"unfortunately, we're still members of the ape family and haven't evolved out of a stage where that is an option."
There is always a small light for me that tells me there is the slight hope that we might be a bit different from apes - it is the *tendency* for humanity to want to glimpse the cosmic void that makes life worth living instead of nodding to the monkeys in power telling us that things are the way they are (not) when they are in fact too busy with their little guns to think of or DO anything else (anything of worth). Our ape-ish half will always tell us to go beat someone's ass without a reason because Big ape said it. It's the easier route.
"My problem is with what I consider a nihilistic position, espoused by Moore/Zinn/Chomsky "
There is a tendency to consider critics of US policy 'nihilistic', as there is a tendency to consider anything which goes against the 'natural order' of things 'nihilistic' when this is in fact not so. You will find that many of those so-called(-in-America) 'left wing radicals' (who are not that radical if they are merely listing the ill effects of US policy out/inside the country) are also suggesting alternatives. Of course you can dump their alternatives, too utopian... but that doesnt make their struggle or their arguments less real.
"Someone, maybe you, mentioned other countries that are just as bad or worse. I would very much like to see them gone as well. "
The thing I find disturbing is America's lack of patience. Maybe one should learn from history and see the many episodes of mass hysteria when everyone jumps froth-in-mouth on to the lynching bandwagon ready to believe any nonsense. The easiest way for a crook to get into power is to find the right breeding ground (US 9/11, Germany 1933, UK 1980, etc) and then let themselves get carried away by the stream. Hussein = 9/11, that's what surveys are showing Americans believe. Ignorance is typical ground for recruitment by any inept twat / crook that moves into the House.
"The UN route was tried for a very long time, with not much of a result. "
What is a long time for you or me may not be a long time in history, especially when you see things globally and consider the long term consequences. The last inspections, as I remember, only lasted a couple of weeks before the US told everyone to get the hell out of Irak because it was in their pre-election schedule. And have you ever thought that wars are most often fought for re-election purposes, and never for the reasons suggested? The problem comes when people are willing to believe cartoon politics.
"I don't think that a commitment to humanist ideals should be construed to be a suicide pact when there's a nutjob who's made it clear that he means you no good."
I can't see why you use the word 'suicide' as if not going to war was equivalent to anhilation of the western world. Hussein's weapons of mass destruction could never even have reached the UK - like Tiny Blair - said (Irak was in ruins after years of sanctions) - I thought that lie had been cleared up. After all, that IS what the UN was there to prove to us before their job was interrupted and the planes did their Sturm and Drang show for the TV medium. And his terrorist connections with Al Qaeda did not exist as such. Now Irak is a pilgrimage point for all arab terrorists, bless'em.
"...smart folks like him and Chomsky spend so much time not thinking of practical suggestions for what could happen right now. Things that could help real live people"
If the next war tomorrow is avoided thanks to their flashy slagging-off campaign now, then isn't that 'a practical suggestion that helps real live people in the future'? And sadly, in a place like the US where sensationalism and half-truths rule in the news, Moore is the only one reaching the ones used to that language. And I don't even like the guy. After all, he is American! (only joking)