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Sacrifices of War

By maveness in News
Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 12:19:15 PM EST
Tags: Round Table (all tags)
Round Table

According to a wire report on the Washington Post's website, the Taliban are saying they are willing to sacrifice 2 million lives in their fight against the US and its allies in Afghanistan.


I quote the report here:
ISLAMABAD, 7:07 a.m. EDT - Defiant after two nights of U.S. strikes, Afghanistan's hardline Taliban rulers vowed to sacrifice two million lives to protect their independence, Taliban Ambassador to Pakistan Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef said on Tuesday.
How should we contrast this statement with those made by US leaders?

Much has been made of supposed US reluctance to tolerate US casualties in combat. And in speeches by US and British leadership I've only once heard the word "sacrifice" used in connection with the war against terrorism. There's also been a great deal of emphasis (or lip-service, depending on your perspective) placed on the idea of minimizing civillian casualties.

The Taliban project an image of being prepared to engage in "total war," even at great cost to themselves and the Afghan civillian population. They claim to be ready to sacrifice nearly a 10th of their countrymen for their cause -- literally "decimation." Is this just bluster, or should we take them at their word?

And if we do take their statements at face value, what is the appropriate response? And what sacrifices are the US and its allies prepared to make in the war against terrorism?

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Poll
What would constitute an unacceptable sacrifice for the US in its war against terrorism?
o casualties > 500 12%
o casualties > 5000 3%
o casualties > 5000 2%
o casualties > 100,000 5%
o casualties > 1,000,000 8%
o prolonged recession 8%
o routine government surveillance of email 43%
o a 50% tax increase 15%

Votes: 85
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Washington Post's website
o Also by maveness


Display: Sort:
Sacrifices of War | 69 comments (63 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
500,000 (2.26 / 19) (#1)
by M0dUluS on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 02:10:20 PM EST

is the answer. Madeleine Albright said so.

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
Oh yeah (4.00 / 2) (#3)
by Neuromancer on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 02:13:56 PM EST

I forgot that not offering aid to your enemies was the same as shooting them.

[ Parent ]
Sorry (3.50 / 2) (#5)
by Neuromancer on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 02:14:43 PM EST

Again, that was a bit more inflamatory than I like to be.

[ Parent ]
They're just as dead (4.50 / 2) (#7)
by wiredog on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 02:19:22 PM EST

But at a far lower cost in ammo and friendly lives.

Am I the only one who's noticed that the oil nations in the mid-east are net food importers? They need to sell oil so they can buy food. We can live without their oil better than they can live without our food. I wonder if the imams and mullahs are considering that?

Starving your enemies into submission is an old tactic. Discussed in Homer, among others.

Probably bad PR to pursue that tactic today.

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
[ Parent ]

Yes... but (3.00 / 1) (#8)
by Neuromancer on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 02:23:40 PM EST

We're not exactly stealing the food from their mouths, we're just not giving it to them.

[ Parent ]
no (3.33 / 3) (#19)
by M0dUluS on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 04:03:15 PM EST

You are completely wrong. we are preventing by armed blockade the export of oil from Iraq which could be used to buy food. The UN oil-for-food program has recognized that it does not generate enough revenue to feed the population. The references for this were thrown about heavily during the "500,000 it's worth it story". Hence the resignation of two directors of the oil-for-food program who refused to be associated any longer with what they consider to be genocide.

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
Blurry Line (none / 0) (#20)
by Neuromancer on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 04:56:59 PM EST

Yeah, but that's politics. They play mean n so do we.

[ Parent ]
Clear line (2.50 / 4) (#22)
by M0dUluS on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 05:15:45 PM EST

called the Geneva convention. On one side of it are war criminals who target civilians etc, on the other side are the civilized nations. But hey! those under 5 Iraqi kids might have grown up to be a threat.

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
Blurry (none / 0) (#25)
by Neuromancer on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 06:35:21 PM EST

Can you cite the paragraph that SPECIFICALLY prohibits this?

[ Parent ]
Here's one of the paragraphs (4.66 / 3) (#27)
by M0dUluS on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 06:52:26 PM EST

Article 23

Each High Contracting Party shall allow the free passage of all consignments of medical and hospital stores and objects necessary for religious worship intended only for civilians of another High Contracting Party, even if the latter is its adversary. It shall likewise permit the free passage of all consignments of essential foodstuffs, clothing and tonics intended for children under fifteen, expectant mothers and maternity cases.



"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
Dayum (4.00 / 1) (#28)
by Neuromancer on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 07:41:40 PM EST

Cool, I apologize. I still see some double standards and such, but this is on both sides I suppose.

[ Parent ]
No need (5.00 / 2) (#29)
by M0dUluS on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 08:01:41 PM EST

to apologize. Because there are actually lots of places where the Geneva convention says things like "subject to the occupying power being satisfied that the food/medicine is going toward the people and not being misdirected".
This becomes especially relevant with Iraq where the Security Council Resolutions SCR 661, 665, 670, 687 imposing the sanctions make the point that they are trying to stop re-armament. However, the same body recognized that their responsibility is not to target the civilians, or indeed to behave in a careless manner that endangers civilians. To that end they implemented the oil-for-food program. Review of this program indicated that:
if all humanitarian supplies were provided in a timely manner, the humanitarian programme implemented pursuant to resolution 986 (1995) can admittedly only meet but a small fraction of the priority needs of the Iraqi people.

The oil-for-food program was revised several times with this same conclusion being reached each time.
So, it's not quite as simple as that contextless paragraph that I provided you suggests.

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
bullshit bullshit bullshit (3.33 / 3) (#43)
by jayfoo2 on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 12:14:50 PM EST

The government of Iraq is preventing its own damn people from getting food, medicine etc. It has for years been defying the international community, thus resulting in it's being punished.

Let me ask you this? Would the people of Iraq rather have a prosperous country, food, and medicine or a chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons program?

The Iraqi government, which oppresses its own people in ways Americans can't even dream of, is responsible for the suffering of its own people. This government was not elected and rules by force.

The west is not the cause for the suffering of the Iraqi people.

[ Parent ]
The west is the cause, according to this (5.00 / 1) (#54)
by pyramid termite on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 04:17:15 PM EST

The Secret Behind the Sanctions

Basically, the article demonstrates with U.S. government documents how the water supply of Iraq was deliberately targeted in violation of international law and the Geneva Convention. This doesn't make Saddam guiltless, of course, as I believe he has made life more difficult for his people by blocking the aid that could help them, but we are not guiltless, either.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Iraq sanctions (none / 0) (#55)
by swr on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 05:01:48 PM EST

The west is not the cause for the suffering of the Iraqi people.

Here are a few google searches you might want to check out:

These are people who, presumably, would know something about the suffering of the people of Iraq. They are all "former" because they resigned in protest.

Those google searches will lead to some interviews, so you can read their own words on the subject.



[ Parent ]
ok people (none / 0) (#56)
by jayfoo2 on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 06:51:09 PM EST

Why are there sanctions on Iraq?

What does Iraq need to do to end the sanctions?

Who is responsible? The UN which imposes sanctions for the good of all (WMD are bad things) or the government of Iraq which allows its people to starve?

Hussein's government isn't even resisting the inspections and other conditions placed upon it by the UN (as a result of its war of aggression remember?) out of principle, which would be one thing. They are doing so becuase they are greedy, corrupt, and sociopathic.

So once again, who's fault is the suffering of the Iraqi people?

[ Parent ]
Re: ok people (4.00 / 1) (#57)
by pyramid termite on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 08:32:18 PM EST

Why are there sanctions on Iraq?

I believe it's because they have refused to allow inspections to see if they are building nuclear, chemical or biological weapons like some Western countries have.

What does Iraq need to do to end the sanctions?

Allow the inspections and agree with the idea that they're not entitled to the same weapons as other countries.

Who is responsible? The UN which imposes sanctions for the good of all (WMD are bad things) or the government of Iraq which allows its people to starve?

They're BOTH responsible. Iraq for being power greedy and the UN for being hypocritical - why not sanctions on ALL countries that have these weapons?

Oh, it must be because some of those countries could veto such a plan. Silly me.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Important Difference (none / 0) (#65)
by Khedak on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 05:26:16 PM EST

The people killed by withholding aid are children and the sick and elderly. The people killed in a shooting war are (if you do it fairly) mostly soldiers.

But isn't inflicting harm on innocents in order to achive political gain 'terrorism'? Hmmm... It certainly is if you shoot them, but if you withhold aid, it's hard to say. Maybe that's why it's our government's most common way of slaying the innocent of other nations: destroying or cutting off food and medicine.

[ Parent ]
Too Bad... (3.91 / 12) (#2)
by Neuromancer on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 02:12:19 PM EST

The people that they're willing to sacrifice are the unrepresented civilians of Afghanistan who have little to do with the Taliban government.

Well... (3.14 / 7) (#4)
by greyrat on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 02:14:28 PM EST

Is this just bluster, or should we take them at their word?
So pop off 2 million, and see if they give up.

No honey, it's bluster. Just like almost all retoric during a war.


~ ~ ~
Did I actually read the article? No. No I didn't.
"Watch out for me nobbystyles, Gromit!"

Begs a few questions... (4.16 / 12) (#6)
by tudlio on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 02:14:54 PM EST

Are two million Afghanis willing to sacrifice their lives to protect the Taliban?

Are the United States and its allies going to give the Taliban the opportunity to sacrifice two million Afghanis?

What, exactly, would two million Afghanis die defending?

It sounds like so much testosterone posturing to me.




insert self-deprecatory humor here
does not (3.00 / 3) (#13)
by alprazolam on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 03:08:43 PM EST

Are two million Afghanis willing to sacrifice their lives to protect the Taliban?
Clearly

Are the United States and its allies going to give the Taliban the opportunity to sacrifice two million Afghanis?
Again, the answer seems to be obvious. the US will do "whatever it takes", remember.

What, exactly, would two million Afghanis die defending? Their national pride, religious freedom, and sovereignity

It sounds like so much testosterone posturing to me.
heh. Doesn't all of it?

Also I believe people have previously commented on the proper use of the phrase that's in your subject.

[ Parent ]

Details, please (4.00 / 1) (#15)
by tmoertel on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 03:40:33 PM EST

Are two million Afghanis willing to sacrifice their lives to protect the Taliban?
Clearly
Clearly? Can you please cite some objective sources to support this claim?

--
My blog | LectroTest

[ Disagree? Reply. ]


[ Parent ]
Yes (4.50 / 2) (#24)
by rusty on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 05:56:37 PM EST

I'd like something to back that up too. Everything I read and hear seems to indicate that the Taliban is mostly tolerated in Afghanistan, but not particularly liked by the average people. In fact, quite a few people have had members of their family abducted and forced into military service by the Taliban. How many of those units will fight to the death when given a choice between being prisoners of war (i.e. being fed and given medical attention) and fighting to the death for the regime that kidnapped them?

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
It depends on their perception (none / 0) (#33)
by Verminator on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 11:27:24 PM EST

If the people of Afghanistan see the present conflict as an attack against the Taliban and terrorism (what the US like to call it) then there's a good chance they'll join the fight against it, or at least allow us to continue.

If they view it as an attack on their country (which is what it actually is) then they'll probably fight us to the death like they did the Soviets.

I don't know what kind of access the people of Afghanistan have to free information, but it's a safe bet the Taliban controls most, if not all, of the news they recieve. If this is the case the Taliban can put whatever spin they want on the attacks. And what do you think the Taliban is likely to say?
If the whole country is gonna play 'Behind The Iron Curtain,' there better be some fine fucking state subsidized alcohol! And our powerlifting team better kick ass!
[ Parent ]

taliban media (none / 0) (#34)
by rebelcool on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 11:29:39 PM EST

they have no tv. Their only radio station was bombed last night.

US is already setting up to broadcast into afghanistan and airdrop radios to the folks there.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

just out of interest (2.50 / 12) (#9)
by streetlawyer on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 02:29:48 PM EST

how many lives would any Western country sacrifice to safeguard its independence, against a power that appears to have war aims which go far beyond neutralising a terrorist threat or bringing a fugitive to justice, and which appear to include imposing a form of government which is morally and religiously repugnant to it? I don't see why we should not take this threat seriously, and I haven't yet seen much evidence that the Taleban lack mass support which wasn't dripping with the usual indicators of propaganda.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
Uhmm... (5.00 / 4) (#26)
by ucblockhead on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 06:46:11 PM EST

...and I haven't yet seen much evidence that the Taleban lack mass support...
Other than the fact that they are in the midst of fighting a civil war and don't control significant amounts of territory in the country they claim to run, you mean?
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
ellipsis (none / 0) (#37)
by streetlawyer on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 03:19:49 AM EST

I frankly feel that you edited my post to remove important context, which is why I feel unable to reply to your comments on the edited selection.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Ok, I'll help (none / 0) (#41)
by ucblockhead on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 11:23:53 AM EST

I've reposted my reply with all of your comments intact, so you can reply now.

I certianly wouldn't want to be accused of deliberately quoting a post out of context. I do understand how such out-of-context quoting could confuse the issue when the original is so hard to find.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Fixed (5.00 / 1) (#40)
by ucblockhead on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 11:18:29 AM EST

how many lives would any Western country sacrifice to safeguard its independence, against a power that appears to have war aims which go far beyond neutralising a terrorist threat or bringing a fugitive to justice, and which appear to include imposing a form of government which is morally and religiously repugnant to it? I don't see why we should not take this threat seriously, and I haven't yet seen much evidence that the Taleban lack mass support which wasn't dripping with the usual indicators of propaganda.
Evidence other than the fact that they are in the midst of fighting a civil war and don't control significant amounts of territory in the country they claim to run, you mean?
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
so from that (3.00 / 2) (#42)
by streetlawyer on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 11:23:58 AM EST

you would conclude no doubt that the government of Israel lacks mass support? There is significant internal turmoil; there is no popular revolution against the Taliban, for the very good reason that there is no credible alternative government.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
You seem a mite confused... (none / 0) (#44)
by ucblockhead on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 12:50:18 PM EST

We're talking about your claims, not mine, so Isreal has no relevence to the conversation. Isreal may well lack "mass support" of the population, and certainly does if you are including palestinians as part of that population. So in that sense, my answer to "you would conclude no doubt that the government of Israel lacks mass support?" is "Yes, what's your point?

You also seem to think that "mass support" is some sort of binary thing. (What, jsm thinking like a geek!?) The lack of "popular revolution" is certainly not evidence of "mass support". It is, at best, evidence of apathy. It is also pretty clear that a "popular revolution" is not likely in a country in the midst of a civil war. Anyone wanting to revolt would be more likely to go find one of the various rebel groups. (Some of which may well represent a "popular uprising". I really don't know, as I've no clue what you mean by that term.)

The Taliban does not control all of Afghanistan, and indeed, last I heard (before 9/11), it controlled less than 50% of Afghani territory and was called the "ruling" group merely because it had the capital. One would expect that if it had anything like "mass support", you'd see lots of uprisings in areas controlled by anti-Taliban forces, but, of course, you see nothing of the sort. What you see is the populous bowing down to whatever force happens to control the territory that it is in.

There's lots of evidence that there is no "mass popular support" for the Taliban, the most important of which being that it has been unable to take control of that population despite years of fighting on roughly equal terms with other partisan groups, without significant anti-Taliban foreign involvement.


-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

well we fundamentally disagree (3.00 / 2) (#45)
by streetlawyer on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 12:59:11 PM EST

Isreal may well lack "mass support" of the population, and certainly does if you are including palestinians as part of that population

I just fundamentally disagree with this; I think that Israel does have mass support for its government, in the sense that the majority of the politically active class supports the status quo and there is no movement against which enjoys mass support. Same for the Taliban. If the US and UK committed ground troops they would not be welcomed, helped or supported by neutral villagers (though we would no doubt hear on the news that they were).

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Funny definition of "mass support" (none / 0) (#46)
by ucblockhead on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 01:15:23 PM EST

There is a profound difference between the Taliban having "Mass support" and villagers not being willing to "help or support" US, UK (and now French) forces. Apathy would be just fine as for as Western forces are concerned, I'm sure. That's a lot different from the picture the Taliban would like to paint, of mass-waves of millions of suicidal warriors.

But you still are ignoring the base point, which is that there certainly are movements against the status quo. That is, after all, what "civil war" means. If the Taliban did, indeed, have "mass support", then the Taliban's enemies in Afghanistan would be hard-pressed to survive. But they do, and in the territories that they control, they appear to have about the same sort of popular support that the Taliban does.

All of the evidence suggests that no party in Afghanistan has true popular support, and that the bulk of the population is merely trying to survive.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

ignoring reality? (none / 0) (#51)
by Ender Ryan on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 01:18:58 PM EST

WTF are you talking about? The Taliban is an oppressive regime that took the country by force 20-some years ago. The Northern Alliance, which is made up of a number of Afghani "tribes", has been fighting the Taliban for 20+ years.

The Taliban has roughly 40k soldiers. In one day alone, 1k soldiers defected (to the Northern Alliance?).

As for the rest of the population, many of them are starving and just want food. The Taliban is trying to block aid from getting into the country, so I think it's safe to say they are probably not too supportive of the Taliban.


-
Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

We are Kuro5hin!


[ Parent ]

Taliban (none / 0) (#67)
by dvNull on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 11:58:36 PM EST

The Taliban came to power in 96. That is 5 years ago. The Soviets pulled out in 1989, the remaining Mujahideens fought each other and there was a lot of chaos and in the midst of that chaos, the Taliban emerged.

The people accepted them then because they brought order, now I have no idea what they really feel about them.




If you can see this, then the .sig fell off.
[ Parent ]
What's Pushto for BS? (3.45 / 11) (#10)
by WombatControl on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 02:32:01 PM EST

So the Taliban say they're willing to sacrifice 2 million. I can say that I'm going to fly over to Afghanistan and barbecue Osama bin Laden with death rays from my eyes, but it wouldn't be true. Both are statements that are designed to intimidate the opposition, but neither have any basis in reality.

The Taliban has a standing army of 40,000 people. Only 16,000 of them are die-hard loyalists. The other 24,000 are likely to drop trou and run like hell when the shooting starts. About 10,000 of them probably already have. That's not even close to 2 million.

The fact is, the US is doing everything it can to prevent civilian casualties and provide humanitarian aid to those fleeing the Taliban. The only way the Taliban could potentially get 2 million causualties is to attack those refugees. They do that, and the Arab world will turn against them even more.

In other worlds, the Taliban is all talk, and no ability to act.



language (4.00 / 1) (#17)
by dr k on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 03:47:50 PM EST

the US is doing everything it can to prevent civilian casualties

That is an unfortunate bit of hyperbole. Unfortunate because it contradicts the primary goal of "stopping terrorism" - either we are trying to stop [kill] one group of people, or we are trying to save another group of people, but you can't really do both from the cockpit of a bomber or the deck of a destroyer hundreds of miles away.

We will save these worthless people even if it kills them.
Destroy all trusted users!
[ Parent ]

Civilian casualties... (3.00 / 1) (#32)
by WombatControl on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 11:01:28 PM EST

I'm not sure what point you're trying to make here... heck, I'm not entirely sure *you* know what point you're trying to make.

The US is trying to hurt or kill as few civilian (read not Taliban or not al-Quaeda) as possible. We're doing this by shipping over 37,000 meals to refugees per day as well as using precision munitions that can minimize any collateral damage. To say that we're just sitting away from it all and bombing Afghanistan is a bald-faced lie. We're trying to help the refugees, which will make it that easier to flush out and eliminate the terrorists.



[ Parent ]
gov't troll (none / 0) (#35)
by dr k on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 01:38:50 AM EST

The best way to minimize collateral damage would be to not drop large explosive devices anywhere in the vicinity. Since that is not the case, it must not be the highest priority. If you are fooled by an official statement telling you otherwise, you have been trolled by the government.

The "U.S." as an entity can't tie a pair of shoelaces together, let alone kill or not kill a civilian. The US is made up of millions of people, and though some of us can talk peaceably I'm not so sure that military personnel are much concerned with civilian casualties. But hey, best not to dwell on that unpleasant issue and think about helping a handful of refugees instead.
Destroy all trusted users!
[ Parent ]

Not really (5.00 / 1) (#36)
by baseball on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 03:19:18 AM EST

I don't think anyone has been "fooled" by the US government, nor do I think anyone has been "trolled" by the government. You can't maximize two related variables. The US goal in Afghanistan is to get the terrorists responsible for the WTC attack while keeping civilian casualties associated with that effort to a minimum. If the only priority were to avoid civilian casualties, the US would do nothing in Afganistan. If the only priority were to get the terrorists in Afghanistan, the US would kill everybody there. The US has not done either. The fact is the US needs to take action to get the people who killed civilians in the WTC and Pentagon, and to deter similar killings in the future. It has adopted an approach that is aimed at getting the terrorists, overthowing the government that supports them, and avoiding, as best it can consistent with those two things, injuring civilians. It's not a matter of fooling anyone, nor is it a terribly difficult concept.
Bush is a liar, Rumsfeld a war criminal.
[ Parent ]
the skeptic (none / 0) (#50)
by dr k on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 02:52:01 AM EST

The US goal in Afghanistan is to get the terrorists responsible for the WTC attack...

Of this I'm not so sure. Don't worry, I'm not going to spout out conspiracy theories here, I'm just trying to be a bit more skeptical about the purported motives of the US in this affair. At a minimum, the US and its asshole buddy the UK could have presented a more convincing case to the international court to justify their agenda of destabilizing country X (where X may be subject to change in the months to come).

One must also look at the language being used to justify this "police action". How is it that Afghanistan is seemingly bulging with "terrorist training camps" which, in most other countries would be called "military training camps"? Apparantly any Muslim with military training is not a soldier, he is a terrorist - which is convenient, because the US has declared war on terrorism so we don't have to ask permission before we blow him up.

The fact is the US needs to take action to get the people who killed civilians in the WTC and Pentagon, and to deter similar killings in the future.

Okay, not a particularly persuasive way to phrase it. Do you think excessive use of force is the correct response to terrorism?
Destroy all trusted users!
[ Parent ]

they can't be military camps... (none / 0) (#58)
by _Quinn on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 09:24:55 PM EST

... if they're not run by the military. Since the US doesn't recognize the Taliban as the legal rulers of Afghanistan, that is, they don't form a nation, they can hardly have a military. They could be legit civilian training camps (e.g., NRA rifle ranges), but one hopes the US has a reason for declaring one to be a harbor for terrorists. Finally -- what possible gain could the US get from destabilizing country X = Afghanistan? The country is too poor to feed its own people, there's nothing of any use for the US there, nobody gave a damn about the place earlier... what could the point be?

-_Quinn
Reality Maintenance Group, Silver City Construction Co., Ltd.
[ Parent ]
country X (none / 0) (#59)
by dr k on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 03:11:25 AM EST

President Bush just gave a speech in which he all but said that the Northern Alliance would be happy to slice up what is left of Afghanistan to suit its own ends. Who cares what the justification was, the country's sovereignty has been forfeited and the land is up for grabs. As to what the US would gain by this... well, isn't that what you would do in this situation?
Destroy all trusted users!
[ Parent ]
I don't understand your comment... (none / 0) (#61)
by _Quinn on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 01:31:16 PM EST

Why would I want Afghanistan, even if it were totally depopulated? (That is, didn't have economic problems.) If the US were, for some inexplicable reason, were going for a land-grab, grab some land with utility, like Saudi Arabia or South Africa.

-_Quinn
Reality Maintenance Group, Silver City Construction Co., Ltd.
[ Parent ]
stop being naive (none / 0) (#62)
by dr k on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 04:03:40 PM EST

First of all, you say with some authority that there is no reason for anyone to want the land ("there's nothing of any use for the US there"). Then you suggest that if the US is going to be openly imperialistic, why not pick a better country to occupy. You are clearly the genius of Middle East affairs.

I don't know what the motives of the US military are, mostly because the military itself refuses to tell the citizens of the US what the value of that territory might be. But here are some concepts: Afghanistan is in the middle of a very unstable region. Afghanistan has close ties to Pakistan. Oil routes. Proximity to Iraq. Easy target. Strategic base for future Asian operations. Poorly educated population can be employed in Nike factories. We have a secret army located there.


Destroy all trusted users!
[ Parent ]

Ok, thanks... (none / 0) (#66)
by _Quinn on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 06:43:35 PM EST

   I don't agree with you, but at least I understand where you're coming from.

-_Quinn
Reality Maintenance Group, Silver City Construction Co., Ltd.
[ Parent ]
Gosh... (none / 0) (#38)
by Vulch on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 09:36:05 AM EST

shipping over 37,000 meals to refugees per day

So one in 400 Afghans gets a meal per day, the rest of them might be able to have their turn to eat by the end of 2002. Although if you restrict it to those refugees along the border with Pakistan, each one might be able to eat twice by the end of this year. Well, no problem then...

[ Parent ]

Sacrifice.... (4.00 / 1) (#39)
by Elkor on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 09:36:41 AM EST

How many of those 16k soldiers that will drop trou and run at the sight of a US troop would be willing to put a bullet into the head of a civilian?

Typically, a sacrifice is an offering made to appease a god.

The Taliban could be planning on killing 2M of their own people to prove a point. To keep them from "becoming corrupted by the dogmatic and heretical viewpoints of the evil American culture."

Or, it could mean they plan on launching further attacks on the US and allies with a targeted death toll of 2M.

I seriously doubt the thoughts, opinions, and willingness of the 2M in question really matters to the Taliban, just the number.

And accusing a religious fanatic of "being all talk" is the best way to get them to act on their words. In this case, that isn't a GOOD thing.

Regards,
Elkor


"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
[ Parent ]
Four questions (3.83 / 12) (#11)
by michaela on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 02:43:26 PM EST

  1. Are those two million aware that they have "volunteered?"
  2. Does it include those responsible for planning and executing the WTC and Petagon attacks? (And for that matter previous embassy bombings and anyone still rattling around from the 1993 WTC bombing?)
  3. Does it include Osama bin Laden?
  4. Will they do the killing for us, or do they require our assistance in this matter?

--
That is all
sacrifice (4.28 / 7) (#12)
by Defect on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 02:45:00 PM EST

If there's a sacrifice too great for this war, what are we fighting for? Presumably, we're fighting because our safety is at stake, and if that's the case, then anything we have to offer should be fair game.

Ideally, shouldn't we stop fighting only when the threat is gone; otherwise, what's the point? To punish the offender? A figurative slap on the wrist? Why go through all this trouble if all we're accomplishing is sending a terrorist organization to the corner to think about what they've done?

I don't really have an answer beyond asking more questions. I don't think i honestly believe that any sacrifice is worth it as long as we win, but in a technical aspect, it's the only course of action that makes any sense whatsoever. If we don't win, then the time, money, and lives of our citizens are wasted, and that's far more a sacrifice than anything else i can think of.

This is not me saying "blow them all away," this is me saying "let's win."

Fuck if i know how, though.
defect - jso - joseth || a link
WW3 (2.66 / 3) (#48)
by greenrd on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 06:58:37 PM EST

Then you are arguing for World War Three. The al-Quaeda network is international. And even if we killed every last one of them, there would still be other terrorists. We can never be safe from terrorism. Give it up. All we can do is reduce the risk by addressing the root causes.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

root causes are useless. (5.00 / 1) (#53)
by physicsgod on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 03:38:31 PM EST

No matter what you do there are going to be people pissed at you. The best you can do is try and minimize the number of people who want to kill you and make sure they don't get any help from organizations. Do you honestly think 20 people could have gotten together, learn how to fly jumbo jets, breached security, and crashed planes into building on their own? The objective of the war of terrorism isn't to eliminate terrorists, it's to eliminate the organizations that recruit suiciders and get them in touch with those who have the skills to kill people. A suicide bomber is useless without a bomb, and while he might try to make one himself it's not going to be as effective as a professional job and there's a good chance he'll blow himself up in his basement.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Head In The Sand! (2.00 / 1) (#60)
by greenrd on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 06:00:20 AM EST

No matter what you do there are going to be people pissed at you.

Do you have any idea what the issues are here? Sanctions on Iraq, Palestine, bombing of the Sudan pharmaceutical plant... etc.? And how these are perceived by many in the Arab countries? You can't just brush all this under the carpet and say "it doesn't matter if we do something extremely immoral because even if we were angelic people would still hate us." Um, no, that's not the way it works on the individual level - any fool can see that less people are going to hate you if you don't go around killing thousands of people - and it's not the way it works on the state level either.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

LOOK at the world. (5.00 / 3) (#63)
by physicsgod on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 04:24:10 PM EST

Look at the alternatives:

Isreal: Do we totally abandon it? If not OBL's still going to be pissed. If we do one of two things is going to happen; either Israel will run all over the middle east (it's not like they don't make their own tanks, artillary, planes, or guns) which won't make OBL happy, so maybe he'll bomb the US again to get help against the "zionists", or Israel will be overwhelmed by superior numbers (though that didn't happen the other three times) so zionist radicals will decide to kill 6000 americans to get what they want, namely support of Israel. Not to mention the number of deaths this would lead to in the region.

Iraq: So the UN lifts sanctions against Iraq, now Saddam's selling all the oil he can and turning the money into AA systems, T-72's, SCUDS's, and maybe a nuke or two. 10 years later and Saddam decides it's time to grab some more oil, invades Kuwait, and keeps going into Saudi Arabia. When do we get involved? If we don't what's the likelyhood of muslims bombing the US to get support for the "holy land"? Plus the inevitable civilian deaths.

Sudan: You and I agree, the US should apologize and rebuild the plant. But an intellegence cock-up isn't a good reason to kill 6000 people, neither is national arrogance.

Got anything else? How about US support for dictators? Well how much of the billions the US sends overseas gets to the poor? What would happen to them if the US cut all aide off? What would temper the crackdowns by the tyrants? What about the deaths from the violent uprisings? And the suffering caused by civil wars? You are aware that civil wars of sucession usually end up putting someone as bad, if not worse, in power (think Congo), while relativly peaceful changes of power eventually get to a stable government (think Indonesia).

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

Think of it from their perspective (4.50 / 6) (#23)
by MugginsM on Tue Oct 09, 2001 at 05:27:00 PM EST

How many people would the US be willing to sacrifice
to protect their country and way of life if *they*
were being bombed by a larger, more advanced
(technologically) enemy?

Would the average American want to just give up and
roll over if their country was attacked?

- MugginsM

Interesting scenario (3.50 / 4) (#47)
by dbc001 on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 01:48:42 PM EST

What if American terrorists did this in another country? And say there were indications that some famous American was responsible, either directly or indirectly? I think most Americans would beat the crap out of him and turn his ass in. Well, maybe not most Americans but definitely a lot.

-dbc

[ Parent ]
Um.... (5.00 / 1) (#64)
by KnightStalker on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 04:46:35 PM EST

I suppose this is some subtler form of irony than I can currently detect. See also, "Henry Kissinger".

[ Parent ]
Get the quote right, dammit. (4.75 / 4) (#49)
by Estanislao Martínez on Wed Oct 10, 2001 at 11:41:40 PM EST

It's as follows (from Reuters):
Defiant after two nights of U.S. strikes, Zaeef said Taliban leaders had vowed to sacrifice two million lives to protect their independence. ``We are determined to offer two million more martyrs for independence and sovereignty if need be,'' he told a news conference in Islamabad.

Now compare and contrast the recapitulation (the first sentence) with the actual quote.

Look at the "more" in the actual phrase he said, which the press has let pass without comment.

My guess? The context for this quote was a mention of what Afghanistan has suffered from the Russian presence. He's rallying his people to resist the US by making reference to a specific recent historical event from his country.

How the actual statement as worded constitutes a "vow" to actually make two million people die eludes me. Especially given the "if need be" at the end.

Nothing to see here, folks. Just Reuters putting a spin on a story about the official enemy.

--em

Just Barking (4.50 / 2) (#52)
by Nater on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 03:23:53 PM EST

I am by no means an expert on Afghani politics, but my meager understanding of the situation is that the Taliban do not tolerate dissenting opinions, no matter how trifling. I would imagine that as a result, a large number of those who call themselves "Taliban" only do so because it is too dangerous to do anything else. People complain here about western civilization asymptotically approaching Orwell's 1984, but how about the Taliban? Under those circumstances, if you were a would-be dissenter, would you be willing to sacrifice your life for "The Party" when your nation comes under attack? I have a hard time believing that the leadership will be able to hold sway for much longer, in part because I imagine that the number of would-be dissenters is quite high. There are no doubt enough partisans that the invading forces should worry, but I highly doubt that there are 2 million self-proclaimed Taliban who hold onto Taliban ideals with such vigor that they would die to protect them. Most Afghanis don't have much to die defending in the first place, regardless of their political leanings.


i heard someone suggest that we should help the US, just like they helped us in WWII. By waiting three years, then going over there, flashing our money around, shagging all the women and acting like we owned the place. --Seen in #tron


OT: I don't think we are (4.00 / 1) (#68)
by itsbruce on Sat Oct 13, 2001 at 03:17:22 PM EST

Approaching 1984 in any way. Orwell was wrong - Huxley was right. &quotBrave New World", where technology and consumerism combine to control the masses, was the genuinely prophetic work.


--It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.


[ Parent ]
Orwell vs. Huxley (none / 0) (#69)
by vectro on Sat Oct 20, 2001 at 08:05:11 PM EST

For America, and by my understanding, much of the rest of the western world, you are correct. But the original poster was not comparing the situation here to 1984, he was comparing it to the situation in Afganistan. I'm not exactly qualified to talk about the situation in Afganistan, but I see his point.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
Sacrifices of War | 69 comments (63 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
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