Some random thoughts originally given privately but which I'll put up here for posterity.
What do you think about Iraq? ∞
First, I don't have enough information.. so everything may well be bullshit.
The Americans altered their economy when entering world war 2. It became military-dominated. Since then, the economy has been dominated by military spending and hasn't been a truly free market.
So all military expenditure has a shady element of war profiteering. This makes all military decisions more than a little suspect, even when (perhaps especially when) they appear to be "obviously" good decisions.
On the other hand, there are legitimate concerns which go well beyond the stated facts, which demand intervention. I think it's all tainted in so many ways though.
For example, The CIA have a policy of training, funding and supplying foreigners when it suits them. For example, for taking down dictatorships. If they trained forces to resist the Soviets in Afghanistan, and any of that training, funding or supplies ended up in the hands of current-enemies, that clouds ones perspective.. even though the cold war really sucked.
A second example is open hatred from a number of countries, not just toward Americans but to "their system", and the need for a military which has both not gone stagnant and is at least active near those people. Understanding where the hatred comes from, and if it's a response, was instigated or is original.. is probably unknowable now.
So while there are legitimate concerns, lots of history and reasons, and it's hard to slow an avalanche-in-progress, there are also so layers of poor information and outright bullshit. The problem becomes not the lack of passable honesty, but the underhanded profiteering.
What do you think about the U.S. and the U.N.? ∞
Again, I don't have enough information.. so everything may well be bullshit.
I don't like that the US has been sliding downhill into .. I don't even know what.
I use a computer a lot. I'm technically and security-minded. I've heard a lot of changes with these things -- for example, in laws and corporate choices.
I learn from a CIA agent whistleblower .. on agency corruption, selling contracts to companies owned by the person making the contact-placement decision. The guy goes through all the proper channels, keeps getting the run around and continues to escalate his concern to the right people. Until he runs out of people to escalate it to and feels forced to go public to satisfy his ethics.
I see changes in copyright and patents, giving unnecessary power to corporations. I see products-as-a-service replacing existing software. I see proprietary software being backed by law.
Hell, I got to learn about the damned entertainment industry, of all things, getting a guy extradited for charges on piracy. From a country where he did not break the law. Given a sentence fit for a mass murderer.
I see an American political system already corrupted by the requirement for campaign funds, where corporations had their funding donation limit completely removed. If 0.05% of the voter base gives the vast majority of funding, and politicians spend over half their time in office doing fundraising for their next campaign, then decisions (conscious or not) get skewed around making fundraisers happy. Things go sideways with that..
I learn about a drone strike called in a foreign nation, on a suspected terrorist. Then another one called.. on his son. His fucking son. By whom? Oh, a signed order by the prez. Who now has the power to kidnap and hold indefinitely without charges. Even a US citizen. Who now has power above and beyond congress "for expediency's sake". A permanent state of emergency.
Not to mention losing the old war against the banks. I haven't done the research, so I shouldn't try to bullshit an explanation.
.. so the US has been sliding somewhere really dark. Especially if you read the excellent old political writing or even old British political-fiction. (1984, anyone?)
I used to have quite high thoughts about the UN, until I learned about a legal system erected around its participants. They have so damned many legal volumes. I got to see a room of its books. It's insane the rate they're being added to. Learning that these laws often supersede those of a member nation, and learning that the governmental body of the UN is chosen privately.. makes me worry for the notion of freedom. I haven't done enough research to confirm this, so it could be bullshit.
I also learned a little about banking and currency issues. Enough to make me wonder that if an economic collapse of, say, Greece, helps to break up the UN or at least fragment its currency.. it may be a worthwhile sacrifice. There's a shitty thought. Again, not enough research.. may be bullshit.
Do you believe people are innately good, evil, or neither? Why? ∞
Innately selfish and apathetic.
Apathy allows a majority people to be easily taken advantage of by a disproportionate minority of evil. So in a sense people may as well be evil..
People's inability to act based on statistics and trend information makes them do things which they may think are ok now, but are horrible long-term decisions. Look at anything from politics to the environment.
Why does everyone still have a lawn? Oh right, because fuck the earth it's mine mine mine. There's another evil.
When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money.
-- Cree Prophecy
(I haven't checked for its authenticity)