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User Journal

Journal Journal: Friend in Turkey - What is worth fighting for?

From an old friend:

-----Original Message-----

6 April 2003

Ankara, Turkey

Dear Friends,

Assalamu-alaikum/ Peace be upon you!

[personal note deleted]

I've watched "Muslims" here (myself included) shift from ecstasy in seeing the new government stand up against US pressure to support the war, to disappointment after Colin Powell's last visit. It seems that Foreign Minister Gul's perhaps somewhat misunderstood comment a couple days ago about being in coalition with the US has really hurt some AK Parti supporters. It's understood here that everyone in this country, including the government, is against this war?It's about US power (and a few other things) not only over Iraq and the "enemies," but also over the allies.

I assume most Americans are against this war, too, but with my first chance to see my country's government completely ignore its people's opinions, I am experiencing a frustration I haven't felt since the '91 Gulf War (when high school friends reported to me that I had been accused of being in Saddam Hussein's army).


----- My Reply ----


On a serious note, I was surprised you had the perception that most Americans oppose the war. Polls show support in the 70-75% range, which is about as close to a consensus as I've seen.

For example:

I think the war is just.

I start from the question: what is worth fighting over?

I do not accept that war is unambiguously the worst outcome. I can think of a significant number of historical events worse than war, some that we did fight, and some that we did not. Examples: slavery in the US, the Holocaust, Kosovo, Korea. Some that we didn't fight: Stalin - 20 million killed and imprisoned. Mao - close to 30 million. the Armenians - only one or two millions (you know this one better than I do) , Cambodia, Zaire, Iraq in the 80s, Cuba. And the big one we did fight: stopping totalitarian communism.

We live in a world when a rogue government can do unimaginable damage. What would I do to prevent the nuking of Washington DC? The gassing of Tel-Aviv? Smallpox in London? What if it was only a 5% chance?

I believe the time of despots, strongmen, and kings is over. We can no longer practice the soft racism of low expectations. Turkey proves democracy is possible in the Middle East, but it is one of the great injustices that Turkey's democracy is so unique.

Everyone in the world deserves to live under a representative government and everyone deserves to live free of the fear of a monstrous attack. I'm proud that Americans are the ones who will stand and bear this burden.

User Journal

Journal Journal: AC asks --

An AC Asks ---

The Space Program: Fourteen deaths in 20 years? Imagine seeing those kinds of statistics in, say, the trucking industry.

>I always wonder about .sigs like this. Anyone
>who knows anything about statistics can see
>the holes in this one. So what's the point?

The point is that we do not have a national week of mourning with 76 hours straight of cable news coverage when a tractor trailer crosses into oncoming traffic on the interstate.

Life is full of risks, and the statistical lesson is that we should not panic and stay out of space.

This is the Firestone tires fallacy. A few highly publicized deaths seem to count more than a less-glamorous many. Ford spent $500MM or so fixing tires to prevent 10s of accidents. Imagine if Ford had spent that money on pre-natal care or starving people in Africa. Or even driver safety courses.

Also, I think it's sort of funny.

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