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[P]
The "War on Terror" is Still Nonsensical

By dru in Media
Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 03:23:33 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

For the past months the media has been using the term "war on terror" as though it were a neutral description of U.S. military action in Afghanistan or of U.S. threats of future attacks elsewhere. On its face, the "war on terror" -- or even "war on terrorism" -- is at best a misnomer. How, exactly, does one declare war on a concept, on a tactic, and how would such a war be won? Even if we assume that what Washington really means when it says "war on terror" is "war on terrorists", the term is deeply problematic.


A terrorist, according to conventional definitions, is someone who uses terror, or threats of terror, to coerce a government or population into granting demands. Clearly, leveling the World Trade towers, thus killing several thousand people counts as terrorism, though it's unclear what the terrorists in question were trying to coerce the U.S. to do, apart from provoking it to war. But what about bombing Afghanistan, thus killing several thousand (4,000 by the best estimates) innocent civilians over an eight week period? Which does not include the number of people maimed by the same bombs or the number of undocumented casualties; the fact that it's customary to bury the dead before sundown in Afghanistan, coupled with the fact that the Pentagon retroactively bought up all available civilian satellite photos, which would have allowed for accurate estimates, also make it seem likely that that figure is conservative.

Before the attacks began, UN officials warned that, in addition to the 2.5 million Afghan refugees dependent on aid, an additional 1 million could starve if aid workers were forced to evacuate (again, a conservative estimate). The attack proceeded and aid workers were forced to leave. US air drops of food did little to compensate; when aid workers had been on site, 700 tons of food had been getting into the country daily; air drops managed to deliver the same amount over three weeks. Pentagon officials routinely boast of psy-ops and brag about the "shattering" psychological effect of the "daisy cutter", a massive bomb that incinerates everything within 600 yards, producing a shockwave felt for miles. Recently, 98 civilians were killed when the U.S. bombed a village. A Pentagon spokesperson said that "those people are dead because we wanted them dead", ostensibly because they were Taliban supporters.

Surely such actions count as terrorism. U.S. tactics are explicitly designed to "shatter" the opponent in order to further the pursuit of political goals. What do we risk by using terrorism as a tactic to fight a war on terrorism?

Some say that states, by definition, cannot commit acts of terrorism. Even if true, and U.S. foreign policy is merely horrifying and illegal, but not terrorism per se, the term "war on terror" is incoherent. Part of this "war on terror" -- a term so ubiquitous that it's difficult to find a replacement -- has been to censure, to punish, to threaten the use of force against countries which enable terrorists to operate, financially or otherwise. Yet there has been no word from Washington to end IRA fundraising in the parishes of Boston, New York, Chicago; and anti-Castro terrorists continue to operate out of Miami, with neither fear nor threat of law nor force. "Plan Colombia", by which Washington aims to hand the Colombian government $1.5 billion and several heavily subsidized arms deals, was justified by that country's "good human rights record". Despite the fact that activists and candidates from the only opposition party to be formed there have been murdered and tortured by the hundreds.

Not so many years ago the U.S. supported, trained, and funded muhajideen like of Osama Bin Laden, cold war pawns whom Reagan called the moral equivalents of the founding fathers, even "freedom fighters". The U.S. supported Saddam Hussein, another potential target in the "war on terror", not too long ago, and stood idlely by while, in the last gasps of the Gulf War, he brutally put down a rebellion of Kurds which the U.S. had prompted. That the Bush administration has neither acknowledged nor expressed regret at these prior affiliations is certainly cause for some doubt as to the motives of this self-righteous war.

So perhaps the "war on terror" is more aptly named the "war on terrorists who attack the United States and on anyone who happens to live near the people who support those terrorists" -- more verbose and more accurate. Yet that's still not quite right. The U.S. -- and the U.K. and Canada, both of which have signed on wholesale -- still calls Saudi Arabia an ally in this war, despite the fact that most of bin Laden's funding likely originates there. Maybe the "war on terrorists that can be killed without messing up any major trade deals, sources of oil, or political connections" is even more apt.

Indeed, the closer one looks, the more one sees that the "war on terror" is mostly a convenient cover for the U.S., and its junior allies in London and Riyadh and Ottawa, to pursue with abandon its global interests. While "War on Terror" does not accurately refer to any US military policy, the practices that it describes do make sense in the historical context of the use of terror to further US policies overseas. A 1995 document, "Essentials of Post-Cold War Deterrence", authored by the U.S. Strategic Command, exhorts thus --

"That the U.S. may become irrational and vindictive if its vital interests are attacked should be a part of the national persona we project to all adversaries...It hurts to portray ourselves as too fully rational and cool-headed".
There are plenty of examples of this kind of policy being put into practice. State terrorism exists and works, which is to say that it's effective for the U.S. to be a rogue state, but only when no concern whatever is given to justice or fairness or the truth.

Just as we say that "gold is the corpse of value", or that words on a page are only meaningful in some interpretive context, so democracy is only democracy in a meaningful sense when citizens can communicate all of the relevant facts to each other. When people stop telling the truth and accounting for the facts in the press, in the rooms of the powerful, and in everyday conversation, democracy stops being democracy. What is needed to keep democracy alive is clear enough; it's following through that is difficult.

Democracy is only meaningful when based on the truth. The assumption that we can ignore some actions of our governments, submit to the government's propaganda, and still be able to act competently, fairly, justly -- as a country or as individuals -- is one that should always be questioned.

originally pub'ed at monkeyfist.com

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terrorism is...
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Display: Sort:
The "War on Terror" is Still Nonsensical | 108 comments (96 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
Shame (3.18 / 11) (#1)
by enterfornone on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 06:19:44 AM EST

This is such a good article it's a shame that little discussion is going to come of it. It's hard to debate something that is clearly true. Those who disagree can do little more than ignore the issue.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
I think the problem (4.40 / 5) (#2)
by Delirium on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 06:39:15 AM EST

is that k5 has discussed the U.S. "war on terror" in at least 4-5 articles in just the past few weeks. We're quickly running out of new points to raise.

[ Parent ]
I take it (4.14 / 7) (#4)
by streetlawyer on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 06:44:36 AM EST

that you've been voting against all articles on "Music copyright" for the last year, then?

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
nope (3.14 / 7) (#7)
by alprazolam on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 08:45:01 AM EST

just the past six months.

[ Parent ]
yes (3.00 / 1) (#17)
by Delirium on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 02:43:11 PM EST



[ Parent ]
A partial agreement (3.71 / 7) (#11)
by UncleMikey on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 11:56:47 AM EST

The author seems to be stating that the phrase 'war on terror[ism]' is bad, but also that the actions themselves are inexcusable.

I agree with the first -- the phrase is a stupid bit of rhetoric, because it's become unfashionable to actually go to war with people or nations explicitly. We should have the courage of our convictions and come out and say that we're going to war with Osama bin Ladin, the Taleban, Saddam Hussein, Ayatollah Khameini and hardliners in Iran, and Kim Jong Il.

Of course, 'war on terror' also has a nice, open-ended feel to it that lets us expand the list above while still arguing that we're fighting the same war. Nobody's actually going to be fooled by it, which is why I think we should just stand up for what we want to do.
--
[ Uncle Mikey | Radio Free Tomorrow ]

T.W.A.T. (4.25 / 4) (#21)
by gauze on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 03:14:43 PM EST

quote:
The author seems to be stating that the phrase 'war on terror[ism]' is bad, but also that the actions themselves are inexcusable.
I agree with the first -- the phrase is a stupid bit of rhetoric,
:unquote

To emphasize the ridiculousness of the phrase I encourage others to refer to "The War Against Terror" by it's acronym.

There's nothing wrong with a PC that a little UNIX won't cure.
[ Parent ]
War on Terrorism (4.00 / 2) (#22)
by Cro Magnon on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 03:33:27 PM EST

That phrase scared me from the moment I first heard it. It sounds too much like "War on Drugs", "War on Crime", "War on Poverty", etc. Also, we're clearly losing those other "wars", does that mean we'll lose this "war" too?
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Well.. (5.00 / 4) (#36)
by enterfornone on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 05:01:18 PM EST

To win the "War on Terror" we would have to defeat "Terror". I don't think there's any way we could possibly win.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
I'm a warrior (5.00 / 3) (#75)
by redgren on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 10:56:34 AM EST

Well, as far as the war on drugs is concerned, I am doing my part by incinerating every ounce of the evil that is marijuana that comes my way.

And I am sacrificing my lungs to prevent it from "getting" someone else.

I am a patriot.

[ Parent ]
Synthesis (4.61 / 13) (#13)
by J'raxis on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 01:40:06 PM EST

I believe a synthesis of the two names for this campaign (War on Terror and Enduring Freedom) would be most appropriate. Thus:
  • War on Freedom, or
  • Enduring Terror
— The Cynic Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]

More synthesis (3.25 / 4) (#31)
by gsl on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 04:48:07 PM EST

If you use the British name for the operations in Afghanistan you can get:

  • War on Veritas

which has a certain strange appeal to it (War on Truth, if I'm not mistaken).

I'm not so sure what to do with the operational name of the International Security Assistance Force (Operation Fingal).

  • War on Fingal
  • Enduring Fingal
  • Fingal Terror

Perhaps I have pursued this topic beyond its logical conclusion...

Geoff.



[ Parent ]
Another stab at it (3.00 / 4) (#35)
by Cro Magnon on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 05:00:55 PM EST

Terror War on Enduring Freedom?
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
What it's like in Colombia (4.50 / 10) (#15)
by snowlion on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 02:15:40 PM EST

It's completely laughable to me that anyone would suggest that Colombia be praised for it's Human Rights record..!

I have an advantage, my girlfriend and her syster are both Colombian, so I hear all about it. Colombia is totally brutal. Everything is totally corrupt there. You can open up the newspaper and find offers for hit jobs. Need some money? Call up so and so, and you can become a hit man. Paramilitaries and militaries and guerrilla abound. They have agreements and secret agreements while publicly fighting one another. People are regularly massacred. What does massacre mean? I mean that they're cutting each other up with chainsaws and machette. Their body parts are being seperated, put in a bag, and returned home for the wife. If you go outside, you are now a target for kidnapping or assasination. Both the government and the crime lords are persecutors.

That's what I hear from my girlfriend, her sister, and her family. I'm an activist, but they aren't. They just live there.

Now here's what I find on the cute brochure:

"Colombia Solidarity Fund: Help Save Trade Unionists Under Fire! In Colombia, trade unionism is a dangerous occupation. Indeed, Colombia is the most dangerous country in the world for trade unionists. Out of every 5 unionists killed in the world, over 3 are Colombian. As a recent Steelworker delegation to Colombia learned, 3,800 Colombian trade unionists have been murdered since 1986. In the year 2000, 128 trade unionists were killed. As of May of this year, 35 trade unionists have already been killed, and this number is growing. Most of these murdders are the responsibility of right-wing paramilitary groups closely linked to the Colombian military -- a military receiving massive military aid from the United States. AFL*CIO*CLC."

That's extraordinary. And the government is incredibly corrupt. Everybody knows it down there, people don't even bother to vote. Amber (my girlfriend) says that there has only been one time that she and her friends were excited about a guy- great ideas, charismatic, friendly, wanted to really do good, everybody loved him. And he was assasinated. Nobody was terribly shocked, because political assasinations are the order of the day down there.


--
Map Your Thoughts
Criticism in a Vacuum (4.66 / 3) (#27)
by Stickerboy on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 04:06:06 PM EST

...which is what the deconstructionist left is best known for.

Are there human rights abuses going on in Columbia right now? Yes... by the thousands. But letting Pastrana's democratically elected government fall and letting the even more corrupt, undemocratic, and even more abusive FARC take control of the country is an even worse alternative. The FARC kill and torture just as many peasants that don't agree with them as the right-wing paramilitaries do, and they have the added bonus of having their base of power resting solely on the hundreds of millions of dollars that the drug cartels funnel into them.

Add onto that the rampant kidnapping and indoctrination and use of child soldiers to do their dirty work, and the worst thing I can think of right now is to not help out Pastrana's government in every way possible. You're criticizing the Columbian government without proposing any viable alternatives. We can criticize their government for the abuses that have taken place, but don't kid yourself about the alternatives to supporting their democratic government being any better. They're worse.

[ Parent ]
Help The Unions (5.00 / 6) (#32)
by snowlion on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 04:50:19 PM EST

Wow; I am quite surprised by your article. Your presentation of "It's either the FARC or the Colombian government: Who are YOU going to support?" was something that I hadn't even considered someone coming away with.

Look, proping up the Colombian government is just as rediculous as proping up the FARC; There's really very little difference. Democratic?

What the FUCK is a democracy when would-be presidents are regularly shot? When votes are REGULARLY bought and sold? That is not a democracy. Hell, even voting for a periodic dictator is not a democracy. A democracy is rule by the constituents, and if you know about Colombia, you know that that is not the case.

The FARC, of course, wouldn't be better.

But you have to realize that supporting the Colombian government is hardly any different than supporting the FARC. The Colombian government is just a FARC that happens to be in power.

You can't support either of them. There is no solution to the Colombia problem. If there is a solution, it lies with the Colombian people. But it is impossible to aid them. They are not organized, they are intimidated beyond anything but partying (my girlfriend: "Nobody cares about the government. It's totally corrupt. Nobody cares about the sides. Nobody cares about a solution. All they care about is that they are able to go dance, and they party hard. Nobody cares about any of the other stuff, and if you do, you will be killed. There are greater problems to worry about, such as how you are going to get food for another day.")

There is nothing democratic about Colombia.

Again: This is not to say we should support FARC either. FARC's no better. I was quite surprised that you took my post as suggesting that we help FARC at all.

Actually, there is one group that I can think of that we can help in order to actually improve things in Colombia: Help the union effort. Provide protection to those democratic agencies (labor unions) composed of the people who are actually working in Colombia. Help the unions stay safe. Instead of providing military aid to the Colombian government and the Colombian paramilitaries, provide armed protection to the union workers. Again, 3,600 trade unionists have been murdered since 1986, and 3 in 5 trade unionists killed in the world are in Colombia.

If you help these people, you will be helping to bring some democracy to Colombia.


--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]
Helping the Unions Is Fine (2.00 / 2) (#43)
by Stickerboy on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 05:44:32 PM EST

Just realize that those unions exist under the democratic government that exists now. Propping up the government that exists is NOT a ridiculous argument; what are you proposing, that we militarily invade Columbia and get rid of the government and FARC while protecting the trade unions?

The trade unions can be protected militarily only by force - invading Colombian soil IS a direct declaration of war against their government, and they would be bound to fight against this invasion. And do you know what? I would bet the house that those union workers would join with everyone else in Columbia to militarily resist that "protection" that you suggest that we give.

Actually, there is one group that I can think of that we can help in order to actually improve things in Colombia: Help the union effort. Provide protection to those democratic agencies (labor unions) composed of the people who are actually working in Colombia. Help the unions stay safe. Instead of providing military aid to the Colombian government and the Colombian paramilitaries, provide armed protection to the union workers. Again, 3,600 trade unionists have been murdered since 1986, and 3 in 5 trade unionists killed in the world are in Colombia.

Your solution seems to be, "let's impose on EVERYBODY there that the Trade Unions are best, and that neither the current government or FARC has a right to rule!". Yeah, that's practical. That wouldn't lead to thousands of civilians getting killed in the crossfire between US troops "protecting" (invading Columbia to protect the trade unions) and every Columbian and their grandma taking up a rifle to resist.

If that were the case, that Columbia is not a working democracy, then Pastrana would not be in power right now. Remember, he was the candidate for peace and negotiations that the military and landowners did NOT want in the last election. But the people voted him in anyways. Is there corruption? Yes... there's corruption in every country, including the US. But democracy with corruption is always better than a socialist dictatorship with corruption, and I would choose the lesser of two evils. (Well, three evils, with your ridiculous suggestion of the US militarily intervening in Columbia.)

[ Parent ]
I'll Reply More Later- (4.00 / 1) (#51)
by snowlion on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 09:09:46 PM EST

I'm helping Amber clean up the room right now. But I will briefly say: I read the line "If that were the case, that Columbia is not a working democracy, then Pastrana would not be in power right now." to my girlfriend, and she about exploaded.

Try repeating that line to a Colombian.


--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]
Amber adds: (4.00 / 1) (#52)
by snowlion on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 09:11:58 PM EST

"If we had a working democracy, Pastrana would not have been elected."

She's using a definition of democracy that I do not accept, the definition that democracy is the rule of an elected official.

Election is a step, but it's a faaar cry from democracy, or "rule/power by the people".


--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]
I add: disenfranchisement != no democracy (2.00 / 1) (#68)
by Stickerboy on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 09:19:37 AM EST

Try this.

A very good set of quotes:

"While leftist guerrillas and government troops skirmished in the countryside, local elections took place peacefully across Colombia on Sunday.

Officials labeled the election a vote against the guerrilla and paramilitary violence tearing apart this South American country.

Colombians voted for governors, mayors and town council members, many of them independents challenging the two traditional political parties -- the Conservatives and Liberals -- who are increasingly blamed for Colombia's woes.

Elsewhere, officials said voting proceeded without major disruptions in an apparent respite from weeks of attacks by leftist and right-wing forces seeking to control the outcome of the polling.

Despite its endemic strife, Colombia has one of Latin America's strongest electoral traditions and little history of military coups. Turnout appeared strong in the elections, with some people casting ballots even though they doubted it would make a difference."

"This country is a disaster," said Lucy Restrepo, a 52-year-old housewife, as she left a polling station in a wealthy Bogota neighborhood guarded by soldiers with machine guns and police checking bags for weapons.

"There is robbery, corruption, war. It's horrible," Restrepo said. "Who knows if my vote will help?"

"Voting sends a very important message to the peace process," President Andres Pastrana said after casting his ballot in Bogota's colonial Bolivar Plaza, named after South American independence hero Simon Bolivar. "It says to the insurgents that Colombians want to strengthen our democratic process, to strengthen our democracy."

Basically, people are feeling disenfranchised, like Amber does - but democracy still works. If you use your straight-up definition, that all rule or power should be from the people, than you can take Iran off the list of fledgling democracies. Hell, you can take ancient Greece and the United States off the list of democracies too, because they were both ruled disproportionately by special interests. My point is Roosevelt's (I think, or was it Wilson's) point. Democracy is a terrible way to govern - but it's the best thing we've got. You cannot say, "Well, the US will just not support either side," because by withdrawing support of the Columbian, democratically elected government, you implicitly support FARC in their quest to overthrow the government. You can't support the Trade Unions directly, because the trade unions exist under a democratic society, and you would have to upend the current government in place by force in order to "protect the trade unions directly", as you want to do. That's a non-starter. Not only does the United States not want to kill thousands of Columbians in the invasion and resistance, but we also want the Columbian people to choose who governs, not us.

Well, hmm... a large majority of the people in the United States would all love free donuts every morning. We don't get our wish - I suppose we don't have any real power here in the US. I guess we're not a democracy! =(

[ Parent ]
Democracy... Mmm! (5.00 / 2) (#97)
by snowlion on Sat Feb 23, 2002 at 05:48:47 AM EST

Just because the CNN article says that Colombia is a democracy, does not make it so. If you ask a citizen of Colombia if they live in a democracy, they will tell you no.

The US isn't really a democracy either. I've written posts about this before; You can go through my previous comments and look for the ones on democracy.

Colombia in particular is not a democracy. The way you get ahead in the Colombian government is to kill your opponents and get approval of the folk who might potentially like to kill you. Elections occur, but you get to vote for one of a handful of murderers; The good guys were already killed off- They didn't go for the consent of the powers that be.

Even in principle, the right to vote for a dictator for a few years is not a democracy. The right to vote in someone to power who does not connect with you is not a democracy. A democracy would never conduct a secret battle against Nicaragua. A democracy would never have gone crazy over Vietnam. I don't think an anti-communist hysteria could sweep the country, if we were a democracy. It's important that in a democracy, that you have a free flow of ideas, and a free press. We haven't had that, rather, we've had witch hunts. But I'm digressing into territory that I've already covered pretty well; We're trying to talk about Colombia.

I don't know if you know this; In Colombia, you can become an assasin overnight. Just answer the want ad in the paper, and you'll get the details. The paramilitaries are in league with the government, which is largely why they are allowed to operate, (that, and they are very strong in their own right, both militarily and economically- they are usually hired by rich landowners who depend on them; anarcho-capitalists eat your heart out) and when you read in the CNN article that 21 political candidates are killed in a year, and 100 candidates intimidated out of the running, I want you to keep in mind that this action is done not just by the guerrillas (which CNN would like you to notice), but that it is also largely done by the militaries. Though Human Rights Watch has documented hoards of cases of paramilitary and military (& thus government) cooperation, the CNN article fails to mention that; To do so would be to critisize our beloved Colombian democracy.

Hell, the guerilla (there are several, FARC and ELN are two of them) and the Colombian government cooperate very frequently. Also, the CNN article seemed to pose that the FARC are against voting systems for political office (excuse me if I have difficulty calling such a thing a democracy), which is absolutely not the case. Actually, a very common Colombian way of dealing with the guerrilla when they can't outgun them is to simply give in, and this generally means: "You put down your guns, and we'll recognize your political party", which is actually an incredible way of diffusing their violence, as well as assuring that they have no political success; You can just assasinate and intimidate after that. But my point is; It's very common that the demands of the guerrilla is simply recognition as a political party and the right to be part of the election process. I should also note that it's not uncommon for guerrilla to negotiate with the government on the basis of "you do XYZ, and we'll cast our votes for candidate ABC". Unfortunately, Amber's not awake right now, so I can't collect the details of this for you.

"Well, the US will just not support either side," because by withdrawing support of the Columbian, democratically elected government, you implicitly support FARC in their quest to overthrow the government."

I'm sorry, you're going to have to explain this to me a little bit better. How would we be implicitely supporting FARC? Also, why do you assume that the Colombian government is more legitimate than the FARC? I'm not saying it is, I'm not saying it isn't. I don't know. But from what I understand, neither really represents people, just one happens to be in power, and the other isn't.

I don't understand how you can't support Trade Unions directly; I'm not sure how helping them upends the current democratic society; You're going to have to explain this to me.

You're also going to have to back up your statement "We want the Colombian people to choose their government, not us." I think you've already indicated that we want the present regime to stay in power. If you truly wanted to somehow force democracy on the people in Colombia, you'd have to kill the leaders of the guerrilla, the leaders and members of the paramilitary, the leaders of the government military, the political leaders of the recognized government, the large land owners, and the various officials and beaurocrats of the recognized government. That is what you would have to do. If you believe in achieving democracy by death, that's what you would have to do. I am saying, that it is impossible to bring democracy to Colombia by just killing the right people. If you want to bring democracy by force (which I don't think I believe in), but not by murder, this is what you do: You fill it with troops. You guarantee the safety of every citizen. You demilitarize everyone. You make a forum in which everyone's voice will be heard and recognized. You come up with a system for democracy, beyond "who's going to be the dictator for the next four years", and one that assures malliability in the future, and that everyone will always be able to have their voice heard. And this is basically something that is impossible.

I know that we want to do good (referring to you and I). But I think that "establishing democracy in Colombia" is unreasonable.

There is something I have noticed about my arguments, and about my beliefs, and here it is for you: I have noticed that it is not possible to make people free. This is obviously something that is open for debate. I cannot give you a long list of reasons and explanations that are unquestionable. This is something that I have to rely on my intuition for, but this is something that I have noticed, in my life, on all scales, from small to big, and it is that you cannot impose freedom on someone. I admit, this is primarily a metaphysical thesis, but I believe it very strongly, and have seen very very little counterevidence. In fact, the evidence seems overwhelming that when we try to fix things, they generally get worse. This isn't to say that we can't or shouldn't do anything. There are things that we can do to help. When there are earnest pleas from large groups of people, I believe that we can help these people. (Unfortunately, our media distorts things, but, I am talking about "if there was no media distortion" right now) If someone asks you for a little bit of help on something, you can help them, and I think it will be good. But I think that we cannot impose freedom on people.

Ask Colombians if they want US military aid going to their government. From all I have heard from my girlfriend who left Colombia about 4-7 years ago, from my girlfriends sister who left Colombia about 3 months ago, and from e-mail friends in Colombia who are there right now (none are activists; Activism is a extremely deadly, and utterly non-rewarding job in Colombia- THAT is why there are guerrilla in Colombia- they have to be guerrilla in order to survive as activists), from what those people have told me, nobody wants the US government to be giving weapons to the Colombian government.

Here are some things that you can do to help make a democracy in the United States, if you are interested: You can start a Fair Newspaper. Start a distribution for your local community, maybe just your street, or go to your sub-city, or your whole city, or your state, that's something like Kuro5hin. People can email you or mail you or deliver to you some samples of writing, under a certain size, and then collect them, publish them, and distribute them in your neighborhood. This will bring voice to essentially voiceless people, promote community relations, and help foster a political awareness of your shared interests. Another thing is that you can create a local money supply. There are many books on how to do this, and transaction.net has a lot of information on it online. (Look up Ithaca HOURS.) This allows people to save discressionary income for more important things, but use the local "funny money" for things that your community can provide, such as services such as cleaning, gardening, and education. You can attend local community planning meetings, and be a part of that. These things are all things that you can do to bring about a more democratic society.

You may even be able to get your free community donuts, provided that your democratic community agrees that it is a good use of community funds. Maybe you could leverage a good deal with the local bakery or something. Take care, Lion


--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]
Let's look at this logically in another way (2.00 / 1) (#77)
by Stickerboy on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 12:19:39 PM EST

Hypothetically, the US does what you ask, and withdraws from supporting the Columbian government.

The Columbian government, in order to prevent itself from being overrun by the much-better financed FARC (due to money from the drug cartels), seeks even more support from its other major source of support - the right-wing paramilitaries.

So, if the US withdraws its support, you think that the human rights situation will get better? Yeah, right.

[ Parent ]
The question is why? (4.50 / 4) (#64)
by ponderz on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 04:14:48 AM EST

There are good insights to be had if you answer why does US support for repressive goverments. Indeed, a few people have looked into it, including Noam Chomksy, Howard Zinn. If you read him, you will see that he has good analysis why does the US does what it does. I will keep it short; that is to maintain social, ecnomic, and military power.

[ Parent ]
It makes more sense... (3.53 / 15) (#16)
by physicsgod on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 02:35:29 PM EST

If you think.

As I read it the term "war on terror" is used to send a message to the terrorists: If you use terrorism against Americans the American War Machine will come after you. This serves to reduce the "profitability" of terrorism against the US, you don't get what you want and you'll probably get yourself killed or exiled. Now this might not have any relation to what the Administration or the Media mean when they use the term, but it does make the world make sense, which is a Good Thing.

Now on to the differece between 9/11 and the operation in Afghanistan: intent. Al Queda meant to kill civillians, there's no other reason for the strikes. Every business in the towers had off-site backups and was running again inside a week, and the Pentagon is more of a military policy office than a command center (and the command facilities it does have are duplicated multiple times across the country). The US strikes are aimed at the Taliban and Al Queda, yes civillians do get killed, but it's either by accident, mistake, or misinformation. Just look at the kill ratio: Al Queda killed ~1,000 civillians per "weapon" while the US has killed ~2 or 3 civillians per 10 weapons. If the US was deliberatly killing civillians they're fucking incompetent. Regarding the Daisy Cutters, those were used at the front lines in the conflict and were targetted against soldiers, not civillians. Scaring a soldier is much better (from the soldier's POV) than killing him, don't you agree?

Finally about the civillian casualty number in Afghanistan. Where did that come from? The site you linked to didn't bother to explain it, just quoted it like gosple. Does anyone else remember when the WTC death toll was pushing 7,000? Are Afghanis living in the stone age much better record keepers than New York?

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary

Intent to do good, always (3.50 / 8) (#24)
by dru on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 03:40:08 PM EST

Well, if your intentions are good, I guess you can do anything, because after all, you meant well, and the results are really irrelevant then, aren't they?

The site you linked to didn't bother to explain it, just quoted it like gosple.

Did you actually read the site? There's an extensive description of methodology and sources.
-- dru.ca
[ Parent ]

Well, hell. (2.25 / 4) (#41)
by Stickerboy on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 05:31:03 PM EST

If intent never matters, then ends always justify the means, eh?

Keep trying...

The point is, both intents and results are important. The US's actions are different from al Qaeda's actions in that al Qaeda's goals and intents were to murder several thousand innocent civilians. Our intentions were to change the Afghanistan government by military force, so that we could change the situation and hopefully "drain the swamp" in time - remove the conditions that raise and support terrorists in the first place. I'm surprised that there were as few civilian casualties as there were, given that we evicted an entire government - Associated Press, Reuters, and Human Rights Watch all estimate around a 1,000 killed.

[ Parent ]
No... (3.66 / 3) (#55)
by Danse on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 11:50:11 PM EST

The US's actions are different from al Qaeda's actions in that al Qaeda's goals and intents were to murder several thousand innocent civilians.

They have political goals just like the US does. Their goals just happen to conflict with our own. They intended to kill every American they could until they get their way. We intend to kill every Taliban member until we get our way. It does make some semblance of sense. Americans are directly responsible for their government. The Taliban took control of Afghanistan by force, thus the people there are not responsible for their actions.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Nope... (3.33 / 3) (#71)
by Stickerboy on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 10:05:25 AM EST

Their political goals stem from the fact that they believe that everyone should live under Islamic law. al Qaeda believes that through terror attacks they can rollback the secular world and allow true Muslims to rise up everywhere and establish "good governing" like the Taliban.

Our political goals stem from the fact that 3,000 innocent civilians of ours were killed, the USS Cole was attacked, 2 of embassies in Africa were bombed, and the WTC was attacked twice, all by the same people. We were going to bring those people to justice, either by killing them or bringing them to trial. The Taliban refused to give them up (not to mention severely abusing their own people), and so we removed them from power militarily in order to deny al Qaeda a safe haven.

You can twist it around with clever phrases all you want, but it still doesn't make the US and al Qaeda morally equivalent.

[ Parent ]
to kill civillians (4.50 / 2) (#92)
by svampa on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 04:23:32 PM EST

Al Queda meant to kill civillians

I don't full agree, Al Queda meant to hit economical power, as Bin Laden said in his last speach.

I think it's more probable that Al Queda nukes Silicon valley than Dallas. They don't mind to kill civilians, but that's not their main target

Although, probably New York is better economic target than Silicon Valley.

Are Afghanis living in the stone age much better record keepers than New York?

Sure they are not, but experience shows that deads counts in third world are always underestimated, and hospitals in Pakistan gave a good clue.

Anyhow, You can bet your right hand that the consecuences of this war will be worse for Afghanistan people than WTC for USA people.



[ Parent ]
Bullshit (3.00 / 1) (#96)
by physicsgod on Sat Feb 23, 2002 at 01:21:25 AM EST

I don't full agree, Al Queda meant to hit economical power, as Bin Laden said in his last speach.
Didn't Bin Laden also say he didn't have anything to do with the attack, sort of hurts his credibility? The IMF reported in december that the strikes cost the US ~25 billion, or 1/400th of the American economy. If wanted to hit economic power target the headquaters of GM, Walmart, or Dow. Big planes + big buildings = lots of people.

Sure they are not, but experience shows that deads counts in third world are always underestimated, and hospitals in Pakistan gave a good clue.
I don't really know enough about where these numbers come from, but my feeling is that there's a lot of trusting the Taleban and double counting. Of course that still doesn't negate the difference in kill rates. 1000 civillians/weapon shows a marked difference from 3 civillians/10 weapons.

Anyhow, You can bet your right hand that the consecuences of this war will be worse for Afghanistan people than WTC for USA people.
I've got three things to say about that:
  1. I do think that removing the Taleban from power was good for the Afghan people, and their civillian death counts are at least on order of the US's, so I don't think you can say it's worse for Afghans. Now if you'd care to define a quantifiable scale to judge who's worse off I'd be interested in hearing it.
  2. The whole world benefitted from this action. Al Queda is worse off now than they were 8 months ago, which can't be bad for any civilized nation. So even if it did make Afghanistan worse off (which I don't think it did) the actions would still be right in the larger context.
  3. The primary duty of the US armed forces is to protect the United States and its citizens, so even if the actions benefitted no one but Americans it would have been the right thing to do.
In this case it seems to me that the strikes helped the US, the people of Afghanistan, and the world at large. It's really great and really rare that life works out so that everybody's happy (well except for the terrorists, but fuck'em)

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Opinions and facts (none / 0) (#98)
by svampa on Sat Feb 23, 2002 at 02:04:24 PM EST

Bin Laden also say he didn't have anything to do with the attack, sort of hurts his credibility?

He didn't say he tried to hit economical power, but he asked future attacks to hit economical power. That has a little more of credibility.

~25 billion, or 1/400th of the American economy. If wanted to hit economic power target the headquaters of GM, Walmart, or Dow. Big planes + big buildings = lots of people.

Perhaps you're right, anyhow WTC hit visa headquarters, and lot of bank and international companies and stop stock market for some days. They could chose another flight, an hour later it would had been worse. But anyhow, perhaps you are right.

1 Good for afghan people

This war, any war, is bad for people. About casualities, the source is not Talibans, but Pakistan hospitals overloaded by wounded people during the war and red cross after war.

I'm not talking only about casualities, I'm talking about a bombed country, by USA from air, and artillery from NA. Massacres from both, talibans and North alliance, retailations etc. More than 300.000 refugees, people starving. etc.

That's the picture after this right or wrong war.

Little things has changed, North Alliance are a little better than Talibans, but are not quite different. The new president colaborated with CIA in the past and d has worked for Unocal, an oil pipe company. The source of this information is Spanish press, not a marginal leftish newspaper. Lords of war will continue ruling Afghanistan in their own little kingdoms. The influence of west-like political power will reach very little, just to sign treats with corporations and make a hundred families very rich.

Probably things will be a little better for afghan people, but don't believe they have changed from oppression to freedom, the have exchanged a terrible government for a very bad government. Was it worth a war? Perhaps, but you have to ask afghan people. Common answers that reporters get is "bloody Soviets, bloody talibans, bloody North alliance, bloody USA" or "I'm not going to drop my kalashnikov, I'm waiting for the next war, it's the only thing I'm good at".

2 The whole world beneffited

I don't think so. Al Qaeda target is USA. Its rethoric may be against western values, christians etc, but the facts are that their target is USA, and perhaps Israel

I do agree that any democratic country has the duty of arrest Al Qeada members. But the way you talk seems that Al Qaeda was hitting every country, we were in permanent state of terror and USA saved us. USA isn't helping the whole world to fight Al Qaeda, the whole world is helping USA, because it's a moral duty or because of diplomatic/economic preassure/benefits.

3 Good for USA

Yes, forget anything above, that's the point.

The strikes helped the US. Ok
The people of Afghanistan, maybe in the future, now they are pissed and starving
and the world at large.The world didn't had problems with Al Qaeda, and now we are worried with USA next step.



[ Parent ]
-1 with a vengeance (3.37 / 8) (#18)
by sigwinch on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 02:43:51 PM EST

You use the thoroughly-discredited Afghan fatality figures from Marc Herold.

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.

Discredited? (3.00 / 1) (#23)
by dru on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 03:34:42 PM EST

Where exactly did this wide discreditation take place? Did he falsify the results or are the journalists he referenced just wrong?
-- dru.ca
[ Parent ]
Sources (4.40 / 5) (#42)
by sigwinch on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 05:41:18 PM EST

This page has some good analysis of the Herold document. This huge page has Marc Herold debunking scattered across it (do a text search for "Herold" to find the relevant bits). This is an article on Metafilter that picks Herold's document apart.

Basically it boils down to several damning problems: 1) Herold uses vague, unverifiable, second- or third-hand reports from anti-American news outlets, 2) he reports deaths but counts casualties, 3) he's a professor of economics and (IIRC) women's studies and has little intelligence analysis experience, 4) he slams news outlets for taking whatever numbers the Pentagon feeds them, then turns around and uses their numbers for his work, 5) the document is a transparent anti-American screed obviously written for propaganda purposes, and 6) he ignores the lives saved by the removal of the Taliban, notoriously barbaric slavers who routinely slaughtered people in public spectacles.

To put it simply, Marc Herold is a deluded pinko who is scrambling for political power and attention, and does not care one whit for the welfare of the Afghans he claims to support.

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

-1 (1.00 / 1) (#26)
by RandomAction on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 04:05:26 PM EST

..very vindictive. For an excellent article.

[ Parent ]
More importantly... (3.00 / 1) (#28)
by seebs on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 04:15:21 PM EST

I have yet to see anyone do the *honest* thing, and subtract from the "casualties" the number of innocent civilians randomly killed during the same period of Taliban rule.

Dead is dead.


[ Parent ]
"War on Drugs" (4.69 / 13) (#25)
by spinfire on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 03:54:43 PM EST

In the totalitarian world imaged by Orwell, War is used to control the public. There is always a war on. Every few years the enemy changes, however the public never notices this because its all the same war.

Much the same as the "War on Terror", the "War on Drugs" has caused many people their lives, and their freedoms. Prior to September 11th, stopping drug proliferation was always the excuse for crackdowns on privacy. Now its the war on terror.

Freelance Hacker. spinfire on FooNET.

One important detail you missed. (4.77 / 9) (#30)
by Rk on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 04:27:12 PM EST

In 1984, the public is tricked into believing that they had always been at war with a particular enemy, even though the enemy changed frequently. Notice how many Americans considered Iraq to be the enemy when it invaded Kuwait, but yet considered them to be an ally in the war against Iran just a few years before? It was, like in 1984, as if people are simply coerced into believing that they were never an ally. Not to mention how quickly how quickly the attitude towards the Soviet Union changed just a few years after American and Soviet troops stormed Germany. Propaganda can be incredibly effective, even on intelligent, educated people who should know better.

[ Parent ]
Always Enemies (4.62 / 8) (#37)
by spinfire on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 05:07:51 PM EST

No one ever remembers back in the day when the CIA was aiding Bin Laden in the fight against the evil communists.

There was a Boondocks strip recently where a character calls the FBI tip line and reports Reagan for aiding terrorists.

I've tried to point out to people we once considered Iran our enemy, how Iraq was once our ally. No one beleives me. Its shocking.

Freelance Hacker. spinfire on FooNET.
[ Parent ]

Funny! (3.50 / 2) (#40)
by epepke on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 05:26:40 PM EST

I like it. Especially as hardly has a day by when I haven't seen someone point out that the CIA aided bin Laden, all of them seemingly convinced that this knowledge was held by them alone.

Now, what people really don't remember is that the original Star Wars didn't say "Episode IV," Bill Gates didn't invent the computer, and Europe most of their minorities a half century ago.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Yes it did (none / 0) (#84)
by Pope on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 02:05:59 PM EST

"Star Wars" has always been "Episode IV"

It just never said "A New Hope" until the re-release before "Empire"

That's why I hit anyone who calls it "A New Hope," AFAIC, there's no such beast.

"Turn your tails and run, In fear of the approaching years, in fear of the Ouch Monkeys" Julian Cope
[ Parent ]

Medilin (none / 0) (#107)
by marel069 on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 11:51:49 PM EST

Interesting enough, we are not only served a war, but a key enemy, a person or a few, which if they were killed, would give us victory. Remember Medilin in Colombia? They are gone now, so the DEA won the war, right? And so when Usama & co is dead, we will have won the war on terrorism.

[ Parent ]
I believe it's my turn at the watch (4.50 / 2) (#29)
by etherdeath on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 04:22:32 PM EST

It's 4:13 in the PM over here and I'm checking to see if the "War On Terror" is still nonsensical.

I'll just pick one nit. (3.25 / 8) (#34)
by Apuleius on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 04:59:40 PM EST

The 4,000 casualty figure is a load of hogwash, and hogwash from a Women's Studies professors, to boot. (Note to non-Merkins: Women's Studies is where the real loons in American academia hang out.) The AP places the figure at the neighborhood of 600.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
LOL (4.33 / 3) (#39)
by Stickerboy on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 05:20:27 PM EST

Just an excerpt:

Associated Press: 600

Reuters: 1,000

Human Rights Watch (New York): 1,000

Project for Defense Alternatives: 1,000-1,300

Professor Marc Herold (UNH): 3,000-3,600

The Spectator (Stephen Glover): 4,000

The Mirror (John Pilger): 5,000

Professor Noam Chomsky: 7,000,000*

(*Cautious estimate ventured in a speech in New Delhi in the middle of the campaign; it may be higher by now.)



[ Parent ]
My Take (3.64 / 14) (#38)
by Stickerboy on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 05:09:42 PM EST

You say that "democracy is only meaningful when based on the truth", and yet you ignore freely available evidence and reasoning contrary to your argument just because it doesn't fit in nicely with your political axe-grinding.

Before the attacks began, UN officials warned that, in addition to the 2.5 million Afghan refugees dependent on aid, an additional 1 million could starve if aid workers were forced to evacuate (again, a conservative estimate). The attack proceeded and aid workers were forced to leave. US air drops of food did little to compensate; when aid workers had been on site, 700 tons of food had been getting into the country daily; air drops managed to deliver the same amount over three weeks.

You conveniently forget the fact that the Taliban routinely terrorized U.N. aid workers, imprisoning some of them for "spreading Christianity", while denying the U.N. the employ of local women and foreigners they didn't like. Also, after the Taliban was unseated from power, those aid workers that left have since reentered the country, and they've been given much more freedom and supplies to work with. So those 3.5 million Afghans will end up being a lot better taken care of then when the Taliban were in power. Kind of a convenient fact to leave out, eh?

I'm not going to argue the semantics of who can or what constitutes terrorism with you. Under your definition, every military action by any country since history started has been terrorism (see the example of the Inca civilization "terrorizing" surrounding tribes into giving up human and material sacrifices), and I'm not going to convince you otherwise.

The actions during wartime are meant to kill, demoralize, stun, and otherwise take away the enemy's capacity to fight back. The United States Armed Forces are very, very good at what they do, and what they do isn't pretty, to paraphrase the cliche. War is always an atrocity, but at least some good has come out of our actions, unlike that of al Qaeda's actions.

Now to answer the arguments about Northern Ireland, Cuba, and Columbia. #1: IRA funding is being stopped when we discover it. It's not a priority, because the IRA has stopped, for the time being, shooting and blowing up people, unlike al Qaeda, which is why there's so much more effort and priority being put into shutting off their funding.

#2: "anti-Castro terrorists"? You mean the idiots who fly in Cessnas and drop leaflets over Cuba? Don't make me laugh... they're not worth wasting any effort, and besides, Castro seems to be doing fine ordering his MiGs to shoot down civilian planes, anyways.

#3: Columbia. I've already answered this in another post up above. Basically, supporting the freely elected, democratic government of Columbia is the best of 3 bad alternatives. You offer no better solutions, and i've pointed out that having the FARC in power would be much worse for the human rights situation in Columbia. Do you remember a little-known guy named Pol Pot? A wonderful example of how the "People's Socialist revolutions" turn out.

[snip boring diatribe against US actions]

Not so many years ago the U.S. supported, trained, and funded muhajideen like of Osama Bin Laden, cold war pawns whom Reagan called the moral equivalents of the founding fathers, even "freedom fighters".

You're right... they weren't crashing planes and killing thousand of innocents for no better reason than to kill them, back then. They were fighting against a Soviet invasion in Afghanistan for the purpose of gaining another sea port. If they had crashed planes in New York, and then fought against a Russian invasion, I doubt we'd be supporting bin Laden. The benefits of 20/20 hindsight... you can't judge past actions by what we know now.

The U.S. supported Saddam Hussein, another potential target in the "war on terror", not too long ago, and stood idlely by while, in the last gasps of the Gulf War, he brutally put down a rebellion of Kurds which the U.S. had prompted. That the Bush administration has neither acknowledged nor expressed regret at these prior affiliations is certainly cause for some doubt as to the motives of this self-righteous war.

You are so full of yourself, it's not even funny... the pot calling the kettle self-righteous. The members of this Bush administration (which a lot of them served in the last one) freely admit that not driving to Baghdad because we were afraid of taking more casualties was a mistake. They have repeatedly expressed remorse over not supporting the Kurdish and Shi'ite rebellions with arms, supplies, and military action. Back then, everyone thought he'd fall by a coup within his own military circle. Back then, we also thought sanctions would be effective in toppling him. Again, 20/20 hindsight. Quit judging the past by what we know now. And believe me: Saddam Hussein is clearly on the list of Mistakes to Be Corrected.

The U.S. -- and the U.K. and Canada, both of which have signed on wholesale -- still calls Saudi Arabia an ally in this war, despite the fact that most of bin Laden's funding likely originates there. Maybe the "war on terrorists that can be killed without messing up any major trade deals, sources of oil, or political connections" is even more apt.

Lies, lies, and more lies. Saudi Arabia is doing what it can, as fast as it can. The difference between Saudi Arabia and the Taliban Afghanistan is that Saudi Arabia is willing to work with us to limit the flow of money, and conduct investigations into stopping terrorists before they act. The Taliban gave al Qaeda rest, shelter, supplies, and a willing base to work out of, and was clearly not interested in turning over any al Qaeda members. Here's a better example: the Philippines. The goverment there has expressed a willingness to work with the US and has requested aid and training in order to do so. Whether or not the small group of ~100 terrorists there is worth all the effort is another debate, but they're requesting help freely, and we're giving aid freely.

We changed the government in Afghanistan by military force because that government was willfully harboring terrorists. We could have used all-ground forces and levelled Afghanistan the way the Russians levelled Chechnya, but we chose a route that killed not 100,000 civilians but around 1,000 civilians (that number you quote includes 3,000 indirect civilian deaths - including anything but direct deaths leads to a pointless search for cause-and-effect, because you can always claim that we save lives by introducing a more moderate government that doesn't carry out public executions for being un-Islamic). Let's not even get into the deaths resulting from placing a "nonviolent" sanctions regime on Afghanistan for not giving up bin Laden would have been, as opposed to just 1,000.

You don't include both sides of the story, or give the US and its allies any credit for the good that they've done, which means that your version of events and actions is just as worthless as that of the spin coming out from the Pentagon spokesman. Maybe even more so, because the Pentagon will admit every once in a while that it got things wrong. You could have at least put this under Op-Ed if you're not going to try for any balance at all.

Pol Pot (5.00 / 7) (#46)
by Robert S Gormley on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 06:58:54 PM EST

...You offer no better solutions, and i've pointed out that having the FARC in power would be much worse for the human rights situation in Columbia. Do you remember a little-known guy named Pol Pot? A wonderful example of how the "People's Socialist revolutions" turn out.

You don't include both sides of the story, or give the US and its allies any credit for the good that they've done, which means that your version of events and actions is just as worthless as that of the spin coming out from the Pentagon spokesman.

Oh dear. I remember Pol Pot. Put pretty much into power with the help of Henry Kissinger, the CIA, and the US. Was this some of the good that you do that you're referring to?

[ Parent ]

Yeah, okay.... (2.33 / 3) (#69)
by Stickerboy on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 09:46:22 AM EST

Oh dear. I remember Pol Pot. Put pretty much into power with the help of Henry Kissinger, the CIA, and the US. Was this some of the good that you do that you're referring to?

Evidently you don't remember Pol Pot. Pol Pot was put into power by support from the Chinese government - Mao considered Pol Pot an ideal revolutionary, someone to really look up to.

Here's a good article if you want to read some background on how chummy the two were.

A more plausible explanation for the US inaction on Pol Pot than your conspiracy theory is that the US was sick of dealing with Southeast Asia after 10 years of the Vietnam War. The US and the rest of the world did nothing about the genocide, just like the US and the rest of the world did nothing about Rwanda, because they didn't want the costs and responsibility of intervening.

Unless you show some evidence and verifiable proof that Pol Pot was a US government agent, I'll just continue to think you're just another anti-American conspiracy nut spouting nonsense. Thank you, try again...

[ Parent ]
Dammit, broken link. =( (none / 0) (#73)
by Stickerboy on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 10:44:34 AM EST

In my reply above somehow K5 instead of the article I wanted got onto the clipboard. Here's the real one... http://cnn.com/ASIANOW/asiaweek/magazine/2000/0211/lookingback.html

[ Parent ]
Therefore we should let FARC run wild too? (5.00 / 1) (#82)
by Apuleius on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 01:58:46 PM EST

The US fucked up with Pol Pot. That is no reason to ask the US to make the same fuck up again, with FARC, or the Senderos, or any other communist scumbags.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
Amusing peice of rubbish (4.00 / 6) (#50)
by smallstepforman on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 09:04:02 PM EST

" They were fighting against a Soviet invasion in Afghanistan for the purpose of gaining another sea port." Since when did Afganistan have access to the sea?

"We changed the government in Afghanistan by military force because that government was willfully harboring terrorists." Any idea when the Yanks will dispose the government of Rep.Ireland? (disclaimer, I am for a united Ireland).

Try not to watch CNN.



[ Parent ]
Nonsensical response (3.66 / 3) (#70)
by Stickerboy on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 09:58:35 AM EST

" They were fighting against a Soviet invasion in Afghanistan for the purpose of gaining another sea port." Since when did Afganistan have access to the sea?

Let's follow the map, shall we? Soviet republic -> south -> Afghanistan -> tip of Pakistan -> ocean. If the Soviets had a friendly Afghanistan government (read: Soviet puppet regime installed) then Pakistan would be easy to influence to allow Soviet shipping, or outright topple their government and replace a la Afghanistan. The Soviet's desire for another sea port not frozen over for good parts of the calendar year has been well-documented.

"We changed the government in Afghanistan by military force because that government was willfully harboring terrorists." Any idea when the Yanks will dispose the government of Rep.Ireland? (disclaimer, I am for a united Ireland).

Hello? Have you heard of the Northern Ireland peace process? Not only is it a British problem that we're mostly letting the British take care of themselves, but it seems the people of Ireland/N. Ireland want to work towards ending the violence once and for all. The United States, like I stated in my original post, does not militarily strike nations unless they're clearly working with the terrorists and against peace and order. See: Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Yemen, and many others.

Try not to be too clueless.

One more thing, it's "I before E, except after C".

[ Parent ]
Indeed. (none / 0) (#81)
by Apuleius on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 01:56:45 PM EST

It's not just the Soviets, either. The Czars wanted to go the same route in the 19th Century, and for obvious reasons. Russia's harbors suck ass when it comes to access to the oceans. Their Arctic Sea ports freeze, their Baltic ports are at the mercy of the Scandinavians, their Black Sea ports are at the mercy of the Turks, and their Pacific ports are on the far side of a lousy railroad.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
We're predictable (2.45 / 11) (#44)
by el_guapo on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 05:56:10 PM EST

I am *flabbergasted* by certain "person's" wide-eyed dismayment (is that a word?) when *everyone* knew *exactly* what the US would do. Sure, criticize the US' response all you want, but when Bin Laden/(ipso facto the Taliban (did I use that phrase correctly?)) whacked the Towers, you know they goddamned knew FOR SURE what we would do. I'm frankly fed up with the general "The US is such a bad country for bombing the shit out of Afganistan" specifically and discussion of the whole topic in general. Sorry guys, if you don't want us to bomb the shit out of you then don't kill a shitload of Americans. If you dangle your hand in front of an alligator, guess what? It'll bite it off. Do you get mad at the alligator? If you kill a shitload of Americans/invade a country we don't want you to invade/generally do anything that we really don't like (whether that "like" is right/wrong/hypocritical), well, guess what - we're gonna bomb the shit out of you if we can get away with it. Either A) deal with it or B)umm, deal with it. There is a slim chance that this behavior will stop - and there is an equally slim chance that we'll quit being hypocritical (realistic too, maybe?) about it and start bombing the shit out of China, North Korea, Jordan, Syria and all those other countries that have governments we don't really like. Frankly, I think Bin LAden and the Taliban were fucking morons (senior' Hussein of Iraq fits in here too) because we are so damn predictable. I'm not a prticularly "connected" person politically and I knew for a FACT we were gonna bomb the shit out of and invade Iraq in 1990 and I kew for a FACT we were gonna bomb the shit out of Afganistan. If the Taliban had half a brain they would have turned over Bin Laden and still be in power right now - and yes, that would go against their "ethics" or whatever the right word is, but they are just as hypocritical as anyone (moreso even?) despite hiding behind a religion. If a guy is standing there holding a gun to my head *and I know for a fact he is going to pull the trigger*, and he's telling me to hand over a person that isn't my son or wife or the like, I am a MORON if I don't do it - cuz they're just gonna cap my ass and then go get them anyways. US == predictable, Taliban == FUCKING MORONS
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
I guess it's also predictable that... (4.60 / 5) (#49)
by SIGFPE on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 08:52:48 PM EST

...the US government did nothing as American money flowed into Northern Ireland via NORAID to fund blowing up innocent people in Britain.
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
re: We're predictable (4.50 / 6) (#53)
by sal5ero on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 11:01:59 PM EST

If a guy is standing there holding a gun to my head *and I know for a fact he is going to pull the trigger*, and he's telling me to hand over a person that isn't my son or wife or the like, I am a MORON if I don't do it - cuz they're just gonna cap my ass and then go get them anyways. US == predictable, Taliban == FUCKING MORONS

According to your selfish moral code, maybe. But not everyone values life above _everything_ else. The guy who doesn't hand over his son or wife obviously values loyalty over their own life. Not everyone values their own life above everything else. And that's before even considering the possibility that an ethical code may be based on the idea that such disloyalty may be punished eventually by denial of access to paradise, or the possibility that not handing over the son or wife at least gives them some sort of chance to escape the guy with a gun. You can judge someone's choices, but until you know that your viewpoint is definitively the only correct one, only using their own beliefs and moral code as the standard to judge by.



[ Parent ]
Maybe true (4.00 / 4) (#79)
by Khedak on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 12:48:51 PM EST

That may be true consider this: If it was so painfully obvious what the US would do after such an attack, is it really more likely that those responsible were (A) morons, or (B) counting on our response? Consider who is suffering for the attacks: The Taliban, sure, but also afghan civilians. The results? Widespread anger towards the US from Islamic nations. Even Saudi Arabia has expressed concerns.

I sincerely doubt that the terrorists expected us to fold and withdraw from the Middle East. They expected us to attack, to draw attention to ourselves as the big, arrogant western nation who bombs civilians and thinks itself justified (after all, they "supported" the Taliban).

Who knew, we acted exactly as Osama bin Laden hoped we would.

And to top it all off, we started this war because the Taliban wouldn't hand over Bin Laden unconditionally. Now, the Taliban is detroyed, thousands of Afghan civilians lie dead and starving in the aftermath, and the man we said we were after has still not been caught. And we're still bombing the country, a country that before the first shots were fired in October was said to be "target-poor."

You're right, we are predictable as a nation. I think if you asked one of the (now dead) perpretrators of the attacks if they would be satisfied with the result, they would say yes. They set out to start a Holy War, to push the conflict to a level where it could not be ignored, where muslims would have to pick sides and where the jihad would have to come to its final resolution. Why aren't they concerned with their suffering countrymen? Probably for the same reason that we don't feel concerned about them. They blame us for their suffering; we blame them. But they don't have to suffer in it.

Doesn't that make much more sense than your "fucking morons" theory?

[ Parent ]
I've thought about that, too (4.00 / 1) (#100)
by epepke on Mon Feb 25, 2002 at 10:04:03 AM EST

In the early days, before the campaign in Afghanistan, I seriously doubted that bin Laden had anything to do with it (I'm still not sure). I thought it was more likely that someone who really disliked the Taliban and wanted the U.S. to clean them out was responsible. Iraq, for instance. Or maybe Saudi Arabia. Or maybe even some of the Northern Alliance.

On the other hand, I really doubt the Germans were counting on the response to the sinking of the Lusitania, and I doubt the Japanese were counting on the response to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It seems to me that people really do forget every 50 years or so what Americans will do. World opinion seems to tend toward the belief that Americans are just too stupid and goofy to do anything like systematically destroy a government. This leads to underestimations, which are usually dangerous.

Honestly, though, it really doesn't matter. Getting even, no matter what it costs, is just as much a part of the American character as trying to stir up trouble is a part of the French character. We can argue 'til the cows come home about what the 9/11 attackers wanted, or condemn or condone the US. I didn't want the US to start bombing, either. But the US did. Afghanistan was, in fact, bombed, and that is clearly in line with the American character. If that's what some people wanted, well, they have it now. The question is how long they consider it a good thing to want.

I've seen some speculation that bin Laden may have thought that in a confrontation, the Islamic world would win. Personally, I think this has about as much chance as a snowball in a blast furnace. Anyway, time will tell, and when it is over, it will be history.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
truly american (3.00 / 2) (#99)
by fourseven on Sat Feb 23, 2002 at 02:15:47 PM EST

wow, if more americans are like you, i'm ashamed that canada is your country's official ally. it seems to me that the us is just making more and more enemies around the world.. you're pissing off the middle east, the far east, europe is getting fed up, russia and all her states -always- loved you.. the oceanic nations surely too.. must wonder about africa..
so tell me dear friend, can you take -everybody- on? you think? with your clean-cut army that never had to fight for their lives, in their homeland? think again..
what is it you say about attacking china? i wish the us did, because that would finally put an end to your intolerable arrogance. half a billion chinese soldiers with ak47s, maybe one would put a gun to your head..
america reminds me of a pathetic cowardly old man.. too old to change his ways, struggling with some kind of an inner pain, unable to figure it out and taking it out on all others. it's a good thing it's showing the first signs of a collapse.. what would be really nice to see is that you fall apart into a few bunches of warring states and finish each other off like rabid dogs. too bad so many american citizens are willing to live like a herd of sheep, unaware or blindly accepting of all that the shepherd does. don't you realize that the power of the government is entirely in your hands? what, you think the army would kill their own citizens? well, if they did, maybe then you'd understand the true meaning of the word terror.

no respect,

b.

[ Parent ]
man did you miss my point (5.00 / 1) (#101)
by el_guapo on Mon Feb 25, 2002 at 03:32:46 PM EST

note this part "(whether that "like" is right/wrong/hypocritical)" what i MEAN is, if you invade a small country that happens to have lots of oil and is therefore considered "important", we will, poste haste, bomb the shit out of you and take said country back. ***if we can get away with it*** - yup, sure sounds like i'm standing up waving my good ole stars and stripes (and i am, i'm the guy kinda hunkered down in the corner looking uncomfortable cuz i think if i leave i'll be considered a traitor!) why'd it take so long for us to go traipsing into somalia, given the vast attrocities there? they didn't have stuff we needed. Haiti? well shit they're very pathetic and too close to ignore and we'd likely lose more men to friendly fire than to haiten bullets, so we go there. What if China had invaded Kuwait? You can bet your sweet ass we'd be doing the "diplomacy" thing only. I ain't AGREEING with the goofy way America decides who to go bomb the shit out of. I'm just pointing out it's consistency. A)We need to care (or pretend to) B)we need to be able to get away with it (with the rest of the world and at home) and C)we need to be damn sure we're gonna win. How many months did we wait on the ground war in kuwait until finally attacking a group of men that would surrender to cnn film crews. we actually seem to hold a lot of the same viewpoints, i'm just not as good at getting them across :-)
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
[ Parent ]
to get away with it (2.00 / 1) (#104)
by fourseven on Sat Mar 02, 2002 at 02:01:06 PM EST

you know, the "only when we can get away with it" seems to be the main theme of american military actions. thank you for pointing that out..

b.

[ Parent ]
It's not about the words (3.83 / 6) (#45)
by tudlio on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 06:46:56 PM EST

Let's chat about the use of language for a minute. Is there always an exact correspondence between the words we use and the concepts they purport to represent? Let's take for instance the word dog. When you read the word dog, what do you think of? Probably not the little black and brown beagle-basset mix that comes to my mind. Nonetheless, chances are great you thought of a mammal with four-legs that barks when excited. It's likely that you and I largely agree on what is necessary for a dog to be a dog and not a cat.

In the same way that we can broadly agree on what a dog is, most people can broadly agree on what terrorism is. That definition that most people broadly agree upon specifically eliminates violence sponsored and avowed by a government. Even people in places like Egypt and Palestine, who have reason to hate the United States and Israel, speak of a difference between terrorism and the actions of those governments.

The "war on terror" is widely understood to mean an all-out, no-holds-barred effort to eradicate the people who fit into the broadly understood category of terrorist.

Now the thrust of your argument seems to be (conveniently abbreviated in my favor): (1) terrorism is killing people; (2) the United States kills people; therefore the United States is a terrorist; therefore the war on terror is a meaningless concept.

I think that's a sophism that can only be sustained by disregarding the common definition of what terrorism is.

I think the whole discussion of the meaningfulness of the war on terror is a rhetorical sideshow. I think the real point of your story is that the actions taken by the United States as a part of the "war on terror" are morally abhorrent and cannot be justified by the fact that those actions are both state-sponsored and state-avowed. On that point, I might agree with you.

You conclude that because, "Democracy is only meaningful when based on the truth," and, "...the 'war on terror' is mostly a convenient cover for the U.S... to pursue with abandon its global interests," democracy is threatened by the acceptance of the term. I think that contrary to your assumption, the term is meaningful, the American public knows what it means, and that the resultant actions of the government are consistent with democratic principles.




insert self-deprecatory humor here
US irrational policy (4.14 / 7) (#47)
by victor pike on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 08:19:37 PM EST

The statement, quoted as being in a 1995 report: That the U.S. may become irrational and vindictive if its vital interests are attacked should be a part of the national persona we project to all adversaries...It hurts to portray ourselves as too fully rational and cool-headed. ...is old news indeed. In fact, it's just a restatement of the "Mad Dog Nixon" policy employed by--you guessed it---Tricky Dicky. Perhaps the type of uncertainty that the Mad Dog policy was purported to have caused the Soviets gave this policy a looney logic circa 1970, but it's hardly appropriate for the 'only superpower' to not only swagger about, murdering whom it likes, but to inspire 'fear and loathing' just because...it's fun? Small wonder that this overpopulated world is not only cowering before our lunitic blandishments, but is also seething with hatred, ready to do us any damage it can, while it can. Not so oddly, George Bush the First was a creature of Richard Nixon, and so too, George Bush the Second... Mad Dogs all, in my opinion. --

Do you mean? (1.83 / 6) (#54)
by QuantumG on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 11:47:23 PM EST

Clearly, leveling the World Trade towers, thus killing several thousand people counts as terrorism, though it's unclear what the terrorists in question were trying to coerce the U.S. to do, apart from provoking it to war. Except, you know, getting the fucking out of their country and stopping the slaughter of their bretherin through their proxy Israel?!?!!! I'm truely lost how anyone can write so much about the actions of the US government and know so little about the cause of all this. If the US people would stand up and take back their government, get rid of those attack dogs in the pentagon and keep their soldiers in their own god damn country, none of this would ever happen again. But no, it's better to have a blood feud isnt it.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
We tried that... (4.37 / 8) (#56)
by physicsgod on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 12:52:38 AM EST

Twice. Once in the 1920's and again (to a lesser extent) in the 1990's. The only lesson we got from that is if we sit inside our borders someone is going to threaten us, then we have to fight a big war to eliminate the threat. The Atlantic and Pacific oceans ceased to be a valid strategic basis sometime around 1925. It's far better for all concerned (except the power-hungry fanatics) for the US to get involved early. If we had acted against Al Queda 10 years ago it probably could have been done with police actions, instead we ignored the problem until the organization entrenched itself in a country and established cells all over the world.

The US is the richest and most powerful country in the world, as such it's going to be a target of jealousy, hatred, and fear. The only way for that to change is for the US to hand "leadership" over to a different country, quite probably making things worse. I wouldn't want to live under a fundamentalist Islamic hegemony.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]

If we had acted against Al Queda 10 years ago (2.00 / 9) (#58)
by QuantumG on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 01:36:09 AM EST

oh, you seem to have missed the point where YOUR GOVERNMENT CREATED Al Queda! You just excluded yourself from the conversation ok? If you cant say anything that isn't propoganda bullshit fed to you through CNN (as your last paragraph is 100% representative) then just dont talk ok? You're not the target of jealousy, you're the target of your own creation. You reap what you sow.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
[ Parent ]
That's incorrect (3.87 / 8) (#60)
by Kalani on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 01:54:56 AM EST

It's oversimplistic to say that we created Al-Qaeda for a number of reasons. The primary reason is that its founding principles are not tied to our country. It was started by a Saudi who had his own interests and his own funds. Our interests may have intersected in Afghanistan, but evidence that we funded Al-Qaeda is lacking and even if it were true that we helped them during the mujahedeen war against the USSR, that does not mean that we created Al-Qaeda. The mujahedeen, by the way, were a heterogeneous mixture of groups, each with a slightly different ideology. If any country played a direct role in making sure that Al-Qaeda grew, it was Pakistan. You should look into the conflict centered around the expiration of the Durand Line and why Pakistan had an interest in that.

I'm not saying that the United States is a bastion of virtue, but it's almost comical that you dismiss somebody's worthy comments as "propoganda" when you have an overly simplistic picture of what's gone on in that region.

On the other hand, maybe you're a troll looking for similarly zealous responses.

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
always with the trolling (2.16 / 6) (#61)
by QuantumG on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 02:42:41 AM EST

Maybe you just contridicted yourself because you posted something that was over zealous and now you're trying to back down from it. The CIA funded and trained the terrorist camps now known as the Al-Qaeda network. They did it because it is cheaper and easier to manipulate a poorer country to serve the needs of a richer country. They then royally buttfucked said poorer country and the home country of the people they recruited. I claimed that you are victim of propoganda simply because you are of the mistaken belief that anybody in the entire world is "jealous" of americans. It's almost as if you think that muslims sit in their homes and think "fuck I wish I was an american, that'd rock!" Get a grip ok? No-one wants to be you. In fact, they dont even want you to be you. Most every national opinion of the US of A is that you're too loud, too stupid and obviously too blind to see that many of the things you proudly tote as being something to be "jealous" about are nonexistant and have been for quite some time. You have the greatest gap between the rich and the poor of any nation on earth and yet you talk non stop about equality. You're more imprisioned than any nation on earth and yet you speak non stop about freedom. You're brow beaten by the most corrupt government on earth and yet you speak non stop about democracy. The worst thing is that you drive your culture down the throats of others with antiquated notions of moral absolutism and fail to understand why they get upset about it. Obviously I'm generalizing here.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
[ Parent ]
As a stupid USian ... (4.00 / 4) (#62)
by Kalani on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 03:09:26 AM EST

... I would just like to point out that I'm not actually the person who started this thread, which is how you have addressed me here.

Also, the CIA didn't create Al-Qaeda ... really. I'm not sure where you got all of that stuff about jealousy either. Frankly I'd rather you just stopped blathering than feel somehow vindicated that my culture is the pearl of the Earth.

Now go back under the bridge OK?

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
yer sorry (1.40 / 5) (#76)
by QuantumG on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 11:38:00 AM EST

Thought you were physicsgod who was guilty of saying the following:
The US is the richest and most powerful country in the world, as such it's going to be a target of jealousy, hatred, and fear.
Which is what my last rant was about. Dont turn this into a Slashdot forum ok? No-one is "trolling" here. Why is it you cant express even a remotely radical or original opinion without being called a troll?

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
[ Parent ]
So what can we do right ? (3.50 / 8) (#57)
by ColeH on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 01:09:20 AM EST

It appears that the U.S. is always wrong no matter what it does according to the readers of K5. As an American (Not a USian - look it up) I wonder just what the international community wants.
The U.S. has acted far more humanely than any nation before in history and yet is still chastized.
Sanctions in Iraq could be avoided if Iraq would comply with the surrender terms agreed upon.
Again, why is this the fault of the U.S. ??
Before you criticize the U.S. of its actions, please tell me how YOUR country has acted better.
One who is very tired of the 'Blame America First' mentality.

Cole

Argh (2.33 / 3) (#59)
by JeffWilkins on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 01:39:10 AM EST

Its not a "blame first mentality", its a "blame to get it fixed" mentality. It doesnt matter who commits evil/immoral/stupid acts, it just matters that it should be stopped. The US is self-proclaimed as the most civilised country in the world, perhaps it should act that way then and seek out the roots of the problem.

"The U.S. has acted far more humanely than any nation before in history and yet is still chastized."
So that makes it all right then? We've been more humane in the past so now we'll use some of the atrocity credits we've saved up?

The US has done many good things, but K5 readers dont need to talk about them because its obvious they should have been done. One example is the Nuremburg trial, set up by the President of the time to "remove all doubt about the legitimacy of the US actions on the prisoners" you dont see that happening now do you? Yes America is held up on a pedestal, but it accepts that responsibiity through its actions.

Sanctions can be avoided, just get rid of them so that people dont starve and quit bombing civilian infrastructure in Iraq. Quite clearly its the US' fault for those sanctions because the US called for the imposition of them and still continues them even though they arent working.

I come from Australia, its nto perfect but AFAIK we havent helped any death squads on other countries, or paid for the creation of dictatorships, or encouraged drug trafficing or poisoned other countries water supplies etc. etc. However we seem to be moving that way with our support of the US' actions and increasing racism.

[ Parent ]
Nuremburg trial (5.00 / 1) (#74)
by wiredog on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 10:54:23 AM EST

Some people think the Allied victory in WW2 was a bad thing.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
Litany against the US. (3.37 / 8) (#65)
by StrontiumDog on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 06:44:12 AM EST

The U.S. has acted far more humanely than any nation before in history and yet is still chastized.

Rubbish. The twentieth century was the bloodiest century in history, bar none. The West, under the inspired leadership of the US, has been responsible for the vast majority of this bloodshed.

Before you criticize the U.S. of its actions, please tell me how YOUR country has acted better.

Oh that's easy.

  1. My country has never used nuclear or chemical weapons of mass destruction against civilians. The US has.
  2. My country never murdered two million Vietnamese in order to "save" them from communism. The US has.
  3. My country does not fund Middle Eastern dictators to the tune of $2 billion per year, as the US does with Hosni Mubarak of Egypt.
  4. My country does not aid and arm fundamentalist repressive monarchies with piss poor human rights records. The US and Saudi Arabia are intimate bedfellows.
  5. My country did not arm and fund genocidal tyrants in the '80's. The US did so with Saddam Hussein. Iraq is now in the Axis of Evil.
  6. My country never toppled the democratically elected leadership of a nation, to replace it with a puppet regime. The US did so with Iran. The Iranians didn't stand for it, and are now in the Axis of Evil.
  7. Remember the Korean war? My country didn't take part in it. The Us did, and guess which country is the third country in the Axis Of Evil?
  8. My country is not the largest exporter of arms in the world. The US is, and the US has the gall and hypocrisy to ask of other nations, like China, that they stop arms sales.
  9. My country does not get all uppity about "rogue states" with "possible nuclear capability" while supplying Israel, owner of an arsenal of around 200 nukes, with $6 billion a year.
  10. My country does not contribute to economic devastation and political chaos in Central America under the mottos of Wars against Communism and Drugs.
  11. In fact, my country does not seem to be continually embroiled in wars against Communism, Drugs, Terror and whatnot.
  12. My country is not interested in establishing a New World Order. The Third Reich was, and the US still is.
  13. My country is not led by cranks and religious nutcases who believe in "Manifest Destiny" and "Crusades Against Evildoers".
  14. My country's citizens are not so terrified of their own secret services that they go so far as to preface postings to kuro5hin with the disclaimer "Note to Predator: I am not a terrorist, I'm just speculating here". Laughable? Yes, if you have to reckon with the fact that almost all electronic communication is monitored by government security agencies in the Land of the Free.
  15. My country does not have citizens who not only silently approve of this kind of mindless barbarism, but whine and complain about how "good the US is, and how ungrateful all other countries are for all the good things the US does."
Need I say more? Or is this all irrelevant compared to real atrocities like ... like ... like what actually?

Your turn. Tell me why the world wouldn't become a better place instantly were the US to disappear from the globe.

[ Parent ]

Point by point (2.88 / 9) (#67)
by A Trickster Imp on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 08:43:41 AM EST

> My country has never used nuclear or chemical
> weapons of mass destruction against civilians.
> The US has.

Perhaps you would prefer that those we used nuclear weapons against had won the war?


> My country never murdered two million
> Vietnamese in order to "save" them from
> communism. The US has.

Remove the quotes around "save", please. Also, you are confused as to the definition of "murder". Murder is unlawful killing, which is not what happened in Vietnam.


> My country does not fund Middle Eastern
> dictators to the tune of $2 billion per year,
> as the US does with Hosni Mubarak of Egypt.

So we should attack those countries or sumptin? Dictators bad, right?


> My country does not aid and arm fundamentalist
> repressive monarchies with piss poor human
> rights records. The US and Saudi Arabia are
> intimate bedfellows.

As opposed to those we don't fund or aid anymore like Iraq and Iran and Afghanistan? The oil flows, and, to pull an illogical justifaction from the bag of tricks on the left, we don't have the right to interfere in their internal affairs.


> My country did not arm and fund genocidal
> tyrants in the '80's. The US did so with Saddam
> Hussein. Iraq is now in the Axis of Evil.

We're about to clean that up, something your country (what is it anyway) wouldn't, or more likely, couldn't, do.


> My country never toppled the democratically
> elected leadership of a nation, to replace it
> with a puppet regime. The US did so with Iran.
> The Iranians didn't stand for it, and are now
> in the Axis of Evil.

The rabid clergy there that refuses to peacefully coexist in the modern world causes them to be in the axis of evil. You must have skipped that day in school.


> Remember the Korean war? My country didn't take
> part in it. The Us did, and guess which country
> is the third country in the Axis Of Evil?

Had the US not intervened, the third country would be Korea, not just North Korea. Another day skipped, this time in logic class.


> My country is not the largest exporter of arms
> in the world. The US is, and the US has the
> gall and hypocrisy to ask of other nations,
> like China, that they stop arms sales.

Arms sales to the Axis of Evil.


> My country does not get all uppity about "rogue
> states" with "possible nuclear capability"
> while supplying Israel, owner of an arsenal of
> around 200 nukes, with $6 billion a year.

Your country should get all uppity about rogue states with possible nuclear capability. The day may very well come when someone blows up a major city, and if that is in the US, you think we're being rough and righteous now, you'll see a mechanical cleaning of other nations like the Borg never dreamed.

The US is about to take care of one such country, Iraq, now, that has had two years without inspectors. A "dirty" conventional bomb would make many square miles of a large city uninhabitable, it need not be an actual nuclear detonation.


> My country does not contribute to economic
> devastation and political chaos in Central
> America under the mottos of Wars against
> Communism and Drugs.

Communism doesn't work because it is evil. It is evil because it is against freedom. People are not cogs to be dictated to by the most adept power hogs. Contrary to "common sense", there is a massive difference between freedom and communism.

As for drugs, I am libertarian and do not support making them illegal. However, live by the populist sword, die by the populist sword. Most of the laws in "your country" are probably heavily socialistic in nature, i.e. goofiness "by the people."


> In fact, my country does not seem to be
> continually embroiled in wars against
> Communism, Drugs, Terror and whatnot.

That's ok, little boy. You may continue to hide in the corner where the bullies usually don't go.


> My country is not interested in establishing a
> New World Order. The Third Reich was, and the
> US still is.

Talk about "grouping by nonessentials" as a logically invalid rhetorical device. "Worldly Orders" are undergoing modification all the time. It's a shame that your country isn't participating in it. You can set things as you see they should be. What you don't realize is that if you don't, someone else (perhaps a new Nazi, or Communism) will. "Your country" may then be forced to get involved, if in self-defense if nothing else, and by that point be at great disadvantage.


> My country is not led by cranks and religious
> nutcases who believe in "Manifest Destiny" and
> "Crusades Against Evildoers".

They are probably lead by other cranks who believe in unlimited "will of the people" as lead by the latest Miss Cleo impersonator.


> My country's citizens are not so terrified of
> their own secret services that they go so far
> as to preface postings to kuro5hin with the
> disclaimer "Note to Predator: I am not a
> terrorist, I'm just speculating here".
> Laughable? Yes, if you have to reckon with the
> fact that almost all electronic communication
> is monitored by government security agencies in
> the Land of the Free.

Given that people speculate on how to best kill the VP, why should you be surprised the feds perform an investigation? They probably look at it for 30 seconds, then check a box that says "harmless crank", then move onto the next one in their stack of 20,000 tips, or 400,000 tips, or whatever.


> My country does not have citizens who not only
> silently approve of this kind of mindless
> barbarism, but whine and complain about how
> "good the US is, and how ungrateful all other
> countries are for all the good things the US
> does."

Silently approve? How about heartily approve?








[ Parent ]
Stick to turning tricks, imp (2.33 / 6) (#83)
by StrontiumDog on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 02:01:54 PM EST

Perhaps you would prefer that those we used nuclear weapons against had won the war?

Fokking dumb statement number one. USians, who come here and whine in great numbers about how Osama bin Laden is so fokking evil because he attacked civilian targets instead of military targets, are the first to rah-rah-rah the nuking of Japanese civilians, and the use of napalm and Agent Orange on Cambodians and Vietnamese (who didn't start the damn thing in the first place).

So we should attack those countries or sumptin? Dictators bad, right

No, you high-school moron, you should stop funding these motherfuckers, stop arming these motherfuckers, and stop supporting these motherfuckers. Am I being clear here?

We're about to clean that up, something your country (what is it anyway) wouldn't, or more likely, couldn't, do.

"Clean" it up? How? By killing more Iraqis? It isn't enough you put the sonofabitch in the saddle, now you're going to "clean" the Iraqis up too? The way you "cleaned" Afghanistan up?

The rabid clergy there that refuses to peacefully coexist in the modern world causes them to be in the axis of evil. You must have skipped that day in school.

Imp, my ignorant friend, what the fuck do you mean by "refuse to peacefully coexist in the modern world"? May I remind you, little fascist fucker, that the US has been interfering in Iran's affairs from day one, and not the other way around? That the rabid clergy sitting in Teheran are the fucking result of the population's backlash against the US-propped puppet rulers?

Had the US not intervened, the third country would be Korea, not just North Korea.

Exactly. Stay the fuck out, next time, instead of splitting countries up, stationing thousands of permanent troops along their borders, isolating the country's leadership and ensuring the permanent residence of dictators. Just get the fuck out.

Arms sales to the Axis of Evil.

Which is exactly what the US has been doing the past 20 years. Teenage ignoramuses like you have naturally forgotten about the Iran-Contra affair and the arming of Saddam. Now they're the "axis of evil". Truly, a nation of dolts gets the leaders it deserves.

Your country should get all uppity about rogue states with possible nuclear capability. The day may very well come when someone blows up a major city,

That rogue state exists. The day has already come. The cities are called Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

you think we're being rough and righteous now, you'll see a mechanical cleaning of other nations like the Borg never dreamed. The US is about to take care of one such country, Iraq, now, that has had two years without inspectors. A "dirty" conventional bomb would make many square miles of a large city uninhabitable, it need not be an actual nuclear detonation.

Why does that not surprise me? My boastful friend, you are confirming my thesis that the world would be a much safer place should the US disappear from the face of the Earth.

Communism doesn't work because it is evil. It is evil because it is against freedom. People are not cogs to be dictated to by the most adept power hogs. Contrary to "common sense", there is a massive difference between freedom and communism.

Jesus fucking Christ, you're not only stupid, you spew incoherent rhetoric as well. Get the fuck out of here.

Silently approve? How about heartily approve?

People like you stood and cheered while Hitler was making his speeches. Get the fuck out of here, you "libertarian" nitwit.

[ Parent ]

dear lord (5.00 / 1) (#102)
by el_guapo on Tue Feb 26, 2002 at 07:02:59 PM EST

you are either a VERY crafty troll or a complete fucking moron - very hard to tell the difference with you - probably both.
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
[ Parent ]
A Trickster Imp? (none / 0) (#105)
by A Trickster Imp on Mon Mar 04, 2002 at 04:03:17 PM EST

Someone with the name of "Trickster Imp" a troll? No way!

What started as a legitimate response to a whiny, "my country doesn't do this, my country doesn't do that" post quickly went over the top.

In all seriousness, if the US is to modify its policy of not supporting dictators, which might be legitimate in a post cold war world, simply because there is no more USSR to pick them up as a client state if we don't, then that merits serious discussion.

Claiming moral superiority from a "my country" that won't, or much more likely can't, "impose its will" on thug states, is just rediculous.



[ Parent ]
Excellent Post (4.00 / 4) (#72)
by flimflam on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 10:17:31 AM EST

6. My country never toppled the democratically elected leadership of a nation, to replace it with a puppet regime. The US did so with Iran. The Iranians didn't stand for it, and are now in the Axis of Evil.

Also, let's not forget (American sponsored coups in Latin America, in chronological order -- 20th century only):Honduras (1911), Guatemala (1921), Guatemala again (1954), Ecuador (1961), Dominican Republic (1963), Guatemala again (1963), Chile (1973), Uruguay (1973), El Salvador (1980), Guatemala again (1983)


-- I am always optimistic, but frankly there is no hope. --Hosni Mubarek
[ Parent ]
OK... (4.25 / 4) (#78)
by Armaphine on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 12:32:56 PM EST

So your country managed to NOT do something? Man, you must be proud to live in such a country. BTW, how is Antarctica this time of year?

Question authority. Don't ask why, just do it.
[ Parent ]

Sonny boy ... (3.00 / 6) (#80)
by StrontiumDog on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 01:35:10 PM EST

... I could be living in North Fokking Korea and still come out smelling like roses compared to the US.

[ Parent ]
Ah.... I'm enlightened now. (3.50 / 2) (#85)
by Stickerboy on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 02:10:44 PM EST

North Korea, where they starve millions of people every year just to try to make a failed economic system work.

Where brainwashing and indoctrination starts from the smallest schoolkids and doesn't stop until you die.

Where some fatso (Kim Jong Il) has absolute power on the basis of absolutely no credentials at all.

Where they threw hundreds of thousands of their soldiers to waste for no purpose in "human wave" attacks in the Korean War, just because their leadership was desperate to win?

Where there is no such concept as "basic freedoms", or even a right to speak out about a concept of "basic freedoms", because everyone takes the word of their Fearless Leader as absolute wisdom.

Yeah, StrontiumDog, you have a real good sense of perspective there. Why don't you actually try living in North Korea, and then come back and report on how their government smells like roses.

[ Parent ]
Of course you're enlightened. (2.25 / 4) (#87)
by StrontiumDog on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 02:23:42 PM EST

I provide proof that the US is the most vicious, interfering nation on Earth and you want to compare the number of SUVs in each country.

I don't give a flying fuck about Kim Il Jong. I do know that the average human being on this planet is more likely to die at the hands of an American than at the hands of a Korean.

It's exactly the same with street gangs. When a murderous thug is brought before the judge and accused of heinous crimes, his only defense is to mutter "Well, us Cripps have it better than them Bloods; if you think we're so bad why don't you go join the Bloods?"

Stick-idiot, I don't give a fuck which country is more prosperous; I do give a fuck about which country is running around murdering people, and threatening others with "you're either with us or against us". Period.

[ Parent ]

So tell me something (3.00 / 2) (#88)
by Stickerboy on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 03:12:14 PM EST

What country do you live in, StrontiumDog? Because I can rip apart its bloody history just as well as you've done the United States.

You still haven't answered a word on how the North Koreans smell anything close to roses.

And I'll add something else for you to think about: it's not so much about what's happened before, but where people and countries are going. You point out all these sensationalized "atrocities" from yesteryear and look at them through the lens of today.

Don't judge the past by what we know now!

God, that irritates me.

The Soviets, the US's main adversary during the cold war (where you've pulled up most of the "atrocities"), executed millions of their own citizens through their secret police, started wars, invaded countries, killed millions more in foreigners, and basically tried everything they could to rule the world.

Whatever country you're from doesn't have as much blood on its hands, simply because it didn't have power to have blood on its hands. Your country would have been just as bloody if it had either the US or the USSR's power and influence during the Cold War time period and the way morality and international law was viewed back then.

You, like wji and many others, view the US through this red-colored lens where nothing (including 5.722 million tons of distributed food aid in 2001) the US does is right, and everything is evil and despicable and wrong.

I kind of envy you, StrontiumDog. With your simplistic view of everything and your narrow-mindedness, it's probably a lot easier to get through the day affecting airs of your "intellectual" superiority and your self-righteousness. Then again, when you have to think for yourself and use more intelligent thought than "fuck this" or "fuck that", everything does get a bit more complicated.

[ Parent ]
And now for specifics (3.66 / 3) (#89)
by Stickerboy on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 03:38:06 PM EST

I provide proof that the US is the most vicious, interfering nation on Earth and you want to compare the number of SUVs in each country.

You've given proof that the US has done terrible things in the past. Different time periods. Look at and compare what Nazi Germany and the Communist Soviet Union did during the same time period, and you'll see we did come out smelling pretty fresh next to those dung heaps. Don't judge the past by what we know today! I'm just going to keep repeating that until you actually understand that logical fallacy. At no time did I mention SUVs, StrontiumDog - either read my actual post or get a life and quit misconstruing what I said to fit your own little worldview.

I compared the brainwashing of the North Korean "education system", where they learn that Kim Jong Il is God, to the United States education system, where we have frequent and vibrant metaphysical debates over the nature and existence of God, and the relative power and potential good/harm of our elected leaders.

I don't give a flying fuck about Kim Il Jong. I do know that the average human being on this planet is more likely to die at the hands of an American than at the hands of a Korean.

You forgot, "...unless you're a North Korean." In which case, the biggest threat to your life is being shot by your own government for being a traitor by voicing your own opinion. The only people in the world who have to fear from the US government are countries that actively harbor terrorists and don't arrest or expel them. If you live in Afghanistan? I'm sorry, but that place is a war zone. Notice we haven't bombed Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, Yemen, or any other number of places, because they're willing to solve their own problems before it becomes the US's problem (see: 9/11).

Stick-idiot, I don't give a fuck which country is more prosperous; I do give a fuck about which country is running around murdering people, and threatening others with "you're either with us or against us". Period.

Well, hell, you should be ranting and raving about Islamic militants, then, and how they should be stopped, but strangely I haven't heard a single word from you about them. Or maybe you should be ranting and raving about Russia and Chechnya, or Sudan with it's continued atrocities against its Christian population, or China with regards to Taiwan, Tibet, and its western provinces. You should be all for removing a "previously US-supported dictator" like Saddam Hussein, who has nerve-gassed his own citizens, and if France or Russia was proposing a military campaign to do so I suspect you'd be all for it. But instead, since you're just axe-grinding against US power and influence in the world, and not actually arguing about human rights or atrocities, you absolutely hate the idea of the US starting a military campaign to correct a huge mistake it made in supporting Saddam Hussein once upon a time. Never mind that after the campaign, the Iraqi people would actually have a chance to rebuild their country, and become prosperous and live normal lives again out from under a madman who only looks to increase his personal killing power through chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. That certainly doesn't matter, because you have to argue against the evil US and its military might no matter what.

The difference between you and I is that I realize that every nation has done terrible things, but that realization doesn't paralyze me into inaction into trying to make the world better. You're so caught up in the cut-and-paste rhetoric of the evil US as a bogeyman and the supposed total depravity of its actions that you can't see any of the good that the US has done, or could do.

[ Parent ]
moderation (4.00 / 1) (#90)
by deadplant on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 03:50:01 PM EST

dear stickerboy, please refer to the moderating guidelines regarding "0" scores...

StrontiumDog may well be a fool, but his comment was fairly on-topic. zero ratings are for totally off-topic and SPAM/abuse type posts only. Give that sucka a 1 if he's talking out of his ass.

[ Parent ]
Thank you for the correction. (4.00 / 1) (#91)
by Stickerboy on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 04:10:26 PM EST

And I thought 0s were just for idiots that say "fuck you" more than actual arguments...silly me.

I'll change my moderation to 1s.

[ Parent ]
While I don't know how they do it in Fokking... (4.66 / 3) (#86)
by Armaphine on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 02:15:10 PM EST

...But that doesn't change the fact that anyone, be it a person, a group, or a nation, has ever been judged on what they didn't do. Anyone can NOT do something. The only real measurement comes when you actually do something, be it anything from curing diseases to commiting genocide.

Question authority. Don't ask why, just do it.
[ Parent ]

NOT doing (2.00 / 1) (#103)
by sgp on Thu Feb 28, 2002 at 09:23:49 PM EST

can be a very good thing, as I'm quite sure you're well aware already. NOT murdering, NOT raping, NOT stealing candy from the store. At whatever level you want, it still works.

There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

[ Parent ]

Some suggestions (5.00 / 4) (#95)
by pnambic on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 08:04:33 PM EST

[...] As an American (Not a USian - look it up) I wonder just what the international community wants.

While I cannot speak for the international community, here's my personal wish list:

I would like the US to...

  • act consistently. Enforce all U.N. resolutions or none. Intervene in all violent international conflicts or none. Oppose proliferation of weapons of mass destructions to all parties or none.
  • be part of the community. Support the International Criminal Court, even if that means that U.S. generals might end up before it. Pay your monetary debts to the United Nations. Join the Kyoto treaty or argue against it.
  • be tolerant. The American Way of Life is just that - a way of life. Recognize that there are others; don't fear them, don't make them fear yours.
  • be humble. The USA is not as rich as Switzerland and not as free as the Netherlands. The automobile wasn't invented there; neither was the idea of democracy. That is not an embarassment unless you don't admit it.
Is that too much to ask?

[ Parent ]
Calling US Names (3.00 / 5) (#63)
by genman on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 03:42:00 AM EST

I would like to think that Afganistan is better off than it was six months ago. We can argue civilian casualties over and over, and never reach a consensus, but it seems to me even at worst, with the Taliban gone, and food aid returning to the country, there is now some hope for the Afghans. Well, once the interm smoke clears, and all the fighting ends, maybe this will be understandable.

It would be interesting to argue whether or not you think differently: Do you think the Afghans are better off now that the Taliban is gone? Do you think was the cost (in civilian lives and hardship) was worth the result?

As for the article, it's not really interesting to argue semantics, and calling the US government hypocritical is like shooting fish in a barrel.

I'm hoping the US goes after North Korea: The government that takes food aid and stockpiles it in warehouses.

Perhaps. (4.00 / 5) (#66)
by Znork on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 07:38:29 AM EST

From what I've read it appears that in modern times, the Afghanistan people were actually best off before the US became involved at all. That a communist regime could be better isnt exactly a positive statement about the country tho.

Then the US supported the 'freedom fighters' (what we in general would call 'terrorists' today), which turned out to be pretty much rivalling bandit gangs who pretty much shot and/or robbed anyone they felt like.

Then the Taliban came and imposed a religious dictatorship. But at least they shot people for certain reasons rather than just randomly.

And now the 'bandits' (freedom fighters, terrorists, whatever shall we call them) have been reinstated again, so we're potentially back to acts of random violence. Are they better off?

Maybe. In all likelyhood the western world will play sorry for a few more months, then we'll dump them on whatever aid organizations feel like getting shot and robbed on random rather than jailed and executed on purpose, and if they get above their station again we'll bomb them 'til they go away. What do you think?

[ Parent ]
Interesting moderation (5.00 / 1) (#93)
by Znork on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 04:44:26 PM EST

Stickerboy, while it's easier to moderate opinions you dont agree with, frankly I'm more interested in conversation and discussion.

I'm interested in what your opinions are on the topic of discussion. The original comment in this thread was on wether or not the American intervention was a good thing or not. Was it?

Personally, I think intervention was the right thing to do. It should have been done a lot earlier (which would have saved countless lives on both sides), and it was done for all the wrong reasons (which is why I'm critical of it). Wether or not it ends up a good thing to kick out the Taliban depends on the followup. The groups composing the 'northern alliance' arent exactly the posterchild of good government, and last time around they were, unlikely as it seems, probably worse than the Taliban (for the people of Afghanistan), but if the international community lives up to its ambitions it could be a good thing. Unfortunately the international community, the US and the media are already turning their interests elsewhere, which will provide a breedingground for just another round of war, poverty and ultimately some form of agression towards the western world.

The original interest of the US in Afghanistan was in opposing the Soviet Union. Not entirely a bad thing, but the followup was lax and the result ended up in atrocities. Under the communists the afghans had access to some form of equality between the sexes, and a fairly ordered society. Not a very good one, but probably a better one than what followed. The Soviet Union is gone, and their crimes are no use commenting upon anymore (which, believe me, I did during its existence). But that involvement by the US turned out to be worse for the people in afghanistan than no involvement, and in my opinion the focus needs to be kept to avoid a repeat of history.

(Oh, and if the idea of the US supporting terrorists objectionable, please meet the criticism. How do you define terrorists? "People we dont like who practice violence" doesnt qualify. I want an objective definition, one that every nation could agree with. Wether they are on our side or not must not figure into it. I'm really curious, because however much I consider the topic I cant find a single coherent definition that will let me simultaneously condemn the WTC bombings, IRA bombings and Palestinian attacks without at the same time condemning the Israeli bombings of palistinian police stations, the US support of various organisations as well as some direct US actions. Either they're all 'terrorists' or none of them are.)

[ Parent ]
Dissapointing article (4.00 / 1) (#94)
by ptemple on Fri Feb 22, 2002 at 06:58:43 PM EST

Sorry but this ill thought article fails to address the real issue for me. First let's look a few points:

Surely such actions count as terrorism. U.S. tactics are explicitly designed to "shatter" the opponent in order to further the pursuit of political goals. What do we risk by using terrorism as a tactic to fight a war on terrorism?

This is like calling the German Nazi nation a group of terrorists for using the Stuka and V2 rockets. Terror tactics are very effective for breaking the enemy, the justification usually being the shortening of the war hence saving lives in the long run. Killing people is always a terrible thing, it's always how far will you go for the ends to justify the means (which is why we have International laws such as the Geneva convention).

[snip funding terrorists coming back to bite you on the ass]

Every country takes part in these games. The idea is to play countries off against each other with the result you become more dominant with little expense. Sometimes it works. Other times it doesn't which is when you get to hear about it.

So perhaps the "war on terror" is more aptly named the "war on terrorists who attack the United States and on anyone who happens to live near the people who support those terrorists" -- more verbose and more accurate.

Well duh.

Yet that's still not quite right. The U.S. -- and the U.K. and Canada, both of which have signed on wholesale -- still calls Saudi Arabia an ally in this war, despite the fact that most of bin Laden's funding likely originates there.

Saudi Arabia is an ally and always has been. It does, however, have to be careful not to antagonise its neighbours hence some of its diplomatic language. Bin Laden came from there and hence his inherited fortune comes from there, but to label Saudi as "the funder of Bin Laden" is absurd. In fact he publically renounced Saudi as a soft and decadent nation.

And the UK did NOT sign on to the "War on Terrorism" wholesale. It signed on to the war against Afghanistan as the UK lost many citizens in the Sept 11 bombing. Tony Blair has stated he does not want to widen his objectives to targetting other countries such as Iraq etc.

Which leads me on to the question I want answered: Bush has entered office illegally, led his country into recession, has been shown to be corrupt with his energy policy, embroiled in the Enron scandal... is he looking to go to war with Iran, Iraq, Phillipines, and I'm sure soon others, simply to stay in office?

Phillip.

Sounds A Lot Like the "War On Drugs" (3.00 / 1) (#106)
by derfla8 on Tue Mar 05, 2002 at 05:30:17 PM EST

Sounds much like the War On Drugs. A war on not a person, peoples, or country but a concept. By definition both wars could be perpetuated by those in power for their own misguided evils.

I can't find where I read this anymore, but I once read an intersting piece on the war on drugs. It has much relavence on the current war on terror. That is that civil servants, such as the police, FBI, DEA, and national defense orgs such as the army and navy; unlike corporations do not make money. Money for corporations is power. So the only way for civil servants to have more power is to be given more money. Prior to the war on drugs police had waning power, prior to the war on terror national defense was taking a ride in the back seat. What better way to get unlimited sums of cash than to fight a battle that can never be won?

The DEA have written a book in getting unlimited power and funding, and now the US national defense is using that book.

Your attack is too broad and ill-defined (none / 0) (#108)
by glorfindel on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 11:03:02 PM EST

My first question is: are you attacking the media for labeling the current military operations with the name bandied about by the Bush administration or are you attacking the semantics of the goverment's label for said actions?

If your criticism is of the media's use of the term "War on Terror," let me remind you that the media has historically taken its lead in naming military conflicts from the government -- just be glad nobody besides Bush and his cronies refer to the action as "Operation Enduring Freedom."

Nobody is more sickened by the ill-defined goals and the ever-expanding purview of the current "War on Terror" as myself. However, only someone thoroughly out of touch with reality could criticize the United State's decision to undertake military action in Afghanistan. The U.S. response has been measured and, at least initially, well thought out.

The use of the current, non-nuclear U.S. arsenal does not qualify as terrorism by any stretch of semantics. Just because the result of an action is terrifying, does not make it terrorism.

Terrorism, as currently understood, is the use of terror specifically targeted at civilians. Although there have been civilian casualties in Afghanistan, they have not been intentional. Regretable? Certainly. Criminal? Not even close. Let us not forget the firebombing of Tokyo, Dresden and Berlin, not to mention the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Each of these actions killed significantly more civilians than current operations in Afghanistan, and yet are considered unpleasant but perfectly legitimate military strategy.

Where the U.S. is beginning to err, is in suggesting that we will spread this "war" to countries and regimes not directly involved in the tragedy of Sept. 11.

Pre-emptive strikes for imagined threats simply because we don't like a country or regime is wrong. Unless North Korea, Iran or Iraq launches an attack against the U.S. or its allies, or until they officially declare an intention to do so, we have zero right to attack them simply because we don't like the weapons we THINK they might be developing, or because they use anti-U.S. rhetoric to gain popular support.

There is much to criticize in the actions of the Bush administration, let us not got bogged down picking apart terms and calling names rather than debating the merits of specific policies.

The "War on Terror" is Still Nonsensical | 108 comments (96 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
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