Pinocchio declared winner in Iran

by Russ Roberts on June 16, 2009

in Man of System

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{ 47 comments }

Martin Brock June 16, 2009 at 10:27 am

The most credible polls show that Ahmadinejad likely won the election regardless of tampering that likely occurred, so his foot crossed the finish line first despite the long nose.

But whether or not he won the election "fairly", I have no interest in yet another war to expand the state sector in the U.S., and any war we wage is always a war to expand the state, never a war to expand genuine democracy or liberty. Only Iranians can create liberal democracy in Iran.

vidyohs June 16, 2009 at 10:46 am

BTW, for all of us who might feel a little smug about our own situation as we watch the protests in Iran, take a moment and view the document.

http://www.aclu.org/images/general/asset_upload_file89_39820.pdf

Want to engage in a little low-level terrorism, hmmmmm?

Russ Roberts June 16, 2009 at 11:30 am

Martin Brock,

There are no credible polls that show that he won. The only poll I know of was three weeks before the election with 52% undecided. And somehow, 20 million paper ballots were counted in three hours.

Agree with your last sentence, though.

DAVE June 16, 2009 at 12:05 pm

I would also agree with Martin Brocks last sentence except that we have Japan and Germany.

While Germany was democratic for a while, Japan was not until they and their belief system were totally smashed. The imperial family, considered divine a generation ago is completely irrelevant to today's Japanese.

Now as a believer in spontaneous order myself I don't know how this can be, but there you have it.

Maybe certain cultures are innately more receptive to liberty than others. I don't know.

Any explanations would be welcome.

vidyohs June 16, 2009 at 12:30 pm

Dave,

Can't say my answer is the right answer or the one you're looking for; but my 3 year experience as a young man in Japan, and watching from a distance since convinced me that the Japanese are very rational people and when the are shown a better way (for all of them) they take it, and once they adopt something and begin to practice it, they strive to be the very best at it on the face of the planet. They never showed the arrogance that said, "We are too smart and good to learn from you." Read "The Reckoning" by David Halberstam.

Or, visit the little cities off the beaten track and play baseball or softball against them, I don't know how many field clinics I gave after games on how to throw my dropball or riseball. I found them to be intensely competitive and hungry to be the best that they could.

The defeat of the Empire in WWII and the imposition of democracy under McArthur subsequently showed the Japanese that even the lowest could seemingly share power and at a minimum have opportunity for wealth and advancement never available in the old scheme of things.

Small wonder democracy took root and thrived in Japan.

vikingvista June 16, 2009 at 2:16 pm

It doesn't make any difference who really won the election, even if it were possible to trust the results. The government does not serve its population and is no more legitimate than any other criminal cabal that manages to get its hands on the reins of state power. The cabal stages meaningless elections with candidates of their choosing, and no matter who wins, they must do as the cabal tells them.

This time the cabal made a mistake by not predicting that oppressed voices would find the opportunity of a contested election as a rallying call for a coordinated demonstration against the government.

Machinations of democracy are no substitute for human rights, and no excuse for suppressing them.

mike farmer June 16, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Discussing who might have won or not is meaningless in Iran — http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NTM2ZDdmMWFiYWY5MWJiMTkwN2JhZGMwOWU2ODAzZDk=&w=MA== — their troubles run much deeper.

shawn June 16, 2009 at 2:42 pm

Dave…Chris Coyne has some discussion of the differences b/t japan/germany and other (notably failed) efforts to export democracy. The book may be interesting to you: "After War."

Martin Brock June 16, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Russ,

None of the polls are very credible, but some are more credible than others, including the one you cite, which 52% had undecided but had Ahmadinejad leading 2 to 1 among decided voters.

We perceive Ahmadinejad as Hitlerian here, but he's not similarly unpopular there. He bought a lot of votes in his first term with state benefits like health insurance for home workers in the carpet industry. He's extremely polarizing, but he's not extremely unpopular.

I have little sympathy with Ahmadinejad, but influential political forces on "our side" badly want an act of war against Iran, and I have even less sympathy with them. We don't need another war, and another war is no more likely to create a liberal democracy than the last two.

Martin Brock June 16, 2009 at 2:51 pm

Now as a believer in spontaneous order myself I don't know how this can be, but there you have it.

Chaos and spontaneous order don't rule out the transformation of imperial Japan into something more like a liberal democracy (whatever that is), but it does rule out predicting this transformation. Hindsight is 20/20. Believing that we can replicate the Japanese experience in Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran, all at the same time, is incredible, but we can certainly bankrupt ourselves in the attempt.

Martin Brock June 16, 2009 at 2:54 pm

Oh. And Pakistan too.

DAVE June 16, 2009 at 3:26 pm

I guess when religion is the major focal point in a culture to the point that they are governed by the precepts of the religion itself and government itself is a religious body, what will swell up from the bottom is not liberty but a theocracy.

IOW some people want what we call repression and tyranny.

There is too much focus on democracy and too little on liberty. Iran is a democracy in the literal form. So was the Weimar republic. They had laws against hate speech for gods sake. I'd rather a monarchy with limited powers where I can do as I please when I please.

Randy June 16, 2009 at 3:37 pm

Not seeing how the war with Japan was any great success. Seems to me it was just made out to be a success by the Progressive propaganda machine – which completely ignored the costs and radically exaggerated the benefits. Same with the wars with Germany – both of them.

vikingvista June 16, 2009 at 3:47 pm

"There is too much focus on democracy and too little on liberty."

Hear hear.

Αμάτι Nώνυμος June 16, 2009 at 4:14 pm

"
Only Iranians can create liberal democracy in Iran.
"

With your final sentence you have sentenced the true IAlsoRanis to first prove that they are capable of maintaining democracy. Their final trial by fire is to set up and operate a shadow government, a provisional "committee of safety" within deep background. Will the final Mullah die defeated as did the ultimate Princess of Hawaii?

Tune in next week for final episode of "The Persian under the Rug".

Russ Roberts June 16, 2009 at 4:20 pm

Dave,

Podcast with Chris Coyne here:

http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2008/04/coyne_on_export.html

(Thanks for the reminder, Shawn.)

Methinks June 16, 2009 at 4:21 pm

Add my "hear hear" to vikingvista's.

I guess when religion is the major focal point in a culture to the point that they are governed by the precepts of the religion itself and government itself is a religious body, what will swell up from the bottom is not liberty but a theocracy.

An interesting factoid about Iran – compared to most Muslim countries, the Iranians have become much less religious. Comparatively, there is much less compliance with religious ritual such as fasting during Ramadan than in other Muslim countries. Religious rule – whether the religion is Islam, Christianity or Socialism – is the quickest way to put the population off the idea. Democracy – you get what you want and you get it good and hard.

DAVE June 16, 2009 at 5:15 pm

"Religious rule – whether the religion is Islam, Christianity or Socialism – is the quickest way to put the population off the idea."

In western culture, yes. But some nations have been ruled by one religion or another for more than a thousand years. I hate to say this, but instead of putting the population off the idea, it's radicalized a significant portion of them the other way around. Liberal attitudes towards them are not helping either.

S Andrews June 16, 2009 at 5:26 pm

I know that the topic is Iran, Mullahcracy and Ahmedinejad. But I thought this will be very interesting to the audience..

"To fight this recession the Fed needs more than a snapback; it needs soaring household spending to offset moribund business investment. And to do that, as Paul McCulley of Pimco put it, Alan Greenspan needs to create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble" –Krugman (2002)

Randy June 16, 2009 at 5:27 pm

I figure that religion, or more precisely, belief, is human nature. The mind solves puzzles. It won't quit until it has a solution that satisfies. Not a solution that is "true", just a solution that satisfies. There are those who follow the belief that only verifiable truth has value, but such are rare.

Methinks June 16, 2009 at 5:44 pm

Dave,

As far as I know, Iran is the only explicit Muslim theocracy, although the Al Saud family rule is backed by the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia.Religious rule in Iran has not radicalized the Iranians. It has done quite the opposite and there were far more radical before the 1979 revolution than there are now. Don't mistake the Mullahs for the population.

Muslim Radicals are far more prevalent in nominally secular countries like Egypt. Even there, the reasons for such radicalism are complex and include but are not exclusively a response to Islamic dogma, the hopelessness of the Egyptian dictatorship and the destruction of the economy which forced many Egyptians to find work in the Saudi oil fields where they were radicalized by Wahhabis. As far as I know, Iran is the only explicit Muslim theocracy, although the Al Saud family rule is backed by the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia.

I find the opinion that radicals are radicals because they are responding to the West to be both ignorant and Obnoxious. The core assumption is that these people are too stupid to have their own motivation and every action is merely a reaction to the actions of the West. Like small children, we cannot hold them responsible for their own actions and if they blow us up, it's nobody's fault but ours. We were just bad parents. My problem with the liberal view of the Iranian regime is that it's too much like Jimmy Carter's "communism is just another way to live" attitude. It isn't. It's another way to die. Slowly and painfully – and they mean to forcibly export it to your shores. To ignore that Muslim radicals and radical regimes such as Iran's have an agenda to take over the world is madness. Why would we ignore their clearly stated intentions to inflict a Muslim Caliphate on the rest of the world while fully accepting Osama bin Laden's excuses for blowing up the property and people of the United States? I don't care about exporting democracy or whatever. I do care about the regime I live under and the ability of fascists to rule me either directly or indirectly.

Methinks June 16, 2009 at 5:45 pm

Sorry for the repeated sentence. Poor editing.

Gil June 16, 2009 at 8:23 pm

"The defeat of the Empire in WWII and the imposition of democracy under McArthur subsequently showed the Japanese that even the lowest could seemingly share power and at a minimum have opportunity for wealth and advancement never available in the old scheme of things.

Small wonder democracy took root and thrived in Japan." – vidyohs

*spit take!*

In others words defeating the enemy and showing them Democracy did work in Japan? Fancy that!

Of course, a question is how did the Japanese drop 'obedience to the Emperor no matter what' to 'whatever'? Similarly the Germans go out of their way to denounce Nazism. I wonder why that is when other cultures can't let go?

Gil June 16, 2009 at 8:29 pm

"My problem with the liberal view of the Iranian regime is that it's too much like Jimmy Carter's "communism is just another way to live" attitude. It isn't. It's another way to die. Slowly and painfully – and they mean to forcibly export it to your shores." – Methinks

Wasn't McCarthyism indeed the right response? People may have thought it was harsh as the time but it was worth it? When people found out what really went in the Soviet Union they should have thanked their lucky stars for the Communist suppression in the U.S.A.? (I'm not being sarcastic I'm geniunely asking.)

vikingvista June 16, 2009 at 9:14 pm

McCarthy wasn't wrong that communism was a threat to the US. He wasn't wrong that there were Soviet spies in the US government. He WAS wrong to be utterly unconcerned with using the power of his office to malign innocent citizens.

Methinks June 16, 2009 at 9:56 pm

What Vikingvista said.

Sam Grove June 16, 2009 at 11:03 pm

"There is too much focus on democracy and too little on liberty."

Democracy is the "progressive" substitute for liberty.

K Ackermann June 16, 2009 at 11:12 pm

How fluid our attitudes are is something to behold.

We saw the media coopted in the runup to the Iraq war, and it worked.

Anyone not in a coma, and who was capable of forming conclusions based on fact, knew Cheney and them were telling great big whoppers to the American people.

At that point, the government was held in reverence by the right, and any mention of doubt about the facts was deemed unpatriotic.

I remember when Powell held up the vial in front of the UN. I remember losing my voice shouting that the vial only had air in it.

When our thoughts are shaped by blind belief in what we choose to believe, then the whole notion of rational response, and the rational actor become meaningless.

The media has has chosen to project an image of Iran. The people are seen jumping up and down, holding weapons, burning US flags, and speaking in some primitive language.

It just wouldn't do to mention that Iran has cloned animals, publishes more scientific papers per capita than any other country, and has designed and built some of the more complex instruments in the Large Hadron Collider.

It wouldn't do to show an Iranian woman coming home from work as a doctor or lawyer, take off her burka, and relax in front of the TV with a glass of wine, dressed only in sexy underwear.

The only reason I know it happens, is because they blog about it every day. It's almost as if they are like us.

I was raised a Catholic and dreaded confession because there was not enough time to begin to describe all the sinning I partook in since the last confession. There are plenty of Catholics who don't sin at the same rate, but when they do, bad, bad things happen. We don't call them religious fanatics, we call them crazy.

Joka June 17, 2009 at 8:14 am

Then there was the time Raggedy Ann got kicked out of the toy box for sitting on Pinocchio's face and saying "Lie to me baby! Lie to me!"

DAVE June 17, 2009 at 9:02 am

"When our thoughts are shaped by blind belief in what we choose to believe, then the whole notion of rational response, and the rational actor become meaningless."

That's a very hard line to draw. One could argue the same thing way re. your perception of things.

To paraphrase George Will: To govern is to make decisions based on less than complete information.

At the time it seemed rational to take certain actions (not that all rational people agreed with them). As a matter of fact the opposition to those actions stemmed from no less "belief" than taking them.

Sometimes, to quote Yogi Berra, when you reach a fork in the road, you have to take it. It's a risk both ways. Winning the bet doesn't make you shrewd. It makes you lucky.

This topic has been discussed in different forms on this blog before.

DAVE June 17, 2009 at 11:11 am

"There are plenty of Catholics who don't sin at the same rate, but when they do, bad, bad things happen. We don't call them religious fanatics, we call them crazy."

If they did it in the name of religion with the Vatican's support to boot, we would call them religious fanatics.

I'm not Catholic by any stretch of the imagination but I think I can safely assume that while they may contend that I'm headed straight for eternal damnation in a hand basket my Catholic friends have no designs on speeding up that process which allows us to comfortably share beers with each other while usually avoiding all discussion re. the ultimate destination of my soul and all that good stuff.

That's how things work in free societies. It's not like that everywhere.

EX-GMU-Student June 17, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Marin Brock,

I have to call your BS here.

The fact that you group Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan together shows you know nothing about these countries and how different they are in their religious, cultural, economical and political makeup.

And for "credible polls", again that shows your ignorance. Phones in Iran are heavily monitored and many people are hesitant to respond candidly about sensitive issues. If anything many of the "undecided" were for the opposition but did not want to say it to some stranger.

Try to read and learn instead of feeding your ignorance and posting BS.

Martin Brock June 17, 2009 at 6:23 pm

The fact that you group Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan together shows you know nothing about these countries and how different they are in their religious, cultural, economical and political makeup.

I don't group them together. Don't confuse me with U.S. foreign policy. It's just a fact that the U.S. occupies two of them and an influential political faction in the U.S. would like at least to change the regime in Iran.

And for "credible polls", again that shows your ignorance. Phones in Iran are heavily monitored and many people are hesitant to respond candidly about sensitive issues.

I wrote "most credible". Even if no polls are very credible, some are more credible than others.

I'm skeptical of your assertion that phones in Iran are "heavily monitored". Do you have any evidence for it? Iran has over 70 million people, and 90% of them have phones. Have you thought about how much manpower it would take to monitor millions of phones?

The Iranian public is highly polarized. Millions of Iranians are marching in the streets right now, yet you're telling me that they're afraid to answer a telephone poll. Too timid to challenge their rulers on the phone but fine with marching in the streets? Does that really make any sense?

Scott Horton (a died-in-the-wool libertarian and host of a fantastic foreign policy talk-show) interviewed Patrick Doherty of the New American Foundation about the poll that Russ and I are discussing today. Why not educate yourself?

If anything many of the "undecided" were for the opposition but did not want to say it to some stranger.

That's your story. Don't confuse what's inside or head with what's outside of it. Maybe you're right, but since you're the one claiming that no poll of Iranian public opinion is reliable, how could you possibly know?

Try to read and learn instead of feeding your ignorance and posting BS.

So why don't you tell us what you've read rather than how you're feeling? You don't present a shred of evidence for your assertions about what people in Iran think. Are you a mind reader?

Martin Brock June 17, 2009 at 6:30 pm

That's "New America Foundation".

Martin Brock June 17, 2009 at 6:38 pm

And "dyed-in-the-wool".

K Ackermann June 17, 2009 at 11:16 pm

I wonder what Iran would have turned out like had we not overthrown the democratically elected government in the 1950's and installed a dictator.

K Ackermann June 18, 2009 at 12:01 am

At the time it seemed rational to take certain actions (not that all rational people agreed with them). As a matter of fact the opposition to those actions stemmed from no less "belief" than taking them.

No, no. The opposition came from checking facts, and the opposition was shocked that the government embraced fascism to perpetrate lies.

Can you imagine what the media would do if half the Obama administration were members of a think tank like PNAC? Didn't the media have a duty to at least point people to the PNAC website to read the collective writings of their government?

Iraq was very well contained, everybody knew it. If there was really a worry that Iraq had a nuke program, all we had to do was check the electricity bill. It's just that simple.

When the government started scolding Saddam for using chemical weapons on his own people, I had to scratch my head. Did that mean when we gave him chemical weapons technology that we didn't want him to use it? Because… because… why give it to him?

There was nothing rational about any of it, and the planning for the war showed exactly what happens when policy is formulated by ideologues locked away in some group think tank.

Those people didn't have a clue about reality because they all spent their time reading each other's papers and marveling at how smart they sounded.

Rumsfeld was a piece of wrongness that I almost had to admire for it's totality. If Alan Turing had been aware of someone like Rumsfeld, he would have had to reformulate his test for machine intelligence, because if Rumsfeld sat in on a test, he would instantly be identified as a wrong-answer-generating automaton.

His public utterances were always the same: fantastic and erroneous claims, gross simplification, hints of access to mysterious information nobody else possesses or could fully understand, a straw man, a red herring, and he would finish with a flurry of arrogant insults.

Dick Cheney claim Rumsfeld was the best SecDef in history. Those people truly gave meaning to Kakistocracy. I was stunned to learn there was a word that captured it all so perfectly.

DAVE June 18, 2009 at 1:23 am

I will not deny anything in your post. But to say that you (or anyone) is rational – more rational than the person you disagree with – is fooling yourself. You begin with something. And that something is not rational.

For instance you state: "Iraq was very well contained, everybody knew it". It either was or wasn't. Even if it was, how long would it last? Maybe forever, maybe not. If not, then how long? Does anyone know when al Qaeda became a threat? When bin Laden was born? When he fought the Soviets? While in Sudan? How about Japan? When did they become a threat?

There is no correct answer to these questions. They are impossible to predict. Sure we can look back and nail it exactly, but to do that you have to be attacked first. There is no other way about it.

Again, to quote Will, to govern is to act on imperfect information (Which is why IMO they should govern as least as possible).

Or you say: "Did that mean when we gave him chemical weapons technology that we didn't want him to use it? Because… because… why give it to him?" Because at the time it seemed the prudent thing to do, I guess.

You're free to disagree with any action you don't like. For all I know you may even turn out to be right. But that does not mean that those actions are any less rational than the ones you would have taken.

My point in all this is not whether the US was right or wrong about going to war. We don't know (something that Rumsfeld acknowledged going in btw). I, definitely do not know. But life is full of risks and if you don't take Option A you automatically took Option B which is also a risk (opportunity cost). As Yogi Berra said….. you know what he said so what the hell.

K Ackermann June 18, 2009 at 2:14 am

But life is full of risks and if you don't take Option A you automatically took Option B which is also a risk (opportunity cost).

And who can argue with what you are saying if the choices are made in a transparent environment where everything gets honestly factored.

In that environment, if the result was conclusive, then a consensus would be met, as was the case with going into Afghanistan.

If the government did not manufacture a false reality with regard to Iraq, then a threat evaluation would have been less than conclusive. Even with the lies it was less than conclusive.

If it is less than conclusive, then a rational course of action should be evaluated.

Rational, to me, would be to ask if containment of the hypothetical threat was adequate. If not, what would be needed to bolster it?

Certainly not war, simply because the nature of the threat was that of another terrorist attack, not of a military attack by Saddam's armies.

In what way does invading another country guarantee that it would prevent the launch of a terrorist attack? If anything, it could generate more risk, and then who would we blame?

If someone tomorrow walks into a school and yells "Avenge Iraq!" just before pulling the chord, who would we blame?

DAVE June 18, 2009 at 3:08 am

"In that environment, if the result was conclusive, then a consensus would be met, as was the case with going into Afghanistan."

My point exactly. Afghanistan was a no brainer because it was done after an attack. That's Monday morning Quarterbacking.

"If the government did not manufacture a false reality with regard to Iraq, then a threat evaluation would have been less than conclusive. Even with the lies it was less than conclusive."

The threat evaluation will always be less than conclusive. It has to be unless the threat was carried out.

"Rational, to me, would be to ask if containment of the hypothetical threat was adequate. If not, what would be needed to bolster it?"

A threat is hypothetical by definition. Also, one could argue that this approach was tried with disastrous results – 9/11 (or the Cole bombing). I'm no expert on game theory and I would definitely not know how to apply it here, but containment does not always work.

"Certainly not war, simply because the nature of the threat was that of another terrorist attack, not of a military attack by Saddam's armies."

One can argue that "terrorism" doesn't exist in a vacuum and that it requires governments to survive. The argument can also be made that just as al Qaeda was not a threat until they attacked, there is no reason to assume that Saddam isn't a threat. He was no angel you know….

"In what way does invading another country guarantee that it would prevent the launch of a terrorist attack?"

It doesn't. There are no guarantees in life and the rules that applied yesterday, well, applied yesterday. Still it raises the cost of an attack significantly. The threat of terrorism however will never go away and you can and should count on more attacks taking place.

You see? There you have it! The basis of both our arguments here are not all that rational. I see life as imperfect and I don't expect to fix every single problem ever, while you have a more rosy outlook and you think everything can and should be fixed. (Sowell calls it the Constrained Vision and the Unconstrained Vision)

"If anything, it could generate more risk, and then who would we blame?"

The terrorists!

"If someone tomorrow walks into a school and yells "Avenge Iraq!" just before pulling the chord, who would we blame?"

The person who pulled the cord.

K Ackermann June 18, 2009 at 3:39 am

Great arguments, and answers!

My own feeling is that I am inclined to trust you as a rational actor. You addressed each issue head on, without embelishment, and force me to agree with every position you took. By force, I mean I could not logically argue against.

So, given all that, would you have put forth a recommendation to invade Iraq as a way to counter the possible threat of a terrorist attack, even in the absense of direct evidence that it harbored intent to launch an attack on the US?

Sam Grove June 18, 2009 at 11:28 am

Who is dangerous depends on who is judging.

Objectively, the U.S. government is one of the most dangerous in the world.

Why?

It can afford to be.

K Ackermann June 18, 2009 at 11:52 am

Who is dangerous depends on who is judging

Well there you go; I think invading a country on the basis of a subjective opinion which appears to have been supported by deliberate falsehoods is not a wise thing to do.

DAVE June 18, 2009 at 5:42 pm

"Objectively, the U.S. government is one of the most dangerous in the world."

Dangerous to whom? If you were liberated from Buchenwald, the US would not be a danger to you. If you are a Nazi fleeing Buchenwald, that might be different. (This is not to justify intervention. Nor is it an endorsement for good vs. evil. So please let's not go there if possible)

I would think danger is subjective, so objectively the US would be completely benign.

I for one, would like to be considered very dangerous. Not because I want to kill anyone (well maybe….) but because it raises their cost for attacking me, making me safer. That's the rationalization behind buying and carrying a weapon.

Some of my enemies want exactly as I do. They want no more than to not be attacked. But some want to actualize the threat they pose to me. They are willing to pay that price. Some of them offset that cost with 72 black eyed virgins (presumably female. I wasn't at that meeting). What do you do then? Allah's cornered the market here and there is no way you can compete.

So outside of killing them, what are the options?

K Ackermann June 18, 2009 at 11:48 pm

I would think danger is subjective, so objectively the US would be completely benign

That's not entirely true. Our MAD policy would yield a lot of collateral damage to neutral countries… well, actually the world. Also, possesing nuclear weapons in the quanities we do poses some level of risk for an accident.

There is collateral risk from possessing nukes. For instance, if we design a new missile which happens to have a radar cross section similar to one that we might fly with a nuke warhead, then launching one in a direction that potentially threatens an asset of some other country with nukes would force that country to launch a nuclear counter strike because they could not take the chance.

Putting aside all that, we could also look at empirical data and objectively state the US is not benign.

A large percent of the people killed as a result of armed conflict were killed by weapons that say Made in USA. Millions have been killed by weapons obtained from the US government for free. We have huge vertical industries that supply every crackpot dictator around the globe with weapons that are used against civilians.

Our military budget is larger than the next 11 largest budgets combined, and our military is in engaged in hot conflict more often than not, and often in countries that are poorly defended.

We have suffered a deadly terrorist attack, but we initiate most conflict we fight.

Any other country that had a similar rate of conflict would probably be viewed as extremely aggressive and and dangerous.

I too have guns. I use them for pest control on my farm. I have never had to use one to resolve a conflict, but I would never deprive someone from using that method themselves.

If someone pulls a gun on you, it's best to leave your gun holstered and let your friend sneak up behind and blow their head off. TIP: shotguns are not traceable.

KIshore Kumar June 20, 2009 at 6:29 am

Dave's reasoning mirrors that of Islamic terrorist. They also ask "So outside of killing them, what are the options?".

Both sides think alike!

DAVE June 21, 2009 at 9:25 am

I'm no ideologue. I'm open for ideas.

I'm sure the poster is a reasonable person as well. Let him prove this by trying to answer my question.

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