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Thread: On the avoidance of small wars

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    Americans are definitely lesser of the evils around and probably the best hope. Most people, sooner or later will find that it is easier to deal with the Americans than it is to deal with the Chinese.

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blueblood View Post
    Brits and French had a much larger empires and Soviets were no less powerful than Americans. I hate to break it to you but Soviets were more popular in the third world but they were no match for American soft power.
    Portugal -- among others -- also had a much larger Empire. The US with a few Pacific Islands, The Philippines for a bit and Puerto Rico in an ambiguous status do not constitute an empire in any sense. Most Americans my age are quite aware the USSR was more popular with the third world -- particularly those that wore Nehru jackets.

    Dallas and Levi's ® trump Pravda. Who knew.
    Jews were very hesitant in joining the forces in WW1 and too less in numbers. Hence, the resentment for Jews.
    There was a bit more to it than that...
    It's simple. You call animal control when a snake enters your home, but doesn't mean that animal control should set up a tent in front yard and wait for the next snake to enter.
    Bad simile. For Korea, Animal Control was asked to stay -- and in the house, not in a tent outside.

    In France, we didn't even stay in the yard -- except for the Cemetery plots.

    We generally stay only where invited but I'll acknowledge we can be pushy about getting an invite on occasion.
    Other concerned parties are equally responsible for the mess. As a citizen of a nation with faulty map lines, I can assure you that Nehru was equally responsible as Jinaah, Mountabatten and Mao.
    No question. My reference to the KGB Retirees watching TV in Ekaterinburg was an acknowledgement of the truly outstanding job they did from the mid-20s until the late 80s of exploiting those fault lines. They did that exceptionally well.
    Brits never came to liberate anyone, they came to conquer. But they did some good things too which includes social reforms, educational infrastructure and railways etc. Despite being the conquers, I have yet to find to an instance where drunk British soldiers wiped out an entire village of women and children. The most atrocious incident that took place in the Indian subcontinent was Jallianwala Bagh massacre. But even they never pulled off an Abu Gharib or Mai Lai, especially at the time when there was no such thing as human rights.
    Let me remove the skipping about. Yes on the British and conquer / hold. Also yes on their generally better discipline and on their doing much good while they were there. Any Army the British trained is one to be reckoned with. Most are better trained and disciplined than is the US Army. So no quarrel on that aspect.

    However, in addition to Jallianwala Bagh I think you could add Peshawar and, outside south Asia, several in Burma and Malaya -- without getting into the 1857 battles and aftermath.

    I'm drawing a blank on the reference to drunk soldiers? If the implication was that US troops did that, certainly could've happened but I'm truly not recalling any at this time. If you mean in Korea or Viet Nam, there were incidents -- wars do that -- but not involving drunken troops. Poorly trained and disciplined, perhaps scared or exhausted, yes. Drunk, no.

    Abu Gharaib we can agree was totally wrong and both the perpetrators and particularly their superiors deserved more harsh punishment than they got.

    My Lai was wrong, no question, and numerically about on the scale of Peshawar, far fewer killed than at Amritsar -- unlike Peshawar, though, My Lai happened during a war rather than during peacetime thus it is more akin to the excesses of 1857-58 than to the others. That is not to excuse it, there is no excuse, simply to say the context is rather different.

    There have always been human rights. Both the US and the British have long recognized that and both nations have done a better job of caring for them than have many others. Between the two, there are variances in approaches and both are improving as time passes. Still, I repeat my initial contention -- in spite of bumbling and stupidity, on balance we've done more good than harm. As you said:
    Brits never came to liberate anyone, they came to conquer.
    Other than the Philippines, we've avoided that. We just asked that one open ones markets...

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blueblood View Post
    I hate to break it to you but Soviets were more popular in the third world but they were no match for American soft power.
    In parts of the third world yes, in other parts no.

    The Soviets did read the writing on the wall relatively early, and wisely got an early foothold in supporting anti-colonial movements and leaders, often before they became leaders. The US very foolishly (IMO of course) often responded, once anti-colonial movements emerged, by propping up crumbling colonial regimes of by replacing them with oafish dictators charged with repressing the commie menace. In that sense the Russians got ahead in the perception wars... but I've been to few places where an actual Russian presence is fondly remembered.

    Quote Originally Posted by blueblood View Post
    But even they never pulled off an Abu Gharib or Mai Lai, especially at the time when there was no such thing as human rights.
    http://www.monbiot.com/2005/12/27/ho...ts-holocausts/

    By the standards of the colonial age My Lai or Abu Ghraib would have ranked too low on the atrocity charts to even deserve a mention. Business as usual.
    Last edited by Dayuhan; 11-16-2011 at 04:55 AM.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Portugal -- among others -- also had a much larger Empire. The US with a few Pacific Islands, The Philippines for a bit and Puerto Rico in an ambiguous status do not constitute an empire in any sense. Most Americans my age are quite aware the USSR was more popular with the third world -- particularly those that wore Nehru jackets.

    Dallas and Levi's ® trump Pravda. Who knew.
    He he, I prefer Wrangler, they use better fabric.. As I said, Nehru jacket or not, Soviet policy of "Worker's paradise" fits perfectly when helping out with infrastructure in the third world.

    [Portuguese and Spaniards were bad bad people.]

    There was a bit more to it than that...
    This is what Hitler told in Mein Kampf.

    Bad simile. For Korea, Animal Control was asked to stay -- and in the house, not in a tent outside.

    In France, we didn't even stay in the yard -- except for the Cemetery plots.

    We generally stay only where invited but I'll acknowledge we can be pushy about getting an invite on occasion. No question. My reference to the KGB Retirees watching TV in Ekaterinburg was an acknowledgement of the truly outstanding job they did from the mid-20s until the late 80s of exploiting those fault lines. They did that exceptionally well.Let me remove the skipping about.
    Maybe. France was a different case though. Unlike Korea, they were not in the habit of being a colony and their hate for English speakers is very much visible, even today. You do remember the France-NATO drama, right.

    Yes on the British and conquer / hold. Also yes on their generally better discipline and on their doing much good while they were there. Any Army the British trained is one to be reckoned with. Most are better trained and disciplined than is the US Army. So no quarrel on that aspect.

    However, in addition to Jallianwala Bagh I think you could add Peshawar and, outside south Asia, several in Burma and Malaya -- without getting into the 1857 battles and aftermath.
    I never knew about the Peshawar incident. I guess our Pak hating politicians and bureaucrats did a fine job in neglecting that part from our history books.
    I will have to study it first before commenting on it.

    I'm drawing a blank on the reference to drunk soldiers? If the implication was that US troops did that, certainly could've happened but I'm truly not recalling any at this time. If you mean in Korea or Viet Nam, there were incidents -- wars do that -- but not involving drunken troops. Poorly trained and disciplined, perhaps scared or exhausted, yes. Drunk, no.

    Abu Gharaib we can agree was totally wrong and both the perpetrators and particularly their superiors deserved more harsh punishment than they got.

    My Lai was wrong, no question, and numerically about on the scale of Peshawar, far fewer killed than at Amritsar -- unlike Peshawar, though, My Lai happened during a war rather than during peacetime thus it is more akin to the excesses of 1857-58 than to the others. That is not to excuse it, there is no excuse, simply to say the context is rather different.
    I read it somewhere, given time I might be able to recall it. But we agree on Abu Gharib and My Lai. Amritsar was the result of a single madman and I have yet to learn about Peshawar.

    1857 - the supposed "First freedom struggle", had nothing to do with freedom but was a conflict between handful of Indian princely states and the East India Company, just like the wars that took place earlier during the conquest. AFAIK, these wars and conflicts were fought in the battlegrounds except Delhi. Aside from the blurbs of a few right wing historians (both Indian and British), not much info is available, at least not to my recollection, but I could be wrong.

    There have always been human rights. Both the US and the British have long recognized that and both nations have done a better job of caring for them than have many others. Between the two, there are variances in approaches and both are improving as time passes. Still, I repeat my initial contention -- in spite of bumbling and stupidity, on balance we've done more good than harm. As you said:Other than the Philippines, we've avoided that.
    Well, then you have much to learn about the Muslim conquests around the world and some of them could be as recent as Cyprus. I never said that Americans sucked at this but the proclamation of being the best is a bit hard to digest. As for the Philippines, I am not the one to judge as Americans are fairly popular in that country.

    We just asked that one open ones markets...
    And you have yet to open a McDonalds in North Korea. Kim Jong Il is forced to import burgers. True story.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    In parts of the third world yes, in other parts no.

    The Soviets did read the writing on the wall relatively early, and wisely got an early foothold in supporting anti-colonial movements and leaders, often before they became leaders. The US very foolishly (IMO of course) often responded, once anti-colonial movements emerged, by propping up crumbling colonial regimes of by replacing them with oafish dictators charged with repressing the commie menace. In that sense the Russians got ahead in the perception wars... but I've been to few places where an actual Russian presence is fondly remembered.
    It wasn't just that. In case of India, the cultural exchange was also very high. As per many Indians, these white folks were the completely different from the ones that left a few years earlier. They were the good guys.

    http://www.monbiot.com/2005/12/27/ho...ts-holocausts/

    By the standards of the colonial age My Lai or Abu Ghraib would have ranked too low on the atrocity charts to even deserve a mention. Business as usual.
    People are dying even today, despite the fact that India hasn't faced a severe famine in last 40 years or so and every year hundreds of thousands of tonnes of grains are left to rot in the storage rooms. Post green revolution, India never faced a severe famine and most of the time produced a little surplus. Sad but true, governments come and go but most people stand exactly where they were in 1947.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Not really, most of us knew most of our failings before you or he learned of them. We probably also know of a few neither of you might think of. I doubt he will be so accused. He may not understand a random nuance or two but at least he does not flaunt ignorance.Heh, you're priceless -- any Moderator that tells you that you're off base as generally have several other non-Moderator posters already in many threads is taking sides?

    Who is it that can't engage in robust debate?
    Ken, your disconnect with current reality is growing.

    The odd brush I have had with moderators have been minor but sadly those moderators have tended to be involved in the discussion themselves and at a given point changed to moderator mode to straighten the "opposition" out. Rule 1 should be that moderators who are personally involved in a particular thread must not act as moderator when it suits them. In true coyboy style I note moderators have a tendency to be trigger happy and too quick on the draw - if you know what I mean. The bias is disgraceful, but then again that is to be expected.

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    In true coyboy style I note moderators have a tendency to be trigger happy and too quick on the draw - if you know what I mean. The bias is disgraceful, but then again that is to be expected.
    I've yet to see anyone here chastised by a moderator for the substance of their arguments. Those who go all blustery and ad hominem when someone points out flaws in those arguments tend to draw fairly rapid reactions. In my experience you can say pretty much any damned thing you please as long as you say it politely and it's not totally irrelevant to the discussion, which seems a reasonable rule set that should not be too difficult to adjust to.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Other than the Philippines, we've avoided that. We just asked that one open ones markets...
    Lol, Ken. The U.S. was built on conquering and staying.
    (The Louisiana and Alaska purchases don't really count as non-conquers imo)

    On top of CONUS conquered and "stayed":
    Hawaii
    Samoa
    Puerto Rico

    The methods may have been a bit subtle on Hawaii and Samoa for the most part, but they still fit.

    Not sure about the base on Okinawa. The Japanese gov may like it, the locals were not neccessarily in favour of keeping their occupiers afaik.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Still, I repeat my initial contention -- in spite of bumbling and stupidity, on balance we've done more good than harm.
    Given that the US had 100 odd years to observe and learn from other countries colonial experiences on balance the performance has been poor. No sign of any improvement on the horizon either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    I've yet to see anyone here chastised by a moderator for the substance of their arguments. Those who go all blustery and ad hominem when someone points out flaws in those arguments tend to draw fairly rapid reactions. In my experience you can say pretty much any damned thing you please as long as you say it politely and it's not totally irrelevant to the discussion, which seems a reasonable rule set that should not be too difficult to adjust to.
    I'm sure you will have scored points with the moderators with that comment. Never know when you may need to call in that marker, hey?

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    Default Post 82 question;What was the Peshawar Incident?

    Ken,

    You cited, with my emphasis:
    However, in addition to Jallianwala Bagh I think you could add Peshawar and, outside south Asia, several in Burma and Malaya -- without getting into the 1857 battles and aftermath.
    I've done some reading on Imperial India and have been to the city. What was the Peshawar Incident?

    The British ruled the city for nearly one hundred years (1849-1947) and I exclude, as you do, the 1857 Indian Mutiny period - when the punishment for mutiny was - well - harsh and vivid:
    ...where freedom fighters of the 1857 independence movement were blown from guns
    From:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peshawar
    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Given that the US had 100 odd years to observe and learn from other countries colonial experiences on balance the performance has been poor. No sign of any improvement on the horizon either.
    Possibly the US does not aspire to recreate a colonial experience. I see no reason why we should.

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    I'm sure you will have scored points with the moderators with that comment. Never know when you may need to call in that marker, hey?
    I've yet to complain about anyone here to a moderator, or to request assistance from a moderator. No reason to, really. Their tolerance for incivility is far lower than mine, but it's their playpen and their rules.

    If you've had problems with them I'd suggest couching the same message in a less abrasive style... not that abrasiveness is an issue for me, but I don't make or enforce the rules here, and it is an issue for those who do. I think you'd find that nobody minds the message. It's really not terribly threatening or offensive in any event, no reason why they should mind.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    Quote Originally Posted by blueblood View Post
    It wasn't just that. In case of India, the cultural exchange was also very high. As per many Indians, these white folks were the completely different from the ones that left a few years earlier. They were the good guys.
    Interesting. I've never discussed Russians with Indians who have had direct experience, but I have with numerous Vietnamese. Even those ideologically inclined to the Russian side seem to have a quite negative perception on a personal level, with arrogance and racism often cited. "Unpleasant and smelly" would summarize. Oddly even those who had a very negative perception of US policy often spoke well of individual Americans they'd dealt with.

    That is purely anecdotal observation of course, with nothing even vaguely systematic or scientific about it.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    Not sure about the base on Okinawa. The Japanese gov may like it, the locals were not neccessarily in favour of keeping their occupiers afaik.
    Of course the Japanese were occupiers before the Marines got there in the eyes of many Okinawans. There’s a book by an anthropologist at UK that I am very fond of about the tough spot they find themselves in sovereignty- and identity-wise.

    Unlike Korea, they were not in the habit of being a colony and their hate for English speakers is very much visible, even today.
    Koreans can be stubborn pains in the ass and all and that can make them hard to deal with, but I have always enjoyed their company because if there is one thing I think you can say about Koreans is that they never have been and never will be in the habit of being anyone’s colony.
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    Possibly the US does not aspire to recreate a colonial experience. I see no reason why we should.
    Did you even stop to think and consider the context of my comment before you fired off a reply? Obviously not.

    Talking about drawing from the lessons of the past (don't worry it doesn't happen in the military either).

    Now do read up on neo-colonialism in the sense the US has used it and how the Chinese version is playing out.

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default A foursome, no Golfing variety...

    blueblood
    This is what Hitler told in Mein Kampf.
    Now that takes "biased source" to a new high -- or new low.
    I never said that Americans sucked at this but the proclamation of being the best is a bit hard to digest.
    That may be what I said or implied but I certainly believe 'least bad' might be far more appopriate...

    JMA:
    Ken, your disconnect with current reality is growing.
    This from the crowd acknowledged master of diconnectedness. What a compliment. Thank you.

    With respect to your moderator comment, I presume you can offer concrete examples? Other than my one time telling you that even though we were in a discusssion, I wouldn't hesitate to shut things down if you crossed the line; you did not, I did not -- and while I certainly may have missed one or more incidents -- I can recall no other incident where another Moderator has done what you flatly state:
    In true coyboy style I note moderators have a tendency to be trigger happy and too quick on the draw - if you know what I mean. The bias is disgraceful, but then again that is to be expected.
    I presume you can show evidence to confirm that assertion?

    It would be nice if you could also discuss coyboys a bit, I'm sure that'll be fascinating.
    Given that the US had 100 odd years to observe and learn from other countries colonial experiences on balance the performance has been poor. No sign of any improvement on the horizon either.
    With that, I can agree. As I wrote to blueblood, "least bad" would've been a better phrase...


    Fuchs:
    On top of CONUS conquered and "stayed": Hawaii, Samoa, Puerto Rico
    CONUS was accepted if not stated as the topic was going elsewhere to conquer. You can count the Louisiana and Alaska purchases as conquering if you wish.

    I included both Samoa and Hawaii in the catch all "Pacific Islands" and mentioned Puerto Rico. Other than the latter, there was no conquering involved for the rest; occupying, yes -- conquering no.

    Still your point's valid and my attempt at brevity by not writing 'foreign' in front of conquer(ing) and expanding that a bit was not totally accurate.

    davidbfpo:

    The Qissa Khwani Bazaar incident., 23 April 1930. Note the Wiki entry has links to several others of lesser import including some post-Raj as well.

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Now do read up on neo-colonialism in the sense the US has used it and how the Chinese version is playing out.
    I have. I also live in one of the American experiments in neo-colonialism (one that, like most of them, hasn't worked out terribly well). The US experience with neo-colonialism has been neither economically nor strategically profitable, and we'd do well to back away from it, especially if, in keeping with the thread, avoidance of small wars is a goal. The Chinese are certainly jumping into the game in a big way, and I expect they'll get a small war out of it somewhere down the line... but that's their problem.

    The colonial age offers a vast depth of illustrated instruction on what not to do, rather less on what to do... especially in a very different set of circumstances.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    I have. I also live in one of the American experiments in neo-colonialism (one that, like most of them, hasn't worked out terribly well). The US experience with neo-colonialism has been neither economically nor strategically profitable, and we'd do well to back away from it, especially if, in keeping with the thread, avoidance of small wars is a goal. The Chinese are certainly jumping into the game in a big way, and I expect they'll get a small war out of it somewhere down the line... but that's their problem.

    The colonial age offers a vast depth of illustrated instruction on what not to do, rather less on what to do... especially in a very different set of circumstances.
    That's better.

    Now compare this reply to your previous one.

    You see the problem I have?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    JMA:This from the crowd acknowledged master of diconnectedness. What a compliment. Thank you.

    With respect to your moderator comment, I presume you can offer concrete examples? Other than my one time telling you that even though we were in a discusssion, I wouldn't hesitate to shut things down if you crossed the line; you did not, I did not -- and while I certainly may have missed one or more incidents -- I can recall no other incident where another Moderator has done what you flatly state:I presume you can show evidence to confirm that assertion?

    It would be nice if you could also discuss coyboys a bit, I'm sure that'll be fascinating. With that, I can agree. As I wrote to blueblood, "least bad" would've been a better phrase...
    You have access to the log files for this site I assume. Go sit with your cronies and do a little research. I will wait.

    The term 'crossing the line' is very subjective and even more so if you are involved in the discussion yourself. Do you appreciate that?

    Take the thread UK in Afghanistan where I will concede I was only 99% correct and you and many others were up to 99% wrong. All you could come up with was a complaint about my posting style and use of words.

    Remember the furore over my one time use of the word poser? Pathetic.

    Remember what a storm my comments on that pathetic US ambush caused? Sad that rank incompetence can be so blindly protected.

    As moderators one should deal rapidly with the emotional knee-jerk replies rather than suppress the truth no matter how painful. You can figure out how to do that yourself.

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default You kidder, you...

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    You have access to the log files for this site I assume. Go sit with your cronies and do a little research. I will wait.
    You made the accusation, not I.
    The term 'crossing the line' is very subjective and even more so if you are involved in the discussion yourself. Do you appreciate that?
    Certainly I appreciate both those factors. I would not have written what I did had I not. What you do not seem to 'appreciate' is that approach gives you more, not less, latitude to be egregious...
    Take the thread UK in Afghanistan where I will concede I was only 99% correct and you and many others were up to 99% wrong. All you could come up with was a complaint about my posting style and use of words.
    Uh, I hate to break this to you but your 99% is probably overstatement. Regardless I agree with much of substance you wrote in that thread. I did not and do not agree with your posting style and use of words on many occasions, thus my complaints were directed at what I saw as a problem. That comment applies to several other threads as well; what you see as speaking the truth as you see it is often seen by others as condescending, arrogant and unnecessarily abrasive. If your intent in to annoy, you're quite successful; if it is to teach or aid progress, I'm afraid that IMO and based on some comments from others on this and various threads (certainly including The UK in Afghanistan), you are not doing as well as one could hope.
    Remember the furore over my one time use of the word poser? Pathetic.
    Yes I do and I agree that your use of the word was wrong and possibly uncalled for if not pathetic -- that usage is just what I and others repeatedly complain about to you to little avail. That exemplifies the ability to do some good can get lost in a poor choice of words -- and ignorance or misunderstanding what one sees casually in a photograph to make a standing broad jump at a wrong conclusion and then defend it unto death can be counterproductive...
    Remember what a storm my comments on that pathetic US ambush caused? Sad that rank incompetence can be so blindly protected.
    As the Actress said to the Bishop, "It's not what you said, it's how you said it, Ducks..."

    You may think you're merely being forthright and not mincing words, others often seem to perceive it quite differently.
    As moderators one should deal rapidly with the emotional knee-jerk replies rather than suppress the truth no matter how painful. You can figure out how to do that yourself.
    I've seen no truth suppression here -- distortion, yes, suppression no. Though I'll acknowledge that blithefully ignoring the valid comment of others with a differing point of view and continually beating the same drum(s) in spite of some evidence that a re-look may be in order can be, in a sense, tantamount to suppression.

    Let me point out, not as a Moderator, merely as another poster, that none of this has much to do with the thread topic. Nor, also off thread, did you answer my question about your accusatory foray that took us off-thread in the first place, thus it is safe to presume you have no such case to support your accusation.

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