[When it comes to the war on terror,] we need to show the world in absolutely clear terms not only what we can do, but that we are willing to do it.

Unfortunately, there are far too many people in this country who are under the mistaken impression that [people everywhere] want the same things we want, and respond to the same set of incentives that we do, or respond to the same set of values that we do.

They don't.

Yet, we naively apply our "higher standard" to them. I almost hate to say it, but this is akin to the animal rights wacko's who actually think that they can give rights to animals. You can't give rights to anything that isn't capable of understanding them, or who is incapable of handling the responsibilities that go along with those rights…..let alone reciprocate and respect your (our) rights.

You have to deal with an animal at the level of that animal.

Laurence Glazier comments:

Is this not false logic? The mentally handicapped have rights which they may not understand. The rights of the human fetus are the subject of fierce debate. One could argue that the propensity of humans to wage war is a form of projective identification to avoid facing the moral question of the abuse of animals. Those that have resolved the latter issue in their own minds are not noted for forming battalions.

Moreover referring thus to the level of animals is unfair to animals which are less violent than humans.

In the UK animals have limited rights and there are frequent cases of conviction for cruelty to animals. Progress is slow in this area as we are still in the secondary cannibalistic era.

Jeff Watson writes:

The 9th district court in California gave Dolphins (Porpoises) the right to sue the Navy. Somehow, the rights of animals were being denied when the navy was training them to place limpet mines on ships and other tasks. Animals have rights, in fact, those rights should be extended to spirochetes, and they should be able to file a class action suit against the makers of penicillin which is the Zyklon-B of their species..Never mind service animals, the labor board ought to look into their working conditions, no pay, and hazardous duty. Equal rights for seeing eye dogs! As for slaughterhouses and eating animals, we need, as humans to go back to foraging for roots, berries, and lichens in order to protect the dignity and rights of our bovine and porcine citizens.

Kim Zussman comments:

Does it make any sense for the species at the top of the food chain to debate hunting (cultivating, slaughtering, farming, taxing, etc) its lessors?

What if we were somewhere in the middle: "Well, they ate our children again. But really, they deserved to die; in order to feed and perpetuate more successful species. And in any case the Good Book says we were put here for that purpose…"

Jeff Watson writes:

One of my favorite places to surf in the world is New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Best wave in the state, funky beach town vibe, very cool, mellow tropical paradise. It also has more shark bites than any place on the planet. It's a rather disconcerting feeling when I'm out on the water and realize that I'm not at the top of the food chain. http://tinyurl.com/49wgkf





Speak your mind

4 Comments so far

  1. douglas roberts dimick on June 25, 2010 9:53 am

    Inalienable Rights?

    Scott, well done identifying a fascinating, perhaps the central issue of modern civilization. Although we may differ regarding related applications, such as for animals and beings (e.g., belief in god or gods or God), your context here as to conduct during war is a concern for us all.

    You might see the life works of Justice William O. Douglas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_O._Douglas. His “penumbras and emanations” concept articulated in Griswold v. Connecticut opens us to varying interpretations for consideration of that central issue: see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griswold_v._Connecticut.

    You say, “we naively apply our ‘higher standard’ to them.” After four years here in China, I agree with you. We do – I did.
    However, is there a difference to be respected between those whom have the physical and/or mental capacity to claim and fight for an inalienable right (as you may so define) and those whom do not?

    The lady with the scales is blind, is she not?

    How would we apply your standard to the markets both during war time and when in peace?

    At this site, there is occasionally reference made to trading and speculation being a form of war, such as with game theory for program trading applications. Because one has a PhD or has access to capital (resources), should the “due process” so regulating one’s market behavior differentiate between such a participant who has from those whom have not?

    Your article is predicated on “[When it comes to the war on terror].” Is there another type of war?

    I served four years as a law clerk in the US Army. Stationed near the DMZ in the ROK, terror was pervasive in the daily lifestyle of the people living there; they learned to live with that terror. Here in China, where one political party controls the population not as much by rule of law and due process but more so by the point of a gun, I have experienced and so found that terror is pervasive. Yet cannot we say that life in China is absent a state of war at present?

    Why, post World War II, has the United States Government not declared war during its armed conflicts in which we as a nation have so engaged?

    As man is part reason and part animal, be it in peace or at times of war, can we honestly say that, as Americans, we “deal” with our own wants and values at the same “level” as our brethren?

    History as well as the markets have said and continue to restate during our current crisis that (“no”) we do not.


  2. Steve on June 25, 2010 3:45 pm

    "Yet, we naively apply our "higher standard""

    You mean we haven't bombed and killed enough poor brown people for you? According to this sentiment, all of the wars the US didn't win or aren't winning - Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, is because we hadn't killed enough people? And this is due to high standards? What a tremendous display of ignorance, arrogance and vanity! US foreign policy is based on "do what we say or we will destroy your population." That is the "high standard" you are writing about?

  3. Scott Brooks on June 25, 2010 7:01 pm


    Get a grip on reality. Please list for me all the places where we’ve destroyed a population. We firebombed Japan repetitively and nuked them twice….yet they’re still there and they’re friendly to us today….which of course means that their population wasn’t destoryed. Platitudes may sound good when you’re in the echo chamber with like minded idiots, but in the real world, they ring hollow.

    All I’m saying is that if we are going to wage war, we need to make it the most horrific experience we possibly can as quickly as we can…we need to follow Sherman’s adage about war being Hell and make it Hell. That’s how you make wars end quickly.

    I don’t think we should push our will on anyone anywhere, except to defend ourselves. If the idiots in the middle east or Africa or some other nation want to fight amongst themselves, then let’em.

    But if one of them hurts, in any way, an American or American property, we need to bring Hell on Earth to their door step.

    Then, when we’re done, we need to beat the Al-Jeezera’s of the world to the punch and bring out our own camera’s and film the destruction. We should then broadcast it to the world and let them know, in no uncertain terms, that this is what happens when you wake the sleeping giant.

    The motto of the US needs to be, “No Greater Friend, No Worse Enemy”.

    And finally, if you want an example of what it takes to win a war, we need look no further than WWll. Compare how our leaders today are allowing the military to fight in the middle east (setting aside whether we should be there or not….we shouldn’t in my opinion) to how our leaders allowed the military to fight in WWll.

  4. douglas roberts dimick on June 28, 2010 4:17 am

    A Rhetorical Exercise

    Steve and Scott, within the context of your debate, I am curious how you each approach one of the questions posed by Victor for the annual spec party paper competition: “What approaches and other more poignant queries should be proffered or gainsaid?”

    See http://www.dailyspeculations.com/wordpress/?p=4782.

    My submission… “Poignant: yes, this word fits for the crescendo of our analysis, culminating with a concentration of the Keynesian hand being once again nudged onto the table by perhaps mostly those with the most to lose.

    Not unlike the American Civil War, the guise of values relative to the natural selection of (or struggle for) commercial and financial paradigms when justifying conflict may be found at the center of the matters at hand. Consider how the directional mapping and layout of railroad tracks was determinative relative to the logistical superiority of the North; then consider how rules-based constructs governing our markets today (pre)determine general and special outcomes relative to economic and investment operatives that we seek to quantify and model.

    Since the Great Depression, our political legacy indicates that the largest private investment banks, working through the Federal Reserve, control the channeling of the economic resources of our society and nation.

    Can the Federales formulate a new economy sustainable and stable without the expectation of continuing growth, whereby we phase out rather than prop up big private banks, including the ones who got us into trouble with political help?

    “US Treasury already acts in some ways like a bank under political control. Thus, even Fed Modeling becomes then focused on the politics of regulation.”

    I am reminded of the old country saying: “Money and friendship: oil and water.”

    In 1932, with the help of the Wahhabi Islamic warriors, Abdul Aziz established The Kingdom of Saudi. In 1933, while searching for water, oil was discovered.

    By 1973, as a result of America’s support for Israel during the Saudi-Israeli War, Wahhabi pressure on the Royal Family resulted with the infamous Oil Embargo. Fuel prices quadrupled, and oil became a national security prior for the US.

    From a market standpoint, that development altered the balance of power between the oil consumers and the oil producers. As with slavery leading to the civil war, religious values and cultural security directly and irrevocably redefined the realities of market economics and trade.

    In 1990, Iraq swept across Kuwait. A Saudi national named Osama Bin laden offered to move his guerrilla army from Afghanistan to repel the invasion. Instead, the Saudi Royals accepted the American offer of half-billion troops.

    This unholy alliance fueled the increase of terrorist attacks around the world: Riyadh, Nairobi, Dar Es Salaam, the USS Cole in Yemen. Then 9/11 reconfigured the parameters of that political-economic paradigm within world markets, so dominated with Saudi Arabia ranked the Number 1 Oil Producer and the US ranked the Number 1 Oil Consumer.

    At this point of the analysis, consider the relative polarity of the markets. Not just economic, commercial, financial, commodity, capital, exchange systematics: query – as did Victor with us here regarding the (bull/bear) conflicting promoter and broker-sage responses – what rationale drives or links Fed and S&P modeling with fiscal imbalances and corporate revenue streams. Where does regulatory and capital markets stricture intercede with religious, cultural, legal, even military dicta?”


    I gather that Steve believes there to be a double standard in US foreign policy, whereas Scott believes that we should adopt a more “brightline test” that avoids protracted conflict with shock-and-awe-like military prosecution.

    Did we not, as a country, maintain standards about women and minorities not being allowed to vote until constitutional amendment and federal (civil rights and election laws) were upheld by judicial review?

    Are we not directly or indirectly financing the internal as well as external wars in the Middle East via our (as well as other nations’) dependence on oil to sustain economic viability?

    If the values of a country are contradictorily opposed (as being doctrinally polemic) to our values and political constitution, then how can we consider them to be friends within the context of Scott’s reference?

    When addressing these issues, I am not sure of the polemics differentiating between the positions of Steve and Scott. For instance, Scott’s citation of WWII raises the issue of how Hitler came to power. Did not the Treaty of Versailles provide a doctrinal foundation for the nationalistic platform of the Nazi regime?

    Steve’s comment would indicate that there should be linkage between our national interests and that of another region or country… If a doctorial regime wants to bomb and kill its own population, then, as long as our commercial interests (e.g., oil) coincide with such military tyranny, then we are right join in, as opposed to us bombing and killing a population to establish some form of democratic government opposed by predominant local interests?

    Could a similar state of play exist today given the Internet, globalized banking and commerce, G-20 concentrations of political, monetary, and financial leverage held by the haves contra the have-nots?

    It seems to me we are talking about franchise. How do you each interpret the US declared franchise of human rights (to include that of freedom of speech and religion as protected by due process of law) relative to our nationalized economic interests (e.g., foreign financing of our government debt or oil dependencies)?

    Granted, this proposed exercise is rhetorical. It is my hope that we may see how the debate itself appears not so linear as the initial article or our subsequent commentary may otherwise so imply.



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