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Vasily Zaitsev

Paul McKenna
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Was watching this movie on TV about the duel between a German "Super" Sniper and a Russian "Hunter" Vasily Zaitsev. The movie is based on a true story and it is truly amazing to witness a sniper's mind at work. The sniper has infinite patience and makes excellent analysis of a situation. Wonder how a sniper would fare at programming?
More can be read about Vasily Zaitsev at
Vasily Zaitsev


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Gregg Bolinger
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You must be talking about Enemy At The Gates. Excellent movie. Jude Law and Jospeh Fiennes are awesome actors.


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Sameer Jamal
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Originally posted by Gregg Bolinger:
You must be talking about Enemy At The Gates. Excellent movie. Jude Law and Jospeh Fiennes are awesome actors.

Great Movie
frank davis
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Originally posted by Sriraj Rajaram:
The movie is based on a true story and it is truly amazing to witness a sniper's mind at work.
More can be read about Vasily Zaitsev at
Vasily Zaitsev


Actually, the the whole main basis of the movie seems to have a very dubious basis in fact. The Germans never, during the war, or to this day,
have any record, or any acknowledgement of, such a sniper mission as described in the movie. As we know, the Germans kept meticulous records. I don't even think there was a sniper with the name the Soviets ascribed to him. Most historians think the German sniper part was the invention of Soviet progranda to rally their troops. During the movie itself we see some hints of the importance the Soviets placed on propaganda (not that everyone doesn't use propaganda). We also see how some were forced to fight the "Great Patriotic War" - machine guns at their back and forced to go forward or they would be killed by their own officers.
The movie was OK overall, I wished it had been better. I wish Spielberg or someone would better tell the Soviet side of the war. The devastation the Soviet peoples during WWII suffered is unimaginable to most Americans I suspect. However, the movie is very much worth seeing. The portrayal of the extent of the devastation in Stalingrad was good. Also, seeing Kruschev, in charge of defending Stalingrad was fascinating even if it only lasted a few minutes. Also, there is no other movie in English on Stalingrad (except for a German movie with English subtitles giving the German POV).
Michael Ernest
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Originally posted by Sriraj Rajaram:
The movie is based on a true story and it is truly amazing to witness a sniper's mind at work. The sniper has infinite patience and makes excellent analysis of a situation. Wonder how a sniper would fare at programming?

The film didn't strike me so much as an examination of a sniper's mind as a metaphor for the battle over Stalingrad itself. There were two wars for those soldiers to fight, as the story unfolds, one against the Germans and another against their own command.
There is a conventional war, a propaganda war, a political war, guerilla war -- egads. Yow.
I wish they had developed more the flashback, where Zaitsev misses the wolf and their horse gets lost (or badly hurt) in the process. There seemed to be more to bring up on that aspect.
The film could have been longer and more detailed, I think, without losing the interest of viewers. Seemed to be a lot left unsaid in that account.
Paul McKenna
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:
[QB]
The film didn't strike me so much as an examination of a sniper's mind as a metaphor for the battle over Stalingrad itself.[QB]

I think Ed Harris played the role of the German sniper so well that words fail to praise him enough. His potrayal of a calm, calculating marksman gave me enough stuff to think about snipers and the art of sniping.
My favourite scene is when Zaitsev and his friend try to decieve Ed Harris into revealing his position but instead they end up being sniped when they jump from one floor to another. The fight inside the factory where both of them are using the same piece of glass to locate each other is excellent as well.
[ July 29, 2003: Message edited by: Sriraj Rajaram ]
Frank Silbermann
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herb slocomb: I wish Spielberg or someone would better tell the Soviet side of the war. The devastation the Soviet peoples during WWII suffered is unimaginable to most Americans I suspect.
Yes, Stalin murdered virtually all of his experienced generals during the 1930s to protect himself from political challengers. Fortunately for him, the Soviet Army did not need skilled leadership as it could rely on its virtually unlimited supply of human cannon-fodder, and the gratuitous sadism of the Nazi S.S. discouraged people from siding with the invaders.
Ah, well. At least the Russians didn't have to endure the cruelty of a free-market economy.
frank davis
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Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:
Ah, well. At least the Russians didn't have to endure the cruelty of a free-market economy.

I know anything goes in MD, even blonde jokes, and sarcasm abounds, but I find joking about the relative degree of suffering that the Soviet people went thru in WWII vs a free market economy extremely distasteful. Just the sheer numbers of people killed should put you in a somber mood, not a mocking, joking one. Would a similar comment about Holocaust victims be acceptable? I don't find the senseless slaughter of millions of people to be something one should make light of.
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To start with, I haven't seen the movie, but I read Zaitsev's memoirs when I was a teenager.
Actually, the the whole main basis of the movie seems to have a very dubious basis in fact.
This "duel" is described in Zaitsev's memoirs. But I read that many believes it was just propaganda invention.
We also see how some were forced to fight the "Great Patriotic War" - machine guns at their back and forced to go forward or they would be killed by their own officers.
First, we need to distinguish "their own officers" from "zagranotryads", special forces that even had different uniform (this aspect was missing in the movie, as I read). They existed until 1944. Their functions were to cover the rear from diversants, to direct soldiers who were lost, they helped with building temporary bridges etc. And one of the functions was to prevent spontaneous retreats.
I just read memoirs (Russian) of an officer who was in the Army from October 1942 to May 1945. He said he never himself was in the situation when they had zagranotryads directed at them, and never heard about it from other people. But there was a case when their commanding officer chose another route during a retreat and they were met by "zagranotryad". There was a meeting with few high-rank officers, and then they continued their movement. Nobody was shot.
The author said he himself once had to perform this function. Soldiers were afraid to be captured, and not only because of obvious problems for themselves, but because their families would also have problems. During the combats they checked if there are people on the left and on the right, and if they feel they are left alone, they would retreat too. It worked as a chain reaction. During one of such waves of panic, he said he threatened soldiers with his gun shooting in the air (not at the men).
Again, I did not see the movie, but independent observers report that there was a scene when almost whole unit was killed by "zagranotryad", that's most likely some artistic exaggerations. I would imagine that the goal was to stop retreat, not to destroy your own Army.
[ July 29, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]

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Yes, Stalin murdered virtually all of his experienced generals during the 1930s to protect himself from political challengers.
There was a cynical comment, that this way the Army got rid of officers who mostly came from the heat of Civil War, did not have too much education and believed that cavalry would decide the destiny of the next war. A new generation of better educated officers came to the leaderships. Besides being very cynical, this can be incorrect, of course.
Fortunately for him, the Soviet Army did not need skilled leadership as it could rely on its virtually unlimited supply of human cannon-fodder, and the gratuitous sadism of the Nazi S.S. discouraged people from siding with the invaders.
Somehow I got an impression that you do not possess too much knowledge about those events...
Ah, well. At least the Russians didn't have to endure the cruelty of a free-market economy.
Actually they had. By 1941 lots of free-market economies heroically surrendered to Germany or just collaborated with it, so the Soviet Union had to economically resist almost whole Europe. Minus Great Britain and thanks to the US for its big help.
frank davis
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Minus Great Britain and thanks to the US for its big help.

US gave about 11 billion dollars via the Lend-Lease Aid act to Soviets alone to help resist Fascists. I don't believe it was ever repaid. I saw one site that said about 4% of USSR military equipment was from US (considering the logistics, that is alot) although I suspect most of that was transport vehicles. The amount of aid given was alot also considering the agression of the Soviets themselves : They also invaded Poland from the east about 1 week after the Germans. This was during the time the Soviets/Nazis had signed a buddy-buddy non-agression pact. The Soviets shortly thereafter decided to begin their own campaign of agression invading Finland and annexing Estonia, Lativia, and Lithuiana.
Sure, the US, in the midst of the Great Depression, and fighting (or facing the prospect of) a two front war against Japan and Germany/Italy, could have sent more aid to the agressive and evil Soviets, but at what point would the amount have been imprudent , if not stupid and or evil or negligent?
frank davis
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
. Minus Great Britain and thanks to the US for its big help.

Are you faulting Britain? It barely survived the air campaign which would have resulted in invasion and a quick conquest. It almsot lost its army at Dunkirk. It was in no position to send aid to others, that would have been suicidal.
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I was serious when I said "thanks to the US for its big help".
Hm... I guess I need to use some smile devcies to indicate when I switch from sarcastic mood into serious.
frank davis
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:

I was serious when I said "thanks to the US for its big help".
Hm... I guess I need to use some smile devcies to indicate when I switch from sarcastic mood into serious.

Sorry, I thought you were being sarcastic. Some people are not being sarcastic though, and do claim the West did nothing to help the Soviets.
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:
Yes, Stalin murdered virtually all of his experienced generals during the 1930s to protect himself from political challengers. Fortunately for him, the Soviet Army did not need skilled leadership as it could rely on its virtually unlimited supply of human cannon-fodder, and the gratuitous sadism of the Nazi S.S. discouraged people from siding with the invaders.

Fortunately for the USSR they had some very skilled generals including Marshall Zhukov. There were some attacks that were foolish on Zhukov's part and he did sacrifice more men than he should have (especailly on the attacks leading up to Berlin in 1945). The USSR was fighting a delaying action in the beginning of the war. They had to sacrifice men in order to slow down the German attack. The fact that they were able to do so and then stop the attack at the gates of Moscow when everyone said the war would be over in two months serves credit to the bravery of the Russian soldiers.
The Russians did have special battalions stationed behind the lines to stop retreats but they were not supposed to stop full scale retreats. How could they? How could a battalion stop a division in retreat? You would need at least a division behind them. The US used the same thing during the Civil War (see "The Red Badge of Courage"). Their purpose was to stop deserters and to convince smaller units in retreat to regroup and move back to the front.
On July 28, 1942, Stalin issued his order "not one step back" although it wasn't until the Soviet army was pushed into Stalingrad that that they actually stopped retreating. The order called for the execution of soldiers who surrendered and the execution of officers who retreated without orders.


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The same author I misquoted above said that from his calculations based on Stalin's order about forming zagranotryads, gave the ratio of 200 per 20,000 - 30,000 regular soldiers.
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Folks,
one of the best non-fiction books I've ever had the pleasure of reading was Stalingrad by Anthony Beevor. You can read the Amazon (UK) review of it here.
Zaitsev gets a good mention - and a photograph - although the author reckons that there was a more successful sniper.
[ July 31, 2003: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]
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Herb: The amount of aid given was alot also considering the agression of the Soviets themselves : They also invaded Poland from the east about 1 week after the Germans. This was during the time the Soviets/Nazis had signed a buddy-buddy non-agression pact. The Soviets shortly thereafter decided to begin their own campaign of agression invading Finland and annexing Estonia, Lativia, and Lithuiana.
"Although Germany gained more immediate and visible benefits from the pact, Russia received more, and more important gains than did Germany. The first, and most sought after gain Stalin made was the acquisition of a buffer zone between Russia and Germany. This buffer zone consisted of the eastern third of Poland, with Bessarabia, Estonia, Finland, and Lithuania being put under the Soviet sphere of influence as well. This buffer zone was the primary goal of Stalin in pursuing the pact. Already paranoid, Stalin felt that Russia could not survive a German onslaught without the buffer zones. In all actuality, he was correct. Even with the buffer zone of hundreds of miles, the German army marched to within twenty miles of Moscow. It is highly probable that the buffer zones saved the Soviets from defeat at the hands of the Germans."
http://webpub.alleg.edu/student/p/paynes/molotov-ribbentrop.html
You also need to remember that the European part of the USSR was most industrially developed. On the territory finally occupied by Hitler lived 40% of USSR population and was produced a half of whole industrial product, 63% of coal, 68% of iron and 58% of steel production. If Stalin did not acquire these countries, Hitler would, and they would work against the USSR (besides that the border would be closer to Moscow)! What do you think the results of WWII were then?
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[ July 31, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
frank davis
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Herb: The amount of aid given was alot also considering the agression of the Soviets themselves : They also invaded Poland from the east about 1 week after the Germans. This was during the time the Soviets/Nazis had signed a buddy-buddy non-agression pact. The Soviets shortly thereafter decided to begin their own campaign of agression invading Finland and annexing Estonia, Lativia, and Lithuiana.
"Although Germany gained more immediate and visible benefits from the pact, Russia received more, and more important gains than did Germany. The first, and most sought after gain Stalin made was the acquisition of a buffer zone between Russia and Germany. This buffer zone consisted of the eastern third of Poland, with Bessarabia, Estonia, Finland, and Lithuania being put under the Soviet sphere of influence as well. This buffer zone was the primary goal of Stalin in pursuing the pact. Already paranoid, Stalin felt that Russia could not survive a German onslaught without the buffer zones. In all actuality, he was correct. Even with the buffer zone of hundreds of miles, the German army marched to within twenty miles of Moscow. It is highly probable that the buffer zones saved the Soviets from defeat at the hands of the Germans."
http://webpub.alleg.edu/student/p/paynes/molotov-ribbentrop.html
You also need to remember that the European part of the USSR was most industrially developed. On the territory finally occupied by Hitler lived 40% of USSR population and was produced a half of whole industrial product, 63% of coal, 68% of iron and 58% of steel production. If Stalin did not acquire these countries, Hitler would, and they would work against the USSR (besides that the border would be closer to Moscow)! What do you think the results of WWII were then?
--------------------
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[ July 31, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]

I've heard this buffer zone motivation many, many times. No doubt that it is plausible, but also equally plausible is that it has been oversued to explain too much. For example, it was also used for the next 50 years to explain the need of the Soviets to occupy Eastern Europe and Germany with large amounts of offensive military forces. I also wonder how likely it was that the Finland invasion/conquest (somehow overlooked in your quote above), was only for the purpose of being a buffer. Too often this buffer zone explaination has been used to portray Stalin as defensive person merely reacting to the threat of the Fascists. Stalin however, was quite an ambitious, aggresive, and ruthless dictator.
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Originally posted by herb slocomb:
I've heard this buffer zone motivation many, many times. No doubt that it is plausible, but also equally plausible is that it has been oversued to explain too much.
If it was just about making a buffer then Stlain would not have needed to massacre the Polish officer corps. (A crime he tried to blame on the Nazis during the Nuremberg trials.)
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Herb: I also wonder how likely it was that the Finland invasion/conquest (somehow overlooked in your quote above)
My quote above:
buffer zone consisted of the eastern third of Poland, with Bessarabia, Estonia, Finland, and Lithuania being put under the Soviet sphere of influence as well.
was only for the purpose of being a buffer.
Soviet-Finland border lay in 32 km from Leningrad (aka. St-Petersburg). The Soviets had negotiated for 1,5 years about moving it farther from Leningrad. One of the proposals was the USSR would acquire a piece of land on Ladoga lake (2761 sq.km) and give for it twice as much (5529 sq.km) of its own territory. Finland declined all proposals - the war started. This was an act of aggression of course, true, but you cannot say that Stalin wanted to bite a piece of territory from Finland just to prove that he is an ambitious, aggressive, and ruthless dictator.
Tom: If it was just about making a buffer then Stlain would not have needed to massacre the Polish officer corps. (A crime he tried to blame on the Nazis during the Nuremberg trials.)
How does one contradict to another? Stalin was a ruthless dictator, he killed his own officers, what did you expect him to do in Poland if to assume Poland was occupied to make a buffer zone?
But perhaps now you understand better why the world is perplexed with the reasons for the USA to occupy a small country on another continent?
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Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
But perhaps now you understand better why the world is perplexed with the reasons for the USA to occupy a small country on another continent?
No, I don't. Are you saying that Bush is equivalent to Stalin? Are you saying that the peaceful and democratic people of Finland are equivalent to the brutal regime of Saddam?
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
No, I don't. Are you saying that Bush is equivalent to Stalin? Are you saying that the peaceful and democratic people of Finland are equivalent to the brutal regime of Saddam?

I think the parallels are quite clear. Strip away the trappings of "peaceful and democratic" Finland and "brutal" Iraq and what you have is two countries that refused to negotiate any conditions sought by a superpower, ostensibly in the name of promoting a greater peace.
It's not so far-fetched today as the speculation of it might have seemed 6 months ago: the US occupies Iraq. Why? Does it matter whether Bush expresses brutality, aggression and ambition through loss of life on a massive scale? Consider that Stalin's primary capability was sheer force of human bodies; Bush has technology, money, and military intelligence to minimize that risk. But it's still a forced occupation of another country in the name of some greater good.
Where be them WMD's again?
Frank Silbermann
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Michael Ernest: But it's still a forced occupation of another country in the name of some greater good.
That's a good point. Of course, one major difference is that what Stalin claimed to be a greater good was in fact one of the great evils of the century (Marxism), whereas our claim of a greater good was pretty accurate.
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I think this is Thomas' point too, the moral argument. To paraphrase a dear friend, the missiles are always pointed at you. The only question is who's aiming them.
As for Marxism being a great evil, pshaw. Any form of political economy is itself morally neutral. How it is applied and perceived is where the moral tone comes in. As for the US being a great good, please. We are a global power. There's nothing about goodness or badness to it. Power is power.
frank davis
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Herb: I also wonder how likely it was that the Finland invasion/conquest (somehow overlooked in your quote above)

My second apology to Map in the same post
(Sometimes I have to scan the posts too quickly at work)
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Second? What was the first?
frank davis
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:
As for Marxism being a great evil, pshaw. Any form of political economy is itself morally neutral. How it is applied and perceived is where the moral tone comes in. As for the US being a great good, please. We are a global power. There's nothing about goodness or badness to it. Power is power.

Certain 'political economies' seem to have a higher propensity towards evil 'application', or being thusly "perceived" as so by civilized nations, than others. The historical record shows that the correlation between Marxism and a relatively high number of citizens killed, seems rather high for mere coincidence. The Soviet Union or Cambodia being cases in point. "Power" is not always just power. Often democracies have standards in how power is applied that is not present in other 'political economies'.
frank davis
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Second? What was the first?

I misread your much earlier post as sarcasm regarding US aid to Soviets.
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But why "in the same post?"
frank davis
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
But why "in the same post?"

Ok, this is my third apology, I meant "thread", not "post".
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I think, now it's my turn to start apologizing.
The first misunderstanding was my fault. I switched from sarcastic dicourse into serious in the same paragraph. Actually, once I did even worse and performed similar switch withing the sentence. I was told that my sentence doesn't make sense, and had to explain that it did have sense when I started it, but in the middle I felt into a sarcastic mood and finished saying something quite orthogonal to what I started with.
[ July 31, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
Michael Ernest
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Originally posted by herb slocomb:

The historical record shows that the correlation between Marxism and a relatively high number of citizens killed, seems rather high for mere coincidence. The Soviet Union or Cambodia being cases in point. "Power" is not always just power. Often democracies have standards in how power is applied that is not present in other 'political economies'.

I'm not really sure one can correlate casualties to a 'political economy' but I am open to reviewing the historical records you have in mind.
History shows that democracies can just as easily ignore their own standards and the standards they agree to with others and thus 'misapply' power. It's merely a question of whether any government has power enough to afford it. Saying we nonetheless look better than the Khmer Rouge doesn't really say much.
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Speaking about casualties, which UN resolution approved killing two Saddam's sons?
frank davis
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:

I'm not really sure one can correlate casualties to a 'political economy' but I am open to reviewing the historical records you have in mind..

I admire your openness to review the historical record, but am aghast that we would even have to got through this little exercise. Three 'political economies', all collectivist and all undemocratic, each murdered more than 20 million people, many of which were their own citizens. We may quibble over 5 or so million deaths, but the numbers are in the tens of millions for the USSR, China, and Nazi Germany. (http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/MEGA.HTM)
As a current center of attention on the world scene, North Korea gets a honorable mention, with tens of thousands killed according to genocidewacth.com( http://www.genocidewatch.org/genocidetable.htm).
I guess we can't count the Khmer Rouge who killed millions or the Marxist guerillas throughtout South America (esp. Colombia and Peru). Anyway, the US or other democratic free market 'political economies' don't really seem to be in the same category IMHO.

History shows that democracies can just as easily ignore their own standards and the standards they agree to with others and thus 'misapply' power.

Admittedly, a democracy, in and by itself, can often be nothing more than mob rule capable of crimes, yet often the mob grows tired and is easily distracted, or has its collective conscience awakened. Other 'political economies' don't seem to get so easily distracted from their murdering.


Saying we nonetheless look better than the Khmer Rouge doesn't really say much.

It proves my point.
Is the US only slightly better than the Khmer Rouge or several orders of magnitude better??
[ for some reason I was unable to delete this post in the course of correcting a prior post]
[ July 31, 2003: Message edited by: herb slocomb ]
[ July 31, 2003: Message edited by: herb slocomb ]
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
Speaking about casualties, which UN resolution approved killing two Saddam's sons?

:roll: UN resolutions aren't generally required to kill people who are shooting at you. You may have missed it but they were asked to surrender first. Then two attempts were made to go in and try to capture them, with the troops going in being shot at both times. Some US troops were shot in fact. IMHO, trying to lay siege to the place and wait them out would have been a disaster as every militant in the vicinity would have showed up to start taking shots at the troops. Or maybe a mob would have formed and the US soldiers would have had to deal with them as well. It was a pro-Saddam area you know. Odd that many of the people crying out at the deaths of these monsters were generally silent when it was the Hussein boys themselves who were doing all the killing.
But since you asked the question, which UN resolution approved their helping to kill millions?
[ July 31, 2003: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
Michael Ernest
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HS: Three 'political economies', all collectivist and all undemocratic, each murdered more than 20 million people, many of which were their own citizens.
ME: We did that too. We called it The Civil War. A high-end estimate is about 700,000 or so but against a population of roughly 23 million, that's a big loss.
HS: We may quibble over 5 or so million deaths, but the numbers are in the tens of millions for the USSR, China, and Nazi Germany.
ME: Nazi Germany was a collectivist government? Or is this a matter of throwing gas on a decent fire to see how high the flames can get?
HS: As a current center of attention on the world scene, North Korea gets a honorable mention, with tens of thousands killed according to genocidewacth.com( http://www.genocidewatch.org/genocidetable.htm).
ME: Revolution is what it is. It's less likely, I think, that genocide is attributable to the form of government taking shape, and more attributable to the fact that radical change is a bloody thing. Compare the relative loss of life in the US between 1768 and 1868, say, to the North Korea of the last 100 years and I think we're at least using the same time frame, even if the conditions and history are totally different things.
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:
:roll: UN resolutions aren't generally required to kill people who are shooting at you. You may have missed it but they were asked to surrender first.

Ok, then I withdraw my accusations regarding Saddam's sons and instead make an accusation regarding attempts to kill Saddam himself. How legal these attempts were? I am trying to say that even the most democratic democracy founds it possible to kill people for the reasons it itself found good enough.
Back to Saddam's sons, this is not my idea, so I do not want to take credit for it, but here it is: wouldn't it make more sense to capture them alive? Couldn't they help with WMD search. Why was the operation conducted by the soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division and not by specially trained professionals? Tell me that I am stupid, but when Chechens sieged a theater in Moscow, sleeping gas was used and they could get all the terrorists alive (in this case they preferred to kill them). How difficult is it to send such a group to Iraq and keep it ready in case Saddam himself or whoever else are being hunted are detected?
Richard Hawkes
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Originally posted by herb slocomb:
North Korea gets a honorable mention, with tens of thousands killed according to genocidewacth.com( http://www.genocidewatch.org/genocidetable.htm).
You can't just go around believing death statistics off websites are accurate
[ July 31, 2003: Message edited by: Richard Hawkes ]
frank davis
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:
HS: Three 'political economies', all collectivist and all undemocratic, each murdered more than 20 million people, many of which were their own citizens.
ME: We did that too. We called it The Civil War. A high-end estimate is about 700,000 or so but against a population of roughly 23 million, that's a big loss.

In using the US Civil War as an example, we're going back 130+ years in history to cherry pick the bloodiest incident of US history. Picking out an aberrant, uncharacteristic, one time event, and relatively short episode in US history and comparing it to the characteristic, ongoing repression of a typical undemocratic collectivist state is certainly not comparing apples to apples. Collectivist nondemocracies are usually repressive throughout their existence and this repression usually involves murder and/or imprisonment of political dissenters. Such repression is not aberrant or uncharacteristic. Although the statistical samples will always be too small for statisticians, we should at least try to aggregate at least a few democratic free market political economies and a few Marxist (or some other collectivist govt) political economies during a comparable time period, look for fundamental differences, and try to come to reasonable conclusions. After seeing the numbers for the USSR and China, as you may have guessed, I've already formed an opinion.


HS: We may quibble over 5 or so million deaths, but the numbers are in the tens of millions for the USSR, China, and Nazi Germany.
ME: Nazi Germany was a collectivist government? Or is this a matter of throwing gas on a decent fire to see how high the flames can get?

"Nazi" was the German acronym for National Socialism. The concept of individual rights was not recognized at all, either in theory or practice, when there was any perceived conflict with the collective, which was the Aryan people, or the Reich (which was supposed to further the interests of the Aryans). Do you think the "fire" thing was a hobby some Germans picked up as a fad, or was there an ideology behind it that thousands believed in and were willing to die to support that collectivist ideology?

HS: As a current center of attention on the world scene, North Korea gets a honorable mention, with tens of thousands killed according to genocidewacth.com( http://www.genocidewatch.org/genocidetable.htm).
ME: Revolution is what it is. It's less likely, I think, that genocide is attributable to the form of government taking shape, and more attributable to the fact that radical change is a bloody thing. Compare the relative loss of life in the US between 1768 and 1868, say, to the North Korea of the last 100 years and I think we're at least using the same time frame, even if the conditions and history are totally different things.

OK, if the murder count is not likely to be "attributable to the form of government taking shape and more attributable to the fact that radical change is a bloody thing", then lets pick countries and comparable time periods more characteristic (less revolutionary) of the political economies we are comparing.
 
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subject: Vasily Zaitsev