Scott Smith wrote:There aren't any "legal" principles internationally, Mr. lawyer, because sovereign states make the laws; this is not to say that there might not be moral or other operating principles, however.
I know that's one of your articles of faith, Mr. Smith.
You don't have to repeat that fathomless nonsense over and over again.
When you have a quiet moment, think about whether prevailing legal opinion, which considers the common will of a community of sovereign nations (the conventions and acknowledged principles and customs that make up international law) to override the will of one single sovereign nation (national law), is not a logical consequence of the very powers of sovereignty that you believe in.
No, it's not, Roberto. Not without creating a higher sovereingty to enforce the law, which is to say world-government. Now, the liberal Anglophile proponents of the United Nations like "Red" Dean Acheson may have had such a thing in mind as long as Anglo-Saxon nations self-evidently would be the enforcers, but then others like the Soviet Union were brought in and everybody has veto power or they wouldn't have signed. The bottom-line is that the UN is a eunuch, in the words of my International Relations professor, because it is only a congress of sovereign states and not a sovereignty of its own.
Also think about what you will do when the government of the sovereign United States of America rules that all "Anglo-Saxon Celts" must disappear from the face of the earth.
Wow! Looks like the "gor is getting oxed."
Roberto, you seem to think that just because a nation is sovereign that it necessarily means it is a tyranny. In your worldview a tyranny isn't possible with some community of nations all with empty platitudes about human-rights. You seem to discount that perhaps the greatest source of potential tyranny today is the notion of "crusading against tyranny" or establishing a defacto totalitarian system to crush "totalitarianism."
Well, when the Americans won independence from King and Parliament, which they considered a tyranny, they were creating a sovereign entity out of thriteen original and now independent sovereignties. They wanted some assurances that this would not merely be the institution of another tyranny. What was better, a weak confederation of sovereign states, bound by agreements that ultimately probably could not be enforced, or a complete nation that was sovereign only to itself? Why would petty sovereignties necessarily be less tyrannical that a union? On the other hand, what counterpoise could be offered to check tyranny against a large, monolithic sovereignty? A solution was found in a Constitution as the source of the law having enumerated rights, a Bill of Rights, and implied rights, as states and the people were considered to be inviolate by the highest law of the land.
Sorry, but you can't get there without creating some higher sovereignty. A Constitution is a different animal entirely than international agreements that Superpowers try to enforce upon weaker states, whether signators or not.
Roberto wrote:What exactly was so criminal (or whatever other term Smith may want to use instead, true to his creed that sovereign states can commit no crimes) about demanding unconditional surrender of a nation that had engaged in wars of aggression and annihilation, broken almost every treaty it was bound to and slaughtered millions of unarmed non-combatants outside the scope of what can be deemed acts of war, Smith has so far been unable to explain.
That is nothing more than Allied propaganda. The Allies were willing to use unlimited force to have their way. And they call the other side the aggressors, the criminals, the conspirators, the trespassers of humanity. It is pure hypocrisy. The allies killed tens of millions to have their way; they were willing to escalate the war to strategic bombing and unconventional warfare (aka terrorism), to "set Europe ablaze," as Churchill put it. They were willing to use whatever LIES it took to win, what Churchill called his "bodyguard of lies." They made atrocity-propaganda from the Great War look amateurish but the effect has worn off as the public was more cynical and jaded and took more convincing. They were willing to make common-cause with Soviet Russia and use Russian soldiers like cannon fodder to secure their victory. Just send them enough Spam and powdered eggs, jackboots, rubber, radios, and Studebaker trucks. They used atomic bombs and they considered using anthrax, mustard gas, strontium 90, etc., and they certainly would have if it meant otherwise NOT having their way. Perhaps most significantly they build a fantastic propaganda aparatus to justify their own incompetence and Global-aftermath by castigating the enemy as uniquely Evil. The Allied cause was questionable to begin with, especially the American participation, but it lost its lofty position with the Unconditional Surrender demand. That "crime" against humanity is not voyeuristic like gaschambers and Anne Frank in an attic, but it meant millions of deaths. Hitler's terms in 1940 were generous considering that he was the victor of Europe. By 1943, the Allies were in the driver's seat and had the leverage for good terms indeed. But we couldn't negotiate with Hitler because that would be appeasement; we could, however, do so with Stalin! That kind of "oriental" aggression wasn't really worth going to war over. Russia was not a rival to Wall Street commerce or the British fleet, at least in the minds of the Anglophile Liberal-Interventionists.
Smith wrote:Sure, sovereign states can legally demand any terms they want, as they are the law--or demand no terms at all, as with the Allied Unconditional Surrender--but then they should not whine about "Crimes Against Humanity" either.
Why not, Mr. Smith?
Because it is pure hypocrisy.
The Dictionary wrote:HYPOCRISY-
The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; falseness.
Roberto wrote:Why would the understandable unwillingness to negotiate with a lawbreaker preclude its being judged on account of its violations of international law?
Break what law? No one can unilaterally make the law to be broken, except a Sovereign.
Sure, I have been in Labor negotiations with corporate weasels who thought that dictation was negotiation and then they wondered why they got noncompliance and hostility; in their view we were the instigators of the conflict. I was even asked by one blond corporate maven to define the word "unilateral" for her. Yes, bilateral or multilateral negotiation was a foreign concept to them. They thought they were sovereign and wondered why their workforce collectively did not agree.
The Dictionary wrote:UNILATERAL-
-Of, on, relating to, involving, or affecting only one side: “a unilateral advantage in defense” (New Republic).
-Performed or undertaken by only one side: unilateral disarmament.
-Obligating only one of two or more parties, nations, or persons, as a contract or an agreement.
-Emphasizing or recognizing only one side of a subject.
-Having only one side.
-Tracing the lineage of one parent only: a unilateral genealogy.
-(Botany) Having leaves, flowers, or other parts on one side only.
As Dan noted earlier, a contract requires consent. Versailles was a "Yellow Dog Contract," or does Roberto disagree with that?
Roberto wrote:As I said, the term [crime] implies the violation of rules to be abided by.
Again, who defines these violations of the rules?
Smith wrote: Roberto wrote:
Smith wrote:In any case, the USA wanted a quick victory--something to take home to the people on a silver propaganda platter before the Soviet Union could have time to mop-up the spoils of the war in Asia. They didn't have time for bothering with negotiations, so we are given the false-dilemma between an invasion that couldn't wait and dropping atomic bombs to kill as many people as possible without a diplomatic demonstration.
Interesting theory, but how does Smith know that the dilemma was a "false" one?
Because I see no reason for why the troops had to home before Christmas besides propaganda. Truman did not have the same political mandate as FDR had.
Was it an issue of "home before Christmas", Mr. Smith?
Well, what was it an issue of, then? They were talking about a losing a million men in a ground-invasion of Japan. This at a time when the island was completed blockaded and nearly naked from the air. Sure, the Japanese government was not a dictatorship but a byzantine oligarchy with lots of powerful factions, but that doesn't change the fact that Truman's terms at Potsdam were Unconditional Surrender or utter annihilation. You like smoking-guns, Roberto; there you have it.
Or one of forcing the surrender of an aggression-prone nation lest it recover and strike again?
Like I said, the victorious Allies could have demanded whatever terms they wanted because the war was won; this means they had a lot of leverage to get the settlement they wanted. But they wanted a propaganda victory of Unconditional Surrender, the same slogan that U.S. Grant used in his Crusade, btw.
Roberto wrote: Smith wrote: Roberto wrote:
Smith wrote:Furthermore, since the war was already won, despite a settlement with the Japanese government not yet having been reached, humanitarian food shipments could have been allowed-in without jeopardizing American lives or adding to Japanese war-making power.
In matters of humanity, Smith seems to be as demanding on the states he doesn't like as he is condescending towards those he likes.
That's because the proverbial pendulum has been locked over to one side for so long.
Hardly an argument on this issue, don't you think so?
Then why throw the staple of smoke? Nevermind.
Smith wrote:Besides, I have criticized and pointed out what Germany SHOULD have done MANY times.
From the point of view of legality and humanity, Mr. Smith?
No, from my point-of-view. I am loathe to use the hypocritical rhetoric of the Liberal-Interventionists that I despise, yes.
Or merely from the point of view of convenience?
Moral convenience? You mean like Madame Albright's famous comment that it was "worth it" to have so much collateral damage (Iraqi children) just to stick it to Saddam?
Roberto wrote: Scott Smith wrote: Roberto wrote:
Scott Smith wrote:Now, Roberto asks us what this has to do with the Third Reich. He would prefer that his moral philosophy and atrocity-theories be seen in a vacuum--i.e., without any contextualization.
Well, I do think that every unpleasant event in history should be looked at all by itself and that infantile "but so-and-so did this-and-that" - objections (what Smith calls "contextualization") are what moronic apologists of certain regimes deal in.
Well, how can you do that, Roberto, without some frame-of-reference? Perhaps you have clay tablets for us to refer to? Planning any trips to Mount Sinai soon? Who writes these Statutes for History?
Cut out the crap, buddy.
It's a very serious point, my legal sage.
The question is: why do you need one crime to assess another?
You are not weighing "crimes" at all. You are comparing actions in similar circumstances; that is how you evaluate "normal" conduct. If neutrals or mutually-agreed-upon arbitrators are able to do so then there may be something approaching fairness.
Every crime has its own "merit".
Again, we are not talking about statutory crimes, my friend.
Roberto wrote: Scott Smith wrote: Roberto wrote:
Scott Smith wrote:Therefore, he can tell us what is sinister and what isn't based on the viscissitudes of political need.
Political need never justifies violations of human rights or other internationally acknowledged legal principles by anyone, in my opinion.
Why don't you just admit that you are a diehard believer in Natural Law?
I believe that there are rights and principles that are not at the disposition of national law and in fact override it, if that's what you mean. Namely human rights.
I don't think so. I think these are bourgeois constructs that stem from the Enlightenment epoch; this does not mean that I disagree with them, however. I just don't agreee with your living-law theory--which I can't see as any different than Natural Law except that it makes no obvious pretense toward God, but still doesn't answer the question as to its legitimacy, objectivity, enforcement and adjudication.
Scott Smith wrote:That's okay--but again, whose finger carves the notches in those clay tablets, and where are they?
No finger needed, as such rights come with the nature of man. But it's not as if certain rights and principles overriding the laws of sovereign nations had not been widely codified in international conventions and/or become customary international law through their observance by a majority of nations over a given period of time, is it?
See above. We live in a bourgeois world, but that doesn't mean that reality can only be construed in that way; indeed, we should take the blinders off so that we won't get side-swiped. Who would have thought that tens of millions could be killed in wars, revolutions, and crusades after the Declaration of the Rights of Man? Or after Kellogg-Briand, or whatever?
Roberto wrote: Scott Smith wrote:
Roberto wrote:Warlord-minded propagandists like Smith, on the other hand, think that whatever serves a "political need" is right - at least if such a need of the National Socialist government of Germany between 1933 and 1945 is at issue.
"Warlord-minded propagandists." I like that! If I ever create a computer game you shall be the central character, for sure.
What's particularly funny about this warlord-minded propagandist is that he can also be a pacifist when it suits the occasion.
You don't understand my synthesis so you laugh. That is okay. We live in a world of Globaloney so it is hard to explain anything dating before that epiphany.
Roberto wrote: Scott Smith wrote: Roberto wrote:
Scott Smith wrote:There are no historical frames of reference and now none are needed.
I'll explain on hand of an example what Smith considers "frames of reference".
I will say: "The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were war crimes because they constituted attacks on a defenseless civilian population with weapons of mass destruction."
Smith will say: "The gassing of hundreds of thousands of people by the Nazis at the concentration/extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau [assuming he doesn't deny that it occurred at all] was not a crime but the legitimate exercise of the power of a sovereign state, no different from the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki."
I think I'm not the only one willing to tell Smith where he can stick such "frames of reference".
Yeah, depends on whose ox is being gored, doesn't it, Roberto...
I'd say my example makes out exactly the opposite.
I don't think it does unless you can make out some kind of "uniqueness" argument, that gassing one's enemies is qualitatively worse than irradiating them. A better comparison would be Auschwitz and the Gruesome Harvest, because we would not get lost in the polemics of "military objectives." War is above all a political act.
Roberto wrote: Scott Smith wrote: Roberto wrote:
Scott Smith wrote:Governing elites always have the right answers, you see, a viewpoint and historical methodology that he apparently prefers.
Well, judging by Smith's pontification of the absolute power of sovereign states, I'd say Smith is the one who holds that "governing elites always have the right answers".
You're confusing education for advocacy.
What's the poet trying to tell us?
Now I know that I'm on the right track!
Do you favor an orthodox deference to historical authorities or a revisionist model--if the later, only when you agree with the "revisionist" views, perhaps? Who are you to judge who is a false revisionist and who isn't without considering the ideas for yourself? Each idea stands on its own merits, yet you would make a list and check it twice before even reading a historian. If it didn't happen at Nizkor it didn't happen, am I right?
Scott Smith wrote:Besides, another word for Sovereignty is Freedom.
Freedom of thought and speech, which helps the work of objective historians.
Also freedom of nonsense, which "Revisionists" are entitled to.
Just because you might disagree with an idea (assuming that you even looked at it) doesn't make it wrong or "nonsense." That is just your point-of-view.
Regarding freedom as a synonym for sovereignty, ever heard of the principle that your freedom ends where another's freedom starts?
Yes, but then we still have conflicts. Ways of resolving conflicts are war (guns and propaganda), negotiation, arbitration, litigation, etc.
Roberto wrote: Smith wrote:
Roberto wrote:And an ideologically motivated propagandist who for two years has tried to sell "Revisionist" cream cheese on this forum shouldn't lecture anyone about "historical methodology".
I would say that with a few exceptions I know more about historiography than anyone else on the forum, as it is one of my hobbies.
Maybe so, but none of that knowledge shows on this forum when it comes to Smith's articles of faith. What is more, his professed knowledge of the rules and principles of historiography only makes his violation thereof in support of an ideological agenda look all the more miserable.
Says you! You have hated me since I defended the integrity of Ted O'Keefe--yeah, you disagreed with him. Big deal. But agreeing-to-disagree is something that is foreign to your nature, Roberto. On the other hand, I even struck up a rapport with Tovarich, an American Communist organizer--much to your annoyance. I did it by finding some common-ground and agreeing-to-disagree over our differences, which in the post-Stalinist/post-Cold War world do not really seem all that weighty to me. My girlfriend was a Berkeley activist who was significant in getting the School chancellery to divest with South Africa during Apartheid. That's not something that I would have supported then--but I've mellowed onit now because Apartheid was indefensible, even though Whites have been butchered ever since. At one time she wrote letter after letter for Amnesty International begging Latin American dictators to look into problems, appealing to their sense of noblesse oblige to right the wrongs. She is a little more grounded now on what can be done and what can't, but that step was surprisingly effective. Anyway, you really don't know much about me and "my agenda."
Smith wrote:But fear not! I am a patient teacher.
The subject of his "teaching" being "Revisionist" baloney, Smith should at least have realized by now that this forum is not populated by suckers and true believers who will fall for such crap.
Even you have learned from me, Roberto, whether you are willing to admit it or not. However, I don't have all the answers. I'm pretty sure that goes for you, too.