of ideas and to be challenged in light of history and philosophy. Which is why I blog. Dennis Prager mentions this tendency to NOT want to open one’s beliefs to scrutiny in a recent radio broadcast that is worth listening to. I will change the names to afford Anonymity in the following conversation. Enjoy.
To set up — this is from FaceBook and the picture was put up in the photo section and people started to converse about it in the comments section. I will add some info for clarity and commentary:
Antony: failed foreign policy means today’s buddies are tomorrows boogiemen.
Hunlsy: I just love the fact they’re fighting us with the weapons and training that we gave them.
Antony: Oh where oh where did Iran get those P3s and F-14 Tomcats?
Antony: it was the US – we used to be buddies with Iranians too. We played both sides of the Iran/Iraq war, which predicated Gulf I.
Hunsly: Likely from the Russians. Regardless, we’re fighting a group, not a country. This group makes all of its IEDs & buys all of their weapons with the money that we gave them.
[Here’s where I hop in on this love fest]
Papa Giorgio: A few things.
Click to Enlarge
A list of countries thar sold weapons to Iraq from 1973-to-1990
(Weapons) This is somewhat of a myth — that we sold the majority of weapons to the Taliban, to Iraq, and the like. For instance, in the following graph you can see that (in the instance of Iraq, which I was told over-and-over-again was weaponized by the U.S.) you have to combine the U.K. and the U.S. to equal 1%.
(Moral Position) Much like us supporting Stalin in defeating Hitler, we were aligned with people whom we didn’t see eye-to-eye with in order to beat the USSR during the Cold War (WWIII)… a war that was fought from 1947–1991.
(History) And thirdly, the Taliban didn’t exist when Reagan said this:
He didn’t say that about the Taliban because the Taliban didn’t exist yet. He said that of the Mujahedin, the same men who would later go on to fight the Taliban under the name “Northern Alliance”
The mujaheddin fighters who had previously defeated the communist government and formed the Islamic State of Afghanistan (ISA) came under attack and in 1996 lost the capital to the Taliban. At this juncture the Mujahedin resorted to the creation of UIF because Rashid Dostum and other warlords who belonged to various tribes but to no specific political party did not want to recognize the ISA as a legal entity, so the defeated government devised a military strategy to utilize these forces while not offending their political sensibilities.
In October 1996 in Khinjan, Ahmed Shah Massoud and Dostum came to an agreement to form the anti-Taliban coalition that outside Afghanistan became known as the Northern Alliance.
Dein: The comment about Iran we have tried to avoid messing with their interal affers after the Revolution in 1979 when we kinda did something that the people of the country didn’t like. However the way we acted in regards to the “Green Revolution”/Neda Sultan [see linked picture below] thing we may actually end up holding favor with the people in that country.
Papa Giorgio: Dein, I may be misunderstanding your last portion about the “Green Revolution.” The people were begging America to become more involved, we didn’t… which has distanced the almost 65% 35-year old and younger (many of whom embrace Western culture). Obama dropped the ball… You may have misstated the idea you were trying to get across? But this is one of the many cases where the Obama administration has sided with the radical leaders in that country by not doing anything but delaying an upgrade to twitter for a few hours.
Dein: actually the point I was making was when the US stays out of the turmoral in Iran we end up having a better relationship with the country. although I could have misremembered the Rachel Maddow Show segemant about that.
Hunsly: Dein, don’t watch Rachel, regardless of how charming she is, its all the same as fox. Rachel is way better than any Fox show btw.
Papa Giorgio: Ahhh, Maddow. That explains a lot. Dein, we should have gotten involved in the green revolution. Even if it were a public declaration of support for the uprising — and maybe some CIA funding. the demographic is amazing over there. Like I said…… about 65% are MTV influenced, many are American educated, and want to dress how they want to dress, listen to music, and many want to be out from under the control of the Islamo-Nazi dictators that want the messiah to come out from the well because of WWIV. (This well has a super-highway built from it to the capital of Iran with waiting cars to rush this messiah to the palace… but he can only come with the destruction of Israel.) Should we have better relations with this type of government that wants nuclear war, hangs homosexuals, beat and rape women who do not conform to the stricter rules of wearing clothes? No really, I am asking you. Should we support the people who may be a bit more liberal (but maybe not democratic as we think of) over the current regime… even if by word from our Commander in Chief?
Papa Giorgio: … and Hunsly proves his premise [Rachel is way better than any Fox show btw] by ad hominem attacks against Glenn Beck and others.
Dein: and you know that if we had gotten involved their (barely stable) leader would have loved that. It would have made his case so much easier, remember he thinks everyone is out to get him. Do you want to give someone like that even more reason to fear? Although that is what I am thinking about that. The Iranian people know that their leader is crazy and the government is croupt. So give the crazy guy proof that he has ever reason to fear and we loose long term. We (the President) stay out of the way, we win.
I think that we should have gotten involved but after some meditation, I think we made right choice.
Dein: @hunsly TRMS [The Rachel Maddow Show] deals in facts, many of those on fox don’t. you should know that
Hunsly: What are you talking about Papa Giorgio? I just advocated not watching any opinion based “news” I can attack who ever I choose for being the craziest, which is at the moment is Glen Beck.
Papa Giorgio: If Maddow dealt in facts Dein, why does she not allow (typically) the other side or viewpoint on. She told us why here (News Busters Ponders Maddow’s No Republican Guests). If MSNBC hosts deal in “facts,” then why did the Times blog, Politico, NPR, US News & World Report, the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun (just to name a few center-left news organizations) say FOX News was the most balanced and had the widest array of pundits [from both ends of the spectrum]? MSNBC was said to be the worst and most biased. Facts are funny things when seen through rose colored glasses.
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Papa Giorgio: Antony, quickly. You said: “failed foreign policy means today’s buddies are tomorrows boogiemen.” I wanted to use this to make my points I already made made again for clarity. This isn’t directed at you specifically, but an example for all who read here. I would reword this as:
“successful foreign policy means today’s buddies are tomorrows boogiemen.”
In other words, Stalin was America’s enemy, but we joined forces with him (we sent weapons, oil, money, etc) to beat Hitler. The Communists — who previously split up Poland with the Nazis — became our allies then they became our enemy. One of the biggest mistakes I can remember is Carter’s overthrowing the Shah. Much like Obama supports Venezuela over Columbia today. That move by Carter has been one of the most powerful radicalizing event of the Middle-East (which probably would have happened anyway?). Much thought.
Papa Giorgio: Another point [from near the beginning of the conversation], the F-14s — for example — were pre-revolution. In fact:
The Iranian air force never fully recovered from the effects of the 1979 revolution. At the beginning of the war, pilots were in short supply and flying proficiency was markedly lower than before the revolution. U.S. technicians who left Iran during the days preceding the fall of the Shah succeeded in erasing inventory records, ripping avionics packages out of F-14 aircraft, and destroying caches of repair parts at bases around Iran.
The clerics purged a large part of the conventional military structure after the 1979 revolution leaving the military broken and barely able to defend Iran from the initial Iraqi ground invasion in 1980. After Khomeini seized power on 11 February 1979, the revolutionary regime regarded the Air Force as a waste of money that rightfully belonged to the mostazafin (poor oppressed masses). One of the new government’s first acts was a purge of the armed forces, particularly the officer corps, which was (probably correctly) thought to be a hotbed of monarchist sentiment. The Air Force, where virtually the entire fighting element — the combat pilots — was composed of officers, was especially hard hit. To make matters worse, Iran’s best combat pilots had been trained in the United States and Israel, making them particularly suspect.
The senior command echelon of the IIAF had been decapitated in 1979 and early 1980 by arrests, imprisonments, executions, purges, and forced exiles. A failed coup that originated on Shahrokhi Air Base in Hamadan in June 1980 brought about another sweeping purge. Many IIAF personnel were shot or jailed for suspected or real complicity in the coup attempt, and the purge of personnel whose ultimate loyalty was suspect continued at a faster pace.
By 1987, the Air Force faced a new problem, one of an acute shortage of spare parts and replacement equipment. Perhaps 35 of the 190 Phantoms were serviceable in 1986. One F-4 had been shot down by Saudi F-15s, and two pilots had defected to Iraq with their F-4s in 1984. The number of F-5s dwindled from 166 to perhaps 45, and the F-14 Tomcats from 77 to perhaps 10. The latter were hardest hit because maintenance posed special difficulties after the United States embargo on military sales.
Papa Giorgio: Its alright, you guys are young. You have some growing to do in regards to history, philosophy, and where you get your news. As a great example ~~~
I own (and have watched):
Bowling for Columbine, Roger and Me, Fahrenheit 9/11, Wal-Mart: The …high Cost of Low Price, Sicko, An Inconvenient Truth, Loose Change (I have seen all three versions), Zeitgeist, Religulouse, The God Who Wasn’t There
But rarely do I meet someone of the opposite persuasion that has watches:
Celsius 41.11: The Temperature at Which the Brain Dies, FahrenHYPE 9/11, Michael & Me, Michael Moore Hates America, Bullshit! Fifth Season… Read More (where they tear apart the Wal-Mart documentary), Indoctrinate U, Mine Your Own Business, Screw Loose Change, 3-part response to Zeitgeist.
~~~ I do this with all my topics of study: philosophy, religion, science, history, and the like. I hope that this exchange [at the least] makes you youngen’s search out information that will challenge your worldview (political, religious, or non-religious). I have recommended reading that will start you out.
For you guys, I suggest Intellectual Morons: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas. (Used hard-cover copies sell for 1-penny.) After reading it, I am more than open to discussing some of the issues therein. If you do read it and want to talk over some of the topics, my email is on my bio page:
Antony: all good – but didn’t we create Bin Laden because they were fighting a war we were unwilling to?…. vis a vi the mujahadeen.
Papa Giorgio: Hunsly, you are free to say someone is crazy. Fine. You have yet — in all our talks about Beck — yet to prove it. This is called in philosophy, “to the man.” Which is known in Latin as “ad hominem.” It means someone attacks the person and… doesn’t deal with the arguments put forth by the man.
Also, all news is opinion based. BBC, NPR, ABC, CBS, etc, are all opinion in some sense of the word. For instance, between ABC, CBS, and NBC nightly news and morning news shows there were (this is an old stat, but makes my point) 157 pro-gun control stories, 77 neutral, and 10 for the 2nd Amendment (http://religiopoliticaltalk.blogspot.com/2008/08/media-bias-update.html). Another example comes from NPR. in their stories of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, they used 18,321 words in pro-Arab only segments, 4,934 words in pro-Israel segments. Bias in number of Arab-only vs Israeli-only segments: 63-percent Palestinian/pro-Arab only segments, 37-percent Israel/pro-Israel segments (What Is Fascism). Another example deals with the 2008 election cycle. MSNBC stories that were negative of McCain were 73%, and 14% negative on Obama. FoxNews was 40% negative of McCain, and 40% negative of Obama (http://religiopoliticaltalk.com/2010/11/foxnews-election-coverage-more-fair-and-watched-than-msnbc-and-cnn/).
So it isn’t who is biased, it is who is less biased.
Papa Giorgio: Antony, great question (“…but didn’t we create Bin Laden because they were fighting a war we were unwilling to?”). I have referenced this in some posts on my blog. It is well worth the read [I will merely include the summary here]:
- U.S. covert aid went to the Afghans, not to the “Afghan Arabs”
- The “Afghan Arabs” were funded by Arab sources, not by the United States
- The United States never had “any relationship whatsoever” with Osama bin Laden
- The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Arab backing for the “Afghan Arabs,” and bin Laden’s own decisions “created” Osama bin Laden and al Qaida, not the United States.
Antony: good stuff – I stand corrected.
Let Me Break Here For Some Commentary
What Antony just said is rare. He saw new information and put it up against what his previous sphere of knowledge included. Since his previous knowledge base didn’t include this new information, and his old thoughts on the matter didn’t stand up to the new input of information, he changed his previous thoughts on the matter to include the new information. I found out later that Antony is a Christian. This has a lot to do with it. I want to point out why Christians can sit down and have a more truth oriented conversation that those of other worldviews — secular progressives for instance:
…fundamentally, the way we know Christianity to be true is by the self-authenticating witness of God’s Holy Spirit. Now what do I mean by that? I mean that the experience of the Holy Spirit is vertical and unmistakable (though not necessarily irresistible or indubitable) for him who has it; that such a person does not need supplementary arguments or evidence in order to know and to know with confidence that he is in fact experiencing the Spirit of God; that such experience does not function in this case as a premise in any argument from religious experience to God, but rather is the immediate experiencing of God himself; that in certain contexts the experience of the Holy Spirit will imply the apprehension of certain truths of the Christian religion, such as “God exists,” “I am condemned by God,” “I am reconciled to God,” “Christ lives in me,” and so forth; that such an experience Provides one not only with a subjective assurance of Christianity’s truth, but with objective knowledge of that truth; and that arguments and evidence incompatible with that truth are overwhelmed by the experience of the Holy Spirit for him who attends fully to it. (William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, 3rd ed. [Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2008], 43)
To apply it to this conversation, being a Christian and knowing truth and being set free by it, we [Christians] have a duty to truth and not to dogma outside our faith. Secular progressives replace what the conservative Jew or conservative Christian have in their faith with a religious political worldview.
Judgment is more whole in the Judeo-Christian ethic — still fallen however. A Feynman quote I like sums up mu thinking on this: “Keep an open mind – but not so open that your brain falls out”
Antony: What of the long standing relationship between the Bush family and high Saud officials (perhaps even including the Bin Laden family)…?
Papa Giorgio: That myth is a long standing one misrepresented by Michael Moore. It is dealt with in the book “Michael Moore Is A Big Fat Stupid White Man” pretty well, but there is this article over at Sinsanity:
“Finally, Moore drops a big number – $1.4 billion – claiming “That’s how much the Saudi royals and their associates have given the Bush family, their friends and their related businesses in the past three decades,” adding that “$1.4 billion doesn’t just buy a lot of flights out of the country. It buys a lot of love.” But Isikoff and Hosenball show that nearly 90% of that total comes from contracts awarded by the Saudi government to BDM, a defense contractor owned by Carlyle. But when the contracts were awarded and BDM received the Saudi funds, Bush Sr. had no official involvement with the firm, though he made one paid speech and took an overseas trip on its behalf. He didn’t actually join Carlyle’s Asian advisory board until after the firm had sold BDM. And though George W. Bush had previously served on the board of another Carlyle company, he left it before BDM received the first Saudi contract. As usual, the connections are loose and circumstantial at best.”
Great article, well worth reading. Spinsanity was a great site… no longer current but their old articles are still up.
Papa Giorgio: Off to work…. OH, P.S., this is one of my favorite all time “Moore’ism” is this:
According to Moore in his book Stupid White Men, “the entire nation is composed of morons”. He writes: “There are forty-four million Americans who cannot read and write above a fourth-grade level – in other words, who are functional illiterates. How did I learn this statistic? Well, I read it.”
Moore should have read better. His endnotes attribute the figure to the U.S. Deptpartment of Education’s national Adult Literacy Survey. Yes, that survey found that 40-44 million Americans performed in the lowest level of literacy. But the survey doesn’t end there. In the next paragraph, it goes on to note that 25% of the people who scored in the lowest literacy category were immigrants who have learned little or no English. And in classic Moore fashion, he also fails to disclose that nearly 19% of the group he includes in the uneducated masses are actually people who have “visual difficulties that affect their ability to read print.”
Surprise: Functional English literacy is not high among the blind, and people learning to speak English may be highly educated, but only able to read their native klanguage. This hardly makes the United States a nation that, writes Moore, “GOES OUT OF ITS WAY TO REMAIN IGNORANT AND STUPID” (capitalization in the original).
In an excellent response to the issue, Outside the Beltway, puts to rest this issue for thinking person:
…CNN’s Peter Bergen who conducted the first television interview of bin Laden in 1997:
The story about bin Laden and the CIA — that the CIA funded bin Laden or trained bin Laden — is simply a folk myth. There’s no evidence of this. In fact, there are very few things that bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and the U.S. government agree on. They all agree that they didn’t have a relationship in the 1980s. And they wouldn’t have needed to. Bin Laden had his own money, he was anti-American and he was operating secretly and independently.
The evidence, in fact, is fairly clear that the “Afghan Arabs” like bin Laden didn’t interact with the Americans at all. The allegations, on the other hand are based on little more than circumstantial evidence and exaggerations. This idea that the CIA trained Osama bin Laden back in 1980 is simply a myth that needs to die along with bin Laden himself. Moore was wrong, and Sullivan was, it seems to me, entirely correct to call him out for it. This is a myth that has taken hold on both the far left and the far right and it’s time that people stopped lying.
UPDATE (James Joyner): I wouldn’t go so far as to call it “lying,” since people are just repeating what they’ve heard. The confusion comes from the Western conflation of the generic “mujahadeen” into a coherent Mujahadeen, much as we’ve done with the various Taliban groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
But, yes, it’s completely wrong. See my March 31 post “Taliban History Lesson: Not Our Boys From the 80-s.” It cites Pat Lang:
The groups we supported were defeated by the Taliban in the civil war that followed Soviet withdrawal. The Taliban and Usama bin Laden were supported by the separate “Sayyaf” group of Mujahideen supported by Saudi Arabia and Deobandi fanatics in Pakistan.
The confusion has been cleared up often enough that knowledgeable people should know better.
Take note another internet commentator opined well:
Many erroneously people believe the CIA trained bin laden and created Al-Qaida. They do this by conflating all the mujihadeen groups as though they were one. They were not. First there was no al-qaida during the soviet afghan war, bin laden created it AFTER the war. Bin Laden came to Afghanistan as a member(not the leader of) an Arab group whose mission was to try and promote Wahabiism and steer the jihad ideologically, which they failed at. This group came on its own money and agenda and received no US support. Further, the CIA didn’t train anyone as their involvement was restricted per the agreement with Pakistan. Pakistan’s ISI handled training and delivery of funds and weapons and controlled who received any, not the CIA. And finally US funding amounted to about 20% of the Mujhiadeen’s coffers. Another 20% was from the Saudi government and the remaining 60% came from private islamic charities. So with the facts out there, why do so many still live in ignorance?
Also Pakistan’s ISI created the Taliban in mid 90’s to control Afghanistan. The Taliban was not a direct product of the Soviet Afghan War of Operation Cyclone.