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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 3:38 pm 
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dandreiberg wrote:
Veidt's whole plan hinges around the inevitability of nuclear war, of which he was informed by Eddie Blake. Armageddon by nuclear fissionable material was at best arguable. At the beginning of the GN, the USSR and the USA are at a stalemate with the US having the upper hand due to Doc Manhattan. The nuclear clock is at 5 to midnight, the same place it's been since the 1950's.

But the world leaders are different.

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It has been argued that Jon was going to leave anyway. This is not proven. He was becoming increasingly emotionally distant, but had no immediate reason to leave the earth. Would he leave because Laurie walked out on him? Perhaps. Laurie may have had a change of mind... in fact she was on her way back when she discovered Jon had left for Mars - after the cancer accusations. Could they have patched things up? Unknowable, and therefore irrelevant to the discussion. Fact: it was Veidt who made Jon leave and helped the nuclear clock move forward.

But Laurie would have gotten old, or died, or become unappealing to Manhattan. That, too, is fact - and Manhattan says that she was his one remaining link.

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With regard to alternate plans? Here I think Veidt's psychopathy is very much the issue. Remember, he was CONVINCED nuclear war was inevitable. (Actually, he was pretty much dared by the Comedian to prevent it) This idea of reference is in itself a sign of insanity. He was consumed by this concept with a monomania of epic proportions. It influenced all of his decisions.

Actually, I don't think that Veidt took the Comedian on his word. Take a look at his charts on the wall, detailing different crises and their convergences. He heard the Comedian - and then looked into it, and confirmed it. And hell, if I was dubbed the smartest man in the world and I had immeasurable fortunes, I'd feel guilty for not being consumed with trying to find a solution.

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He had twenty years to plan (and manipulate public opinion and politicians). A more sane person would have looked at other alternatives and consulted others...

Consult whom? Who can Veidt possibly trust with thinking objectively? How do we know he didn't consider alternatives? You say it's not certain that Manhattan would leave, but it's strongly implied in the graphic novel - then you say that it's certain that Veidt considered no alternatives, when nothing is said regarding that, and Veidt wouldn't be likely to discuss them.

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Politics? Veidt wouldn't touch it with a 20 foot pole. His psychopathy (specifically his paranoia and narcissism) wouldn't permit the kind personal scrutiny that public office demands, despite the fact that he's publicly admired.

Veidt already plays the public eye and submits himself to public scrutiny. He gives interviews, performances, designs advertising and product campaigns - he has no problem giving off an image to the public or being examined by them.

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Bill Gates type philantropy? With his personal fortune it was doable. Other than a display of gymnastics, there's no evidence of any whatsoever. In fact, I suspect most of his assets were tied up in his little science project called Saving The World or advertising the Veidt trademark worldwide.

Advertising costs, much like Veidt's plan to save the world, are all about investment versus return. Obviously Veidt makes huge profits through his advertising, so that's not a waste of money that could go towards philanthropy - it's the accumulation of more money that could potentially be donated. Also, we know he donated his initial fortune, and Bernie says he donated to charities. It's presumable that Veidt would, what with maintaining the image of an ex-crimefighter. Once again, double standard for evidence - there's ample evidence that Veidt donated to charity, yet it's denied for some reason.

No.. He was insanely stuck on this. He could have done good if that was what really important to him. He chose to put all his sociopathic energies in a huge sham of a project that was his biggest lie of all.

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From a historical perpective, is anyone aware of a case/leader who exterminated millions for the greater good and wasn't later reviled??

All the mass murderers of history tried to couch their atrocities in noble terms. The Great Leap Forward. Lebensraum. Racial Purity. Stalin's purges, while being characterized as a fight against enemies of the state, mostly involved minorities. Pol Pot exterminated "intellectuals" (defined as anyone with an education) to protect his doctrine.

All of the leaders and instances you mention came from the idea of personal advancement. Veidt does it to save the world. He wouldn't even have told anyone. It doesn't benefit him especially in any way. Stalin did it to solidify his power. Hitler did it to win public support. Etc. The only reasonable comparison by any stretch is the use of the atomic bomb on Japan, and even then, there are contingencies there that separate it from Veidt's plan.

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I suspect that should it ever really happen, it's really out of our hands. In the meantime, the sane amongst us must assume that life goes on. Nothing ever really ends.

This makes me wonder - who are we to judge Veidt? He took action when the people of the world would not. He prevented nuclear war. Did anyone else step forward to help, for all the naysayers and moralists? Did anyone propose an alternate solution? Who was working to ensure that this did not happen? Veidt took action, he ended the problem, and it resulted in the loss of exponentially less lives than if he had not. Everyone else sat around and watched, waited, reminisced, moaned and groaned and lounged and got on with the mundane things in their life, worrying about jobs and relationships. Veidt saved the freaking world. To complain about it ex post facto is almost, well, ungrateful. He did the job nobody else was willing to do. If people like Veidt aren't to be trusted to make decisions for humanity, then the people who are qualified to prevent things like nuclear war should have stepped forward and taken action. They did not.

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 4:50 pm 
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The Veidt Method wrote:
This makes me wonder - who are we to judge Veidt?


We are. The readers of a Graphic Novel named Watchmen. A fictional situation where someone takes it upon themselves to "save the world" without consulting the world. Where same said person is of arguable ethics and sanity (this is what we're arguing about, right?). Where even his whole pretense for saving the world is itself arguable (or we wouldn't be having this discussion, I think). Involving a grandiose, outrageous plan with a fake killer alien and banishing the one individual holding the world in balance. Where his plan for saving the world involves dealing millions of death sentences for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and countless more for simply helping him out.

He has acted as judge and jury, deciding who lives and dies without a second of remorse. Like any historical figure committing a horrendous act, he deserves judgement.

The Veidt Method wrote:
But the world leaders are different.


Yes, but the general world situation is almost exactly the same. The Russians simply waited 5 years to enter Afghanistan. During the real 80's , there were several incidents where many thought the nukes were going to go flying. Reagan may have had nerves of steel, but diplomacy wasn't his strong suit (ironically, it was Nixon's, who was the first American leader to go to mainland China). Cooler heads prevailed. To call nuclear war inevitable is mostly conjecture. Mutually Assured Destruction pretty much mad sure of that. Also, when Nixon is in the War Room, the projections for damage are certainly bad, but they're not quite up to the Apocalyptic Scale. It would not be surprising if the russians were sitting in their silos looking at the damage the US would inflict to them. I don't think either side was in a hurry to press the button. It is likely the leaders of both sides would have to lives with the consequences of whatever came next.

The Veidt Method wrote:
But Laurie would have gotten old, or died, or become unappealing to Manhattan. That, too, is fact - and Manhattan says that she was his one remaining link.


You certainly post lots, but you don't read much...or at least come up with a new argumetn so I can come up with a new rebuttal... I've said this once before, (and kindly pay attention please) Yes, but Jon could have found another honey. The world situation could have changed. There is no way of knowing the "alternate" future here. What you say is not fact, but pure conjecture and open to argument. Please stay on topic.

The Veidt Method wrote:
Who can Veidt possibly trust with thinking objectively?


Sigh... given the mess he created in saving the world... certainly not himself.

The Veidt Method wrote:
Veidt already plays the public eye and submits himself to public scrutiny. He gives interviews, performances, designs advertising and product campaigns - he has no problem giving off an image to the public or being examined by them.


I completely disagree. He has the means to completely control his public image and persona. The only interview we see of him is in a magazine he owns and distributes. He is the medium and the message. We see of Veidt what he wants us to see. No more, no less.

In politics, opponents go looking for dirt. They go looking for the bodies. Veidt's vanity and emotional distance from the world will not tolerate any outside scrutiny. His paranoia would permit it even less.

The Veidt Method wrote:
He was insanely stuck on this
.

On that, we agree.

The Veidt Method wrote:
If people like Veidt aren't to be trusted to make decisions for humanity, then the people who are qualified to prevent things like nuclear war should have stepped forward and taken action. They did not.


In our world, they did. In Watchmen, they were not given the opportunity.

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 10:04 pm 
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The Veidt Method wrote:
But the world leaders are different.


Yes, but the general world situation is almost exactly the same. The Russians simply waited 5 years to enter Afghanistan. During the real 80's , there were several incidents where many thought the nukes were going to go flying. Reagan may have had nerves of steel, but diplomacy wasn't his strong suit (ironically, it was Nixon's, who was the first American leader to go to mainland China). Cooler heads prevailed. To call nuclear war inevitable is mostly conjecture. Mutually Assured Destruction pretty much mad sure of that. Also, when Nixon is in the War Room, the projections for damage are certainly bad, but they're not quite up to the Apocalyptic Scale. It would not be surprising if the russians were sitting in their silos looking at the damage the US would inflict to them. I don't think either side was in a hurry to press the button. It is likely the leaders of both sides would have to lives with the consequences of whatever came next.

Once again, Gorbachev and Reagan's combined efforts were pretty much the sole reason for the end of the cold war. In Watchmen, Nixon seems much more willing to engage in a first strike - just look at the conversation in the War Room. The Watchmen Cold War is far, far less reliable than the one that came about in our world. The only reason the projections for the damage didn't cover the entire US is because, if I recall, that was a projection for a US FIRST STRIKE. Meaning that Russia would pretty much be completely gone, along with a huge chunk of Europe and over half of the US, and who knows what else.

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The Veidt Method wrote:
But Laurie would have gotten old, or died, or become unappealing to Manhattan. That, too, is fact - and Manhattan says that she was his one remaining link.


You certainly post lots, but you don't read much...or at least come up with a new argumetn so I can come up with a new rebuttal... I've said this once before, (and kindly pay attention please) Yes, but Jon could have found another honey. The world situation could have changed. There is no way of knowing the "alternate" future here. What you say is not fact, but pure conjecture and open to argument. Please stay on topic.

Jon wouldn't have found another 'honey.' He only fell in love when he was a naive crimefighter, unaware of the deeper mystery of the universe and more concerned with humanity. Hell, he's barely even interested in his wife, his only link to humanity - he loses her, he's not going to be interested in anyone else. It's been past that point of no return for a long time in Watchmen. But really, I fail to see that this heavily-alluded-to contingency is more of a conjecture than, say, 'Veidt didn't think of other plans,' or 'the world would have resolved the conflict on its own.' Hurm.

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The Veidt Method wrote:
Who can Veidt possibly trust with thinking objectively?


Sigh... given the mess he created in saving the world... certainly not himself.

Looking at NYC a while later, I don't see much of a 'mess.' If you're referring to the bodies, well, that's rather like complaining about a glass of juice that got spilled in the process of saving the entire carton.

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The Veidt Method wrote:
Veidt already plays the public eye and submits himself to public scrutiny. He gives interviews, performances, designs advertising and product campaigns - he has no problem giving off an image to the public or being examined by them.


I completely disagree. He has the means to completely control his public image and persona. The only interview we see of him is in a magazine he owns and distributes. He is the medium and the message. We see of Veidt what he wants us to see. No more, no less.

And this is somehow different from politicians? Veidt is already at that level of 'scrutiny.' If he was in politics, he would not be under any more, really, except for maybe a closer watch on where he was going. You really think that nobody has tried to look for dirt on Veidt, who's rich beyond imagination?

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The Veidt Method wrote:
If people like Veidt aren't to be trusted to make decisions for humanity, then the people who are qualified to prevent things like nuclear war should have stepped forward and taken action. They did not.


In our world, they did. In Watchmen, they were not given the opportunity.

In Watchmen, they weren't there.

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:19 pm 
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The Veidt Method wrote:
just look at the conversation in the War Room.


The first time "First Strike" is mentioned, Nixon looks at the numbers and says We'll wait a week and see.

Later, in chapter X Nixon resists pressure to employ first strike tactics quite firmly. His intention is to sit and wait. He's NOT contemplating anything rash.

Doesn't sound the kind of man who's willing to sacrifice a whole whack of lives on pure conjecture. And unlike our putative villain, I don't think the Russians are either.

The Veidt Method wrote:
But really, I fail to see that this heavily-alluded-to contingency is more of a conjecture
Quote:


Of course it's conjecture silly. That's what I've beeen trying to say. You can't PROVE Jon was going to leave. You can't know that. Let's stick to discussing what's in the novel rather than what if, shall we??

The Veidt Method wrote:
Looking at NYC a while later, I don't see much of a 'mess.'


Of course not, it's been cleaned up. But the beginning of XII is about as messy as it gets. That's the mess I refer to. Please pay attention.

dandreiberg wrote:
In our world, they did. In Watchmen, they were not given the opportunity.


I stand by that. They were definitely there. Nixon and his Russian counterpart never had a chance to defuse a situation that Veidt started by sending Jon off planet.

You don't have to agree, but that's my point of view.

You've been repeating yourself ad nauseum at me for I don't know how many pages. You've failed to convince me. I've ttried a variety of logical arguments that you either fail to read or fail to address. I'm doing a piss poor job of convincing you. Aren't you finding this tedious??

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:47 pm 
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dandreiberg wrote:
Later, in chapter X Nixon resists pressure to employ first strike tactics quite firmly. His intention is to sit and wait. He's NOT contemplating anything rash.

No, he's not contemplating being pressured to do something rash. Major difference there.

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The Veidt Method wrote:
But really, I fail to see that this heavily-alluded-to contingency is more of a conjecture


Of course it's conjecture silly. That's what I've beeen trying to say. You can't PROVE Jon was going to leave. You can't know that. Let's stick to discussing what's in the novel rather than what if, shall we??

Then by the same logic, drop your arguments that Veidt didn't consider other plans and that the situation would have been otherwise resolved - because those represent much more ridiculous conjecture, with absolutely no basis. But that's right - conjecture is ok, so long as it's not supporting my argument. "I said, often, that you were my only link, my only concern with the world." "You're driftin' outta touch, Doc. You're turnin' into a flake." The whole issue with Janey Slater where he dumped her because she wasn't physically appealing while he was still caught up in the adventuring euphoria (the deterioration of which - along with the deterioration of his link with humanity - is obviously represented by the gradual decrease in the amount of clothing he wears). When he picks up both girls, he has the 'full body' costume, or at least a reasonable amount of clothing (i.e., attachment). He's completely naked during the 'present' Watchmen. He has no links other than Laurie. Laurie leaves or becomes uninteresting to him, he is gone. Somehow, this would be more than enough evidence for many other threads, many other conclusions we make in Watchmen, but here, huge amounts of evidence result in a verdict of 'conjecture.'

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The Veidt Method wrote:
Looking at NYC a while later, I don't see much of a 'mess.'


Of course not, it's been cleaned up. But the beginning of XII is about as messy as it gets. That's the mess I refer to. Please pay attention.

Oh, you mean like right after what you quoted, where I say
Quote:
If you're referring to the bodies, well, that's rather like complaining about a glass of juice that got spilled in the process of saving the entire carton.

That mess? Because if that's what you were referring to, then I'd have to ask you to please pay attention and read more than half of a two-sentence comment.

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I stand by that. They were definitely there. Nixon and his Russian counterpart never had a chance to defuse a situation that Veidt started by sending Jon off planet.

Did they look like they wanted to? Nixon runs off to his bunker and puts his hand on the button box, with absolutely no evidence that he's even considered talking to Russian politicians about the crisis.

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You've been repeating yourself ad nauseum at me for I don't know how many pages. You've failed to convince me. I've ttried a variety of logical arguments that you either fail to read or fail to address. I'm doing a piss poor job of convincing you. Aren't you finding this tedious??

I'm taking pains to address every argument thoroughly. Honestly, I feel like both you and Vynson have resorted much more to a derogatory tone, emotional appeals, and double standards than logical arguments. I respond to your points; you've chosen not to respond to half of my responses. But really, when I'm defending against the same accusations over and over again, I can see how it would get repetitive.

Moore intentionally creates the perfect moral dilemma. He includes these clues about Manhattan leaving, about Nixon's extended terms resulting in horrendous extension and worsening of the Cold War, about the inevitability of a nuclear holocaust in order to make us think about the tradeoff Veidt chooses to make. Obviously, he disagrees with Veidt, using copious Nazi allusions to do so, few of which have any bearing in comparison to the situation. It's a sanitized version of the Hiroshima situation, really - a mass slaughter invoked in order to save even more lives, with citizens on both sides of the issue instead of contrasting the death of American soldiers with Japanese citizens (which, to me, is the major moral issue of Hiroshima). This is what Moore asks: if the world is heading to catastrophe and there's no sign of the situation being resolved, to what extent is it moral to take matters into one's own hands, invoking a solution that results in the death of innocents but prevents a much greater crisis? I say that it is moral, provided that no other path was similarly reliable.

Yes, you can argue about the minutiae of what Moore included in Watchmen 'ad nauseam' (it's 'am', not 'um') if you want - he only had 300-some pages in which to establish an entire world, after all, and he prefers to show rather than to tell, so straightforward expository conversations/writings that would normally resolve this quickly are unavailable. However, when he includes minor expositions of personalities or world situations, we can be fairly sure they're intended to give us a grasp on the bigger picture (though this doesn't apply to his Hitler allusions with Veidt - that's more of making a judgment about a character, since there are very few non-superficial comparisons between the two).

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 6:07 am 
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dandreiberg wrote:
Veidt's whole plan hinges around the inevitability of nuclear war, of which he was informed by Eddie Blake. Armageddon by nuclear fissionable material was at best arguable. At the beginning of the GN, the USSR and the USA are at a stalemate with the US having the upper hand due to Doc Manhattan. The nuclear clock is at 5 to midnight, the same place it's been since the 1950's.


Actually the Doomsday clock has fluctuated to different times from the late 50's to now. For example the Cuban Missile Crisis had the Doomsday clock at 1 minute to midnight at its height. The clock has not remained static. The Russian invasion of Afghanistan is another example of our Doomsday clock changing.

dandreiberg wrote:
As Veidt's plan develops, it BECOMES inevitable by virtue of his own machinations. Make no mistake about this. It is soon after that the Russians start to rattle their sabres, agitating as they are because of being cowed by the United States for so long.


Unless things changed, because of the additional reliance of computers within the strategic defences of both Russia and the US, the likelihood of nuclear war increased so much that within a 50 year period from 1980, it was statistically almost certain a mistake would occur and a launch would be made by one side or another if the situation hadn't changed. This is what Adrian is talking about, and is refered to in the GN, Chapter XI, page 21, panel 5..."As stockpiles grew, as computers reduced human involvement, the spectre of accidental apocalypse stalked ever closer".

Adrian's actions only precipitated what was inevitable anyway. He did NOT create the problem, he only accelerated it, once he had a workable solution, and he needed to do so in order to implement his plan.

dandreiberg wrote:
It has been argued that Jon was going to leave anyway. This is not proven. He was becoming increasingly emotionally distant, but had no immediate reason to leave the earth. Would he leave because Laurie walked out on him? Perhaps. Laurie may have had a change of mind... in fact she was on her way back when she discovered Jon had left for Mars - after the cancer accusations. Could they have patched things up? Unknowable, and therefore irrelevant to the discussion. Fact: it was Veidt who made Jon leave and helped the nuclear clock move forward.


Again, I agree that Adrian accelerated the process, but he says that he had stolen psychiatric reports that indicated Jon's increasing isolation and detachment. Adrian infered from this it was only a matter of time before Jon left for whatever reason. Chapter XI, page 26, panel 1. "The stolen psychiatric reports indicated his mental withdrawal. The cancer allegations made it physical." These reports therefore confirmed that Jon was increasingly isolated and withdrawn, and must have suggested the possibility of his leaving either by inference or explicitly, Adrian simply at this point made it reality once his plan was in place.

What seems not to be in any major doubt is that is was likely that Jon owuld leave at some point. At that point nuclear becomes inevitable as was shown in the GN. Adrian assumed the worse case scenario, rather than bury his head in the sand and hope for the best.

dandreiberg wrote:
With regard to alternate plans? Here I think Veidt's psychopathy is very much the issue. Remember, he was CONVINCED nuclear war was inevitable. (Actually, he was pretty much dared by the Comedian to prevent it) This idea of reference is in itself a sign of insanity. He was consumed by this concept with a monomania of epic proportions. It influenced all of his decisions.


Everyone was convinced nuclear was inevitable, all of the game theory on the subject said that was the case in our world and I would assume the same for the Watchmen universe. Blake whilst being an intelligent man was hardly a genius and he could easily see it. Blake pointed out to all what was clear to many, nuclear war was inevitable, either sooner or later.

dandreiberg wrote:
He had twenty years to plan (and manipulate public opinion and politicians). A more sane person would have looked at other alternatives and consulted others...


This assumes he did not consider and reject such a course as less likely to succeed than his exploding squidgina. I agree it is specualtion on my part to suggest that he considered other plans, but Veidt is a genius, for me it would be inconceivable that he would have one idea and only one idea, and not think carefully about alternatives.

He states several times that he thought about the situation carefully, taking into account different factor politically, socially, and economically. Are you suggesting that he would not even think about another plan other than just the fake alien invasion? That would seem to be totally out of character.

dandreiberg wrote:
Politics? Veidt wouldn't touch it with a 20 foot pole. His psychopathy (specifically his paranoia and narcissism) wouldn't permit the kind personal scrutiny that public office demands, despite the fact that he's publicly admired.


Actually political office would probably appeal to his narcissistic side, especially that of the oval office, and he made a very carefull manufactured public image which would have been ideal to run for office. He already demonstrated that he is willing to kill for his plan to work, so the thought of getting rid of anyone standing in his path to political office, if he thought that would work would surely be more attractive to him than the deaths of 3 million New Yorkers was surely not a problem. This is one of the reasons why I suggest it is likely that Adrian thought about and rejected this as a plan.

dandreiberg wrote:
Bill Gates type philantropy? With his personal fortune it was doable. Other than a display of gymnastics, there's no evidence of any whatsoever. In fact, I suspect most of his assets were tied up in his little science project called Saving The World or advertising the Veidt trademark worldwide.


In fact, its stated on a few occasions that he gave huge sums to charity and participated in charitable works. Either you accept everything in the GN as true, or suddenly everything is up for grabs and we can dispute any "fact" in the GN as potentially untrue. You have no way of knowing how much or why Adrian gave or contributed, except for the fact that several times in the GN it is mentioned by different characters and his philanthropy seems not to be in doubt in the GN.

dandreiberg wrote:
No.. He was insanely stuck on this. He could have done good if that was what really important to him. He chose to put all his sociopathic energies in a huge sham of a project that was his biggest lie of all.


Once again you are rejecting the idea that he would have considered alternatives and rejected them, despite the fact this would totally be in character for Veidt, and assume he wouldn't which again seems to be out of character for him....

dandreiberg wrote:
Just thought I'd add this...

From a historical perpective, is anyone aware of a case/leader who exterminated millions for the greater good and wasn't later reviled??

All the mass murderers of history tried to couch their atrocities in noble terms. The Great Leap Forward. Lebensraum. Racial Purity. Stalin's purges, while being characterized as a fight against enemies of the state, mostly involved minorities. Pol Pot exterminated "intellectuals" (defined as anyone with an education) to protect his doctrine.


Harry Truman. There has been widespread debate about the necessity for Hiroshima and even more so Nagasaki, but despite this debate Truman is not reviled and is considered a good president by many people. (Not me, but that is another debate)

dandreiberg wrote:
One more thing. Forgive me if this seems arrogant. It's not in any way meant that way. I lived half my life under the threat of nuclear war. I was almost thirty when Watchmen came out. As a child, I was in fear of of the bomb. Probably as most children nowadays fear global warming. I was so sure it was going to happen in my lifetime, as did many of my friends.

Perhaps this explains my somewhat cavalier attitude towards the end of the world. I suspect that should it ever really happen, it's really out of our hands. In the meantime, the sane amongst us must assume that life goes on. Nothing ever really ends.


I fully accept your point here, but it isn't really relevant to the debate. However you felt about the threat of nuclear war, and felt things were out of your hands, Veidt felt the same way, but did something about it. We can and are arguing whether or not he did the right thing, but in the end we can only judge his actions and if we accept that the world would have ended without his intervention, which according to all the indicators was the case, then he did the right thing.

As I posited in my previous post, if his squidgina plan was the only workable solution to the problem, and he saved humanity, he acted correctly, if it wasn't then he didn't.

The issue then comes down to, was there an alternative plan that would have prevented the inevitable nuclear holocaust? We cannot know, and therefore it is impossible to judge the correctness of actions. We can debate his ethics and his motivations, but without more knowledge it is simply impossible to say Adrian was right or wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 6:24 am 
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Nice post Darkweaver. Here's a question up for grabs -- does it matter that Harry Truman was (indirectly) elected by millions of people to represent the actions of a nation, vs. the actions of a single man (Veidt) selected by none?

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 7:39 am 
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In my opinion, no. Simply because at the time the decision was taken, it was during a war, and Truman only consulted perhaps a few key people. He was after all the persident with the brass plaque on his desk that said, "The Buck Stop Here."

He took personal responsiblity at the time for the decision, and in fact he had not been voted into office as I recall, but had taken over as President after Roosevelt had died in office. So he in fact didn't have a personal mandate for the presidency, his erstwhile dead predecessor did.

Many US historians rate Truman in the top 10 of US presidents. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_rankings_of_United_States_Presidents Whilst I realise that Wikipedia isn't always the most accurate source of information, it can seen from this that he is held in high regard, and was re-elected to the Presidency in 1948, after a "come from behind" campaign over Thomas Dewey.

To be fair, Roosevelt would almost certainly have taken the same decision in light of the fact he green lighted the Manhattan project in the first place, but strictly speaking Truman was in a very very similar position to Veidt.

It is easy to be an armchair quarterback after the event and look back and speculate on the morality of those decisions taken at the time. But I do think that ol' Uncle Al was deliberately trying to draw parallels between Veidt and Truman, especially in light of Rorschach's admiration of Truman.

As I stated in my previous post, I think it is impossible to judge the correctness (not necessarily the morality) of Adrian's decision without knowing if there was an alternative plan, or if it was a simple black and white choice between the lesser of two evils. I would agree that by choosing the lesser of two evils, one can argue in strict Manichean terms that evil was still done.

However, I am not an objectivist and I believe that all morality in an imperfect world is situational and open to interpretation. One person's terrorist is another one's freedom fighter.

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 8:13 am 
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Darkweaver wrote:
One person's terrorist is another one's freedom fighter.


And one person's raging psychopath another's semi-retired philanthropist doing what he can for the common good. :P



And another thought... Why New York? Why not Paris? Moscow? Slough? I realize the book centers around those offices in back of Bernie's stand, but those offices could have been anywhere else.

I just mention this because I would imagine there were many people who would have thought that the "thing" wasn't from any other dimension at all. (Which it wasn't) And wasn't an "alien" presence either. (Which it wasn't).

1985 was the year the personal computer broke out and after a few years the Internet was up for grabs, accelerated by the use of browsers and message groups.

Think of the conspiracy theories surrounding squiddly-deadly. As well as the possible exposé of the ultra conservative and missing "hero" Rorschach's mad scribblings. I'd say the shit would hit the fan pretty soon enough.

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 8:51 am 
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Soupdragon wrote:
And one person's raging psychopath another's semi-retired philanthropist doing what he can for the common good. :P


Indeedy :)

Soupdragon wrote:
And another thought... Why New York? Why not Paris? Moscow? Slough? I realize the book centers around those offices in back of Bernie's stand, but those offices could have been anywhere else.


Well no one would care if it was Slough for a start, in fact many would proably cheer, hehehe. As for why New York, probably because it is the most famous and well known city in the world, and squiddly would have the maximum impact when detonated there. Same reason Osama bin Laden chose NY, media impact.

Soupdragon wrote:
I just mention this because I would imagine there were many people who would have thought that the "thing" wasn't from any other dimension at all. (Which it wasn't) And wasn't an "alien" presence either. (Which it wasn't).

1985 was the year the personal computer broke out and after a few years the Internet was up for grabs, accelerated by the use of browsers and message groups.


Well, the whole idea of the psychic sensitives having nightmares after would help convince them, especially if Adrian has manipulated the DNA to be "otherwordly" for example having a left-handed twist rather than right......I would assume he would have provided enough collateral forensic evidence that the squidgina was alien for that not to be an issue.

Soupdragon wrote:
Think of the conspiracy theories surrounding squiddly-deadly. As well as the possible exposé of the ultra conservative and missing "hero" Rorschach's mad scribblings. I'd say the shit would hit the fan pretty soon enough.


Well maybe, maybe not, depends on the "evidence" they have. The amount of conspiracies surrounding JFK's death and the amount of evidence which pretty much conclusively proves a second shooter still hasn't meant that most, at the time, and many still now believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin.

Adrian also has the will and resources to make sure that any really serious attempts to find out the truth would be met with the sternest of efforts to stop them. He's just killed 3 million New Yorkers, I very much doubt he'd baulk at a few more conspiracy theorists.

And to be honest so what if a few conspiracy nuts proclaimed the truth about it from the rooftops later, by then its all over. A really serious attempt to change things would simply mean they would be killed by Veidt or one of his cronies anyway. Adrian would after all protect his new utopia with everything he has......

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:02 am 
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All of this comes down to point of view. Let's do a compare and contrast...

Let's say Veidt did consider other plans to save the world. In the end, he chose the squidgina plan that results in 3 million deaths. In his mind, that was the only plan that would work. He shows sympathy for those innocent lives lost, but it "had to be done" for the "greater good."

George W. Bush considered other courses of action to bring democracty to Iraq, In the end, he chose to go to war that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and thousands of American and partnering soldiers. In his mind, going to war in Iraq was the only plan that would work. Bush shows sympathy for those innocent lives lost, but it "had to be done" for the "greater good."

Do you see my point?

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:14 am 
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I can see your point, apart from the fact that we are not aware of any other plan in the Watchmen universe that would or could have had a chance of working, and Adrian Veidt is a genius, and not implementing his plan for his own glorification.

In our world, there were many plans debated before the second invasion of Iraq, many of which were viable and would have avoiding the casualties that the second war has been the cause of. And George W. Bush is a strategically shaved chimp with all the mental agility and capacity of a particularly stupid squirrel.

Otherwise I can see the correlation between the two scenarios :)

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:35 am 
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Darkweaver wrote:
I can see your point, apart from the fact that we are not aware of any other plan in the Watchmen universe that would or could have had a chance of working, and Adrian Veidt is a genius, and not implementing his plan for his own glorification.

In our world, there were many plans debated before the second invasion of Iraq, many of which were viable and would have avoiding the casualties that the second war has been the cause of. And George W. Bush is a strategically shaved chimp with all the mental agility and capacity of a particularly stupid squirrel.

Otherwise I can see the correlation between the two scenarios :)

Yes, but GW is the president. He's not a genius, but he's not as stupid as he often appears. Also, the decision to go to war was not 100% his. There were countless advisors - military, civilian and otherwise - whose intelligence was brought to bear on the Iraq issue, and still the course of war was chosen. I think the anology stands.

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 10:26 am 
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DoomsdayClock wrote:
Yes, but GW is the president. He's not a genius, but he's not as stupid as he often appears.


God, I hope not. Unfortunately the mountain of evidence suggests he is a moron, and simply a mouth piece and puppet for people like Dick "The Trigger" Cheney and Donald "I'm not a crook" Rumsfeld, and of course his Dad.

DoomsdayClock wrote:
Also, the decision to go to war was not 100% his. There were countless advisors - military, civilian and otherwise - whose intelligence was brought to bear on the Iraq issue, and still the course of war was chosen. I think the anology stands.


By introducing a massive number of advisors and other decision makers you actually weaken the analogy.
1) Adrian took his decision on his own, George W. probably couldn't tie his shoelaces on his own.

2) Adrian's decision was taken without public knowledge, and not for personal gain. Dubya's decision was all about American oil interests and unfinished business in full glare of the world's media.

3) Adrian's decision was about saving humanity from destruction, Bush' decision was about ensuring oil supplies for Americans, and restructing contracts for Haliburton.

4) Adrian's decision was made in secret and he was never meant to take the credit or even have a whiff of his involvement. Bush' decision was about appearing to be a strong persident in the face of public doubts and hostility to his presidency.

I really can't see in the light of the above how the two decisions can be seen to be similar or based on similar motives or even for the same ostensible reasons. One was about saving humanity, the other was about cheap petrol for cars......


One more thought. Another iconic character that Adrian reminds me of is Michael Corleone. Michael goes into the family business becoming a murderer, both at first hand and by ordering the deaths of others to protect his family.

Adrian does exactly the same thing, except he views the human race as his family.

One can argue that in fact Michael is a raging pyschopath because he kills lots of people with seeming to feel remorse for their deaths (except in Godfather pt III at the funeral of Don Tommasino, he vows to sin no more if God will aloow his redemption, but yet proceeds to sin again in order to once again protect the family's interests.

Adrian too claims to feel remorse for the deaths he has caused, I can see many parallels between the two characte's ethical decisions and how it effects them.

From that point of view it is difficult to argue that Michael, or Adrian is sociopathic, simply that they act to protect their own interests by whatever means necessary.

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 12:00 pm 
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Darkweaver wrote:
By introducing a massive number of advisors and other decision makers you actually weaken the analogy.
1) Adrian took his decision on his own, George W. probably couldn't tie his shoelaces on his own.

I don't think so. Adrian is one man. It would be easier for him to miscalculate, even if he is a genius. It's harder for an entire group to do so.

Darkweaver wrote:
2) Adrian's decision was taken without public knowledge, and not for personal gain. Dubya's decision was all about American oil interests and unfinished business in full glare of the world's media.

3) Adrian's decision was about saving humanity from destruction, Bush' decision was about ensuring oil supplies for Americans, and restructing contracts for Haliburton.

First, Adrian gains the knowledge that it was he alone that saved the world. His ego benefits. He's not Mother Teresa. Plus, when did Bush say the war is about oil and unfinished business. That's what you have inferred from his "bad" unilateral decision. His reasons for going to war are almost as "noble" as Veidt's. Bush is saving the world from terrorism and the evil tyranny of Iraq's regine that is bent on the destruction of th efree world. Sounds like the stakes are pretty high whether you believe it or not.

Darkweaver wrote:
4) Adrian's decision was made in secret and he was never meant to take the credit or even have a whiff of his involvement. Bush' decision was about appearing to be a strong persident in the face of public doubts and hostility to his presidency.

But "taking credit" for the plan undermines Veidt's plan entirely. The nature of Veidt's plan hinges on the US and Russia believing there's a real threat of alien invasion. Bush's plan does not require him to keep it a secret.

Darkweaver wrote:
I really can't see in the light of the above how the two decisions can be seen to be similar or based on similar motives or even for the same ostensible reasons. One was about saving humanity, the other was about cheap petrol for cars.....

Again, you see Bush's decision to go to war as a fight for cheap oil. Listen to Bush's rhetoric. It's about keeping the world safe from madmen and terrorists who want to destroy the Western world. You and I may not believe that those are the motives, but Bush does (or has at least convinced himself that those are the motives).

Adrain has also convinced himself that his plan is the only way as well. Nothing else will work. Not diplomacy. Nothing. Three million must die in NY at the hands of a perceived alien. Period. Just because you believe that he had no other option, so can some Americans believe the same thing about the Iraq war.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to infer that Bush or Veidt are right or wrong. It's open to interpretation. The truth is Bush and Veidt acted unilaterally with no reguard for the damage that would be done, and the truth is, their decision could easily have been the wrong one.

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 12:47 pm 
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Darkweaver wrote:
One more thought. Another iconic character that Adrian reminds me of is Michael Corleone. Michael goes into the family business becoming a murderer, both at first hand and by ordering the deaths of others to protect his family.

Adrian does exactly the same thing, except he views the human race as his family.

One can argue that in fact Michael is a raging pyschopath because he kills lots of people with seeming to feel remorse for their deaths (except in Godfather pt III at the funeral of Don Tommasino, he vows to sin no more if God will aloow his redemption, but yet proceeds to sin again in order to once again protect the family's interests.

Adrian too claims to feel remorse for the deaths he has caused, I can see many parallels between the two characte's ethical decisions and how it effects them.

From that point of view it is difficult to argue that Michael, or Adrian is sociopathic, simply that they act to protect their own interests by whatever means necessary.



I was with you until you brought Michael into it... :P


Michael did indeed commit murder and ordered the murder of others. I don't recall if any of the murders were murders of innocents though. These were people threatening the family; people who shot his father.

I mean, Michael was a guy who already tasted death in war, much to his distain. He was brought back in because of his family, and the emotional ties that come with it. It's the nature of the business to kill.

Adrian has no family, or any emotional ties to anyone. His plan is not emotionally based- a plan that took nearly twenty years to commit. That's alot of dedication to an ideal without apparent emotional tie.

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:11 pm 
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Bush is not similar to Veidt. The situation is not comparable. Bush acted on, essentially, hearsay regarding nuclear weapons, with absolutely no evidence to back it up besides ridiculous claims made by Hussein. They showed no interest in using these weapons offensively unless attacked - in fact, that's why Hussein lied about them - to scare countries into not attacking Iraq. Bush ended hundreds of thousands of innocent lives on hearsay and whim, with no evidence of a present or potential danger. Bush has not saved lives. In fact, after no WMDs turned up, he switched his tact to deposing a dictator - essentially imposing a form of government on another, unwilling country.

Veidt acted with knowledge of the weapons' existence, knowledge of their destructive capabilities, knowledge of how many lives would be lost if they were ever used. He acted with the sole intent of saving as many lives as possible as reliably as possible.

Huge difference.

Oh, and yeah, Bush is retarded.

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:16 pm 
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A few things I'd like to point out. Forgive me ahead of time for being long winded.

As far as Jon leaving is without Veidt's help is concerned, it is not fact but a conjecture. Yes, the stolen psych reports indicated mental withdrawal, but that does NOT necessarily translate to him taking an unplanned vacation on Mars. Even the loss of Laurie, his only link to humanity, doesn't guarantee it. He seemed quite content puttering around in his lab at home. As long as nobody took that away from him, I don't see why he would WANT to leave.

It took (false) evidence that he was a danger to those around him to drive him away.

Darkweaver wrote:
Actually the Doomsday clock has fluctuated to different times from the late 50's to now.


Yes, but by never more than a few minutes. Ask anyone born in the 50's or 60's. The birds could have been flying at any minute. It was real.

So, is Nixon a trigger happy guy ready to end the world? Let's see what Moore puts in his mouth.

First in the war room:

Quote:
I'd always kind of hoped that the big decision would rest with somebody else. This is going to take some thinking about


Quote:
I think we'll give it a week before bringing out our big guns


Later in the Bunker...

Quote:

Kissinger: The question is, what do we do next?

Nixon: We do what we came down here for: we stay at DefCon Two...

and we sit...

and we wait




Things are certainly tense for ol' Tricky Dickie. Amazingly, he's holding up well under pressure. He's thinking of the stakes. And they're mighty big. Grace under pressure. Oh yes, look at that last panel on X:3. The finger isn't on the trigger. The keys are safely locked in the football. Chained to his wrist. He's NOT in a hurry to do anything. And he's not going to unless the Russians force his hand.

You might want to contrast Nixon's dilemma with Adrian's own pushing of the button scene. Pretty relaxed and calm for a guy unrolling the end of the world for a paltry 3 million people. There's no dilemma for him. No soul searching. La-de-da, let's take out the trash...

So, let's take a closer look at our philanthropic genius who's taken on the noble task of saving the world. I think his own words say a lot about who he is and where he's coming from. Let's read his rationale for doing what he has to do, as he explains it to Dan and Rorscach:

Adrian Veidt wrote:

The earth, humanity, all we've ever known... "end of the world does the concept no justice.

The world's present would end. Its future, immeasurably vaster, would also vanish.

Even our past would be cancelled. Our struggle from the primordial ooze, every childbirth, every personal sacrifice rendered meaningless, leading only to dust, tossed on the Void-Winds.

Save for Richard Nixon, whose name adorns a plaque upon the moon, no human vestige would remain.

Ruins become sand, sand blows away... all our richness and color and beauty would be lost...

...as if it had never been



Moving. Bravo. Well said. (Pardon my sarcasm, I really do enjoy Moore's writing)

Except, what's all this purple prose in aid of, anyway?? On the surface, he's talking about things. Yes, mentions humanity (according to Merriam-Webster: the quality or state of being human), but most of this passage seems more concerned with the trappings of the human race than said race itself.

Where is the concern for the collossal loss of human life the end of the world would entail?? It is mentioned, at best, in a passing manner. For Christ's Sake, Adrian has a captive audience here, and he's justifying his plan. Why can't he just simply say think of all the people that would die if they dropped the bomb ??? (...and I wouldn't fault him for saying it more eloquently)

But he doesn't. He's more concerned about the things people have built and accomplished. That's what he really cares about. Humanity is an abstract concept to him.

Let's continue. I won't go in to the plan in detail (since there's no argument about the substance of the plan) other than to point out another thing or two...

Let's skip ahead to his discussion of Eddie Blake...

Adrian Veidt wrote:


That's what upset the Comedian, when awareness of my scheme crashed in on him:

Professional Jealousy


Why does Veidt even say this? Why is this important to him? Eddie never struck me as a jealous type. Brutal, yes. Amoral, obviously. But jealous?? Psychologists refer to the act of transferring emotions to others in order to avoid responsibility as mirroring. You are angry at your spouse, but you blame your spouse for being angry at you. Is this what is going on here? Who is really jealous?

Anyway, Rorschach accuses Adrian of murdering Blake.

Adrian Veidt wrote:


Confession implies penitence. I merely regret his accidental involvement.



He's sidestepping the accusation. Again, avoiding responsibility.

The next quote is a gem...

Adrian Veidt wrote:


Returning from Nicaragua by air, he spotted a ship at an uncharted island. Suspecting Sandinista bases, he resolved to investigate.



Let's grant for a moment that Blake happened to fly by serendipidously. He sees a boat there. Why is he automatically suspicious of Sandinistas? Why does he resolve to investigate? Sure, good ol' Eddie is a long standing operative for Uncle Sam, and as thourough and succesful as he is, can anyone point to me an example where he took it upon himself to investigate something without prior orders? Or did a little bird tell him where he could find the Sandinistas? Too many coincidences here for my personal taste. Just one more thing.

I love the second panel on XI:26. Not one, but TWO bloody smiley faces. Adrian loves his job.

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:31 pm 
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Quote:
Let's grant for a moment that Blake happened to fly by serendipidously. He sees a boat there. Why is he automatically suspicious of Sandinistas? Why does he resolve to investigate? Sure, good ol' Eddie is a long standing operative for Uncle Sam, and as thourough and succesful as he is, can anyone point to me an example where he took it upon himself to investigate something without prior orders? Or did a little bird tell him where he could find the Sandinistas? Too many coincidences here for my personal taste. Just one more thing.

Holy crap, and you talk about conjecture!?

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:34 pm 
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The Veidt Method wrote:
Bush is not similar to Veidt. The situation is not comparable.

But it is when you look at the fact that a unilateral decision was made for a course of action based primarily on a "gut feeling." Even during the Bay of Pigs incident, no nukes were launched. There is a human factor that the cold caluculating Veidt may have had no faith in. The may have never been a WWIII. There's no way of knowing.

The Veidt Method wrote:
Veidt acted with knowledge of the weapons' existence, knowledge of their destructive capabilities, knowledge of how many lives would be lost if they were ever used. He acted with the sole intent of saving as many lives as possible as reliably as possible.

Huge difference.

Not so much. Veidt, based on his interpretation of the world around him, surmised that a nuclear war was imminent, and he acted to prevent it. Bush, based on the intellegence presented to him and his knowledge of how Saddam's regime behaves surmised that Iraq was a very big terrorist threat and acted to prevent another 911-like attack on Western soil.

The Veidt Method wrote:
Oh, and yeah, Bush is retarded.

Well, I never voted for him. ;)

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