423b2e
423b2e

9.17.2012

shut it down !!!


An Argument for its Closing: Dead Gitmo Detainee’s Poem  
By Harriet Staff From Amnesty International’s website:
Adnan Latif died at Guantánamo on Saturday, after being held over 10 years without charge—despite a judge’s order that he be released.
Latif protested his treatment with a hunger strike and poetry; these lines were cleared by government censors and serve as a tragic reminder of the urgent need to end indefinite detention and close the prison:
 “Hunger Strike Poem”
They are artists of torture,
They are artists of pain and fatigue,
They are artists of insults
and humiliation.
Where is the world to save us
from torture?
Where is the world to save us
from the fire and sadness?
Where is the world to save
the hunger strikers?
Full post, including ways you can take action, here.

Posted in Poetry News on Monday, September 17th, 2012 by Harriet Staff.

xxx

39 comments:

Adullamite said...

Close it down.

J Cosmo Newbery said...

Yes, close it down.

soubriquet said...

Our 'first-world' nations used the examples of torture and detention without access to due process of law as reasons to denounce other regimes.

If it's done by our enemies we talk about crimes against humanity, and demand that governments and dictators are toppled.

It's hard to hold the moral high ground whilst flouting national and international laws.

Habeas Corpus is a basic principle of both British and American law, yet at Guantanamo it is set aside.

It may be that everyone ever sent to Guantanamo is indeed a terrorist and a criminal. But without evidence in an open court, without the right to be heard, it is not proved.

"Magna Carta obliquely makes reference to Habeas Corpus through express reference to “the law of the land”. From Magna Carta (1215 a.d.) the exact quote is: “...no free man shall be taken or imprisoned or disseized or exiled or in any way destroyed except by the lawful judgment of their peers or by the law of the land.” The practice and right of Habeas Corpus was settled practice and law at the time of Magna Carta and was thus a fundamental part of the unwritten common “law of the land” as was expressly recognized by Magna Carta."

red dirt girl said...

That fact that guantanamo even exists is a tragedy of injustice; a tragedy of humanity; and hypocrisy at its ugliest. What I don't understand is the thinking that if 1. it's not on American soil and 2. if it's under military supervision that somehow all rights of habeas corpus are suspended. Did someone draw a magic line stating on this side you will get a fair trial by a jury of your peers and oops - on this side, your fate is indefinite; your human rights suspended until further notice... how is this any different than the Soviet work camps in Siberia ?? A place to shuffle away undesirables interminably.

I grew up believing in the starry eyed view of America the great; Land of the Free; where each voice counts - a democracy of freedoms safeguarded by our constitution. What I learned living in Central America was the flip side of the greatest country on earth. I learned how my tax dollars supported my military who trained and supported a militia of thugs. No - these were not the so-called 'communista' guerilla fighters. These were the country's mandated army, trained and funded by us, the good ole U S of A - who dragged families of farming communities to town squares every day at noon and shot someone. Anyone. A someone they though might be harboring sympathies to the guerillas. Armies that took over coffee plantations and kicked the owners out. Then parceled these farms amongst themselves and after the 'peace' treaty was signed - the original owners found they had no home to return to - no livelihood. The spoils of war were divided amongst the victors. The American supported victors.

Who remembers Rio Negro ??? A town where American backed soldiers swarmed in and killed every resident: man, woman, child who dug their mass grave on the banks of the river before their execution. An ENTIRE VILLAGE OBLITERATED.

This is not the America I learned of in school. This is not the America I was taught to honor and uphold. This is not the land of the free. It is the land of the greed: for power, for money, for influence, for personal gain.

I am so disgusted by my country.

xxx

J Cosmo Newbery said...

Do not link country and government.

I have little time for the US govt (or Israeli, but that is another story) but have a lot of time for Americans.

"Politics is the entertainment branch of industrial military complex" - Frank Zappa.

bulletholes said...

Hi red!
i remember Rio negro, mostly because I'm a big Bruce Cockburn fan, and he had a big hit with a song he wrote after working in the refugee camps down there.
Heres a linjk to the lyrics, but it is his commentary about the song (scroll down) that I find really great.
http://cockburnproject.net/songs&music/iiharl.html

goatman said...

CB,
Yes, that's the solution -- more death and killing -- ram their boat and make em pay!

red dirt girl said...

Cosmo - point well made and taken. I am disgusted by my government ... or better yet I am disgusted by the people who have the power to do good yet choose to perpetuate evil and cloak it in terms of: "for the safety and security of all Americans."

I am proud of our troops. I am proud of the women and men who put their lives on the line for an ideal that they believe in - even if I think the ideal is misguided or better yet- manipulated by the powers above them.

However, (you knew this was coming) - I do, to some extent, hold myself and my fellow Americans accountable. We DO vote these people into their powerful positions. We DO have choices (though often it's a case of bad vs. worse)...And we DO have the ability (& responsibility even) to seek out the truth beyond our borders and beyond the nightly news spin we listen to. In other words, we need to wake up and become more discerning. Seek truth. Don't swallow the pap fed to us by our media outlets, the pundits, and our elected countrymen.

xxx

red dirt girl said...

Hi Cowboy - It's great to see you! Hope you are healing well.

Thank you for the link - I don't recall the song, but if I listened to it, I might. I understand some of the emotions he describes in the various comments. It does make a difference to meet the people affected, listen to their personal stories, look beyond what the governments want us to see.

The story of the coffee plantations being overtaken by the guatemalan army and the daily round-up of all peoples in the town square was told to me by my spanish tutor. A lovely, soft spoken lady. Her family lost their land, their farm, their livelihood. Each day the army forced them and neighbors to the town square for the daily execution. Not only was the story itself horrifying and tragic - when she told me, in the privacy of my home, she WHISPERED her tale to me. She was STILL AFRAID to speak the truth aloud. Many people 'disappeared' during those years, never to be found again.

At the time I lived there, the country was in its 5th year under the peace treaty agreements. It was an unsettled peace.

I also 'heard' the truth from the other side of the fence - the well to do Guatemalan who lived in the capital city during the war years. He shrugged and called it 'skirmishes' between radical communist guerillas and their national army. When I confronted him about Rio Negro - he denied it ever happened. He said that story was made up by a leftist press in an attempt to defame their government.

I thought to myself that this is what Germany must have been like during and after WWII ...

Until the pictures begin rolling out. And the stories. And the scarred for life victims.

xxx

red dirt girl said...

goatman - I'm a little confused by your comment. Are you directing it at Bruce Cockburn and his 'rocket launcher' song?

I do see and understand your viewpoint regarding taking up arms and fighting the war by being the war. But I also understand the emotional pull Bruce describes.

It is the same with me: When a friend or loved one is unfairly 'attacked' by another person (you know who I am talking about) I tend to take up arms and fight the battle. I know it only stirs the tempest in a teapot and ultimately serves no purpose, but I cannot stand by mutely and let the bullies of the world spread their arrogance and poison. It makes me so MAD!! So I fight back. (reference: Fish Camp). Will my actions change the person I am battling? inspire change and self reflection? HELL NO.

But god, I do love a good fight every now and then. AND I like to have the last word. (These are not personality traits I am proud of - but they are a part of who I am).

I'm not a redhead for nothing ;-)

xxx

Relax Max said...

RDG: In response to your comment that Americans are to be blamed for putting politicians in power who do these things in our name, I take this to mean you are committed to voting for Mitt Romney in November. I urge you not to do this. The prison at Guantanamo is open today, of course, because our President failed to keep his promise to close it down the first week he was in office if we elected him. Should you not remember Mr. Obama's promise to close it down immediately, I offer a video of these words coming out of his mouth in 2008: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8USRg3h4AdE
Even though this man vowed to close down the prison and restore habeas corpus to America (sic) he has yet to close it down by executive order, which he could do any second he is pleased to do so. I still hope you won't kick him out of office, even though a redhead who loves a good fight.

red dirt girl said...

Hi Max!

I wondered when you were going to stop by and drop in a comment. I'm breaking my own blog rules again. Now it's politics. I'm blaming you. You've been planting seditious ideas in my subconscious...now reap what you sow :-)

Mitt Romney? No, Max. I will not be voting for Mitt. Mitt would happily expand Guantanamo's current facilities and seek to establish at least 5 more such facilities - all off-shore of course - for the 'good of the people.'

As for Obama - yes, I voted him into office. Yes, I do remember this particular campaign promise. And yes, Obama has failed to keep his promise to me and all others like me who believed he was the man.

Betrayed again. What's new when it comes to politics? Am I sounding jaded? weary and beaten by the constant rub of reality against my unrealistic hopes and expectations?

I would like for Obama to put on his big boy panties and own up to what he has and hasn't done during the last 4 years as President. I want to know why. I don't believe the answer is as simple you portray it - a mere signature on an executive order erases Guantanamo.

Bottom line: I'm currently a fence sitter.

So why don't you step away from your red blankie and tell me what you honestly think. No tricks; no verbal slight of tongue. I don't want to hear what the great and mighty OZ thinks. I want to hear what the man behind the curtain thinks.

xxx

bulletholes said...

"It is easy to pick up the rifle. It is much harder to put it down"
Chief Joseph

Relax Max said...

Your blog is hardly the place for me to tell you what I really think. I would only do that on favorable or at least neutral territory. I would sound like any other troll. So, my not preaching to you has nothing to do with me being a fraud hiding behind a curtain; I'm the real deal. I research before I speak. at least. But the subject is interesting enough for a few superficial comments, no?

1. The reason why Obama hasn't (and won't) close the prison at our naval base in Cuba is possibly because after a new president is sworn into office, he becomes privy to more truth than he knew the day before. This issue was important to Mr. Obama. He made it a top-priority campaign promise and he knew (and knows) he looks bad in the eyes of his followers and the whole world because he won't follow through on this seemingly easy step. He is a man with a huge ego and loves to be loved. Therefore, I deduce that the actual truth he learned was compelling.

2. You are welcome to "hold to your moral high ground" as defined by your own personal value system, even if you may not have as many actual "facts" at your disposal as our president does. It's easy to judge if one is not encumbered by all the facts. But, happily, only the REAL truth, and not your amazing leaps of faith, will govern whether the prison for the people who hate Americans and want only to see them dead, is closed.

3. Latif was on his way to Afghanistan to get medical attention? To avail himself of that world-class brain surgery that the Taliban were so famous for? Eight years after he bashed his head? Puh-Leeze. That the ones who would have these thugs released BELIEVE and promulgate nonsense like this only shows they have no love of the truth and only want to see America look bad at any cost. Repeat after me: "We were the ones attacked on 9-11. All of these hate-mongers are rotting in prison because of that act and their support of that act."

4. The rules for the treatment of military prisoners is a bit different than the treatment of civilians accused of selling dope or robbing liquor stores. Understanding that the UCMJ doesn't give these people the same rights as American citizens have, nor does our own military have the same rights as civilian American have, will tone down the righteous indignation, hopefully. Are they being treated worse than their comrades who are out there cutting off the heads of journalists and hanging dead marines from bridges? Probably. As an American, you have a right to think these folks are hapless victims of being in the wrong place at the right time, and a right to believe your own government is lying to you. You have a right to believe that these lovelies are simply grossly misunderstood and need to be released back among us, pronto. That's cool. But other Americans think differently. Such is life.

Sorry. Next time I won't hold back so much, but I won't do the full deed on your lovely blog.

soubriquet said...

Ah, Mr. Max, I thought you were off on one of your secret missions as an international hitman, but here you are.
The Red Dirt Girl, I'm sure, will be impressed at how gently you have answered her, or maybe she'll not realise that you've put a cork in the end of your musket, in an act of kindness.

But hey. I'm a boy.
I remove the string from corked muskets.

Your point no.1
Absolutely. I agree, as a campaigner for the Presidency, Obama was not privy to the whole story.
When he got the job, a whole heap of people piled into the Oval Office to let the president know that the buck may stop here, but never imagine you're the boss. I may have mentioned before that a ummm. "close acquaintance" is just one of those people who used to have to give military briefings to ex Prime Minister Tony Blair.
These briefings included the suggestion that invading iraq made no sense, and that unless there was a rebuilding strategy at the outset, the invasion would not be a success. Amazing. The military cautioned against a military solution.
So, anyway, the Pres gets into the White House, and a lot of suits tell him the facts of life. Stuff that we, or at least, you, the U.S. taxpayer, their employer, is not allowed to hear.
Point 2, The REAL truth is all very well. But let's hear it, see it. Faith is for the religious. Evidence is for the intelligent.
Point 3,I, personally have no problem at all with Latif being imprisoned, well, not if he was travelling to afghanistan in order to fight a moslem fundamentalist war against people like us. In fact, I'm not even against him being tortured. But the reasons for his detention must be open, and credible. And he should be subject to due legal process. Not left to rot without a trial.
As for "we were the ones attacked on 9/11", well, right now, moslems are storming embassies of countries like germany and france, as well as the U.S. Why? because they ignorantly blame them for a movie that may or may not exist, possibly made by egyptian coptic christians with the support of a few americans.
Just like the american attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq, a non-sequitur. 9/11 appears to have been mostly the work of Saudi-Arabians. What the hell's that got to do with peasants in Kandahar?
Point 4, The Geneva Convention governs the treatment of Prisoners of War. However, the U.S. does not consider the Taliban to be a 'legitimate' body. Therefore talibs are not classed as p.o.w.s, but as what? Violent criminals? If so, what legal code governs them? Certainly not the UCMJ. But even if it did, it is not being applied at Guantanamo.
Guantanamo is an abomination under international law, and an affront to a nation who swells with pride at a recitation of the bill of rights.

I believe that all methods, including torture, should be available if they serve to avert a further 9/11, or 7/7, but keeping people prisoner without charge or a right to a defence is wrong.
If you can prove the prisoner is a terorist, then go ahead and kill him.

Relax Max said...

Dear Soubriquet - I would never tell you to put a cork in it. I don't even know about your gun and it's string. :)

I would have preferred to hear an answer to my comment from the owner of this blog who wrote about closing down the prison at all costs and who printed part of a "poem" by the departed holy martyr, but the waters have been muddied by your stick or uncorked gun and I can't believe she won't read your comment before answering mine. So we are left with YOUR take and YOUR values. Which tend to meander from Afghanistan today and a president named Obama, to a PM getting conjecture and opinion back around Christmas of 2001 rather than known facts to consider. I do want to answer you but feel (truly) that this is not the place to argue back and forth without the principal being involved at all. You and I can do this on one of our own blogs. None of the people who visit this blog think anything except that the American government killed this poor unfortunate after torturing him for a decade, so what would be the point? They are not interested in a debate, only affirmation of their preconceptions.

I would want RDG to direct the subjects that appear on her blog and who she wants to debate, if anyone. I just don't feel right digging into you like I would on my own blog. You know I would end up saying things that would offend the sensibilities of the enlightened liberal elite who have this all figured out already. So. Get your arguments consolidated and let's go at it point by point. Elsewhere.

I'm not challenging you to a duel btw. You being mostly unarmed and all. Bwahahahahaha!

I do know how close I come sometimes to losing one or other of the only two friends I have in the blogosphere, but where's the fun otherwise?

red dirt girl said...

Hi Max.

First, I want to thank you for responding to my request with your honest opinion (and I appreciate that you did not level me with two barrels loaded). I did not mean to suggest that you are a fraud behind a curtain, so perhaps my imagery was faulty. I just wanted to read your thoughts on the subject plain and simple - not the verbal dance you provided me with in your first comment.

Second, Soub and I discuss blog posts all the time over the phone (which is one of the reasons we tend not to leave comments at each other's blogs.) And we also discuss comments left by others including your comment left today. I talked it over with him as I drove into work this afternoon. Soub is a great sounding board for me as I tend to gloss over facts and focus on feelings and judging what is right or wrong in any given situation. His personality type is strong where mine is weak and vice versa. We don't always agree and often agree to disagree. But he helps me to see where my thinking/argument is faulty and allows me to gather my thoughts.

Point 1: Ironically, Soub and I discussed this very subject the first night I posted the poem. He pointed out and I agreed that upon becoming President, Obama was privy to information not available to him prior to taking office regarding Guantanamo. And we both agreed that whatever he learned was probably compelling enough to keep him from fulfilling this campaign promise. So, I agree with you. The only thing I disagree with you here is your statement: He (Obama)is a man with a huge ego and loves to be loved. That may very well be true. But regarding the issue of whether Guantanamo should be shut down or not, Obama's character has no relevance. It is an ad hominem fallacy.

Point 2: I'm not sure where you are going with this statement. I'm not operating from a moral high ground so much as I am operating from the view that all people, all humans, have the right to due process and to be judged accordingly. What I don't like is the secrecy under which Guantanamo operates. My vote, my tax dollars. I hold my government and its officials accountable, and I want an accounting of Guantanamo. I want to know the REAL truth. I don't want to be fed the 'spin'. And I am highly skeptical of ALL sources of information (facts as you call them) regarding Guantanamo - both for and against its existence - for the simple fact that I don't think either side of the fence is telling me the truth. Amnesty International is spinning its truth as it sees fit just as much as my government is spinning its truth. PLEASE just tell me the REALITY. Tell me why. Who are these people? What are their crimes? Show me the proof. Explain to me why it is necessary to detain them for a decade without some sort of legal action taken. Give me the compelling reasons.

Point 3: Is Latiff a martyr? Hell no. At least not in my mind. He probably was guilty of some crime against America. Or maybe he wasn't. There it is again: I DON'T KNOW THE TRUTH!! And yes, Max, as an intelligent adult and citizen of the USA, I DO have the right to demand the TRUTH from my governing officials. The injustice I see is allowing a man or woman to rot in a prison without allowing them some form of due process -that is a cruelty I do not accept.

Which law governs the inmates of Guantanamo? Habeas Corpus? UCMJ? the Geneva Convention? Tell me! Better yet just pick one and prosecute the inmates. Let's have resolution. If Latiff was guilty of crimes against America, by all means let him rot in a prison for the rest of his life. If he was guilty of taking the life - one or thousands - of an American, I have no problem with the death penalty. I fully believe in the justice of a life for a life.

red dirt girl said...

(a continuation of my much long-winded comment)

Therefore, if Guantanamo is a facility needed to house prisoners who have been convicted of crimes in some court of law, then leave it be. But its current use as an interminable detention center full of 'those who mean america harm' is unjust and inhumane. Personally I have an objection to torture. I do believe in the sanctity of basic human rights. But to be honest, if Guantanamo was housing a man who raped and left my daughter for dead, I'd happily advocate for his torture and death.

I think I addressed point 4 in the above paragraph.

So allow me to recap and go back to the beginning of this post: a censored poem written by a man detained at Guantanamo for 10 years; who died after voluntarily deciding to go on a hunger strike. The poem does not move me to think Latiff is the anti-hero of our story. The poem serves as a reminder to me that my government is acting in a way I think is unjust and inhumane. I think Guantanamo is unjust and inhumane because NO ONE HAS BEEN ABLE TO TELL ME THE TRUTH of its existence. No one can explain why it is necessary to detain its inmates without some form of due process of law. And if my government cannot tell me the truth, then I do not fully trust or believe my government is acting in my best interests.

I do not believe the detainees are hapless victims of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. On the other hand, I do not believe they are murderous men who would gladly chop the heads off of Americans and hang them on a bridge. I say this because truly I do not know what their crimes are. And I want to know.

As for the rest of my comments here I suppose I had to grow up in Central America. I had to face the truth that my America is not always the nice guy protecting me from harm. I had to accept that my America has a history of supporting despots who rape pillage plunder and murder the peoples of their countries for reasons I will never fathom. My America tells me it has good reason to do this. My America is much like the unfaithful husband who goes to church with his wife and family each Sunday; his intent to create a false facade of decency and honor and high moral character. He then spends the rest of his week in the arms of his secret mistress.

It is hypocrisy, Max, that I abhor most in humans, corporations, institutions and governments.

xxx

Relax Max said...

RDG, I'm not attacking Obama just for the fun of it as you assert. Why should I? - he is handling the prison issue exactly as I want him to. No, I mentioned his great (gigantic) ego and his not wanting to disappoint his loyal followers not as an insult but because they are additional reasons an observer would think he WOULD close the prison. And yet he still didn't. No, there is more going on here than Soub's contention that a bunch of fat cat "advisors" - friends of the former PM - "piled into" the oval office and bewildered Mr. Obama with misleading and incomplete information. Security briefings of that nature come from the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And they tell him what is actually going on, not try to predict the weather or use phony scare tactics. I can't tell you what they told him to make him back down. I don't know. You don't know. Soub doesn't know. But I think it must have been serious. I am also willing to accept that what Obama is doing right now with regards to the prison is in my best interest as an American.

I'll try to address your other points in a blog post of my own soon. I don't have all the answers and maybe you are right and I am wrong, but I will tell you what I have learned and what I believe, for what it is worth.

bulletholes said...

"Once the process of falsification is set in motion, it won't stop. We're in a country where everything that can be falsified has been falsified: paintings in museums, gold ingots, bus tickets. The counterrevolution and the revolution fight with salvos of falsification: the result is that nobody can be sure what is true and what is false, the political police simulate revolutionary actions and the revolutionaries disguise themselves as policemen."
"And who gains by it, in the end?"
'It's too soon to say. We have to see who can best exploit the falsifications, their own and those of the others: whether it's the police or our organization."

The taxi driver is pricking up his ears. You motion Corinna to restrain herself from making unwise remarks.
But she says, "Don't be afraid. This is a fake taxi. What really alarms me, though, is that there is another taxi following us."
"Fake or real?"
"Fake, certainly, but I don't know whether it belongs to the police or to us."

From "IF ON A WINTER NIGHT A TRAVELER" by ITALIA CORVINO

bulletholes said...

But seriously....
As of February 2010, of the 50 detainees who had filed for Habeaus corpus, 36 had been found "wrongfully detained" by judges after receiveing just the minimum due process.

Personally, I'm not sure that the numbers of innocents affected, or the data collected, justify the "infringment" of human rights. I believe we need rough men ready to do rough things to protect us, but there is a point when we have gone overboard.

soubriquet said...

"We have reached another metaphorical crossroads. Our executive branch and their lockstep followers in Congress would argue that their harsh measures are justified, not only because these people are our enemies, but because they have chosen to sin. They are no longer children but adults with free will. To fight America is to fight God, Democracy, History, and Freedom all at once, and to such sinners belongs outer darkness. “Who could be more impious than one who’d dare to sorrow at the judgment God decrees?” Virgil rebukes Dante as he sheds a tear for the eviscerated, boiled, and forked souls in the Inferno. America the perfect makes no mistakes. But those who accept that George Bush is God’s regent on earth should also accept that this makes W. everybody’s surrogate daddy while he stands in for the big daddy in the sky. The word is paternalism. If America truly has dominion over all men and women and the beasts of the field in a neo-feudal order, all of us are America’s children. Is it all right to torture children? Just ask the President, or rather his wife. Her favorite scene in world literature, she once said, is Dostoevsky’s “Grand Inquisitor” from The Brothers Karamazov. The professional interpreters in our press have been at work on this delicious admission that allows us to construct the twisted history of our ruling family. Who knows if Laura ever talked about Dostoevsky with George? Do our parents talk to each other? What do they say? Did they notice that the scene begins when Ivan Karamazov asks his brother if he would torture a child if it meant ensuring happiness for the rest of the world? We know our President’s answer would be an enthusiastic thumbs up, as long as it’s someone else’s thumb."

Marco Roth (http://nplusonemag.com/torture-and-parenting)

Yes, out of date, George W era, but relevant here? I think so.

bulletholes said...

Thats great Souby!

red dirt girl said...

ad hominem fallacy - The Skeptics Dictionary

http://www.skepdic.com/adhominem.html

"Good refutations of arguments try to undermine the accuracy, relevance, fairness, completeness, and sufficiency of reasons given to support a conclusion. One of the more common tactics of those who can't provide a good refutation of an argument is to divert attention away from the argument by calling attention to something about the person who made the argument. Rather than criticize a person’s premises or reasoning, one asserts something about the person’s character, associations, occupation, hobbies, motives, mental health, likes or dislikes.

The fallacy in the ad hominem is due to the irrelevant nature of the appeal made, not to its falsity. If what is said about the person is false, in addition to being irrelevant, two fallacies are committed, false premise and irrelevant premise.

Many people are seduced by ad hominem attacks. Sometimes, the appeal of the ad hominem is that it puts bad doctrines (i.e., those you disagree with) into the mouths of bad people (those you dislike). Sometimes, the ad hominem allows one to feel that one’s opponent is evil as well as stupid.

... Attacking a person, rather than the person’s position or argument, is usually easier as well as psychologically more satisfying to those who divide the world into two classes of people—those who agree with them and are therefore good and right, and those who disagree with them and are therefore evil and wrong.

One of the most frequent types of ad hominem attack is to attack the arguer's alleged motives rather than his evidence. For example, rather than taking apart an argument reason by reason, you claim that the arguer is just playing politics, is in the pockets of Big Pharma or the AMA, or is a government disinformation agent. One reader of my arguments against the 9/11 conspiracy argument had nothing to say about my argument but a lot to say about me. For example, he wrote: "you're probably an old guy and as we get older the brain just doesn't wanna have to deal with reality." Both claims may be true but neither of them is relevant to refuting my argument. This same fellow also wrote: "your views support a system that is completely corrupt because you have all your retirement money invested in that same system." And, instead of trying to show why I shouldn't trust any government report or claims on the issue, he wrote that my "'don't wanna question my government' view on 911 is scary quite frankly." This last assessment borders on a straw man attack, where one distorts another's position to make it easier to attack. This fellow seems to be suggesting that my real argument was that we should trust our government whenever it tells us something. Such a caricature of my arguments passes from being an attack on me into being an attack on a position I don't hold and did not defend.

When the irrelevant claims are negative, this fallacy is called poisoning the well. It's purpose seems two-fold: it gives a person a false sense of license to avoid producing any evidence of his own while giving the illusion of providing a rebuttal; and, it creates the false impression that the position you hold is held in good faith while the position you oppose is held by corrupt or compromised people like the one you pretend to be refuting."


xxx

red dirt girl said...

Okay, Max. I'll keep a look out for your Guantanamo post. I'm not sure how willing I will be to jump into the fray of debate (having already broken my 'no politics, no religion arguments' here and feeling somewhat regretful.)

Maybe I've been spoiling for a fight ?? :)

I am truly interested, however, in what you think, what you've learned and your conclusions, if any. You might make a believer out of me :)

xxx

red dirt girl said...

Soub and Cowboy !!!

Love, love both those quotes. I especially appreciate that you guys are backing up your arguments with facts (or non-facts as Max might label them) - mostly because I'm not a big fact checker. My arguments always stem from my heart, my emotions, my sense of fairness / justice.

Wow - 24 comments. I don't think I've ever received so much 'traffic' before .... posting controversy must be the key ...!!

xxx

Relax Max said...

Christ. More mile-long quotes instead of actual personal original honest thinking.

You didn't "make a point" about why President Obama has failed to close the prison, so I can't very well "refute" your point. All you said was you didn't know why he hasn't, and you were disappointed. All I did was offer some possibilities why I thought he didn't close the prison.

Wait- is it possible you don't think Mr. Obama has a really large ego and a fanatically loyal base he wants to cater to at all costs? Is THAT it? I assure you that my belief in those two things is absolutely above board and not an attempted diversion.

No, if I had wanted to indulge in a sophomoric ad hominem attack I would have pointed out that his ears are too big, not his ego. That is just stupid in my opinion. What point were you making that I was diverting attention from instead of facing it head on?

Just to keep pace with you and your consultant, I'll try to come up with a 1000 word quote from somebody who wrote a book who agrees with me. :) (If I do, I promise it won't be a quote from someone who has never read The Brothers Karamozov deeply enough to understand the parable about the Inquisitor and Christ kissing him on his bloodless lips. I'm with Laura Bush in thinking that section was sublime.)

I also promise any quote I find won't be missing the pertinent first 3 words like Soub's quote was.

This is starting to pique my interest. (I still consider you friendly, so that's just a sad warning how fast this political stuff can degenerate, and how I would rather read your poetry here instead.)

Relax Max said...

"To fight America is to fight God, Democracy, History, and Freedom all at once, and to such sinners belongs outer darkness: ? Really, Soub? I had no idea you agreed with that kind of thought. Apparently you agree with Roth enough that you use him for reference. That's pretty darn radical.

Actually, to fight America is to fight America. Us. Me.

red dirt girl said...

Max! Maz!

I wasn't referring to any argument I've made - I was referencing your use of Obama's emotional needs as evidence that not shutting down Guantanamo must 'MEAN' Obama has very special secret dossiers that the rest of us ignorant voting populace do not have access to and would be too stupid to understand if we did (otherwise why not share the secret memos??)

Obama + Guantanamo = issue
Obama + big ego = irrelevant.

Have I made myself clear ???

And f##K you for stating that there is no creative original honest thinking here. I spent 2 and half hours last night (after closing the store; driving home; wishing my youngest happy birthday again and hearing about his fun evening with dad; listening to my 17 year old grouse about her best friend and best laid plans etc. AND spending an hour explaining order of operations in algebraic equations to my youngest and doing his math homework with him) responding to your comment!!!

Bottom line: I was up til 2am writing an honest, heartfelt, original, emotional response to you. I could have blown you off. Am I big on facts ? NO. And really since you seem to understand Meyers Briggs - you should have already deduced this aspect of my personality. But I gave that response my heart; my EXHAUSTED heart.

xxx

Relax Max said...

But Obama + big ego is NOT irrelevant. It is part of why he WANTS to shut it down. It hurts people with big egos not to be able to keep their public word. I am NOT cheap shotting him.

Relax Max said...

I'm sorry, RDG. You have no idea how much I DON'T want to fight with you. About this. About anything.

red dirt girl said...

How did this point get to be all about Obama ???

It's about Guantanamo. Obama is a player, but he's not playing alone.

I want some answers. I don't care who gives them to me. How does a psychoanalysis of our president factor into this discussion ???

I'm not trying to be obtuse. It's late. I'm tired. I have a soccer game to attend early in the morning.

Write it all up into a coherent post. Enough with these skirmishes. Focus!

xxx

Relax Max said...

Ok. So there was this Irishman they arrested for being drunk and disorderly at the pub and threw him in jail and in the morning the guard sees the guy hanging by his feet and the guard says "Paddy, if you are trying to kill yourself you have to tie the rope around your neck not your feet." And Paddy says "I tried that already, but I couldn't breathe.

red dirt girl said...

Max you are incorrigible!!

But I admit your joke diffused my anger. Now I'm blaming you for not being able to fall asleep. I should make YOU get up and go spend 3 hours on a soccer field. Grrrr....

xxx

goatman said...



There ya go!

soubriquet said...

Okay, Mr Max, " Soub's contention that a bunch of fat cat "advisors" - friends of the former PM - "piled into" the oval office and bewildered Mr. Obama with misleading and incomplete information. ", I never made such a statement, and I'm surprised that a purveyor of 'clarity' could display such poor reading comprehension. I'd imagine you'd check your co-ordinates before firing a salvo over the horizon.

I won't address all your points, because, to be honest, it's not, for the most, part a debate that really interests me, but just a couple. Obama has a big ego? Really? Unlike any other politician? Is it possible for a humble person ever to be elected as President?
Come on now, he's an arrogant bastard and a backstabber, it's a base requirement for any candidate.
Of course, Mitt Romney isn't at all egotistical, nor were the Bushes, Clinton... Reagan. Nixon. JFK, Oh. I hear the howls of laughter down the ages. The president has a big ego.....

Anyway, what's all this "to fight America is to fight America. Us. Me." nonsense?

Last I heard, nobody attacked New Mexico. Why would you be so eager to fight on behalf of the federal government? Why be outraged on behalf far-distant states?
Do you support your tax-dollars being shipped overseas to fight camel-jockeys in shit-smelling sandpits?

In fact, why not more sympathy for your enemy. Terrorist insurgents fighting against the rightful government? Isn't that the story of america too?

Relax Max said...

l@Soubriquet - I'm not really a "purveyor" of clarity as much as a "seeker" of clarity (and truth) but I try to purvey my share.

RDG questions my continuing contention that it is relevant that President Obama could close Guantanamo anytime he felt like it. Well, the title of this post is "Shut it down!!!" and since there is a way to "Shut it down!!!" with the snap of one man's fingers, I thought point one relevant - to discuss why that man hadn't and doesn't. That's pretty much why I kept returning to Obama and pissing her off by doing so. And, with regard to that point, I took your remark as flippant and sarcastic that the people who advised him about Guantanamo on the day he took office were only a bunch of suits rather than calm rational knowledgeable serious people who knew what they were talking about. I could see you were implying that, even with my low reading comprehension level.

I DID gloss over your point about a former PM's advisor being a friend of yours. Unable to connect that to the validity or content of our President's initial National Security briefing, but your point is well taken that my salvo on that score probably thudded on the far horizon.

I'll try and hurry since this debate doesn't really interest you.

One more time: Obama's big ego is a reason for him to "Shut it down!!!" among a few other reasons. It doesn't matter WHY he has a big ego. You're probably right - anyone who has the arrogance to run for President has a big ego. You guys keep thinking I am blasting Mr. Obama because I said he had a big ego. I said it because it is a reason for him doing something this post advocated, that's all.

Fighting America is only fighting America. Not.. "To fight America is to fight God, Democracy, History, and Freedom all at once, and to such sinners belongs outer darkness" as the quote you liked asserted. Fighting America is only to fight a group of people. You're the one who used the quote. I just don't agree with all that other baggage it tries to pile on us.

To attack part of the U.S. is to attack all of the U.S. Individual states can't make war on foreign invaders except to funnel their resources through the central government. One of the FEW legitimate tasks the federal government is charged with is to provide for the defense from foreign invaders. I have no quarrel with that. Your sarcasm is noted, though, and appreciated. You attempted to show me as a hypocrite because I think the federal government is generally too intrusive in the affairs of the individual states. You failed.

Terrorist insurgents is probably how you envision early Americans, but there is (at least) one major difference between them and al Qaeda: those early "terrorists" won. Should al Qaeda win this war, I guess we Americans will just have to shut up and do what they say. Like the British had to do.

soubriquet said...

R.M.:I said "a whole group of people" would have given the president the reasons why he could not close Guantanamo. I didn't specify suits, nor whether they were rational. I'd envisioned them as mostly military, or the various alphabet groups of intelligence and security agencies.
As for former PM's advisor, well, no, I described a person who gave military briefings, i.e. not a political person, not a civilian, and I don't think I should be more specific. Let's just say, a person involved at the sharp end.
The relevance? That the military briefs national leaders, in matters to which unelected candidates have not access.
There are the realities.

America's baggage is such that the attacks on 9/11 spawned a backlash against a lot of people who had nothing to do with 9/11.
If a terrorist bombs a bus, that's unforgiveable. But if that same bus is blown to pieces by a hellfire missile, perhaps intended for another target, how is that acceptable?
what troubles me most about these actions is that they're giving countless peoplewho previously had no deep feelings about the west, reasons to hate, and to swell the ranks of the west's enemies.

My jab against your support of the federal government's war is intentional. A fraction of the cost of your country's overseas military spending could be well used internally. Pouring money into Afghanistan seems, quite simply, pointless.

red dirt girl said...

@ Max,

I did get irritated with your consistent reference to Obama. After re-reading et al, I agree that he is relevant to argument in that I did title this post "Shut it down." So point taken and I bow in deference with grace.

What pissed me off was your comment that there was no honest, intelligent, critical thinking happening here. My temper tends to flare hot and fast but I get over it pretty fast. My problem is that in those 'fast flaring minutes' I tend to say a whole lot of things I come to regret later. So the comment I left you had been edited a number of times - taking out the things I knew I'd regret.

And you gave me a good laugh with that joke. Hard to stay mad when you're laughing. So no harm, no foul on my end.

I will read your Guantanamo post and think on it. Not tonight. Probably tomorrow.

xxx