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a free shadow

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  1. 18 hours ago, Howlin' Howland said:


    I look forward to anyone who even tries the VFFRKQV letters, I laughed when I rolled them up, good luck.

    "VFFRK", Qyburn vented.


    Vivified forsaken flesh, raising knight questing for vengence.


  2. 9 hours ago, Maithanet said:

    it's quite possible the army would get crushed, Belarus would revolt against Lukashenko and suddenly Ukraine doesn't need to defend the northern border at all, freeing up tens of thousands of troops for offensives elsewhere. 

    Russian army is in Belarus, invited and not unlikely to try protecting Belarusian people from themselves.

  3. 4 hours ago, Werthead said:

    Although, one interesting bit from this is that Putin seems to regard a Ukrainian ground invasion of Crimea as the threshold for using tactical nuclear weapons.

    It rather says "potential use" of nuclear weapons in case of invasion to Crimea, which is nothing new, even speaking about other teritories. If Russia is savvy enough to use Musk, it is savvy enough to make sure the message is exactly what they want people to think and not exactly the truth.

    It will be interesting to hear if this call even happened though, because Russia is usually not that savvy. Unless he just barged in as an useful fool.

    In any case, the truly interesting note seems to be about Ukrainians having issues with Starlink in retaken territories without a clear reason. Was there any explanation for that before?

  4. On 10/8/2022 at 3:15 PM, Jez Bell said:

    aah, mediocrity.  It's a comfy spot.

    it is my favorite entry of the first round. by far


    1. many timed person (it is so bright!)

    4. greenlit wildfire

    3. ravenmaster and raven


    4 hours ago, James Arryn said:

    Forgetting the syllogistic tankie accusations, tautological declarations that Ukraine =/= Iraq because reasons, and now being branded evil for being detrimental to the defense of Ukraine by posting different ideas on a ASOIAF general chatter board, all of which make absolutely perfect sense to me and don’t require any kind of like actual supporting argument or reasoning, can I pause before the cigarette and blindfold long enough to suggest that the war seems to be clearly entering a stage where the will of the Russian people to keep fighting is becoming increasingly determinant, and that just maybe trying to understand the bases, legit or otherwise, for that will might be kinda, you know, germane? 

    Just a thought. But do carry on doing your bit to help the defense of Ukraine by strictly posting updates about firefights now that the other posts won’t be somehow preventing those from being posted anymore.

    Ah, yes, someone being persecuted here by people not willing to take a bit of nonsense for a valuable contribution.

    Let us not forget that all this started with your willingness to engage with the argument that Russia has every right to invade Ukraine, stating the point of view that the war in Ukraine is more legitimate/historically accepted and based on less ludicrous/specious grounds than war in Iraq. If it is "more legitimate" then it is at least slightly legitimate, to move the needle, isn't it?

    Your further contribution is to retroactively delete parts of posts that have been proven to be extra inaccurate, cry that nobody is really reading your arguments despite plenty detailed replies on point, weirdly misread arguments made by others just to make them convenient to respond to, etc.

    Your opinion might be close to your heart, but it should get closer to the brain.

  6. 2 hours ago, James Arryn said:


    The fact that there is not much will in Russia to blame Russia is of course true. The fact that many people are quoting still-operating media supported narrative against "the West" is also true. But in terms of the quote you chose about "more than 20 countries US has bombed", experience suggests that even the person who said that would not really be able make a list of these countries, as what they are doing is simply re-transmitting the broader message of opressed Russia chosen and broadcasted for them, against all evidence.

    Even your chosen source states: "These people tend not to question news reports or narratives that are the bread and butter of Russian state media coverage of the war."

    So, what you are favorably engaging with is the narrative and excuses chosen by Russian power structures for Russian benefit, which always had little regard and gave little weight for the truth. Not grassroots movement by the people to get justice for "more than 20 countries US has bombed", let alone war in Iraq.

    If you believe that the powers that chose that message would not have been able to come up with other (real or invented) justification for it if not the war in Iraq, then you must be unfamiliar with the reality, especially of the recent decade in Russia.

  7. 2 hours ago, James Arryn said:

    As my prior post stated, it does not justify it…except to maybe the most important audience, the Russian people upon whose ~ support Putin’s ability to wage war depends.

    Where are you getting this from, what source, other than your own mind?

    That some people, when cornered by real arguments against their position, take last refuge in "what about that other thing" does not mean they believe it. It means they just wish to escape the real argument. And it is relatively effective because enough useful fools fall for it. 

    Not sure how many people in Russia might be resorting to it now as they are receiving more pushback (who cares, as it is a distraction rather than a real position), but after Crimea, etc. you would openly hear that it is either their right or that they personally have nothing to do with any wars and can you just not ask about it. Nobody ever brought up Iraq.

    As to Putin's ability to wage the war depending on the people who you think feel slighted by Iraq war, it is non-existent. Firstly of course, because the whole power structure there is so far removed from the people's opinions. Secondly, because those opinions are curated for the people and even the propoganda did not focus on Iraq. Thirdly, a lot of the people seem to be fine with any kind of thing no matter why it is done as long as it does not touch them directly. For example, I do remember still how the first argument I heard directly from someone living in Russia against the occupation of parts of Ukraine when it started was really the monetary cost of it and "the bother" of it. And it was from those with full access to information from outside the country.

    1 hour ago, James Arryn said:

    We can’t know, but honestly I do. That’s why it’s so forefront in any conversation with a Russian about this war.

    I am curious, how many such converastions are you having? And if you are really having any, how genuinely do you think Iraq comes up? How do you respond to it?

    1 hour ago, Werthead said:

    Putin's Russia engaged in horrendous warfare in Chechnya and political interference in places like Serbia long before the US invasion of Iraq. Russia also approved and even provided equipment and assistance for the incursion into Afghanistan in 2001.

    I do think the "what about the US?" argument is more useful propaganda for third countries than it is for Russians, though. Most Russians know that the invasion of Ukraine was unjustified, they either didn't care (until this mobilisation) or thought that Russia invading a non-threatening third country was justified to increase Russia's power.

    In a world where the United States never invaded Iraq, Russia still invades Georgia and Ukraine (in 2014 and 2022).


  8. 2 hours ago, James Arryn said:

    First, I was responding to the idea that nothing should be said after ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’, with the reasons I articulated.

    It seems you abridged the idea, to make it more convenient to respond to.

    What I said is that the time when atrocities are going on is the worst time to engage with the argument "What about that other thing someone else was doing in the past in some other place!" promoted by the perpetrators and apologists to waste your time. It benefits them. The student was not saying that wrong things should not happen, she was saying that it is fine, because someone else some other time did something wrong about some other thing.

    And your response basically is "Thank you for raising this vital point, it is the one we should focus on with walls and walls of text, made safe by a disclaimer that two wrongs do not make a right".

    I do not know if you are American, but at the very best it comes across as American self-importance. Sure, reflect on what you did in Iraq, you should. But don't do it in the space created by Russian aplogists to legitimise their actions in Ukraine.

    EDIT in 2 PARTS

    Thinking about it, what I am doing might be trying to limit the conversation in the wrong place. I saw it starting with the student who was defending the war and the direction you took amplified her  position. However, this thread is not exactly a space where this matters the most, even if it does matter to me.

    At the same time, I was also prompted by the information (some of it now deleted) presented as facts in your argument. It did not seem well-informed about Ukraine, just a voluntary run along the faulty line drawn by the student in the story, which is clearly a win for her, however small.

  9. 1 hour ago, James Arryn said:

    The problem with this kind of thinking is that it perpetuates the kinds of things that are happening now in the Ukraine.

    The kind of thinking of "two wrongs do not make a right, full stop" perpetuates wrongs?

    When you look at it retrospectively, you can philosophise that "the first party felt deeply wronged thinking it had less opportunity than the second party to hurt third parties, such is human nature sometimes and we need to be wary of and improve on this".

    When it is going on now, there is no time to blabber about this and especially to give it any legitimacy. Do something better.

    To diminish it to an inexcusable level (which, however, fits more to the level of this conversation). If somebody was kicking you, because someone else kicked them, would you think discussing this would take priority over making you safe?

    This has to be a deliberate pretending to not understand what was said by me, just to find a false ground to insist you are right. Again, do better.

  10. 5 hours ago, James Arryn said:

    Not to derail, and obv. two wrongs don’t make a right, but I can easily make the argument that the US invasion of Iraq was based on even less legitimate/historically accepted and more ludicrous/specious grounds

    This should not be said as a small side note, because this is the whole point and full stop should go after it. Unless you would be speaking about the times long past, for some retrospective analysis.

    Ukraine war is going on now. And the fact that some Russian (and other) people allow themselves to argue that "Someone else did something wrong, why should we not be allowed to!" is bizzare and repellent. From Russian people especially, as it is done in their name and they should do what they can to stop it.

  11. On 5/24/2022 at 6:47 PM, Rippounet said:

    I personally wouldn't know for certain, but I did see several commentators say or write that the war had achieved the same level of unity in the Eastern regions of Ukraine as it has in its West. So... as far as I know, close enough.

    Why don't you consider it important to know far more?

  12. On 5/24/2022 at 5:05 PM, Rippounet said:

     It doesn't exactly matter that the Ukrainians are willing participants, or that the Russians started it: the West is now waging a full-blown proxy war with Russia, that's now fact for the history books.

    ...here in France.

    Totally agree, and to appease Russia we should give them France! I mean, it is even better than Ukraine, so Russia would be even more deterred from further conflicts.

    What do you think?

    The maps with people speaking Russian are insane. It does not make them Russians or willing to go down under Russian rule. How much of France belongs to Portugal, Spain or Turkey by that logics? It's beyond help to suggest these things.

  13. 23 minutes ago, Werthead said:

    Obviously that's not going to happen

    Then why say it could :pirate: I am of course aware of the migrant crisis and how royally angry everyone was at Lukoshenko for it. At the core of it, what prevented further escalation was not some great fear of a terrible retaliation from Russia (although anticipation of a Russian provocation was one of the reasons why it was avoided so meticulously), but the understanding of the inherent messiness of it no matter who is involved.

  14. 2 hours ago, Werthead said:

    Lukashenko trying to keep things calm with Poland (who might not fancy their chances against Russia but could bum-rush Belarus easily if they thought they could get away with it)

    Poland would not rush Belarus, even if they can get away with it, what even is this. Lukoshenko is seen as an annoying problem, not the country or the people. You don't start going through the bodies of your neighbours just because you can get away with it.

    And as regards Lukoshenko in general, nobody pays any attention to what he says or does anymore. They are very aware he is there, but nobody believes him, nobody wants him, nobody even sees him, they look past him as an extra celofane on the Russian sandwich.

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