Its the escalation of militarism based rumor and innuendo that's distressing, not the fact that he has always been worth bringing to trial for *known* crimes.
Our previous technique has been to cynically, selectively, covertly support one group of fanatics, then the opposing group, against the other, to create a delicately balanced state of chaos which would hopefully keep these dangerous madmen off our backs. I give you, as a notorious example, our deliberate sparing of the Saddam Hussein regime after the Gulf War, to be left in place as a counterweight against Iranian influence. I give you as a second example, the fact that both the Carter and Reagan administrations covertly supported the post-1978 remnants of Pol Pot's maniacal Khmer Rouge as a lever against Vietnamese influence in Southeast Asia. What if more direct and accountable militarism had always been, shall we say, "appropriate," and it took this particular outrage to get our fat, lazy and cowardly empire up off its ass to do something about it in person? That would not be "distressing" but instead a relief to see. Well, as much of a relief as it can be, when you consider the inevitable war cost of actually searching out and destroying ObL and Taleban on the ground in Afghanistan, notoriously the veriest Hell on Earth for foreign invaders. Here; read this, it's real interesting. (In fact I'm going to submit it to the K5 queue as MLP.) Specifically where Mr. Ansary says:
I think that when people speak of "having the belly to do
what needs to be done" many of them are thinking in terms of having the belly to kill as many as needed. They are thinking about overcoming moral qualms about killing innocent people. But it's the belly to die not kill that's actually on the table. Americans will die in a land war to get Bin Laden.
eLuddite, through this thread you don't seem 100% convinced today that Osama bin Laden and his organization are truly responsible for this particular crime. Very well, me too, and neither, for that matter, are the FBI. They are in the process of attempting to uncover enough facts to clearly link Al Qaeda to the killers in the planes, in such a way that will convince both an American court and international opinion. (Uncover or synthesize, that is; let's at least acknowledge the possibility of fraud.) Certain men-in-the-street today may well believe that ObL is guilty guilty guilty and let's start bombing now! however hostile blather from the man in the street, or even from Congressmen ("...an idiot. But I repeat myself.") is ineffectual. The important issue is whether or not the U.S. Army actually goes into combat, and thus far the U.S. government has acted with restraint, not launching instant bombing strikes for the pleasure of retribution before assembling a solid case of the targets's guilt. This is particularly admirable on the part of the Bush Administration when compared to President Clinton's stupid, hysterical, disgraceful 1998 "counter-attacks" which at a cost of $75-million, destroyed a few half-empty tent camps and Sudan's only pharmaceuticals plant that, upon further investigation, turns out to have been neither a factory for chermical weapons nor an arm of the bin Laden organization... You say:
If bin Laden is not responsible for the events on the 11th, then his destruction will be an exercise in manipulation instead of justice.
Let's break this down binary-wise; there are four possibilities:
a.) ObL did command the Kenya/Tanzania bombings, and also did command the WTC bombing.
b.) ObL did command the Kenya/Tanzania bombings, but did not command the WTC bombing.
c.) ObL did not command the Kenya/Tanzania bombings, but did command the WTC bombing.
d.) ObL did not command either the Kenya/Tanzania bombings, or the WTC bombing.
What can you say in cases c.) and d.)? they imply that the Kenya/Tanzania trials last year were wholly fraudulent, and we've fallen down the rabbit hole - our best, Hell our only, sources of information are actively trying to delude us, we know literally nothing for sure. Obviously, in case a.), we are not merely justified but imperatively compelled to destroy him. As I understand you, you're focusing upon possibility b.), and saying that if b.) is the case then the pursuit and destruction of ObL is only "manipulation." Well, any attempt to communicate anything, including this sentence, can be considered in some attenuated degree to be an attempt at "manipulation."
I do not precisely agree with your outlook. If ObL is guilty of Kenya/Tanzania, then it will still be an excellent thing to destroy him, even if he did not directly order WTC. It will be good, first, in well-deserved punishment for his proven crimes, second in that it will lead to the liberation of the long-suffering Afghani people from Taleban, and third, in that, while terrorists will still exist even after Al Qaeda is exterminated, at least Al Qaeda won't be committing any more terrorist crimes, because they'll all be dead. You seem to be most offended my the manipulation aspect of it; I feel that the bad, very bad side is, our insulted sensibilities are far less important than in case b.) if we destroy only the ObL organization we'd be letting the true culprits for the WTC attack (possibly Al Jihad out of Egypt, for example) off the hook, which would only encourage the successfully escaped criminals to strike again and again! Please note that exactly the same reasoning applies to ordinary crime in the U.S.A. Whenever prosecutors refuse to allow, for example, review of death-penalty convictions with new DNA evidence, in the name of so-called "closure," what they are really doing is issuing an official "ollie-ollie-ox-in-free" to the genuine perpetrator of the capital crime. This seems so blatantly wrong-headed that I find it amazing to see it repeated so often by self-described "pro-law-and-order conservatives."
The thing is, I just don't believe it. I just don't believe it. I honestly don't believe that any U.S. government, no matter how lazy and incompetent, could manage to deliberately ignore the culprits in a mass murder of this enormity. We're not talking about an ambitious prosecutor and a couple dishonest promotion-hungry detectives railroading some minority kid on an otherwise-insoluble Pick-Kwik-robbery/murder case, this has been a vast act of war, and you're asking me to believe the entire government going to fabricate a false perpetrator when they know better and not one insider in the know is going to spill the plot out of outrage. Hey, you may still be right, but like I said, if that's the true facts then I'm down the rabbit hole, I'm in a fog of impenetrable nescience, and I might as well put the whole issue out of my mind.
I just went over to the news web site, to see if breaking events had already made me a liar about that restraint business, and I see that Taleban and bin Laden just fucking lost their war. Seems the government of Pakistan, under U.S. diplomatic pressure like I can scarcely imagine, has said, "Yeah, sure, build your invasion bases here." That means Taleban just lost their one and only adequate international supply line. Across their Western border lies Shiite Iran, which has suffered cross-border attacks and witnessed mass slaughters of Shiites, quite akin to those which Cambodia launched against Vietnam in mid-1978. So now Iran surely has the green light to ship the Afghani opposition (those radicals who believe women should be allowed to see medical doctors) not only all the weapons money can buy but also plenty of highly motivated and amply armed Shiite volunteers. Now we'll see what Afghanistan's Northern neighbors (ex-Soviet states Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan) are willing to do for their hostile, expansive neighbor; I'm sure their governments are acutely aware that Taleban seeks to displace them.
Ain't it awful when a plan goes wrong, hey ObL? you're going to have a hard time painting this as "Islam versus the infidels" when it's Iranians and Pakistani shoving their bayonets through your guts. And hey Taleban, pick your fucking lampposts before the good ones are all taken! Everybody on the outside of your sealed borders hates you, the Northern Coalition hates you and they're coming to kill you all this very minute, even the starving and terrorized Afghan on the street hates you and you can't kill them all fast enough to forestall their revenge. It'll soon be your turn to dangle in nooses with your chopped-off genitals in your mouths.
Still, ground combat in Afghanistan, Heaven help us all. Heaven help the soldiers. It's selfish and small to say it, but I hope it's over before my son reaches draft age. Remember that Clash song? "Get your coffins ready, boys; Johnny's coming home." Christ.
Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net
The one thing that really disturbs me about America is
that people don't like to read. - Keith Richards
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