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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Fake:Accurate::Low Grades:Intelligent?

Apologies to those who got their fill of this story yesterday (and for the weak and not so funny analogy I used to grab your attention.)

Having been charged by Golis to keep you entertained for the summer while he communes with red staters on his cross country journey, I'll start with quick flashback into the heady days of the 2004 Presidential campaign - a time when blogging was comparatively less difficult for the simple fact that we were provided with stories such as this.

It appears that John Kerry, despite being perceived as the more intelligent candidate, actually had slightly poorer grades than George W. Bush while at Yale. While I don't think that GPA is always an accurate indicator of intelligence, it certainly would have thrown a wrench in the "Bush is Dumb" meme deployed by some Kerry supporters during the campaign had it been revealed that Kerry made four D's to Bush's one and had a lower cumulative average.

On another note, the picture of Kerry in the link certainly is not flattering.


At 7:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

True, although Kerry was apparently working to be a fighter pilot while Bush was spending the years avoiding service and running on his parents' name. So I'll forgive Kerry and still hate Bush.

At 1:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love you bush

At 8:15 PM, Blogger O_Pombo said...

If it didn`t take a minimum level of intelligence to do it, I`d say Bush cheated.

At 2:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

C. Douglas Lummis observes:
It is a scandal in contemporary international law…that while “wanton destruction of towns, cities and villages” is a war crime of long standing, the bombing of cities from airplanes goes not only unpunished but virtually unaccused. Air bombardment is state terrorism, the terrorism of the rich. It had burned up and blasted apart more innocents in the past six decades than have all the anti-state terrorists who ever lived. Something has benumbed our consciousness against this reality. In the United States we would not consider for the presidency a man who had once thrown a bomb into a crowded restaurant but we are happy to elect a man who once dropped bombs from airplanes that destroyed not only restaurants but the buildings that contained them and the neighborhoods that surrounded them.

At 12:51 AM, Blogger Jamal Sprucewood said...


A few things.

First, while it's generally true that bombing cities goes unpunished, I think that it is "accused," to use your term. Take a class on World War II and you'll probably (or at least should) spend a great deal of time discussing whether or not the civilian bombing campaigns in World War II and Vietnam were ethical, if even effective. We haven't, for example, attempted to level Baghdad despite having fought two wars against Iraq. Today's military is much more focused on targeted strikes which, while undoubtedly causing civilian damage, in no way compare to firebombing Dresden or Tokyo. I think that it says much about our nation that we do not wantonly bomb civilians - indeed, we go to great lengths to avoid them. I think Lummis's view is entirely too cynical and pessimistic.

Secondly, to get back to the topic at hand, I don't think anyone has accused Bush of ever bombing anyone. Indeed, the accusations about his service can be made because he didn't participate in combat. I understand that Lummis is making a general observation about the American people, but I think that here you are using it in a specific instance and it is misapplied. As a side note, I would note that Kerry earned a medal by following a wounded Viet Cong (read Vietnamese insurgent) and shooting him, from some accounts in the back. This is not to say that the shooting was unjustified - the Viet Cong had moments earlier been firing at Kerry and his comrades - but to note that the Lummis paragraph that you've provided cuts both ways, even if you did use the quote to make a societal comment.

Finally, I think that there is a great deal of difference in the two examples that Lummis provides and I refuse to adhere to such a relativist perspective. The first instance is an act of terrorism. The second is an act of war. While Lummis and you may feel that war is always unjust and immoral, I believe that a difference can be discerned in the two examples and that the American people can see that as well. It is indeed a sad day for liberalism when these two examples are viewed as equivocal expressions of evil.

At 10:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol ur all over the place- i think that lummis quote was directed at pilot kerry..
and please check your self about defending precision bombings etc (dont swallow that media pill). yes, its not hiroshima. but i doubt the hundreds of thousands of displaced iraqis would have much sympathy for these guilt-appeasing weapons distinctions (the about 100,000 dead iraqi's of course, are dead, but i wonder what they would say..)
finally, your assertion that terrorism is terrorism and war is war has a total of about zero analysis. but that lummis quote doesnt have any either, so whatever.
but again, are you serious?? i can see pretty easily how the war in iraq is terroristic. why did we invade again, killing civilians? oh yeah, osa bin laden and saddam are both bad guys, thats right. so bad that most americans thought they were they were workin together..
good thing bush is a GOOD man and them democrats just follow follow his lead.
i heard that the US (bush senior, rummy) armed and funded both of them at different points? does that make the US terrorist twice over? i hope no one precision bombs us.. (plus i hear the US actually has WMD!!)
whatever, this thread is wack anyway.

At 10:49 PM, Blogger Jamal Sprucewood said...


Maybe I should say "lol" to you for being all over the place. I was responding to the Lummis quote and you went all "Bush Lied, People Died" on me - nearly proving exactly what I had written about the troubling moral relativism showcased in Lummis quote. I don't think too highly of Lummis given that he has pinned a lot of blame for violence in the United States (specifically in the black community) on the existence of the military (http://www.antiwar.com/cockburn/c040601.html), so it is hard for me to take him seriously. It's a shame that your disagreement with the decision to go to war in Iraq has clouded your ability to distinguish what is and what is not terrorism.

Yes, my assertion about terrorism is just that and I think that it doesn't need "analysis" to be a valid assertion anymore than your's does. I think that my point is as equally self-evident as you believe your's to be. Terrorism wantonly disregards the lives of civilians. War at times does the same, but not always. Indeed the targeting of civilians introduced the distinction between "war" and "total war," which the Iraqi War certainly is not. My point is that our military generally makes comparatively great efforts to avoid civilian casualties while terrorism in most cases specifically is conducted with an eye to causing civilian deaths.

I haven't bought any "media pill" regarding the weapons systems - I happen to have studied them a good bit. While they do cause civilian casualties, it is silly to compare Tomahawk cruise missile strikes to B-52s conducting Arc Light bombing strikes in Vietnam. (For pics check out http://www.cc.gatech.edu/fac/Thomas.
There are obvious reasons for not conducting similar bombing campaigns now. Not only do they not "win hearts and minds" - they are wasteful, inaccurate, and require putting a larger number of our troops in harm's way to carry them out.

I would also note that the much tossed about figure of 100,000 Iraqi civilian deaths has been discredited and most estimates are considerably lower than that. See Fred Kaplan's thorough analysis and more generally accepted figures at Slate (http://slate.msn.com/id/2108887/) This is not to belittle the tragedy of Iraqi civilian deaths in any way, but to note that your figure differs a great deal from most analyses. In any case, the number of Iraqi civilians being killed in Iraq is, and has been for a while now, increasing primarily due to "insurgent" attacks against Iraqi soft targets such as ration card centers, police stations, civilian checkpoints, and employment offices.

I'm afraid that we'll have to agree to disagree on this apparently. As for me, my assertion still stands and I refuse to view the actions of our military as the equivalent of terrorism of any kind, be it "rich" or traditionally low-grade "poor man's" tactics.


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