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Taliban Outlaws Internet Use in Afghanistan

By dze27 in News
Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 06:05:26 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)

In yet another freedom-crushing move the ruling Taliban party of Afghanistan has banned the use of the Internet (MSNBC).

According to the article, the Taliban is not against the Internet per se, but against the " "obscenity, vulgarity and anti-Islamic 'stuff' on it". Few details are given in the article on how exactly this law would be implemented, but the Taliban's record certainly shows that the law will be enforced, and probably quite harshly.

This comes in the wake of several other affronts to freedom including forcing Hindus to wear identifying marks along with huge numbers of discriminatory laws regulating just about everything. They have even destroyed ancient Buddhist statues.

Is it time that the rest of the world stepped in to stop these abuses? At what point does the rest of the world (not just the U.S.) have a responsibility to do something?


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What should the rest of the world do to Afghanistan?
o Nothing 28%
o Economic Sanctions 15%
o Random bombings 16%
o Take over the government 26%
o Other (explain in a comment) 13%

Votes: 53
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o banned the use of the Internet
o forcing Hindus to wear identifying marks
o destroyed ancient Buddhist statues
o Also by dze27

Display: Sort:
Taliban Outlaws Internet Use in Afghanistan | 47 comments (46 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
Step in? Are you out of your mind? (3.71 / 7) (#1)
by MSBob on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 02:51:45 PM EST

I'd never want to see my country involved in fighting Taliban. They are basically a bunch of islamic extremists. They don't give a toss about dying. You can't win against those that have nothing to lose. I'm all for stoping human rights abuses but the only realistic way we can help them is through refuge programmes. Going there and trying to fight taliban would be suicide. Remember also that Afghanistan is still in the state of civil war. Taliban is not the official government. They are just warlords that captured Kabul the capital.
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

No, no....you read too much into what I wrote (none / 0) (#3)
by dze27 on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 03:03:58 PM EST

I was posing the question of "should we step in", not proposing this as a course of action. I'm almost always against stepping into other countries to try to solve their domestic problems -- (a) I wouldn't want other countries to do it to my country and (b) it rarely seems to work.

"Luck is the residue of design" -- Branch Rickey

[ Parent ]
If good men do nothing.... (4.00 / 1) (#5)
by dasunt on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 03:10:34 PM EST

No offense, but if you were in a country that was ruled by religious extremists that were hurting the citizens of your country, wouldn't you want someone to help?

Sure, us USians will fight over oil, but we don't give a damn when human rights get violated...

[ Parent ]

Well USSR tried... (5.00 / 2) (#6)
by MSBob on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 03:20:53 PM EST

We know how successful that venture was. The only way to help the people of Afghanistan is to accept many many more refugees from there. It's a little known fact and I stated it before but I need to repeat myself: Taliban is NOT the Afghan government. It is a militia group that managed to capture Kabul and are trying to instill their will on the other parts of the country.
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
sounds like a plan... (4.00 / 1) (#18)
by Danse on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 04:57:59 PM EST

If western countries (or middle-eastern) would accept more refugees (and could protect them from reprisals), then within a generation or so all the women would be gone from Afganistan and the wackos would die off.

An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Buddhist not Hindu statues (4.00 / 3) (#2)
by Merk00 on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 02:52:47 PM EST

The statues where of Buddha and hence were Buddhist. They were not Hindu.

"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission

huh? (none / 0) (#11)
by Danse on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 04:28:32 PM EST

Did he say they were Hindu?

An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Yes (none / 0) (#19)
by dze27 on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 05:04:43 PM EST

I did but a kind K5 staffer corrected my error (Thanks!).

"Luck is the residue of design" -- Branch Rickey

[ Parent ]
as if they aren't already considered bad (4.56 / 23) (#4)
by Speare on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 03:07:54 PM EST

Let's see...

They forbid women to work, learn or be alone.

They forbid pretty much any book except the Koran.

They destroy relics and artwork related to other religions.

They stigmatize non-Islamic people with identification markings.

And it takes the cutting off of the INTERNET to get attention of some people?

Wake up people.

[ e d @ h a l l e y . c c ] spare time? know java? earn cash
When should we step in? (3.69 / 13) (#7)
by weirdling on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 03:24:00 PM EST

Never. It is their country; it is their freedom; it is their life. Nevermind you and I don't like it, it isn't up to us to judge what they do or how they live their lives, as for us to step in and enforce freedom would be monstrously hypocritical, not to mention expensive and counter-productive. Besides, I have enough trouble accepting the ways my government wastes my money without having *killing people* *for their religion* on it. No thanks.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
Human Rights (4.50 / 2) (#9)
by sventhatcher on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 04:21:01 PM EST

Assuming that we as a human race believe that people have certain basic rights (freedom of religion for instance), how is it just to only fight for those rights on our native soil?

[ Parent ]
not so simple... (5.00 / 2) (#13)
by Danse on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 04:34:30 PM EST

Just try getting everyone or even a majority to agree on just what those human rights are. You'll soon see that it just becomes a case of one minority enforcing their beliefs on another because they have the power to do so. Not that I agree with what the Taliban has done, I just don't think that you can justify attacking them on the basis of what the "human race" believes. Like it or not, the beliefs of members of the human race include those of the Taliban and many other similar groups.

An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
UN, etc. (none / 0) (#15)
by sventhatcher on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 04:43:38 PM EST

That's why organizations like Amnesty International or even the United Nations exist. To promote the general welfare of the human race. Even though there are variations in individual beliefs, I believe there are common threads.

[ Parent ]
Not representative at all (none / 0) (#43)
by weirdling on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 02:29:56 PM EST

There are many people in the US who are actively afraid of the UN and Amnesty International and their idea of what rights constitute. Sorry, but the majority of the world does not subscribe to the UN's ideas of human rights, hence it is a case of the minority attempting to control the majority, which is, itself, a violation of the basic human right of freedom.
That many people feel deeply that these are universal rights does not make them so, anymore than the people who insist there is universal morality. The data do not indicate so, suggesting, rather that it is merely Western ideology, and, in the case of the UN, a very narrowly European Western ideology, that is being espoused as universal.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Opp to "It's their problem" (4.66 / 3) (#14)
by mcherm on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 04:38:56 PM EST

How far are you willing to take this? Consider WW2. By your policy, the treatment of jews inside Germany would never have triggered a response from you. How about the invasion of a few small countries? After all, you don't live in Poland...

Okay, that was a straw man... I suppose you'll argue that once Hitler invaded Poland, it's no longer a case of a government oppressing its own people -- they're actually oppressing OTHER people, at which point intervention is appropriate.

But WHO says when it's "other" people and when it's "their" people? Suppose a village or two in Afghanistan decides to "succeed" from the Taliban-controlled government. And after this, a band of shoot-and-murder-most-everyone fighters is sent to "retake" this poor village. Are we supposed to intervene THEN? Suppose that the Taliban tries to assert its influence over a village just outside of YOUR idea of Afghanistan's borders?

I don't have a perfect answer here myself. But I do not belive that a position of "we'll never prevent it so long as it doesn't cross your borders" is morally tenable. And I worry that the Taliban may have crossed the line into behavior for which action ought to be taken. (Of course, if so, they did so long ago with actions far more significant than banning the internet).

-- Michael Chermside
[ Parent ]

Perhaps (2.50 / 2) (#42)
by weirdling on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 02:24:05 PM EST

However, most of these situations are a question of religion and majority. I simply don't buy the 'oppressed majority' argument. The Taliban is in power, true, but it couldn't maintain power if the majority of people were not willing to live under it, hence it isn't our problem. As to WWII, until the US was bombed by Japan, we had no interest in entering the war. After Japan bombed us, helping Europe was actually a minor concern to most Americans, but was a major concern to Roosevelt, which is why we fought on the European continent, anyway. Besides, it still holds: WWII on the European continent was a direct result of the actions of Chamberlain and his chronies in their policy of appeasement. However, after Japan bombed us, it was a certainty that the US was going to ram the entire might of the US economy and military down Japan's throat, and the sooner the better. Once the news came out about Bataan, it was even easier to find people willing to firebomb Tokyo. However, German inhmanity didn't come out until after the war, and bombing Dresden caused a lot of sleepless nights.
*After the war*, *in retrospect*, it became obvious that Naziism was much more monstrous than imperialism, but it wasn't common knowledge at the time, which is one of the problems of interference: one cannot know when one is actually helping people or merely interfering. Yes, to Western minds, what is happening over there is dastardly, but to a middle-eastern mind, it may be perfectly normal and what should happen. Since there are no whole-sale slaughters of US citizens or those to which we are allied (Saudis, Israelis), we have no real interest, and hence no moral imperative to intervene in something we don't understand.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
their freedom? (3.66 / 3) (#24)
by strlen on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 05:35:52 PM EST

why don't you ask the woman who's hands got cut off because she revealed skin who's freedom it is?

[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
Say what? (5.00 / 1) (#31)
by decaf_dude on Sat Jul 14, 2001 at 02:46:38 AM EST

I lived in the Middle East for a while, have you? My (limited) knowledge of Islamic laws tells me you're making stuff up, for as far as I know, cutting hands off is warranted in theft (first right, left on repeat offence).

Facts, schmacts... Right?


[ Parent ]
not in afghanistan (none / 0) (#34)
by strlen on Sat Jul 14, 2001 at 06:40:09 PM EST

that's a documented case in afghanistan. apparently they expand the islamic law.

[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
Sure, but... (none / 0) (#35)
by decaf_dude on Sun Jul 15, 2001 at 12:18:26 AM EST

Documented where?

Pulling "facts" out of your arse doesn't help further intelligent conversation.


[ Parent ]
ok.. (none / 0) (#36)
by strlen on Sun Jul 15, 2001 at 02:09:04 AM EST

http://www.tamil.net/list/1999-11/msg00015.html <-- here's a documented case of women being stoned and beaten to death. ask them about their freedom.

[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
Interesting paradox.. (2.33 / 3) (#41)
by beergut on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 02:07:41 PM EST

According to leftists here on K5, these people can just leave that country, if they don't agree with the "social compact" in existence there.

They want to establish just such a state worldwide.

Where, then, will people escape?

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

such a state (none / 0) (#46)
by strlen on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 06:50:43 PM EST

yes, my dear libertarian, the evil leftists will want to take away your weapons so that we can establish a world wide taleban. no, the "leftists" here want to enforce international human rights, so that no one has to escape if they, and no one is subjected to such threats. and yeah go ahead and rant to me how being taxed is just as bad as being stoned to death (with rocks, not with weed).

[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
Well, (none / 0) (#47)
by beergut on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 07:17:17 PM EST

What more can I say? You got me. Bang. I lose.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Documentation (none / 0) (#48)
by EriKZ on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 08:33:54 AM EST

Spam? Your documentation is spam? The original poster is right, you're not helping.

[ Parent ]
uhhh.... yeah.... (3.66 / 3) (#30)
by Ender Ryan on Sat Jul 14, 2001 at 01:37:34 AM EST

How bout this...

You look funny. Your government should have you ass raped by 100 prison inmates, then they should pop your eyes out and piss in your empty eye sockets. Then they should finish off the job by chopping off your head and having the same prison inmates shit down your throat. Others who look as funny as you should get the same treatment.

Yeah, people could help, but, fuck it, it's your government's freedom to do as it pleases to you.

That's some pretty fucked up logic you've got goin on there... Remember, if your government ever violates your rights as a human, don't ask for help.

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 ]

Mmm... yes... (5.00 / 1) (#40)
by beergut on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 01:53:04 PM EST

That, my friend, is why we Americans have guns.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Sone thoughts... (3.25 / 8) (#8)
by jd on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 03:36:31 PM EST

Fighting extremists, directly, is not a good idea. However, opposing them -indirectly- can be extremely useful. Here are some ideas on how to do this...

1) The Direct Approach

Build the -ultimate- in body-armour. Kevlar, inter-twined with steel ringlets, will stop both bullets and knives. Make it full-body (incl. head), and you really don't need to care WHAT the Taliban think. Add some air-bags, and they could drive a tank over you, without you caring. Ideal stuff, if you're planning a protest march in Seattle, oops - Kabul.

Get a large(ish) group kitted out like this. A hundred would be fine. Then stage a protest march, from one of the mountains and into Kabul, where you'd stage a protest rally.

If you =REALLY= want to get their attention, have the group carry a large Christian Cross - as large as 100 people can comfortably manage - and have it fitted with LARGE amplifiers & speakers, so that they can easily be heard throughout the city.

Having absolutely no way to stop the group, let alone punish them, would absolutely drive the Taliban nuts. An unarmed group like this could do something no military attack could ever do -- turn the Taliban's own hatred into a weapon against the Taliban. The shame of being crushed by a bunch of unarmed missionaries would be unbearable.

2) The Less-Direct Approach

Rebuild the giant statues. All the information exists on their shape, and original form & decoration. Preferably in the dark, so that the "reborn" statues appear to spring out of nowhere.

Then, each time the Taliban blow them up, simply re-carve them again. If the Taliban guard the area, use sleeping gas to knock the guards out, and keep them under whilst rebuilding. When finished, leave & let them revive.

After a while, the Taliban will be faced with two options. Remove the ENTIRE hillside, or concede defeat. And once you've broken their resolve once, it will be harder for them to maintain it the next time. Eventually, after enough such open challanges & defeats, they will have no choice but to grow up.

3) The Totally Indirect Approach

Religious fanatics have one great weakness. Their fanaticism. Religion, per se, can be an extremely good thing, as it allows a person to focus on what THEY consider important, rather than on trying to do everything.

However, when you get to the extreme of total intolerence, you run into problems. IF you place EVERYTHING in the hands of a deity, then when things go wrong, that leaves only one guy to blame. And it's not the one you want to nark off.

Ok, so how would this work? It can't be anything so blatantly obvious that the Taliban can blame other people. It's got to be subtle and psychological.

Helium's good, clean fun. Totally harmless, in itself, but it's hard to take a squeaky official quite as seriously. Especially if it's totally unexpected and at a -really- inopportune moment.

Other subtle things - itching powder and catnip can produce interesting results - can also be used to drive people nuts, WITHOUT them ever realizing that anything's being done at all. If done just right, they'll conclude that they've displeased their God. It'll be the only conclusion they can reach.

Once you've got to that stage, one of two things can happen. They can repress -more-, deciding that God is punishing them for being lax, OR they can repress -less-, deciding that God is punishing them for being too cruel.

The trick is to persuade them of the latter, probably through sparing those who themselves spare others, but I'm sure there are plenty of imaginative ways you can convey the same message.

Quick math lesson. (4.00 / 2) (#10)
by physicsgod on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 04:23:58 PM EST

Full body armor + multi-mile hike in desert = roast human. BTW, the perfect suit would be here. I notice they're talking about a cooling system. This could work, if you find money fot the suit sign me up. :)

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
A weapons lesson (4.50 / 2) (#29)
by trhurler on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 07:27:42 PM EST

The best armor in the world has not been a match for even moderately powerful weapons for quite a long time. You go with your suit over there, or hey, maybe your T-72 tank, and they'll just use mines and/or machineguns. You will die horribly. The best body armor in the world can't stop a common .50 machinegun round, to say nothing of specialty ammo made to penetrate armor, and if they could get really good ammo, which is not infeasible in today's market, even your tank would be no match. (Well, if you had an M1A1, then yes, but you won't, and besides, even an M1A1 is no match for a big ass antitank mine.)

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Never Underestimate A Bulldozer (none / 0) (#16)
by SEWilco on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 04:51:09 PM EST

If you think someone in perfect armor has nothing to fear, you've never watched a bulldozer or power shovel knock down concrete and brick. A bulldozer's blade can crush almost anything between it and the nearest immovable object. And if you've seen the marks a tank leaves on a paved road, you wouldn't want to be under one either (that's a LOT of metal).

[ Parent ]
Never Underestimate a Front-End Loader (none / 0) (#17)
by SEWilco on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 04:54:30 PM EST

Silly me. To get a human-sized object under control, a front-end loader (tractor with scoop on front) is an easier tool. Scoop up as many human-sized objects as will fit, and drop them where it is convenient for you.

[ Parent ]
Crowd Control (none / 0) (#27)
by inpHilltr8r on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 07:11:55 PM EST

Sounds like the Scoops from Soylent Green / Make Room Make Room!

[ Parent ]
Ready to Pay the Price? (3.57 / 7) (#12)
by SPrintF on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 04:29:08 PM EST

Is it time that the rest of the world stepped in to stop these abuses?

How many people are you prepared to kill to do this? Because that's what "stepping in" means, you know. Killing the people who disagree with you, and continuing to kill them until they stop arguing with you. (See: Germany, Japan circa 1945.)

If you aren't ready to do that, then all you can do is stand back and watch.

huh? (5.00 / 2) (#23)
by strlen on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 05:33:48 PM EST

japan and germany on what side? do you mean the ALLIES were the ones "killing people"? do you mean that japanese and germans simply "disagreed" with you. since when was genocide simpyl disagreement? since when was invading an american colony and bombing another "disagreement"? since when was invading all of europe a "disagreement"? ever heard of what the japanese did with china with biological weapons, or the rape of nanking? is that "disagreement"? ever heard of what germans did in eastern europe by herding people into sheds and burning them alive? is that a "disagreement"? is holocaust a "disagrement" too?

as for taliban, there's many more ways to step in besides direct military action. a good way would be to support their dying opposition, arrest taliban leaders abroad, freeze taliban assets wordld wide, impose 100% sanctions (no air travel to or from, no trade of any sort, besides humanitarian aid given by UN DIRECTLY to the citizens (soup kitchens)). also, US needs to quit being so hypporctical and oppose human rights violations at times when it's inconvient. why don't they also critique saudi arabia, which is on the level similar to taliban?

[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]

Allies Killed a lot of people too. (none / 0) (#37)
by Grey42 on Sun Jul 15, 2001 at 03:16:03 PM EST

Not only did the Germany and Japan kill, torture, rape, and maim a lot of people so did the Allies, (Including U.S.A., Canada, England, and the rest of the British common wealth). 10s of 1000s died when Canada fire bombed Hanover Germany. The dromping of the bomb on Hurosmia and likely Nagasaki saved lives realtive to what an out righ invation of Japan would have, not counting American or Canadian solder lives. Nagasaki is of course greatly debatable since Japan didn't have enough time to respond.

It will take a great deal of blood shead inorder to fix things in Afganistian, otherwise we will have another, Iraq/Vetnam on our hands. War is like making omletts, you have to break some eggs, and if you don't break enough or the right ones people will be hungry again sortly.

-- Grey 42(Chris Lusena)
[ Parent ]

allied killing (none / 0) (#38)
by strlen on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 01:53:07 AM EST

yes, fire-bombings of dresden and tokyo are true atrocities, the planned invasion would have been very atrocious as well (in fact, they planned poison gas attacks on japan which would have killed about 5 millions). but united states or other western allies have never setup a true ethnic cleansing machine, designed for systematic singling-out and murdering .of civilians. nor have they commited very many atrocities at all in occupied terrotories. bombing a city is cruel, but it's different from capturing a city and using the citizens for bayonet practice and sex slaves or sending them to concentration caps. i guess fire-bombing as the word of the day, and the axis did as much as the allies (when they had the capacity, obviously the germans or japanese lacked carpet-bombing machines like the B-29, B-17/24, Lancaster, but they did a very gruesome job and took great pride on what they have in places like Rotterdam, Coventry, Warsaw, or Leningrad (casualties from Leningrad were larger then I believe from any allied bombing raid, including nuclear and incdiary ones)). what matters is the extra steps the axis tooks.

[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
Afghanistan (3.50 / 2) (#22)
by quam on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 05:27:58 PM EST

It seems there are many assumptions in the media of the Taliban and Afghanistan. While the Taliban rule most of Afghanistan, it does not rule all of Afghanistan. According to the CIA, in addition to the Taliban, there are many other factions fighting for control of Afghanistan:
Harakat-i-Islami (Islamic Movement) [Mohammed Asif MOHSENI]; Harakat-Inqilab-i-Islami (Islamic Revolutionary Movement) [Mohammad Nabi MOHAMMADI]; Hizbi Islami-Gulbuddin (Islamic Party) [Gulbuddin HIKMATYAR faction]; Hizbi Islami-Khalis (Islamic Party) [Yunis KHALIS faction]; Hizbi Wahdat-Akbari faction (Islamic Unity Party) [Mohammad Akbar AKBARI]; Ittihad-i-Islami Barai Azadi Afghanistan (Islamic Union for the Liberation of Afghanistan) [Abdul Rasul SAYYAF]; Jabha-i-Najat-i-Milli Afghanistan (Afghanistan National Liberation Front) [Sibghatullah MOJADDEDI]; Mahaz-i-Milli-Islami (National Islamic Front) [Sayed Ahamad GAILANI]; Taliban (Religious Students Movement) [Mohammad OMAR]; United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan comprised of Jumbesh-i-Melli Islami (National Islamic Movement) [Abdul Rashid DOSTAM]; Jamiat-i-Islami (Islamic Society) [Burhanuddin RABBANI and Ahmad Shah MASOOD]; and Hizbi Wahdat-Khalili faction (Islamic Unity Party) [Abdul Karim KHALILI]

Whether one or any of these groups is more tolerant than the Taliban, I am unsure. But, as long as opposition groups thrive in Afghanistan, there is hope that oppressive policies of the Taliban will end, sometime. Also, keep in mind that Afghanistan's neighbor, Iran, an increasingly moderate nation, is not a friend of the Taliban, has threatened war against Afghanistan and funds Taliban opposition groups.

-- U.S. Patent 5443036 concerns a device for encouraging a cat to exercise by chasing a light spot.
step in doesn[t mean troops (2.50 / 2) (#25)
by strlen on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 05:41:27 PM EST

there's indirect ways. you can fund the opposite (there's still a civil and there's a legitimitate UN recognized government fighting it against the talibas). you can do a complete isolation of the taliban area: block all roads, block all air travel, block all funds, block all telephone, and make only allowable aid be through soup kitchens directly ran by the UN. arrest and deport all taliban members from abroad (unless they wish to defect).i think these measures are justified in fighting a truely demonic regimine the taliban. at the same time, we ought to look at other human rights violators. saudi arabia is very close to taliban-controlled afghanistan and way worse then china? why do we never hear the goverment speaking out against them? simply it's not convenient. and why did we actually support Pinochet in chile while we worked actively to overthrow castro (with a much cleaner human rights record). and why is that we supported the taliban? thing is US couldn't give a shit about human rights, they care about their own self-interest, their own money, and that needs to change.

[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
McArthur's Law. (none / 0) (#26)
by Apuleius on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 06:13:24 PM EST

Never get in a land war in Asia. 'nuff said.

There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
I'm so sick of this crap... (4.14 / 7) (#28)
by taruntius on Fri Jul 13, 2001 at 07:22:04 PM EST

Not the news item, I mean, but the Taliban and every other small-minded mean spirited "political" movement out there. People who just don't get that our similarities vastly outweigh our differences, and life would on the whole be a whole lot happier if everyone just got the hell off of everyone else's collective backs.

In this category of stupid petty conflict, I include just about every civil war simmering in Africa, the Taliban militia takeover of Afghanistan, the Israeli/Palistinian conflict, and possibly even the whole Catholic/Protestant thing in Ireland. These are all cases where the parties involved seem more interested in stubbornly sticking to their positions, even if it damns them to an eternal state of strife and misery, rather than trying to come to some sort of agreement by which both sides can avoid blowing up each other's cars or shooting each other on the streets. These are cases where the parties are all essentially saying "I'm right [usually because God says so] and thus I refuse to be satisfied until you're dead." Moronic.

Frankly, I'm getting pretty damn fed up with it. It's clear to me that the Israelis don't actually want peace. If so, they wouldn't be bulldozing Palestinian houses, even if they contend that the Palestinians are on "their" land. If the Palestinians actually wanted peace, they wouldn't be sending suicide bombers into Israel to randomly kill Israeli citizens and whoever else happens to be standing nearby, despite their contention that the Israelies are on "their" land. If the Protestants wanted peace with the Catholics in Ireland, the Orange Order wouldn't insist on holding marches in Catholic neighborhoods (or is it the other way around? the sides look about the same to me so I have trouble keeping them straight).

None of these people seem to really want peace, yet we (meaning the rest of the civilized world) keep spending time, effort, and money trying to help them achieve it. Stupid. I should note, of course, that in just about all of these countries, the actual majority of the populace does seem to want peace--it's the dipshit hothead minority who form their little terrorist groups to go around and keep the pot stirred up. (Israel is possibly an exception here, as it's the official Israeli military that does things like bulldozing Palestinian houses, under the direction of a more-or-less elected prime minister.)

This leads to why I'm posting at all. I voted "Other" in the poll, so I should explain what I'd do about these twits if I were King of Everything. Simple: since these radical minorities don't seem to really want peace despite what their majority bretheren want, then fuck 'em. And since the majority bretheren could do something about it if they were motivated enough, I say help them achieve that motivation.

First, as King of Everything (or possibly as U.N. Secretary General), I would issue a warning. It's all well and good to just say "fuck 'em" and get on with things, but to be fair even idiots deserve warnings. So I'd issue a proclaimation stating that they have exactly 1 year (plenty of time, really) to settle their stupid differences and get their houses in order, Or Else.

Second, after the year expired, get together a large number of troops, gunboats, tanks, SAM batteries, etc. (as King of Everything, this shouldn't be too hard), and station them along the entire border encompassing the disputing parties. The job of this military force would be simple: nothing goes in, nothing comes out. At this time, carpet-bomb the isolated region with leaflets stating that we're sick of their shit, so they can figure it out on their own and when they've learned to play nice, they should let us know.

Harsh? You better believe it. But nothing else seems to be working. As is, so long as these groups believe that the civilized world is going to keep trying to help them out, keep giving them material aid, etc., they have very little reason to act any differently than they do now. To change their behavior, you have to change that underlying belief, which this radical isolationist policy would do. The way I figure it, this radical isolationism would play out in one of several ways:

  • The parties could keep fighting. Eventually they run out of bullets and resort to rocks and sticks. One side finally defeats the other. Peace is established, and in the meantime, the blockading force provides a robust jobs program for the rest of the world.
  • The parties realize that they're acting like children, decide that they really can't live well without the support of the world community, and come to a mutual agreement whereby they can live peacefully (if not together, then at least side-by-side).
  • The peace-desiring majority within the region quickly realizes that letting the vocal (read: stupid) minority continue to control events will cause life to really suck, really soon. They locate the vitriolic few (c'mon, they know who those people are already), and deal with them in whatever way suits their fancy. If the hotheads see the light, great. Throw 'em in jail? Dandy. Tear them limb from limb instead? Well, fine by me. You figure out what's going to work for your particular little conflict.

In general, I wouldn't really have any qualms about using such tactics in situations like these, because to be quite honest my sympathy for these people is totally used up. The Taliban situation is the one that gives me the most pause, because its victims are mainly its own people (namely, women). Still, if they knew that help was not coming from the outside, maybe these women would act in their own defense. If not, well, then the Taliban fad is destined to last for about 1 generation because they'll run out of women to bear them children.

It would be prudent, of course, to monitor the situations inside these isolated regions while you had them blockaded. Use spies, satellite photos, radio intercepts, etc. That way, you could periodically carpet-bomb with more leaflets to remind them of what they need to be working on or to encourage them to choose smarter options.

Anyway, that's my solution. It's borne out of frustration, I know, but I can't help but think it would work. It might take a long time, but If so, then at least it provides jobs for the rest of the world and gets this stupid crap off of the nightly news.

--Believing I had supernatural powers I slammed into a brick wall.
Idea good, execution flawed. (4.66 / 3) (#33)
by Kasreyn on Sat Jul 14, 2001 at 05:58:02 AM EST

I agree with you in your viewpoint on this whole issue. These people aren't going to quit fighting because the U.N. waggles its finger and says "naughty, naughty, naugh-TY". But they're also not going to stop if attacked from outside - they'll see it as infidels stopping the holy war.

I have a better solution. Cordon off the area in conflict - no one goes in or out, but continue shipping in food for them. Most importantly, ship in WEAPONS. First, take away everything nuclear so they can't make a real ruckus. Then supply them with huge amounts of conventional weaponry. Armies of tanks, millions of rocket launchers and machineguns, and ample land mines. Cordon the region off, and let them finish blowing each other to bits. Eventually, there will only be a few left alive in the area, and that's when you arrest all 20 of the survivors and hang them all for war crimes, and we're done with it. Israel and Palestine can then be repopulated with more deserving people, like paroled rapist lawyers.

Like my idea?


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
Interesting suggestion... (none / 0) (#45)
by taruntius on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 05:55:50 PM EST

But I don't think I'd jump directly to flooding the area with weapons. One purpose to my admittedly draconian solution is to allow the participants in the conflict to choose the method of resolution they prefer. And actually working towards peace, for real, should be one of those options. Dumping weapons into the area would needlessly make it harder for them to choose that option at the outset.

On the other hand, I don't see anything wrong with waiting a year or two after instituting the blockade, and then seeing what option they've chosen. If, after that time, they're still duking it out with sticks and rocks, you may as well arm 'em to the teeth. At that point, their choice would seem to be clear and dumping in weapons could only make the final result come quicker.

--Believing I had supernatural powers I slammed into a brick wall.
[ Parent ]
The Answer to All Our Problems (none / 0) (#39)
by rhinoceros on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 11:22:54 AM EST

Your "King of the World" approach bears witness to the hubris of thinking that simple and effective answers to complex problems are easily achieved, and that one "outside" party can render wholesale judgment on issues which are more complex than the "nightly news" would have you believe. Your frustration with the failings of people should not lead you to take hard-line, simplistic approaches to dealing with very complex and deep-seated problems. Otherwise, you run the risk of looking like... the Taliban?

[ Parent ]
No, you miss my point entirely... (none / 0) (#44)
by taruntius on Mon Jul 16, 2001 at 05:51:53 PM EST

Your "King of the World" approach bears witness to the hubris of thinking that simple and effective answers to complex problems are easily achieved, and that one "outside" party can render wholesale judgment on issues which are more complex than the "nightly news" would have you believe.

No No. The solution I'm positing explicitly does not trying to render judgement on the issues involved in these conflicts. That's the whole point; even as King of Everything I couldn't possibly come to a full understanding of the political, social, and emotional issues underlying these sorts of conflicts. So I'm not going to try. Instead, what I'd be doing is forcing the participants in these conflicts to sort it out for themselves.

Nor am I suggesting that it would be easy for the participants to come to a mutual agreement. But to hell with "easy"; if we only did what was easy, the Nazis would probably still be in control of Europe. By blockading these sorts of conflicts from the rest of the world, I'm just saying to the conflictees "We're all tired of trying to help you stop bashing your heads against each other, so we give up. Bash away if you want. Or start acting like grown-ups. Whatever. We don't care anymore what you do, so do whatever you want and let us know when you're all done."

--Believing I had supernatural powers I slammed into a brick wall.
[ Parent ]
Another side... (3.33 / 3) (#32)
by eleftheroi on Sat Jul 14, 2001 at 03:10:32 AM EST

Here's an account of the first part of the Taliban's rise that takes a different stance than anything else I've seen posted here. On one hand, it seems to be slanted towards the Taliban, and it doesn't mention the recent atrocities (since it was written for a book published in early 2000). On the other, it was written by someone who has actually spent some time in Afghanistan, which adds something to its reliability.

Taliban Outlaws Internet Use in Afghanistan | 47 comments (46 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
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