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faith & spirituality | imperialism & war

Dali Lama says Iraq War May Be Justified

The exiled Tibetan leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner said some wars, including the Korean War and World War II, helped "protect the rest of civilization, democracy."
Dali Lama says Iraq War May Be Justified
Scott Lindlaw, AP, September 10, 2003 11:09 PM

The Dalai Lama said Wednesday that the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan may have been justified to win a larger peace, but that is it too soon to judge whether the Iraq war was warranted. "I think history will tell," he said in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, just after he met with President Bush.

"In principle, I always believe nonviolence is the right thing, and nonviolent method is in the long run more effective," said the Dalai Lama, who after the Sept. 11 attacks had implored Bush to avoid a violent response by the United States.

The exile Tibetan leader, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, said the Vietnam War increased suffering and was a "failure." But, he said, some wars, including the Korean War and World War II, helped "protect the rest of civilization, democracy." He said he saw a similar result in Afghanistan - "perhaps some kind of liberation."

"The people themselves, I think, suffer a lot under their previous regimes," he said. But he was adamant that the United States not lose sight of rebuilding Afghanistan.

The Dalai Lama urged Bush, in a letter on Sept. 12, 2001, to "think seriously whether a violent action is the right thing to do and in the greater interest of the nation and people in the long run." Asked whether the Iraq war was just, the Dalai Lama said the situation there is "more complicated" and will take more time before he can judge.

The Dalai Lama said he had briefly raised these concerns to Bush during their meeting in the White House residence. He declined to say what Bush's response was.

The Tibetan Buddhist leader, who is a five-city, 20-day tour of the United States that is timed to coincide with the Sept. 11 anniversary, called on Americans to channel their lingering grief "into a source of inner strength."

"Big, unthinkable tragedies happen," he said. "Now, instead of keeping that and developing hatred or sense of revenge, instead of that, think long-term. The negative event, try to transform into a source of inner strength."

He likened the terrorist attacks to Tibetans' struggle to reclaim their country from Chinese rule. Communist troops took over Tibet in 1951, and the Dalai Lama fled in 1959 during a failed uprising. He now lives in India.

"In my own case, many experiences of unthinkable situations have happened, but we never lose our hope. We never let negative emotions (rule), so that's immense benefit - including my own health," said the Dalai Lama, who was hospitalized last year with stomach ailments. "More peace (of) mind, more calm mind, more compassionate mind - very good for my health!" he said with a hearty laugh.

The White House meeting irritated Chinese authorities, who said in the official China Daily newspaper that the visit to the United States "constitutes a serious intervention into China's internal affairs." Nevertheless, the Dalai Lama got an audience with Bush; Secretary of State Colin Powell and his top aide on Tibet, Paula Dobriansky; Laura Bush; White House chief of staff Andy Card; and a deputy to Vice President Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby.

The Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet, however, said it was high time Bush received the Dalai Lama in the Oval Office, not in the White House residence - a symbolic step that would signal a stronger commitment to the Dalai Lama's teachings, said John Ackerly, ICT's president.

"Our war on terrorism should include embracing nonviolent leaders, and not ushering them in through the back door of the White House," Ackerly said.

The Dalai Lama, regarded by Tibetan Buddhists as the 14th incarnation of the Buddha of compassion, broke into laughter often during the interview, even when the conversation turned to serious topics.

He laughed when he described his political role as one of "semi-retirement," when he stumbled on a word, and again when he characterized Beijing's occasional "bullying" of Tibet.

He gestured continuously, the beads on his bracelet rattling at the end of his bare arms. The 68-year-old Dalai Lama had flecks of gray in his close-cropped hair, but looked decades younger than his age.

The Dalai Lama and his followers seek greater autonomy for Tibetans while keeping the region part of China. Beijing demands that the Dalai Lama publicly renounce any claim to Tibet's independence, and says he is welcome back as a religious leader, but may have no political role.

The Dalai Lama said he saw hopeful signs of an agreement. Direct contact between his envoys and Chinese officials resumed last year after an impasse of nearly a decade.

He called China's new president, Hu Jintao - a former top Chinese official in Tibet - "cautious," but said he hoped Hu will continue a process of liberalization. But he also said he was concerned about frustration among Tibetans after decades of Chinese rule, and amid an "overwhelming" influx of Chinese into Tibet. "Not necessarily intentionally, but unintentionally, the cultural genocide is taking place," he said.

Asked whether decades of frustration could lead to violence or even terrorism, he paused. "Oh, possible," the Dalai Lama said. "But up to now, Tibetans, in spite individual views or feelings, I think generally they listen to my approach. Strictly nonviolent."

homepage: homepage: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uslatest/story/0,1282,-3132067,00.html

Question for the Lama 10.Sep.2003 17:44

Dolly Llama

Do you watch Fox News, Mr. Lama?

This confirms my suspicion 10.Sep.2003 17:52

concerned citizen

The Dalai Lama has been courting celebrity for a while now, and is within the clutches of the elite completely. Very difficult to resist the lure of fame and power, even if one is a birth-right spiritual leader.

disappointing 10.Sep.2003 17:57

not as concerned

But it wouldn't be the first time the Guardian has played a little fast and loose with its headlines. Still better than any corporate media though.

The Dalai Lama is always good to listen to, but you have to really listen to what he is saying, and understand the motives behind the words. He may be doing a good thing by attempting to compel the US to act in a way that benefits the people of the occupied countries. He is saying that there is still choice, for all of them, to avoid condemnation and judgment. Still, I suspect he knows, at least as well as anyone, what kind of people are currently running the US. Still, part of me can admire his optimism on the matter.

judicious words in difficult situation 10.Sep.2003 18:17


My take: The Dalai Lama is a very perceptive man. He knows as well as anyone the vindictive nature of the current rulers of the White House. He has a duty to his own people not to incite these spiteful, small-minded brutes into actions that would damage the cause of the Tibetan people, which they could take with scarcely the stroke of a pen or two. So he made very judicious and measured use of words. He certainly did not go out of his way to praise the conduct of the US government, almost damning it with faint praise, really; he only left open the possibility that some good could come out of it. Which is exactly appropriate, for someone whose whole outlook emphasizes the redemptive power of compassion.

The Dalai Lama's CIA connections have addled his brain 10.Sep.2003 23:28


Dalai Lama, CIA asset;

WWII was not remotely the "Good War"...

"Saving Private Power" is the most provocative history of the "Good War" ever published. It questions the ultra-patriotic assumptions we have been taught since birth.

The U.S. did not enter WWII to end the Holocaust, to make the world a safer place, or to stop fascism. The opposite is true. The U.S. business class traded with Hitler and Mussolini up to and even during the war. Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh's public Hitlerphilia were symbolic of the admiration of big business for Hitler's anticommunism.

Using techniques gleaned from modern advertising, the U.S. Office of War Information injected anti-Japanese bloodlust and hysteria into the population. When the U.S. killed 672,000 Japanese through indiscriminate bombing, even Secretary of War Henry Stimson wondered why "there has never been a protest over...such extraordinarily heavy loss of life. There is something wrong with a country where no one questions that."

Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan" and Tom Brokaw's "The Greatest Generation" are cashing in on the revived interest in World War II. But time's up for the traffickers of cheap nostalgia. The media elite have sold us the myth about America's noble role in the "Good War" for too long and the facade is beginning to crack.

 link to www.davidcogswell.com
it's happening AGAIN
it's happening AGAIN

fuck the dalai lama 11.Sep.2003 00:24

solid gold

this guy , like all religious leaders, is such a fucking sham. what the hell has he done for anyone but himself? oh, sure, he gives heart warming speeches about enlightenment and happiness. but its real easy to be enlightened when you NEVER HAVE TO LIVE IN THE REAL WORLD! i mean this guy has had a nation of servants since his birth. what makes him so damn special? he didn't earn his position, he was born into it.
oh, i know, he's trying to "free" his people from China, SO HE CAN GO BACK TO BEING THE UNDISPUTED GOD-KING OF TIBET! why don't people see through this guy? is it because prayer flags are so neat, and those little buddhist bracelets go well with almost any outfit? come on, the korean war was a good war?!?! what type of asshole believes that? oh yeah, a two faced one trying to not piss america off,, otherwise, he'll never get to rule tibet again. what a selfless and noble being. just like the pope and george bush!

Actually 11.Sep.2003 00:46


He's not even really trying to free Tibet from China anymore. Now he's seeking Hong Kong-style autonomous rule, wherein China is only behind-the-scenes oppressive, and he gets to be God-King.

Still, I find it a bit funny that the thread turns to ad hominen attacks, rather than the actual notion being espoused.

It's a fair opinion. Perhaps the Iraq War will result in more good than harm in the eyes of history. How do you know it won't? Because a group of foreign provacateurs and a tiny minority of Iraqis are actively opposing the opposition?

The issue in my mind has always been moral authority. There was no active genocide in Iraq. Iraq was never a threat to us, whether they had WMD or not. There were no real terrorist ties. Thus, we never had the moral authority to wage war on the country. We didn't have the authority to decide it was worthwhile to kill thousands of innocent civilians, and tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers.

All that being said, it's too early to judge whether it will be better in the long-run. It may just be. It looks dreary now, but it's only been 4 months since the end of the war.

That's not to say anyone should stop criticizing what's going on right now. Just to point out that it's perfectly plausible that the end result of the war may be better than continued Ba'athist rule.

uuuhh, James . . . 11.Sep.2003 01:17


"perfectly plausible that the end result of the war may be better than continued Ba'athist rule"

--how "plausible" is it that vast stockpiles and entire factories of Iraqi WMDs will be found, James?

sure i'll go along with the "plausibility" that almost anything would be better than a CIA-installed despot Ba'athist dictator like Saddam--who *wouldn't* agree with that??

but the sad fact is it may just take a replacement dictator to restore 'governmental stability' to Iraq--with even the human rights groups currently fleeing (otherwise, an indefinitely continued military occupation). . .

Behind the Invasion of Iraq  http://www.rupe-india.org/34/contents.html

Western Imperialism and Iraq  http://www.rupe-india.org/34/western.html
I. From Colony to Semi-Colony  http://www.rupe-india.org/34/colony.html
II. Towards Nationalisation  http://www.rupe-india.org/34/nationalisation.html
III. The Iran-Iraq War: Serving American Interests  http://www.rupe-india.org/34/iran.html
IV. The Torment of Iraq  http://www.rupe-india.org/34/torment.html
V. Return of Imperialist Occupation  http://www.rupe-india.org/34/return.html

The Real Reasons for the Invasion of Iraq--and Beyond  http://www.rupe-india.org/34/reasons.html
I. The Current Strategic Agenda of the United States  http://www.rupe-india.org/34/agenda.html
II. Home Front in Shambles  http://www.rupe-india.org/34/homefront.html
III. Military Solution to an Economic Crisis  http://www.rupe-india.org/34/military.html


Saddam key in early CIA plot
By Richard Sale
UPI Intelligence Correspondent
From the International Desk
Published 4/10/2003 7:30 PM


A Tyrant 40 Years in the Making
March 14, 2003


Our Man in Baghdad
That's Saddam We're Talking About
April 15th, 2003 12:00 PM


Saddam Hussein--The Making of a Dictator [article + video]
 link to www.indymedia.org


ocean of complacency 11.Sep.2003 01:27

Sean Henderson

Why doesn't the dalai llama criticize the US for using depleted uranium, cluster bombs, and killing thousands of innocents?

It's not like we went in there with the intention of liberating anybody, we just killed anyone who got in our way.

religion vs. politics: a case for a "firewall"? 11.Sep.2003 04:14


Most of us who read this site clearly find it horrific that the US government and its addled leaders have arrogated to themselves the right to decide who lives and who dies on planet Earth, with a sanctimonious and swaggering arrogance unprecedented in history. Having said that, as James points out, it may well turn out for the best that Saddam is gone. I would agree with those who will argue that it may well NOT turn out for the best in the larger scheme of things though, if it emboldens the mad men running this country into further acts of arrogance and aggression. For me, this is the REAL problem with their actions. But such a judgment depends on a multitude of observations and intuition based on many
facts and political considerations.

If the US government were ruled by a band of saintly and infinitely wise men and women, perhaps they could justify their presumptions in using the unprecedented armed might at their disposal to bestow "democracy" on the poor benighted people of Iraq. As it is, of course, not even the poor benighted people of America enjoy such a thing, so who are these rascals and knaves to presume to do such a thing? But of course, even then, NO COUNTRY is ruled by such saintly and infinitely wise people. That is why we have such things as international institutions and the rule of law. These are, of course, all practical considerations that argue powerfully against the permissibility of their actions.

So, given that such things are evident to anyone reasonably well informed, and no doubt also to the Dalai Lama, why would he fail to condemn these dangerous actions?

I think the answer is that the Dalai Lama speaks publicly only as a Buddhist monk, and does not consider practical political questions of this nature, except in connection with his own people, to whom he bears a direct political responsibility. Because the question of Iraq and the correctness of the American position there cannot be readily resolved by straightforward appeal to universal ethical principles, but involves many practical political questions, the Dalai Lama declines to present his own private political analysis of the questions, which he no doubt has (and I think it's a safe bet that it's very negative indeed, given his initial reaction before the war in which he pleaded with Mr. Bush Jr. to rethink his resort to violence).

In his own mind, I think the Dalai Lama sought to balance the necessity to take moral action against what he thought would ultimately lead to an immoral result -- the invasion of Iraq. But in the aftermath, I think he judged it of no benefit to wade in on a practical political question of judging whether it will be vindicated or condemned in the eyes of history, a speculation that will not at this point do anything to undo the harm done.

The Dalai Lama is very mindful of the fact that many view him as a source of profound religious inspiration, not just Tibetans. The Dalai Lama has always been reluctant to issue opinions on practical political subjects that cannot be resolved without all kinds of detailed political considerations, for fear that doing so would deprive his spiritual disciples of their own autonomy in this regard. Suppose someone came to a different conclusion than the Dalai Lama. Would that mean that they were spiritually inept, not faithful in their practice, morally bankrupt, or just that their particular analysis differed due to differing starting points, information, a priori assumptions, etc? The Dalai Lama prefers not to introduce such a stumbling block into his relationships with his students.

I think this is a more reasonable conclusion to draw than the more uncharitable ones that others have drawn here. I say this because the Dalai Lama is by no means unique in this respect. The same approach of political agnosticism is very common among Buddhist teachers. If the Dalai Lama were really such a cowardly bootlicker, he wouldn't have implored the US leaders to rethink using violence before they started the attack. He could have just remained silent or equivocated. Of course, different Buddhist teachers may certainly vary in their approach to such matters. Thich Nhat Hanh, for example, has been somewhat more outspoken in his opposition to militarism, for instance. But even in his case, he has mostly concerned himself with his own country. As another example, I have observed from attending a sangha here in Portland that the teachers there are reluctant to make pronouncements on political questions, though they certainly don't discourage the students outside the temple from passionate political engagement, and in fact many people in the sangha are very politically engaged in antiwar and social justice movements.

I find wisdom in this approach. Sure, it might be gratifying to hear one's own political views echoed by someone that you admire. But where does that really get you? How much good has the politicization of religious leaders done elsewhere -- Catholicism, say? It's a very mixed bag. There are rightwing Catholic theologians and leftwing ones, for example. They can easily introduce strife among their followers and in the world in ways that don't end up serving either social justice or spiritual liberation. The choice to publicly profess a certain degree of political agnosticism is not necessarily moral cowardice, but can be a disciplined and principled approach by someone who is entrusted with high moral authority by followers, so as to favor and prioritize their followers' own moral autonomy and development over the teacher's personal urge to mouth off and feel self-important.

The CIA and the Dalai Lama 11.Sep.2003 05:14


The Dalai Lama owes the CIA big time for training his monks
to be terrorists in Tibet. They bombed health facilities, roads
and schools to cause havoc for the Chinese. They were
trained in Colorado and Guam. In his autobiography he says
that he no longer espouses violence to achieve his goal
of eventual return as head of a feudal kingdom. He also trys
to shuck the blame for these heinious acts on his brother.
His brother runs the "Free Tibet" movement; another front
for the CIA.

During his rule, Tibet experienced the worst human rights
violations in the world.

Yeah... 11.Sep.2003 08:14


Yeah... the Dalai Lama is the one we should focus our hatred on.

I can't believe some of you people out there.
Dalai Lama = Terrorist? Good lord. (Good Buddha?)

Mark? 11.Sep.2003 10:38

you're off the

where in these comments to the original article is anyone

"focusing hatred"

on the Dalai Lama?

... 11.Sep.2003 11:05


I wasn't reffering to the original article.
I meant that some of the posters have been saying very negative (and unproven) things about HH Dalai Lama.
(Him training "Tibetan Terrorists" are one of the posts.)

Enlightenment = Free Lunch 11.Sep.2003 11:55

Dharma Bum

I wish I could sit around in a bathrobe, say stuff, and get paid for it. I'd have a happy glow about me and be giggling all the time too.

Mark--incapable of READING. 11.Sep.2003 13:12

you're off the

"where ___________________in these comments___________________ to the original article is anyone"

Don't like um, no way 11.Sep.2003 14:07

Buncha Bunk Yeah!

The Dolly Llama is a punk-ass chump and pick-nose stinky turd and my dad thinks so too!

Dead would disagree 11.Sep.2003 14:27

just counting

More than ten thousand Iraqi civilians, non-combatants, have been killed by the US military campaign since March. Perhaps more than one million perished since the first gulf war. More than nine thousand afghani civilians, non-combatants, have been killed since we invaded Afghanistan.
Modern warfare precludes the possiblity of a just war. Modern warfare targets civilian noncombatants.

interesting 11.Sep.2003 16:07


I find it really interesting how we dismiss most of the "news" coming from the major corporate media as bunk... but when they publish a story questioning a man of peace... you all eat it up.

Incapable of reading? Uh... yeah. 11.Sep.2003 16:15


"you're off the

where in these comments to the original article is anyone

"focusing hatred"

on the Dalai Lama? "

"where ___________________in these comments___________________ to the original article is anyone"

How bout the intellect that said..."fuck the dalai lama"?


"this guy , like all religious leaders, is such a fucking sham"?

What's next... insulting Gandhi? MLK?

Well 11.Sep.2003 17:40


Since you bring it up, Mark, I'll come out and say that Mother Theresa was a fucking cunt, God rest her soul.

 link to www.amazon.com

Nice Language 11.Sep.2003 18:15


Nice language James. Wallow in the swill with the little lady.

Thanks 11.Sep.2003 18:20


I had intended a certain flare. I'm glad you noticed.

kill your heroes 11.Sep.2003 20:36


Yes, the Dalai Lama was a CIA asset. Here is one of many accounts of the Dalai Lama using the CIA to wage war against the Chinese;

Gandhi was a protector of landolords who counseled tenants to "suffer" the oppression from their betters. He was an upper-caste, upper-class manager-of-conflict - but he was no revolutionary. The Indian independance movement pushed Gandhi aside as it finally succeeded, and the rebellion was actually quite violent, despite what Hollywood tells you. Don't believe the establishment-supported lie about non-violence being an effective tool for activism.

"left" and "right" not so very different afterall? 11.Sep.2003 21:18


It's funny how on a topic like this, leftists can start
to sound so much like rightists sometimes. All this
fury, all this hurling of epithets and ad hominem attacks.
There's even the old knownothing chant of "get a job!"
And of course the recycling of ancient canards about the
Dalai being a "CIA agent."

The "CIA agent" canard is a fabrication of Maoists. It
stems from the fact that, in the face of the overwhelming
onslaught of the Chinese Red Army on Tibet, Tibetans were
at a loss how to defend themselves. Naturally, in desperation
they welcomed support from wherever they could get it. Nelson
Mandela also welcomed support from Libya in the ANC's struggle
against apartheid. Did that make him an agent of Kaddafi? When
he was criticized by the US government for not severing ties
with Kaddafi later, he pointed out that Kaddafi had done a lot
more to support the anti-apartheid movement a lot earlier than
the US government, at a time when the US was actually allies
with the government of South Africa. Where was the ANC supposed
to get its support from? The USAID? As Mandela would say, don't
go sanctimoniously criticizing others when you haven't walked
in their shoes.

The truth is, people who engage in most of the ad hominem attacks
here just want to hear their own views echoed by an admired
personage. They feel petty resentment when they don't receive
such gratification. It's perfectly understandable; it's only
human to want to receive positive reinforcement for one's views.
What you don't realize is that there may be very good reasons
why the Dalai Lama isn't able to give you such gratification,
whatever his personal views may be. And it doesn't necessarily
have anything to do with his being a fascist bootlick, a
cowardly "CIA asset," a lazy, apathetic monk, etc, etc. You've
seized on the most uncharitable possible assumptions in a
remarkably reactionary manner. I think those of you who have
responded this way should look into yourselves. You might notice
you have a lot more in common with your ideological
opponents than you're even aware of.

ad hominem from the commentor named *me* 11.Sep.2003 23:55


Yes, I am "pettily resentful" that the Dalai Lama supports the war against innocent civilians. Both the Iraq war, and also WWII, which was not even remotely a "good war" - especially since WWII has been the justification for many subsequent "good wars."

I suppose if you wrote off any information not sanctioned by corporate media as "Moaist fabrications" it would be easy to say such things. You call people sanctimonious ("hypocritically devout") that see a war that kills almost entirely civilians as a bad thing. I will not accept ignorant, warmongering statements by lifelong religious nobility as anything less than the words of an upper-class know-nothing who has grown up insulated from the reality that most humans deal with daily.

Google it; there are whole books written by the CIA agents who helped the Dalai Lama out. The CIA-Dalai Lama connection is no big secret. Your Mandela-Kaddafi story only proves yet again that the US doesn't care about Africans at all (there was nothing in it for the US/CIA to help black S Africans out so they were ignored). The reason that the CIA helped the Dalai Lama is because at the time the CIA did anything and everything to pressure China into a business relationship, including train Tibetan freedom-fighters and funding the Dalai Lama's worldwide China-demonising tour. The pressure has been unrelenting and the heavy-handed tactic worked.

I don't think that the Dalai Lama is lazy or apathetic - he is myopic and working earnestly for incredibly selfish people (especially since he claims to be so holy). "Sanctimonious" is a perfect word to describe the Dalai Lama, actually. "Fascist bootlick" is also pretty descriptive of the Dalai Lama (thanks for that one).

honor the truth 12.Sep.2003 01:43


Gringo, don't get carried away. Please honor the truth enough to at least acknowledge something crucial here: He didn't "support" the war against Iraq! As a matter of fact, he pleaded with the US rulers BEFORE they started their war NOT to resort to violence if at all possible. He only said that the long term consequences, for better or worse, of using violence are not yet fully known to us. He held out the possibility that the long term consequences could contain something positive. He certainly DIDN'T deny that they have surely contained much that is negative, or he wouldn't have pleaded with the US leaders not to start the war in the first place.

You're getting very angry because the Dalai doesn't express his views the same way you express yours. You really don't understand and perhaps are not interested in understanding what his motivations are. Your anger is blinding you to some basic facts and leading you to very biased and uncharitable interpretations of others.

You seem to have completely missed my point about CIA-Tibet connections. Maybe you could reread the passage and respond to my point itself, instead of using it to go off on another attack against the US. My point was that, if the US was hypocritical in demonizing Mandela for having close ties to Kaddafi, then you are also being hypocritical to judge Tibetans who in their hour of need and desperation accepted help from the US to fight the Chinese. Are you so blinded by Maoist propaganda that you really dismiss the atrocious sufferings of the Tibetan people at the hands of Communist China? Do you really dismiss that they had and have a legitimate grievance when their homes and temples were being razed and their cities pillaged on a scale comparable to or worse than the Israeli conduct in Palestine? I hope you don't subscribe to the dangerous and misguided formula that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." In spite of this bitter history and continuing and ongoing repression against his people, the Dalai Lama is prepared to negotiate with these people. Far from engaging in "worldwide Chinese demonizing," he calls them his brothers. He repudiates violence against the Chinese. It is for this campaign for peaceful coexistence that he earned the Nobel Peace Prize.

Hmm 12.Sep.2003 02:06


I'm actually starting to like you Gringo, if not always your ideas and conclusions. The depth of your offhand knowledge is somewhat inspiring. Cheers.

Dalia's own words 12.Sep.2003 05:01


Read the Dalai Lama's autobiography.
Read "The Struggle for Tibet" by one DL's dancers.
These are not Maoists. Read the Chicago Tribune's interview with one of DL's
monks that were trained by the CIA and then dumped.

It's a shame that you have so many opinions and yet
do not base them on open-minded research.

The lower class Tibetian's are better off in a modern,
though brutal, communist society than they were
under a slave based feudal society. Of course large
land/serf/slave owners like the DL lost big time.

Do some research. Or better yet, stay away from
information that might challenge your world view and
continue in your ignorance ::::-?

spider reminds me of... 12.Sep.2003 09:45


..apologists for Israeli occupation. Or the British in India. Or the French in Algeria. Etc. Etc. The occupied people are "better off in a modern though brutal, ... society than they were under a slave based feudal society. " What apologist for colonialism, imperialism, occupation and genocide hasn't made such excuses? Whereas it seems to me that we should consult the occupied people themselves, and not their occupiers, for purposes of answering this question. Also, it seems, yet more evidence how little difference there may be between the right and the left rhetorically and otherwise.

mirror image anticommunism 12.Sep.2003 10:08


spider and gringo remind me of classical anticommunists -- in mirror image. The classical anticommunist had no sooner to hear that the old "Evil Empire" had something to do with the case, than they were condemning with blind fury whatever the case was. In spider and gringo's case, any evidence that the Tibetans accepted help from the CIA to fight off Chinese aggression is evidence of unmitigable perfidy. Just like evidence that the ANC accepted help from Kaddafi, or included many Communists who had travelled to the Soviet Union, would be the same evidence of perfidy to the closeminded rightwingers of the US. And spider is even willing to consign the Tibetan people to the tender mercies of Chinese ethnic cleansers and swallow whole all the excuses they give, on the grounds that their political overlords once upon a time were given to flights of anti-imperialist rhetoric, and that the hapless Tibetans once upon a time had the audacity to accept help from the CIA or other military-political extensions of US power. So now they've tainted themselves once and for all in spider's eyes.

spider: reread everything I've written. Do you find anywhere anyplace I actually denied it? In fact, in every comment I made here where I mentioned this issue, I acknowledged the Tibetans received US help to fight the Chinese, and explained why I thought it was justified. I denied that the Dalai Lama was a "CIA agent," which to my mind suggests that the whole Tibetan struggle against the Chinese invasion and occupation was somehow cooked up by the CIA, and that the Dalai Lama's motivations for his actions are largely or wholly determined by being the CiA's man. It's really extraordinary the fixation you have on the CIA, the sort of evil, demonic power you ascribe to it. It seems any association with it, however tangential and incidental and dated, instantaneously taints the one associated for all time. And you tell me to be more "open minded"!? Sheeesh!!

There would have been no "Tibetan" resistance if not for the CIA 12.Sep.2003 14:42


...which is another way of saying that, yes, the resistance was "cooked up" by the CIA. The Buddhist pacifist response to everything is in effect a collaboration with the mightiest actors. When you are a "pacifist" you are impotently pleaing for "peace" - which has NEVER worked. Ever. To my knowledge (if someone has an example of this tactic actually working please tell me). Someone with no power in the situation to beg for "peace" is almost funny if it wasn't so pathetic. Such pleas only work with people who have a conscience. And not only does US foreign policy and the CIA and the NSA have no conscious, but th eonly reason they have ever stepped off of a situation is because of pure, naked force. The Dalai Lama is living in a dreamland. In such a dreamland, I suppose it is normal and expected to dementedly hope for "something positive" in the slaughter of innocent civilians.

The fact is that the Dalai Lama is a hypocrite. While preaching "strict nonviolence" he accepted the CIA's help in an ultraviolent guerilla struggle against Chinese occupation. It is good that they struggled violently - I think that was the best course of action. But to continue to preach "strict non-violence" is pure hypocrisy. MLK and Jesse Jackson have done much for African-Americans and working people. MLK worked hard against capitalism and colonialism and imperialism in the last years of his life. Yet they are both "men of God" who preach monogamy and faithfulness while they both screw around on their wives. Hypocrisy. Catholic priests raping young boys then the pope covering it up by moving priests from here to there is another good example. Mother Theresa's disgusting promotion of human suffering in the Lord's name is another. The list goes on. I have no problem with spirituality - which is deeply personal. But RELIGION is a political system of control that encourages hypocrisy.

well said 13.Sep.2003 04:22

Sean Henderson

I guess he's not so complacent after all. Who knows, if I were in his place I might also work with the CIA to help destroy Chinese control of Tibet - he probably found out the hard way the price of friendship with the US government.

I also think it's good that the CIA helps to distrupt certain political systems, but then they just end up getting their greedy hands over everything.

If their were to be a utopian society, what would it be like?

understanding Dalai's approach, Re: sources of misunderstanding 13.Sep.2003 15:26


I think people criticizing the Dalai Lama here
misunderstand the Dalai Lama's real role in the world as he conceives
it, and the limitations that it entails. Then, in turn, people
like gringo get angry, and jump to conclusions that are clearly
false, such as "the Dalai supports the war in Iraq," when in fact
the original article itself made it clear that he implored the
US administration to rethink resorting to violence before
the war started.

Here's the source of the misunderstanding: The Dalai Lama
doesn't conceive of himself as a political leader!!! (Except
of course in the very limited context of his own people, and
their struggle for liberation from Chinese occupation, a role
that history has thrust on him and he has no choice about.)

When the Dalai Lama makes a statement to GW asking him not
to unleash war, he does so as an individual, trying to do
his level best to work for peace. He doesn't do so with the
expectation of rallying certain forces to his side, against
other forces. That's what politics is about, and that's not
something he does. For him to make a statement after the war
judging it and those who perpetrated it would not serve any
useful purpose as he sees it in preventing future harm to
anyone, unless it was to rally some forces against possible
future harm that might be committed by the wrongdoers, ie,
politics. He is not prepared to do that. He will, of course,
oppose any future wars that this government proposes, but only
in the same spirit as he did in this case: an individual trying
to work for peace.

If you want to understand why the Dalai Lama works this way,
I think you should take the time to read some of his writings
on ethics and other subjects. He doesn't condemn people who
use politics. In fact, he sees it as something that is useful
and important. It's just not his bailiwick. In fact, pursuing
it would interfere with the role he wants to play in the world.

He sees his role as encouraging a positive outlook and motivation
in individuals, which when systematically achieved will result
in profound changes for the better in the entire world. That's
why, as an individual confronted with an imminent evil, he won't
mince words in trying to stop it. But, confronted with a generally
hostile political regime whose motivations are probably very
foul and whose potential future actions probably equally foul,
he will not adopt the same approach. Instead, he will try to prevail
upon the better nature of the rulers, in keeping with the
adage, "Honey attracts flies better than vinegar." Even in
his approach to dealing with the Chinese, you will find this
pattern to a great extent.

The Dalai Lama makes clear in his writings that he considers
motivations paramount. He warns, however, that the only
motivations you can ever be certain about are your own. That's
why you have to work on them first. It's always hazardous, albeit
often quite necessary, to judge the motivations of others.
Of course, it's the sine qua non of politics. The Dalai Lama
generally refrains from this, in favor of trying to encourage
greater introspection in people, in the hopes that they will
look into their own motivations, and clean up their own acts
better before they try to take action in the world.

Look at the publicly avowed motivations of someone like Mr.
GW Jr. Nothing could be finer. He's burning with passion for
protecting the human rights of the poor, downtrodden Iraqi
masses. How noble of him! Of course, he only started burning
like this shortly after his Iraqi WMD pilot light went out, so then
he lit the "Iraqi liberation" one. Obvious to you and me, sure.
Undoubtedly also to the Dalai Lama. Should you and I come out
and call a spade a spade? Sure. Should the Dalai Lama? He
doesn't think so in this case. This is what gringo calls "hypocrisy."
It is what he would call "skillful means." The Dalai Lama wants
to help other people to become expert judges of their own
motivations. He thinks that the work he does in this regard
is sufficiently important that it justifies not being completely
candid about all his own personal views on politics and politicians.

If Mr GW were to suddenly be afflicted with a bout of painful
honesty, and explain that he really was only interested in enriching
his friends and increasing his own power as the ruler of the world's
mightiest superpower, the Dalai Lama would patiently explain how
misguided that was.

.. 10.Jan.2005 12:40


The war with iraq is costing us alot of money, I dont see how they can just plow down all of these buildings and say oh we will just rebuild them when we win the war. alot of families are losing family members because of this. who are we still after? i thought we got the man we wanted. what mores left this war wont be over for another 3 years the way it seems its going!

Balanced criticism 11.Jun.2006 07:26

highevolutionary highevolutionary@gmail.com

The Dalai Lama may be justly criticised for some things (anyone can) and Tibetan Government and religious structure can be criticised on even more justified grounds (I have done so myself on many occassions). But please endeavor to be more accurate and civilized in your criticisms. The Dalai Lama does not wish to be a "god-king" he himself spearheaded the formation of a democratic Tibetan government and attempted to step down from any political power. A vast number of Tibetan people expressed that they felt the Dalai Lama was abandoning them in doing so and many even threatened suicide. To avoid a crisis in the community he agreed to continue somewhat in a political role to untill the establishment of a limited Tibetan autonomy at which point he would (and his successors) step down from any political role. When it comes to religion he has tried to dissuade people from viewing him as a "fully enlightened" being. He has also done much to prevent people from abuse by unscrupulus Lamas. Though I have many criticisms of the Tibetan religious institutions people should know that the Dalai Lama is not in anyway an equivalent to the Roman Catholic Pope in terms of authority over a centralized church. There are different lineages within Tibetan Buddhism and although respected by most he does not have literal authority over other lineages (in fact he is technically not even the head of his own school [Gelug-pa]). PAX